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Real Budgets: The PayPal Slush Fund

I interviewed Monica Strut of Australian metal band The Last Martyr recently, for the upcoming book Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials. One thing she mentioned was that her band keeps a spreadsheet of all revenue to make sure little payments from royalties, bandcamp, etc. don't slip through the cracks.

This made me think of my own PayPal account.... Which is a giant canyon in the world of things slipping through cracks! My PayPal collects revenue from many sources: freelance writing jobs, Teachers Pay Teachers monthly payouts, Rakuten quarterly payouts, Ibotta cash back, several bandcamp profiles....

I'm happy to say that most of what ends up in my PayPal goes back into The Scene in some way. For instance, when one of my bands has a recording project coming up, I try to not to touch the balance so I can save it for those costs. This worked great with Turkey Vulture's EP Time To Pay (which sounds awesome and comes out July 31st, *cough cough*) -- I was able to offset several hundred dollars of the tracking, mixing, and CD production costs with money that had built up in PayPal.

And since those costs didn't happen all at once, I was able to take on writing jobs in between to get ready for the next step in the process. There are few things I love more than funding a hobby with an enjoyable side hustle...

But when recordings are not on the horizon, PayPal functions primarily as a "scene fund." Concert tickets? Done. Bandcamp Friday? Done. Bandcamp Tuesday and Wednesday? Done.

Clearly, none of these are bad things to spend money on! Plus, it keeps heavy metal mostly out of my regular bank account. However, I don't really keep track of how much goes in and out -- so when I'm adding up my monthly income versus how much I spend on entertainment/nonessentials, I don't have an accurate count for either figure. (What kind of personal finance blogger am I?? lol) Proceeds from one bandcamp get sent directly to another member of that band to reimburse him for recording time, but other than that my PayPal is an unrecorded free-for-all both coming and going.

Beginning on August 1st, Patreon payments will be sent into the PayPal as well. Since I've already paid upfront for yearly services based on estimates of future monthly Patreon revenue, it wouldn't be financially savvy to let that money fall into the slush fund canyon. If I don't need the funds to balance my regular monthly budget, I need to "hide" them somewhere....

I'm thinking of two options:

1. Put the funds in a high yield savings account so they earn a little interest, then withdraw them next year to pay the subscriptions when they renew. Keep in mind, almost every subscription I have -- personal and blog related -- seems to renew between June and August! It would be convenient to have something set aside so these bills don't catch me unawares year after year.

2. Put the funds into an investment account and forget about them. Then just pay for the subscriptions from my regular dough when they renew. I think this is the more creative choice, but those subscription renewals will kill the monthly "nonessentials" budget when they arrive.

Right now, I'm leaning towards "Keep It Simple, Stupid" with Option #1. It's not sexy, but the bills will be paid. What would you do? Leave a comment!

In the meantime, I'll try to take a page from Monica's book and get my PayPal life in order... Like, imagine if Turkey Vulture used the money from bandcamp sales to run targeted Facebook ads?? That would be some #nextlevel shizz...

Check out more band marketing and money mindset ideas from Monica here.

And speaking of Patreon, subscribers at the $9 tier and above receive monthly bandcamp download codes -- at the moment I have five months of siiiiiiiiiick surprise riffs lined up, so get in on it today!


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