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Being financially independent is hard enough as it is, without the possibility of living in New York. Forget the student lifestyle of drinking all night and having a lie-in until midday. It takes hard work and financial discipline to survive the NYC life.

We all dream of it; the bottomless brunches near Central Park, shopping debt-free on 5th Avenue, living in an apartment that’s LITERALLY the exact same as Monica’s from Friends.

New York is heavily idealised as one of the greatest cities in the world, but it’s hard to deny how magical it can be. Ice-skating at Rockefeller centre at Christmas, essentially recreating Home Alone 2, hitting the iconic bars and gliding past skyscrapers and Broadway.

It permanently feels like you’re on a movie set, the city that never sleeps embodies movement and energetic culture. It’s impossible not to love it, but is it possible to afford it?

Insider recently rated New York eight on the list of the world’s most expensive cities to live in. It was the only American city to make the top ten, and once you break down the costs such as travel, food and rent, it’s not hard to see why it made the list.

We spoke to one of our New Yorker contacts who spent one year living the New York lifestyle to get the 411. You wanna see the receipts?

Rent

Rents have increased at double the rate of incomes in the last seven years alone, according to StreetEasy, which means that you need to make six figures to live in many of the city's most elite neighbourhoods. Yikes.

An average Irish student living in NYC could be paying amounts which range between $700 and $1500 a month on rent, as well as utilities. This would of course depend on location, size, how many housemates you share with and facilities like Wi-Fi and laundry.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Our lucky wanderlust gal spent $900 on rent per month, a good deal seeing as it included utilities and the internet, as well as a washer and a dryer inside.

“I shared with three others, and only had one bathroom, and it was in a pretty dilapidated building in Bushwick with a not so helpful landlord.”

Secret deals in NYC in terms of rent are essentially non-existent. Most people agree that seeing a unicorn is probably more statistically likely. Or a Friends reunion.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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One major extra cost comes in terms of furnishing an empty space, as most apartments in the city will come unfurnished.

Buying second-hand items can be a huge help, and finding things on the street, but both of these options of course have their limitations.

For example, I got my mattress in Berkeley from the street outside our fraternity house, which most people did, and got a very rude awakening when our entire room was visited by bed bugs.

If you think California rent is better than New York, you’ve got another thing coming.

Food and Drink

First thing’s first, you HAVE to limit eating out and going for expensive drinks in glamorous bars. Many New Yorkers are blasé about dropping $10 on coffee and a mediocre muffin.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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We’d all love that lifestyle, but you have to prioritise. Pre-packed lunches is the way to go, and cooking at home.

“A cocktail in a bar would set you back about $14, and in a trendy rooftop bar you could easily spend $20 on a drink. Eating in a restaurant could set you back about $35 for a meal if you included a drink, sales tax and tip."

"This is the worst thing about price of food and drinks in NYC! You think the price will be less, but a 20% service charge adds on a hefty chunk to your bill.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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NYC also has a city tax, so your paycheck won’t have much spending power. Supermarket food in New York is also highly expensive, so even if you want to cook from home, finding lower-cost ingredients can be tricky at best.

My J1 was essentially a three month binge on fries, $4 pizza slices and the occasional scrambled egg on toast if I could afford it. Eating healthily is even harder, considering fast food and ramen are the only semi-affordable meals.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“Places like Trader Joe's were good for lower cost own-brand items and for whole food/grain type things, but fruit and vegetables generally were always expensive. Meat and fish were also very pricey, there was definitely a good incentive to turn vegetarian.”

I’m personally astounded that I escaped contracting scurvy on my J1 to San Francisco, I barely saw fruit or vegetables the entire time. Spending under $10 on one meal became a challenge that was seen as the Mount Everest of nutritional budgeting.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Try starting an Excel spreadsheet for all of your expenses, so you can budget in advance. Prepare as many meals as you can to prevent buying expensive snacks in stores, and avoid buying too many perishable food items that you would throw away if it went uneaten.

Wasting perfectly good food will become a mortal sin to you after a few weeks of living the NYC life, trust us.

Nights Out

“If you pre-drink in advance, then you don't have to spend too much on a night-out. Liquor in shops is actually quite cheap. The subway runs all night so you can get around cheaply, and otherwise a shared Uber wouldn't be too expensive."

"Some clubs charge entry and then have expensive drinks. I don't smoke but cigarettes were also a massive cost.”

Keep the receipts from any bar you go to, and it will be come alarmingly obvious that purchasing drinks the entire night most definitely adds up.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Irish have perfected pre-drinking culture, so don’t let yourself slip too much on your night out by buying $16 cocktails every ten minutes, or you’ll be in for a rude awakening when you check your bank balance.

