In our series Keep The Receipts, we track the extravagant costs of everyday living, as well as the less-common expenses tied to other life moments.
Today, we talk to a 30-year-old freelance photographer who recently moved across the country, from Brooklyn, NY, to Los Angeles, CA. She tells us how she saved up for the trip, how she spent that money, and how she made road-tripping fun on a tight budget.
The following interview has been condensed for clarity and length.
Why did you move — for work, or because you wanted to be in a new city?
"A little bit of both. I lost my job in Brooklyn in April, and after that happened, I was like, oh shit, what am I going to do? I spent the summer busting my ass working as a bartender and trying to get freelance work. I’d been wanting a change for a while, not because I don’t love New York, but because it felt like time to live in another city. It was a good opportunity to say, well, if I can bust my ass here and figure it out, I can bust my ass somewhere else. I’m going to be doing that regardless."
How long did you give yourself to save up?
"I decided to move in May or June but I didn’t have a specific timeline in mind. One day, I was out with a friend of mine who is now my current roommate in L.A., and had recently left Brooklyn. We talked about it, and it seemed like the perfect idea for me to move, and for us to be roommates. Once I decided that, it was a matter of figuring out the logistics and deciding when to leave. I was doing freelance work and bartending, so it wasn’t like I knew how much I would be making each week.
"After I officially decided to go, Eric*, the friend I drove out [to L.A.] with, said he couldn’t leave any earlier than the end of August because he’s in doctoral school. That gave me two and a half months to get my shit together and make as much money as humanly possible. I was hoping for $5,000 and I ended up with a lot more than that, which is great."
*Name has been changed.