savings

How Should I Spend My $1,000 Bonus?

A Client sent me a $1,000 bonus check. It came in with the rest of the mail: a poorly written query letter pitching THE HANGOVER meets HAROLD & KUMAR, a fully executed Option Agreement, and a FedEx bill. His assistant tucked the check into a plain white 8 1/2 x 11 with a single word scrawled on it (“Thanks!”), just as he promised. I can say, without an ounce of false modesty or humility, that he gave me this money for doing no more than my job required. I didn’t go above and beyond the call of duty. I did not put extra time into a special project. All I did was keep the trains running and cash$ flowing.

He’s given me a bonus check before (also for $1,000) but in that case, it was a reward for extra work. I tracked down a contact for our client, with nothing but an ordinary first name, an even more generic last name, and where she had dinner the night before. I found her on the interwebs and connected the two of them via electronic bits and bytes – an extraordinary feat considering the morsels of information he provided and the fact he doesn’t own a computer.

My question for today is:

What would you do with an extra $1,000?

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Are Phantom Costs Eating Your Income?

A few weeks ago, my girlfriend’s parents came to visit. It was a whirlwind week, with dinners and beaches and LA tourist sights you forget exist until visitors point them out to you (“oh yeah, Runyon Canyon, we can go there. And Urth cafe afterwards, um… sure, if you want.”) Every second of every day is wrung like a towel, to capture every iota of life out of the short trip.

One night, when we sat reading after dinner, they got it into their heads they should buy us a television. They said it’d be a housewarming gift. I think the absence of a television set unnerved them

We politely declined. My partner-in-crime and I agreed we didn’t need a television. We had no plans on getting cable. We were happy to watch movies and television on our computers. It seemed like the best decision.

How a Television Would Improve Quality of Life

The next day, my friends disagreed. The words “that’s fucking stupid” may have been used.

“But we’re happy with what we have. We have no plans on getting cable,” I pointed out.

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Doing Lunch and How to Save $20,760

I only had one major gripe with Keith Ferrazzi’s wonderful book, NEVER EAT ALONE: what a shitty title. I thought, That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. The world would be a better place if everyone learned to be comfortable in his or her own skin, and being alone (whether you’re in a park, at a movie, or eating lunch) is integral to that. Years later, I realized I completely missed the point Ferrazzi tried to make.

Cui Bono (Who Benefits?)

Ferrazzi’s point is “never eat alone” if your alternative is breaking bread with another person and developing a relationship. They probably realized this was too long of a title, so they shortened it. I thought the title suggested this layer of insecurity about eating by oneself. Later I realized it’s not about insecurity, but cui bono: who benefits when you eat alone?

Nobody. Which is what this post is about: how to strategically maximize the opportunities when you go out for lunch, and reap benefits when you choose not to…

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How to Cut Cable, Make Time, and Save $10,030

If you’re getting started in entertainment and making the standard assistant’s salary* but don’t want the same financially unsustainable lifestyle as your Boss then (especially early on in your career) you have to make sacrifices. If you’re paying for cable television, it’s not making the cut. That shit’s got to go faster than Andrew Rhodes five-minutes of fame via Reddit and IMDB’s Starmeter.

You’d think this is a no-brainer. As I learn more and more, however, when it comes to spending, saving and investing, things are never simple. Our relationship to money here in Los Angeles and working in entertainment is often completely fucked…

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How To Start Saving and Investing (Introducing The Cash$ Hierarchy of Saving)

We uncovered the lie your Boss tells you each time you remind her you can barely afford groceries: “don’t worry about money right now, because if you work hard, 10 years from now you’ll be swimming in a pool of gold doubloons and bathing in vintage wines.” Maybe they didn’t say exactly that, but nevertheless you rejected the message as a whole. Not just because you’re reading Fighting Broke but because secretly, you started watching your boss’s behavior when it comes to money:

How much time at the office do they spend on their financials? Are they at work, arguing with the credit card companies or giving you bills to drop off into the mail? Have years of spending and not paying attention to the financials caught up to them, and they’re spiraling in debt? Are they generous with time and money? Do they have the kind of home and work life you see for yourself?

boss

Do you want to emulate them?

If the answer is “no,” then you already have a grasp on the other ideas we talked about before: spend less and save more; buying material shit doesn’t make you happier or better at your job; this is what’s holding your bosses back from financial freedom, not a bigger paycheck. Before we get back into ways to save more money, I want to talk about what you should be doing with all them dolla dolla bills you are saving.

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