If you go to school for theatre, art, or music- you’re more than likely told that if you want to pursue any of those things as a career it’s important to go for it FULL FORCE and make sure your “day job” is something super temporary and super flexible, which usually means some type of serving, bartending, or temping job.
There definitely is something to be said for that- but having lived through the “starving artist” lifestyle at one point, I’ve decided it’s just not really for me to be quite honest.
I realized (with the help of some loving people in my life!) that I had other skills that would
- Allow me to become more financially stable, and
- Not make my hate my existence.
The irony is- once I focused on making a living for myself using professional skills and landed a traditional type of job working 40 hours a week- I’ve actually been able to book more shows than ever before.
I find that with my finances sorted out, I can exert mental energy on my creative projects instead of on how much I hate my job while scraping dried quest off my dirty khakis after a 16 hour shift at a sports bar.
That being said- working a 9-5 and doing theatre or anything else that involves rigorous rehearsals/weekend performances is very exhausting and time intensive. If there’s anything that’s going to slip, it’s going to be home life stuff like cooking, grocery shopping, and making sure my apartment has a semblance of cleanliness. Luckily, in our modern age we’ve been #blessed with some awesome new apps and startups that are out here to make our lives easier without going broke!
It’s important to free up mental energy and reduce things that can take up that precious space. Worrying about when to pay each bill is something that can be pretty mentally taxing, so I always would recommend automating as many bills as possible. It comes in handy, especially if you have a lot of credit card/student loan bills (ones that would really hurt your credit if you were late.) If you’re worried about budgeting, there are apps such as Mint that can help you work your finances out to make sure you never accidentally overdraft. But automating bill-pay has been a lifesaver for me, personally. Just one less thing to worry about.
Automate Your Meal Planning
If you prioritize eating high quality, healthy food at home and have time to cook- but don’t have time to extensively meal plan or do lots of grocery shopping, I HIGHLY recommend a service like Home Chef. Every Friday I have three 2 portion dinner ingredients packed up in a box with visual recipe cards. It works out perfectly as we do tend to eat out her and there during the week so we don’t need every single meal accounted for.
I will still pick up a few random groceries for breakfast/lunch type of foods- but as a whole, I spend the same amount of $ on groceries- and spend a LOT less than I would if I bought all the ingredients that are packed in my boxes. Since they only send you the actual amount of a non-staple ingredient (like miso sauce, ginger, etc.) for a recipe, I only use what I need and no food or ingredient goes to waste. The ingredients are very high quality- and I’m able to just quickly whip up meals like Shrimp Pad Thai with no fuss. Not to mention they taste absolutely fantastic. An added perk- is the recipes are simple enough for my husband to also try his hand at cooking. Nothing better than coming home at 11:30 PM from a long day of work and rehearsals to a gourmet meal cooked by your husband (I have a $30 off code for your first week of HomeChef here if you’re interested in trying it!)
Get your Groceries Delivered
While HomeChef can take care of your dinners- Services like Instacart and Shipt can take care of everything else. If you’re severely strapped on time but have the extra cash for a $15/month Shipt subscription, why not just get your groceries and toiletries delivered? It’s a HUGE time saver, especially because you can create your grocery order right on you phone with a handy app. And usually deliveries come within 1-2 hours from when you order- or you can choose to have them delivered at a specific time. While Shipt is a monthly subscription, Instacart is more of an “anytime you need it” type of service. Having used both, I feel Shipt is a better value if you’re going to use it. If you don’t think you’ll use it a lot, I think Instacart may be up your alley. But I do find these services upcharge slightly on certain items, so it can be a bit pricier than going to the store yourself but as they say- time is money. If you need to prioritize your time and have some extra $$ to spare, I highly recommend these services.
With the advent of services such as WellKept, things like personal cleaning that are generally reserved for the wealthy can be pretty attainable. When you’re in tech week for a show and have company over that weekend and know you won’t have time to make your place look livable, spend $15/room and bring in Wellkept to take care of things for you. Why not? I haven’t used it myself (yet!) But I can definitely see how it would come in handy. My only question si this- if you live in a studio apartment- does the whole place technically count as “one room?” 😉
Take Care of Yourself!
This goes without saying. But it’s important to take care of yourself. If you’re working 40 hour weeks, and are rehearsing 4 hours a day on top of that and performing on weekends- it can be a lot. Make sure you’re taking some time to get workouts in when you can, drink lots of water, drink green juice (I love Ardens Garden Yoga 1!) and just make sure you are aware of your needs on a daily basis. Not just physically, but mentally too. Maybe incorporate some nighttime yoga poses, or meditate. Make sure to take a weekly bubble bath with a glass of wine. Whatever type of self-care makes you unwind and feel taken care of, make sure to do it.
Leave your Work at Work.
I have to set rules for myself- I DON’T allow myself to check work e-mails in the evenings or weekends unless a certain situation calls for it. I don’t receive e-mail notifications on my phone. This helps me separate my work life so that I don’t get stressed out about a client while I’m on a 5 from rehearsal. It’s important to try to compartmentalize so you can focus on the task at hand. Sometimes it can be hard to distance yourself from work stuff but the more you can leave it within your work window, the happier you’ll be.
I’m going to put this out there- I am not “rich” by any sense of the word. But I value my time. I don’t go on many shopping sprees, I don’t buy tons of expensive makeup or shoes- but since I chose to invest so much time in my creative projects, it’s worth it to me to spend my money on automating time intensive and/or mundane tasks so I can focus my mental energy on things I am passionate about!
If someone thinks I’m “lazy” for choosing to get groceries delivered, that’s fine. But I don’t think I or anyone else would ever use that word to describe me at all. It’s just all about priorities and we all have the freedom to choose what our priorities are. I understand everyone is different and some of these services can be a bit polarizing, but I just wanted to share things that helped me and hopefully they can help someone else too!