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Rules of life: how much money you need to live in New York

Lydia Kalinina comes from Kharkov, where she worked as a journalist. Now the girl lives in New York and shares в своем блоге how to start life from scratch and how much money you need to live in New York. So, given: New York and the newcomer, with a minimum amount of money and huge eyes of horror. Go!

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina

I'll make a reservation right away: this is MY personal experience, and I describe exactly the necessary minimum that I once needed to live. Therefore, comments from the locals from the series “what nonsense” are, of course, acceptable, but meaningless - everyone has their own criteria, which is necessary (for example, I, even in the most difficult months, could not give up manicure and pedicure - it's better to eat ).

First you have to take it for granted: it's expensive here. Very. Until the moment you start earning in dollars, it is colossally expensive. Then - you get used to it, prices gradually cease to seem cosmic, and $ 5 for a latte is, of course, a rip-off, but what to do - that's life. Well, if the details are interesting, then, please, you can calculate how much money is needed to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.


If the housing problem spoiled the Muscovites of the 30s, then it simply destroys modern New Yorkers. The most painful topic and the most important item of expenditure. The recognition of most of the immigrant acquaintances (and mine too) - only after you have put off the rent, you can breathe out and start living in peace. Until next month.

Of course, “she would like to live in Manhattan,” but then she would have to pay over a thousand dollars for a small room in an apartment with neighbors. Most of our immigrants live in Brooklyn. Here you can find a room for almost half the price (600-700 on average). All payments are often included in its price, so there is nothing more to worry about.

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina

If you are really tight with money, you can share your room with a neighbor - then housing costs can be no more than $ 350. Well, if you want to live separately, be prepared to pay at least 1200 for a studio (I indicate Brooklyn prices everywhere). It's like our one-room apartment, sometimes combined with a kitchen, sometimes not. In general, in the United States, the number of rooms in an apartment is counted by the number of bedrooms. That is, if you are offered to look one bedroom, so it will be an apartment with one bedroom and a living room - our "kopeck piece". Such an apartment in Brooklyn can be rented for at least 1400, but, of course, this is much more comfortable than a studio.

However, it should be remembered that just when renting an apartment, most often bills are not included in the price. If gas and water are usually pennies, then light is not cheap at all. In winter, for a regular studio, I got about $ 45 every month, and this despite the fact that there was almost never anyone at home. Plus about fifty for the Internet and TV, if you have one. So instead of 1400 it already turns out more than one and a half thousand. And this is the minimum.

Of course, there are always options to save money. If you want to live separately, but you don't have much money, you can take a closer look at basements. Yes, you heard right - these are basements. There are often either completely absent windows, or they are there, but at the asphalt level. For the rest, they are often not inferior to ordinary apartments. Basement can be found for $ 1000 if desired, with invoices already included.

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina

True, there is a nuance: officially, this is a non-residential premises. This means that no one will write out a so-called lease for you - a lease agreement. This is another pitfall of American rental housing. Liz in your name is the road to the world of legal people. If you do not prove that you have a permanent residence address, then you will hardly be able to open a bank account, obtain a license, etc. Apartments can be rented from private owners, or in high-rise buildings - buildings, as they are called here. Private traders can turn a blind eye to many things, but if you want to live in a big house, most likely you will have to prove to the management that you are not a loaf, but a respected person.

Most often, they are asked to show credit history and annual income. Of course, for those who have just arrived, this is unrealistic. They need to either look for a guarantor (a person who is already firmly on his feet and signs the paper - they say, I guarantee that the tenant will pay on time and not be rowdy), or trust cunning realtors who can forge documents for a fee. Well, either look for housing in private houses.

But if you think that you have 1500 and you can already rent an apartment, then you are wrong. The hosts usually charge here for the first and last months. Well, if you contact a realtor, he will take for his services an amount equal to the monthly rent. So it turns out that 1500 will turn into 4500. Approximately this minimum amount should be in your hands if you decide to find a separate apartment in Brooklyn (in Manhattan - multiply by about two).

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina


What makes New York so beautiful is that you absolutely don't need a car here. And I'm not kidding - a lot of well-to-do Manhattan residents don't have cars. If you need to go out of town, you can rent a car without any problems. And paying a lot of insurance on a monthly basis, and even constantly looking for parking is too difficult. On large streets, you will not be able to park for free most often during the daytime - there are parking meters. Prices vary, from 25 cents for 15 minutes. You can stand on narrow streets without paying, but try to find a place there! Every evening we have a kind of quest - find a parking lot near your home. And if it is located one or two blocks away, believe me, it's luck.

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina

Public transportation in all five areas of the city (Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island) is subject to the same system.

There are unified cards in buses and metro. One ride costs 2,75. Moreover, if you need to travel by bus, and then by metro, or vice versa, then travel in the second transport will be free. People who travel frequently usually buy monthly ($ 121) or weekly ($ 32) unlimited passes. I also. Having tried it once, it's hard to refuse.

