Friday, September 02, 2011

How I Survive In New York: A Cautionary Tale For Midwesterners Who Dream Of Living In The Big City

Let me preface this by stating that I am heavily in debt yet own nothing. I'm terrible with money and always have been, despite being the daughter of an accountant/bookkeeper. I suppose it's the equivalent of the preacher's daughter being a total slore.

That said, let me explain to all you out-of-towners the realities of living here. It won't be pretty so if you have a weak stomach, maybe you should go grab a bucket and a blankie before we proceed.

Ready? OK!

I am a writer by trade; it's how I earn a living. Not many people who call themselves writers can say that but I'm one of the lucky few. I put up with a lot of bullshit to be able to finally say that, but there it is: I am a writer and someone pays me American dollars (whatever that's worth!) to write.

This job pays in the 40s; not bad considering last year my salary was in the low-to-mid zero. I also receive child support from my ex for the girls (no alimony, though... me and my STUPID pride!). From this 50-something annual paycheck, I have to meet the following financial obligations: $1200 rent; $40 ConEdison bill; $20 National Grid bill; $220 Verizon bill; $60 Cablevision bill; $20 for Netflix; $104 for a monthly MetroCard; $600 a month for after school care; and somewhere in the vicinity of $300-$400 month for groceries. I'll wait for you to do the math and realize how broke I am. Go ahead. I'll wait.


Did you remember to carry the 1? Got the answer? RIGHT. It's expensive to live here, bitches. And I'm one paycheck away from being a pathetic 30-something living in her mother's basement. It sounds horrible, right? Who can live with that level of instability? How am I not a ball of nerves or working the ho stroll to make things better? WHY DO I STILL LIVE HERE? Well, this is how I get by.

First, I'm from here, which means my family is from here, and should any major tragedy ever crash through my life, they've got my back. I honestly can move into my mother's basement if I needed to because she's has a basement...and two other levels in the house; plenty of room for me and the babies.

Also, my family is from the Dominican Republic, and if you know any Dominicans you know that we come here to work our asses off just to build a house "back home" for our retirement, etc. There are a myriad of homes that have been offered to me- rent free- in DR if this New York life gets to be too much.

Next, I am pretty skilled at many things, so a job is never really out of my reach. I was one of the best workers the McDonald's at Fulton Mall ever saw- my register NEVER came up short, my line was never out of control & my area was always clean. They pay NOTHING but if I had to I'd be a French fry pimp. I've also been a teacher, a child care provider, a house cleaner, an office manager and a publishing assistant- all low-paying gigs that I would take in a heartbeat (and have!) to make ends meet.

Finally, I go without- plain and simple. I've been wearing the same clothes and shoes(depending on my weight) since 2004; I hardly ever eat out and I don't travel anywhere BoltBus can't take me for $20. I do as many FREE things as I possibly can to offset the pricey things I may have to pay for (like kids' shoes, hair products, grass-fed meats and cage-free, organic eggs...). I learn to enjoy my sofa and psych myself up into believing that I don't miss all the parties and outings I have to turn down.

How glamorous is MY life? Jealous, much?

Right. So find an awesome place in your own town to move into and STAY PUT. We're all filled up on broke-ass writers over here.

*smooches...hoping this posts keeps people outta BK*
there are too many of y'all creeping in here taking over & raising the costs of everything. just stay in Wisconsin and leave our ghettos alone!