By Linda Perret
According to myaccountingcourse.com, a budget is “a formal statement of estimated income and expenses based on future plans and objectives.” In more simple terms it’s how much money you have coming in and going out.
Whether comedy is your fulltime gig or just a part time hobby, it’s important to have a budget for your comedy. First and foremost, it is a plan of what you want to accomplish and if you are headed in the right direction.
Budgets don’t have to be fancy. There are quite a few apps that will help you to accomplish the task of developing a budget. Some of them are very efficient and others can quickly become complicated. The more complex a budget is, the less likely you are to maintain it. I have found that an Excel spreadsheet works perfectly for me. Even in Excel they have budget templates that you can use. Often, they include things you don’t need and omit items you do. I ended up creating my own that I can finesse to fit my needs.
Budgets are personal so find the one that works best for you.
Once you have the budget, you need to maintain it. This means logging in income and expenses on a regular basis. You may do it once a month, or as the expense is incurred. Again, it is what fits your schedule and personality.
Why do we recommend a budget? Seeing where the money is coming and going out can be eye-opening. It’s easy to dismiss or forget an expenditure. You swipe your card and forget about it. But when everything is spelled out in print in front of you, it’s harder to deny. You can begin to see patterns emerge. You may notice that you are spending the majority of your income on travel expenses, but yet most of your income is from local venues. With this information you can evaluate on whether or not those trips are worth it.
Budgets also allow you to plan for a big expense. You may want to make the switch to comedy fulltime but you need to build up your funds first. You can help facilitate the leap by adding it as a line item to your budget. Or you may want to produce a professional video of your act by the end of the year. You can add this to the budget and start funding it now so when you are ready, the funding will be there.
Another perk of a well-executed budget is that it can save you time at tax season. When April 15th rolls around you can skip the shoe box of receipts or trying to remember what you spent on what and wear. Your budget should have all that information in one spot.
A budget helps you see the big picture of your career…whatever level you are at. It can help you focus in on the areas that need attention and assist you in planning for the future. If we concede that comedy is a business, the first step is to create a budget for your business. This is the blueprint to start building your empire.