New York City: the city that never sleeps and also the most expensive town to live in throughout the United States. For many people, living in NYC would be a dream come true, but they believe it’s far too expensive to even consider. But, for one young family, living in the city is manageable.
Who are they?
Johnny, 30, and Joanna, 28, are a young couple who graduated from Brigham Young University, got married, and moved to NYC, where they are now raising their two young daughters. Johnny is a copywriter while Joanna is a freelance copy editor who also does photography and a little writing. When the couple began budgeting, they started the website OurFreakingBudget.com, where they give insight into their lives and budget in an effort to help other people get their finances in order.
The two graduated college with about $20,000 in student loans between them and have been able to completely pay those off, using the debt snowball method, where you attack the smallest debt first and work up to your largest. After Johnny got offered a job with a top advertising firm, the couple moved to Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Their two daughters soon arrived as well, which increased the importance of properly budgeting.
How do they do it?
To many, this story may seem too good to be true. How can a couple with two young girls possibly afford to live in the Upper West Side? While it isn’t simple, it’s completely possible. First off, the couple sits down together at the beginning of every year to plan out what expenses will arise in that year and what amount to allow for each section of their expenses. They initially guessed with a lot of categories and adjusted amounts as they went along, but they have it down to an almost exact science now.
Joanna and Johnny allot a specific amount to each category, and then break it down, month by month. They won’t say how much rent is – just that it’s a lot! But the rest of their budget breaks down to only $1,911 a month, separated into various categories, along with putting 25% into savings, 10% to church, and slowly building up an emergency fund. In order to strictly follow their budget, they use the app Homebudget. According to Johnny, “We’re very much masochists…We believe in pain and feeling the pain to prevent us from spending money in the future.” For Johnny and Joanna, it’s all about resisting temptation and sticking to the plan they agreed upon.