How can you live the high life of the rich and famous while still being merely the broke and struggling? Here are six apps to hack your way into the lap of luxury until you can finally afford that personal assistant to abuse. Living the dream!
1. MEDITATION GURU
Oh, sure. You could financially support your own guru who lives in your pool house year round and personally guides all your meditation sessions toward enlightenment. But you don’t own a pool house and last night you ate half a jar of peanut butter for dinner. Try Headspace instead.
The science behind the benefits of meditation is way the heck in by now, but what a lot of people get caught up in is a spiritual materialism, wherein they’re promised unrealistic benefits as a part of an expensive program. We, as actors, are especially prone to this. It takes a lot of optimism and determination to keep going in a business full of rejection and it’s easy to want to believe in something that promises to ease our burden or make us successful, no matter the cost. From visualization to The Secret, you can’t throw a rock in this world without hitting someone who’s selling the idea of blissful, easy success. Which is why we love this app from Andy Puddicombe over in the UK. By giving an honest account of what meditation is and isn’t, it helps you create a daily habit of meditation with grounded expectations of what is to be gained from it. The only thing blissful here is the bliss of being free from thinking there’s any such thing as bliss.
Visit http://headspace.com to read about the app, check out their terrific blog posts, podcast, user stories, and more. The app gives you 10 free days of meditation coaching and then after that, it’s a small monthly fee ($12.95 or less, if you’re willing to commit to more than a month-by-month basis) to gain access to its extensive library of additional content. As an added bonus, you’ll never have to deal with the embarrassment of finding out your expensive, live-in guru has a sex tape. Is that a thing that’s happened to an actor? Eh, probably.
2. LIFE COACHING
Ah, life coaches. Such a nice idea, but then you find out you’re paying hundreds of dollars to another actor who’s in exactly your position, telling you how to be successful while also living on her ex-boyfriend’s couch until she can afford a new place. Keep out of any such awkward situations by downloading the far more affordable Coach.me app. Starting you off with a whole slate of programs like “Personally Grow,” “Get Fit,” “Be Productive,” and more, the Coach.me app gives you access to a set series of goals to achieve, backed by a community of other people working toward the same goals, with reminders, check-ins, “props,” and weekly targets.
There’s even access to a paid human coach if you so desire, but don’t look at us if it turns out to be another couch surfer who’s mainly living on ramen too.
Visit http://coach.me to find out more.
3. ANXIETY MANAGEMENT
If there’s one thing widely known about actors, it’s that we’re very emotional creatures who typically love to nurture and be nurtured. Enter SAM, an anxiety management tool that’s completely free to download and use. It assists you in monitoring your anxious thoughts (say, ahem, ones you’re having before an audition) and put them into their proper context using the principles behind cognitive behavioral therapy. You can rate your immediate anxiety, log your anxious thoughts, and track them over time. Plus it provides prompts to help you address typical anxious thoughts and practice self-care. It also gives you access to a community of other people doing the same. It’s a robust little app that provides guidance in daily life when you can’t have a therapist with you at all times.
As it warns on the app, however, it is certainly not a substitution for therapy if that’s what you’re in need of. As the Dos Equis guy might say in this situation, “Stay realistic, my friends.” But this is certainly a good alternative to having a direct line to some expensive Manhattan therapist who has his own talk show and line of “superfood” vitamins
Visit http://sam-app.org.uk/ for more info.
4. LAUNDRY SERVICE
Ugh, doing one’s own laundry is time consuming and dumb. For those of us who are crazy busy and don’t have their own personal assistant to scream at for not getting the salad dressing on the side as specifically requested, this is a great app that provides a laundry pick-up/delivery service. This one, however, is a little on the pricey/treat yo self side, which is not me right now. It’s like $5 a shirt for dry cleaning, y’all. It’s like the step just before having your own personal assistant to berate. I’ll just have to dream about this one for the time being.
Visit http://getwashio.com for more info. Major cities only right now.
5. DOG WALKING
Again, if only you had some personal assistant to be a diva to. Then you could make him or her walk your precious purse dog while you’re talking to your publicist about the horrible thing you said on The Tonight Show and figuring out how you’re going to walk that one back. If only! Instead, you’ll have to settle for Rover, an app that allows you to schedule an insured dog walker within 20 seconds while, instead of giving your imaginary publicist a migraine, you are sitting through three different auditions all over town where everyone looks just like you. Oh, well. At least you can distract yourself by looking at the photos of your dog that the dogwalker sends you during the walk. That’s something, right?
And the benefit of Rover is that they also offer dog boarding, dog sitting, and housesitting. And don’t worry, you’ll get that personal assistant someday. And they will hate working for you. They’ll start a Twitter account just to chronicle the horrible things you say to them. Now doesn’t that make you feel better?
Visit Rover for more info: https://www.rover.com/dog-walking/
ED. NOTE: This dog walking recommendation was updated with the Rover info, after we were made aware they’d acquired Zingy, the previously listed company. And they offer so much more and in many more cities!
6. MONEY MANAGEMENT
Business managers. A must have for the wealthy. But they’re also prone to stealing your money, jetting off to Brazil, and buying mansions from Hitler’s poolboy (anyone remember The Money Pit? yeah, that’s part of the plot of The Money Pit, you guys).
You know what would never steal your money, because it’s not sentient . . . yet? You guessed it, an app. Level Money happens to be my personal favorite of the budgeting apps out there. With a variety of tools to tell you what you can spend in a day/week/month, sock away, and budget, it covers everything you need to do with your finances while also having a great user interface and good lookin’ charts. And it won’t steal your money. It will, however, rise up with Skynet to destroy the human race once it is sentient. That’s just what computer programs do. Don’t worry about it.
So leave the corrupt business managers of the world to buy their Hitler’s pool boy mansions (seriously, The Money Pit, I am not making that up) and visit https://levelmoney.com/ for more info.
Lindsay Katai is a writer/performer/debtor who has worked at Casting Networks since 2010.