Do any of you recall Stretch Armstrong? Stretch Armstrong was a toy that came out during the 1970s (jealous that I never owned one). It had, what appeared to be, unlimited stretching abilities. When you get a chance, Google “Stretch Armstrong” and see how cool this toy was (for its time). You could tie him in a knot, play soft tug-of-war between you and your siblings, or tie him around a leg of the kitchen table. It was pretty cool. What isn’t cool is having to stretch your funds in the same way for an extended period of time. The difference between this toy and your annual checks is that sometimes, money doesn’t quickly bounce back. So, what do you do?
Make a budget. This isn’t the easiest thing to do when you don’t make as much as you wish. Your hand of cards doesn’t appear to be the best to play and for once, you’ll like to collect all the chips. Don’t be discouraged, my friend. Not everyone gets to the top immediately. The valleys exist for a reason. You can’t be the same person you are at the bottom as you are at the peak of your journey. If money came easy, how would it have value? The love for the green is told to be the root of all evil, but it doesn’t apply to you when making better decisions to suit your needs. Being an artist can be costly. You must ask yourself if it’s worth the payments. Ramen Noodles and Bologna sandwiches may be your dinner for a few days, but at least you’re one step closer to where you want to be.
When I’m submitting my work for review, I have to pay fees for possible publication. The process can be of no charge sometimes, but more often than none, it’s the opposite. Consider what you’re investing in when there appears to be prices pertaining to your dream. I was blessed with a microphone over a year ago and from that, I realized that others were investing in me as well. Why not do the same for myself? Start cutting corners. Shop at the thrift shop for clothing and checkout consignment stores for other accessories, such as shoes and hats. I found a pair of good shoes at Uptown Cheapskate in Evans, Georgia for a very low price. They were in very good condition. There’s a song that says you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you get what you need. This is applicable in so many ways to the life of an artist living on a budget.
Don’t take this as me advising you to be cheap, but to be conscious of your decisions, especially your finances. I recently paid off a debt that I’ve been tending to for about six years! I’ve invested a couple thousand dollars in something that could have been avoided. Growing does involve making good and bad decisions. It’s always better that you learn from them opposed to repeating the same scenarios. If you have to treat your funds like Stretch Armstrong, then do so. No human being can fully understand your struggle except you. Eventually, you won’t have to live from check-to-check. Make sacrifices now, setting yourself up for better opportunities and flexibility in all areas of your life.
- Calvin Pennywell, Jr.