What YOU Make!

Written by Staff on . Posted in Breaking News, Posts.

PEOPLE WILL ASK you how much you pay in rent. They’ll tell
you the kinky sex positions a girlfriend enjoys. They’ll even reveal
creepy shit about their aging parents that you never even wanted to
know. But they won’t tell you how much they earn. It’s the last taboo in
New York. So of course, we want to know.

We surveyed friends and people on the street
and while they stood in long fast-food lines (thanks Shake Shack). We
exploited social networks (both real and online). We badgered
publicists. We even called in a few favors. One young reporter worked
hard on the case—plying gas station clerks, bodega types and tattoo
artists—but they weren’t giving it up. “It’s far harder to get this info
than I thought,” he wrote. “Never been turned down so much in my life.”
No kidding. One White Castle cashier berated him for asking and told
him to email corporate. Sheesh. Ever think for yourself?

But we kept at it. Not so
we can exploit or mock anyone. The fact is, we have just weathered the
worst recession in our lifetimes. And even though people are slowly
finding employment and new opportunities, they will most likely suffer
some sort of professional and financial atrophy no matter how hard they
work. In his recent story in The Atlantic, Don Peck put it in
bleak terms: “The worst effects of pervasive joblessness—on family,
politics, society—take time to incubate, and they show themselves only
slowly… If it persists much longer, this era of high joblessness will
likely change the life course and character of a generation of young
adults—and quite possibly those of the children behind them as well. It
will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar white men—and on
white culture.”

we took the pulse of the city and highlighted how a swath of New
Yorkers are living. We discovered that quite a few people are making
their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to bring to the lunchtime
grind. Or they are so busy working that they “don’t have time to spend
money.” Really? And then of course, there are the numerous ways people
scam the city to get free meals, free drinks or free rent. But for every
person making under 20 grand a year, we would happen upon a lawyer or
corporate drone who sounded a little sheepish for feeling secure and
well-compensated. Can you blame them? We wanted to understand how people
are making it (or not making it). And despite all we found, one thing
made us relieved: No one sounded hopeless.

Tom Mylan, 33,


“I make about $10 an hour working the kind of
crazy job I have (about 70 hours a week). You can do the math. “I don’t
eat and get most of my booze for free (thanks Brooklyn Brewery!)


Social Worker


“I save money by grocery shopping at
Trader Joe’s, cooking dinner at home, packing lunch every day and rarely
taking cabs.”

X., 31, Harlem

Project Manager at a marketing company, part-time bakery


“I was a bit of a credit card nut when I first
moved to the city 10 years ago. An older gay friend gave me this sage
advice that turned me around: ‘There’s nothing sexy about being broke.’
Since then, I’ve shut down all my cards, have aggressively paid them off
(only have six months left to go) and live a cash-only lifestyle. I
have a good job, but I also supplement my income by working at Big Booty
Bread Co. in Chelsea on Saturdays. It provides a break from my normal
job and also puts some extra dough (no pun intended) in my pocket every

Glen P.,
24, Brooklyn

Children’s Athletic Coach at Community Center

$25 an hour
per class; $15 an hour observing the gym

“Your rent is supposed to
be one third of what you make, but for me it’s about one half the
amount. When the rent check is due on the first of the month, it gets
cleared and I only have about $50 in my account and I have to build back
up again. I don’t have much of a cushion. In addition to my community
center work, I have some families that I baby-sit for. I’m making just
enough that I’m not asking my parents for help or anything. It just
means that I’m dead broke all the time.”

Wayne W., 26, Queens

Bank Account

Approx. $45,000

“I hate my job, today’s economy is not
helping anybody in our age group and it’s extremely hard to survive.
But for some reason, it gets done. I live at home with my parents and
help pay bills, but I do not receive support from anyone but myself.
Putting myself in a state of mind to save money has been the biggest
challenge. I have started an E*trade account and made some extra cash
for myself down the road, but don’t think I am a millionaire.”

