What I have a hard time wrapping my mind around is how much it costs to do all the things associated with getting into a NYC to work, if you live outside of it.
I'm not talking about all 5 boros, since I'm not familiar enough, but the getting from NJ, if you live on the Shore, i.e. Asbury Park, Point Pleasant to Manhatten is so onerous.
I grew up right across the river from Point Pleasant, and if you wanted to take the train, you'd go to Manasquan, the station just North of Point, and get on there. I remember a neighbor did that every day to go to work, and even as a kid I remember thinking how much time he spent, at least 3 hours a day, to just go to work.
Plus, you have the cost of driving, getting to the station, as well as the time/cost of continuing your journey once you get there.
If you didn't want to leave a car at the station (so the expense of owning a car) let's say you take a bus. You miss the bus, then you miss the train, and you're screwed.
My friend lived in NYC for a few years, before getting a different job, and moving back to NJ w/ a much shorter commute, by car. He had moved into NYC largely because of the commutation costs. I too, like tsar, hadn't realized how much it cost to get there.
Yeah, I'd love to have my travel costs be just $104 a month. I loved how surprisingly easy it seemed to be to operate your life if you actually lived there. Easy compared to all the rigamarole above, plus still having to get fed, run errands etc etc.
I would totally just have a coffee pot and some breakfast basics in my apartment, since it's so easy to pick up a meal anywhere, or have one delivered.