Debt Diaries #2:If You Don’t Have Any Grain, You’re Not Making Any Flour

Debt Diaries #2:If You Don’t Have Any Grain, You’re Not Making Any Flour

Current Debts:

My partner:
$130.00 for picking up my boots from the cobbler
Credit Card: -2,278.96
Overdraft on chequing account: $327.19
Bank Loan: $5,193.48

I like to think of financial literacy as a flour mill…

You pour the grain in the top, and flour comes out the bottom (I think that’s how a flour mill works). I say to myself that becoming more financially savvy isn’t necessarily about finding more grain to put in the top, it’s about improving the machine itself, so that whether you are putting in a small amount of grain or a lot of it, you know the machine is working as efficiently as possible.

I like this metaphor because (despite being oddly agrarian) it counters the trap of “I only need to learn about money when I make money.” See this and other kooky beliefs we artists hold about money HERE.

But recently, I have found the limits of this.

I’m currently hustling butt trying to get enough hours in at a couple new jobs while still keeping my time open and flexible for auditions. It’s meant I have a whole lot of no grain. I’m realizing that even when you have a real slick machine, it looks like “alright, that grain has been processed…” And then you sit there for a million years waiting for more grain to come in. Because if you don’t have any grain, you’re not making any flour, no matter how good you’ve made your machine.

So, onward hustle for me as I try to get enough money to live and also start to pay off debts. Wish me luck!

Emily Nixon

Emily Nixon

Rags to Reasonable Community Outreach Coordinator

Emily Nixon is an actor/writer/director/filmmaking Swiss Army Knife. She is also a big money nerd and Community Outreach Coordinator for Rags to Reasonable.

She came to this work after becoming completely fed up with living paycheque-to-paycheque and being too afraid to look in her chequing account. She is passionate about empowering other artists and variable income earners to keep doing what they love and feel confident about their finances.

Email Emily at emily@ragstoreasonable.com

Artist Debt Diaries #1: Having Debt Doesn’t Make Me Any Less of a Badass

Artist Debt Diaries #1: Having Debt Doesn’t Make Me Any Less of a Badass

I’ve recently taken on some debt. I was on EI for a while, supplementing with my savings. Lemme tell you, trying to live off 60% of your pre-tip server income is not cute. They want you to pay taxes on your tips but are not willing to insure them. Oyyy, don’t get me started. The only way to make it through this period was to use my savings. And woah mama, was it a hard to convince myself to touch that money. But, ya know, eating, so I did.

I decided to use this period to shift to making all my non-acting money in film production. I know I will be doing more directing, so I want to get a better understanding of how the positions work together. I decided to apply for my IATSE permit status. I took the required courses ($$) and submitted my application in November.

I waited to hear back from IATSE and, after waiting a month and a half, was rejected. “Get more experience,” they said. Fair enough.

So I spent the next couple months volunteering my butt off on short films and industrial videos. “Great!” I thought. “Now I know the proper names of all the equipment AND the dirty names. I’m set!” I finish off my savings and decide to take out a loan from the bank. I feel confident about making the minimum monthly payments and I’m eager to push forward with production work. I’m determined not to go back to the serving/childcare/catering hustle.

With a shiny new resume, I reapply. And was rejected again. Alright, okay, alright, okay…So now, I’m out of savings and have taken on a loan from my bank. I had planned to be moving into production daily work by this time, but clearly that’s not going to happen.

SO. Option…what am I on…F? I’m going to get another serving job and hustle my butt off doing odd jobs. I’m going to keep volunteering on films, then reapply to IATSE, then hopefully change all my non-artist work to being in production until the point where I hope I’ll be able to make all my income as an artist. Are there any other artists out there who feel like their employment plan is mega complicated? If x happens, then I’ll do y, which will temporarily pay my rent until option z kicks in, which will tide me over until x1 occurs. I feel like I need a big board with pictures and coloured yarn connecting everything.

At this point, I’m out of savings and living paycheque to paycheque which I haven’t had to do for years. I have debt from a $6,000 bank loan. Oh, and $2,000 on a credit card, which I haven’t mentioned yet. And I’m still planning on finding a serving job…which is exactly what I was trying to avoid.

This is both a super stressful situation (I haven’t had money-related hives in a while-hello, old friends) and an opportunity for me to do this work and share it along the way. A chance for me to do an artist debt diaries. Which is kind of rad.

