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独立节俭的美国年轻人

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当22岁的女儿玛丽安娜(Mariana)告诉我们她打算从家里搬出去、独自在纽约市生活的时候,我们告诉她日子会很艰难。

  When our then-22-year-old daughter told us in the fall of 2008 that she intended to move out of our house and live in New York City on her own, we told her it would be tough。

  她不相信我们的劝告。

  She didn't believe us。

  女儿最终证明我们错了。她不仅凭着她那份年薪不到三万美元的出版工作在纽约生存了下来,而且在短短一年内还攒下了5,000美元。此外,她还为自己的401(k)退休金帐户存入了约1,000美元。

  Mariana proved us wrong. She not only lived in New York on a salary of less than $30,000 from a publishing-industry job, she managed to save $5,000 over the course of a year. On top of that, she stashed about $1,000 in her 401(k) account。

  在全球生活成本最高的城市之一纽约,她是如何办到的?

  How was that possible in one of the most expensive cities in the world?

  她和另外三个年轻人合租一套公寓,主要交通花费是每个月89美元的地铁乘车卡,她的三餐以豆子和米饭为主。

  She shared an apartment with three other youths, her main transportation expense was an $89-a-month subway card, and she ate a lot of beans and rice。

  此外,她还冒过几次小险,比如把一瓶葡萄酒偷偷带进夜店,没花多少钱就和朋友们一起狂欢了一晚。都是些现在的孩子们在大学里学到的东西。

  Oh, and she pulled a few stunts like smuggling a bottle of wine into a nightclub to enjoy a cheap night out with her friends. The things kids learn in college these days。

  勤俭持家的能力是项非常宝贵的才能,我很高兴女儿年纪轻轻就在这方面显示出了一定的功夫,即使并非她所有的做法我都赞同。玛丽安娜把攒钱看作是一种游戏而不是沉重的负担。

  The ability to live cheaply is a very valuable skill, and I'm glad my daughter has shown some mastery of it at a young age, even if I can't endorse all her tactics. Mariana views saving money 'as a sort of game' instead of something oppressive。

  节俭度日总是要从限制大的开销开始。对我们大多数人来说,最大的开销是住。在房地产危机期间,玛丽安娜和她的三个朋友得以用每月3,100美元的租金租下了布鲁克林高档公园坡区的一套四居室公寓。然后玛丽安娜自愿住进了最小的一间卧室(还有一个小工作室,这样她就可以画画了),这样她每个月的房租只有750美元。

Cheap living always starts with keeping the big expenses small. For most of us, that means housing. Amid the real-estate crisis, Mariana and three friends were able to lease a four-bedroom apartment in the upscale Park Slope section of Brooklyn for $3,100 a month. Mariana then volunteered to take the tiniest bedroom (plus a small studio so she could paint), so her share came to only $750 a month。

  她的第二大开销是吃。她加入了附近的一个食品合作社,以便减少食品开销。当她出去吃饭时,会选择便宜的饭馆。有一次,她在当地一家以份量大、价格低出名的烧铐连锁店点了一整只鸡,只要9.99美元。然后她把鸡骨头打包回家,做成了汤。

  Her next biggest expense was food. She joined a nearby food cooperative to slash her bill. When she did go out, she'd hit cheap restaurants. Once she ordered a $9.99 whole chicken at a local BBQ chain renowned for its big portions and cheap prices. She then took the chicken bones home and made soup out of them。

  玛丽安娜说,有那么几次,她发现当地一家市场正在扔掉包装很好的大袋面包,她还把面包拣了回去。不过大部分时间,她的省钱之道都是从食品合作社买大量全麦、豆子、小扁豆、花生酱和新鲜蔬菜来吃。她每周会吃几次肉。

  A couple of times, Mariana says, she did some Dumpster-diving when she spotted a local market throwing out 'big bags of bread perfectly packaged.' But for the most part, she saved money by eating lots of whole grains, beans, lentils, peanut butter and fresh vegetables from the food co-op. She ate meat a couple of times a week。

  年轻人常常在娱乐上花很多钱。与此相反,玛丽安娜说她在纽约的大部分时间都是去享受免费的东西。她会去建议参观者捐款的博物馆,而不是有固定门票价格的博物馆。

  Young people often spend big bucks on entertainment. By contrast, Mariana says she spent most of her time in New York doing things that were free. She went to museums that have suggested donations, not a fixed admission price。

  她说,我最享受的一些东西并不非常贵,我最喜欢在纽约四处闲逛。

  'The things I enjoy most aren't very expensive,' she says. 'The thing I love most about New York City is walking around.'