C., 26, Chelsea

HR Secretary (weekdays); Restaurant Host (weekends)

Approx. $40,000

“I work six days a week, sometimes seven, yet never
seem to have money. But don’t feel too bad for me: I do tend to go out
to eat every night, whether it be Subway or some overpriced Italian
place on Eighth Avenue—not to mention I drink more martinis than anyone
ever should during a week’s time. It’s all worth it though, at this
point in my life anyway. I finally moved to the neighborhood I want to
live in after living in Central Harlem for three years, but it’s two
guys in a one-bedroom in Chelsea. The living room has been turned into a
bedroom. Perfect for someone who’s just sleeping there, but much to
small to host a get-together.

Eliza, 23

Assistant Buyer for a fashion retailer


“I walk as much as possible instead of taking cabs or the
subway. I also bring my lunch to work every day instead of eating out. I
dine out at restaurants with friends no more than once a week and make a
strict monthly budget for myself—and stick to it!”

R., 34, New Jersey


I save our family about $600 a
month by not working.

“As an MBA-toting, CFPgathering working girl, I
made about $40,000 last year working as a Casualty Adjuster at Mercury
Insurance Group. The company sucked me out of precious time with my
child (pictured at right). More importantly, I was only taking home a
net total of $2,400 per month. Out of that income, $1,500 went to
childcare, leaving us with $900 of durable income. If you take into
account gas, lunch money and the cleaning people who kept the house
dirty, it was actually costing us about $300 per month for me to work.
Two incomes for us wound up costing money, even in these difficult
economic times. So in January I quit to take care of my family and to
pursue my dream of publishing a novel. We now live off of my husband’s
salary and have more money in the bank because of it. Also, an agent is
looking at my novel. Bottom line: better not to be a slave to the bottom
line. Whether it is an insurance or credit card company, it will take
your money and your spirit and leave you with less to show on your bank

Angel, 29, Brooklyn (and part-time in L.A.)

Performer, Director and
Producer for BurningAngel Entertainment

“I guess I have to keep
something secret, but I do make money. My advice: Film yourself getting
fucked in the ass on camera on a very familiar Brooklyn rooftop, put it
on the Internet, then once it is live throw parties at bars to celebrate
your anal, um… exposure.”

Tim G., 30, Brooklyn



“I bring
lunch to work every day, and cook most nights.”

Michael F., 27,

First-year law associate


“I got lucky because my
dad helped me with tuition for law school, so I only have a little bit
of loans to pay off. But it’s nice: I get to do things I couldn’t
before, like go to friends’ expensive charity events.”

34, Brooklyn

UPS delivery guy


“I get by OK: I don’t have
kids. If I had kids, it would be another story, I can tell you that.”

Thomas, 23

Education H.R.


“I only go out one or two nights a week. I
buy groceries once every two weeks, and then eat stuff like cheese and
crackers every night.”

Jessica L., 34, Manhattan

Corporate Lawyer

Base salary of
$250,000 (plus optional bonus)

“My first job out of college was in
publishing making $25,000 and then $29,000 a year respectively. After
two years I went to law school, paying for some of it with a leftover CD
that had been saved for my education, some of it by working as a summer
associate at a large corporate firm, by working as a research assistant
for two out of the three years of law school, and by earning
merit-based scholarship money. I still had a small loan at the end of
school which I paid off within the first year out. I have worked as a
lawyer for seven years for a large corporate firm and for the federal
court system. My first job out of law school at a corporate firm paid
$125,000 and I made approximately $100,000 a year when

"I left the firm after three
years to work for the federal government. I later re-joined the firm
after my stint with the government. When I started making $125,000 right
out of law school, I was not sure how I would even spend it all, but
money is insidious: the more you have, the more you seem to need. Now I
feel very comfortable, but am careful to save a lot because of the
current bad job market for lawyers. It’s also hard to feel
wellcompensated when the bankers on the deals I work on make multiple
millions a year!”

