Lately I’ve been thinking about the times when artists and creatives are most thoughtful, concerned or hyper sensitive with business-related animaged personal finances.  Besides the monthly, “pay my rent” blues, my initial thought is that there are at least 3 instances in the year when we are most tuned in to our finances:

1) Tax Time
2) When funding for a main project/production is short
3) Summer

For the next three weeks I’m going to suggest ways to tackle these three scenarios. Let’s start with Scenario 3 since its most timely :

The Summer “money blues” is particularly relevant to teaching artists whose incomes are tied to the academic school year. This August, while planning programmatically for the upcoming year, create your personal budget for the year. First, use last year’s total pay to estimate this year’s pay until you know what the actual amount is. Divide that total number by 12 and write down that monthly amount on a chart with columns labeled (September 2015-August 2016).  Second, under each month subtract the expenses you would regularly have in that month (rent, cell phone, utilities, cable/internet, savings, etc.) Third, figure out if you can live on the funds that remain in each month. This is your starting point for making real decisions about:

– how much you allow yourself to spend each month (food, transportation, shopping, entertainment, etc)

– what sort of jobs and gigs you’ll take to supplement your income from the teaching artist engagement.

– How you price your products? What you charge for your services as an independent contractor/freelancer? What is the minimum wage/salary you’ll agree to?

By doing this exercise and monitoring your progress during the year, you can prepare for any anticipated money shortfalls and escape the 2016 Summer Money Blues 🎶