When it comes to staying on top of finances as a creative, it can be overwhelming to even find out where to begin. But being able to manage your income and budget effectively is a crucial part of building a fruitful career in the creative industry. This is true whether you’re a freelancer, someone with a creative day job, or working non-creative roles in order to finance a creative project.
Perhaps you’re running a creative business with a friend, looking to manage a freelance income or trying to save money to buy art and film equipment. Whichever applies to you, we’ve rounded up some resources that can take the pressure off when it comes to juggling finance and different streams of income.
📊 Use a spreadsheet A good way to see an overview of your money is to use a spreadsheet that can calculate your expenses for you. Typing out all of your outgoings for the month into it means that all your spending and income will be noted in one handy document. It’s also a good point of reference for you to refer to throughout the month, and you can adjust any changes for the following month accordingly.
For those of us who aren’t whizzes in formulas and cells, free pre-made budgeting templates are widely available online; popular ones include those available on Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.
🔎 Check your direct debits Using your mobile app or online banking, have a look to make sure all of your direct debits are up-to-date and that you’re aware of exactly what you’re paying for. For example, make sure that you haven’t accidentally continued subscribing to any unwanted apps or streaming services after your free trials!
🗓 Set up calendar reminders Which leads us to our next point. Setting up calendar alerts to notify you when you should expect to be paid – as well as when subscription payments and direct debits are coming out of your bank account – is a useful way to keep your finances in check. You can easily do this on the calendar app on your computer or phone to make sure you’re aware of when money will be coming in and out of your bank account, as well as know when you are entitled to charge clients a late payment.
💰 Get an automatic savings app If you want to go a step further and start saving some money, consider connecting your bank account to an autosaving app, such as Moneybox or Plum. What this does is round up each spend you make on your card to the nearest pound and saves it into a separate interest-gaining account. This means that, each time you buy a £2.60 cup of coffee, it will automatically save £0.40 for you, and you can stand to earn a very small percentage of your savings while doing so. Some app-based banks such as Monzo have options for you to do this within the app.
Scroll down for some specific resources to help you track spending and budgets, as well as discover money saving tips.
Good for: Splitting bills
Essentially a digital IOU, Splitwise is an app you can use to ensure that any shared bills are being fairly split. This can come in handy if, for example, you’ve moved into a house share, or are setting up a creative studio with a friend and need an easy way to keep track of shared expenses. You can add different groups and friends through the app, and even split money owed by percentages and shares.
Mint is a free budgeting app where you can connect your financial accounts into one secure digital platform. You can sync bank accounts, credit cards, set bill payment reminders and even create savings goals. They use strong encryption and multi-factor authentication to ensure this data is safe, and also offer educational tools such as a loan repayment calculator.
Monzo is a bank known for its user-friendly app that allows you to track and categorise spending into groups such as transport, dining out and bills. You can even get a breakdown of what category you spend your money on most, which can be helpful if you’re constantly wondering where your money ends up every month. Also available is a tool to set yourself a monthly spending budget, as well as a function to keep different pots of money aside.
Founded by financial journalist Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert is a free platform that offers financial advice and information on saving money – with a dedication to cutting bills, finding deals that may ease financial stress and campaigning for financial justice.
MoneyMedics is an Instagram account that curates and posts useful content, news and information around financial trends, as well as offers no-nonsense guidance for those looking to effectively manage their personal finances and understand more about the economy.
Good for: Financial advice on savings and side hustles
ThriftyLondoner is an Instagram account and advice platform that posts jargon-free content to help anyone who wants to feel financially confident and create new money habits. It’s also aimed at those living in the capital who are struggling with the high prices of London living.