Interview with Stefanie at The Broke and Beautiful Life

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“One important thing I’ve learned is that there’s almost always a cheaper way to do something.”

Who says you can’t be fabulous on a dime? Not Stefanie O’Connell. She is a New York City girl who is trying to live her dream of being an actress in the big city on a starving artists’ budget. Do you want to know how she’s doing it? Here’s a hint – with a little bit of budgeting and a whole lot of hard work she’s doing it beautifully.

O’Connell stared  her blog The Broke and Beautiful Life two years ago after realizing that her dream job of being an actress wouldn’t pay all of the expenses that come with living in the big apple. “Even when I was working full time, (acting) didn’t provide enough of an income to fund the lifestyle and dreams I wanted to pursue,” says O’Connell.

Find a hobby and turn it into an income 

If she wanted to continue living in NYC (and moving wasn’t an option), O’Connell knew she would have to make more money or spend less – and she ended up doing both. O’Connell decided to start her blog and write all about her journey towards having a fabulous life in NYC.

She created additional income streams through blogging and cut back on her living expenses. Now her biggest income, after acting, is from freelance writing. Her advice to anyone who wants to create a second income is to “Develop a passion and skills for other things.”

Sometimes your dream job is for love, not money 

“I could write a book about being an actress,” says O’Connell. She admits the industry has both ups and downs. On one side she loves what she does because it’s her passion and because she gets to travel a lot (mostly for free) since she works in theatre. But at the same time, it doesn’t pay big money like other areas, such as TV and film.

“The industry is ridiculously competitive. I’m talking hundreds of people showing up for one role,” says O’Connell about her job. “At the peak of my career, in a multi-million dollar New York City show, my salary was around $500/week,” she admits.

Your dream life may not be your reality

It’s OK if you aren’t currently living the life you dreamed of, all you need to do is adjust your lifestyle to your income – not the other way around. O’Connell’s biggest challenge in the big apple is still her Income. “I’ve gotten really good about finding a lifestyle that works for me at a price point that works for me,” says O’Connell about her spending habits.

O’Connell loves traveling and admits she likes to eat out “both of which are notoriously expensive” she says.  So how does she live the beautiful life without breaking the budget? “I’ve become a pro about finding low cost alternatives for both, especially travel.” She recently traveled through Europe with budget savings strategies that include rideshares and couch-surfing to avoid paying for transportation and hotels.

What’s your idea of the beautiful life? Join Save Up and be rewarded for your financial habits.

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