The metro and some buses run around the clock. Of course, trains run much less often at night, and often, if you need to make several transfers, the journey takes more than one hour (I myself have fallen asleep more than once in the carriages and on benches on the platform, you wake up - and your stop or your train is bye-bye). If you want to get there faster in the dark, catch a taxi! But, by the way, it is easy to “catch” him only in the city. Here is this classic scheme from the cinema - raised his hand, and the famous yellow cab stopped - works exclusively on the streets of Manhattan.

In other boroughs, instead of yellow taxis, you can stop a green one on the street - but their density is one square kilometer disproportionately less than in Manhattan. Therefore, it is faster to call a taxi by phone (here it is called "car service") or online. Now more and more we use Uber or Lift, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, you can get to them by spending about 40 dollars (but we are still trying not to glam, especially the metro runs all night).

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina


New York is, on the one hand, a paradise for gourmets, because there is an extraordinary variety of everything: all the cuisines of the world, prices - from pizza for 1 dollar to infinity. Want to be “like at home” - please, Russian-Ukrainian-Belarusian shops and restaurants in the range.

If you want variety, you can try the cuisine of a new country at least every day (for example, I got hooked here on Thai, and even learned how to cook real curry). Well, if you love simple American food - those same creepy burgers, fries, chicken wings in batter and hot dogs - this is generally at every step.

True, in many local catering establishments, people “do not soar” - plastic tables, plastic dishes with no “plastic” prices at all. It's simple - why strain? Have you come to eat or admire the dishes? To eat Ok - here you have a big burger, a mountain of potatoes, immediately piled on a salad, already smeared with sauce. What's the difference, in the stomach because everything is mixed, right?

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina

But I was distracted, I'm sorry. This is painful. So, the prices. Want to eat cheap - you to the Chinese.

For some 5-7 dollars, you get a full plate of rice or noodles with meat or seafood. Often this is all so satisfying that it is impossible to finish - but this is not necessary! Here, no one hesitates to ask to pack uneaten food. to go. However, most likely, the waiters themselves will offer it to you.

These are the portions in a Chinese restaurant - the norm.

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina

But this - if we talk about food outside. As for products in supermarkets, the main thing for you is to decide whether you believe in “organic”.

Your expenses directly depend on it. Two dozen eggs can lie side by side (they are sold not in dozens, but in dozens) - they look absolutely identical. But one for 1 dollar, and the second - for 3. Just because “organic” is written on them, which means that the chickens that carried them down, fed on food without any GMO and chemistry there. The eggs, by the way, will probably not be different.

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina

Believe it or not in the organic products - your business. I do not really believe. Although something organic is still delicious. For example, chicken. If you have not joined the ranks of organic lovers, you can spend no more than 100 dollars a week for food.


Here with this here is a complete order. The system of discounts and sales in America works with a bang, unlike in our country. If it is written on jeans 70% offbelieve me, it is. I really love to buy something at a discount, so if there is no cherished inscription clearance or saleI don't even look at these things.

Sales here arrange often in honor of the holidays. True, my nerves can't stand it: crowds of people, things lying around in the hall, confused sizes, lines that go beyond the horizon. I tried it once, and thanks, don't.

I mile seasonal sales. For example, in the spring I bought two coats of a Japanese firm uniclo (many know their world-famous weightless jackets) for $ 35 each, despite the fact that they originally cost around 200. If you are too lazy to catch seasonal discounts in brand stores - you can search for things in stock stores. They are full here, for example, Marshalls or TJMax.

They sell clothes, cosmetics, and household utensils. And there is a network Burlington - this is a shopping world on several floors. In such stores both Chinese consumer goods and branded items are sold, but with great discounts. For example, sneakers Skechers I bought there for $ 15, a dress Calvin Klein - for 20.

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina

And, of course, many, very many, dress from head to toe, without leaving home. I don’t like to buy clothes on the Internet, because I like the process of shopping and fitting, and on the net it’s like a non-alcoholic beer or a rubber woman. And the return, if the size did not fit, really annoys me. Although there is absolutely no problem here - just fill out the form and throw the package at the return point. And the money back credited to your account. No one will argue about the fact that you have a “box hesitated” or “traces of socks” are left on the sneakers. I know people who bought themselves bicycles, rode for a while, and then handed over without any problems back.

Or here is a story from the life of my friends. A child at school was told to come in a black suit, and why would a boy in 12 be a black suit if he was not going to a wedding or a funeral? That's right, do not need! The output is as simple as two-two: buy a suit, go to the prom and hand it over the next day. Another friend of mine orders himself at once, for example, three sizes of one jacket - in order to precisely try on everything and choose which one will sit best. The rest - rents. In general, of course, the Internet is the future, and everything, except for clothes, I have been ordering there for a long time. Even toilet paper. And cheaper, and right under the door will bring.

Photo: Lidiya Kalinina

Calculate how much money a person needs for clothes is unrealistic. Someone walks in jeans for several years, and someone needs to update their wardrobe every week. But if you are not obsessed with brands and are willing to spend time searching, believe me, you can easily buy jeans, a blouse or sneakers, spending no more than a fifth of your daily earnings.

So you can estimate: if you eat $ 100 a week and, say, buy one thing once a week for $ 25-30, it turns out that you can spend about $ 500 a month on food and clothing (I will make a reservation: you can do less, of course, if you save even more).

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