Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Starting Salaries, New York Tastes

The NY Times had an interesting article about "making it" in NYC on starter salaries this week. Some of the interviewees describe how they cut back on their spending by skipping dinners or taking on extra roommates, and I realized how lucky I am to have my parents who live in NYC. I get all the benefits of living in NYC whilst saving on rent and having more than 3 square meals a day. But what perturbs me about those interviewed for the NYT article is that one skips dinner to go to happy hour, while another's meals consisted of only grapefruits. It amazes me what people are willing to give up as a tradeoff for living in NYC.

In fact, when you're on a starter salary, your lifestyle decisions almost always require tradeoffs. This could mean choosing to eat instead of shop; it could mean eating PBJ everyday so that you can make rent. In light of the money-saving disclosures in the article, I feel very fortunate that my big tradeoff (living at home with my parents) means that I can afford to shop without waiting for payday, that I can afford to save for retirement, and that I can comfortably go to happy hour and eat out instead of having to choose just one of the above. For now, at least!

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