New York City is expensive but he and his wife make it work.

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Andrew from Living Rich Cheaply lives in Queens. He says despite what the Manhattanites say, Queens and the outer boroughs are very much a part of New York.

He and his wife and son recently moved from a 600-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment, to an 850-square-foot co-op. His rent went from $1,600 a month to $2,000 – but that includes property taxes.

“I like our neighborhood because it has good schools, it’s convenient, and public transportation is easily accessible,” says Andrew. “It has a bit of a suburban feel for being in the city.”

They also have another child now.

Luckily, his wife found a better paying job after having their first child. That helped, but he says, “after having kids, we definitely don’t go out to restaurants or the movies as often so we cut down on some of that spending.”

As for spending, Andrew never was much of a spendthrift. “My parents are immigrants and they didn’t spend money frivolously,” recalls Andrew. “I used to wonder why we couldn’t have cable TV, and why I couldn’t get cool sneakers like my friends, but now that I can afford those things, I don’t find much value in them.”

His parents are from Hong Kong. They also live in the city. And they didn’t just teach Andrew about frugality, they also taught him about hard-work,  and saving and investing his money.

“I went to a state university for undergrad (Long Island) and went to St. John’s University for Law School (Queens),” says Andrew. “I went part-time in the evening while working full-time during the day. Working full-time while going to school saved me from racking up as much student loan debt as some of my classmates.”

He works for the government. It’s not a high-profile job and his pay doesn’t compare to most private practice lawyers. But there are perks: “I have very good health insurance and a great pension.” Sounds like a smart move — and a practical one, too.

He and his wife don’t mind living with less. They embrace it. “We have iPhones but they’re older ones which we bought refurbished,” says Andrew. “We also use Cricket which is on the AT&T network, but much cheaper.  Our TV is also a decade old, much like most of our furniture.”

But maybe I’m wrong – Andrew, his wife and kids really don’t live on less. They have a rich life.

“We enjoy low-cost activities, going to the park with the kids, taking walks, and going to the zoo, aquarium and museums,” notes Andrew. “Sometimes they offer free days.” His wife’s family also live in the city, as do their friends.

“It’s nice having family to help out with the kids and for them to be able to spend time together,” says Andrew.

Sounds like money and time well spent. And by the way, if you’re wondering about his logo, his mantra is: “Have your cake and eat it too.”

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About the Author

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski has been writing about personal finance for over 15 years covering debt recovery, fraud, and credit topics. He has worked on several personal finance books and guides that help consumers navigate the US credit system. When he’s away from the keyboard he enjoys craft beer and fishing – and once enjoyed a cold Sweet Water IPA after catching a sailfish.

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