I’m trying to remind myself that being in debt does not make me (or you) any less of a badass. I took it on with purpose, so I feel good about that. I used the time that it bought me to make my first animated film, write a ton, and apply (and reapply) for IATSE. I have ideas for how I can make income, and even though I know I don’t want to serve, cater, and do child care indefinitely, maybe knowing that I’m using them as a short-term solution will help me maintain a good headspace. I am driven. I have the skills to dig myself out of this. And even though it feels like I’m free falling right now, I know that if I gather my internal resources (how can I make this much money? Can I realistically cut back there?), I will make it through and begin the slow journey of building back up. I am still a badass.

If you’re also on this debt repayment journey as an artist, comment. I’d love to hear where you’re at on this debt crushing journey.

Emily Nixon

Emily Nixon

Rags to Reasonable Community Outreach Coordinator

Emily Nixon is an actor/writer/director/filmmaking Swiss Army Knife. She is also a big money nerd and Community Outreach Coordinator for Rags to Reasonable.

She came to this work after becoming completely fed up with living paycheque-to-paycheque and being too afraid to look in her chequing account. She is passionate about empowering other artists and variable income earners to keep doing what they love and feel confident about their finances.

Email Emily at emily@ragstoreasonable.com

Debt isn’t a goal, it’s what’s standing in the way

Debt isn’t a goal, it’s what’s standing in the way

Money isn’t about money.

That’s what I wish I could communicate better to the legions of people who really don’t care about their finances.

Paying back debt might not be exciting for them.

Saving for retirement doesn’t give them a sense of Christmas morning level thrill.

I want to tell them that I honestly understand where they’re coming from. Those things aren’t fireworks and puppies for me either.

Financial practise is not fun for me because I love numbers… I love it because it’s a gateway to a whole bunch of other stuff that I care about way more (like fireworks and puppies).

“I just want to get to a place where I don’t have to think about money”

That used to be my greatest wish.

How do I get enough money to just not have to worry about this stuff anymore.

At what stage can I afford to block this out of my life forever?

But now I think I was thinking about things in the wrong way. To me, money isn’t a goal in itself. Bank balances don’t provide fulfillment.

Money is a gateway to other things that matter way more.

The five things that I want

I have a rotating list of goals and values. Sometimes they’re specific – like a vacation or business investment. Sometimes they’re more general values – like ‘family’ or ‘adventure’.

They’re the five things that I want to be working on right now.

They’re the five things that ideally my time, energy and money are going towards.

They’re the five things that matter right now.

That’s what money is about.

The stuff that’s getting in the way of the stuff you want

And this is why people are always circling around to things like ‘debt’.

Debt sucks up tons of money from right now to just tread water with interest payments. It blocks the gateway between your cash and your goals.

Debt reduction isn’t necessarily a goal in itself. Most of us aren’t super enthused about paying off debt. Debt becomes a major focus because it’s taking a bunch of the capital that we could be using on the stuff that gets us actually pumped up.

Like 5 days on a beach, a drink in your hand… and a head that’s blissfully thinking of anything BUT money.

Chris Enns

Chris Enns

Financial Planner/Opera Singer

Money never came naturally to me. In fact... I was a bit of a disaster. I remember (very clearly) what it feels like to be 'financially out of control'.

And honestly, I still get stressed about money... that doesn't stop... the difference is that now I have the tools to deal with that stress.

And those tools are what's made it possible for me to build a life full of the things I want: art, creativity, travel, family and more.

If you want to start getting control of your money I'd love to help. You can start with THIS QUIZ, visiting my GETTING STARTED PAGE or by checking out my SERVICES page.

Lindsay VS her debt: 5 tips for getting your debt back on track

Lindsay VS her debt: 5 tips for getting your debt back on track

5 ways to get your debt back on track
Who’s it for: People who are paying off their debt.

What’s it about: Getting back on track when you lose focus.
This is Part 5 in a series. You can read PART 1 HERE.

It’s been a while since I’ve been back to school, but there’s still something about the fall that has that “back to reality” feel, even though I’ve been working all summer. Time to re-evaluate. Time to get down to business.

I’m going to be honest – the summer slipped away and so did my budget, my plans, and my goals. The summer was glorious – don’t get me wrong – but now that the fall reality has set in, I’m feeling a bit disappointed with myself. What happened to my plan of being debt-free by 30? I found myself living in a way that I was really trying to get away from – living too much in the moment without thinking about consequences. This is how we get ourselves into debt, friends. I always want to be as present as I can be, but I also need to live in my own reality. And my reality is that I’m loaded with debt, and I don’t want to live that way.

After some reflection, I knew it was time to take real action. So here it is: my not that fun debt crackdown.

STEP 1:

Credit card goes away.

I clearly can’t handle having a credit card, because somehow during my debt-free challenge I ended up increasing my credit limit, and then maxing out the card. UGH! Some financial gurus suggest you cut up your card. I personally am just going to lock mine away – I’m not going to give up over 10 years of credit-building history, thank you very much. It’ll just be away.

