Being a talent full time and learning to balance the ebb and flow of income can be a perplexing challenge. It’s great to receive payment for work within a few weeks, but those times when payment lapses longer than 8 weeks can be trying. How can the full time actor or model budget to live off of an ever-changing income stream?
Budgeting is an analytical and detailed process. Typically, the creative mind does not excel in these areas, so finding an advisor to help can be advantageous. [Advisors can be professional accountants, trusted analytical friends, or a spouse/life partner.] There is no one perfect plan, so use that creative mind to think outside the box to find something that works for your unique needs, but also be sure your advisor approves the plan.
A financial advisor recently suggested a monthly plan of action. Get a piece of a paper and draw a line down the center. You should have two columns. One can be labeled “income” and the other “expenses.” Your chart will simplify your spending and help you stay organized.
Under expenses, write each monthly payer’s name and the date that bill is due. For example, you will likely have “rent :: Jan 1 :: $425” on one line. The next may be “gas/electric :: Jan 14 :: $50”. Continue listing these out until you have all of your general monthly bills tallied. Now add random monthly expenses, including holidays, presents for birthdays, business expenses, or travel plans. Be specific and assign your projected dollar amount. For example, “Valentines :: Feb 14 :: $40”.
Now move to the income column and list the checks that were received last month. This should look similar to your expense column. For example, “radio voice over :: $200” or “restaurant commercial $500”.
Now add up your income total. Then add your expenses total.
If your income total is higher than the expenses total, you can put a little back into savings. Fight the urge to want to spend more than you previously budgeted!!
If your expenses total is higher than your income total, you’ll need to take a second look at the extraneous items in your expense column and revamp them so that the numbers balance. Maybe that Valentines total can be less (or more creative and cost nothing, even) . . . ?
Most likely, the latter will happen the first few times you do this exercise. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get it to balance immediately. Like the talent work you excel in, it may take some time and practice to really nail this business venture. You’ll get there. Just promise you’ll stick to it through the thick and thin!