This post is more about saving some money for the down times, as anyone who is self-employed knows; there are ups and downs with income and work. It’s something I should point out to you that being a self employed artist is no different to being self employed in any other type of job or career.
So anyway back to the piggy bank, you need to put some dollars and cents away for a rainy day and to make sure you can cover your bills, put food on the table etc etc when the work isn’t coming in so much.
For myself and many other artists, I have seasons where my work seems to sell better, especially coming up to Christmas and in warmer months in general. There is also a time mid year when all the shows and sales are on that work sells well too, so in between times I work on different stuff and make sure I have some money put aside just in case.
Here are some ways to help you save money -
1. Get back to basics. You might find you don’t really need certain phone services such as call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding etc on your land line so cancel those you don’t really need. Do the same with your cell phone, cutting expensive frills saves you a lot in the long run.
2. Pay in cash if you can. Unless you're able to pay your credit card bills in full each month, don't use them for anything you can eat or wear. Try to pay in cash as it helps make yourself aware of how much you're spending and you don’t end up with money wasted on interest charges.
3. Sell unworn clothes or things like your old books etc. you can sell these online on sites like www.trademe.co.nz One mans trash is another mans treasure and what you might normally throw away could mean some extra dollars for you.
4. Plan your tripping around. Combine errands like shopping and picking up kids or dropping off art etc into one trip rather than several and plan your stops for the most efficient route. You'll save yourself time and money.
5. Be a Smart shopper. Choose articles of clothing that you can use to make multiple outfits, and choose colours that are easy to mix and match.
6. Hunt for discounts. Check your local newspapers for advertisements of lunch and dinner specials, as well as early-bird specials. Look for coupons, too. Some fundraisers have things like the Gold card book which is full of discount coupons such as buy one get one free meal and 25% off your entire bill, so well worth the $40 you shell out for the book if you eat out regularly!
7. Cut back on your caffeine costs. Stop buying coffee at cafes. Bringing coffee from home in a Thermos or brewing it at work yourself will actually improve the quality of your morning shot of energy, as well as cut its cost dramatically.
8. Have fun staying home. Tell friends to each bring over a dish and host a potluck, game or movie night.
9. Cancel unused subscriptions. Do you really need that magazine or newspaper that you often don’t get time to read before the next one arrives? Check and see if the publication has an online version you can access for free.
10. Rent movies more economically. Cut down the number of times you rent movies or try an online rental service like Fatso.com that charges a flat rate each month to rent a certain number of movies. Shop around to find the best deal that suits your needs. Best of all there are no late fees on these services.
11. Use your local library. Other than books, you can also borrow movies, music CDs and even exercise videos from the library. Check the selection available at your local library and keep yourself entertained for free.
12. Make a list for shopping its called impulse buying for a reason. Its hard to resist the temptation to purchase extra things while shopping. So without a list you will buy items that you often don’t need. Even worse is when you forget to purchase the actual item you meant to get in the first place. This isn’t just for groceries either, any form of shopping, especially art supplies! Getting all that you need in one trip can help avoid another unnecessary trip too and further temptation.
13. Consolidate and pay off debt as soon as possible. If you have any debt, focus on consolidating it to a lower interest rate, and pay it off as soon as possible. Money paid in interest is money thrown away!
14. Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees and bad credit ratings. If they’re regular bills then try to automate the payments. Some credit-cards attract no interest if you pay them in full by the due date.
15. Watch your electricity usage. When not in use, unplug electric appliances. Apparently, unplugging them instead of just switching them off (As in leaving on standby.) can save you a lot of electricity! When not in a room, switch off the lights, it’s only small things but they add up. Use a programmable thermostat to control your A/C and heater usage. If that's too much, at least know what each appliance uses and unplug a few of them.
16. Quit smoking. Yes I know you’ve heard it all before but really if you want to save money and you smoke, giving up saves you mega bucks! What it saves you on cigarette costs is also boosted by savings on insurance and health care too.
17. Buy Art Supplies in Bulk. Properly cared for, canvas, brushes and paint can be stored for years. So plan ahead. Large art suppliers often have 30% off sales on all canvas and paints. Since artists’ work typically has a high mark-up, waiting for great deals on already cheap art supplies only increases profit margins.
18. Last but not least. If you’re into making crafty stuff and want to save a few dollars, check out this site for some ideas http://save.lovetoknow.com/Creative_Ways_to_Save_Money
Posted: Monday 16 August 2010