The Difficulties Of Saving Money While Living In One Of The Most Expensive Cities In The World

We’re all here trying to make a living.

It’s tough.

Especially if you’re a 20-something living your life in New York City.

Some of you may be working two jobs. A side gig. Hustling all the time.

(Speaking of hustling, click on my links so that I get a kickback from Amazon when you purchase a product using my affiliate link!)

Some of you may have a cushy 9-5 job.

Or some of you may have a kick-ass creative job that lets you go anywhere and do anything at any time.

But we’re all thinking the same thing: Our Future.

I talked to a friend of mine recently — we’ll get to her later — and she was worried that she wouldn’t have enough money to move out over to San Francisco by the end of the summer.

Mind you, San Francisco ain’t cheap.

She’s working a full-time job and she’s looking for something on the side to supplement her income.

She’s been looking at babysitting on the weekends, bartending, serving, assistant positions…

No one has gotten back to her yet, so she’s been getting antsy.

Her goal? Save up at least $4,000 by September.

And I started thinking, I need a weekend job.

But here’s the tradeoff.

When you spend your weekends working, that means you don’t have time for yourself, or your passions.

You’re sacrificing time to free up time in the future. At least, that’s the theory.

I enjoy taking my camera out on weekends to shoot. I set up shoots with models on weekends because I hardly ever have time for a photoshoot on weekdays.

If I somehow land a temporary weekend gig, that means I wouldn’t have time to build up my portfolio and meet new people.

On the other hand, if I get a weekend gig, that means I can save up and upgrade my gear.

(I know some of you might be thinking, I can start charging money for these shoots, but I’m not there yet!)

Besides, a weekend job could be a good opportunity to learn new skills.

Here’s how I’ve been able to survive.

  1. When I first moved back home, I took up an unpaid internship with an advertising company as an intern copywriter. It gave me an excuse to be in the city and attend networking events, where I ultimately landed a freelance writing gig with a tech blog (which was used to generate leads for a commercial real estate company). That led me to work with an angel investor who wanted me to write copy for his website and for his weekly emails.
  2. I attended a lot of free meetups (usually technology-related) and ate free pizza. They would also have free beer at the events. Pizza and schmoozing. Sometimes, the more “high-tier” events would have a buffet. That was nice.
  3. I landed an hourly full-time position at Thought Catalog and still worked my freelance tech blog writing gig to help me pay rent and survive.
  4. Eventually I secured a salaried position and quit my freelancing gigs.
  5. I started to move up the financial ladder.

Now, let me break down my budget.

Roughly 50% of my monthly income goes straight to rent. Isn’t that ridiculous?

As for the other 50%, I’ve tried very hard to cut down on eating out. (Somewhat successful!) But not going out to eat means…not hanging out with friends. You don’t realize how many group activities revolve around food until you cut down on it.

I send $500 into my savings account every month — used to be $100, but I decided it was time to really bump it up.

So that leaves utilities and my bi-weekly therapy sessions.

And I’m left with close to nothing at the end of the month.

I recently found out how to manually contribute money to my IRA account at Schwab, so that’s one thing I’m considering doing — which means less money for me to do something that I want to do.

If I could somehow free up more money from rent, I think I’d be more comfortable. That means downsizing and moving in with roommates.

A model once said to me, “You’re living the life, having your own place.”

Grass is always greener, right?


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