Could the Sex and the City Girls Really Afford their Lifestyles?

23rd October 2018

By Hannah Rogers

2018 marks 20 years since Sex and the City exploded on to our screens. To celebrate, we jumped right back into the noughties, NYC-style and binge-watched the complete boxset from start to finish.

And you know what?  We just couldn’t make sense of one thing, how on earth did these gals avoid bankruptcy? (Oh, and how did Carrie ever end up with Big - but that’s a matter for another time.)

From seemingly daily brunches to infinite designer wardrobes, the ladies of SATC splashed the cash with carefree recklessness. Not to mention how much they were blowing on rent and mortgages. (Notable exception; Charlotte – who snagged her ex-husband’s six-bedroom Park Avenue apartment in season five.

So, to try and figure out if the girls could really afford even a fraction of what they were spending (spoiler alert: they couldn’t), we decided to track their income and expenditure across the series. This meant totting up their jobs and income across all six seasons and two films.

We then tallied up how much they were spending on rent, eating out, drinking, clothes and all the other items that ended up in their designer totes.

CARRIE

First huge shocker was that Carrie was not the most financially irresponsible of the gang. She actually comes in third, behind Samantha and Charlotte, in terms of time she spent in the red.

That being said, she still managed to run up some serious credit card bills. Even with a rent-controlled apartment capped at $750 a month until the end of season four, Carrie was living way beyond her means from as early as season two.

Things did start to look better for her in season five, though, when she managed to bag herself a cushty $4.50 a word writing job for Vogue. After that, life became a little easier with cash from her book deals starting to roll in.

Only for it to take a nosedive again after the first film, when a poorly planned life decision to sell her apartment pre-knot-tying left her having to buy it back when Big jilted her at the altar.

The giant chunk of cash she would have needed to put down as a deposit, added to the massive bill she ran up for the wedding that never happened, would have been enough for most of us to go searching down the back of the sofa for loose change. But Carrie is made of sterner stuff and so swanned off with the rest of the girls on an estimated $10,588.14-per-head Mexico vacay.

Altogether, Carrie’s spending across the series left her with a massive financial shortfall of $162,662.97

SAMANTHA

Of all the girls, Samantha is the worst at handling money. From season three onwards she is always running up debt.

Her PR exec salary, estimated to be $68,812.56 by James Calder from Distinct Recruitment, doesn’t even cover her mortgage payments.

Just after buying her fancy pad in the Meatpacking District, Samantha shouts at some noisy neighbours that she pays $7,000 a month to live in the building. That adds up to a serious $84,000 a year.

Now factor in the charity functions, the fashion show tickets and plastic surgery procedures and Samantha had no chance of staying on top of her finances.
All told, she’s looking at a whopping shortfall of $773,998.86 across the whole boxset.

CHARLOTTE

Charlotte is the only member of the SATC main cast not to have a single season where she balances her budget.

Her meagre (by SATC standards) Art Dealer’s salary, estimated at around $41,536.50 a year, was nowhere near enough to keep up with the ladies that brunch.

We can only assume that her wealthy family funded some of her expenditure (at least until her husbands came along). Otherwise, we’re at a loss as to how she could afford: a full-time nanny, redecorating a six-bedroom apartment, a divorce lawyer, opera tickets and all those endless Cosmopolitans.

At least after season five she doesn’t have to worry about rent, having snagged her first husband Trey’s Park Avenue apartment in the divorce. But, as she gave up work in season four to become a full-time housewife, this doesn’t explain how she afforded everything else.

All told, Charlotte’s expenditure created a shortfall of $448,931.31

MIRANDA

We thought that the more sensible Miranda might be better at balancing her books than her Big Apple gang. And, to some degree, this is true.

After season three, when she’s made partner in her law firm, Miranda hauls in a pretty sizeable salary, around $252,521.66 a year. But she still manages to run at a loss in two seasons and one film.

The apartment she buys in the Upper West Side is the biggest and most expensive of the SATC girls (bar Charlotte’s Park Avenue freebie), so this sets her back a fair bit. As does the decision to hire a full-time housekeeper.

Miranda’s spending habits leave her $151.935.85 overdrawn by the end of the series.

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