1.What were you doing for work before the pandemic?
In March 2020, I was employed at the Stratford Festival, the largest repertory theatre company in Canada. My contract was cancelled in the middle of March and I was laid off. The season, which was scheduled to run until November, has been cancelled. As of this writing (July 2020), there is no determined date for it to start back up again.
2.What do you miss spending money on these days?
I show love through purchasing gifts for my partner and loved ones, and I have not been able to afford those luxuries since I lost my job. I am not skilled with my hands and am not good at making handmade gifts, so I feel a little hamstrung in this sense. I make sure I’m being very vocal about my love and appreciation for the people around me, because that’s all I have these days!
3.How do you think your spending will change after the pandemic?
I don’t expect the pandemic to end for at least a year, so it’s hard to predict where my spending will be. I have hopes to start a family and purchase a house, so my costs are likely going to skyrocket in the next 2 years, for better and for worse.
4.What are your tips on how to cut costs?
I have been able to save lots of money by eliminating alcohol from my life. I had started this before the pandemic, but am so thankful for all of the health and financial benefits it has provided me. I am not a foodie, so I have been satisfied with removing luxury food items as well (I don’t have to eat the finest cheese the supermarket has to offer). Since I have cut out alcohol, going out to restaurants to pay $16 for a hamburger just seems like too much money at this point. I am happy to socialize in outdoor spaces, or make smaller food purchases if I am out with friends.
5. Do you feel that there is uncertainty about how your work will look after the pandemic ends? If so, what are you doing to cope with this uncertainty?
I have no idea what my industry will look like in the coming year or two. Theatres will likely have to be socially distanced, which means budgets will be greatly reduced and that employment will become increasingly difficult to find. I am expanding my net in the performance field to film, radio, and animation in an effort to grab as much work as possible. I have begun teaching acting classes over Zoom and am prepared to leave the performance industry altogether if necessary, though that would be a last resort. Employment uncertainty is a common feeling in the performance industry, so I’m actually used to it. I feel bad for those who are new to this feeling, as I know it is a heavy psychological load to bear. I have faith that our industry will adapt over the next year to create clean, sustainable work spaces that can adapt to changing health and safety concerns. Perhaps I’m being naive.
I would also like to add that I am a huge proponent of Basic Income. This moment seems like the perfect time to try out this social and fiscal experiment.
Rags to Reasonable Community Outreach Coordinator
Emily Nixon is an actor/writer/director/filmmaking Swiss Army Knife. She is also a big money nerd and Community Outreach Coordinator for Rags to Reasonable.
She came to this work after becoming completely fed up with living paycheque-to-paycheque and being too afraid to look in her chequing account. She is passionate about empowering other artists and variable income earners to keep doing what they love and feel confident about their finances.
Email Emily at email@example.com