Gallon of milk
FL: $3.49 on sale at Publix
NY: $3.59 regular CVS price
8 oz block of cheese
FL: $2.00 Kraft, on sale at Publix
NY: $1.99 generic, regular grocery store price
Goya can of black beans
FL: $0.89 regular price at Publix (by memory)
NY: $0.89 regular grocery store price
Health insurance – family coverage
FL: under $200
NY: $1,200.00 or $1,000.00 COBRA
Housing expenses, incl. electricity
FL: ~$1000/mo for 1200 sq ft house
NY: $1450/mo for 250-300 sq ft studio apt in Manhattan (electricity included in rent)
Groceries are definitely more expensive in general for non-sale items, but we found a favorite grocery store and the staples we buy don’t seem to be much more than we were paying in Florida!
But, in keeping our living expenses under $3000, we don’t have much to work with after paying $1000/mo for COBRA health coverage from the last job and $1450 of rent. Yikes.
More keys to the cheapo life that we hope will continue to work:
1. We don’t have to eat meat with every meal. Cool Dad usually has on-sale deli meat sandwiches for lunch, while I eat a LOT of beans and rice with cheese (I was blessed with an undying love for this meal, which may help us stay here!). Cool Baby has the best and most varied diet–he gets the best stuff and we eat his leftovers. I sometimes shake my finger at CD if he tries to eat some of it before it has been turned down by CB. Sad?
2. We shop at the produce stands on nearby streets–super cheap. Especially if you happen to be there as they are closing down for the day. A shining example–eight large bananas for a dollar! And I didn’t spend any gas money to get there, just a one minute walk from our place.
3. Walk. Everywhere. Cool Dad has been getting his unlimited metro card covered so far, but I don’t have one. So I try to avoid using public transportation ($2 each way) more than twice a week. I like walking, but it may get tough in the dead of winter!
4. Did I mention beans and rice?
Some areas for improvement:
1. Sometimes we can’t resist the 2-3 dollar slices of pizza, which may add up quickly.
2. We need to find a better solution for health insurance. This one item is killing our budget!
3. The occasional thrift shop or clearance rack clothing purchase. Ah, New Yorkers sure do have some cool cast-off clothing.
So there are some numbers for the curious, as promised. Thank you for giving me more motivation to analyze this stuff! Any advice?