Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sticker Shock and How I'm Trying to Overcome It

Everyone knows that the cost of living in New York City is among the highest in the country.  In fact, lists New York as the most expensive city in the United States, citing high rent as the biggest reason for the top spot.  However, for those who are relocating to the city, it doesn't take long to realize that it's not just the rent that is extraordinarily pricey in this city.

I remember my first trip to the grocery store after moving to the city.  I couldn't believe how much they wanted me to pay for a can of soup.  That was supposed to be my cheap meal!  And upon receiving our first power bill, we thought that surely something must be wrong.  But when we compared bills from our old apartments we realized that nothing was wrong, the price of electricity was simply four times higher than in South Carolina.  That's right, compare 5 cents per KWH to 22 cents per KWH and you will immediately feel our pain.

I did a bit of research on just how different the costs of living were from South Carolina to NYC and I stumbled upon this fun little Cost of Living Calculator on CNN's website.  It allows you to select two cities and view comparable salaries as well as grocery, housing, utilities, transportation, and healthcare costs.  Unfortunately, they do not provide info for Brooklyn so I had to use Queens (I figured it would be a closer comparable than Manhattan.)  The results were pretty astonishing...

Groceries: 45% more
Housing: 175% more
Utilities: 46% more
Transportation: 21% more
Healthcare: 11% more

Anyway, the point of me saying all of this is not to depress you.  It's to introduce some things I will be posting about in this blog.  New York is crazy expensive, yes, but there are things that you can do to save money here too.  I promise to post many opportunities to save money in the city including free events, special discounts, and the art of couponing.

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