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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

38-Year-Old Roommate

I put a little hint out there on Saturday, and got some snarky feedback. Now I'd like all of you to weigh in here, but first let me drop a disclaimer or two:

I'm fully aware that being 38 and moving in with roommates isn't the coolest move of all-time. But things are done a little differently here in New York. Certainly if you're among my Ohio or Kentucky friends, the idea sounds absurd. Even some of you New Yorkers have thrown some insults my way in recent days.

But regardless of where you live, if you're my friend, you've probably heard me lament once or 100 times my financial situation over the years. Since I got out of college, I think I can only remember one brief stretch where I was happy on the money front. And it wasn't when I had a good, "respectable" job in news; it was when I was valet parking cars and juggling some freelance gigs from, say, around 1997-99.

Anyway, this roommate situation is far from permanent. It will save me $1,300 in rent and utilities each month. I think if I was trying to save $250 or $300, I could find another 1BR for myself at a better price in the same neighborhood, especially in the current rental market. There really are some good deals out there right now.

But we're talking about thirteen hundred dollars every month. In one year, that's $15,000. And I'm the guy who this month, for the first time in his adult life, has just gotten out of debt. People come to New York and get in debt. I got out of it. And it's now time to start socking away the money, and doing so in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn is a fun place in which to do it.

So let me hear your comments please. Thanks.



At 2:12 PM EST, Blogger FitMolly said...

Congrats! This is a very smart financial move. Question: What will you do with the extra money? 401(k), IRA, etc.? Very smart!

At 2:15 PM EST, Blogger emily lang said...

more power to you. it can't be an easy decision to make, to give the ability to galavant about your apartment naked but in the end it'll pay off, literally. if 40 is the new 30, then you're only 28. :) you'll be laughing all the way to the bank at your friends barely treading water in the expensive nyc flats when you can afford to take a vacation or god forbid retire someday. i say cheers to embracing your 'frugal midwestern roots'. ha.

At 3:03 PM EST, Blogger Big Primpin' said...

M - I haven't figured it out just yet. I just spent $2,400 cash on a new lens the other day and will spend another $2,000 on credit in the next month on a new camera. But after that, maybe get home to Cleveland once more than usual this year to see mom but that's about it. I really want to save it.

E - Thanks for the kind words. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but yeah, retiring someday sounds like a good idea!

At 4:10 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I moved to 2 bedroom in Washington Heights with one roommate for three years and saved a ton on rent. Got out of debt so fast it was mind boggling. It was hard to make myself come back downtown for misc tomfoolery after dark, but I'm glad I did it. And I got into the habit of only using my debit card. Now I'm about $10K from putting a deposit down on my own apartment, something that NEVER would have happened if I'd lived alone in a trendy neighborhood.

At 4:23 PM EST, Anonymous Coach Chipletts said...

John, I think that is a good idea and it will keep you on the right path.
If you want to take your wrestling to the next level, you have to invest in some new singlets and ear protection.
I have some used ones you can use until then.

Coach Chipplets

At 3:29 AM EST, Blogger Arun said...

if the roommates seem to be tolerable and the apartment is comfortable and the hood is nice, then i say definitely consider it -- but remember that no amount of money saved can necessarily make up for a living situation that makes you miserable. just be prepared, because living with people can be difficult, especially if you haven't done it in a long while. also, have you considered 1BRs in cheaper neighborhoods? dude, i pay $1,200 in astoria for a small 1BR and i hear there are actually some good deals around here right now. in fact i myself am thinking of moving. having said all that, i think it's AWESOME that you have finally gotten out of debt (i'm still working at it... ugh) -- but that's what makes me ask, why now? i would think while you were IN debt, that's when you take a roomie, now that you're out of debt you could conceivably start SAVING without getting a roomie. BUT i totally do agree that $1,300 in savings a month is great. go with your gut i guess.

At 9:01 AM EST, Blogger Big Primpin' said...

Anon -- Good stuff. Thanks for sharing. This has turned into a good conversation at the workplace. After the initial flurry of sarcasm from colleagues, people have begun to share stories about friends who've done things like what you've done.

Arun - Thanks for your thorough note. Why I'm doing this now is simple: because it's available. I wasn't really looking; I just saw my friend's solicitation on Facebook, and I'm already in a mode where I want to make several drastic changes. And I had roommates until I was 30 and have lived with two girlfriends since, both in small quarters. If I survived those situations, I think I can handle most. While there are certainly many benefits about living alone, there are still some imperfections, especially for those who enjoy being around people.

At 11:16 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as your roommate isn't psychotic.

At 5:02 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats on getting out of debt, jpw. I know you've worked hard to do so.

you should definitely put all your extra money in stocks right now. I kid, of course, but you should invest some, cuz you're likely buying low.

dude, your Eden roots will never die, as evidenced by your non-intentional comedic reply of dropping $4400 on camera shit now that you're out of debt and 'saving money'!! I hope you get that money back with what you sell, otherwise that move seems questionable, especially amidst your otherwise strong financial moves of late.

and if you really want to save money, stop paying rent and buy something. rates are low, real estate will always be high in NYC, and renting is like throwing money out your window.

of course that would put you back in debt, but you could take kick ass pictures of your mortgage bills with your new lens!!

At 5:03 PM EST, Blogger dave said...


At 1:26 PM EST, Blogger Blaney said...

do it.

At 11:44 AM EST, Blogger brokedickdog said...

I think Coach Chipletts advise is the best so far. If his stuff dosesn't work, give me a call, I'm sure I have something that fits.

At 12:47 AM EDT, Anonymous ace said...

Do you need another $20 scholarship?


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