Resisting the urge to start this post with a bunch of cliche jokes...but seriously, this is something I think about all the time. How do other artists live, survive and enjoy life on next to no money? With my bank account skimming the poverty line yet again, it's got me thinking of ways I can save money (and possibly make some) and still manage to have a life.
Go to the Library
I read. A lot. I used to buy books from a basement bookstore in Sydney, but the selection got boring and my bookshelves started bending under the weight of my collection. So I joined the library. My local library is pretty small, but it's linked with several other local libraries. Which means I can browse the collection online and reserve books from the comfort of my own home. It's like waiting for a parcel to arrive, when my books arrive I get notified and go pick them up. And it's free! Duh...
Scour the Racks
A little research will reward you with the treasure troves frequented by the fashionably chic. Vintage and op-shop clothes are de rigeur among the fabulously poor (and those pretending to be). Check out your local markets for second hand clothes, or garments designed by up-and-coming local designers. Try the charity and op-shops for pre-loved goodies, as well as second-hand clothing stores. If you're in need of inspiration, try the vintage clothing stores. Different to the second-hand, these stores are specific about the garments they source. They're usually styled to the hilt and have a fabulous, retro charm that doesn't smell of moth balls.
Back in my student days when I had no money (what's changed?), I started eating more vegetarian meals. The price of meat was so beyond my budget most of the time. So I looked into vegetarian recipes and health - I didn't want to live on lettuce leaves. Vegetarian food can actually be a hell of a lot healthier for you and kinder on your digestive system. It's also ridiculously cheap. You can pick up bags of legumes (think lentils, chickpeas and beans) for less than a cup of coffee. They're packed full of goodness, and will give you a full tummy feeling just like meat. I've developed such a taste for vegetarian meals that I don't enjoy eating meat as much.
Win an Auction
I've heard some fellow artists mention a local auction house several times, where they've picked up cool old furniture and vintage typewriters for a steal. There are loads of auction houses around where you can pick up cool furniture, jewelery, books and stuff galore. What's even better is you can be an absentee bidder - go along to the viewing days and make a note of what you like. Then submit a form detailing the items you want to bid on, with a maximum bid. Someone will bid for you at the auction - so you could pick things up for less than your max bid (sound like eBay anyone?).
There are so many ideas out there and I'll be looking into them all (I'm stopping these cos it's midnight & I'm too tired). Do you know any great places to bag a bargain? How about some great DIY tutorials? Leave a comment and I'll check it out!