Money & the Actor- The Budget System Part One

Happy New Year!

TODAY IS THE DAY when putting off taking responsibility for your money ENDS.

Remember what I said in the last blog that – “I was never, ever, ever going to make the kind of money I wanted to until I took responsibility for it.” 

And three weeks later- it’s still True.

If you didn’t read my blog where I regaled the tales of my drama with money – CLICK HERE – but be sure to return to THIS blog as this is where the You and Your Money get REAL.

At the end of my last post, I asked you to make a list of all of your predictable expenses. If you have that list – great, take it out.

If you don’t – get a piece of paper and a pen. No, not your phone or a computer spreadsheet –  we are going to do this the old fashioned way. MAGIC HAPPENS when you put pen to paper and start writing out your numbers.

I want you to write out your PREDICTABLE MONTHLY EXPENSES. Please note, this is NOT Acting Classes or Private Voice Sessions, but necessary stuff that you know you will pay every month.

Classes and other expenses, we’ll get to that later. I promise!

A list of PREDICTABLE MONTHLY EXPENSES could include things like:

  • Rent/Mortgage Payment
  • Cell Phone
  • Insurances
  • Gym Membership
  • Any predictable monthly membership (Apps, Casting Sites, Meditation Apps, etc.) that are automatically charged to your credit card or deducted from your bank account
  • Car Payments
  • Internet/Cable
  • Property or Other Taxes, if paid monthly
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water/Trash
  • Child Care

If you know you’re going to owe it every month, it should go on this list. Next to these items, put a dollar amount – keeping the following phrase in mind:

More Money Not a Problem. Less Money a Problem!

What do I mean by that exactly? You want to OVER ESTIMATE what you pay. I want you to budget just a little bit more than what the cost is. If your Gym Membership is $95 – then budget $100.

Why? Because More Money Not a Problem. Less Money a Problem! Plus, that way, when your gym membership goes up in a year, you are already covered or at least halfway covered.

You ALSO (and this is REALLY IMPORTANT) start getting into the groove of having more than you need, and this my friends is KEY!

So when going through your list, always budget $5 – $10 more than what you usually pay monthly. Don’t worry, BREATHE, that extra money will still go back to you, just in a far more EFFECTIVE way.

This list is just a starting point, and as you start to work with the Budget System, you will add and subtract items from your Predictable Monthly Expenses. Make sure you are checking in with them often, especially in the beginning.

I also recommend tracking your money for three months. You can still do this while you are already starting the Budget System (no excuses for not starting now) as you will find it to be a beneficial way to become AWARE of how you make money and how you spend money.

If you are feeling a little nauseous right now, I am with you. I am re-living all of this- of what it was like when I started this System, and I am feeling a little sick myself.

But, I swear, IT IS WORTH IT.

And I am here for you. Right now, I am virtually holding your hand. Seriously, I am. Cause I know how hard this is.

Okay, back to tracking your money.

Get a little notebook- like four inches by two inches that has a spiral to hold it together.

If money is too tight to purchase that, get some blank pieces of paper or even scrap paper and create a little blank notebook that is held together with a staple or two.

Remember no phones- pen and paper.

We are taking responsibility for our money, and WRITING IT OUT is part of the magic formula. It builds awareness. We humans are historically bad at predicting how much money we spend and make. So please know you are not alone.

The formula goes as follows: On each page, you are going to write the date, the amount of money that came in (i.e., a paycheck, cash tips, people who have paid you via PayPal, Venmo, Zelle or Carrier Pidgeon) and how you made it (i.e., Dog walking, 9-5 job, Babysitting, etc.).

Now, I want to clarify that you write down the money you make when you RECEIVE IT. If you get paid for a job or a gig, when the funds GO INTO your account, you add it to the notebook, not the day you DO the job. Rigorous Honesty and Diligence here will get you far.

Remember, it only gets written down when you RECEIVE the check or money in your hot little hands – or device or bank account.

Then you are going to attach this little notebook to your phone or wallet with a pen. Yes, I know it will not look stylish, but if you are reading this and taking this seriously, this is probably not the time to argue with me about style – you have money issues, and that is changing — time to put the ego aside.

Now on to the spending part of this exercise. EVERY SINGLE TIME you spend so much as a quarter, you need to WRITE IT DOWN.

You go to your local deli and plop down a buck on the counter for some gum; you write down:




It’s ok; you can go to the toilet and puke now.

Are you back?

Good. Commit to doing this for ONE DAY AT A TIME.

I promise you, within one single day, you will begin to create more consciousness.

Now, a funny little story about me… I first started practicing this with guns a blazing, and then, three days in, my printer broke, and I had to replace it. At the time, that was a big purchase for me, and I immediately thought, “I can’t write that down!!! It’s too much money!!!”

In my head, if I wrote it down, it would COUNT. But if I didn’t write it down – it wouldn’t.  Now think about this… this is utterly IRRATIONAL.

Because let me tell you, it COUNTS either way! But, if I wrote it down, I spent the money CONSCIOUSLY, and it became my RESPONSIBILITY. And I knew, if I took responsibility, I would be moving towards more abundance. Because avoiding things doesn’t make them go away, often it makes them worse, and I had been avoiding money for a long time. So, taking a deep breath, I took out my money notebook, and in black ink, wrote down the charge.

It may feel painful at first- that’s natural, it’s new. But, by the end of one week, you will have gathered some valuable data…and after a month, you’ll be golden – and after three months – you’ll be PLATINUM.

I will want you to add up how much money you have coming in and how much you have going out. Remember…BREATHE.

This is a wonderful tool- you’ll have an incredibly accurate list of your PREDICTABLE MONTHLY EXPENSES and a list/amount of your unpredictable expenses. Cool, right?

Some helpful hints:

  • Do your absolute best not to judge yourself when you spend, spend as you usually do – this is simple number gathering, nothing more. We are not determining your worthiness on the planet here – just figuring out how much you like to spend – so do your best not to judge or alter it
  • You also may have – like I did – a small coronary when you see the amount of money you spend versus the amount of money you make. There may be a WIDE, WIDE, WIDE discrepancy… and not the good kind… again, BREATHE. We will get you through this… just be a good little number gatherer, and you will be fine
  • Consistency is key, but if you miss a charge one day, DO NOT THROW IN THE TOWEL. We aren’t looking for perfection, write down the charge you missed, and move on.

Ok, I think that’s enough for now, look out for Part II when we show you what to do with all this information!

Hang in there; it is going to be all right.