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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?


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.


“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.


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.


The office Kris Kindle is tough-going, particularly if you’re given someone you know very little about or you're brand new to the company.

Oh and we forgot to mention that most of our work places also has a money cap on pressies – so it’s just another hoop we have to jump through, in the hopes that don’t totally mortify anyone.

However, we have put together a fool-proof gift guide which will help you navigate through buying one of the hardest presents of the festive season.

1. Pyjamas 


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The Christmas cosy feels have arrived in Primark, and you cannot go wrong with these PJ boxed-sets.

They come in at a cool £12 or €13 each. 

2. Candles


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A good festive candle is always warmly welcomed in the office.

Whether your Secret Santa victim…I mean recipient chooses to bring it home or leave it in work, it is bound to come in handy when someone has fish for lunch.

And if they do bring it home, you know you've just won the scent game and they love it.

You can get gift sets that range anywhere between €7-€20, depending on your budget.

3. Hot Water Bottles

Image credit: Nickynackynoodesigns 

Give your co-worker a hot water bottle with a twist – get their name on it.

The present will be much more personal and if your office is an icebox, the present will definitely be used.

These are slightly more pricey but it's worth the extra as they're handmade, prices start from €23.51 at Nickynackynoodesigns Etsy shop.

4. Keep Cup


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Most of your office will drink coffee, so this is the ideal gift for the caffeine lovers.

It also does our planet a solid as they aren't using non-reuseable cups.

They have a budget to suit everyone and start from prices as low as €13.00/£11.00. 

If you're a UK hun, check them out here and if you're an Irish lass, all versions are here.

5. Stationary 

Image credit: Handmadebyswans

Anyone with a sense of humour will love this stationary heaven made by Handmadebyswans on Etsy. 

Although we work in offices, we tend to forget to buy ourselves the tools we need to get through the day, so your kris kindle will love this.

And the hilarious stationary won't cost you a fortune as this was a steal at €4.64. 

6. President Donald Trump Rubber Duck


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Yes, this rubber duck is actually a thing. You can get a Donald Trump Rubber Duck for £8.99. 

So bath time for your Secret Santa just got a lot more political.

This is a perfect mock present for anyone who dislikes the president or if you have any Americans boppin' around the office.

If your budget is a little bit bigger you can also throw in this: Where's Trump?: Find Donald Trump in his race to the White House. 

You can get the duck and the book £11.99.

7. Notebooks


If there are any Harry Potter fans, these notebooks will go down a charm (excuse the pun).

They are A5 notebooks so they're perfect for work and keeping track of the day.

They very reasonable as you can get the set of three magic notebooks for €11.76 from 's Etsy. 

8. Hand cream


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As the colder weather arrives, people often forget to look after their skin.

If you work on computers all day too, hand cream is essential to keep your skin smooth and soft. 

L'Occitane have a whole range of hand cream for your budget, but the Shea Butter hand cream is a firm favourite in our office and it's €24 a pop.

9. Blankets


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Who doesn't love a good blanket? They are the BEST presents and your kris kindle will light up when they see what you've gotten them.

We are personally LOVING the Primark range and they're such a bargain.

Their collections start from €8 and go up to €20.

10. Stress balls

This is the BEST gift for the office stress head and kinda funny too, if they aren't too touchy about it.

The stress balls start from €12 on amazon, and the one pictured is perfect if you think your co-worker is a little bit pooh. 

11. Dear As*hole: 101 Tear-Out Letters to the Morons Who Muck Up Your Life

Any hot heads in the office? Give them this for Secret Santa. It's little letters they can tear out and give to the people that royally p*ss them off on a daily basis. Just don't go crying or be surprised if you're the first victim of their angry letters.

The tear-out letters are £4.50. 

12. Ostrich Pillow

We could all do with ones of these when office life just gets all too much.

It's hilarious and they will love it, unless they are as dry as a cracker.

It's retails for 12.51 and you can buy it here.


Dublin has long been considered Ireland's professional mecca, with job opportunities other counties simply don't have. 

However, a new survey has found that the West of Ireland is attracting highly-skilled professionals, with three quarters of job seekers who moved west finding work easily.  

Galway and Mayo are drawing the eye of professionals tired of the eternal Dublin struggle for housing, with the west's promise of a better quality of life, career opportunities, lower property prices and more disposable income, according to the Galway-Mayo Relocation Survey.


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91% of respondents said they were happy with their move to the West of Ireland and 78% would recommend others relocate to Galway or Mayo.

85% have either moved into a similar or more senior role than the one they held before moving. Since relocating, 76% say the balance between their working and home lives is much better now.

When asked about the factors that influenced their move to the West, 91% cited a better quality of life, while 60% wanted to be closer to family and friends. 

'Even though I was enjoying Dublin, my heart was here in the West of Ireland,' said Samantha Commons, Associate Director of Human Resources at Allergan, Galway. 

'When I started thinking about where I wanted to be, I thought that I’d probably end up in Galway because that’s where a lot of the larger companies are that would have HR requirements.'

So if Dublin isn'#t taking your fancy, perhaps the boom is back out west. 


We've all been there – 12pm comes and you already feel like you've given all you can give for the day. Sure, you might perk up for 20 minutes or so after lunch, but really, it's all down hill from there.

Between your hourly tea break, scrolling through ASOS sales, and basically doing anything other than what you're supposed to be doing, there's not much time for anything else now is there?

Well, according to new survey, the average employee is productive for just under three hours a day (2h 53m to be precise).

Sound about right?

