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xmag.com : September 2004 : I Love Las Vegas

The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees.

I want money. That's what I want.

--Stones, Supremes, Beatles, Flying Lizards, etc.


I started stripping for the money. I had college loans that were suffocating me and I wanted them GONE. In six months. While the rest of my college pals shopped for suits and resume paper, I looked longingly at the mysterious bars and fetish wear emporiums on the wrong side of the street. Soon they were working for poverty wages at non-governmental organizations and I was getting naked for Hundred Dollar Dave.

I bet I made twice what they did. But at the end of the month, I was always broke. For four years, I worried about making my rent at the end of the month and it stressed the fuck out of me. Then I got a little checkbook-sized file thingy for stashing my cash.

So many strippers I know are perpetually broke. It's not like they have mega coke habits or even outrageous addictions to lipsticks and shoes. They just spend it when they got it, and don't worry about it until they don't. Suddenly it's September 30th and you've got two more shifts to get your shit together by the fifth. That's no fun.

But it's easy to change this. Get a checkbook-sized file thingy and read on!

Money 101

#1: Have a goal. I wanted to go to Africa again and see Paris before the world ended. I needed a TRAVEL FUND. But you can have anything! A buy-a-house fund, a hire-a-hitman-to-kill-the-ex fund, a miniature Yorkshire terrier fund.... but it has to be something you really want, not just need. A FUN FUND. Put $20 in this fund rain or shine. Whether you make $500 or $49.

#2: Figure out your monthly bills. Say your rent is $600, your phone is $50, your utilities are $150. You need $800. That's $200 a week. That's a LOT. Are you working four shifts a week? Put $50 in a bills fund after every shift.

#3: Credit cards are evil. CUT THEM UP.

#3b: How much credit card debt do you have? Sock away two twenties every shift til it's gone. I paid off $30,000 by doing this.

NOTE: Divvying up your big take on Day One sucks as you see $300 quickly shrink to a little pile of grocery money. But on Days Three and Four, when you suddenly have one-third of your rent and money for your Visa bill, you start to get into it. The accumulation of dollars slowly becomes more fun than spending money you don't really have.

#4: ADVANCED TECHNIQUE -- Once you've mastered the basics, you can get funky with it. Got a haircut coming up? Throw $20 into a beauty fund. Dude's birthday 'round the corner? Throw $20 into a birthday fund. Strippers survive solely on cash. It's waaaay too easy to think the $500 you scored on Friday is all fun money. Hey, most of it is! But if you get used to tucking away the first hundred or hundred-and-a-half, your fun money is a lot more fun.

#5: WAY ADVANCED TECHNIQUE -- It usually only occurs to lifer strippers towards the end of their careers that most people have "retirement" funds. The Man they work for knows eventually their knees and hips and brains will whither and they'll be useless but still have rent/ mortgages/ phone bills. Ever heard of a ROTH IRA? It's for chicks like you! You can put up to $3000 into a Roth every year. They don't care where it comes from--could be your grandma, your daddy, your sugardaddy. You get a great interest rate, and the interest you earn is tax-free.

Most strippers I know don't think much past next week. But when you realize that stripping is the THE BEST JOB YOU WILL EVER HAVE where you make the MOST MONEY in the LEAST AMOUNT OF TIME you will start to make adjustments for the future. Start simply. You tip out 10% or more to bar staff, right? Well, pay yourself 10%, too. That money goes straight to the bank. This gets fun after a year or so, when all of a sudden you've amassed five thousand dollars. Then you can think of other smart-ass investment opportunities, like buying a house or your very own lingerie modeling studio or fucking around in a stupid punk band like me. Yee ha!





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