Fellow Creatives, Is Your Productivity Suffering Because You Spend Too Much Time Worrying About the Bills?
I’ve been there.
The stress was overwhelming.
Late bills. Bounced checks. Both SoCal Gas and the Department of Water and Power ringing my doorbell for disconnection.
Calls from vendors:
- “We regret to inform you that your car is being repossessed at noon today.”
- “The bank has begun foreclosure activity on your mortgage.”
- “Your phone service has been disconnected. Please call financial services to make a payment arrangement today.”
- “Joel, my friend, I’m calling in my loan. If you still can’t pay, I’m going to have to take you to court.”
Let’s not forget those numerous robocalls that said I was being “investigated,” or the pressure my issues had taken on my personal relationships, including my marriage ... or those pawn shops that saved my ass more than once.
I’d say I was a starving, terrified writer when I went through this financial nightmare. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
And then I got smart.
The following are 10 simple “life hacks” to manage your professional career and your personal responsibilities:
- Start shopping at your local 99 Cent store for your conveniences. If you do not have one in your neighborhood, find a similar discount center. After all these years, I still get my (brand name) toiletries and some food there. Am I embarrassed to shop there? Are you kidding? Considering what I went through? Hell no.
- Get rid of your land line. Unless you live in an area where cell phone reception is sketchy, consider losing the land line. Why pay for two phone numbers if you’re dealing with financial issues?
- Lose the office; work on your art from home. Whether you work an unrelated part-time or full-time job, or you do not, many of us either use an area at home to work on our art, or we pay rent and work in an office. Chuck the office. I’ve done exactly this. My office used to be at Paramount Studios. I had the glamour and the history of one of the world’s biggest movie studios as my personal space for two years. I gave it up to work from Starbucks. (I am a writer, after all.) And then …
- When I actually purchased my first bag of my favorite Starbucks coffee from the supermarket for just over double the price of a Venti, and I realized I could make up to ten times the cups for that price … I continued to patronize the brand while saving money on their expensive in-store coffees. I made my coffee from home, poured it into a Starbucks cup purchased from the store, and worked like nothing’s changed.
- Downsize. Sometimes, you need to go with basic service on your cable as opposed to all-in, for example. You can watch many of your favorite shows online anyway. Look to see where you can cut down and do what you have to do.
- Refinance your car loan. Doing so may extend your payments, but if you can spend a few bucks less every month, why not?
- Manage your social media time. You can post on Facebook and Instagram for free, or you can make your posts longer and also write for sites like Medium and/or Vocal while building up a legitimate side income.
- Subscribe to The Penny Hoarder (www.thepennyhoarder.com). You will receive in your inbox excellent advice, on an ongoing basis, as to how best to financially survive during the toughest times.
- Subscribe to Credit Sesame (www.creditsesame.com) to keep track of your credit. Credit Sesame is invaluable for those whose credit has taken a hit, and the site offers practical daily advice as to how to increase your score. Little actions will make a major difference, if followed.
- Buy one lottery ticket a week. It’s never worked for me, but you never know.
I hope I’ve spared you at least some pain. I survived, and I’m not planning to return to that nightmare. If something deleterious were to happen to me or my family tomorrow, however, I’ll be much better prepared.
I’m there for you. I hope this piece helps in some way.
Creative artists need to support one another.
Thank you for reading.
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