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June 22, 2011

What It Costs to Be Me: U.S. Edition

woman on phone

Photo Credit: Clayton Hauck

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Natalie Kilgore, 31
Nashville, Tennessee
Occupation: Music publicist
Annual income: $60,000 (plus a bonus)
Average income in Nashville: $38,266
Home, sweet home: "I own a 900-square-foot cottage in an artsy neighborhood just a couple of minutes from Music Row, where all the record labels are based. I pay $700 per month for my mortgage, and am constantly scouring vintage shops for pieces to add to the '50s retro-chic look of the place."
Bills, bills, bills: "It's about $120 a month for utilities and another $170 per month for my iPhone and USB aircard, which lets me work from any back lot or airport. I don't have cable — with so much great live music, film, and art just minutes away, I don't see the point."
Meal plan: "I try not to buy too many groceries, since my job can have me going to events at a moment's notice. This business is all about 'let's do lunch,' which usually means someone else is picking up the tab. I'll head out to a neighborhood joint for dinner and a glass of wine, which costs me $20 or so."
The weekender: "Since I socialize all week, Saturdays are just for me. I often go antique shopping — I love refurbishing old pieces. There's a mid-century Dutch chair in my garage that I picked up for $30 that just needs an arm reset. At night, I'll see a movie or go to a concert. Eighty bucks is an expensive night for me."
Only in Nashville: "It's really inexpensive to be a music fan here. The Basement showcases up-and-coming acts on Tuesday nights, and admission is free. It's the hot spot."
My big splurge: "I have to walk the red carpet at awards shows with my clients, so it's important to look somewhat glamorous myself as their representative. I have a closetful of cocktail dresses and gowns that cost me anywhere from $75 to $200 apiece."
The shoe index: "I bought a pair of off-the-hook, 5-inch, Rock & Republic black-studded stilettos in Vegas, on sale for $225. Very rock star!"
The view from the ground: "The music business is definitely still struggling with illegal downloads. And since music is Nashville's bread and butter, it definitely affects us. I've seen many of my friends get laid-off or be forced to change career paths because of the decline in music sales."

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