Surviving as a Creative: Top Five Tips to Make/Save Money

We hear it all the time, ways to make money from your writing, ways to get rich quick. I’m not here to tell you how to do that, if I knew I would be living a very different life right now! But my focus has always been on little things that help you survive, so you can live the creative life you want.

Make Art.

This one seems obvious – actually make the stuff you want to make. Write the book, sculpt the sculpture, whatever your art is. You can’t start getting paid for it unless you actually make the thing.

Use your Skills

I write books, thus I have writing skills. Therefore, I teach other people how to have writing skills. Whatever your talent is, whether it’s related to your art or not, use what you have. It’s easy to forget that some of the things that come easy to us are still hard for others. Don’t take your skills for granted. If you can speak another language, if you know how to play an instrument, if you’re really good with computers – someone needs what you have!

There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch!

Well, sort of. One of the best things I discovered as a creative person was the possibility of mystery dining. You go for a meal, fill out a questionnaire/write a report, and you get the whole meal for free, as well as getting paid for going! For someone who works from home a lot of the time, the chance to get out and about, as well as getting to eat for free, is really useful. Plus, I get character inspiration from people in the restaurants.
It also means that when work is pretty scarce, but I still want to meet up with friends, go out on a date night with my partner, take out a family member for their birthday, I still can! I just write about it instead of footing the bill! And I’ve found some of my favourite new places.

Plus, it’s not just food – my nails are looking lovely after a spa treatment, and I’ve taken friends to howl along at karaoke, as well as romantic mini breaks with my partner  – definitely the best creative living hack I’ve found!

(If you’re interested in being a mystery diner, I’d recommend signing up with Service Scan, they’ve sent me to lots of lovely, delicious places! When you fill out the application form, put ‘Reference: Andi’s Blog’ somewhere in there!)

Live Small, Dream Big

Okay, no-one wants to admit that working as a self-employed creative means that sometimes you can’t do what other people do. You can’t always afford the latest clothes, it might be harder to get a mortgage, you’ve got to account for a quiet month here or there. But as with your skills, think about what you have that is an investment. Streamline your life – sell your crap! Ebay and Gumtree, or any other number of local sell apps will let you get rid of the stuff you don’t need. That money can go towards the things you need to make your art. Plus, tidy home, tidy mind = more creating.

So technically, this isn’t really about money, but it is about survival. We are living more and more in a trade based society. Partly because of the recession, partly because people are recognising the value of theirs skills (see point 1!) but also because the value of money is so contextual. What costs the world to one is a drop in the bucket to another. But a skill? Or an object? Well, we place our own value depending on how much we want something. You know how to fix a leaky sink, and your neighbour knows how to make that Chicken Pie that you’ve desperately been wanting. It makes sense to trade. And getting what you need without having to use money at all is pretty damn satisfying.

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