Some pop culture questions will always plague us, but at least one devoted F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan on, ASmileThatKills, has taken to time to debunk one mystery – at least an approximation. 

There has long been an argument on how a group of 20 somethings lived in New York in huge apartments, despite not having the best paying jobs.

And one mystery to come out of that is how in the world Joey managed to stay alive with his huge rental expenses, acting classes and love of all food. 

The Reddit user has tallied up the numbers the best he could and let’s just say Chandler was definitely more than generous with his money. 

Read the full comment below: 

He says that there were 2 sets of head shots, each at $500. So there’s $1000. Let’s assume that the acting lessons, dancing lessons, and voice coach sessions were all $1000 on average. So now we’re at $4000.

He then says 3 years worth of rent, utilities, and food. They live in Manhattan in a nice area of The Village, in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, apartment on one of the upper levels. That is a very expensive location to live in; today an apartment like that would cost around $5000 a month easily, using as a guide (and I’m low balling it assuming they got a good deal). Using an online dollar appreciation site, and using the year 1997, i found that $5000 would translate too about $3500 (*Edit: which after researching was actually their monthly rent that was actually mentioned in the show, so spot on) for them. The rent was supposed to be split 2 ways, so this is 3 years of chandler paying Joey’s $1250. So $45,000 in rent alone. Now we’re at $49,000.


Now for utilities, bills, food. We can guess the utilities may have been $1000 a year so lets add another $1500 for the 3 years of joeys half. So $50,500.

But that doesn’t even BEGIN to cover Joey’s share. And while he had a gig on Days of Our Lives at one point as well as a few other small acting and modelling gigs… It’s likely he still needed to lean on Chandler during those periods to keep up. 

The Reddit post continues: 

We know they had a phone and cable. Using today’s basic phone and cable TV prices, lets say that would be $100 a month (no cell phones/data remember) counting inflating for 1997 would be around $70 a month; so Joey’s half over 3 years would have been $1260. So now we’re at $51,760.

Now for food, this is huge. Joey is known to be a huge eater, and add that to the fact that the group goes out to eat constantly; while watching the show you see that not only does chandler cover him every time they get coffee/dinner, he also gives joey money for him to go on all of the dates he constantly goes on; as well as chandler buys all the groceries (Which would be a lot). I can only guess the amounts but lets say $100 a week on groceries+$100 a week on pizza/takeout/coffee+ $50 a week for Joey’s dates, every week for 3 years (which i’ll say counts as 1997 value). So $39,000.


In total, if he calculated everything, it would be around $90,760. Chandler basically funded the living expenses of a full grown man for 3 years in one of the most expensive parts of Manhattan, so it was pretty costly to him.

Would you spare almost $100k for your best friend over 3 years? As a 20-something how does Chandler even have that much money in his disposable income to throw around without hesitating! 

But then with a range of other fans chipping in, it seems there are more oversights that ASmileToKill hadn’t factored in… 

Edit: That doesn’t include the time Joey got the entire apartment’s furniture and electronics stolen when he got tricked, and chandler had to replace everything. Including a TV, a stereo system, a CD collection, 2 Lazy boy chairs, a full size couch, a few different seating chairs, and an early laptop which was pretty expensive at the time as the technology was new. If you wanted to take a guess at the worth of all that i’d say (Scaled back for 1997) the TV may have been $500, the stereo system $200, the CD collection value at $200, each full leather Lazy boy brand chair is at least $800 even at that time, the couch, chairs, whatever other furniture maybe $1000 in all (the whole place was cleaned out), and the laptop was probably over $2000, they were extremely expensive when they first came out. So there’s an extra $5,500. So $96,260 if you want to include that.

Edit 2: That also doesn’t count the time that Joey’s health insurance lapsed because he didn’t work enough that year, and Chandler payed out of pocket for him to have a hernia surgery. A quick Google search estimates between $6000 and $10000 for that surgery. So lets say $8000 in today’s money, scaled back to 1997 again, we’d have around $5,500. If you add that on top of the original and on top of the first edit, you have $101,760 total.

And then of course some math mistakes creep into the sums. So the final figure is approximately as follows.


Edit: Math mistake on my part on the rent. The first total would be $108,760. So after the furniture replacement that would be $114,260, and after the surgery would be $119,760. Thanks to /u/SirNoName for pointing that out. I’ll leave the original totals so it doesn’t look like the commenter is pointing out something that’s already there.

$119,760… over three years!

We all knew Joey probably borrowed off Chandler a fair bit, but WOW! 

Mr Bing was certainly a generous man and their bromance was unshakable! 

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