Cost of Freedom: $1150 a Month, Utilities Included

April 18, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Posted in Life and Living | 4 Comments
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I always imagined that after college I would get an editorial job and an apartment in the city.  It’s part of the reason I left New York for college — I always knew I’d be back.  I graduated college early and started looking for a job quickly.  There was no way I was going to come back home after living on my own for three years.  But when I got a great offer for an entry-level communications job in the suburbs just ten minutes away from my parents’ place, I knew I had to take it.  The only problem was that the job was with a non-profit, meaning there was no way I could afford to move out right away.

It wasn’t until I started my second job that I could afford to move out, and I wanted to do it quick.  I was moving alone, with the added hurdle of bringing a big dog with me, which meant that it was going to cost me once I found a place – if I even could find a place.  I ended up going through a realtor, looked at one apartment, and was moving in within a week.

I live in a third floor walkup attic apartment just outside of New York City.  I can walk to the train in less than two minutes.  I have a yard, and lots of space.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some serious downfalls.  Parking is a game when dealing with alternate side rules and a highly populated area, my electrical outlet in my bathroom only works when the lights are off (imagine trying to blow dry your hair in the dark), when it’s too humid, the light in the kitchen won’t go on, the hot water is sporadic depending on when other residents are showering, and in the summertime it gets absurdly hot.  I’ve learned to live with these quirks, mainly because I didn’t expect to live here this long.    I thought two years tops.  I never even painted.  I’ve been here for over three years and will be here at least through the summer, though it really seems like you never know. It’s not rare to find me on Craigslist looking at apartments.

My living situation is very Friends-esque.  My boyfriend lives a few blocks away, another good friend lives around the corner, and another set of close friends lives about 5 minutes away driving.  We also live blocks away from some pretty chill bars, so going out is easy.

You always deal with a lot of bullshit when you live on your own, and I hope I never have to boomerang home again.  I know a lot of people my age are either back at home or still at home.  Some people may say you throw your money away when you rent, but for me, I’d say it’s worth the money to keep my sanity.


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  1. that is so funny your outlet only works when the lights are off! so my bathroom outlet only works when the lights are on… however it drives me nuts! when i first moved in I plugged in my electric toothbrush and shut the lights off. The next morning the toothbrush was dead however I thought it was broken (it was old)… so I threw it out went out and bought a new one. Plugged it in, and the next morning dead! I realized it wasn’t the tooth brush it was the outlet! I have my apartment quirks too. The list goes on. $1850, utilities not included, but at least I have my sanity.

  2. yea, it’s funny how you find these things out! You never know until you move in!

  3. three cheers for sanity! i so relate to your struggles, being just a few years ahead and having gone through so much of what you talk about. i hate to tell you though, after 30, it just continues! not that that is any reason not to frame your experience through words. keep it up, mama.

  4. Even though my rent is my biggest bill, I never really feel bad about writing out that check… when I send it off I think:

    – This money allowed me to watch a marathon of true hollyood stories in my underwear while eating nachos…and no one yelled at me for it

    – This money let me take a shower in peace and do my weird quirky habits in the privacy of my own home

    – This money gives me the ability to trust everything I bought in my fridge, will STILL be there when I get home from work.

    – This money gave me shelter from the elements, provided my heat, housed my animals AND housed all my cute outfits in my closet that I sometimes like to play dress up with in my own clothes (big deal, don’t judge me, its MY House.)

    I’ve lived on my own since I was 19…and though hard, and nail biting sometimes around the 31st…the price to pay for freedom is well… priceles…or 10% over market value, whatever.

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