WSJ journalist commutes from Ohio to NYC to save on housing

Photo of author

By Dan Sears

He’s wingin’ it.

With rents in the Big Apple hitting record highs last year, Wall Street Journal reporter Chip Cutter is going above and beyond by “supercommuting” from his home in Columbus, Ohio, to NYC three days a week. 

“When it came time to return [to the office] in 2022, I was underwhelmed at the housing options in my price range. I toured one-room studios facing brick walls and climbed crumbling staircases to reach dank apartments with ancient fixtures,” Cutter wrote in an essay this week.

“I thought I could keep my expenses — rent in Ohio, plus travel costs — at or below the price of a nice New York studio, or roughly $3,200 a month,” Cutter added, noting that he covers his own travel expenses to spend three days a week in the office.

The bold strategy isn’t entirely unorthodox — it’s actually gaining steam with the younger crowd as one Gen Zer boasted that she routinely commutes to Newark, NJ, from South Carolina to save money.

See also  Traveler praised for plane seat swap refusal for dad and kid
With rents in NYC hitting record highs last year, Wall Street Journal reporter Chip Cutter is going above and beyond by “supercommuting” from his Ohio home to NYC three days a week. Getty Images

In Cutter’s case, he had relocated from NYC to an apartment near family early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

He planned to use travel miles and hotel points to make the journey worthwhile.

“To get to the office on time, I set my alarm in Columbus for 4:15 a.m. and hustled to the airport for 6 a.m. flights,” he penned. “When everything went according to plan, I made it door-to-door in three hours. If delays occurred, I scrambled to rebook on other flights.” 

Cutter initially enjoyed swanky stays at high-end hotels like The Beekman — but such a lifestyle was unsustainable, he found.

Cutter commonly bounced around hotels, such as a Midtown Hampton Inn. Getty Images

“To conserve hotel points,” he traded Manhattan luxury — his newsroom is in the heart of Midtown on Sixth Avenue — for a South Queens hotel near Aqueduct Racetrack in the vicinity of JFK Airport and the Van Wyck Expressway. 

“My rooms overlooked a sea of empty parking spaces, but required half as many points as Manhattan alternatives,” he shared.

See also  Google cheap flight hack goes viral on TikTok

And that was after staying at a Midtown Hampton Inn two days prior.

Inconsistency aside, supercommuting also exacted a social toll, Cutter lamented.

“I came to dread the go-to question asked at parties and work events in New York: ‘So where do you live?’” he sighed.

Not to mention, he’s trying to make it work in the nation’s inflation capital.

Cutter initially enjoyed swanky stays at high-end hotels like The Beekman — but such a lifestyle was unsustainable, he found. Chip Cutter/Linkedin

“Costs mounted in the fall, New York’s prime tourist and business-travel season. Friends teased me for embracing a life of chaos,” Cutter wrote.

“They weren’t wrong. Without a refrigerator or stove, late-night dinners often consisted of yogurt and fruit purchased from a 24-hour CVS. Needing to pack light, I stored shoes under my desk and left spare outfits on an office coat rack.”

Cutter eventually yielded to the yoke of planes, trains, and automobiles.

New York prices hindered Cutter’s strategy. Song_about_summer – stock.adobe.com

“In the end, the math didn’t work. I blew my budget by 15% and drained my miles balance,” he admitted. “But I flew so much and stayed in so many hotels that I kept my elite status with Hyatt and American.”

See also  Aussie traveller reveals how she upgraded to business class for $17

Still, he’s not ready to throw in the towel just yet — even as one co-worker demanded he “get a f—ing apartment.” 

“My lease is up, but hotel rates in Manhattan this winter have plunged now that the holidays are over,” Cutter wrote. “Maybe that New York apartment search can be put off a little longer.”

Rate this post

Leave a Comment