During the pandemic, I became obsessed with a certain side of YouTube that talks about budgeting, money hacks, financial advice, reflections on people and their spending habits, and how to do certain things but save money. Some of these channels–including The Financial Diet, Budget Girl, Frugal Fit Mom, and more–were not only educational for me as someone who can always learn more about money management, but they also encouraged me to reflect on practices I already have in place that are not only saving me money (and therefore keeping my budget in tact!) but also boosting my resume in the long run. 

Today I’m going to break down three of those “budget hacks” and how much they have me, and maybe you can find some inspiration for this and ways to apply it to your own life!

Yoga Studio Customer Service Emails–Saves Me $97 a Month

I got super into yoga in September of 2019, and after a one-month introductory bargain of $35 for unlimited classes, I was happy to pay the $97 monthly fee. Then…the pandemic came. I 100% understood that these teachers teaching online deserved their money, but I knew I was terrible at at-home yoga, and I simply wasn’t doing it as frequently. As the pandemic continued, I made the decision to cancel my unlimited membership, and instead bought passes for class (5 for $40, etc). Then, an opportunity appeared!

My Yoga Studio (which has studios all over DC but is primarily virtual now) has “interns” who help with customer emails. I am now one of those emails–after interviewing for the position–and my payment for handling all the emails that come into our customer service/accounts email on Mondays is a FREE unlimited membership. 

Yes, that’s right, for handling like 20-35 emails (mostly about account cancellations, clarifications, etc) once a week, I can take as many yoga classes as I want. Obviously, they don’t want me to take the spot of a paying student in in-person classes where space is limited, but virtually, I am all set! 

This has been great because I’m building my “customer service” experience on my resume, but I’m also saving $97 a month and now I don’t feel bad if I go a week without hitting my mat. 

If you’re thinking “but what about other places”–just look around. My friend helps design the email newsletter for her dance studio and gym and gets a free membership there! The opportunities are there. 

Theatre House Management–Saves Me $600+ Annually & Pays $15/HR

When I first moved to DC, before I took a long-term job in my field, I was looking for a side job that would fulfill me but also help me build management skills for future promotions. I found the answer in the theatre, a place I grew up, but I was long-past my acting years. I took a job as a house manager–the person who handles what happens in the “front of house”, including volunteer ushers, crying babies, announcements, coat check, etc. It was a super fun job–especially since I’m such a people person. 

And yes, this job was paid–and DC’s minimum wage is high, which is great!

But there are also other ways this helped me budget. As a house manager, I received several complimentary tickets to each performance. This saved me money on tickets for myself, plus I could bring friends or dates without breaking the bank. At six or seven performances a year–many of which I could see multiple times with multiple groups–this is a huge savings.

And, as a company staff member, we often get offered complimentary tickets to the shows at other theatres, though I don’t take them up on that offer as often as I should, simply because of my own schedule. 

Another perk of the company was the ability to “assist” in the educational courses they taught and take them for free just for showing up a few minutes early to let people in! I would arrive about half an hour early to class, let students into the locked building, and then get to take the 2-3 hour playwriting, acting, or dramaturgy class once a week for $0. The classes usually cost $250-$350 for the once a week, six week course. 

Reviewing Books–Saves Me $100+ Monthly

As a librarian, it is literally my job to be on top of the book things, but I was doing this before I was officially employed at a library, and you can to.

I review books–early advanced reader copies–of books from different publishers. Though I do receive some physical ones, for my own sanity, I do a lot of digital copies from sites like Edelweiss and NetGalley. It can get overwhelming at times–and I really do say don’t request a book you won’t read because publishers do pay for those downloads that go to waste–but this is a great way to boost your resume and save a little money. 

There are a lot of books I want to read that publish every month, but I don’t have the time or money to read them all. Reviewing ARCs allows me to read those books in advance, and avoid paying $20 a pop for them. Of course, if I really love a book, I will buy a physical copy, but there are lots of ARCs I’ve read that I thought were “fine” and I am glad I didn’t spend the money on them. 

As someone who probably reads 5-10 ARCs a month, I would estimate this “hobby” and resume booster saves me at least $100 a month. With that, and the library, I’m able to read hundreds of books a year without going broke. 

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member