Originally Posted by BillyMW
It's pretty easy at that income.
Haha, not easy by ANY means, but doable if OP can budget tightly and not expect the SATC lifestyle.
OP, the keys to success will be:
1. Finding a roommate and trying to keep rent at or below $1000-1100/mo. This basically boils down to rent is 1 of your 2 monthly paychecks.
2. You stick to public transit and don't $10 yourself to death with cab rides.
3. Learn to cook and pack your lunch everyday. Buying lunch- just to eat at your desk- is an $8-10/day bad habit. So is Starbucks or other coffee carts. Buy a Keurig and spend well under $1/day on your java.
4. Learn to look good on a budget. You can't afford to spend thousands of dollars on a NYC youn professionals wardrobe so learn to shop H&M, sales at Banana & JCrew, and even your local gently used consignment stores to get "the look" for less.
5. Meet friends for happy hour, not dinner. Catch movies during the day when they're a few bucks cheaper. Stream tv shows vs getting cable.
6. Hopefully your folks will spring for your plane tickets back to OK. I moved from Dallas to NYC in 2002 and the killer expenses on my low $40k starting salary was always plans tickets. Can easily be $400-500 to fly home for Christmas....which means you need to save $50-100/ month (or 5-10%) of your disposable icons after rent to save for 1-3 trips home a year. You also need to accept the fact you will miss many hometown & college friends weddings, bachelor/ette trips & parties, efc if you don't have $300-500 to make it there.
Of course, all of this changes if you've racked up $100k in student loans or $10k in credit card debt. Then, it will be all but impossible to manage on $39k due to those monthly payments. Strongly encourage you to move to the city with NO debt and a min of $5-6k in the bank to pay for startup living costs (professional wardrobe. Furniture or home/kitchen items, deposits, etc) and to keep a small cash cushion for emergencies.
NYC is the best place in the world to start a career and enjoy your early 20's but on a non-profit income if DOES take sacrifice and is frustrating to not be able to keep up with friends who are in higher paying industries or whose parents are bankrolling their manhattan lifestyle. It will pay off in the end though! 4 years in NYC probably put me 5 years ahead of my peers when I moved back to Dallas. For several years, I was the only one within 10 years of my age at my level at my company!