January 2013 Monthly Spending for Urban Living

January 2013 Monthly Spending for Urban Living


This is the current personal budget I use for single-income living in a 1br apartment in Brooklyn, NY.

Over Budget

  • Entertainment: This was a conscious decision since I did so well every where else at the end of the month. I was under, then treated myself to a used Garmin Forerunner watch to better track my running progress.
  • Groceries: I did not incorporate the vegetable delivery service into the budget and had already done a good shopping trip before signing up.

Under Budget

  • Travel
  • Clothes
  • Gifts
  • Health/Bty
  • Lanudry
  • Cats
  • House
  • Booze
  • Restaurants: All “eating out” falls under this category. Buying lunch during workdays is the biggest cause of overspending here, and I did very little of that this month

Savings & Debt Repayment Plans

By making these set monthly payments, I will have my credit card paid off by the end of the year and hit my emergency savings goal. Having a plan and keeping to the monthly schedule reduces the stress of debt repayment and savings building.

Income & Rent Changes

Thanks to a “health and wellness” program at my company, my monthly health insurance cost decreased by 50%. This helped counter the Social Security tax increase.

For the first time in history, I renewed a lease! With this brought a 2% rent increase, as mandated by the NYC rules of rent stabilization. This now brings my rent to 42% of my monthly income. I am not sure what’s worse, that this is true or that it no longer depresses me.

Opinions Needed

Please leave me your opinions if I should continue monthly spending posts for the rest of 2013. I want to write these if they are helpful to nyc potentials, residents, or curious others. I go through this analysis on my own at the end of the month so this break-down is for you. If it is helpful to compare your spending or get an idea of nyc costs, please let me know in the comments below or via twitter so I will keep writing these.


12 Replies to “January 2013 Monthly Spending for Urban Living”

  1. I like reading it purely from a curious standpoint. It’s very surprising to me, looking at your budget, how little you spend. Besides rent (which is obviously a lot more than rent in East TN), you don’t really spend much more than I do on things like groceries (I budget $120) and restaurants (spent over $300 last month – ouch). I spent a little less than you on electricity when I lived alone, but I was ridiculously about never running the heat. Interesting to compare!

    1. It certainly helps that I don’t pay for heat! I also don’t have to pay for water or sewage, which I did at my apartment in NJ. The secret to the rest of the low spending: I hang out with my cats most the time. #excitinglifeinnyc

  2. I really love that you break stuff down like this. As a gal looking to move to NYC, its very helpful to see the black and white information from a like-minded person.

    Thank you!

    1. Thanks! I am glad to hear this is helpful to others. I’ve found it is very difficult to get a good answer on costs & spending in nyc, mainly because the cost of everything is fluctuating constantly. Even my own monthly finances are not wholly representative of all areas of the city but it works well as a base-line. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any specific nyc questions!

  3. I always enjoy budget breakdown, more because I am curious than anything. 42% of salary into rent is huge, but on the plus side you can afford to live alone!

    1. Thanks, I will continue doing them as I understand the curiosity factor as well. When choosing to live alone I made the conscious decision to sacrifice being able to put a lot into my savings for the advantage of sanity. It’s working out so far.

  4. I moved to Brooklyn last summer and am making virtually the same income as you. My new years resolution was to work on my finances and better track my actual spending, so I find your breakdowns very helpful.

    1. Thank you! This is the first time I have actually divulged my income on here and although I am still nervous about it, I am very glad to hear that it is helpful. Sometimes there is a misconception that you need $100K/year to live here, which is silly. Thanks again for the feedback, I will continue do these monthly.

  5. I like reading your summaries.. makes me want to start budgeting… I have been lazy about it and definitely overspend where not needed. do you have a post on how to start bugeting? thank you, your blog is great!

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