  当她和朋友出去玩时,她会怂恿朋友们在出去之前先喝瓶葡萄酒,这样她在夜店里就不会太想喝酒了。不错,有几次她把葡萄酒藏在外套里偷偷带进了夜店,而不是在那里买酒喝。夜店店主们:我向你们道歉。这就是我养大的女儿。

  When she did go out with friends, she would encourage friends to share a bottle of wine before so she wouldn't feel like drinking much at the club. And, yes, a couple of times she smuggled in a bottle of wine under her coat instead of buying drinks. Nightclub owners: You have my apologies. This is the daughter I raised。

  玛丽安娜这样节俭地度日会感到缺少点什么吗?没有。她甚至还进行了两次旅行,一次是去荷兰,一次是去俄勒冈州波特兰市,两次都是住在朋友家里,一共花了她2,000美元。

  Did Mariana feel deprived by living on the cheap? Not really. She even managed to take a couple of trips, one to the Netherlands, the other to Portland, Ore., staying with friends both times. The two trips cost her a total of $2,000.

  我虽然对玛丽安娜的节俭引以为豪,却并不想让大家把她当作榜样。由于奖学金丰厚,加上父母的资助,她大学毕业的时候无债一身轻。而很多年轻人必须借钱才能完成学业,这就意味着他们毕业的时候必须赚更多的钱。

  While I'm proud of Mariana's thrift, I'm not trying to hold her up as a model for the masses. She came out of college with no debt, thanks to some big scholarships and help from Mom and Dad. Many youths can only get through by borrowing money, and it means they have to earn more money when they graduate。

  其他一些同龄的年轻人已经结婚生子了,而玛丽安娜的游戏计划对他们也不适用。不管怎么说,她节俭度日的能力让她有更大的自由来做自己想做的事。

  Other young adults her age already have started families, and Mariana's game plan wouldn't work for them either. Nonetheless, her ability to live cheaply gives her more freedom to do what she wants to do。

  或许她的自由太多了。几个月前,玛丽安娜知会我们她打算辞去出版工作,这样她就能搬到北卡罗来纳州埃什维尔了,在那儿她仍是与一个朋友合用一个房间。她的房租每月只有350美元。她发现,通过做兼职和动用积蓄,她能把更多的时间放在自己新的爱好──画画上。她认为,在埃什维尔比在竞争高度激烈的纽约艺术圈更容易展示自己的才能。

  Perhaps too much freedom. A couple of months ago, Mariana informed us she planned to quit her publishing job so that she could move to Asheville, N.C., where she will share a room with a friend. Her rent: just $350 a month. She figures by working part-time and drawing on her savings, she can devote more time to her new passion: painting. And she thinks it will be easier getting showings in Asheville than in the hypercompetitive New York art scene。

  我和妻子都告诉她,在衰退正当头之际辞去一份有健康保险的工作是疯狂的做法。不过,玛丽安娜再次追随自己的梦想。事情就是这样。孩子们要过他们自己的生活,而不是我们希望他们过的生活。

  Both my wife and I told her it was crazy to quit a job with health insurance in the middle of the recession. But once again, Mariana is following her own star. That's the way it goes. Our kids live their lives, not the ones we want them to live。

  至于玛丽安娜,自12月初辞职以来,她只有一个变化。她说,因为没了收入,我过得更加节俭了。

  As for Mariana, she has already made one change since quitting her job in early December. 'I'm living more cheaply since I don't have an income,' she says。

  真不愧是我的女儿。

  That's my girl。

标签:美国 年轻人
58
2010-02-24 21:14 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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