Pro tips Q&A with stand-up comedian & podcast host Matt Bachus

Myelle Lansat


Myelle Lansat

Myelle Lansat

News Editor

Myelle Lansat is a news editor at Policygenius, where she writes the Easy Money newsletter and covers insurance and personal finance. Previously, she was a personal finance writer at CNBC and Acorns, and a reporter for Business Insider.

Published August 13, 2020 | 4 min read

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Stand-up comedian Matt Bachus has made his fair share of financial blunders, like moving to New York City on a comedian’s salary and living in a windowless room to keep rent down. Instead of crying about it, he started a personal finance podcast called “Hold My Bread” to create a resource for others to break down the denser parts of personal finance, while still being able to laugh and have fun.

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This interview has been lightly edited for style and clarity.

How did you prepare financially to move to New York City?

I was performing a lot of stand-up comedy all over the country for a few years and was lucky enough to live at home rent-free. That really helped me stack up a nice bankroll for the move. I paid off my bills, sold my car and mentally prepared to live on a thin budget then tried my best to stay under that budget — while still buying sneakers.

Did you stick to that plan or did you have to pivot?

I did a good job preparing before I moved, but nothing really prepared me for what I was getting into. Just moving into a place and everything that comes with that had a huge impact on my savings within just a few days. New York is the kind of city where they land the plane and you take two steps out of the airport and you’ve already spent $60 somehow.

How did you budget during your first few years?

I had to live. There was a lot of sleeping though breakfast, eating one big meal for the day around 5 p.m., living in a windowless bedroom so my rent was lower. A lot of sacrifices that people like to say makes for a good story until you’re living in it.

What’s your No. 1 financial advice for someone looking to do the same?

Save money, pay off bills, have as little debt as possible and don’t move to New York during a pandemic.

So, what’s a stand-up comic doing with a financial podcast?

Comedians aren’t known for being the most financially stable and finance can be so boring. My cohost Joel Walkowski and I wanted to create a resource for people to learn with us while still being able to laugh and have fun to break up how dense a lot of finance is. There are a lot of finance podcasts out there, but we really try to separate ourselves by putting in educational things and news stories while still making each other laugh.

How can having a sense of humor improve our financial well-being?

Timing is very important in both. I think they’ve both taught me to keep my eyes and ears open to both observe what’s funny and what to write about in the same way it’s important to pick up on trends around you that influence the market.

It never feels good to lose money. I love a good gamble, but I’ve had some bad beats financially and just in life. Sometimes all you can do is laugh because if you don’t laugh you’re just going to cry and you can’t cry forever.

What’s your current money goal & how are you working toward it?

Remember that windowless room I told you about? Rent in New York is insane and I’m working toward being able to move out and afford a place with a window — maybe even two. I’m trying my best to get my podcast to help bring in money while making wise investments and taking advantage of what I can during these strange times.

What’s the biggest money mistake you see other people make?

Being a comedian means I’m very reliant on myself in a lot of ways so the better tools I have to help make money and make good decisions with that money the better. I never felt school prepared me financially and given the state of things lately it’s important to learn the skills to help yourself financially and know when those skills are most useful. I also think having good credit is underrated.

What’s the worst financial advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve been given some pretty bad tips on betting parlays that cost me more times than I’d like to remember.

What’s the best financial advice you’ve ever received?

My mom told me about the 52-week challenge years ago and I’ve been doing it ever since. I recommend that to all of my friends anytime they’re curious about saving and anybody not familiar should look into it.

What’s the best money you’ve ever spent?

I’ve never regretted spending money on a pair of nice sneakers.

What’s the best money you’ve ever saved?

Any money I’ve ever made doing stand up comedy feels like it’s worth 10 times what it actually is.

Image: Nastia Kobzarenko