H., 27, Hamilton Heights

Graduate Teaching Fellow, Columbia University
Graduate School of Journalism


“So my teaching fellowship is
about twothirds of my income, which is obviously not enough to live on,
so I supplement that by doing any freelance work I can get. I’ll produce
commercial videos. I’ll create websites. I’ll also try to do freelance
journalism, but there’s just not enough time—and it doesn’t pay
anything. Video production is about $40-hour.

“Because I live in Hamilton
Heights, the rent is really cheap. I live in a fourth floor walk-up,
have three roommates (with one bathroom). Financially, I don’t feel
stretched because my rent is so cheap. I also don’t feel stretched
because I don’t have time to do anything fun. I work at least 12 hours a
day, and I don’t really go out—ever. So there’s not really time to
spend any money.”

O., 26

Public High School Teacher

Approx. $65,000

“I’m a high
school teacher, have two volleyball coaching jobs and I work a bit on
the side after school. I have a decently priced apartment and did not
have to spend money on college loans due to a full academic scholarship.
I only spend when I can and never buy what I can’t pay off right away
in one payment.”

Edelman, 29, Windsor Terrace


Approx. $18,000

“Most of my
money goes to art supplies and cigarettes. Other then that, I eat a lot
of sandwiches, do things that cost nothing, mend my clothing. I’m a fan
of movie nights and big potluck dinners, which are cheap. And packing
lunches helps a lot.”

Toni A., 35, Staten Island

Vice President of Claims


in bad economic times, the insurance industry booms. Because it is a
necessary evil, there are always jobs. Luckily, I have been able to stay
with the same company—which is just over the Outerbridge and 20 minutes
from my home—about 10 years. Recently, I was able to purchase my first home in
Staten Island—taking advantage of the housing bust—at a price that
wouldn’t have been conceivable two years ago. Even though I had to put
some work into it, it’s still much cheaper than paying rent and the
interest from my mortgage is tax deductible. Even with economic woes,
there are still jobs to be had and bargains to be bought.”

L., 26, Queens

Freelance Yoga Instructor


“Just started as a
freelance instructor this year (mostly at a studio in the Upper East
Side), and it’s totally different than working for a corporate studio—
which I learned when I got my tax information. I survive by working
seven days a week and subbing every class I can get.”

Caroline P., 26,

Medical Student at NYU


“I get a stipend from my
parents and from my student loans. What I hate is that it makes me feel
like I’ve regressed since I first graduated from college and had a
research job.”

J., 25

Junior Art Director at an advertising agency


salary is extremely low for my position, but I think it’s helped me
avoid multiple layoffs. I do sporadic freelance work, and I live with
roommates in a cheap loft space that didn’t have doors on the individual
rooms when I moved in. I also have my parents’ credit card in case of
emergencies, but I’ve only used it to buy train tickets to visit them.”

Becka W., 25,

Web Designer


“I save on rent by living with my
boyfriend and living in Bushwick, but still we pay a good amount. He
makes more than me, so he pays all the bills, while I buy groceries and
dinners out and stuff like that. But we split rent evenly. My mom pays
my cell phone bill, but that’s all the help I get from my family.”

T., 27, Manhattan

Middle School Health Teacher


“I do a lot
of bartering! I use free health services from www. rockdovecollective.
org and currently receive acupuncture in exchange for Spanish lessons. I
receive some meals from a member of a community time bank, and I
participate in co-counseling, which is a type of peer counseling
exchange (www.rc.org).”

Mary Laura Brown, 29, Bed-Stuy



“In an
aggressive attempt to pay off debt and save for a rainy day, I’m
currently trying to live on half of what I take home. It means always
having meals planned out and bringing bothlunch and dinner with me to
work, since I never get home in time to have dinner there. Also, I
utilize Netflix and the public library for movies. My advice is to use
what you already have before buying anything new. If I don’t love it, I
don’t buy it. And I learned to utilize leftovers—and head to Red Hook
for a day when I think I need to go on a vacation.”

