Being an artist and a fashionista can be quite a challenge when it comes to keeping your budget in check, which is why I recently started using Mint.com. I’m Katie Ryan, founder and creative director of queenikathleeni designs. While most of my time goes into creating artwork for clients and my e-commerce site, I also dabble in some fashion blogging and work two part-time jobs so that I have a steady and reliable income. You could say I’m a gal that’s constantly on-the-go – which means my free time is very limited.
After moving out on my own a few months ago, I decided it was time to download a budgeting app like Mint to keep track of my multiple sources of income and monthly expenses. I rarely check in on my bank account because, in my opinion, the format isn’t user-friendly. Mint sits right next to other apps that I visit frequently, making it a natural addition to my daily routine.
At first, my goal was to use Mint to mainly track where my money was going because I didn’t have a good grasp on how much, and on what areas I was spending. The second goal I had set was to cut back on unnecessary spending. Lastly, I wanted to have a place where I could easily see all my expenses in one place, even when I’m on the go.
Here are some strategies I used to meet those goals. I hope these are useful to fellow fashionistas out there:
1. Understand your spending habits. When you’re setting your budget, be realistic and know which habits you aren’t going to break. For example, I’m always going to be a passionate shopper and coffee drinker — but there were realistic goals I could set for myself to cut back in those areas. I love that throughout the month you can see if you’re on track with your budget, or if you’re over spending in a particular area.
2. Evaluate where your money is going and adjust your budget. After the first month of using Mint, I realized I was eating out far too often. It was a bad habit that I decided I could break. My boyfriend challenged me to a month where we would not eat out at all. It ended up being way easier than I thought and I ended up saving a ton of money.
3. Find cheaper alternatives. Smart girls pack their lunches and save that money to go shopping. It can be easy to fall into a habit of eating lunch out every day, but it quickly adds up. When I realized that lunching out was costing me $60 per week, it was easy to put an end to it!
4. If you’re going to splurge, wait for the sale. If you are a spender, as I am, wait for the sale. There is always one right around the corner. Surprisingly, I have found that getting sale emails from my favorite retailers is a huge help. I know I’m going to spend my money at these places so waiting for a coupon code delivered right to my inbox is a no brainer.
Katie is a freelance artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She creates fashion illustrations and a variety of other products for her e-commerce site. She offers product development and branding services for clients as well. When she’s not working on her creative endeavors, Katie can be found working at one of the two local shops she is employed at part time. In her small amount of free time she enjoys a strong iced coffee, blogging, meeting other small business owners and of course, shopping.