I am thirty two years old and I am the Stage Manager for Into the Woods JR at a regional theater in Virginia. I make $375 a week, which comes out to $317.16 after taxes, and I’m staying in theater provided housing for free. This gig is five weeks long and ends the first week of August.
Saving & Spending
At the end of June, I was bracing myself for a crazy few weeks and that definitely happened! I finished up the postproduction work on The Marriage of Figaro and the majority of preproduction work for Into the Woods JR and then hopped on a plane to cross off one of my 2016 goals and take a vacation with a best friend.
We went to Hawaii for a week. We stayed in Oahu for the majority of the week and then went over to the main island and stayed in Hilo for two days so we could see the Volcanoes National Park and a live volcano.
The trip was pretty incredible. We really managed to keep costs down over in Oahu. I used travel rewards to book the hotel. We got GoOahu cards and picked activities entirely off of the card with the exception of one side activity (the Atlantis Adventures submarine).
I don’t usually eat breakfast, so that cut down on one expense since my friend was willing to just grab something to go from the ABC Stores (like a souvenir shop/travel needs/convenience store – they’re everywhere).
We also got Waikiki Trolley passes that we used to get around the island for 4 days. I don’t think I would opt to pay for that again. It would’ve been cheaper to just pay the $2 for the pink trolley every time we needed one and then figure out transportation to and from Pearl Harbor – but since we had the passes, we used them one afternoon and we took one of the panoramic sightseeing lines that was included in the Waikiki Trolley pass and it was pretty cool (though we hit many of those spots later in the week taking tours from the GoOahu card anyway).
We really splurged over in Hilo. We took a rather expensive ($620) tour for the main day we were there, but it was completely worth it – honestly, it’s a rare day I recommend a tour over trying to figure out how to save money and do it yourself, but everything about this tour was delightful and I got back to the hotel that night feeling like it was money well spent. We started the day ziplining through the forest and past a really awesome waterfall. You take a break in the middle of ziplining to eat lunch by the waterfall and the tour company puts out several baskets of local fruits to try – some of which I’d never even heard of! After ziplining, you go on a helicopter ride over an active volcano and get to watch lava flowing. Then you go to Volcano Winery for a cookout dinner and a tour of their vineyard. There’s a wine tasting and the winery also makes tea that you can try too (the wine wasn’t really my cup of tea, but the tea was :P). Finally, you finish out the day in Volcanoes National Park where we walked through a lava tube, which is a cave an underground path of lava makes after it flows through, checked out steam vents, which are spots in the ground over active lava that expel steam, and then as the sunset, we headed to the viewing spot where you can see an active volcano at night. Every single thing on this tour exceeded my expectations by miles.
The next day we decided to wing it, since our flight wasn’t until 7 PM that night, which turned out to be the one big mistake of the trip. If you’re going to Hilo, plan ahead. You can wing it in Oahu and be just fine, but that wasn’t the case here. It was a Sunday and most things were closed, but there were a ton of amazing waterfalls to see and we would’ve loved to go back to Volcanoes National Park and explore it some more, but we needed a rental car and every single one was already booked. We wound up wandering over to a little local beach for an hour, getting a long and slow lunch in town and then popping into the few little local shops that were open before heading to the airport early and just waiting. It was a lackluster ending to our trip and since we were already a little worn out, definitely not the best plan.
If you’re flying out of Hawaii at night, book an extra night at your hotel – I found that advice all over the internet after we got to Hawaii, not while we were actually planning the trip. Almost all flights back to the mainland are in the evening, so if you book the extra day, you can do whatever you want and not have to worry about how you’ll get cleaned up from the beach or a hiking adventure or anything really before getting on a plane for a bunch of hours.
You live and you learn, right? It was an awesome vacation though and I’m really glad we went!
The day after we got back, I hopped in my car and drove down to Roanoke, Virginia, where I’ve been for the majority of the month. Working with children is pretty different and I’m pretty sure doing this once is enough for me, but I have enjoyed a lot about the process and learned a lot about what regional theaters are like. Also, our Milky Whites are the two youngest kids in our show (they take turns being him) and they are incredible. Those kids freaking make the entire show. Mother of pearl, they are hilarious.
I’ve been pretty horrible about eating out this month, despite the fact that my housing has a full sized kitchen for everyone to use and my actual room has a little kitchenette that’s just like my old apartment in NYC, except for the tiny refrigerator.
I also splurged on several new stage management supplies and some study materials for the GRE.
However, my brokeGIRrich income was way, way higher than usual and managed to not only offset my crazy extra spending, I managed to cross off another savings goal for the year and make a decent dent in one I hadn’t put much effort into at all yet and I managed to stockpile the $1,000-ish dollars I wanted to keep in my checking account to cover expenses for August and September until I get half my rehearsal stipend for my next job in mid-September.
