pinching pennies / by laurel

This article in the New York Times is a bit gag-worthy, but I thought I would share it anyway. It discusses 20-somethings in New York on starting-salary budgets and their ways of scraping by while still living the lifestyle they want to live.

I definitely see aspects of myself in the article (sharing tiny apartments, sneaking flasks rather than paying premium for alcohol, not dying ones' hair/getting cheaper haircuts/not getting mani's or pedi's), yet the stimulus behind the cost-cutting made me question exactly what the motivation is; is it to live a certain type of lifestyle? Or simply that those are things I don't particularly care about and therefore scrimping and saving comes naturally? 

Other 20-somethings resorted to more extreme ways of scraping by: grapefruit diets, returning designer swag for store credit, or selling eggs for profit (yeah, not chicken eggs). 

One of the guys quoted in the article stated, “I’ll be rich and famous and this is going to be hilarious.”

Living in L.A., there is a certain quality of life that one grows accustomed to, and the cost of living is significantly higher here than, say, where I grew up in Oregon. Sky-high rent and gas prices well ahead of the national average are a small (or actually rather large) price to pay to live in a city which affords more opportunities for success than other smaller, cheaper ones. But at what point do the annual review strategizing and the scrimping and the medical studies for profit and the extra hours of freelance pay off? Do they ever?

And in a city like Los Angeles, where you're more likely to pay something than nothing, how does one negotiate a thing like salary without the financial mores of our age completely taking over?

Chew on that for awhile. I have a rent check to write.