Author Topic: Mustachian in NYC?  (Read 10343 times)

J-Dawg

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Mustachian in NYC?
« on: February 23, 2013, 08:27:10 PM »
Mother of 4.  Mostly 'stay at home' but I still freelance a little.  Stuck in NYC because hubby's a banker and, well, that's where the banks are.  Want to live somewhere more sane eventually, but not at a point in his career yet to be able to leave and not start back on a bottom rung somewhere.

My question is, is it even possible to be Mustachian here?  Everything you've heard is true - it's flipping expensive here, from groceries to rent to preschool.  We just killed the last bit of credit card debt, but with a mountain of student loan debt, it feels like an endless slog.  Any extra $$ we have goes to the student loans - not sure if that should go toward retirement accounts instead?  Any other NYers out there?  Any type of advice is greatly appreciated - I'm feeling trapped in this city!


MountainMan

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2013, 09:19:54 PM »
I imagine there are other forum members from NYC here.

I would suppose Mustachism would work in NYC... the principles apply anywhere.  Pay down debt and save enough money.  You'd have to look at your bills, debts, income to see what kind of strategy you can come up with.  NYC may have higher costs, but I hear NYC has higher income, too?

SamV

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2013, 09:48:49 PM »
move to suburbs in NJ with direct train/bus route to midtown/downtown.

cats

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 09:59:06 PM »
Not in NYC, but SF, which has a similar problem (high cost).

It is possible.  However, I would caveat that you should do some analysis of your income potential in NYC vs. income potential elsewhere and compare to your cost of living in NYC vs. elsewhere.  In my case, I figured living in SF is costing me ~$10k "extra" per year compared to a more "normally" priced area (say, a mid-sized urban area).  If you assume a third of my income goes to taxes then as long as I am earning at least $15k more than I could in a more moderately priced area, I'm coming out ahead.  These numbers can be a little hard to really pin down but you can probably get at least a good ballpark and if your extra cost of living is somewhere near your extra income number....time to start cutting expenses or thinking about moving or pushing your boss for a big raise! 

As far as keeping costs down, many of the same rules apply as in cheaper areas: buy/rent the smallest/cheapest place you can find, don't eat out all the time, drive less (or not at all), don't buy things you won't use.  Ignore what other people say you "ought" to have or do (this is a big one!). Cancel your cable.  Switch to a cheaper cell phone plan.  Use the library more.  Etc.  I will say that I think frugal urban living is a LOT easier if you are childless because you have much more freedom to bring your costs down through having roommates or living in something that is little more than a glorified closet.

Justin234

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2013, 12:51:04 AM »
I lived fairly frugally as a student in NYC for 5 years. I think being Mustachian in NYC is totally doable (can't attest to it as I moved out before I discovered this blog).

I agree that cost of living is a challenge, rent in particular. But salaries are also higher than in the rest of the country, and there are lots of parks, free activities/events, public transit, etc. Just walking around the city is free entertainment/exercise. I think the major challenge is New York is lifestyle inflation: If you've got it, there is a hell of a lot to spend your money on! Restaurants, cultural events. Your peers might not be particularly frugal, so you're fighting the tide there.

I don't know anything about you except what you wrote, so excuse the assumptions, but if your husband is a banker then your household income is a lot higher than most New Yorkers who are getting by. Student loans are of course a challenge, but that's not NYC specific - people deal with it wherever they live.

I thing the other commenters are correct that the same frugality principles apply. You'll have to take a hard look at your budget and see what exactly about NYC is costing you so much. Taxis? Starbucks? Dean and Delluca? Do you live in Manhattan? Could you live in Queens?