For a couple of free beers, one of Brooklyn’s best craft distilleries (New York Distilling Co.) opens its doors to the public for free tours and tastings on weekends from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m, don’t miss your chance.

Travel

“This was one of the most expensive aspects of living in New York. Flights in and out of the city were always pricey. There is no Ryanair equivalent of budget flights unfortunately."

The Amtrak train service is notoriously expensive. Without advance booking (and even then), it can be $100 for a measly two hour journey… good God.

Buses are the cheapest option for the city, but the reliability and quality leave a lot to be desired, as you might imagine. The buses are often incredibly late, over-booked or cancelled.

The public transport system (MTA) costs you $121 per month for unlimited use, which isn’t bad compared to Dublin, and can be used on buses and subways. However, any of the longer commuter trains are much more expensive

If you’re thinking of parking in the city, be warned that the cost of this is extortionate, as are the prices for renting a car in NYC.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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People would often go to neighbouring states of New Jersey or Connecticut to get cars, rather than face the pain of using their hard-earned cash on New York prices.

Activities

Hidden costs and fees are what make so much of New York that bit more expensive than Europe and other places.

Laundromats charge extremely high prices purely because many apartments in the city don’t have laundry facilities, so they take full advantage of this. Hand-washing some of your clothes can aid this process.

When it comes to activities, there are ways of finding cheaper alternatives. The amazing city has a vast array of things to do; the buzz and excitement of the place is captivating.

The tourism industry in NYC is always booming, so charging huge fees for activities such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller entre, boat rides in Central Park and more can be expensive beyond belief.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Staten Island Ferry is free though, so take advantage of that.

Are you desperate to see the Picassos in the Museum of Modern Art, but don’t want to hand over the $25 admission fee?

The museum offers free admission every Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 pm, and you can also visit the sculpture garden for free every morning from 9:30 to 10 am.

Chelsea’s unreal free art galleries are mostly located between W. 14th Street and W. 29th Street around 10th and 11th Avenues.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s fee is waived on Tuesdays, which means you have the ideal escape for the hustle and bustle of Manhattan life.

Finding activities for free is hugely common in parks, try bringing a picnic to Central Park, embarking on a free yoga session in Bryant Park or grabbing street food (the hot dogs are mouth-watering) and chilling on the lush grass.

Central Park Conservatory offers free tours as well.

The Federal Bank of New York’s Gold Vault has free tours every afternoon. Built in the 1920s and containing over 6,500 tonnes of gold, this little-known treasure can teach you some fascinating financial secrets of the city.

Try stargazing on the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

Neighbourhood residents saved the location from demolition, and the High Line opened in 2009 as a hybrid space where visitors can experience nature, art, and design for free.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Watch outdoor movies at HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival and Syfy Movies with a View at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Grab a seat and bring some snacks, it’s one of the best free activities New York has to offer. Soak up the skyline, it’s one of a kind.

Grand Central Terminal is also a tourist favourite, the 102-year-old train station is still in massive use but it embodies NYC grandeur. The outdoor part of the 9/11 memorial is also free to visit.

So there you have it, if you budget like your life depends on it, you can survive the financial battle of New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It may not be exactly like Sex and the City, but who would ever believe that Carrie could afford a huge Manhattan apartment BY HERSELF on a columnist’s salary? It’s ridiculousness. We still want her life though.

Susan Ertz summed it up pretty well when she wrote that New York was "never built for the comfort and happiness of its citizens, but to astonish the world." Well, it succeeded.

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Rapper 21 Savage has opened up for the first time about his arrest by immigration authorities, saying that he "was definitely targeted."

The breakout star, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham Joseph, was arrested by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on February 4 2019 after they said he was a UK citizen "unlawfully present" in America.

The Rockstar rapper still faces deportation, but was released on bond on Tuesday after over a week in jail, and sat down with ABC's Good Morning America to get candid about the ordeal.

Reporter Linsey Davis spoke to the 26-year-old about the arrest, saying "‘I don’t know. I was just driving and I just saw guns and blue lights. And, then, I was in the back of a car. And I was gone."

He elaborated on ICE's actions; "They didn’t — they didn’t say nothing. They just said, “We got Savage”. It was definitely targeted." He also mentioned that there was a "helicopter" circling overhead during his arrest.

21 Savage's legal team said in a statement:

"For the past 9 long days, on behalf of She’yaa Bin Abraham Joseph, known to the world as 21 Savage, have been speaking with ICE to both clarify his legal standing, his eligibility for bond, and provide evidence of his extraordinary contributions to his community and society."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The statement concluded, "Today, 21 Savage was granted a release on bond. He won his freedom."

He was seen boarding a private jet with his mother Heather soon after he was let go from ICE custody. He jetted back to his home in Atlanta, Georgia, but now awaits a hearing regarding his possible deportation.