Dorr, 28, Windsor Terrace

Research coordinator

$37,000 (or about

“I rarely buy clothing (each year a few pairs of jeans,
one pair shoes, lots of T-shirts), so most of my paycheck goes to rent,
phone, student loans, MetroCard and food. I eat cheese, bread, pasta and
veggies at home or eat cheaply on the go—like falafel, halal carts and
pizza. I almost never pay more than $20 in any one restaurant; I don’t
drink a lot in bars, and I avoid expensive cocktails. The rest of the
money goes to movies and cheap concerts. I think being busy with
personal art, video, music and photography projects saves me a lot of
money by filling up all my time and motivating me to stay in when I can.
Also, going to free art shows and concerts with $2 PBR helps save

Zalewski, 24, Queens

Visual Merchandise Coordinator


city is bittersweet, but there are a lot of things to do that are super
cheap, like art openings every Thursday in Chelsea. Free wine is a
bonus. I guess it’s a good thing that I work so much because it is less
time for me to spend my money. I also save money by making lunch and
dinner and only going out to dinner on average twice a week. I don’t go
shopping that much and, when I do, it’s always a bargain. I only buy
things I need and splurge once in a while. I love living in Queens! I
hang out at my apartment and neighborhood a lot rather than going to the
city and being tempted by all the fabulous things you can buy. The hard
part is getting my friends to visit since they think it’s a foreign

Callicott, feel like 28 (but actually older), Prospect Heights


Approx. $0

“I don’t make much. As in: nothing. We just launched
GoodLight this month, a natural candle company, and I haven’t seen a
paycheck yet. I spent all of 2009 writing the GoodLight business plan
and searching for investors, neither of which paid. I survived by not
paying rent and laying off the diamonds and Gucci purchases. That
required leaving NYC and extra-bedroom-surfing across America—mostly
California and Colorado. I kept food costs down by eating lots of eggs,
and kept alcohol costs down by mostly drinking water. I made some cash
working the occasional odd job, but I also have some rental properties
in Telluride, Co., that help keep me afloat. I came back in December to
prepare for the launch, and was kindly allowed to stay in my business
partner’s parents’ Uptown studio while they were out of the country for
the winter. Now I’m in Brooklyn, but I’ve got affordable rent—and I’m
still eating lots of eggs.”

What You Make

Written by Jerry Portwood on . Posted in Breaking News, Posts.


It may be the most taboo question left in our society. And in New York
City, where we discuss rents and religion with aplomb, the subject of
money still freaks people out. While I’ve often been at a dinner party
amongst friends and strangers and unraveled intricate sex stories, the
thought of revealing my salary seems too illicit for public discourse.

our current economic climate (don’t you love how it sounds like a balmy
vacation instead of a depressing reality?) honesty may be the only
weapon we have to fight for fair and decent compensation for a hard
day’s work. That’s why we decided to do the impossible: Ask young
people working in New York to disclose what they earned last year. We
didn’t want to exploit unsuspecting people, rather, with all the fear
surrounding pay cuts, layoffs, furloughs and salary manipulation, we
figured the only way we could possibly understand the situation was to
stop talking in vague abstractions and arm ourselves with concrete

You see, in America, choice (in jobs, housing, lover,
etc.) is directly proportional to the amount of money one makes. That’s
why youth remains subservient to the older, dominant class. Since we’re
not talking about the poor— unfortunately they have been excluded from
this conversation—we must find a way to empower the younger members of
our work force.

They are the ones who have less choice and are
therefore exposed to exploitation. We chose 22 as the starting age
since that’s when most people begin looking for their first job after
college. We decided to cut it off at the ripe younger-than-Jesus age of
32, since it’s 10 years from when one hypothetically entered the job
market and it’s usually when one reaches his or her thirties that
certain job opportunities (and increased compensation) begin to
materialize. Those 10 years can be difficult, as I know from

I was just out of college and landed my first job:
an admissions counselor for my alma mater. I made $26,000 a year. I
told myself that as long as those numerals before the zeroes were
greater than my age, I’d be OK. I also freelanced as a writer to earn
extra income and to gain more experience as I tried to pay college
loans, a mountain of credit card debit, rent and other expenses. Unlike
many of my friends, my parents didn’t have the resources to help, so I
supported myself on my own. When I spent too much time focusing on my
debt, a black cloud descended, so instead I just kept working my ass
off. That was 10 years ago. I’ve had a fair share of luck along the
way, and I am currently the editor of a weekly newspaper in the most
amazing American city. And I now make close to $56,000 a year. There, I
wrote it. I know it will incite criticism, jokes—maybe even
jealousy—but I feel I must out of fairness to those who participated in
this survey.

