How I Survived Off an Extremely
Small Salary in TV News

How I Survived Off an
Extremely Small
Salary in TV News

Written by News Gal
🕒 January 10, 2019

I laugh when people tell me I must make a lot of money, because I’m on TV.

My friends from home have it in their minds that I’m pulling in six or even seven figures a year. I wish!

For the most part, the pay in TV News sucks. I’ve been in the business for more than 10 years, and I still don’t make enough money to be comfortable.

I made $18,000 at my first job. I also got furloughed for a week that first year, and I ate a lot of rice and beans. My college advisor told me not to get into the business to make money, and while I knew it would be hard, I never expected it to be THIS hard.

A lot of new graduates tell me they don’t know how they will survive with the pathetic paychecks they receive every two weeks. It’s hard, and it’s stressful, but you can do it.

So here are a few tips on how to survive with a low-paying news job. These are all simple ways to save (or make) few extra bucks.

1. Cut out what you don’t need.

You don’t NEED cable. You can watch most shows, movies, and newscasts online these days. Singing up for Netflix, Hulu, or another streaming service can save you money.

To help yourself out even more, forget the streaming services and just get an antenna for your TV. You should get all the local channels that way—for free!

If you have a gym membership, but you don’t use it much, get rid of it! You can watch workouts on YouTube, or go outside and run, walk, and hike.

You might even be able to find free fitness classes throughout your community!

2. Sell stuff.

I know, you probably don’t have a lot of “stuff” to begin with. Instead of tossing out clothes that don’t fit, or that you don’t like anymore—sell them!

There are lots of websites that allow you to sell clothing, and stores like Clothes Mentor will pay you for items in good condition.

You probably won’t make a ton of money, but I’d much rather get $20 for a couple of my old dresses than nothing. That $20 can go towards a bill, or a couple of lunches!

3. Pack your meals.

Eating out for lunch and dinner can add up.

If you meal prep at the beginning of each week, you’ll save money. For $10 I can get a salad at a restaurant, or I can make myself a salad for every day of the week.

Little changes can add up to decent savings!

4. Skip the coffee!

I know, sounds crazy, right?! I’m not saying you shouldn’t drink coffee, but stop spending $4 a day at the coffee shop. Buy your own coffee, and make it at home.

5. Join rewards clubs.

It sounds simple, but I can pay off.

I always join the rewards clubs at stores. I save a lot of money grocery shopping this way. I also find that makeup stores offer good discounts to members, and we all spend a lot of money on makeup!

6. Make sure you have a safety net.

Experts suggest having $1,000 in an emergency fund. This way, if your car breaks down or you end up sick, you have money you can use.

If you can’t put $1000 aside right away, just save what you can. You’ll be so thankful to have that emergency fund when something unexpected happens.

7. Collect soda cans!

My coworker does this. He has a trash bag at his desk and asks everyone to toss their empty soda cans inside. Once the bag is full, he recycles it and pockets the money. It’s not a lot, but it is more than he had before!

8. Get a roommate.

If you can, find a roommate.

It’s so nice to have someone to split rent and utilities with. I know not everyone likes living with someone, but you can save a lot of money over the year.

9. Get a part time job.

You’ll need to check your contract, and/or talk to your boss first.

I know a lot of reporters and photographers who have side jobs. Some work in restaurants or at clothing stores. Others are freelance writers and photographers.

Some people sell Avon, Beachbody, and other items. A lot of people babysit. I’ve heard from several anchors and reporters who teach English online. An extra job takes away your free time, but sometimes it’s a necessity if you want to pay your bills and work in TV news.

10. Ask for a raise.

Sometimes, you just have to ask.

If you’re so strapped for cash that you can barely afford to eat or pay rent, talk to your boss. They might say no, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Make your case for why you deserve and need a raise, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get one. ❤️

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1 Comment

  1. My first few years, I had roommates. It helped a ton to split bills, on a TV news salary.

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