Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from ARTrepreneur Rock Star Reporter, Danielle Spurge. Every 2 weeks, she’ll be reporting about her experiences with ARTrepreneur, things she learns, and how she’s applying them to her business. It’s so exciting to see how Danielle took Michelle’s financial advice, decided what worked and didn’t work for her, and put it into action. Love it!
In April’s interview with her, Michelle spoke about everyone’s least favorite creative business must-do: finances. I know I have struggled with this, and after listening to Michelle’s interview I felt very motivated to tackle some of this money stuff I had been putting off and putting off and putting off…
Michelle gave two bits of advice: Use Mint.com and set aside a day at the end of the month to settle that month’s finances.
I had previously created an account on Mint.com but was struggling to make it work for me because it synced up all of my accounts not just my business one – and because I already know that I spend too much money at Starbucks, I didn’t need any trend reporting from my personal debit card account.
There is a way to “hide” other accounts but I couldn’t figure out how to just disregard them entirely – and to be honest, I got frustrated and walked away from it.
Michelle says she uses mint and it’s very easy to understand and useful to her, so I might try to reconcile my issues with it later on… maybe.
For now, though, I have made use of Michelle’s other piece of advice – setting aside one day at the end of every month (or the very beginning of the next) to review and organize the money stuff for that month.
Well, since I hadn’t been doing this since January, I just went back and did it for the past three months. I have been pretty good about maintaining a file for receipts and bank statements for each month but I have not once sat down to really take a look at my monthly spending. (I know, I know… shame on me…) But To be honest with you my approach this past year has been to “do whatever” and the at the end of the first year, which is basically now, I would reevaluate and see what worked and what didn’t…
After taking another look at Mint and at the categories they give you for organizing transactions and what kinds of trends they will report from your activity, I was able to develop my own little system.
I broke down my spending into a few categories: Fees (Etsy and PayPal), Office Supply, Craft Supply, Education and Shipping.
I went through all my receipts, PayPal records and bank statements and determined how much I had spent in each area and then total for the month, for the past three months! I saved all this info to a spreadsheet, which I have set up to accommodate for the year.
This felt like an epic accomplishment, it was such a small and not so scary step to take, but I needed that little nudge to get going. Now that I have these numbers I feel much more in control and much more aware of where my money is going and I can see trends and know what I can expect each month to look like in certain areas – this is so helpful to me!
I really appreciate hearing in the interviews, not just Michelle’s, but the others as well that I am not alone in struggling with these things and I am not the only one who doesn’t have it all together.
Now that I have my own little system in place, I can take the time each month, as Michelle suggested, to sit down and account for that month’s spending. As time goes on, I can maybe possibly give Mint another go, but also expand my own system and use what I’ve got now as a starting point. Never thought I’d say this but, I kinda enjoyed doing this …
About the Author: Hey there! I’m Danielle, and I am the artist/ maker behind The Merriweather Council! I am a 22 year old, recent college grad living and crafting in Boston, Massachusetts. My interests include traveling both near and far, reading books by Jonathan Safran Foer multiple times, drinking iced lattes and watching shows in which forensics are used to solve crimes (have you ever noticed it is often a fiber that cracks the case? A thread or a piece of fabric – totally way too awesome) and of course – making things! Ever since graduating in May, I’ve completely immersed myself in my crafty biz and I’m super excited to see what happens next!