I’ve been working on my budget for the past week. I live on a fixed income and recent events have made my financial situation very unstable.
I’ve never been good with money, it’s no secret. I’m probably the last person that should have a credit card. When my depression hits hard my brain looks for comfort, and it finds it in food and things. I spend money I don’t have on both of these things. Mostly food.
I’m trying though. I’m doing my best to wrestle control of my life away from my mental conditions. It’s not easy.
Structure is huge for me. I require routine. The problem is that I’m the only one who can impose a routine on myself, and I’m very bad at that.
I worked out a schedule for myself. It’s hard to stick to. I think I’ve figured something out though. Having the schedule isn’t enough. I need goals to achieve as well. I have to have something that I am working towards and a way to quantify my progress. I’ve come up with some modest weekly goals that I hope will help keep me motivated.
Further, I’ve worked out my budget, taking into account all of my monthly expenses. I think I have a workable budget that will let me pay off my visa completely in 12 months. Faster if I’m lucky enough to make some extra money here or there. I’ve just sold my animation desk, so that will cut down on how long it will take to clear the visa. Hopefully over the course of the year I’ll pick up other commissions and contract jobs, and maybe sell some stuff to speed up the process.
I’ve built some spending money into the budget as well. As much as part of my brain wants to say “Just dump all of your remaining money after your expenses onto your Visa” I know that if I do that I won’t be able to stick to the budget long term. I need to set aside some funds to do stuff with, like going to a movie, or having dinner out with a friend.
The new budget will be starting in earnest in November. October I’ll be using to get everything prepared for November. Bringing all my bills down to zero (minus the visa of course) in preparation for November’s fresh start. I’ll be keeping a close eye on my bills from now on to make sure that they are what they’re supposed to be. I’ll be paying especially close attention to my Phone bill, as that seems to be the one that tries to charge me more than it should.
During the course of making my budget I looked into reducing my costs by changing the level of internet service I currently get. I decided it wasn’t worth it. If I went to the next tier down, I could save $10 a month, but I’d cut my internet speed in half. The tier below that would save me $30 a month, but I’d be at a quarter of the speed I am now. It’s just not worth it.
I’ve also been thinking of trading in my Van for a smaller vehicle with better gas mileage. I only make use of the cargo capacity of my van maybe four times a year, and three of those times are as favours to other people who need help moving stuff. My previous car cost about $75 to fill the tank, which I would get roughly 400km out of. The van costs roughly $130 to fill the tank, and I get roughly 500km out of a tank city driving. Ideally it would be nice to make some money off of the trade that I could put on to the Visa, but even a straight 1 for 1 trade would help in reducing my monthly gas budget. I’d want my dad to help me handle that though, I just don’t have enough experience to do it on my own.
I’ve worked out a plan that will hopefully see me opening up a website devoted to my art in January of 2014. My current schedule would have me opening with 12 prints available for purchase at the time of launch, with 4 new prints added each month thereafter. This would also become the platform from which I would sell my t-shirt designs, but one step at a time.
From my spending money fund, I’m hoping to put aside some money each month towards the purchase of the next tool I want to invest in. I currently do much of my work on a Cintiq 21UX, and it’s the best tool I’ve ever owned. What I’ve been looking in to is basically a portable version. It’s not as robust as the cintiq, but it makes up for that in it’s portability and multi-functionality. I would very much like to purchase a Microsoft Surface Pro 128gb.
A number of artists whom I admire have been making use it, and have convinced me that it would be a worthy addition to my toolbox. Also, it’s been a long time since I’ve had anything like a laptop, so it would be nice to have that flexibility again in my computing needs. I wish I’d had one of these when I was in the comic program last year, it would have been a god send. The surface recently had a price drop, but it’s still out of my range. I expect it’ll be some time before I’ll be able to afford it.
So that’s where I am just at the moment.