Tag Archives: expensive

Are You a Sports Fanatic?

credit: freedigitalphotos.net by arkorn

credit: freedigitalphotos.net by arkorn


Are you ready for some football? This is the opening weekend of the NFL season, and I’ve watched a grand total of 0 games. I did watch some highlights and a part of the Sunday night game, but that was it. Granted, I’m a Giants fan and they don’t play until tonight, but I’m not sure I’ll catch that in its entirety either. This type of behavior would be unheard of for me back in my sports fanatic days.

As I have mentioned in the past, I’ve never had cable television and didn’t have it growing up. I loved watching the NFL, NBA and MLB, and while football wasn’t a problem since it was generally available on broadcast television, I often couldn’t watch most Knicks or my Yankees on television (well Yankee games were somewhat available). I would listen to the games on the radio. No, I’m not an old-timer growing up before the invention of television, this was the 1980s and 1990s. I would also watch the highlights of the games during the 5 minute sports section of the local evening news. I waited in anticipation of actually seeing the highlights of what I heard on the radio! I also READ the box scores in the next days newspaper and knew every player on every team, even the last man on the bench. So, yes, I think I can say that I was a sports fanatic.

I still remember vividly watching the Knicks take on the Bulls in a crucial Game Five of the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals (some playoff games were available on broadcast television). In the final seconds of the game, with the Knicks trying to take the lead, Charles Smith of the Knicks attempted 4 layups but they were either blocked or he missed. The Knicks would go on to lose that game and the series. I was devastated! I ripped up a nearby newspaper which had Michael Jordan’s face on it. I screamed in anguish and turned off the television, and stormed off into my room. My dad was watching the game, when I suddenly turned it off and vented my frustration. He came to my room and asked me why I was making such a big fuss. He said that it was just a game and that the players make millions of dollars playing it. I’m not sure that was too reassuring or whether I cared what he said at that point, but he’s right.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about sports. It is highly entertaining and it’s wonderful to have something to follow, to cheer for. However, with the great costs which is generally involved in watching sports or attending sporting events, sometimes, you need to reevaluate your priorities. Natalie who blogs at FinanceGirl posted an article recently which mentions a listener question on the Dave Ramsey show. The listener wanted to spend $1500 to go to a football game, and yet did not have an emergency fund saved. Ramsey said that while he loves sports, “it’s a game; you don’t put that ahead of your family’s financial foundation.”

I know many people who are not in the best financial shape, but go to great lengths to follow their favorite teams. They travel to away games and have season tickets to the home games, and pretty much nothing can prevent them from missing any game. They put watching and cheering for their team as priority #1, no matter the costs (financial or otherwise). Watching sports not only costs hundreds of dollars (whether you buy tickets to games or have a subscription that shows the games), it also takes up a lot of your time.

Once again, there’s nothing wrong with watching sports. Just remember that ultimately, “it’s only a game.” A game where the owners are raking in billions and the players are making millions from the money spent by the fans. I’ll still watch games, but I’m no longer a sports fanatic. Although even as a sports fanatic, I’ve never spent a whole lot of money on it. I’ve never had a cable subscription and have only attended a few basketball and baseball games. Football tickets were always way too expensive. Nowadays with the picture quality of televisions, I wonder why many fans still spend hundreds on tickets. If you like the raucous atmosphere of being at the event, you can have your sports fanatic friends over or go to a sports bar.

How about you? Are you a sports fanatic? What’s the most you’ve spent on a sporting event?

Is it Possible to Raise a Family in NYC?

2994-Central Park-Bethesda Fountain

Of course it is! Many families in different income ranges are doing it everyday. But I ask this question because I have a few friends who have decided to move out of NYC after having kids. Some couples we know who haven’t had children yet are already planning to leave once they do have them. The reasons usually cited are the cost of living, being closer to family, and the blanket statement that NYC is a “terrible place to raise children.” Granted, most of these families are NYC transplants and have family in other parts of the country. I mentioned in a previous post, Why Do You Live Where You Live?, that one main reason we plan on staying here is because both my wife and I have family here. It doesn’t hurt that NYC is one of the most exciting cities in the world. Here are some reasons why raising a family in NYC is a good idea and some reasons why it’s tough to raise a family here.

Cons:
Cost of Housing

It is undeniable that living in NYC is expensive, significantly housing costs. We currently live in a one-bedroom apartment which is approximately 600 square feet. BUT, a small place is fine since our son is still a baby. Plus, you can optimize the area in a small apartment to maximize your usable space. We’re hoping to buy a co-op which will have a second bedroom. If we have more kids in the future, we can always get bunk beds for them! It probably is much tougher when kids are older though, but living in close quarters with your loved ones isn’t the worst thing in the world.

