From the Mailbag

I’m facing a big tax bill. Every year I have trouble putting away money for quarterly taxes. What’s a good trick to get money saved?

Here’s my favorite technique to save money: save into a central savings account that’s difficult to reach, then pay yourself a separate amount into checking from this fund. Have money automatically deducted from this central savings account each month for your tax bill before you pay yourself money to live so that you don’t face these   Continue reading this post >

5 Steps to a Better Business in 2012

I have to admit, I’m a perfectionist about planning my business. While making dinner, my mind races through lists of ways to perfect my craft. When folding laundry, I’m usually strategizing about my next potential project. My mind seems to always be at work on the next “better” idea, even when daily mundane tasks rule the moment.

I was reading management guru Tom Peters recently, who stated that balance is baloney. Top people in any field don’t have   Continue reading this post >

Daily ProsperiTIP

Contribute to your 401k even if you don’t plan on staying with the company long enough to claim the matching dollars.

A 401k plan allows an investor to place money into investments on a pre-tax basis. Let me explain what that means: when you collect cash from an employer, they’ve already taken out federal tax, state tax, FICA tax, and in some cases, city taxes. Yuck. When you invest in a 401k, your money avoids ALL of these taxes until you   Continue reading this post >

4 Ways to Cut Holiday Expenses

 

If I were forced to choose one time of year that was about making smart choices, it’d be hard to choose against this one. What should you wear to the next holiday party? Who should you invite to a gathering you’re holding? How much should you spend on gifts? Probably the biggest one of all is this: what should you eat?

I was out with a friend recently for lunch and as she perused the menu, I heard her mumble, “Oh,   Continue reading this post >

Build Your Financial House of Brick

Remember the three little pigs? Sure you do. The moral of the nursery rhyme was simple:  build your house right the first time and it won’t be blown over.

In the arts, we’ve all heard this advice before. It’s the quality of our work that brings people back. We’ve watched suspiciously as performers with gimmicks shoot to the heights of fame for a few brief moments; but it’s only quality work that helps ensure a long, prosperous career.

  Continue reading this post >

Using Online Bank Accounts

So you’ve finally checked your bank statement to discover that you’re getting nearly no interest from your savings account. Should you check out online bank accounts or are those risky?

Internet banking isn’t for everyone. I could never tell my mother to open an online account because she wouldn’t know how to withdraw funds and would worry that she couldn’t run down to the corner to take it out. That said, usually your best interest rates are going to be found   Continue reading this post >

From the Mailbag

Hi Miata,

Should I set up a separate business account for the small amount I earn from my craft? It seems like overkill because I make so little.

– Jasmine

Dear Jasmine,

Absolutely.

Keeping craft money separate from household funds is important for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • Separate funds create a scorecard. Many artists want to track how they’re performing financially from their art. By keeping it separate, you’ll have a gauge of how far you’ve come. You’ll also know how far you need   Continue reading this post >

The Great Home Debate

Popular wisdom says that you should purchase a home. Have you ever been to a party of homeowners and told someone you rent? It’s not uncommon to hear people mumble that you’re “throwing money away” and not “building equity” through mortgage payments. Because you don’t own a home you’re cast aside as some sort of second-class citizen.

Here’s the million-dollar question: should a creative individual buy or rent a home?

I think you’ll be surprised by my answer.

The issue of buy vs.   Continue reading this post >

When is the Right Time to Start Saving Money?

I READ IN AN ARTICLE last week that people are saving more money today than they have in a long, long time. For the average person with a reliable job and consistent income this is a good sign. For creative individuals with fluctuating earnings, this news is even more welcome. During the financial meltdown the reality that people had no reserves to fall back on really hit home, driving many to try to ensure that they’re not caught in a   Continue reading this post >