Budget Managing As A Musician: How To Manage Your Money
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Being a musician requires investing into things you need for your work. Some of them are essentials, others we think are essentials. If you are new to all of this, I am sure you will or already are going through the struggle of music and budget. Never sounded very nice to me when you put these two together, but it is what it is. Managing your budget as a musician is important and will always be.
If you just started out in music, and especially if you are an independent artist/band, then the struggle with managing your budget is real. Here is a few things you should have in mind to keep your money situation in control.
Understanding how budget and personal finances work
If you are a beginner to this, I promise you a lot of overwhelming situations. But don’t get scared. It’s doable if you put in the time and effort. Understanding personal finances will give you a better look in how money saving an money spending works. In the beginning of our careers, it is very hard to have extra money to pay someone to handle your money, so learning to do your budget yourself will do you good.
Set the priorities straight
When managing your budget, you should know how much you have in total, what exactly goes for what and when. This will prevent you from staying broke. In every situation in life where money are involved, not just in music. You need to know what exactly needs to be covered first. If it is the place you are renting for a rehearsal, that is the first thing you cover so your band can continue jamming. If it is the studio you’re going to record in this month, that is where the money go first. You need to set your priorities straight, since those are the ones that keep your work together. Which leads me to…
Don’t spend on what you don’t need
Yes, more cool gear is always nice to have. These are things that spice up the process of making music. They’re exciting and great and all of that. But do you reaaaaaally need some of these stuff right now. And the most important question: Can you afford it? Think twice before you throw your money for something. You might need them for something more important than that. Think about it and make a difference between extra money and money you like to think are extra money. Knowing the difference between what is a luxury and what is a thing that you actually need is important.
This thing is gold. Because it helps in visualizing the coins that come and go. You get a clear view in everything when it comes to your budget. Written down, organized, calculated. Don’t avoid using it. Especially in the beginning, when things are more overwhelming, putting everything into a spreadsheet gives a better sense of where you are with your money, and where can you go with the financial situation at a given point.
If you have some extra money coming in, make sure you put something on the side. Make this your emergency fund. It is always good to know you have a plan B if things go wrong. The music industry is a business and finances in it should be taken seriously. Now, saving is optional, but highly recommended. It’s mostly you as someone involved in this that will see the benefit of saving when you can.
Don’t go for loans
Golden rule of spending money is: If you don’t have them – don’t spend them. If you don’t have the money to buy something right now just don’t buy it. Loans are a bad idea out of many reasons. Eventually you are gonna have to return that loan. And if things don’t go as planned and your finances won’t grow, you will only put youself into a more stressful situation. And we all know how stress affects creativity, don’t we?
Don’t just spend, but invest, too
See, many times when people are involved with some kind of business, they forget to invest into what they are doing, and they just simply spend money without thinking it through. This leads to a financial depression, and therefore the business just fails. It is more common than you think. Pick the things you spend your budget on carefully, and use it for things that can help your career grow instead of crumble.
Apply for the big money what you apply for the small money
This is called principles and attitude. Professionalism, even. Maybe one day career takes a musician to a place where planning every coin in a spreadsheet isn’t such a must, but until that day comes it is important to know where every coin is going. And even then, I believe it is very very important to keep good track of your budget. Believe me, it is so easy to slip and fall, and end up broke. And this is not what you want. So, keep it humble.
Take it easy!
As stressful and boring finances and budget planning is, understand that it is important for your career. You should approach it responsibly but you shouldn’t stress about it. Don’t forget it is doable and manageable if you give it time and put your mind into it. So, no panic. Take it easy. For me, there are still moments when I find managing my band’s budget irritating and overwhelming, but it gets easier the more you get into it.