What are some tips for living in an expensive city (NY in this case) in a public service job (that is never going to have the kind of salary of a private sector job) but still have an enjoyable lifestyle? Is there much I can do or should I accept my fate of living in a rented postage stamp forever?

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Posted by Maggie Bussard (MONEY FORUMS: 4, Answers: 0)
Asked on April 24, 2016 8:56 pm
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Hi Maggie! I am so glad you wrote! It is tough to live in a place like NYC on a the kind of salary most people in the country make…we’re not the “one-percenters,” but rather are average people making average salaries which are hard enough to live on in South Carolina (where I live) or somewhere else with a lower cost of living much less in NYC. My 28-year-old daughter has lived in NYC for 4 years now…in a rented postage stamp similar, I imagine, to yours. She is much more easy-going than me and thought it was neat that she could sit on her stool at her tiny rickety table working on her laptop and just stretch out an arm to open the fridge for a snack not even having to move. I would hate that. Realistically, I think that you will need to accept that fate if you want to stay in NYC.

The standard wisdom for money health is to spend less than you make. You are probably at bare bones and not able to cut spending any further without living in a place that is unsafe or so far out of the city that your commute is too long. The other alternative – to find a way to earn more income than you are currently bringing in – might be possible in NYC. Is there a way you could pick up a second job? It doesn’t have to be a “professional” one – could you babysit, animal sit, give tours, or consult in some way? If you can consistently earn more from a second job, you’d eventually feel more comfortable to sign a lease for a bigger place. Also, you are probably already living with others, but if not and don’t have a potential person to live with, you can go on one of the many Roommate share sites like EasyRoommate to find a bigger place…you’d share it with strangers, but hopefully would become friends over time. My daughter did that and it worked well.

I hope this helps a little. If you don’t love NYC, maybe you want to see if you can move somewhere with a lower cost of living so that you can have a higher standard of living. Best wishes to you and please write back if we can help more!

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Posted by Kathryn Hauer (MONEY FORUMS: 0, Answers: 18)
Answered: April 29, 2016 5:43 pm