The performing arts are my life! I have grown up in the world of music and theatre and it is in this discipline that I will be pursuing my college degree. My parents have always emphasized that an undergraduate education is necessary for long term success, but planning and saving money is a mandatory first step.
Every dream comes with a price…and in college; a hefty tuition price is only the beginning. Dedication and focus to achieve a four year goal will never be enough if you don’t have the funds to pave the way. I have heard this philosophy time and again, and having an older sister living this reality really brings it home. Working and saving money must be a commitment.
Singing The National Anthem
I have had the luxury of growing up in Las Vegas, the City of Entertainment. My community has afforded me a variety of ways to generate extra income. The opportunities are plentiful here, and I have taken advantage of everything the city has to offer. I can’t gamble because I’m only in high school, but the casinos host venues that are open and available to young entertainers. This is where it all began.
I earned my first bit of income by singing the National Anthem for a large convention at a casino…and it all blossomed from there. There are so many corporate events here, and many of them use National Anthem performers at their opening ceremonies. The National Anthem is a song I will never tire of. To be allowed to recognize the men and women who keep our country safe and free, and to bring unison to a room full of strangers, even if only for a brief moment in time is always an honor.
I also sing the Anthem for many collegiate sporting events and local charities. I always sing the Anthems for charities for free, and honestly, I would do them all for free but the event coordinators I’ve gotten to know over the years know I’m saving for college so they are always generous. By singing the Anthem, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some casino show producers which led to me being asked to sing at an afternoon variety gig in a local casino showroom. Over the years I have sung at many stage shows at this establishment, as well as at their sister venues.
Although I’m not paid as an employee, money earned comes as a tip for a job well done. The nice thing about performing is that often times there will be someone in the audience who hears you and then asks you to perform at a show they are having, or at a birthday party or private event. Work begets work, especially in the Las Vegas entertainment community. Most of my performance gigs are on weekends, so I have also worked jobs in retail and fast food to earn extra money. I am currently employed at Taco Bell. I chose this job specifically because they offer incredible scholarships for their employees, and hopefully I can work at one of their restaurants when I attend college as they are located from coast to coast. The wages I earn are direct deposited, so the money has been sitting snugly in my college savings account. An interesting side note; the amount of money I get paid for singing a few songs at an event would take me two to three shifts to earn at Taco Bell. Regardless though, I’m always thankful for the opportunity to work.
Making More Money Painting And Being Creative
Another way of earning extra income came to me as an unexpected surprise. I am very artsy and creative, so I painted a picture of a PINK FLOYD album cover for my friend’s birthday. I attend a performing arts high school so when I gave it to her at lunch one day, several like-minded fellow musical students saw it and started asking me to paint them pictures of their favorite playbills and album covers. This is something I really enjoy, and they always pay me way more than the cost of the canvas and the paint!
Another way I earn money using my creative side is to help fellow students and young singers (and their moms) find music that is appropriate for them to sing in a show, or for an audition. I have this amazing music editing program on my computer, so when they bring me their song we work on it and make sure it’s in the right key, or edit it if it’s too long, or if they just need a shorter cut we’ll make it work. This process takes time to learn and is invaluable to master if performance is part of your life. I just charge a flat rate for this service, but everyone seems to appreciate it when they shine on stage, or book the role they are auditioning for.
Dedication to saving money for college is something I take very seriously. My GPA, SAT/ACT scores and resume are quite competitive so I should receive some merit and talent scholarships based on that, however there is still a substantial financial gap I need to cover, especially over the period of four years. I’ve been applying non-stop for a variety of different private scholarships, and am very thankful for companies like yours that grant scholarships to students who are striving to pursue their passion and achieve their academic goals!
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Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.