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How to Be an Actor on a Budget

The time I spent as a working actor can be broken down by the numbers: eight years of voice and dance lessons in middle and high school; four years earning a theater degree in college; and two years living in New York City pursuing Broadway. I made $12,500 my first year out of school doing regional and theme park shows, and $0 doing theater in New York City.

I learned a lot from those gritty, tender two years in New York. The common assumption is that I learned everything I know about money from the survival job I had at a hedge fund while living in New York City, but really it was my time spent as an actor that taught me my most valued about money, lessons that I still carry and share with the readers who come to my site.

Start Saving

I’ve always been more of a spender than a saver; my checkered history with credit card debt is proof. Still, I never truly learned the value of saving until I got my first professional theater job. I was able to carry my excitement over the new “gig” around with me for about three weeks—until I realized I only had about 12 weeks to find another paying job after my current one was over.

I started to panic, and realized my next job might not line up perfectly with my timeline (or my last paycheck). So I began to save. Truthfully, I was terrible at it at first, but you get better at saving the more you practice.

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