Living expenses in NYC - tough choice


spylog10

I have heard many times that NYC is an extremely expensive city in the world. Currently I live in a city which pro rata to income of residents is two times more expensive than NYC. Friends of mine pursuing thier degrees at CLS and NYU are claiming that for a 9 month LLM program in NYC you would need around USD7K a month (!!!) for living expenses to live a decent life of an international LLM student (realistic view). Is this statement close to reality? I mean estimation of living expenses is highly subjective exercise, but what would be a median amount required for decent life in NYC? By decent life I mean buying good textbooks, going out with friends to hang out on the weekend (going to museums, movies, chill out with some drinks), not living in a microsize dirty old apartment and eating ok food. Overall, this year is indeed quite important and personally I am a bit reluctant to accept the idea of living 9 months under miserable living conditions being unable to afford lots of things just because some NYC law schools sound better for career. In addition, who cares in the current NYC legal market where you graduated from, unless you are HLS/ YLS graduate with highest honors, top 5% of the class and was a law review editor.

I have heard many times that NYC is an extremely expensive city in the world. Currently I live in a city which pro rata to income of residents is two times more expensive than NYC. Friends of mine pursuing thier degrees at CLS and NYU are claiming that for a 9 month LLM program in NYC you would need around USD7K a month (!!!) for living expenses to live a decent life of an international LLM student (realistic view). Is this statement close to reality? I mean estimation of living expenses is highly subjective exercise, but what would be a median amount required for decent life in NYC? By decent life I mean buying good textbooks, going out with friends to hang out on the weekend (going to museums, movies, chill out with some drinks), not living in a microsize dirty old apartment and eating ok food. Overall, this year is indeed quite important and personally I am a bit reluctant to accept the idea of living 9 months under miserable living conditions being unable to afford lots of things just because some NYC law schools sound better for career. In addition, who cares in the current NYC legal market where you graduated from, unless you are HLS/ YLS graduate with highest honors, top 5% of the class and was a law review editor.
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c.ronaldo

according to a friend of mine, who is studying at NYU, the statement is true. other cities are cheaper.

according to a friend of mine, who is studying at NYU, the statement is true. other cities are cheaper.
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petersta

yes, NYC is truely very expensive...

yes, NYC is truely very expensive...
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Bla Bla

70K per month???!!!!???!!! That's outrageous! I really don't think it's true. People managed to do their LLMs in NY on a budget of less than 2K per month.

70K per month???!!!!???!!! That's outrageous! I really don't think it's true. People managed to do their LLMs in NY on a budget of less than 2K per month.
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spylog10

I agree that it is indeed outrageous, but that is what current LLM students pursuing degrees in NYC are allegeing based on their own experience. Moreover, as far as I know while spending 7,000 USD a month for living expenses they live quite a modest life.

I agree that it is indeed outrageous, but that is what current LLM students pursuing degrees in NYC are allegeing based on their own experience. Moreover, as far as I know while spending 7,000 USD a month for living expenses they live quite a modest life.
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petersta

@slowbutsure
It's 7k per month!!!!!! not 70k!!!! LOL....
7k per month is realistic for NYC. especially housing is a huge problem...

@slowbutsure
It's 7k per month!!!!!! not 70k!!!! LOL....
7k per month is realistic for NYC. especially housing is a huge problem...
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c.ronaldo

good food is also expensive. you don't want to eat junk food all the time.... :(

good food is also expensive. you don't want to eat junk food all the time.... :(
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Bla Bla

Oops...my typo...I understood it as 7K though....still....I think that's a LOT. And the difference between 2K.and 7K is kinda obvious.

Oops...my typo...I understood it as 7K though....still....I think that's a LOT. And the difference between 2K.and 7K is kinda obvious.
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c.ronaldo

2k is not realistic.. were would you live? you need a house... shelter alone is about 2k per month--if you want something with style, it's a litte bit more expensive. and if you are in NY, then you need food, clothes, leisure time etc. all these things cost $$$$....

2k is not realistic.. were would you live? you need a house... shelter alone is about 2k per month--if you want something with style, it's a litte bit more expensive. and if you are in NY, then you need food, clothes, leisure time etc. all these things cost $$$$....
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Outlier

You can very well and very comfortably survive in NYC for $2k a month and enjoy very much everything that an international student should.
This is a true story of someones daughter who survived very well in NYC on less than $30,000 and managed to even save $5,000: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704363504575002970278299504.html

You can very well and very comfortably survive in NYC for $2k a month and enjoy very much everything that an international student should.
This is a true story of someones daughter who survived very well in NYC on less than $30,000 and managed to even save $5,000: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704363504575002970278299504.html
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spylog10

Thanks a lot for the article. Quite interesting but such kind of a life is really very tough and you have to be at least a US citizen to get around NYC very well and to know low cost places.