One added thought: How you are going to school your 4 kids will play a big role. A lot of people with means opt out of the public school system in NY. If that is true in your case, then private school is definitely going to delay early retirement. it's worth considering how much that's going to cost you over the long haul. It may end up being worth moving to NJ, or your husband getting a lower paying job elsewhere in the country.

mustachecat

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2013, 07:16:38 AM »
Hey J-Dawg! NYCer here. There are definitely a few of us on the forums; you can look up posts from me; c; Use it up, wear it out...; sheepstache; artistache; and... hmm, I know there are others, but that's all I can remember off the top of my head.

My partner and I are making a Mustachian go of it here, although our circumstances are very different from yours (no kids, no debt, and likely lower/limited earnings, so maybe it balances out?). Housing is really the biggest struggle. We've kept costs down by living in Brooklyn, rather than Manhattan, but I know we're still paying a big premium over Queens or the Bronx. What's your housing situation now? Will it change as your kids grow older?

What's the rationale for preschool if you're a SAHM? Are you planning to enroll your kids in public school, or private school? Private school tuition ($30K+/year) for four kids will forestall many, many financial goals. If you're committed to private school, I'd consider applying for any job you're qualified for at a private school that offers staff tuition remission.

Our food spending is very high by MMM standards, but there are lots of ways to mitigate that. For summer and fall, there are dozens of CSAs serving NYC that will get you better quality produce than, say, Whole Foods at a lower price. I do a lot of shopping at produce markets, mostly in Chinatown; buy meat in bulk directly from a farmer upstate (you can find farms at websites like eatwild.com);  and at Costco. For a family of six, a Costco membership will pay for itself on the first trip, even with the cost of a car service for the trip home.

With four kids, I bet you don't get a chance to eat out very often, which is good for your wallet!

We do lots of free cultural things. Free nights at museums, free days at botanical gardens, galleries, etc.

If you post your budget, I'm sure other people will have lots of great ideas for you.

J-Dawg

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2013, 02:36:57 PM »
The fact of the matter is that a lot has changed since we decided to move here.  About a month after accepting the job offer, we found out we were pregnant with #3, and that put us over the mark of affording childcare for me to work (we priced full time childcare for 2 tots and 1 infant around $70,000, and there's no way I could have made that much after taxes), so I'm de facto SAHM, which slowed down our debt-repayment plan significantly. 

I'm super lucky that my old employer (in VA, where we moved from) continued to use me as a freelance writer sporadically - all of that money gets 1/2 saved for income tax and 1/2 to student loan debt, so I don't count it as a source of income to pay the monthly bills.

The preschool is in fact a lynchpin in all of this - it's actually one of the cheapest in Manhattan (we pay less for 2 kids than most places charge for 1! It's a Catholic school, and they tend to be cheaper unless they're one of the super-elite).  I actually found this place before we even moved here, because it was very important to me that they go to a Montessori preschool. 

We live in a (comparatively) crazy-cheap apartment for what we're getting, because we're in Harlem (read: atrocious public schools).  I commute down to Chelsea (about 40 minutes each way, twice a day) to take them to school.  For the past year I've been researching homeschooling, and I intend to homeschool my oldest next year, who's 'graduating' from Kindergarten at the end of this year.

With us needing more space soon, and the commute to the school wearing on my nerves, and the whole money thing, and me kind of absolutely hating this city (sorry NYC-lovers), I'm really torn now about continuing at the school.  I'd kinda love to say 'screw it' and move to Jersey where the taxes and absolutely everything else is cheaper and just more normal. 

At the same time, I don't think there's anything better I can do for my kids - #1 is reading at 2nd grade level and doing freaking multiplication, no joke, and I'm pretty sure #2 could apply for an engineering program in about a year or two and get in.  It's gotta be the school because it's sure not genetic.  So I'd hate to not give that to #3 and #4 as well. 

The other down side of moving off Manhattan is that I kinda like seeing my husband for at least a couple hours a day, and the commute would at least double both ways (if anyone knows of a magical place in Jersey that's actually a 30 min or less commute to the financial district/midtown, please tell!)

