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Financial goals and gift giving. Timely money management basics for emerging artists

Overloading your budget or your financial goals does not always work well. (Photo: Louis Hansel on Unsplash)

Money management is messy and difficult, especially when you are tempted to splurge on fabulous new restaurants, sweet treats or new shirts or earrings for yourself or your best friend.  And for emerging artists, the desire to buy more art supplies and apply to shows may compete with the desire to go to Miami with friends for spring break.

So Mint Artists Guild is starting a new series of blog posts to help young artists and creatives manage their money, and create more opportunities for themselves by saving.  This first post gives you some starter material to consider and we expect to share about one a month through much of 2020.

So let’s get started.

Set one or two clear financial goals.  Do not go after five goals; it’s just too many. Write down your goals or create a vision board to show them.  (Read this Chicago Tribune piece on another way to visualize your financial goals.) Write your why into the goal, such as: “I want to buy a new computer by April 10, so I can set it up for freelance work over the summer.”  Be specific and give yourself a deadline; you can always extend it if your savings are growing more slowly than you expected. Then set a reminder of your goal on your phone so it pops up at least once a week. And share your goal with someone who cares about you and ask them to check in on your progress at least once a month. 

Anticipate your expenses. Plan ahead for the costs of a graduation road trip or a big exhibit, a new computer or your first apartment. Estimate how much you will need at least four months before – and add 20 percent to your estimate because unexpected costs will show up.  Then plan and save or fundraise, and be clear how much you need to save every month. That way, you will have most of the funds in hand before the big day.

Create handmade gifts. ‘Tis the season to give, and yet your income is not bigger. So start creating some gifts – whether digital prints or fresh-baked brownies. And then in January, create a list of gifts you want to give for 2020 and make most of them that first month of the year.

Another way to land a beautiful gift is to swap with your artist friends. Set up an evening for talking money and trading art or do this at the end of one of your holiday pop ups.

“Here’s my gift giving rule: Respect your current financial situation,” said Suze Orman, an author and financial planning expert. “The way to build your savings is by spending less each month.”