I'm 28 years old, feeling like I'm decently paid, and living in New York. I feel like I'm ready to live on my own, but when I calculate what I should be spending on rent based on the usual "1/3 of your take-home pay" rule, it's a good amount lower than even the cheapest studios in Brooklyn and Queens.
What I'm wondering is, would it be worth it to live alone even if it means tightening my budget/possibly contributing less to paying off credit card debt, or should I suck it up and spend a few more years fighting for shared fridge space with roommates?
A room of your own in New York City within commuting distance of your work is, for most workers, an unaffordable luxury. Unjust? Unjustifiable? Unfortunately, true.
You say you're making what feels like good money and you're almost 30 years old. Don't you deserve to live by yourself by now? Absolutely! And if you lived in Minneapolis or Memphis, you could.
But you're choosing to live in New York, and that means you're opting into the inanities and illogic of Big Apple life. There are pluses: The excitement! The diversity! The culture! And there are minuses, like the $12 sandwiches that don't even come with a side, and kids with clipboards landmining the sidewalks, and having to pay yet more each year for the privilege of riding a packed, deafening and often stalled subway train in which you are pressed into a stranger's armpit while staring at ads for tooth whiteners and boob jobs.
Another minus is the inescapable fact that you will overpay for a cramped, shared living space in order to hew to that "1/3 of your take-home pay" rule, or end up one of the majority of New York renters who qualify as "rent-burdened." (You can read some cool history of that guideline here and a good analysis of why it's still relevant here.)