Before Nicole Polizzi, aka Snooki., started making millions for her love of partying in Jersey Shore’s heyday, she and her fellow castmates only made a wage from working shifts at the Shore Store, a T-shirt shop, during the show’s first season.
“We would get $200 a week from the Shore Store,” Polizzi, 30, told InStyle for the magazine’s new column, Money Talks. “I had never gotten that much in a week, like, every single week, because you usually get paid every two weeks. That was crazy for me.”
Polizzi also said she never experienced a gender wage gap during her time on the MTV reality series.
“We all got the same pay on Jersey Shore,” she said. “If we didn’t, I probably would’ve freaked out.”
Polizzi said she grew up in a middle-class Italian family and was forced to get a job at 13 years old. After getting fired as a bus girl, she got into retail and worked at the department store Filene’s.
“I stayed in the sales associate world for a while and went to Forever 21,” she said. “Then, in high school, I worked at a baseball stadium selling food and drinks. I got awesome tips there.”
“I always have to take a car service because I can’t drive in the city,” she said. “The last time I did, I hit, like, seven cars. I also like to change up my purses. I’m not really a designer person, but I do love designer bags, so once in a while I’ll buy myself a new Gucci or Louis, but I would say that’s every six months, not even. I spend a lot on the kids when it comes to new outfits and shoes and toys, which I need to calm down with.”
Polizzi said the best thing money has brought her is the opportunity for her kids to go to college and have a good future. Though she admits she spoils them sometimes, Polizzi wants to make sure they “work for their money,” just like her parents taught her.
- Want to keep up on the latest from PEOPLE? Sign
up for our daily newsletter to get our best stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox.
RELATED VIDEO: The Jersey Shore Girls (Plus Vinny!) Reunite for Sammi Sweetheart’s 30th Birthday Bash
MTV recently brought Polizzi and her housemates, minus Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola, back to TV for Jersey Shore Family Vacation. While Polizzi doesn’t have plans to stop working anytime soon, she has started thinking about retirement.
“I have a retirement account,” she said. “As far as when I’m going to stop working, I never want to stop, because I love what I do. I love reality. I love having my own brand and my own business. I like keeping busy. If I’m not doing anything, I feel like I’m wasting my time. I definitely don’t want to stop, ever. I’ll work until I stop breathing.”
Jersey Shore Family Vacation airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on MTV.