Monday, January 08, 2007

On The Financial Benefits Of Living Somewhere Unhip

I love my neighborhood. Love it. I love the salsa music playing cacophanously from three storefronts at once. I love that there isn't a major retail chain in sight. I love saying hi to the kids jumping rope in the lobby when I come home. I love that it behaves like a real neighborhood, with people greeting each other on the street and chatting on stoops and the checkout ladies at the supermarket getting to recognize me. (I also hate, passionately, the two payday loan storefronts that confront me when I get out of the subway. I'll write about that another time.)

Last night, I discovered another reason to love my neighborhood. I stopped in at a bodega to buy a late-night snack on my way home from my evening's social engagements. A standard deli sandwich, meat and cheese on a roll, cost me $2.50. Two dollars and fifty cents. In the neighborhood of my office or my parents' apartment, the same sandwich would cost $6, minimum. A 20-ounce bottle of Diet Coke cost $1.25, the old-school, before-I-left-New-York-for-college price (the same bottle costs me $1.65 to $1.80 in the neighborhood in which I work). This is also the bodega featuring the Bodega Owner Who Is In Love With Me, so $3.75 for sandwich and soda becomes $3.75 for sandwich and soda and two sour apple Blow Pops (a nostalgic favorite) and one "Where have you been?" I have to wonder how much of the difference in price goes to cover the difference in rent, and how much of it is just markup.

I budget $40 every two weeks for buying lunches at work. If I bought my lunch in the morning at this bodega and refrigerated it at work, I could buy lunch every day on the same amount of money that generally buys four lunches in Midtown. I'd have to get out of my apartment 5 minutes earlier (difficult; I am not a morning person), but the savings would be substantial.

Three cheers for "pre-gentrification" living.


Millionaire Artist said...

I know what you mean! There are actually are some great advantages to living where others are reluctant to do so... and often reluctant for stupid reasons. Our little nook is very similar to yours and I love it!!

Tired of being broke said...

As soon as gentrification comes in its all over. As soon as we got the Starbucks and the big chain stores everything went through the roof.

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