2006_10_calculater.JPGThis week, New York focuses on moolah in a number of ways: The difficulties when friends make different amounts of money, five spending diaries of different New Yorkers, a story on a security guard who earns $10/hour, and more. But the real time-sucking feature is the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cost-of-Living Calculator.

You pick certain items (housing, lifestyle expenses, getaways) and a total is tallied for you. Then you get the most likely distressing news about what you need to earn before taxes (forget savings). It just gives a basic idea of what it might take to live a certain kind of life - if you don't have kids, don't want to live in Manhattan, and feel you'll be healthy, it's easier than if you want a Manhattan carriage house, two kids in private school and luxurious vacations, natch. Definitely a Halloween scare.