‘Sex and the City’: Candace Bushnell May Have Just Revealed That Carrie Bradshaw Could Afford Her Lifestyle

Sex and the City fans have debated a lot about the show. Over the years, media outlets, loyal fans, and casual viewers have picked apart nearly every aspect of the series. Carrie Bradshaw’s wanton spending has been among the most discussed. Inevitably, people almost always ascertain that Carrie couldn’t afford her lifestyle on a writer’s salary. Candace Bushnell may have just revealed that Carrie was probably doing rather OK for herself, even if she did have to charge tomatoes occasionally. 

Candace Bushnell is the inspiration for Carrie Bradshaw 

Sex and the City, the show, was born from a book of the same name. That book was a collection of Candace Bushnell’s newspaper columns about living and loving in New York City. When it all started, Bushnell wrote from the first-person perspective. 

And Just Like That star Sarah Jessica Parker pictured as Carrie Bradshaw recording her podcast
Sarah Jessica Parker | Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max

She opted to switch to the third-person perspective and gave herself a pseudonym when she found out her parents had subscribed to the paper solely to read her column. That pseudonym, Carrie Bradshaw, ended up in the show and turned into the character that fans either love or love to hate. 

The famed author revealed just how much she was pulling down as a writer in the 1990s

Candace Bushnell has finally put the longstanding debate to rest. In an interview with the New Yorker, Bushnell revealed that she was making a fair bit of money writing columns in the 1990s. The famed author told the publication that she was clearing $5,000 per month for the column she penned for Vogue. She went on to say that her column in the Observer, the publication that ran the column that spawned Sex and the City, paid less. Still, she said, it was manageable. 

Candace Bushnell on stage during the opening night of 'Is There Still Sex in the City' , her one-woman show
Candace Bushnell | Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Things weren’t always so bright for Bushnell, though. She recalled that her column in the Observer was the moment she felt like she had finally made it. She said she was already in her 30s and had been trying to live off small, freelance pieces worth just a few hundred dollars each. Things snowballed from there. Carrie’s story and Bushnell’s life intersect at the point where Bushnell was writing for the Observer. One can assume Carrie had to have lived more modestly before the column as Bushnell did. 

So, could Carrie Bradshaw actually afford her lifestyle? 

Assuming that Carrie and Bushnell’s pay rates were the same, and Carrie’s apartment was, in fact, rent-controlled, the columnist was doing pretty OK for herself. Based on the numbers that Bushnell provided in the New Yorker, you can assume she (and Carrie by proxy) was clearing around $100,000 in the 1990s. 

Since Carrie’s apartment ran just $800 per month, she would have had plenty of cash left over for sample sales, cocktails, and taking cabs. What she still wouldn’t have had was a whole lot of money for savings. The show highlighted that multiple times, though. While Carrie did have discretionary money, her income wasn’t high enough for her numerous high-end fashion purchase and absolutely everything else. Does the math totally work? No, but it is certainly closer than a lot of us thought. 

RELATED: ‘Sex and the City’: The Simple Way Carrie Bradshaw Got Her Name