3 Crucial Money Tips for Creatives (Budgeting Minus the Depriving)


Today’s blog post is inspired by a letter I received from a reader a few months back. She writes:

Hi Arriane,

Thank you so much for all your inspiring e-mails. This is my first time to send you one back.

See, I have so many big plans for myself. I want to travel more, I have passions that I want to turn into a business so I can make a living doing what I love. However, I find myself always worrying about money and expenses. I actually have very little savings right now, because I always shop, and I don’t have very good spending habits.

I keep trying to have a mindset that money is just money, and it’ll come back around — but the thought of starting my own business from my passions, then running out of money, absolutely scares me.

– Noelle

Okay, just swap your name for Noelle’s and pretend I’m answering YOUR letter because I’m pretty sure this dilemma has crossed your mind at some point. If it has, then this post is for you.


I receive a lot of variations of this letter from many, many different students all year long. The truth is, a lot of passionate people dream of making a living doing what they love — but their biggest roadblock remains: finances.

A lot of inspiring articles on the Internet will avoid the topic of money and just focus on passion and purpose and hard work. But me? I want to get real with you — sans unicorns, rainbows, nor Thought Catalog sugarcoating — finances are a HUGE factor in pursuing your passion.

Because in my personal experience, before I was able to pursue my passion full-time, the number one relationship I had to fix and strengthen was my relationship with money.


My salary for my first job after graduation was Php 7,500 (about USD 175). This was by choice (in retrospect, quite a masochistic one), because my heart was set in doing purposeful work in a non-government organization. But then my rent was Php 3,500, or about USD 70, so that left me with a little over USD 100 to budget for food and transportation and other daily necessities for an entire month.

As I said, quite masochistic, now that I think about it.

I was living as 1 of 4 people in a tiny dorm room in Quezon City, and my daily diet consisted of instant noodles, rice-from-a-sidewalk-vendor-paired-with-tuna-from-a-can, and the cheapest Chinese food my money could buy.

Driven by survival mode and sheer necessity, THAT was the moment in my life when I started becoming way more mindful about the way I spend money. I had to. Or else, I wouldn’t know if I would have enough money to pay rent the next month! I made a simple spreadsheet to keep track of my expenses, and I was literally counting my cash every end of the day.

As I grew wiser and more responsible, I started incorporating my life goals into my financial spreadsheets. Instead of just thinking, how much money do I have, how much can I spend, how much do I save — I started thinking about the bigger picture:

If I wanted to chase after my dreams and fulfill all my crazy goals, then how might I better design my financial flow, so that it can help me get there?

Instead of just seeing money as an object, or worse, as THE end goal, I started seeing it as a support system that could help me pursue my passion with abundance and joy —instead of being in a constant state of scarcity and anxiety.

Because I mean, let’s face it: It’s hard to feel fully passionate or creative when you’re constantly in fear mode, and your mind is chaotically racing, thinking 24/7 about how in the world you’re gonna make ends meet.


If you want to start your own business or side-hustle, or are aiming to do that in the next year or so, then today is a good day to start getting your financial house in order.

To get three specific, concrete, and actionable tips on how to do that — sign up for our free, live workshop below.

*The live workshop has ended. See the recording below.