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Be educated in finance! Anyway you can!

You are now an adult. You can't live without money.

My parents are going to glow with pride when I say this. You were right for making me pick a minor. I'm even more thankful that it was a minor in business.

If you're an actor starting out you cannot for a moment think that you are exempt from financial stress. No one is. So why are actors older than me unaware of basic financial principals? If you got them you can save yourself time and not read this and pat yourself on the back for being a well informed human being.

Having four years of classes does not make me an expert in any way but I definitely found these tips have helped me in entering adulthood as an actor.

1. Understand taxes. This is a long one. They aren't as scary as you think. As an actor you can deduct SO MUCH of your expenses that are a pain to buy initially if you use them in a show. This includes those fancy Leducas, headshot sessions, driving to the theatre, leotards, AEA and SAG fees, and more. What is this magic you might ask? Well since you are a considered a contractor, the theatre does not take taxes out of your paycheck. This could mean that you owe a huge chunk of that check in taxes but this also means you can deduct to lower the amount you owe or get some money back. Keep every receipt regarding the show! If the theatre asks you to wear a certain shoe KEEP THE RECEIPT! There are several apps you can log your mileage and that will calculate how much you can get back in taxes based on the miles you drove. I use MileIQ and the fee to have it is just $6 a month and will even print out maps of where you drove that you can give the IRS to prove you deserve the deduction backed up by gas receipts. I already am owed $200 for the month from driving for the show I am in. Hallelujah.

Image result2. You are not too young for a retirement fund. Nor do you have to have a job that provides you with a retirement fund. Plenty of banks have funds that you can set up yourself and save $100 a month.You are kidding yourself if you think Social Security will be your saving grace. With inflation it will not be enough. The amount I need for my lifestyle right now if I retire at 65 as a single female with just a car and an apartment, with applied inflation is approximately $1,300,000 total. Hm. I am not getting that from S.S. The good news is that there are easy ways to build up cumulative interest early on. The earlier you start before 25, the better off you are going to be. My personal finance class talked a lot about this and it was so helpful to know. We read this book and it was so understandable and an easy read. For my friends who are not of the same faith it does refer to Christian morals but it's not extensive. It's also very cheap on Amazon.

3. Work during college to lower your debt. I get really upset with students who say they don't have time for a job because of their theatre degree and that they are living off loans. I juggled two jobs, rehearsals, and homework graduating cum laude. You have no excuses. I understand using loans for tuition, housing, and school supplies. But when I see you going out to Whataburger twice a week, paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime, while having a Starbucks cup glued to your hand I have little sympathy for you. Get a job to pay for your lifestyle that works with your schedule (where there is a will there is a way) and lower your payments for adult debt later on. Don't be foolish.

4. Please make a budget. You live in a modern age with AMAZING apps. Mint is by far my favorite with You Need A Budget following closely behind. Both are linked to your bank accounts and recognize what you are spending on (Mint is better at this). All you have to do is make a goal of how much you want to spend on what. I probably spent about $100 at Starbucks a month and now make my own at home and pay $15. It adds up. Don't ignore your account.

5. Educate yourself. Students, take a personal finance class. It will SAVE your life. Adults, read books, blogs, and take classes on They are helpful and valuable and could save you a ton of money.


  1. Thanks, Victoria! Additional thoughts from someone on the older end of the spectrum...
    One of the best ways to make a budget is to begin recording every single thing you spend money on, every day for a month. The gas, clothes, books, meals out may seem easy - but the coke here and there, the package of gum, the tips for your waitstaff - those can be obscure expenses that you overlook.
    Living without debt...I remember a theatre student in 2006 who regularly sold his DVDs and CDs and games, etc. to get money for food. Living simply is never easier than when you're a young, single adult. Save now.
    And, as for college loans, two things: 1) even if you cannot begin paying the principle when you're in college, at least pay the interest, so you're not accumulating greater and greater debt every month. 2) when you begin paying it back, if possible, pay a bit extra every month - but FIRST, contact the lender, and get it in writing, that any extra you pay will go toward the principle and not toward the next month's installment. Get. It. In. Writing. This is their bread and butter, and the primary way they keep you in debt. Okay. <3

    1. I so appreciate this wonderful tip! It's amazing what students can do to decrease the debt they have and also the amount of interest and principal! Thank you so much for your thoughts! I hope more students find this knowledge helpful!

  2. oops - please replace "principle" with "principal" wherever I typed it wrong!


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