In any event, I also continue to freelance and
work hard to make ends meet. I live with my partner, a graduate
student, and somehow manage to support us both. But it’s not easy.

Although I keep an open mind about such things, it’s been even harder
learning what others my age and younger earn. One blogger told me that
he earned $75,000 last year, and it felt like a punch to gut. But even
more disheartening is the fact that young talented people are forced to
live below the poverty line and scrape by with multiple, thankless,
mindnumbing jobs.

I also hope our efforts add some perspective to those
entering the job market or doubt their own self-worth. Since starting
this project, I’ve had people openly mock me. I’ve had people look at
me like I was an idiot. I’ve had people apologize and give emphatic
explanations for why they couldn’t possibly let anyone know their money
situation. Mostly people ignored me. But a few brave, intrepid
individuals did decide to open up and reveal what is considered so
sacrosanct. Some let us print photos, while others wanted a level of

What we hope we have provided is a starting point,
a template from which others can compare and contrast. We don’t intend
to criticize or sneer. We just hope people get paid what they deserve. —Jerry Portwood

Andy M., 25, Service Industry, unemployed Roughly $30,000

was a concierge at a Midtown hotel. I made $18 an hour, roughly $30k a
year (working 40 hours a week). I quit to be an intern at an art
gallery, but they didn’t hire me. I have a little bit of money left
from concierging, but otherwise I charge everything [on my credit
cards] and am running up debt.”

Erik H., 25, Post-Production Supervisor $34,600

freelance as a video editor as well as a videographer to help make ends
meet. My father pays for a good chunk of my health insurance, and I
have a small sum of money in a CD leftover from my parents saving for
my college education.”

Brittany M., 23, Bottle Host, Blogger $13,000

basically my 18-year-old sister makes more than I do, and she’s in
retail. My yearly salary covers my rent and nothing else. I do a lot of
freelance work as well. I have to—or I’d starve to death.

going to law school in the fall, and I don’t really know how I’m going
to pay for that. Maybe I’ll browse the ‘adult gigs’ section on
Craigslist. I’m kidding! My mom would kill me.”

Melanie G., 29, Project Manager $52,000

made $38,000 as an assistant, and when I took this job the salary was
$52,000 with a possible bonus, which I got last month. After taxes it’s
like $27,000, plus I pay $500 each month in student loans, and I have
insane credit card debt. “I took a second job at a restaurant down the
street from my apartment in January, but I only make about $100 a
night. I was working three nights a week for two months but I got
really tired, so I’ve moved down to two.”

Heather E., 29, Pharmaceutical Sales Rep $80,000

“Salary plus bonus comes to 80K. I also receive a company car.”

Jim J., 30, Software Sales Engineer $160,000

“Less this year: We all received 5 percent pay cuts.”

David H., 23, Public Relations $50,000

was laid off from public relations a week before Christmas. I was
making just under $50,000 a year at the time. I picked up some
freelance clients, and recently started freelance writing for several
magazines and publications.

I represent a variety of clients
for PR purposes, and I also do website copy. “I’m making ends meet at
the moment: PR makes my rent, giving me $1,000 to $2,000 a
month—sometimes $4,000 to $5,000. Freelance writing makes me anywhere
from $200-$500 a pop and this month I have three assignments.”

John S., 32, Book Publishing Project Manager $28,000

“When I was working full time, I was Also
working at a bar under the table. I was fired a few months ago, and now
I collect unemployment and make an average of $120 a night but
sometimes less than $80. Right now I’m only working two nights a week
and looking for work.”