STEP 2:

Save $1000.

A Dave Ramsay special. Right now I don’t have any savings, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. $1000 will probably be enough to take care of me in any kind of minor emergency.

STEP 3:

Save up one month of budget-necessary income.

Alright. I had a budget crack-down. I LOVE giving myself flexibility and room to enjoy my life, but one day I’m also going to love not having to make payments. I’ve made a minimalist budget of $1800/month, and I plan on sticking to it!

STEP 4:

Suck it, subscriptions!

Netflix stays, but everything else has gone. I’ve cut my phone bill from what once was $103 per month to about $45 per month. Some things I’ve been lucky enough to save on via family share. Thanks mom & dad!

STEP 5:

Track EVERYTHING the old fashioned way.

No more apps. No more automation. Just me, paper, pen, and (let’s be honest), the calculator on my phone.

STEP 6: (bonus step?)

Read all the books and blogs.

I’ve found that I’m having a really difficult time staying focused and motivated on debt payment this time around. I was wondering why, until something hit me like a ton of bricks. What I realized is that by just living day to day, we’re constantly being pulled to consume. Waking up and going to work and coming home is filled with temptations and pressures to spend. Last time I was paying off debt, I was constantly reading through debt payment blogs and books. This time, not so much. I’ve realized that for me, I need for debt payment to be a stronger message in my life than the message to consume, and that takes work. By reading books, blogs, and scrolling through debt-payment Pinterest pages, I can try and counteract the spending pressures with messages of saving, and improve my chances of success.

 

So where am I at today? My total debt iiiissss: $10,470.29

Am I going to pay off all of that in 3 months? Unlikely. But am I going to make a solid effort? YOU BETCHYA! Wish me luck!

5 ways to get your debt back on track

Want to start getting control of your money? How can I help?

Chris Enns

Chris Enns

Financial Planner/Opera Singer

Money never came naturally to me. In fact… I was a bit of a disaster. I remember (very clearly) what it feels like to be ‘financially out of control’.

And honestly, I still get stressed about money… that doesn’t stop… the difference is that now I have the tools to deal with that stress.

And those tools are what’s made it possible for me to build a life full of the things I want: art, creativity, travel, family and more.

If you want to start getting control of your money I’d love to help. You can start with THIS QUIZ, visiting my GETTING STARTED PAGE by checking out my SERVICES page.

Lindsay VS her debt: Part 4 – BUDGET AHOY!!!!

Lindsay VS her debt: Part 4 – BUDGET AHOY!!!!

Budget Island

*The following is part 4 of a year-long series. If you want to start from the beginning, learn about who Lindsay is, and check out how much debt she started with…  check out PART 1.*

Well, friends, remember that time I was going to try and pay off over $1000 this month?

That didn’t even happen a little bit.

May ended up being a crazy busy month – it flew by before I realized it had even started. Along with it being busy work wise, I’ve found myself a bit, well… distracted as of late. So I didn’t budget. And then the month ended. And then I found out I only had $490 to pay towards my debt… so that’s where I’m at. UGH!

The amazing thing about failures is that they have the ability to become amazing learning experiences. The biggest thing I learned from last month, is that I seriously… SERIOUSLY! need to use a budget.

I’ve been using YNAB (à la Chris) for about 8 months or so now, and I use it fairly consistently. To be honest, I thought it was a good thing to have, but I didn’t really understand why it was important. (I’m on top of my finances because I use budgeting software! Look at me! Gold star!)

I basically never stick to my budget. I constantly adjust and move amounts and overspend – it’s pretty much always in flux. So if I was adjusting it all the time, it really didn’t matter that much, right?

WRONG!!!! (more…)

Lindsay vs Her Debt: Part 3 – Breaking all the Rules

Lindsay vs Her Debt: Part 3 – Breaking all the Rules

Lindsay vs Her Debt - From Rags to Reasonable

*The following is part 3 of a year-long series. If you want to start from the beginning, learn about who Lindsay is, and check out how much debt she started with…  check out PART 1.


Hello again, friends! I can’t believe two whole months have gone by since I started. Time flies!

Today I wanted to talk a bit about my debt paying strategy, why personal finance is personal, and why I’m breaking the rules. I feel like a bit of a debt paying bandit!

Somewhere out there, Dave Ramsey just had a chill up his spine, but has no idea why…

Anyway! Let’s start from way back at the beginning, because to me it’s extremely important that if you ARE going to break rules, you need to know:

  • that you’re breaking them, and
  • why you’re breaking them.

Why I’m breaking the rules:  (more…)

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