Also, and this is purely emotional, but, the school is the only thing I think is fantastic in NYC (well, I like the tons of cultural events/museums/zoos/etc. too, but you can find that a lot of places).  So I've moved away from a job I loved in a place I liked where we had some family relatively close and friends that we could count on, to a place I never in a million years wanted to be, with a dead career, and no friends or family (which means zero date nights, kids spending weekends at grandma's, or anything like that), all for my hubby's career, which, while it's certainly better out here certainly isn't at all as lucrative as it was sold as, thanks to the crap economy and everyone hating on banks or whatever.  My point is that if we ditch the school, and I'm home, alone, with 4 kids, 12-14 hours a day, in Harlem, my ability to tolerate living here/in this condition hinges on how much I love my hubby...and as much as I love him, I still don't trust myself not to pick up and move cross-country with or without him!

Our goal was to come out here for the higher paycheck to wipe out loans and the experience to eventually leverage into another job somewhere closer to family/where we want to live.  I'm still not convinced NYC is the only place he can make a decent paycheck.That's all taking longer than we anticipated, by a lot.

I can post a budget a little later - hubby *did* get a raise a couple of weeks ago, plus health insurance and taxes went up, so I'm not sure what the new take-home is.

All-in-all, I think the biggest problem I have with NYC is that I have kids here.  I have no problem with a crappy/tiny apartment and rice & beans, I grew up way poorer than we've ever come close to - It's just different when you think about putting your kids in that situation.  For example, right now we live in a 2 bedroom, 800 sq ft apartment - that's 2 sets of bunk beds in one room, in case you were wondering.  The kids are all 5 and under and they love it...for now.  I can't help but wonder if child services is going to knock on the door and say we can't have this many people in a 2 bedroom apartment though (I don't think there's a law against it, but still it worries me).  Not to mention the downstairs neighbor reporting us to management on a daily basis for my kids 'running over her head all day.'  There's just no way we can afford more space right now though. 

What do you think?  Am I being irrational here?  Should I just move out to Jersey and forget about the school?  If I do that, why the heck shouldn't I move someplace I could have a support system?  Or am I completely missing something that would change my perspective?

hoyahoyasaxa

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2013, 04:02:56 PM »
Another NYCer here - my wife and I live in Queens.  I agree with others that the best way we're going to be able to help is if you take some time to write down all of your assets and expenses.  And with regard to expenses - this is not simply what's in the budget but what you are actually spending on average in each category each month.  Try to keep your spirits up - there are plenty of people in your situation and there is always an answer out there - it just takes planning and work to put yourself in the situation where you'll be happy.

J-Dawg

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2013, 07:02:45 PM »
Okay here's a rough outline of our budget:

$128k annual salary (up from $120k with recent promotion)
$7,186 take home pay/month
$1887 rent
$289 car payment (minivan)
$152 car insurance
$35 - home phone & internet (no tv)
$105 - cell phones - just read the post about the $10 iPhone, anyone else tried that?
$150 - electricity (this is always less, but we budget $150 just in case)
$1696 - tuition for 2 in pre-k/kindergarten
$1197 - student loans (3 loans - just paid one off early!)
$1000 - groceries including toiletries, diapers, etc, gas/subway
$200 - we budget this for things like my hubs work clothes, haircuts, the very rare work lunch that's not from home, etc.
$8 - netflix
The remaining $467 has been going to credit card debt, but we just wiped it all out last pay check, and paid off the smallest of 4 student loans last pay check as well, so that's at least a step in the right direction.  The remaining 3 student loans are $30k, $32k and $100k.  We have about $5k in emergency funds, $12k in an IRA (my 401k rollover) and about $45k in hub's 401k.

When we first moved here we had a paid off Camry (97, I think).  When it finally breathed its last we went car-free for probably the most nerve-racking year of my life (4 cranky/wound-up kids on a skinny, crowded subway platform = mommy needs a xanax) and then we had to get a minivan to fit everyone.  Paying that off will be the next #1 priority.  I think the pay off is around $15-16k?  In July and August there's no school so that's $3400 that will go straight to the van.

