New York City on $2/day

This weekend in NYC, I planning on having a fun time; at least one nice dinner with jen_ashlock and Jason, and who knows what other good times. Jen and Jason have put themselves on a no-eating-out budget in the month of July, but I have a plan that will allow us to still have at least one nice meal out (maybe drinks too) without putting the slightly dent in their wallets.

It’s New York City on $2/day.

You don’t beleive this is possible, do you? Well…


I may have mentioned in some previous entry (which I am too lazy to go back and search for at the moment), that I never carry any change around with me. In fact, I hate carrying change. All of my change goes in two places: (1) either jars on a table in my kitchen, or (2) my desk drawer at work. This evening, I decided to count up the former. Here are the results, rounded to the nearest dollar:

Quarters $50.00
Dimes $35.00
Nickels $16.00
Pennies $16.00
Total $117.00

One hundred and seventeen dollars is nothing to sneeze at. But here’s the really impressive part. I am not certain, but I believe that I probably have at least twice as much change in my desk drawer at work. Imagine one of those normal-sized, six-inch deep desk drawers. Now imagine said desk drawer filled roughly one quarter of the way with mostly-silver change. This will give you an idea of why I think my estimate is accurate.

I will be counting that change when I get into work in the morning, but assuming my guess is pretty close, that means a grand total of $350.00 to play with in New York City this weekend, and for the three of us, I think this could take us a long way. And it really is on $2/day or less, because I can’t imagine tossing more than $2 worth of change into the drawer each night. It simply accumulated over the last year.

There is one catch: Jen, Jason and I will have to haul all of this change into Commerce Bank and make use of their free “Penny Arcade” service, whereby you dump the change into a machine, it counts it for you and prints a receipt, which you take to the cashier to receive cash. I did this once before and received about $100. Now I’ll be trying for about $350.

Of course, I’ll post a followup tomorrow to let curious readers know just how much change I found in my desk drawer. Until then…

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.