Also, tiny brag moment, I actually won one of the free FinCon tickets from the #FinHealthMatters for my post about what financial health means to me! You guys – I was so excited – I seriously didn’t think I had a chance at winning that. When I entered it though, I didn’t have my next job lined up yet and the company I usually work for in the fall probably would’ve been able to give me the weekend off. I am so freaking excited my next show is a larger national tour of a musical instead and it fits perfectly into the stage management career plan and future moves I want to make there, but I can’t have the weekend off to go to FinCon and I had to turn the prize down. I’ve seriously been in a funk about this for like 4 days. I feel like reveling in someone else’s happiness with them is the best way to shake that funk, so I’m looking forward to them officially announcing all the winners, since I think there were like 3 or 4.
Sigh. Ok, that’s out of my system.
My spending breakdown this month:
- Gym – $20.70
- Food – $273.50
- Stage Management Expenses – $308.87
- Healthcare – $198.37
- Clothes – $34.24
- Car – $99.02
- Apartment Supplies – $173.60
- Entertainment – $36.15
- Education – $23.17
- Gifts – $25.02
- Wedding Expenses – $240
- Hawaii Spending – $348.16
Total Spending in July – $1,780.80
My gym spending doubled because I joined a Planet Fitness in Virginia for the month and my stupid gym, while usually nice and cheap, is super limited, so even to keep using Planet Fitness, I had to just pay to join this particular branch. Not so convenient – but you get what you pay for.
My favorite birthday present this month was learning that my health care sharing ministry premiums go up each year. So my monthly payment increased by $15. I’m pretty sure I qualify for the healthy living reduction, I just have to go get a physical to prove it. The physical costs the $35 co-pay, but I’d save that in two months and I think it’s good for the year – so my goal is to get my act together and get that done by the end of August.
The apartment the theater provided was actually really disgusting, desperately in need of a cleaning and required some things like shower liners to be changed out. Cleaning supplies are kind of expensive! Although to be honest, some of those things are stuff I forgot to pack like sheets and towles in the crazy rush of being on vacation the day before and 110% jet lagged trying to pack and drive to Virginia the next day.
I’m super excited about that entertainment spend because I’m going to see Here Come the Mummies in D.C. on my way home at the end of the contract in August. Ahhh! So excited!
Wedding expenses are from the best friends wedding (bachelorette party hotel and paying in advance for hair styling day of the wedding) and came out of the savings account I already had set up for everything.
My income this month was made up of my Figaro reimbursement check, Into the Woods JR pay and brokeGIRrich. I have a freelance writing check sitting at home in NJ, but no way to cash it, so that’ll go on next month’s report.
- Stage Managing – $951.45
- Figaro Reimbursement – $544.42
- brokeGIRrich – $1439.80
Income This Month: $2,935.67
Most Popular Post of the Month: 114 Side Hustles: Ways to Make More Money
My Favorite Post to Write This Month: 3 Years of Blogging Recap
Elsewhere on the Web: Paying for Convenience: Concierge-Like Services as Affordable Prices at U.S. News and World Report
How to Be a Bridesmaid on a Budget at U.S. News and World Report
And I got interviewed this month! Behind the Screen Interview #7 – Mel from brokeGIRLrich at Family Money Plan
Entirely Unrelated to Personal Finance
So I’m realizing I’m kind of beating a dead horse here, but I figured let’s do another Tieks update. I’ve already worn them out in the real world, so I’m stuck with them and at $175 a pop, I’m still trying to make them work. I’ve definitely gotten them past a point where they should be broken in and yet…
Some purchases are just failures. Don’t believe the hype. Avoid Tieks.
- Contribute $1,000 to my Emergency Savings Account– Done.
- Max out my Roth IRA– Done.
- Contribute $3,000 to my Down Payment Fund– Still at $1,650 to go.
- Contribute $2,000 to my New Car Fund– Yeahhhh done and done.
- Have a $1,000 Best Friend’s Wedding Fund– Done. Now it’s even more depleted with the hair and bachelorette party spends.
- Buy $1,000 of stock– Done. HI, baby.
- Develop 2 new resume skills– I’d like to take an online OSHA course sometime next month, but I’m not sure what to do for the other one.
- Track all the time I spent on my computer outside of work for 1 week and then go without a computer for a week and see how I use that time– yup. That’s still a goal…
- Go on a vacation with a friend
- Look for a big show to stage manage– Done.
- Run a 5k– so this. Maybeeeee I haven’t really run as much as a I should’ve this month and where I should be at about 20 minutes straight of running, I’m at 3… so… we’ll see.