In addition to sky-high rents and cost of living, a budget-conscious life in New York City is made even more challenging by the fact that you are immersed in the ultimate shopping experience ALL the time. It’s like living in the world’s trendiest mall!
It’s more tempting than the suburbs.
And every season offers different temptations to splurge.
More tempting than the suburbs
In the suburbs, you leave your house and get in your car to get somewhere. Whereas, in New York City, between my apartment and the train, I have to walk past close to 100 business, every day, both ways. That’s 200 more opportunities for me to casually drop in and spend some money, whether I need something or not.
And that’s just to and from the train, forget the thousands of shops I walk by during my day- going to work, running errands, going for a run, etc.
I’m not saying the temptation isn’t there to make a spontaneous stop when you’re driving around town elsewhere, but something about having to park and get out of your car creates just enough of a deterrent. Plus the number of (or at least the density of) businesses is typically far fewer, and no offense, a lot less interesting.
The Kmart next to the subway is never what gets me; it’s the incredible smells wafting out of the macaroon shop on my street and the ever-changing displays in the boutiques between my apartment and my running route. You’re not just whizzing past another strip mall! The consumer landscape of New York City is immersive and practically inescapable.
Temptation through the seasons
In the summer… forget about it! Watching people bask in the sun and enjoy happy hour as the restaurants take over the sidewalks is the absolute ultimate temptation. Talk about fear of missing out! Since I switched from taking the train to biking around town, I’ve spotted so many shops and restaurants I’ve never seen before, that I actually feel guilty for not sampling them all.
While this bitterly cold winter has helped me avoid the sidewalk happy hours, it has tried me with new spending challenges. Between the snow and the wind, I can hardly get from place to place without needing to stop in somewhere for a quick blast of heat. And once I get inside, well I might as well get a coffee, or a cookie, or some warm mittens.
The temptations are endless. But would I have it any other way? I don’t know, New York is one helluva town. I love having world class cuisine from all over the world within a five minute walk of my apartment. I love being able to run my errands at 9 p.m. without worrying about things being closed. I love that telling people you’re a vegetarian doesn’t make them look at you funny and then offer you fish. So while it makes for some unique challenges when it comes to my spending, New York City really is my kind of town.
What’s your ultimate spending temptation? Have you had a similar experience with New York City?