Ryan J., 25, office administration, unemployed $28,000

was working in an architecture office, but after being laid off, I am
on the dole. Now I make $363 a week. A freelance web project may get me
an additional $1,000. Freelance PR may get me another $150 a day. I
live with my boyfriend and we manage somehow.”

Joshua X., 25, Freelance Camera Operator $47,000

breakdown is that I made $35,000 from a production company I shoot with
regularly. I also PA’ed a bit, making $5,000. I also take still photos
and taught an after-school program: video and photo to kids one day a
week at a school in Tribeca.”

George G., 25, Freelance Writer $100,000

freelance for a travel magazine and several NYC-based newspapers and
magazines. I make approximately $100,000 a year, however, from a real
estate trust that I inherited. I know, a trustfund kid. It gives me the
freedom to pursue a career in writing and journalism.

Abigail C., 26, Publicity Manager $59,000 “I lived off peanut butter and jelly before this job.”

Isobella J., 26, Parts Model Less than $36,000

can make $1,000 a day for shooting an ad campaign and $250-$350 for
editorial work. On the job I get a lot of free shoes and beauty
products, so I don’t have to spend much on those items. I eat pasta,
which is like $1 a box. I make ends meet because I am also a freelance
writer and a public speaker. I just signed a book deal for a graphic
novel, which helps.”

Mike L., 23, Sixth Grade English Teacher $42,000

sometimes supplement my income by working as a stagehand for a theater
company. I get paid $20 an hour and $30 for overtime (anything after 10
hours, which I almost always get).”

Danielle D., 25, Advertising Media Buyer $47,000

receive some money from my parents: $31,200 untaxed. This is to help
with rent and living because living in the city on my salary would have
me living under the George Washington Bridge.”

Linnea C., 27, Bartender, Freelancer $12,000

been living on measly student loans, and I supplemented my income by
working off-the books as a bartender. On a good day I would make around
$300, but usually it’s closer to $200. I freelance as a writer but
still am not making more then $400 on any given week, but I do manage
to squeak by on the bar funds, solo gigs, a 10-hour-a-week data-entry
job I do while catching up on Battlestar Galactica and some
random babysitting. “How do I do it? I live in Bed- Stuy, so rent is
cheap. I drink at my bar, and I like to have and go to dinner parties
rather then spending all my dough at the hippest restaurants.
Sometimes, when things are tough, I auction off old CDs, DVDs, clothes
and such on eBay.”

Thomas W., 28, Advertising Account Director $65,000

pack my lunch everyday. I highly recommend using the CoinStar at
PathMark to cash in change. If you fill a 20-ounce water bottle with
dimes it equals exactly $100, which can be a crucial shot in the arm at
the end of the month. I attend every meeting in the office that has
free food, no matter how busy I am, and I take the leftovers and pack
some in the fridge at work. I also take some home for dinner later in
the week.”

Shawn M., 23, Manager of Midtown Restaurant $45,000 “I also bartend on the weekends in the East Village.”

Adam W., 24, Part-Time Library Information Asst. $14,706 “When
I started working part time, I lost my benefits. To help pay for my own
health insurance every month, I scalp concert tickets online (it’s
legal thanks to Ticketmaster). So far, I have been able to cover my
$150 emergency health insurance every month by selling tickets on eBay.
I also make money with freelance writing, though I just started so it’s
not a steady income.”

Peter S., 23, High School Math Teacher $48,000 “I
have four roommates. A few of us trade off cooking duties to cut the
cost of food. I also took a travel camp job over the summer for a bit
of extra cash. Mostly it was the free vacation with free meals that
made it a great idea.”

Kari S., 22, Waitress $36,000 “I also bartend on the side.”

Trevor R., 23, Living Statue, Freelance Stage Manager $5 to $200 a day “I
am very interested in transformation. Transforming myself from human to
statue but also transforming the space in which I’m performing. I love
that what I do causes people to question reality; they often don’t know
whether to classify me as a ‘fake statue’ or a ‘real person.’ No matter
who a passerby is, they always have some sort of reaction, and it is
those reactions—forcing people to ask questions—or even just do a quick
double take, that keep me exploring the art of human statue performance
and mime.”

tod-s_1.jpgTod S., 30, Photographer,
Photo Assistant
also sell eBay stuff, bartend, work parties and openings. There’s also
the occasional manual labor gigs. Oh, and I barter/trade with people.”