KingCoin

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2013, 09:58:18 PM »
What do you think?  Am I being irrational here?  Should I just move out to Jersey and forget about the school?  If I do that, why the heck shouldn't I move someplace I could have a support system?  Or am I completely missing something that would change my perspective?

The fact that you're miserable is de facto evidence that you need a change, either in mindset or circumstance. It seems like you desperately want to make things work, so my vote is for circumstance. Your growing family will substantially increase the demands on both your housing and education situation, so the problem is likely to get worse. I feel like this case goes beyond nitpicking the particulars of your cell-phone bill.

Living in New York is something of a labor of love. If living here doesn't make you feel a little more alive, you should move on to greener pastures (literally and figuratively). As a single person, you just have to eat the cost of housing, and after that, you can live more or less as cheaply as you like. With 4 kids, you're going to have a big education bill, or a big rent bill in an one of the few areas with good public schools. If your kids are truly talented, they'll eventually be able to get into Stuyvesant or similar, but that's a long haul and a gamble. It's not worth sticking around for the school you like and being miserable for it. It will rub off on everyone around you.

As for the 30min commute, it's quite different from midtown and the financial district. Maybe your husband works at Citi and has to move between the two, in which case the situation is complicated. Simply work backwards from his place of work via subway, train, ferry, and car and find the first good school district. Feel free to dial in a more specific address and others can help you out with advice. I grew up in a CT suburb with a decent commute to midtown and my public school put me into a top Ivy.

How does your husband feel about your collective situation? It seems like he should be looking for a new job ASAP in a place with both good schools and a "support system". Though, finance is tough now, and banks are still laying off employees by the thousands. If finding other opportunities isn't possible, is there a  way to build your support network in New York?  Living a cloistered existence in Harlem with 4 kids and no real engagement with the community sounds like some sort of circle of hell.

gooki

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2013, 03:20:43 AM »
By my calculations you have about $180,000 debt and about $1,500 a month to put towards it. And realisticly you could get this up to $2,000 to $2,500 less say $500 in interest (conservative 3% interest) equals 7.5 more years to pay off your debt. Be super badass and I reckon you can do it in 5 years.

How do you feel about committing to NYC for the next five years?

And there's no harm in your partner looking for other employment.

ch12

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 07:10:46 AM »
"Nattavudh Powdthavee of the University of London did the computations to show that you need to get a raise of $130,000 to compensate for the happiness you will lose by moving away from friends and family." from http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2012/02/11/7-big-relocation-mistakes/

I looked at the Powdthavee research myself and I can't see where $130,000 comes up specifically, but I can tell you that moving away from friends and family makes your happiness take a huge hit. Which you already know.

Even though it looks like preschool is an enormous expense, I went to Montessori preschool and adored it. The Google Founders credit Montessori with their success and honestly it's fantastic for self-directed learning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C_DQxpX-Kw 1:03 - It's definitely worth putting your kids in Montessori, despite the money.

However, that doesn't mean you need to stay in NYC. In a quick Google search, I can see that Montessori schools abound in NJ. It would make sense for you to get out of your tiny apartment in Harlem. You have too many kids in there and it is obviously stressing you out.

I also think that a quick win would be cutting down on your cell phone bill, a la MMM. I adore NYC, but it's obvious that you're not thrilled with living there. And I'm young and single with nary a kid in sight, so my view of the city is totally different from yours. I hope that you have a discussion with your husband about how to make changes so the family can be happier.

hoyahoyasaxa

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 09:29:26 AM »
J-Dawg,

The first thing I would suggest to you is working your way through each of the posts on the Mr. Money Mustache blog from beginning to end.  First, it gives enormously helpful advice for changing the way you view spending money.  And second, it proves to be incredibly inspirational when you realize that there are things you can do to change your situation.

