For a few years in a row now, I’ve posted a “Bah humbug” piece emphasizing that I won’t be buying Christmas presents for people and I don’t expect to receive any. This year’s “Bah Humbug” is brought to you by the added financial stress of living in New York City.
Frankly, I wasn’t prepared for just how much more day-to-day living would cost in the Big Apple.
Sure, there’s rent to consider. I’m paying 20% more in rent than I receive for rent on my condo in Charlotte, so that ought to give you a baseline right there.
Utilities were one area I expected to be much higher, but the fact that my building supplies cold water, hot water, and heat makes them not bad… At least, in cold temperatures. When summer comes around and I’m buying window air conditioners and paying that increase electricity bill, then we’ll have a better year-round view.
I think groceries are one major area that snuck up on me. Individual items aren’t hugely more expensive — a box of cereal will cost a dollar more at the NYC neighborhood grocery store than at the Target in Charlotte, for instance — but that adds up over an entire grocery store run and over an entire month.
And of course, the added temptation of seemingly limitless new restaurants to explore in my new neighborhood alone lurks like a financial landmine, waiting to sabotage my budget.
I did a quick Google search for cost of living in Queens County, New York compared to Charlotte NC, and estimates run from 20% higher to 70% higher. I’m sure that living in Jackson Heights helps keep the edge off the NYC expense, and living in Uptown Charlotte almost certainly cost me more than in the suburbs, but still… It’s definitely a palpable increase in cost of living, regardless.
The upshot of all of this? I’m on an even smaller gift-giving budget than usual… Frankly my “budget” for it is zero. So, as per usual, if you’re looking for some holiday cheer, come over and have a cocktail and we’ll share some good ol’ fashioned quality time together.