Apartment living, in an exciting city like New York, can be an ecologically smart alternative to buying or building a house. People always say, “New York is too expensive,” but the costs and benefits might not always be clear to non-city dwellers. In fact, I think apartment living in NYC is a cost-effective way to live small in America!
How can living in one of the largest cities in the world be a great place to live small? Apartments in New York are small, especially compared to the huge houses being built in the suburbs and countryside. A typical, non-highrise, one-bedroom apartment might be 800 Sq Ft with a single bathroom, and most apartments are not a single-family or duplex, they are usually part of a building where you are living with tens, hundreds or thousands of other people. The cost for a typical one-bedroom apartment starts around $1650 a month, depending on neighborhood, and goes up to as much as you can spend! Ok, I know this sounds bad, but stay with me a little longer, it gets better.
Living small means more than having a small place to live: it’s an amazing opportunity to live with less, walk not drive and spend more time connecting with yourself and other people. Each apartment can be a fine-tuned world, a place to practice meditation, do yoga, eat simple vegetarian food (or mostly), read books and most importantly, a place to leave and get out into the city, jump into the float! Many people spend too much time just lounging around in their house, watching shows and using the computer — a small apartment will make you want to get out and enjoy the wonders of the city, visit a park, go to a show, volunteer at the neighborhood school — don’t waste your life!
As part of this series, I am going to share my Nashville, Tennessee budget for a family of three, and compare it to my current monthly budget for New York City. I think many of you will be shocked at the cost comparisons, especially in that New York, if lived wisely, can cost very similar or less than Nashville! There are costs like rent which, at first glance, seem to make the comparison a foolhardy exercise, but other mitigating factors help balance the costs. People forget that you don’t need a car to function in New York, in fact, it’s a hindrance. Also, costs like healthcare and food (not restaurants) are very comparable.
I intend to show that the “we need a house in the country or suburbs” is a flawed idea, one that keeps getting pushed on unsuspecting generations, that ends up costing a lot of money, encourages waste and adds to the problems of climate change. Follow me on twitter @chrisschaub for updates, I’ll be posting at least weekly.