Thanks a lot for the article. Quite interesting but such kind of a life is really very tough and you have to be at least a US citizen to get around NYC very well and to know low cost places.
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petersta

that WSJ article is anecdotal evidence...

that WSJ article is anecdotal evidence...
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Outlier

@Spylog10, you can very well adapt to change your life to the circumstances even if you are not American. I actually think it is easier for you to live by cheap if you are not American than if you are.

@ petersta, you do realize there are people in NYC who live comfortably for less than $30k don't you? Not everyone is a high flying lawyer with a $180,000 starting salary.

@Spylog10, you can very well adapt to change your life to the circumstances even if you are not American. I actually think it is easier for you to live by cheap if you are not American than if you are.

@ petersta, you do realize there are people in NYC who live comfortably for less than $30k don't you? Not everyone is a high flying lawyer with a $180,000 starting salary.
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petersta

why do you apply for a university in NYC in the first place, if you cannot afford it? there are many cheaper universities in the US, which are very fine, too.

why do you apply for a university in NYC in the first place, if you cannot afford it? there are many cheaper universities in the US, which are very fine, too.
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spylog10

good point. though some applicants can potentially afford but reluctant to incur such expenses just because they do think that US LLM is way overpriced and/or they do not want to go in substansial debt and take loans, other people apply with a hope to receive scholarship or a nice loan from the school.

good point. though some applicants can potentially afford but reluctant to incur such expenses just because they do think that US LLM is way overpriced and/or they do not want to go in substansial debt and take loans, other people apply with a hope to receive scholarship or a nice loan from the school.
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michaelcor...

i'm in columbia, and let me see if i can estimate my monthly expenses:

housing -- I chose to stay in a studio, so that's $1,600 a month. if you do a shared apartment where you get a small room in a 3 bedroom apartment (shared kitchen, toilet, bath, dining room) i heard it's $1200 a month. note that this is campus housing. if you find housing by yourself, it can potentially be cheaper but that adds around $90 a month for commuting.

food -- for lunch i do the free lunch events in school. i would say that if i don't do that, i would spend around $20 a day for meals. if i do free lunches, i can spend just $10 a day. and this is all because i buy prepared food. if i wanted to save, i can buy raw food and cook, which would probably come up to $20 a week. surprising, i know.

i don't know how extravagant you want to be. i just had lunch in a 3 michelin star jean georges restaurant yesterday and it was prix fixe, i had a perfect piece of cod, a delicious roast chicken and warm chocolate lava cake with home made vanilla bean ice cream and it was $26, with drinks and tip it came up to $38. i am in the opera or ballet twice a month (more often if i can, but just no time) and that's just $20 in the met opera for the cheapest tickets, or $12 in the new york city ballet for student tickets. i don't go out drinking with friends (yeah i know, i'm strange) so that saves me a lot. i don't watch movies either. my mom is coming over so i got a free tv set through craigslist and i got cable for $35 a month, but i'm only doing that for two months, then i'm cuttiing off cable. why watch tv anyway you are in new york, lots of things to do for free (lots of museums are free with the columbia student ID0 and you're here to study anyway.

if i wanted to be more extravagant, i guess i would have coffee with classmates, meet more people and spend more by eatng in restaurants, maybe i'd go wild and get orchestra level sets in the met, watch broadway shows (which are much much more expensive than opera, up to $300 for orchestra seats in musicals, but i was able to get $140 for a seat to see daniel radcliffe in equus, but that was from a discount that's given to UN interns, without discount it was around $170). maybe i'd go on dates in expensive restaurants too. unfortunately (or fortunately?), that's not me. i'm really very quiet, really enjoy reading and studying (a bit too much), signed up for too many classes, do writing projects. so i guess because of my unique preferences, i end up saving. i know others are living more cheaply than me while others are spending like $30 a day on food. it all depends on your choices.

oh and for textbooks, if you can, get used textbooks. hardly anyone ever gets new textbooks.

so i would say i am spending around $2000 a month. this is not at all extravagant, but it's very comfortable.

(oh and i am articles editor in a law journal here in columbia. alas, still no job. not even an interview! but i'm not surprised, even JDs were getting just one interview. so sad, in 2007, the entire JD class was hired by firms wholesale, so firms had to "make do" with LLMs.)

i'm in columbia, and let me see if i can estimate my monthly expenses:

housing -- I chose to stay in a studio, so that's $1,600 a month. if you do a shared apartment where you get a small room in a 3 bedroom apartment (shared kitchen, toilet, bath, dining room) i heard it's $1200 a month. note that this is campus housing. if you find housing by yourself, it can potentially be cheaper but that adds around $90 a month for commuting.

food -- for lunch i do the free lunch events in school. i would say that if i don't do that, i would spend around $20 a day for meals. if i do free lunches, i can spend just $10 a day. and this is all because i buy prepared food. if i wanted to save, i can buy raw food and cook, which would probably come up to $20 a week. surprising, i know.