VocherCloud asked 1,989 full-time office workers about how they really spend their working days, and as you probably guessed, there's not a whole lot of work going on inside those cubicles.

When asked – “Do you consider yourself to be productive throughout the entire working day?” 79 per cent of respondents said 'no' (and the other 21 per cent were lying).

So, what are we doing instead?

Well, here are the top 10 responses from participants when asked what they actually do at work and how long they spend doing it:

1. Checking social media – 47 per cent/ 44 minutes

2. Reading news websites – 45 per cent/ 1 hour 5 minutes

3. Discussing out-of-work activities with colleagues – 38 per cent/ 40 minutes

4. Making hot drinks – 31 per cent/ 17 minutes

5. Smoking breaks – 28 per cent/ 23 minutes

6. Text/instant messaging – 27 per cent/ 14 minutes

7. Eating snacks – 25 per cent/ 8 minutes

8. Making food in office – 24 per cent/ 7 minutes

9. Making calls to partner/ friends- 24 per cent/ 18 minutes

10. Searching for new jobs – 19 per cent/ 26 minutes

You can't deny the facts – three-hour working days for all!


In the winter months, it can feel like you never see the sun.

You leave for work in the morning and it's dark out, and by the time you commute home, the night sky has fallen.

In these instances, it feels like you're never going to see the light of day again. So, you come home, flop on the couch and that's basically your entire week.

Pretty sh*t, right?

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However, in Sweden, over the past two years, the employed population has been trialling six-hour working days. Whether you're a writer, a nurse, or in a business start-up, various companies implemented the rule.

And the outcome? Unsurprisingly, it led to employees feeling happier, healthier and more focused on their job.

Employees were still given the same wage despite the reduction in hours, but they made up for it in productivity.

A nurse from Sweden told The Guardian that after reducing her hours, she saw a huge difference in her day-to-day mood and energy levels.

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"I used to be exhausted all the time. I would come home from work and pass out on the sofa. But not now. 

"I am much more alert; I have much more energy for my work, and also for family life."

With the final results of the experiment being published next month, the preliminary findings saw that there was a 10 per cent reduction in sick leave over the last two years, 50 per cent felt healthier from the change and 20 per cent felt happier.

The thing is though, it might be some time before we see this in Ireland. While the majority of the workforce in Sweden were happier as a result of the change, it also saw a bit of backlash.

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The trial saw employers hiring more people to fill in for the hours lost, and obviously, it was an expensive trial to conduct.

In Ireland, the average working day is 8.5 hours (if not longer), however last year, according to The Irish Times, union officials said that a 30-hour week would not be a target in our future.

It's a shame because there's so much more to life than work.

How many of us are knackered by the time we come home? Or so stressed out by the long hours that we snap at loved ones? Sometimes you have to ask yourself if it is worth it; but then again, you're lucky to have a job when nearly 10 per cent of the population is out of work and struggling.

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It's the simple things like having more family time, being more socially active and having a few hours a day for yourself, that are missed in society and they would be openly welcomed by many.

Hopefully one day, Ireland will be on its way to reduced working hours and higher salaries for all, but until then, we'll just have to cross our fingers and our toes and just about everything else…



All this time in college you assumed that you would just walk into  job, right? Well, here are things that you need to know when finding your first real career break:

1. In everyone’s mind you’re officially an adult
In college you were only a student, in purgatory between a teenager and adult. No one could complain,  “sure, he’s going to university isn’t he”? This quickly changes when you leave college to “ah, he is taking a year out”, even though that usually involves some sort of travelling.

Grow_up2. Interviews can sometimes feel like an interrogation
It is bad enough when there is one interviewer, but  if there are two or three you feel like it’s an interrogation, as they slowly eye you up and crush your will.

the_appropriate_interrogation_method_for_suspect_2-444103. Working for free  is the most likely option
“Well, do you have any experience? No … well, you can always work for free” Yes it has come to this. You never thought  it would happen, but you’re thinking of working for free.

i_should_stop_working_for_free4. Oh, so that’s why you get a summer job
“Sure who needs a summer job, it’s only for money, I don’t need money.” When your young, money is just a thing you use to buy sweets. Summer job’s are all about experience  and you ponder this while looking at a blank CV.

rs_490x252-130924164450-tumblr_inline_mr8cxpB9Ak1qz4rgp5. Your CV is actually important
“CV? Sure I’ll just put my leaving cert results on it and it will be grand”. Hmm, you think that your employers are going to be impressed by your Leaving Cert results?

post-32130-Gordon-Ramsay--Do-you-want-a-f-YjJQ6. You’re not the only one
“I’m a shoe in, the interviewer really seems to like me.” Little do you realize that there are actually other people who went for the interview as well. They have more experience than you, better people skills, and have worked in a job like this before. Harsh, but true.

tumblr_m325a9qWoW1rosecn7. Socializing is a thing of the past
You will  quickly find out that when you’re not working you don’t have money.

tumblr_mbo1zugX9f1qg2uji8. Signing on
As much as you thought you wouldn’t need to, sometimes you may need to sign on. But don’t worry, hopefully it won’t be for too long. Keep up the motivation and don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a rut.

dole_1482505c9. Degree … What Degree?
You spend 3 0r 4 years doing a degree only to find out that the piece of paper is worthless and it’s in Latin so no one can read it. It is basically just used as an indication of what your interests are.


10. Chance to learn something new
Instead of staying at home watching daytime TV, you could actually make the most of your time and learn something new. You could finally learn to drive, learn a new language, go skydiving, go to the gym. The world is your oyster!

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