Grow your “Frugal February,” emerging artists

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Get creative with recycling and make new items more affordably. (Photo: Bernard Hermant / Unsplash)

Artists can be impulsive, extravagant individuals, and that may lead to slim savings or piles of credit card debts.  Yet many dream of traveling to new cities or countries for inspiration, creative projects or study abroad.

Perhaps it’s time to embrace Frugal February, a smart concept aimed at cutting expenses and lowering credit card debts piled up over the December holidays.  Because February is a short month – and often incredibly cold – it’s easier to stay inside and save money by cooking and eating at home, money management experts say.  

“It’s fun, rather than a struggle,” Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert with the website NerdWallet told the New York Times

Start by tracking all your spending for at least a week. Create a note in your phone, or use a spreadsheet or a simple money management app. It’s important to start with an understanding of how and where you spend money, with as much specifics as possible.

Then think of a goal – something worth saving for – that you need money to achieve.  This goal, whether it’s a big vacation in 2021 or a new bicycle or oil pastels by summer, will help you with willpower to cut back and save more in the month ahead.

Here’s five ways for emerging artists to save during Frugal February:

Find it for free. Collect items from Craigslist free or Freecycle. Seek supplies for your upcoming creative projects on these sites or post what you are seeking and ask people to donate supplies.

Skip the latte. Or skip all dining and drinking out of the home, unless your favorite Aunt is treating you. Make coffee and lunch at home this month. Buy yourself a really lovely thermos or lunch box, from a thrift store or resale shop, of course. If you forgo 20 lattes that would have cost $4.50 each, you will have an extra $90 to spend on summer vacation or other goals.

Rollback spending. If you usually spend $100 a week on food out and fun, scale it back to $65 – just for February. Choose a couple of categories where you will reduce your spending, creatively.

Recycle art materials. Create a swap with other emerging artists to trade art supplies. Or get out the gesso and reuse a few of your own canvases. This trick will save you money and it’s a great habit to establish.

Games and money teams.  Gather a team of creative friends who want to save money and get together to discuss your Frugal February ideas and successes.  And develop a game night or other creative activities at home on  weekends, so you’re not tempted to spend money on entertainment or dining.

Share your progress and plans on social media, too, and engage more friends in your money goals, suggests Palmer of NerdWallet.

If you want more help with Frugal February, read these posts from DIY Playbook and 29Secrets  –and review more money-saving ideas from NerdWallet.

Watch for money management ideas and financial planning strategies for emerging creatives about once a month on the Mint blog.