i don't know how extravagant you want to be. i just had lunch in a 3 michelin star jean georges restaurant yesterday and it was prix fixe, i had a perfect piece of cod, a delicious roast chicken and warm chocolate lava cake with home made vanilla bean ice cream and it was $26, with drinks and tip it came up to $38. i am in the opera or ballet twice a month (more often if i can, but just no time) and that's just $20 in the met opera for the cheapest tickets, or $12 in the new york city ballet for student tickets. i don't go out drinking with friends (yeah i know, i'm strange) so that saves me a lot. i don't watch movies either. my mom is coming over so i got a free tv set through craigslist and i got cable for $35 a month, but i'm only doing that for two months, then i'm cuttiing off cable. why watch tv anyway you are in new york, lots of things to do for free (lots of museums are free with the columbia student ID0 and you're here to study anyway.

if i wanted to be more extravagant, i guess i would have coffee with classmates, meet more people and spend more by eatng in restaurants, maybe i'd go wild and get orchestra level sets in the met, watch broadway shows (which are much much more expensive than opera, up to $300 for orchestra seats in musicals, but i was able to get $140 for a seat to see daniel radcliffe in equus, but that was from a discount that's given to UN interns, without discount it was around $170). maybe i'd go on dates in expensive restaurants too. unfortunately (or fortunately?), that's not me. i'm really very quiet, really enjoy reading and studying (a bit too much), signed up for too many classes, do writing projects. so i guess because of my unique preferences, i end up saving. i know others are living more cheaply than me while others are spending like $30 a day on food. it all depends on your choices.

oh and for textbooks, if you can, get used textbooks. hardly anyone ever gets new textbooks.

so i would say i am spending around $2000 a month. this is not at all extravagant, but it's very comfortable.

(oh and i am articles editor in a law journal here in columbia. alas, still no job. not even an interview! but i'm not surprised, even JDs were getting just one interview. so sad, in 2007, the entire JD class was hired by firms wholesale, so firms had to "make do" with LLMs.)
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spylog10

wow, thanks a lot for such a detailed description, though it does sound like a miracle, 2000 USD a month for NYC - that is indeed an impressive cost cutting.

wow, thanks a lot for such a detailed description, though it does sound like a miracle, 2000 USD a month for NYC - that is indeed an impressive cost cutting.
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Outlier

Impressive. Hang in there corleone, with such rectitude you will soon be doing well.

i'm in columbia, and let me see if i can estimate my monthly expenses:

housing -- I chose to stay in a studio, so that's $1,600 a month. if you do a shared apartment where you get a small room in a 3 bedroom apartment (shared kitchen, toilet, bath, dining room) i heard it's $1200 a month. note that this is campus housing. if you find housing by yourself, it can potentially be cheaper but that adds around $90 a month for commuting.

food -- for lunch i do the free lunch events in school. i would say that if i don't do that, i would spend around $20 a day for meals. if i do free lunches, i can spend just $10 a day. and this is all because i buy prepared food. if i wanted to save, i can buy raw food and cook, which would probably come up to $20 a week. surprising, i know.

i don't know how extravagant you want to be. i just had lunch in a 3 michelin star jean georges restaurant yesterday and it was prix fixe, i had a perfect piece of cod, a delicious roast chicken and warm chocolate lava cake with home made vanilla bean ice cream and it was $26, with drinks and tip it came up to $38. i am in the opera or ballet twice a month (more often if i can, but just no time) and that's just $20 in the met opera for the cheapest tickets, or $12 in the new york city ballet for student tickets. i don't go out drinking with friends (yeah i know, i'm strange) so that saves me a lot. i don't watch movies either. my mom is coming over so i got a free tv set through craigslist and i got cable for $35 a month, but i'm only doing that for two months, then i'm cuttiing off cable. why watch tv anyway you are in new york, lots of things to do for free (lots of museums are free with the columbia student ID0 and you're here to study anyway.

if i wanted to be more extravagant, i guess i would have coffee with classmates, meet more people and spend more by eatng in restaurants, maybe i'd go wild and get orchestra level sets in the met, watch broadway shows (which are much much more expensive than opera, up to $300 for orchestra seats in musicals, but i was able to get $140 for a seat to see daniel radcliffe in equus, but that was from a discount that's given to UN interns, without discount it was around $170). maybe i'd go on dates in expensive restaurants too. unfortunately (or fortunately?), that's not me. i'm really very quiet, really enjoy reading and studying (a bit too much), signed up for too many classes, do writing projects. so i guess because of my unique preferences, i end up saving. i know others are living more cheaply than me while others are spending like $30 a day on food. it all depends on your choices.

oh and for textbooks, if you can, get used textbooks. hardly anyone ever gets new textbooks.

so i would say i am spending around $2000 a month. this is not at all extravagant, but it's very comfortable.

