The 5: Selena Coppock’s 5 Best Ways to Make It to Payday On Very Little Money


Selena Coppock released her debut stand up album, “Seen Better Days”, and it hit #1 on iTunes for almost a week!  Seen Better Days features 22 hilarious tracks, with stories about unexpected types of bachelorette party strippers, stalking exes through social media, and her dream of opening a gym for recently dumped singles. She is also well known for running a parody NY Times Vows Twitter account where she pretends to be the NY Times wedding section (which has been written about in the NY Times itself). Selena put together this week’s 5 for us, a life hack for all of you who aren’t independently wealthy. The five best ways to make it to payday on very little money.

Order Selena’s new album “Seen Better Days” on iTunes and everywhere albums are sold.

Most people are fascinated by the lives of comedians—the late nights, the fits of inspiration and creativity, the exclusive afterparties where celebrities stop in but you gotta act cool, man, and the feeling of being an insider within one of the most mysterious and exclusive industries in the world. People love taking a peek into the fascinating world of comedy—that’s why entertainment about comedy is so pervasive (Seinfeld, Mulaney, Crashing, Louie, I’m Dying Up Here, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). For 90% of comedians, the reality of the lifestyle isn’t all glamour and after parties—it’s a lot of hustle, struggle, and very lean times. So I present to you a list that will enable any civilian to experience what it’s like to be a comedian—5 Best Ways To Make it to Payday on Very Little Money.

5. Sell Your Possessions.  Right out the gate I’m telling you to sell your stuff, but trust me on this one! It can be as simple as selling some old clothes at a secondhand store (an independently owned shop or a small chain such as Buffalo Exchange) and selling your old CD, DVDs, games, gadgets at a website such as or as involved as setting up a stoop sale where you hang up old clothes, put out gently worn shoes and bags on a sheet or a tapestry on the sidewalk and hope that some passers by are ready to buy. You’d be surprised how people respond to a stoop sale—I’ve hosted a few and made between $20-$70, depending on what I have. Host it with friends and you can combine your efforts, catch up, and manage your anxiety about how you are going to make it to payday, all in one fell swoop!

4. Get Creative With Food, Sleep.  When I am tight on cash, I live on hard boiled eggs and cans of tuna. I might sound like a stray cat, but stray cats are smart and can strut (yeah I’m referencing an overrated 80s song, what’s it to you?) and they eat for cheap. Don’t find yourself out and about and so starving that you’re forced to pony up whatever the local pizzeria or bar is serving and charging—in your pockets or purse, carry some hard boiled eggs and cans of tuna (also a can opener—being broke requires preparation, people!) so that you can eat on the go without paying through the nose.  Similarly, if you can’t afford dinner and you’re home staring into an empty refrigerator, just go to sleep. You can save a lot of money when you sleep through meals!

3. Treat Public Transportation As a Treat.  Strap on your walking shoes because ya know what doesn’t cost you a dime? The mode of transportation known as your legs. When I lived in Chicago circa 2002-2003 and was beyond broke, I would carry sneakers 24/7 and walk everywhere I could, then if it when it was dark out, I’d treat myself to a ride on a bus or the El. Hoo boy, has a sadder phrase ever been printed than “treat myself to a ride on the bus of the El”? If you can eliminate the cost of getting somewhere, it’s easier to stomach the cost of getting home. I realize this is all stunningly depressing, but think of it as getting a workout while saving money—who needs a gym membership when you’re walking a few miles with your pockets stuffed full of hard boiled eggs, tuna cans, and can openers! You’re like a human food truck, minus the truck!

2. Do Your Research.  There are deals to be found, as long as you are open to doing some digging. In New York, is a website and email list of all free and cheap entertainment options. Your city’s Time Out magazine will have lists of fun and cheap nights out. If you are in the comedy community, producers are often posting on Facebook asking for someone to take tickets at the door to their show in exchange for a few drinks and a little cash. Many bakeries slash their prices by 50% in the afternoon to unload the rest of that day’s pastries and New York City’s Alligator and Crocodile Lounge offer a free, personal pizza with every drink you purchase. So pull out some cash for drinks and end up with dinner—win-win.

1. Cut Out or Massively Curb Drinking/Drugs.  If you thought every idea preceding this one seemed painful and boring, well, you aint seen nothing yet! I am one of those self-righteous monsters who is doing Dry January and while I am impressed by how much energy I have and how productive I am when not drinking, I’m not stunned by how little I spend on a night out. When sobriety hasn’t made me completely irritable and annoyed by everyone and everything, I’ve been going out with friends occasionally and most bartenders take pity on me, so they barely charge me for my ginger ales or seltzer with bitters (and YES I know that bitters contains tiny amounts of alcohol—I’m trying to give my liver a break but I’m not allergic to alcohol). Last Saturday I went out and spent a grand total of $5 cash for the night (plus 2 MetroCard swipes, so $10.50 total because I wasn’t willing to walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan in my Saturday night high heels). As little fun as it is to report this, cutting down on or entirely eliminating drinking (or drugs, heck, I don’t know your life) is a serious money saver.

And those tops, my friend, are a few simple ways that you can adopt the lifestyle of a “up and coming comedian” by skating through to payday on very little money!


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