This week we welcome back Annie Harris for another guest blog – a continuation in exploring how a 20-something emerging artist juggles her creative projects and her limited finances and finds creative freedom through sound money management. Over to Annie…..
In my view, I’m getting old. I’m at the ripe old age of 23 and I’m bored of picking up a packet of potato waffles, a box of 6 eggs and some shower gel and calling it a weekly shop.
As a part of the graceful decline/ascent into adulthood, I’ve spent the last couple of years trialling (and lots of erroring) different methods of grocery shopping to suit my ever-changing monthly budget. As a creative, we all know that our budget is never consistent, so I’ve always had to be on my toes and figure out ways to manage my meals – keeping my tastes but working with the budget I have.
I’ve recently been diagnosed with a milk allergy and a gluten intolerance, which makes my food shopping a little more difficult now. I won’t go too much into that, because I’m sure most of you don’t have to amend in exactly the same way that I do. If you do, however, then please do get in touch with me via the links below. I’m more than happy to help and answer questions at any time!
One thing that has been extremely helpful with managing my allergies, my wallet, and my waistline has been meal planning. I use this amazing meal planner from The Project Girl, and have done for a few years now. This ensures that I keep to a set list instead of buying things willy-nilly and then throwing it out a week or so later when I realise I haven’t used it up.
I split the cost of the ‘bulk’ of my food shopping with my SO – and I find that it helps to go on a set day every week, as well, so you’re able to plan what you need well in advance to help you keep to that little list. We keep a note in our phones of household items we run out of, too, like toilet paper, toothpaste, bin bags, and so on.
If you’re a single pringle, or don’t fancy getting somebody else (for example housemates, family etc) involved with your food shopping, then it’s often quite a lot of fun to turn being frugal into a game, or finding out what other people do to make things work for themselves. I’m part of a subcommunity of Reddit called Frugal which offers lots of tips for helping us to keep the pennies safe during difficult times – and especially during the holiday season!
For those times when you feel like you need a little foodie treat, like a takeaway or a lunch out, refer to my previous post about managing your short term expenditures. Don’t punish yourself for buying a little extra treat from time to time – we only live once! – but be as disciplined as you possibly can, and in the end, a plan will form that’s right for you. Almost like a phoenix, emerging from the ashes. Aah.
Having a close check on my finances and how I spend my money on food allows me the space, both short-term and long-term, to be creative. I’ve taken a leaf out of Steven’s book (I will soon have enough for a shrubbery!) and jotted down my ‘champagne’ and ‘cabbage’ budgets, so I know that in a month of little work, I’ll have to stick to my cabbage budget, and in a month where I’ve barely time to sit down, it’s time to pop the corks and let the champagne budget out to play.
Hope this helps you. I’m really busy with quite a few projects lately, including producing and performing in a little play called **SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT!** Earwig for my brand-new theatre company, Thtr. When the show’s over, I hope to come back to the world of blogging with lots of meaty content for you to enjoy.
Annie is a 23-year-old actress and writer based in North London.
After spending the first 18 years of her life in South Wales, Annie graduated from the London College of Music in 2011 with a 2:1 in Musical Theatre.
Thanks Annie – always great to share your wisdom here!
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