Let's start with the smaller amounts in your budget:

$8 - netflix
$35 - home phone & internet (no tv)
$105 - cell phones - just read the post about the $10 iPhone, anyone else tried that?
$150 - electricity (this is always less, but we budget $150 just in case)
$152 car insurance
$200 - we budget this for things like my hubs work clothes, haircuts, the very rare work lunch that's not from home, etc.
$289 car payment (minivan)

First, I think you're doing a great thing with forgoing TV.  One of the first things my wife and I did when we first started reading this blog was to kick out the cable - we save $100 a month from the evil Time Warner people, and we hardly even notice it's gone.  I see no problem with you guys spending $43 a month on Netflix and phone/internet. 

Now on to the cell phone.  I would highly suggest you switch to an MVNO plan.  Do your homework and check your current bill to see how many texts and minutes you use each month and find a plan that fits that.  For instance, when I made the switch two months ago, I was using about 200 minutes and 100 texts maximum each month - I moved to PagePlus Cellular with my iphone and now pay $12 a month, again saving about $90 a month.  I know that doesn't sound like a lot when you in fact have a $128k salary, but it's the accumulation of these little changes that will get you back in the game.  Between the cable and phone changes (which took all of a week to make), I'm saving almost $2300 a year.

$150 seems extremely high for electricity.  Is this just electric or is it both gas and electric?  If it's just electric, you need to make some changes because I pay Con Edison about $45 a month living in Queens.  Make sure to turn off lights when you're not using them, unplug appliances when you're not using them, etc.

$200 a month for etc.  For this, I think it's important to figure out what you're actually spending it on.  How many new "work clothes" is your husband buying?  Or does this include dry cleaning costs?  If so, investigate alternatives to taking suits to a dry cleaner - there are plenty of cheaper options out there.  With regards to the work lunches - he can't expense those to his company?  Again, for these occasional expenses, it's about working to find a cheaper route.  Can you cut your kids hair yourself?  MMM has a post about doing just this with electric clippers.

Now on to the car.  I strongly urge you to read this MMM post: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/19/how-to-come-out-way-ahead-when-buying-a-used-car/.  Most of the time, I would be telling you to get out of your current monthly payments IMMEDIATELY and buy a cheap, reliable USED minivan.  That is still my advice, but I think one of the big issues in your budget is that despite your $128k salary, you don't even have a one month emergency fund and that's a big problem.  If your husband gets injured, has a medical emergency or loses his job, you don't have much to cover you.  And more to the point about the car - you don't have enough to buy a used $4k or $5k car in cash.  Others should feel free to chime in here with suggestions, but you absolutely need to get out from the dreaded "car payment."

Now on to the big ticket items:

$1887 - rent
$1696 - tuition for 2 in pre-k/kindergarten
$1197 - student loans (3 loans - just paid one off early!)
$1000 - groceries including toiletries, diapers, etc, gas/subway

Let's make sure we know what we're dealing with here.  One of the keys to achieving financial independence according to this blog is finding a way to save at least half of your take home pay each month.  Right now, 80% of your (rather sizable) take home pay is going to these four things - rent, tuition, loans and groceries.  These four things need to be addressed.

I'm going to start with the groceries, because that's really the only thing I have any experience with.  Not seeing exactly what you're spending your money on here makes it difficult to give you specific advice on how to cut back (also, I see that you put gas and subway in this category too when those should be in a separate transportation category).  But there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't be able to cut this in half.  First, with regards to diapers, I will refer you to MMM's post on raising kids affordably and includes information about going cloth: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/05/26/what-is-the-real-cost-of-raising-children/.  Now, with regards to food, I want you to take a month or two and really understand what you're spending this food money on.  Do you go out to eat at the local cafe, do you stop at McDonalds a few times a month for happy meals, are you buying frozen stouffer's meals at the grocery store?  If so, I'd strongly urge you to stop for financial and health reasons.  Here are two quick ways to cut the costs of your grocery bill AND eat healthy: #1: Join your local CSA and buy a vegetable share.  My wife and I belong to ours and we only need a half share (and even then it's almost more than we can eat each week).  For this, we pay $400 for six months of vegetables ($66 a month).  Years ago, we purchased a chest freezer and started doing a half cow share as well.  For this, we pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 a month (collectively eat about 3 pounds a week at $4.50 a pound).  Now, for a family of six, these costs will obviously increase and you might want to also occasionally buy a fish or a whole chicken at your local farmer's market.  Still, your costs for feeding a family of 6 will be dramatically reduced from $1000 a month and I strongly urge you to start knocking away at this.