ICE's accusation that Abraham-Joseph is a British citizen came as a shock to the artist's fans, as he is clearly associated with Atlanta's music scene.

He previously has said the "21" in his name is a reference to a street gang in Decatur, and his songs often refer to his past in East Atlanta's Zone 6. ICE allege that he has overstayed his Visa by a decade.

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Rapper 21 Savage has finally been released on bond from ICE custody after the federal immigration agency detained him, alleging that he had overstayed his visa.

Officials said the rapper is a British citizen with a felony conviction, hence his arrest and attempt at deportation.

In a statement, lawyers Charles Kuck, Dina LaPolt and Alex Spiro said She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph (his given name), was released yesterday.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The lawyers said in the statement: “In the last 24 hours, in the wake of the Grammy Awards at which he was scheduled to attend and perform, we received notice that 21 Savage was granted an expedited hearing."

It continued; “Today, 21 Savage was granted a release on bond. He won his freedom. He will not forget this ordeal or any of the fathers, sons, family members, and faceless people he was locked up with or that remain unjustly incarcerated.”

He was taken into custody on February 3, and had a wave of celebrities and authority figures campaigning for his release ever since.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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His lawyers claim to have been speaking with ICE ever since his arrest to “clarify his actual legal standing, his eligibility for bond, and provide evidence of his extraordinary contributions to his community and society.”

They previously stated that the 26-year-old rapper was brought to the US when he was only seven-years-old, with his legal status expiring in 2006.

“21 Savage asked us to send a special message to his fans and supporters,” the statement also wrote. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“He says that while he wasn’t present at the Grammy Awards, he was there in spirit”.

Finally, it read that 21 Savage is "grateful for the support from around the world and is more than ever, ready to be with his loved ones and continue making music that brings people together.”

Feature image: Instagam/@21savage

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Chris Brown has gone certified CRAZY at Offset on Instagram over the ICE deportation of rapper 21 Savage.

21 Savage, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is being held by American Immigration and Customs Enforcement for overstaying his visa by 13 years. The rapper is actually a UK citizen, and faces deportation.

Since that news hit the headlines, a series of memes have surfaced across social media. Singer Demi Lovato was forced to delete Twitter after laughing at one meme, which caused uproar, and now Chris Brown and Offset have come to blows. 

Brown posted one meme to his Instagram which featured a mash-up of 21 Savage performing while UK rapped Big Shaq's voice is played over the clip instead.

Migos star and Cardi B's husband/baby daddy was less than impressed and commented, 'lame'.  He replied to the Loyal singer, 'Memes ain’t funny,' showing support for the UK performer.

It's safe to say that Chris didn't take this too well, telling Offset to 'fight me' in a huge rant; "F*CK YOU LIL BOY. BETTER WORRY ABOUT WHAT U GOT GOING AND FOCUS ON 'YOU'". Oh dear…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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He continued his all-caps explosive comment;

"All this cap on IG IS WHATS LAME.. YO ENERGY WONT LIKE THAT WHEN I CAME TO THE DRAKE SHOW IN LA. ‘IF U DONT GET YO A HIP A HOP A HIBBET A HIBBET TO THE HIP HIP HOP AND YA DONT STOP THE ROCKIN FACEASS OUT MY COMMENTS. ‘SENSITIVE ASS N****…CALL ME PERSONALLY."

It didn't end there…

"U WANT SOME CLOUT WHEN ALL YOU GOTTA DO IS PULL UP. No camera no flexing and all that!!!!! IF YOU A REAL MAN FIGHT ME. Oh and another thing, SUCK MY D*CK!!!!" If his mother heard that bad language, my God.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Offset took to his Instagram story to write; "Coke head don't want (smoke emoji". Chris then added to his story;

"If he don’t get his earth wind and fire pootytang space suits wearing cap ass lil boy da f*ck out my comments and off my d*ck." Their heated exchange follows the news that Beyoncé's hubby and rap God Jay-Z has stepped in to pay for legal help for 21 Savage's case.

21 Savage was supposedly from Atlanta, Georgia, had allegedly applied for a non-immigrant U-Visa in 2017, but the application is still pending. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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He claims he is being "intimidated into giving up his fight to remain in the United States". Legally, his team say he's not a flight risk as he has three children who are all US citizens and live in Atlanta.

Chris Brown found himself in his own spot of trouble recently after being accused of rape in Paris a few weeks ago, but he was released without charge.

We wonder if Cardi B will jump in to defend her husband?

Feature image; People

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American officials have now told tourists to plan ahead when they're organising trips to the States, as applications for the ESTA visa are about to get much harder.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a reminder to anyone planning a visit, warning potential visitors to; "Apply for ESTA no later than 72 hours before departing for the United States."

