Oct 27, 2020
Sweat the Small Stuff
By Emily Winter
Cash-strapped artists talk about their favorite money-saving budget hacks
As a comedian and writer, I’m in a community of very talented, but often very broke, artists. I asked my network of comedians, writers, actors, podcasters and other creative types for financial tips they acquired the hard way: during their most cash-strapped days pursuing their dreams.
Here are some of the tips that everyone—artist or not—can use in their everyday lives:
1-PATRICK HASTIE (New York, New York comedian and podcaster): I quit drinking soda and booze.
Money saved: $2912 a year on alcohol, and $1303 a year on soft drinks
AMANDA AVERELL (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania comedian):
- Frozen or dried veggies over fresh produce. It tastes the same and is way cheaper.
- Work out of a library instead of a coffee shop—you can stay forever and don’t have to buy anything.
Money saved: $50-$100 per month on veggies and $60 on month on coffee shops.
2-LIZ SIMONS (New York, New York comedian): Pay yourself like a bill every day. I would consistently do $5 a day (which I know might not be doable, so do what works – $1 a day, $2 a day, etc.). Keep the money in a safe place and do not touch it. Then, when I was going on a trip I’d take the money out and essentially have free cash and I wouldn’t have to worry about spending a lot.
Money saved: $150 a month
3-JOSE GONZALEZ (Phoenix comedian): With a library card, it’s easy to borrow ebooks, audiobooks, music and movies via a few apps or services.
Money saved: $50-$200 a month
4-ERICA SPERA (NYC comedian and podcaster): I take all the hand-me-downs my cousins give me and just resell them [on the app Poshmark]. Purses and shoes are easiest.
Money earned: $600 a year
5-ANDREW MAYER (Boston comedian): Paying cash for everything is an underrated way to understand how expensive/cheap things really are.
Money saved: $50-$100 a month
6-SELENA COPPOCK (NYC comedian and writer): Live and die on cans of tuna and hard boiled eggs. They are cheap, great forms of protein that stay with you.
Money saved: $100 a month
7-JOHN ROSENBERGER (NYC comedian): I do almost all of my ingredient and household item shopping at Dollar Tree. The only things I don’t buy there are meat, dairy, and produce, but [I do buy] all seasonings, pasta, rice, soft drinks, detergent, house cleaning supplies, etc. Everything there is literally $1.
Money saved: $150-$200/month
8-REGINA CASTANEDA (Miami standup comedian): I keep protein bars or nuts in my comedy book-bag to prevent myself from eating out vs. waiting to get home. I also cut out most eating out in general. I do that thing where I’d cook for friends instead of going to a restaurant with them.
Find out where to park for free ahead of time, drive around a lot until you find a hidden cheaper/free spot, etc. I’ve saved sooo much by not paying for parking.
Money saved: Not eating out $300 per month. Parking $150-$250 a year.
9-SARAH STEWART (Toledo, Ohio seamstress and baker): When I lived alone, I aimed to spend $50 a month on food. You read right. Cooked EVERY night. I’d buy $1 bags of clearance veggies (only whatever is on clearance you CANNOT be picky), $1 boxes of pasta and rice, ate mostly vegetarian (meat costs $$). LEARN TO MAKE SAUCES & SOUPS.
Savings: $350 per month
10-MARIA WOJCIECHOWSKI (NYC comedian, writer, and actor): Cutting down on my subscriptions to streaming services. I end up alternating them or sharing … paying the “family” price, and splitting services with friends. [On] Spotify you can save like $6/mo.
Money saved: $30-$75 per month