Laura, 27,
Media/Television Manager of Administration & Operations
thing that I do to make sure I make the most of my meager salary is to
participate in all of the tax savings that are offered through medical
flex spending accounts, my 401k and transit check, etc. I find that
those things do really help! I also take advantage of my
contacts at
other media companies to attend as many screenings and get as many free
DVDs as I can to occupy myself outside of work!”

Eric M., 31,
Actor, Dancer,
“I’m a struggling Broadway actor, so my boyfriend pays my rent because my last show ended March 15.”

anisha_b.jpgAnisha B., 23,
Hostess at a Downtown Restaurant
“I date a lot, which means that I get to have nice meals now and then.”

Yves A., 28,
Pharmaceutical Systems Analyst
“Just moved from New Jersey, so had time to save money.”


Marin R., 32,
I was an oh-so-overpaid twenty-something working as a slothly insurance
broker, I made $70,000 per year, plus a $10,000 bonus and received
$20,000 toward my masters in business administration. But I grew
tired of my boss placing his pitch-fork up my butt and quit my job to
become a writer in hopes of fulfilling a lifelong prophesy of spiritual
joy. I finally reached $28K as a cub reporter, but we were all just
told we had to take a two-week, unpaid furlough, resulting in a salary
decrease of $1,600. This is after our boss bought himself a new Saab.
After watching him fire a sports reporter— who had worked for the
company for more than 15 years—for no good reason, I’m not sure if I’ll
be making anything by the time this prints. Sometimes principle is more important than money, even in a bad economy.”

Shana S., 27, Theater Production $26,000 “I
run the paint department for a scenery shop and make about $15,000. On
the side I also do window displays for boutiques and freelance scenic
painting. Altogether I make about $26,000 a year.”

Mary P., 32,
Museum Administration

Roger C., 25,
President of a Modeling Agency
“I also date runway models. And have a trust fund.”

Sheila M., 28, Freelance Writer $55,000 “Last
year was the first year that I ever made over $25,000. I got laid off
and don’t expect to make anything near that amount anytime soon. Right
now my liquid capital consists of fifty one-dollar bills rubber-banded
together that I made working coat check.”

Jean-Paul T., 31,
Assistant, Economic Consulting Firm
don’t own a credit card, so it can be tough sometimes living on my own
in a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan when there’s a sample sale or a
brunch date. Sometimes I charge lunch at work, which is then deducted
from my biweekly check. Still living paycheck to paycheck, so I have
been known to cash in some used books at the Strand or do the Amazon
marketplace thing when things are tight.But we still received our
bonuses, so I’m looking forward to a little splurge when that finally

Dhinya R., 27,
Graphic designer

Anthony J., 28, International Affairs Program Asst. $45,000 “I
live alone in the East Village but have begun searching for a better
deal. I supplement my salary with freelance writing gigs. I recently
switched gyms so I could get a better deal. I’m also a pretty good
cook, so I don’t mind eating in.”

Leonora E., 23,
Perma-lance Magazine Assistant
also did about $3,000 worth of extra freelance writing in 2008, most of
which went toward frivolities. Moved back in with my parents (who wants
to date me now?) on the UWS in February to save money to travel/move to
Paris for a year. I’ve become pretty good at saving by not drinking
anymore. When you drink, it doesn’t just end up being a martini you pay
for—if you’re out you get hungry, so it’s dinner in a restaurant, plus
the inevitable cab home."

prince_s.jpgPrince S., 26,
freelance for a newspaper, advertising company and a nonprofit
organization’s newsletters. I’m also a nude model for a drawing class.”

Julliane H., 28,
Yoga instructor
trying to find a husband, but in the meantime, I have very generous
parents. I feel it’s not about the money, it’s about a state of mind.”