Living in New York is a big challenge and requires acceptance of living in moderation. So when I revealed to my closest friends that I only make $150,000 a year over brunch, they laughed and laughed until the waiter came over and said. “You girls are too silly!” But though friends were laughing, they were seriously concerned. “How can you afford to buy food for yourself?” one friend asked. “Are you using a discount car service?” another wondered But I can reassure them—and anyone reading—that with a little bit of savvy (and a LOT of DIY) I’ve able to live a comfortable and stylish NYC life on a modest salary of $150k.
Sure, I’ve had to make a few sacrifices. I’ve been in an Uber Pool on more than one occasion, and the wine-of-the-month subscription service I use is non-organic (don’t tell Stace, LOL!! She’s very allergic). But my friends and family have gotten used to it with time, and Mom will even venture out to visit my tiny Park Slope floor-through every few months. No one ever said living $3000 paycheck to $3000 paycheck would be easy, but I’m learning how to make it work!
I’m not going to lie: I experience a twinge of envy venturing into some of my friends’ Tribeca apartments, but I’ve come to love my thrifty little life. Instead of a matching furniture set, I have a lot of quirky items from Crate and Barrel that aren’t bad at all. My kitchen table is actually an old restaurant sign that was handcrafted into piece of furniture by a very prominent artist. Whenever my friends visit, they say “Aww!” and “Wanna go out tonight? Let’s get bottle service!” See? #ThatBrokeLife isn’t so bad after all.
Because of all that I’ve learned making it on my own these past few years, I’m actually able to give some of my more financially frivolous friends some great advice. I tell everyone I know about this app that automatically saves money every time I buy something. Spend $150 on a DIY class? Whoops! That’s $10 in savings. Spend $2,500 on a repurposed old restaurant sign that was made into a table? Gosh, that’s $50 in the bank. But I think the best advice I have is to get your parents to add you to their family data plan, and to give you a trust fund. That definitely helps.
At the end of the day, my financially constrained lifestyle is a small price to pay for my creative, boho job in app marketing. I write this in hope that I can offer advice or for anyone who’s struggling financially: if I can make it work making $150,000 a year, you absolutely can.