I quit a sweet job to tackle food waste, brew teas, and start Nomad. Rather than seek funding, we've opted to spend our own dollars building the business, owning our successes and failures completely. Leaving a salaried job to start a business on a shoestring budget fueled by hustle has led to serious lifestyle adjustments. As a result, Jon and I live on tight budgets in one of the most expensive cities in the world. After rent and utilities, I have $200 to spend on living. That’s groceries, entertainment, transportation, clothes, everything. Breaking down needs and wants has made me examine how I spend my money. Here's a little insight into how I've been doing it.
I love to eat. When I had regular income, food was my largest expense. I ate out two to three nights a week. I regularly bought coffee or a snack at a cafe. When buying groceries, I bought what I wanted, rather than what I believe would provide ample nutrition at a reasonable price point. Now, I spend about $35 per week on food. I look for the best deal on bulk goods that I can. I stick to a mostly vegetarian diet. Beans, rice, lentils, oats, and other grains are my best friends. The occasional tin of sardines or anchovies provides a sustainable, cost effective, satisfying treat.
Finding inexpensive ways to have fun in New York is surprisingly easy. Rather than playing in a Zog Sports league, I look for pickup soccer on Meetup.com. Prospect Park, good friends, and a couple of beers is a questionably legal way to spend a Saturday afternoon. There’s free live music if you look for it. New York has a handful of amazing donation based museums (shoutout to the Brooklyn Museum). Creativity is key for this category.
I rarely buy it. It’s nice to have a fresh new shirt, but I know that I have more than enough.
Gone are the days of the unlimited subway card. At $2.75, a ride on the train is more significant than I ever realized. Luckily, New York isn’t too big. I can ride my bike or walk anywhere. If I really don’t think it’s reasonable to do either of those, I’ll take the subway.
Living in a well located apartment in a good neighborhood in Brooklyn isn’t cheap. Life is about tradeoffs though. I could save hundreds of dollars a month, or reallocate those funds. This cost is well worth it for me, though.
All in all, I'm learning a lot about the value of a dollar. And despite the spartan adjustments, my first paycheck will be spent getting a few beers from Brouwerij Lane and drinking them over a Clean Slate in Saltie.