How Much Do Women REALLY Spend On Rent?

If you are lucky enough not to have parents who regale you with stories of NYC life in the early '80s, I will gladly lend you mine. To sum up their tales of wonder: A loaf of bread was 50 cents, the rent was $150 a month, Ed Koch, hooray. My, how times have changed.

You've likely heard the (now somewhat ancient) advice that you shouldn't spend more than 30% of your monthly income on housing. Of course, in high-rent cities like New York, that percentage can creep up to 40% or 50% or worse. In fact, in recent years, the average NYC family may spend almost two-thirds of their monthly household income on rent. Yikes.

But statistics are one thing; the real stories of individual people are another. We wanted to find out how much money women across the country are making each month, and how much of that they immediately hand over towards their rent. Plus, we asked these women whether they're happy with the amount of funds coming in versus those trickling out. Would they prefer the grand old days of the legendary $100 apartment? Nope. Turns out, most of them are pretty happy where they are.

From Brooklyn to Oregon, here's what working women are spending on housing — and what that means for the dreaded paycheck-to-rent-check ratio.

Nicole, 24, Associate Marketing Manager

Monthly Salary: $3,050
Monthly Rent: $1,995
(65% of monthly salary)

"I'm paying way too much for rent. I bounced between Craigslist roommates and had a serious need/want to live on my own. I found a studio without a broker's fee that was closer to work and made a somewhat rash decision."
Lily, 25, Software Engineer

Monthly Salary: $5,500

Monthly Rent: $2,950

(54% of monthly salary)

"I spend way too much on rent, but I love my studio apartment."
Asia, 24, Video Production Intern/Assistant

Monthly Salary: $1,425

Monthly Rent: $100

(7% of monthly salary)

"I only pay for utilities right now; my roommate is in college, and her loans pay for our housing. I just don't make enough money to afford rent right now."
Satchel, 30, Social Worker

Monthly Salary: $2,785

Monthly Rent: $690

(25% of monthly salary)

"I feel pretty good about my income and rent, but that is because I live with 1,000 roommates, so it is cheap. And the 1,000 roommates is not a negative thing — we're like a family."

LA $100
Maria, 27, Restaurant Server

Monthly Salary: $2,500

Monthly Rent: $800

(32% of monthly salary)

"I'm cool with this ratio. I split my rent with my boyfriend, and the neighborhood where we live has parks and lakes everywhere — it's pretty spectacular."
Jen, 31, Animator

Monthly Salary: average $4,000
Monthly Rent: $1,260
(32% of monthly salary)

"I'm a freelancer, so there are some months I make more than my husband and others I make nothing. In general, I make about 60-70% of what my S.O. makes throughout the year. I pay 37% of the rent, and since I make less than my husband, I think its fair that I pay a percentage that reflects that. He agrees."
Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Molly, 22, Editorial Assistant

Monthly Salary: $4,500
Monthly Rent: $1,350
(30% of monthly salary)

"I don't hate it."
Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Alana, 30, Writer

Monthly Salary: $3,600
Monthly Rent: $1,100
(31% of monthly salary)

"I feel like it's better than average. I'm happy with the ratio for that reason. I wish I could pay less or get more for that amount, especially considering I pay roughly $600 a month in student loans, but it could be worse!"
Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Alice, Freelance Writer

Monthly Salary: $3,500
Monthly Rent: $850 (24% of monthly salary)

"I split the cost of our four-bedroom house in East Nashville with my partner. We both work from home, so two of the 'bedrooms' serve as our offices. Let's just say I do not miss paying three fourths of my income for 350 square feet in Manhattan."
Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Lin, 58, Non-Profit Development

Monthly Salary: $2,400
Monthly Rent: $1,040
(44% of monthly salary)

"I wish my rent were less! But on the other hand, I consider myself lucky compared to other rent prices in my neighborhood."
Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Sarah, 30, Surgical Resident

Monthly Salary: $5,000
Monthly Rent: $2,050
(41% of monthly salary)

"I love my apartment (and roof deck!), but I do wish I could put more money towards loans and retirement."