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Yesterday I was telling how, in spite of not having any money, I was having a great time, and I thought it would be good to explain how I manage.

Those of you who have read Julia Cameron’s invaluable book The Artist’s Way, will be familiar with the exploration Julia makes of preconceived ideas which keep us well away from trying to be artists. One of these ideas is that artists are constantly broke. While this might not be true when you have been pursuing your career for some time, it certainly is at the start.

photo: in flight by Lola_TC

photo: in flight by Lola_TC


But I have found you can learn to be frugal, even late in life (I never was frugal when I had a good salary, which I now contemplate as one of the main blanks in my education). So here’s what I do:
– First of all, I do not have a house or a car. Although this can sound a bit extreme to some of you, it has been perfectly convenient for me during these months, and saved me a lot of money. In a couple of months I hope I will be able to buy a second-hand van and take to the road again with four-legged family. I will of course live in the van until I decide where I want to establish myself (I am thinking Italy, which I haven’t visited in a long time) and can afford an apartment.
– Second, I am not one for luxuries like makeup, fashionable clothes, and the like. I am very careful with my look, but can manage with few well selected and combinable pieces and some high-quality complements. So, this year I have not bought clothes – except for some t-shirts to replace the ones which were too tattered
– Also, although I like eating well (I had an issue with melanoma three years ago and have taken good care of myself since), I prefer simple, fresh products and like to compare prices when I buy food. I eat a lot of fruit, vegetables and cereals (I am a vegetarian).
– As for healthcare, I believe in prevention. Fortunately, here in Spain, healthcare is completely free, as in most Europe. But even so, I only go to the doctor for melanoma revisions, since I have an otherwise good health.

So this is the way I manage living with less than 500 euros a month, and I even have saved enough for a van!

What about you? Have you any other suggestions on living thriftily to be able to devote yourself to your art?

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