Money Matters – Surviving Hard Times

In this blog I have written a short survival guide for artists, illustrators, makers and designers. In fact it is useful for anyone who is strapped for cash.

The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2021 is out now! I’ve been a contributing author now for four years. My section is on How to Make a Living: Money Matters on page 502. This is the 114th edition of this book. Its where many famous authors and illustrators started their journeys into publishing. It’s where I started with the 2007 (100th edition). I wrote a blog about this year or so a go. Its still up in the blog archive if you would like to take a look.

The reference to artist in the title really meant something different to today’s meaning at the start of the twentieth century…more like a commercial artist or artisan. Its still a unique and great source of information, literally saving weeks of time trying to find industry resources or support by yourself. The book is also available as a website subscription service online.

In this blog post I want to share with you some tips on surviving hard times. Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is worth a read, if you want to experience life without unions or the welfare state, especially where Easton tries to budget and he exclaims, ‘We’d be alright if it wasn’t for the debts’, then take a look.

 

Here are my main tips with some useful links at the end.

  1. Get help, if you have debts try to sort them out, this could be through an IVA which can help you clear debts. Other ways could be converting your credit card debts in to a Credit Union Loan, but you need to compare the interest rates.The Business Debt Helpline or the National Debt Helpline can also be useful.
  2. Avoid as best you can from getting into debt as the recession deepens. For money management, saving and benefit tips follow Martin Lewis on social media
  3. Start cancelling unnecessary direct debits or switching suppliers. Look at your out goings, subscriptions, memberships, what don’t you need? I switched my broadband supplier two months ago. I now have an improved service and it costs nearly half the price of the original provider. Try looking on Money Saving Expert or Money Supermarket and compare utilities.
  4. If you are renting talk to your landlord or landlady, write a personal polite letter to see if you could re-negotiate the rent. Equally try skill swapping with other creatives or businesses to gain products or services in return.
  5. Learn to cook, no really learn to cook, your will be amazed how you can reduce your shopping bills.  I’m a great fan of Jack Monroe know as the Bootstrap Cook I have all her cookbooks. You can borrow books from your local library or take a look at Jack’s blog for many free recipes.Jack Monroe
  6. Get help, you may be aware of the various support schemes during the Covid 19 pandemic. See here for more information. If for some reason you haven’t bee able to claim and savings are running low under £16,000 or for full support under £6,000 then you might have to claim Universal Credit if you are in a Universal Credit postcode. Do not move on to Universal Credit if you are on legacy benefits like Working Tax Credits, as you may lose out. Seek advice from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau before doing anything. What I can say until March 2021 Universal Credit has relaxed many of its onerous restrictions on the self-employed, and the system now understands ad hoc employed PAYE income, and also takes account of invoices paid and expenses incurred. Universal Credit is also a non taxable source of income. Its not perfect, nor ideal, but don’t let your pride get in the way of claiming.

What I will say is no one knows how long this state of uncertainty will last. One idea you might wish to consider is approaching businesses which have got going again and see if they need any feel good imagery for social media, new attractive signage, online messaging or traditional flyers or posters.

Useful Links Not Included Above

More about alternative sources of funding can be found in my book The Essential Guide to Business for Artists & Designers, 2019, Bloomsbury Visual Arts.

Turn to Us  Useful grant and benefit checker

UK Government business-support

Arts Council Support for Individuals

The Association of Illustrators Covid 19 Support

Design Nation Resources

Craft Council Resources

A-N Resources


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