Career Advice

"What I Spent"—A Week in the Life of an NYC Freelancer

The life of a dancer in NYC doesn't come cheap. Photo by Lucas Favre/Unsplash

Dance Magazine asked one anonymous dancer to record how she spent her money over the course of one week. Here's what she sent us.


About Me

Current gigs: Freelance dancer, personal trainer, freelance writer

Age: 25

City: Brooklyn, NY

2017 income: About $45,000. About half comes from dance and choreography gigs, half from personal training. (I make $85 an hour training, before taxes.) Anything I make writing I save for taxes.

My Regular Monthly Expenses

The phone bill is covered by Dad. Photo by Thinkstock

Rent: $850 for one room in a four-bedroom apartment

Utilities: About $20 for my share of gas and electric

Loan payments: $200 for student loans

Health insurance: $0. I've got a few more months covered by my father's insurance plan, so I'm cramming all the appointments in. Thanks, Dad.

Phone: $0. Again, thanks, Dad.

Transportation: $121 for an unlimited subway card

Groceries: About $200. I make breakfast and dinner at home most days, and typically pack a lunch or snacks.

Netflix: $10.99

Spotify: $9.99

Gym: $9.99

MoviePass: $9.99

Vitamins: About $20. I start every morning with a homemade turmeric latte and a bunch of vitamins.

Internet: $0. We use the Wi-Fi from the bar beneath our apartment.

Cable: $0. We don't have it.

Monday

"Oat milk is my newest obsession." Photo by Thinkstock.

Yoga: $30, for a new student package of three classes. It's my day off, so I take an 11:15 class.

Oat milk: $6. This is my newest obsession, and after yoga I stop by a cafe to buy some before going home to make a spinach and mushroom omelet for lunch.

Groceries: $17.69 at Trader Joe's. My boyfriend brings over the sausages we recently made at a sausage-making class at a butchery (gifted to us by his sister), so I grab what we need to cook butternut-squash pasta, and from-scratch Caesar dressing for a kale salad.

Black Panther: $0. We both just got MoviePass, and this is the third movie we've seen in the last week and a half!

Daily Total: $53.69

Tuesday

Leftovers are cheaper and save time. Photo by Thinkstock

Doctor's appointment: $35 co-pay, to discuss the results of a recent MRI

Bottle of water: $1.50. I packed plenty of snacks, but forgot to bring my water bottle for a rehearsal held at Mark Morris Dance Center.

Dinner: $0. I enjoy leftovers from last night.

Daily Total: $36.50

Wednesday

A new student package of yoga classes comes out to $10 per class. Photo by Bruce Mars/Unsplash

Studio rental: $30. After training two clients back-to-back, I have a voice lesson for an upcoming musical theater audition. My vocal coach is a close friend, so I just pay for the studio rental.

Yoga class: $0. It's the second in my package.

Dinner: $0. Like most nights, I cook something simple at home. I make a bowl of rice, green beans, sweet potatoes, black beans and corn for dinner, and prep a second portion to take with me for lunch tomorrow.

Daily Total: $30

Thursday

"I have to pay $3.99 each time I need to print a copy of the music." Photo by Unsplash.

Workout: $0. I work out by myself at the gym before training a client.

Printing: $15.91. I stop by the print shop in my neighborhood to print my headshot, resumé, sides and sheet music. It's quite a few pages, and I have to pay $3.99 each time I need to print a copy of the music.

Daily Total: $15.91

Friday

After the audition, she joins her boyfriend for a celebratory drink and dinner out. Photo by Quentin Dr/Unsplash

Breakfast: $4. On the subway, I realize I forgot to eat, so I stop at a cafe near the audition studio to grab a gluten-free bar.

Lunch: $0. I make it through the first round and have a break. I walk over to Chelsea Market to eat my packed lunch and read a book (Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore) for about an hour before I have to head back up.

Dinner and a celebratory drink: $45.73. After the audition, I meet my boyfriend for dinner. We splurge and order pâté, charcuterie and two incredible veggie dishes at one of our favorite spots. We split the bill.

Daily Total: $49.73

Saturday

"Skin care is my weakness." Photo by Thinkstock

Brunch: $13. I'm running low on groceries, so after sleeping in, I treat myself to a big omelet at a local diner.

Groceries: $15. On the way home after training a client, I stop at Trader Joe's. I'm heading out of town on Monday, so I just grab eggs and kombucha.

Skin care: $24.39. While walking around the neighborhood, my roommates and I notice that The Ordinary, a skin care brand we've been dying to try, has just opened a shop a few blocks from us. Skin care is my weakness, but this brand is super-affordable. I buy a moisturizer and two oils.

Dinner: $0. My boyfriend cooks for us at his place.

Daily Total: $52.39

Sunday

"The laundromat next door just increased their machine prices." Photo by Thinkstock.

Laundry: $9 to wash and dry a small load. After training a few clients, I take my laundry to the laundromat next door for self-service. They've just increased their machine prices.

Dance class: $22. Two of my friends are teaching their signature partnering class at Broadway Dance Center. I pay the drop-in rate.

Daily Total: $31

Weekly Total: $269.22

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