The ESTA visa grants you access to enter the USA, but now the process is totally changing, maybe not for the better…

It was, until recently, possible to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) until basically the last second, with real-time approvals achievable.

Now, you will need to apply for a visa at least 72 hours before you travel in order to gain the documentation in time. The old service is no longer available.

Without an ESTA visa, you cannot gain entry into the United States;

“Real-time approvals will no longer be available and arriving at the airport without a previously approved ESTA will likely result in being denied boarding.”

Just as the Christmas travel rush has started, holidaymakers and business travellers will have to change the way they visit the USA.

US authorities have always advised applicants to carry out the documentation at least three days in advance, most people could get their ESTA almost instantly.

The DHS also warn: “Upon arrival in the United States you will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer at a port of entry who may determine that you are inadmissible.”

The DHS recently added a query regarding the applicant's social media activities to the form, but it's optional.

“If an applicant does not answer the question or simply does not hold a social media account, the ESTA application can still be submitted without a negative interpretation or inference.” 

Stronger security measures are expected over Christmas and the New Year, when 41 million passengers are expected to travel through American checkpoints nationwide.

Take note, globetrotters. 

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Yesterday, a system failure prevented Visa card payments from working for many Irish customers. 

However, this morning things are back to normal. 

In an update, Visa said: 'Visa Europe’s payment system is now operating at full capacity.' 

'Visa account holders can now use Visa for any of their purchases and at ATMs, as they normally would.'

The company have maintained that the issue was a system failure, and not down to a 'malicious event.'

'Our goal is to ensure all Visa cards work reliably 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We fell well short of this goal today and we apologise to all of our partners, and most especially, to Visa cardholders,' read the update, according to The Irish Times.

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There is nothing sweeter than snagging the perfect dress in your fave high street store, but imagine if you got cash back on that item, straight from your bank?

AIB has officially teamed up with Visa to create the AIB Everyday Rewards scheme, which offers you cashback on items when shopping at certain stores.

Retailers like H&M, Easons, Topaz, Lidl and Boots are all on board with the scheme.

Lidl's deal is particularly good, as the grocery store is offering €10 cashback when customers spend a minimum of €35 in store using an AIB Visa debit or credit card until May 24. 

All you have to go is register your AIB Visa Debit or Credit cards with the scheme to receive personalised offers from AIB.

Then you can take advantage of the deals by shopping at the cited retailers, and you will get cashback into your account within the week. 

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Australia is set to abolish the 457 Temporary Work visa.

Aussie Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement earlier this morning, saying that the visas can no longer be “passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians”.

"We are an immigration nation but, the fact remains, Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs," he told the public in a video posted to Facebook. 

"So we’re abolishing the 457 visas, the visas that bring temporary foreign workers into our country."

The visas are used to bring skilled workers into the country, often with sponsorship from their employer.

As of 2015, 23,205 Irish citizens were in Australia on temporary visas, according to Newstalk.

The 457 will be replaced by a new form of temporary visa with tighter restrictions.

This includes reducing the list of occupations that qualify for the visa down from more than 200 jobs.

A higher English language level will also be among the new requirements.

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

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And breatheeee.

President-elect Donald Trump put the worry into students everywhere when he said he wanted to abolish the J1 Visa programme for Irish students, but you can now let out a huge sigh of relief as it has been extended for another three years.

Image result for j1 visa

Even though when Trump goes into office he has the power to repeal this decision, it is said to be welcomed by both the Irish and American governments.

HOWEVER, there's one major catch. If you're planning to go during your summer holidays, there could be major setbacks as the extension, so far, does not include the 90-day Visa.

It only relates to the 12-month Visa.

Image result for j1 visa

Donald has removed his views about the J1 on his website and his latest policy on immigration, so don't worry, there's still hope.

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If you're buying food today, or trying to top-up your Leap Card, or pay a bill you might run into a spot of trouble if you're a Bank Of Ireland customer. 

That's because the bank is experiencing 'technical difficulties,' and a lot of its cards simply aren't working. 

Twitter today has been flooded with frustrated folk who claim that they're unable to access funds via ATM withdrawals or electronic visa debit payments.

The institute said in a statement today: “We are aware some customers are experiencing technical difficulties using their visa debit cards. Please be assured we’re looking into it, and apologise for the inconvenience.”

The Irish Times reports that Bank Of Ireland’s stock was the worst hit by Brexit on the Irish stock market on Friday, having been down 25 per cent at one stage. Bank Of Ireland takes close-to a third of its earnings from the UK.

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Olivia Palermo has married her long-term boyfriend Johannes Huebl. The pair had apparently planned to marry in St Bart’s, which is where Johannes popped the question. The wedding was not due to take place until autumn, so why the change of heart?

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