For many years I lived with the spiritual belief that money is energy, and it must flow, that not spending it can slowing down or even stopping the money circulation. I came up with a positive belief, and I spent easily thinking about ‘making space for a much enormous amount’. I was a carefree spender and didn’t think much about savings, especially when my income was high. My relationship with money was like ‘come and go’. I didn’t understand that to create financial abundance I have to save money, spending as a rich will never make me rich.
Sex work is incredibly lucrative, we make money easy in a fast way. Something is exciting about being given fresh, crispy banknotes to take home at the end of our shift. But we never know how it is going to be the next night or next week, money is so fast and easy that sometimes we forget that we might struggle too sometimes. I have walked out of a club with a pile of cash, and another night I made zero. In our job, money can be good but not consistent. This job is full of ups and downs, and we need to make sure we don’t run out of money. We have to have our goals set for the future and make sure we save some of our earnings. When we are new to the industry, we’re often so impressed by the money after our first night and run the next day to the shopping centre to spend it all. I did it many times. When work is good, it gives us the false idea that we’ll always have money at hand. I’ve seen so many girls spend money under the assumption that they would always earn at the same rate, then freak out when rent is due, or the business starts to slow down. I wish someone would’ve drilled this into my head when I was first starting dancing. It is a tough industry for women who are no longer so young without savings, living week to week. Many of middle-aged stripper – including myself – wish if she could go back to when she was young, when the earning potentials were on top and when they should have saved their money. Indeed we are not taught how to save or to invest our money. The best piece of advice you can give to baby strippers is the importance of saving money. It’s worth as a piece of gold.
If you’re making enough to live comfortably, you should set aside some for emergencies (experts say you need saving to cover up three months of living) whenever possible. That way, if you want to take a break, you get fired, the business turns around, in case of an emergency, like your car breaks down or you are injured and can’t work, you’ll have money. But if you’re barely keeping your head above water, you feel as if no money to save because it got sucked away by survival needs and you feel broke, try to stay graceful. Your hard work will bless you. You always can start with a small amount like putting aside all of your coins. You work hard for your money, make sure your money is working hard for you. Focus on creating a stable mindset, use mental strength not to fall into the trap of a false sense of security around your future income, and use the money to create better energy around you.
I didn’t buy a house or invest in a business. (I paid for travels and invested a lot in short courses and studies and personal growth though.) I never lived on a budget or put money on the side. Now I tell you how you can make better than I did. It’s time for realising the importance of when to save and when to invest.
- Budget. First, you need to calculate how much money do you need to pay for rent, utilities, credit card payments, loans, bills, and so on. Figure this out first. Everything else after this amount is disposable income. Set up a book-keeping system, start by tracking your spending. Write down in a notebook in categories what you spend every day, or if you prefer you can use financial software. Organise the receipts into categories like rent, bills, groceries, and personal care so you will be able to see where your money is going and have an idea of what a reasonable budget is for yourself. Not tracking how much money is coming in and going out will leave you clueless. You’ll have no way to know what you’re average income and how much you’re spending. Having a budget for outfits, nails, lashes etc. will help you from overspending; honestly, these eat up a lot of money. Don’t be afraid to spend, just spend within your budget. Spend less than you earn, and you’ll be fine.
Take the money you save from budgeting and put it in a separate savings account. Don’t bring any credit or debit cards when you go out, that way you can only use the cash you’ve budgeted and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Do not borrow from the account without the intention of paying it back. Even better if you forget that particular account exists.
- Piggybank. It doesn’t need to be that piggy shaped ceramic; it can be anything, a beer bottle, cookie jar or a lockbox. You can make other saving rules like save all of your €2 coins, just don’t be encouraged to dispose of all of your incomes. It’s not a lot of coins, but it can be your “save for luxury” fund. If you do that throughout the year, you can save €3-400, which is the price of a new phone. (Well, if your dream phone is the latest iPhone, you need to save a little bit more though.) And with that, you’d gotten into the habit of putting something aside and not touching it. Saving every €100 bill will help you save more money. €100 each week is not so much, but 52×100=€5200 for a year. Keep it in a private spot in your house and only spend it or deposit it to your bank when you saved enough to buy whatever you were saving for.
If you have trouble with overspending, try the envelope system. Put away all of your €50s and €100s after each shift. Don’t touch them. Pretend they are not real money. Create a different envelope for different goals like Tax envelope, Car envelope, Holiday envelope and put a percentage of your wages in them. Get a penalty if you move the money before a certain time.
Open a saving account or get a safety deposit box at your bank and make sure the bank is far away. It’s a good idea to have three bank accounts: a personal, a saving and a business one. You can use your personal account to filter all of your money through before it goes into your other accounts. Keeping your money separate can demonstrate that you are organised in your business book-keeping. Put money for bills and needs to your bank account and then only hold a certain amount in your wallet for each week for luxury spending.
- Investment. Most of us prefer to keep the cash hidden at home, rather than investing it. Don’t spend your savings, keep your money invested, and your wealth continues to grow. Save to invest in things that will bring you joy now and in the future. You can make low-risk investments, like a savings account with interest, savings bonds, or certificates of deposit or higher risk investments, like stocks. But consider seeing a financial planner for this service. In general, try to be smart with your money.
Having a long-term retirement plan is an excellent idea. Start saving for your retirement as early as possible, the time is on your side when you’re young because the youngest workers are in the best position to save for retirement. Open an IRA account. Put a certain amount every week. You can’t take the money out until you are older and the money gains interest, so it increases with time.
- Goals. Experts say people save more successfully when they keep short-term goals in sight so make a goal such as setting aside a little amount each week, rather than a longer-term savings goal. Once you have met your saving of three months’ expenses, start a savings plan for other things. It can be for school, for a car or a house, or something else, think about your investments. Have goals that need money like a trip or starting a business, so your money isn’t lying around tempting you to spend it. What are your long term goals? Are you doing sex work to pay for something, pay off something? There’s a difference between saving money and saving money for your future. So don’t just spend less, but put the money you saved into a savings account to plan for college expenses, retirement, or business investment that can leave you financially better off.
Budget the amount that you have to save each week to meet your goals and don’t touch your savings. I recommend you rather pick up another shift or work more for anything else you want to spend on.
I confess that one of my biggest regrets in life is not saving at least a portion of my stripper money to invest it later. Save your money and get it together. Your future self will thank you for that.
If you have any good saving idea, share with us in a comment!
- Lindsay Belan