DEAR HARRIETTE: I just graduated from college and moved to Manhattan. I love the city, but it is so expensive! How can I minimize costs yet still have a good time? -- Hobo Chic, New York
DEAR HOBO CHIC: The great news about Manhattan is that you can find almost everything -- except housing -- at just about any price. There are many free activities, including museums, films, street fairs and art openings. You can find these activities by reading The New York Times, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, amNewYork, Time Out New York and their accompanying websites. You can also Google "free activities in Manhattan" and go on a search.
In addition, you can look for affordable restaurants in Manhattan and the rest of the boroughs. I have lived in New York for many years, and I have always been amazed by the range of healthy, diverse cuisines that are offered in the city at every price point.
Finally, you can find very affordable fashion. Watch for special sales at department stores. Visit discount stores such as Forever 21, Loehmann's and T.J. Maxx, as well as consignment shops and vintage stores. New York has absolutely everything. You can fully enjoy yourself for little to no cost.
DEAR HARRIETTE: For almost all my life, I spent my summers at a sleep-away camp. I loved the camp and made amazing friends. I was invited to be a counselor there this summer. A lot of my friends are going back to be counselors for the first time as well. While I would love to spend another summer with my friends, there is one catch: I don't really like working with kids. I want to accept the job, but I am afraid that if I do, I will end up shirking my responsibilities to hang out with my friends. Should I take the job? -- All Play and No Work
DEAR ALL PLAY AND NO WORK: The good news is that you know yourself. If you truly believe you would be unable or uninterested in paying attention to the children, you should not take the job.
But before you back away, I want to challenge you to change your thinking. In life, you will encounter many situations in which you are not able to do exactly what you want. This is especially true of work.
So think about your options for this summer job with fresh eyes. Rather than deciding that you don't like working with children, think about your time at the camp and how grateful you are for what you experienced. Envision how you can support that type of environment for those campers coming after you. Be grateful that you can also enjoy your friends' company throughout the day. It could be a win-win if you approach it the right way.