Posted in Blog, Money Talk, Reclaim Your Creative Soul

Organizing your finances to make room for your art – Part 1

I’m gearing up to release a new book next month called, Reclaim Your Creative Soul: The Secrets to Organizing Your Full-Time Life to Make Room For Your Craft. There’s a couple great reasons why this book came to me. First, the book was born from a soul retreat I took last year when I felt like life was caving in on me. The experience was so powerful, it changed my life forever. And this book started to form in my mind. Second, I’ve had a lot of people come to me, asking how I am able to produce book after book when I hold a full-time job, raise a family, volunteer, etc. I knew I had to share what I had learned over the years, because life should never get in the way of one’s art.

One of the sections of my book deals on organizing finances. Being that this is the beginning of the year, and many people are looking at ways to better manage their money, I thought I’d share this section over the next few days. I’m splitting it into 3 parts, offering you all a true sneak preview of this book before it’s even published (date still unknown).

Please let me know what you think in the comments. 🙂

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money billsChapter 7 of Reclaiming Your Creative Soul: Managing Your Money

There’s a reason why the term “starving artist” is so popular. Hardly anyone wakes up one day, decides to create art, and becomes instantly rich and famous from their creations. The reality is that your art will not make you money in those first few years. There’s even a possibility that it will never make you a significant amount of money, and you will have to learn how to balance your art with other ways to support yourself until you retire.

Why are we trying to be artists then? Oh yeah, because we love this as much as we love breathing.

If you’re still reading this after figuring out that art is not a get rich quick scheme (shocker!), then I have good news for you—you don’t necessarily have to be starving to be an artist. You just need to learn how to manage your money better. Not only will this allow more of your hard-earned income to land in your pocket, but it will also free you from a good amount of stress you’re probably feeling that is standing in the way of true creativity.

Money is a passionate subject for me, mostly because there was a time when I had none. I know what it’s like to be days away from payday, and wonder how I’m going to make a can of beans and crackers stretch until then. I know what it’s like to have the electricity shut off and no money to turn it back on. I know what it’s like to depend on government aid to be able to feed my family and stretch my meager income. I know what it’s like to live without.

Through hard work and diligence, I was able to escape the clutches of poverty. I started working at the newspaper, and my income grew. I met my husband and we eventually moved in together, doubling our income in the process. I was able to build up my non-existent credit through a couple of low-balance credit cards. Financially, life was most definitely looking up.

Of course, more money, more problems, right?

With a larger paycheck and more credit, I suffered amnesia about what it was like to live a simple lifestyle. My expenses grew faster than my income, and credit became my crutch. While I lived in poverty, I had no debt. But out of poverty, my bills included hundreds of dollars that I was paying each month to credit cards. Not only did our wedding and extra book costs end up on credit cards, but so did some of our simple living costs. If I didn’t have money for something, I used my credit card to get through. After all, the minimum payments would only rise a few dollars, right?

Wrong.

It’s amazing how fast credit card debt can increase when you’re not careful. I remember looking at the amount of money I was spending each month and feeling disgusted when I saw much of my paycheck was going toward credit cards. There I was, making more money than I ever had in my life, and I still felt that same dread about money that I did in my days of poverty. I was caught in a never-ending money cycle—pay all the minimum payments for my credit cards, have too little left over after bills, use credit cards to make ends meet, repeat.

Around this time, my husband and I signed up for a money management course called Financial Peace University. Around this time, I still had a lot of pride about money, and I was sure that there was nothing this course was going to teach me that I didn’t already know. After all, I spent years living on a meager budget and living without credit. I figured this would just be a simple brush-up, since I was already an expert on budgeting.

Because, you know, my debt proved how well I handled money, right?

It became clear how little I actually knew about money. The lessons I learned shaped a new way to handle my money. It allowed me to reconfigure my bills so that I could break free from living paycheck to paycheck. I’m happy to say that I no longer have credit card debt, and I now have money left over for fun things, like taking the whole family to Hawaii over the summer.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to never be burdened by money again? Think about how good it would feel to devote your time to your art without worrying about whether it’s going to pay the bills or not.

The truth about money stress is that it tends to overwhelm every single aspect of your life. While it’s true that money can’t buy you happiness, living in debt can make you miserable. It hinders the creative process, fills your life with fear, and can send you into a pit that feels impossible to escape. Society has taught us that living in debt is normal. We’ve come to believe that credit is a way of life. We have become slaves to our money, and we’re okay with this. We’re told that buying things we can’t afford will make us happy. But where is this happiness when it’s time to pay the bill?

I am not a rich person in the least. However, I suffer very little stress when it comes to money. The financial course my husband and I took revealed so much to both of us about money, alleviating us from a lot of needless stress.

I want this for you, as well. So with the financial wisdom I gained from this course, along with living this wisdom in real life, I want to share four steps you can do right now that will free you from a lot of worry in regards to finances.

Read Part 2 by clicking here.

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Author:

Author, writer, blogger. Follow me at crissilangwell.com.

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