(oh and i am articles editor in a law journal here in columbia. alas, still no job. not even an interview! but i'm not surprised, even JDs were getting just one interview. so sad, in 2007, the entire JD class was hired by firms wholesale, so firms had to "make do" with LLMs.)

Impressive. Hang in there corleone, with such rectitude you will soon be doing well.
<blockquote>i'm in columbia, and let me see if i can estimate my monthly expenses:

housing -- I chose to stay in a studio, so that's $1,600 a month. if you do a shared apartment where you get a small room in a 3 bedroom apartment (shared kitchen, toilet, bath, dining room) i heard it's $1200 a month. note that this is campus housing. if you find housing by yourself, it can potentially be cheaper but that adds around $90 a month for commuting.

food -- for lunch i do the free lunch events in school. i would say that if i don't do that, i would spend around $20 a day for meals. if i do free lunches, i can spend just $10 a day. and this is all because i buy prepared food. if i wanted to save, i can buy raw food and cook, which would probably come up to $20 a week. surprising, i know.

i don't know how extravagant you want to be. i just had lunch in a 3 michelin star jean georges restaurant yesterday and it was prix fixe, i had a perfect piece of cod, a delicious roast chicken and warm chocolate lava cake with home made vanilla bean ice cream and it was $26, with drinks and tip it came up to $38. i am in the opera or ballet twice a month (more often if i can, but just no time) and that's just $20 in the met opera for the cheapest tickets, or $12 in the new york city ballet for student tickets. i don't go out drinking with friends (yeah i know, i'm strange) so that saves me a lot. i don't watch movies either. my mom is coming over so i got a free tv set through craigslist and i got cable for $35 a month, but i'm only doing that for two months, then i'm cuttiing off cable. why watch tv anyway you are in new york, lots of things to do for free (lots of museums are free with the columbia student ID0 and you're here to study anyway.

if i wanted to be more extravagant, i guess i would have coffee with classmates, meet more people and spend more by eatng in restaurants, maybe i'd go wild and get orchestra level sets in the met, watch broadway shows (which are much much more expensive than opera, up to $300 for orchestra seats in musicals, but i was able to get $140 for a seat to see daniel radcliffe in equus, but that was from a discount that's given to UN interns, without discount it was around $170). maybe i'd go on dates in expensive restaurants too. unfortunately (or fortunately?), that's not me. i'm really very quiet, really enjoy reading and studying (a bit too much), signed up for too many classes, do writing projects. so i guess because of my unique preferences, i end up saving. i know others are living more cheaply than me while others are spending like $30 a day on food. it all depends on your choices.

oh and for textbooks, if you can, get used textbooks. hardly anyone ever gets new textbooks.

so i would say i am spending around $2000 a month. this is not at all extravagant, but it's very comfortable.

(oh and i am articles editor in a law journal here in columbia. alas, still no job. not even an interview! but i'm not surprised, even JDs were getting just one interview. so sad, in 2007, the entire JD class was hired by firms wholesale, so firms had to "make do" with LLMs.)</blockquote>
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Oldtimer

Two things to say here:
1. have you checked the estimated living expenses by the universities? Those should be taken as bare minimus and double if you plan to go living la vida loca.

2. if you go toColumbia or NYU the best is to go to the dorms, which is where most of your classmates will live any way, and where you will make a lot of friends. they have facilities for most budgets. Try yo get an appartment in NY at you own peril, as u will either have to pay dear or spend valuable time in endless commuting.

Two things to say here:
1. have you checked the estimated living expenses by the universities? Those should be taken as bare minimus and double if you plan to go living la vida loca.

2. if you go toColumbia or NYU the best is to go to the dorms, which is where most of your classmates will live any way, and where you will make a lot of friends. they have facilities for most budgets. Try yo get an appartment in NY at you own peril, as u will either have to pay dear or spend valuable time in endless commuting.
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spylog10

Thanks everyone for comments and sharing views! I guess I will try to cut housing costs and get around campus shared apartment. Personally, I cant imagine how is that possible that you have to spend 7000 USD to live a decent life of a student, seems like everyone who are not lawyers or investment bankers in NYC are just dying out of starvation. I mean Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world but you still can rent an apartment there for like 1,000 USD and be ok with 4,000 USD spending on living costs.

Thanks everyone for comments and sharing views! I guess I will try to cut housing costs and get around campus shared apartment. Personally, I cant imagine how is that possible that you have to spend 7000 USD to live a decent life of a student, seems like everyone who are not lawyers or investment bankers in NYC are just dying out of starvation. I mean Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world but you still can rent an apartment there for like 1,000 USD and be ok with 4,000 USD spending on living costs.
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