Student loans at $1200 a month:  Student loans are what they are and I think most people who owe them will tell you that taking them on was a huge mistake.  As we speak, I'm in the midst of a career change and can't tell you how many people have suggested I go back to school for this or that but I simply won't do it because you can't build your wealth when you're bleeding from the Sally Mae wound each month.  The simple advice here is to pay these loans off as soon as possible to keep the interest from hitting you too hard.  But to do that, you need to start saving in other areas first.  Others who have more hands on experience with having student loans can add on to this advice.

Kids tuition at $1700 a month and rent at $1900 a month: Again, we need to be realistic about this - you are spending about one-quarter of your $128k salary on pre-school and kindergarten tuition for two of your kids.  Each person has their own unique situation and nobody can tell you the right thing to do for your own kids - only you can do that.  But you need to be honest here and realize that it's going to be very hard to grow your wealth when you are spending 40% of your take home pay on student loans and private school tuition.  Does that mean that you should be sending your kids to the local Harlem public school?  Of course, not - I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that nobody wants to be sending their kids to a public school in Harlem.  But this may be where the moving discussion needs to come in.  Normally I'd say stop paying rent, buy a home instead and start paying equity into your house, but you're nowhere close to having a down payment.  But it does reason that you may be better off finding a better school district close to family and sending your kids to a decent public school.  Or else, perhaps this is where the home school discussion comes in, in which case you'll have your hands full each day but you'll basically just pay for supplies and books for your kids and probably save more than $1500 a month (and more than that when you factor in education for your other two kids).

So, that's where I think you are.  I concur with others on this thread that it's obviously good to be in a place where you can earn a good income.  But it's not good at all if you're not gaining anything from that income.  Let's be clear- you are doing incredibly well income-wise.  $128k is huge and well more than probably most people on this board pull in.  The difference is that the people who are living by the MMM principles are much wealthier than you are despite earning less.  Go to your local library and check out "The Millionaire Next Door" which examines how millionaires actually get to be millionaires and how "income" and "wealth" are very different things.  Your husband obviously has an in-demand skill set or he wouldn't be making such a good income.  I understand that Wall Street is the hub of the financial world and incomes there will be higher than incomes elsewhere.  But there are also investment banks all over the country, probably many closer to your family which I have to agree with others, is probably the best case scenario.  I think you need to institute some major changes because increased income is only good if it is adding to your wealth and your happiness.

Good luck, and keep posting - we all have questions about our own financial situations and this community is an enormous help.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 09:41:37 AM by hoyahoyasaxa »

DoubleDown

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2013, 10:45:40 AM »
However, I would caveat that you should do some analysis of your income potential in NYC vs. income potential elsewhere and compare to your cost of living in NYC vs. elsewhere.


Now on to the big ticket items:

$1887 - rent
$1696 - tuition for 2 in pre-k/kindergarten
$1197 - student loans (3 loans - just paid one off early!)
$1000 - groceries including toiletries, diapers, etc, gas/subway



These are both great bits of advice that get to the heart of the financial matter at least (emotional parts deserve their own attention). It is really easy to pursue a path that we think makes sense, but if we open our minds to different ways of living or opportunities, we can find that we've been pursuing a path that doesn't make sense at all. You already cited the classic example: working full time only to hand over your entire paycheck to daycare, which likely makes sense for no one.

