Budgeting for Actors

Living paycheque-to-paycheque is stressful. It’s been a nightmare for me for 5 years. It’s not easy to pursue a creative career when you are financially unstable. First, we must accept that we won’t be putting down a down payment on a house anytime soon. Let’s look at some things you can do to ease the pressure. Let’s get started with team budgeting for actors.

Budgets, what are they?

To make this work, you will need to open a spreadsheet. Because you’re creative, I assume that spreadsheets and accounting software are not something you love. However, it is the best way to organize your finances. If you prefer to work offline, I recommend Quickbooks, Xero, MYOB and Excel.

A budget is the sum of your income streams and your expenses. It’s about balancing them out. If your expenses exceed your income, you are in debt. We want a decent income with some expenses that are less than your total income. This will allow us to save money for the future or go to LA to pilot season. Open that spreadsheet.


Let’s do income first. Enter all of your income streams and the amount you make each week. You can average it if it is inconsistent.

Add all the streams together to get your weekly average income. While some weeks may be more than others, it is best to underestimate your overall income.


After you have done this:

  1. Go to expenses.
  2. List all expenses in one column. This includes rent, groceries, petrol, acting classes, and IMDB Pro membership fees.
  3. Divide the monthly bill by 4x if you are billed for these items.

After you have compiled everything, you can think of, add them all together and calculate your total expenses.


Your expenses exceed your income. This is a common occurrence. This means that you must either increase your income or decrease your expenses. You can work a little longer, ask for a raise, or reduce spending (groceries are an excellent place to start).

Your expenses exceed your income. This makes it a great place to work. You would be making profits if you were running a business. You have two options with extra money. You can save it or spend it. I recommend spending most of it and treating yourself now and again. It would be best to increase your income gap to offset expenses. The more profit you make, the better. You can save $40 per week and more than $2,000 annually.

These are some other budgeting tips to help you:

Ratio Rent to Income

It would be best if you aimed for your income to equal the rent you pay. You can be safe if you pay $250 weekly in rent and make $500 weekly. To stay on the safe side, you will need to make more than twice the rent if you have a car or want to save money.

Multiple bank accounts

To make it easier to track what’s coming in, what’s going out and what you can spend, I recommend opening more than one bank account.

  • Everyday expenditure account: This is where your income comes from and where rent and other expenses will be paid. Although it will have many transactions, it is still a very active account.
  • Tax Deductibles: This can be a VISA card or an account with a debit card attached. It’s easy to track your spending and claim expenses when it comes time to file taxes.
  • You should not get a card with this number, as you won’t be able to withdraw money while you’re on the move. This account should be used to hold money, but it should only be used in emergencies. For example, if you are unemployed for 2 weeks or have car problems.
  • Savings for the long-term: opening a second savings account is a good idea. You could save for a house or a car. The bank will encourage you to make more money and discourage you from withdrawing. Enjoy little forced savings!


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