No outdoor space
Not having outdoor space like a backyard is related to the cost of housing. I remember fondly growing up having a backyard where we would have BBQs in the summer and my parents would buy a inflatable pool or turn on the sprinklers. Other than a balcony or a terrace, there usually aren’t any outdoor space options for apartment dwellers. BUT , you can use city parks as your backyard as there are public outdoor spaces in pretty much every neighborhood.
swing

Pros:

Entertainment options

I think Shannon from Financially Blonde summed it up best in a comment she made on my post, Why Do You Live Where You Live?, when she said:

Things may be cheaper and commutes may be easier outside of New York; however, you also find a lot less culture and activities for kids and adults other than shopping and eating. We took our now 8 year old son to the Met not too long ago, and he loved it. He just had a field trip to the Museum of Natural History and the kids found out they could have a sleep over in the blue whale room. We took him to his first Broadway show last month and he was riveted by the production and wants to see another. We recently watched a program on Nova about the rebuilding of Ground Zero and then went to Ground Zero to see the memorial and museum. We went to a Yankees game for $20 thanks to Groupon to see Derek Jeter play his last season. Living in NY is stressful, it’s hard work, it’s expensive, but if you take back from the city what you are putting into it, you get an amazing return on your investment.

There are tons of museums, zoos, and kid-friendly attractions here in NYC. There are always ways to go there at a discounted price, and there are also a lot of free entertainment options as well. Also, while I don’t want to make a blanket statement about problems in suburbia, I work in suburbia and live in the city (well Queens), and hear many problems related to under-aged teen drinking and drug use. I’m not saying that it’s not a problem in the city, it most certainly is, I do think that boredom in suburbia is one of the causes of drinking/drug use.
free events

Walkability/Public Transportation

One of the things I really like about living in NYC is that it is convenient and walkable. You don’t need a car to go everywhere. This was a big positive growing up too. I didn’t have to get a ride from my parents to go everywhere, which seems like the case with many kids in suburbia. When I was old enough to go out on my own, I could walk a few blocks to buy a slice of pizza, catch a movie at the local theater, or take the subway to Manhattan where there are even more entertainment options.

Different cultures/Diversity

You can see the world in just one city! You can have Dim Sum at an authentic Chinese Restaurant (no the local Chinese food takeout spot doesn’t have that). You can have a baleada or pupusa from an authentic Central American restaurant. There are also Dominican, Indian, Nepalese, Mexican restaurants, etc…you name it, they have it here. There is Chinatown, Little Italy, and various other communities where you can experience different cultures. I also love the fact that there are many neighborhoods which are very diverse and kids will be exposed to people of every race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and class.

chinese restaurant

Why Do You Live Where You Live?

NYC skyline
Living in New York City can be expensive . It also can be stressful, and according to a new survey, New York City is ranked the second most stressful city in America. (Washington D.C. is ranked number one). Here are the factors which were used to determine the most stressed cities:

•Commute time
•Unemployment
•High cost of living
•Crime per 100,000 residents
•Hours worked
•Population density
•Percentage of income spent on rent

The average amount of time New Yorkers spend commuting to work is 48 minutes. My commute averages an hour. Cost of living is pretty high here, that’s for sure, but crime is pretty low compared to many other big cities. I work a 9 to 5 jobs, but I know many people who work very long hours . Population density…oh it’s dense here in NYC, that is undeniable. Commuters are cramped into subway cars like sardines, there is always traffic, and people live in apartments which are the size of a living room in some other areas of the country. The high cost of housing is probably one of the biggest concerns of most New York City dwellers. The amount that goes towards rent eats up a significant portion of your paycheck.

So why live in so a stressful city?

Well, the results of a different survey will tell you why. While Washington D.C and New York City rank first and second, respectively as being the most stressful city, they also rank first and second, as the best city to find jobs, especially entry-level jobs for college grads. There are a lot of job opportunities in this city in various fields and industries. The city also offers many people with the right skills a high income potential.

But when people choose where to live, they don’t look at studies to see which city is the least stressed or which one has the most job opportunities. Here are the main factors that I think are the most significant when deciding where you’ll live:

Family
I think this one is it for me. I grew up in New York City and my friends and family live here. My wife’s parents also live here. It makes sense for us to stay here, even though, financially it sometimes feels like it doesn’t make sense. When you’re starting a family, it’s nice to have family nearby to help out. And as parents get older, it’s good that children are close by so they can help out too. Many retirees decide to move to a lower cost area, but looking into the future, I don’t think I could do that as I’d still like to be close to family and friends if possible.

Job/Career
This is another big factor when deciding where to live. You need to find a place that has jobs, especially jobs in your field. Sometimes, the job you have requires you to relocate.

Weather
Some people just can’t tolerate snowstorms and the cold weather. After this winter, I think I can understand. I’ve heard many people who say they plan on moving down to Florida permanently, or at least become snowbirds.

Check out the list of most stressed cities below.

The 10 Most Stressed Out Cities In America By Movoto Real Estate

So why do you live where you live? And are you happy where you’re living?