I really would do that same analysis with your overall living situation. Play with all kinds of different scenarios: moving to different places, considering other jobs, eliminating big ticket items like preschool, etc. See what expenses you could just drastically reduce or eliminate by moving, relative to whatever income you could get elsewhere. You might not sacrifice anything, and could likely even increase your overall quality of life and keep even more of your take-home pay. It sounds at least theoretically possible that you could move back to Va and enjoy a better quality of life while netting even more take-home pay, but only by doing the analysis will you know.

No matter what path you choose, you've got to tackle those big ticket items to at least get a handle on the financial side of things. Another obvious example is that you could move to a much better, bigger place nearby with great schools, pay double in rent/mortgage, and be able to eliminate private preschool/kindergarten. Your net gain/loss in this scenario would be about zero, but your quality of living might go up tons. If you move to a place where it doesn't cost double to get that better lifestyle, you've come out ahead.

Best wishes to you in whatever path you take!

Sparky

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2013, 11:28:08 AM »
Your cost in insurance, is it pretty normal for NYC or ? It seems rather high to me at $152 bucks a month for minivan with a married couple driving it. You may want to look into that. Is it possible to put (road) insurance on it only for when your actually driving it (say weekends)?

madgeylou

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2013, 12:29:38 PM »
my experience tells me that 128K in NYC is like 70K anywhere else. could your husband get a 70K job in banking in like pittsburgh or kansas city or wherever you are from? you'd probably come out ahead financially and quality-of-life-wise, and there are montessori schools in most cities.

obviously this isn't the kind of thing you can just change right now, but there's got to be other options. if you're gonna sell your soul to work in NYC, sell it for a quarter mill, not 128K ...


xtrfuel

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2013, 12:32:29 PM »
Fellow NYC resident living in Queens. 
I doubt you would find rent that's much cheaper than 1900 for 2BRs in Queens but you can definitely find areas that have better schools.  Take a look at Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, they have LIRR service and express trains to the city and have very good school districts.  Bayside also has very good schools and you can find 2BR's in a similar price point.  The tradeoff might be a longer commute but I don't believe it will be significantly more than his current commute from Wall St to Harlem.

c

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2013, 06:06:51 PM »
J-Dawg you sound miserable! I had a really hard time, for similar reasons, when I moved to NYC. I gave up a great job, family and friends when I moved here. I couldn't work while I was waiting for my visa so I felt really isolated and frustrated. It tainted the whole experience and, to be honest, it took ages to recover from and I don't think I've enjoyed living here nearly as much as I would have if I'd done it on my terms to begin with.

I don't have kids and I didn't grow up in the US, but I don't get the whole pre-K/K thing. I'm not sure what children that age are taught at "school" that they can't get from parents at home, especially stay at home parents. $1600 per month is a massive amount of money. I earn the same as your husband, so I know how much time goes in to earning that amount of money. Also, as much as you hate the school commute, your kids have to do it too. Again, I don't have kids, but it seems like a lot of stress for everyone for relatively little benefit. Wouldn't 40 minutes twice a day be better spent running around the park?

It seems like your space constraints will be more of an issue if/when you home school. I was speaking to my father today and telling him how fed up I am with Winter as I have a very small apartment (500 sq ft). I bought my space for a few reasons, one of them was that it has a garden, but I can't use it when it's this cold, so I'm really starting to feel the walls closing in right now.

There are many places you could think about moving to that will give you more space and help at least one of you with your commute, for example Jersey City is an easy commute to Chelsea, it has a great community in terms of artists, restaurants, families etc (I briefly considered moving there so did a fair amount of research, I also briefly considered Harlem).

