Congratulations! You made the trek to Hollywood and landed a great Hollywood gig as a receptionist, mailroom "go-for" or production assistant. You are adjacent to the Who’s Who’s and the What’s What of Tinsel Town. However, instead of partying like Paris Hilton, you are partying like you did in college, keggers and X-Box. Your co-workers are driving BMW’s and you are still in your Toyota Corolla (a very reliable car, so don’t knock it). However, they are part of the "Fake it, ‘til you Make it" society which means by the time they "make it", they’ll have $20,000 in credit card debt. Here’s how you can afford to live it up in Hollywood while you are waiting for your big break, without getting into debt.
1. Scale back the trips to The Coffee Bean. If Brian, the barista, has your drink waiting for you as you walk in, that might be a sign you are there too often. The same applies to your new found friends at Baja Fresh and Fatburger, too. Sure they are inexpensive but eating there multiple times a week can add up! Instead of spending $150 a week eating out, spend $30 at the grocery store buying food so you can make your own lunches and dinners. Put the money you are saving aside to pay for the hip rags you are going to need for the hot movie premiere you were invited to or to convince the bouncer at a trendy club you are legit.
2. Cable is expensive, and if you are in the biz, you need to be up on the hottest shows and movies. If you have a roommate, splitting the cost is helpful, but with shows immediately being released to DVD, you can spend the $10 for Netflix and have them delivered to your house. You’ve just saved another $50, enough to pay for the cover charges as you bounce from club to club.
3. Try carpooling. If you have seen the movie Swingers (I hope you are not too young to know what I’m talking about…) you know the famous scene where Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau and their friends arrive caravan style to a club in Los Feliz (The Dresden Room—which is awesome and totally old school Hollywood). With the ridiculous gas prices, the insane parking fees ($10-$20!!) and the annoying Hollywood traffic, your best bet to save money and aggravation is to carpool. The money you save can buy the hot girl or guy at the end of the bar a drink.
If you follow these three simple rules, you will have enough money to go out on a Friday and Saturday night, forget about your minimum wage job, and remember the reason why you came to Hollywood; to live out your dream and have some fun while doing so. (However, it would be irresponsible of me if I did not tell you to do this after your monthly bills are paid; you have set aside money for your savings account and your 401k or IRA.)
Of course, you can always befriend an assistant who can get you on a "list" to the hottest club without having to pay a cover. If that’s case, you may need some cash to buy your friend a drink to thank him. It’s the nice thing to do.