How to navigate personal finances during a strike
10 ideas to help you to stay on track financially during the WGA/SAG strike of 2023...
Just because there is an ongoing WGA/SAG strike doesn’t mean that you should NOT be working and protecting your financial resources.
Below are 10 ideas to consider as a freelancer in the Film/TV industry.
Know your break-even budget number
Create a monthly budget and find that break even number. If you need to make $3k or $6k or $10k a month to break even, know that number. Whatever number it is, just be very aware. Check out Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar Budget Planner if you need a system to get going.
Cut back on non-essentials
Consider holding off on that vacation, new outfit, or gym membership you have been considering. Walk instead of driving if you can. Now is the time to really be lean with your finances. I use the app Rocket Money to help remind me of the many subscriptions I have and which ones I can pause for the time being. Rocket Money will also cancel the subscriptions for you with the click of a button.
If you can afford not to great, however, some people may need to pause their automatic investments (stocks and mutual funds) during the duration of the strike.
Don’t forget about taxes
If you have made any income this year that is 1099 income, it’s a good idea to store a percentage of that money in a separate savings account or make a quarterly payment to the IRS. I prefer to make online payments, so I don’t think that I have more money than I do in reality. Ultimately, 15.3 percent of the 1099 income will go to the government when you file your taxes next year.
If you worked for a W2 company in the last 1-2 years and are not currently working, then you should consider filing for unemployment. Unemployment applications can be challenging, depending on the state and their response time. It’s a good idea to do this as soon as possible, as it may not kick in right away.
Apply for Grants
Rent your place
Consider renting out that second bedroom you might have in your apartment or house that has been sitting empty. You could use a site like craigslist or airbnb to list it. Some might even consider renting out their entire place and living with friends or family for a month or two to save on expenses.
Rent your vehicle
Using an app like Turo, could lead to an extra source of income while someone else drives your vehicle.
Get a side hustle
Find something you don’t mind doing that can help you make a quick buck. This should NOT be your main source of income, but something to help offset things.
Find a job
Yes, you could be lucky and land a film job, however, if this strike goes on too long, you could be out of work for many months. Now is the time to hit the pavement and get ANY job to help you pay the bills. Reach out to your friends and family and see if they know anyone hiring. Make a list of potential industries and positions you think you might qualify for, and be aggressive in applying for jobs, following up with them and even visiting the company in person.