From your post it sounds like you're making a lot of sacrifices to live in the city, but not really getting any of the benefits. Do you have any friends here? The NYC-ers should organize another meet up, I'm long over due.






savingtofreedom

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2013, 07:07:35 PM »
J-Dawg,

I have lots of banker friends in Charlotte - banking mecca of the south - at least it used to be - as well as banking friends in Atlanta.  My guess they are making about what your husband is making.  Would you consider moving down South - much cheaper cost of living.  You should really look into it. 

I grew up an hour outside of NYC and shared a room with my brother.  It's not the end of the world!!! Although my parents had the same issue with downstairs neighbors that did not like us running around.  When they had enough they would hit a broom against their ceiling.

If your husband could get another job I would really consider moving.   I feel that if you hate living in NYC it is not worth staying up there for such a high cost of living.

sadie562

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2013, 08:37:38 AM »
It sounds like you've got to get out of there!  Fast!  You seem unhappy and you've done everything to make it work.

In terms of your hubby's salary- I'm not a banker myself, but I was job hunting 2 years ago in NYC as well as other cities in the U.S.  I found that a job in NYC (or Boston) typically paid only 10% more than the same job elsewhere.   I have a close friend who was transferred from her company's New Jersey office to the Manhattan office, and she only recieved a 10% cost-of-living increase (she does something to do with finance and international markets).    So if you work my tiny bits of anecdotal evidence in reverse, maybe your husband won't take as big of a salary hit as you're expecting?    Also, I'm sure you've already thought of this but does your husband's company have other locations that he could transfer to?  It would be extremely difficult for HR to justify a huge salary cut if he's in the same role.   
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 08:42:38 AM by sadie562 »

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2013, 01:27:39 PM »
Hi - I live in NYC in Brooklyn.

We could probably have a long talk about how to save money living in NYC - for example, much of Brooklyn is closer to the financial district than Harlem - but I'm not sure that's the point.

The essential problem is - you're not happy here. Sure, the financial stress adds considerably - but you and your husband have to deal with that unhappiness first. Nothing we can talk about here about how to make it "work" financially is going to make that go away. Do you see enough reasons to give it a go here, or should you make another plan?

decon50

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2013, 04:17:15 PM »
former NY'er here, i lived in the east village and queens.  i also lived a few years in Jersey City (for non ny'ers it is the first subway stop on the jersey side) and i would highly recommend you check it out.  In particular the Paulus Hook and Hamilton Park neighborhoods and also the areas surrounding the Grove St and Exchange Place PATH stops.  The PATH is 10 minutes to WTC, 25 minutes to midtown.  The rents will not be much higher than harlem and the apartments on average will have more square footage so more bang for your buck.  on top of that, i think the vibe is a tad more relaxed than manhattan, lots of safe walkable neighborhoods and parks, shops, restaurants, etc.


thrifted

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2013, 09:32:47 AM »
it sounds like the sacrifices are outweighing the benefits and its time to find a place where you'll be happier. 

but where would that be?  i'm curious to find out how your take home, commute, and tuition would change.  please post if you get a chance to look into that.  as many have said here, these are your big ticket items that you would hopefully be cutting in the right places to make the move worthwhile.

i hope things get better sooner rather than later.

Bigote

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Re: Mustachian in NYC?
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2013, 02:22:03 AM »
I've lived here in NYC for about 20 years.  I've always thought that what makes it worthwhile to live in a high cost area is access to jobs that pay vast sums of money.  Thus, if you stay frugal, you can get to FI at an even earlier age. 

If you live here without having one of those jobs, then its essentially an expensive lifestyle choice, IMO, though some people manage to live cheaply despite it all.   

I'm a bit curious what role in the industry your husband has - 128k for a job in banking seems like an entry level position.  Is there light at the end of the tunnel on the income side? 

Regarding locations there are towns in NJ with direct commutes into the financial district (in other words, without going to Penn Station first) that have good public schools.  Summit is the obvious example but there are others that are a bit less pricey.  Its worth having a look if you do intend to stay in the area.  (it wouldn't be 30 minutes, but it would be under an hour door to door)