Application fees, lessons, coachings, accompanists, sheet music, tuition loans, travel fare. Sound familiar? All these are aspects in every singers career and unfortunately, they can add up very fast. The average application fee is currently between $35-$75 and, like every other expense, is not expected to decrease in future years. Singers must take budgeting their finances very seriously if they expect to afford to pay the high costs of this profession. Even with these gloom financial statistics, there are still ways to find small advantages to get ahead of the game. Ways to obtain what you need and still save money to put towards other expenses. What I have found most beneficial is not to work extra hours to make more money, but to use what funds I have and stretch my dollar as far as it can go. The name of the game: couponing – not to an extreme level, but more of a realistic way of cutting your bills down in size.
My name is Kristen and I’m a 25 year-old singer from Ohio. Getting my undergrad and masters degrees back to back, I quickly learned the various ways to cut down on essential spending. In spring of 2011, I was flipping through channels and came across the TLC show Extreme Couponing. I was mesmerized by the methods people took to get so much for so little or even free. Some customers had their couponing down to a science where the store actually paid them in the end because their coupons exceeded the actual price of the total bill. I knew that I could never go to that level, but I was curious to see how an average store customer could apply this idea and just how much it could save them.
I started out small, collecting a few extra papers from neighbors and looking into store’s couponing policies. Before shopping for anything, I made a list of things that I used on an everyday basis that had a long shelf life. I knew the point of this was to stock up only on things I require and to get these products at the best possible price. With my list in hand, I matched products I needed with coupons. My trip was nothing like the TLC show – I spent very little time putting my list/coupons together and I was in and out of the store in about 25 minutes. But this effort definitely paid off as I ended up saving 75% off my total bill ($100 down to $25). On top of this great feat, I also received gas perks as a customer with a store loyalty card. Basically, I walked out of the store with $100 dollars worth of products AND a voucher for 50 cents off each gallon on my next gas fill up. Not a bad way of shopping! Here a quick example of a sale:
- I had twelve coupons for 75 cents off a Colgate Tooth Paste.
- My grocery store doubles any coupon 99 cents and below (essentially making these $1.50 off 1 toothpaste).
- There was a weekly store ad for Colgate: regularly $2.69 now 2 for $3 ($1.50 each).
- Match the coupon with the product and you get 12 tubes of toothpaste paying only sales tax – saving me $32.28.
While no full time singer has the time to put forth the effort of an extreme couponer, putting in a few minutes with your newspaper and morning coffee could potentially save you a lot of money. Getting a cart full of necessities down from $100 to $25 was a fantastic accomplishment. It stocks me up with products I know I will need in the future and essentially pays for an application fee!