Please, Won’t You Be My Patron?

Boob Job FundYou may have noticed that a Tip Jar link has been added to the blog. You may be wondering what that’s about.  Allow me to explain.

Patreon is a site in which a person can be a patron to creators of various kinds of art. Like what they did back in the day, according to my humanities teacher in community college. Rich people supported artists while they worked, sometimes on projects for said rich people, sometimes on their own stuff. Such is the way Patreon works, except it’s open to anyone to be a patron, not just rich people, and it’s open to anyone to be a creator, not just dead Italian artists.

In other words, I’m a creator and now you can be my patron.

Here’s how it works.

You pledge a specific amount of money, one or two dollars, per writing project, aka published novella, anthology, or novel. When I make a post on Patreon that says, “Hey! I’ve published this! Woo!”, that’s when your pledge takes effect. You get charged the first of the next month. You only pay when I finish a project and you can stop being my patron at any time. I may mentally hex you, but I’ll respect your right to spend your money as you see fit. But if you do become my patron, you’ll get some nifty stuff, depending on how much you donate and whether or not you want it.

What could I possibly mean by that?

Well, it’s one of the main reasons I’ve decided set up my tip jar, so to speak. There are people that buy my work and I am grateful for their support. However, I know of a few people that do want to support me in the monetary fashion, but don’t want to buy an ebook they’re not going to read. Horror isn’t for everyone, reading isn’t for everyone (though it should be). This gives those people an opportunity to help me out. It also gives the people already buying my self-published work an opportunity to give me more money. Because why would I turn down an opportunity for more money? I wouldn’t and I shouldn’t.

What will I be doing with this money? Considering I’m only asking for one or two dollars per project (I suppose you could give more than that, but I don’t know why you’d want to), I will not be using this money to vacation in Cabo or Paris. Most likely it will be hoarded away so I can pay the blog bill and if I’m lucky, renew my Microsoft Office license. If I’m really lucky, I’ll be able to do something more with print. I’m a jinx when it comes to that formatting and proofs aren’t free, my friends.

As always, though, spreading the word about my stuff is free. Be it by recommending my stories to someone or leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads, it is something I deeply appreciate. So if you want to help without involving your wallet (or in addition to your wallet), this is the way to do it. Word of mouth will always be priceless to me.

So, with all that said…

Please, won’t you please, be my patron?

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Rebuilding My Wardrobe

Wardrobe

Not having a steady income flow means that I’ve learned to be very cheap in order to get the bills paid. This means that the things I want are no longer options and many things I need are relegated to want status because I can find a way to live without them.

This is why I went for several years without buying new clothes. Oh, I’d buy a new shirt or a pair of jeans if I absolutely needed to, but clothes became a “want” item and I couldn’t afford to want anything. As such, my look and my style suffered. I’ve posted before about my fat girl style and let me tell you, I’m not much into fashion, but it’s a real drag when I can’t keep up with my own style the way I want to.

However, lately, the income has picked up and gotten steady and I’ve been able to capitalize on it. In other words, I’m buying new clothes.

And it’s a glorious feeling!

I’m finally able to do some of the trends that I’ve be admiring: skinny jeans tucked into boots, cute cardigans and scarves, bright colors, things that actually fit. I’ve felt so dumpy in my old stuff. I’ve got sweaters that are a decade old and are, unfortunately, showing it. I got tired of always wearing t-shirts and jeans that were patched within an inch of their lives. Like I’ve said, I’m no fashionista, but dammit, I like to look good. This is my fat body and my fat body deserves to look its best. I know other folks would rather I dress this bad bitch in a muumuu and never leave my house, but that’s not going to happen. (Unless I can find one of those fabulous 1970’s Hawaii Five-0 muumuus, but I’ll still be leaving my house to show that bad boy off.) I’m enjoying this whole experience of getting new clothes and rocking them hardcore.

But this little bit of extra money coming in doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my cheap ways. I’m still only buying clearance or sale stuff, still waiting for days when I can take an extra 25 or 30 or 40% off. I’m still trying to stretch my dollar to the limit, getting the most I can for what I pay. And there are still things I’d love to buy, but that price has to come down more first.

I’ve waited for so long to be able to get to this point in which I could buy new clothes that I’m worried that I’m overdoing it, that all of this spending, even if I’m not spending that much at a stretch, will come back to bite me in the ass. That’s the trouble with being money-less for so long. Having money doesn’t eliminate the worry of going back to not having money.

But in the meantime, while I work to make sure I’m not money-less again, I’m bound and determined to look good doing it.

Stick in the Mud: Cha-Ching!

My friends will tell you that sometimes I am just no fun. I’m not big on shopping or seeing movies or hitting up the bars. I’m not overly social, don’t mind being alone, and can go days without feeling the urge to leave the house. I’m a homebody, to be sure.

But there is no time I am more unfun than when I’m broke.

What going out I will do becomes non-existent and whatever money I do have goes directly to bills. Do not pass go, do not have a good time.

This frustrates my friends and some of my family to no end, particularly around holidays and my birthday in which I might receive cash as a gift. They get money as a gift and they use it that way. They buy themselves something fun, something they really want.

I get  money, I pay bills. Period.

This sort of practical, responsible behavior drives some people nuts but it makes perfect sense to me. I haven’t had a regular income in nearly three years. Writing hasn’t been half as lucretive as I’d hoped it’d be, and I didn’t think it’d be that lucretive to begin with. I’ve been living off of savings and a credit card. When the savings started to dry up, I turned to selling things on eBay (this is also serves the dual purpose of allowing me to purge some of my stuff as I have a tendency to be a packrat). I’ve had to ask my dad for monetary help several times this past year, several times more than I wanted to ask him. I keep track of all the money I’ve had to borrow off of him or tabs he’s covered for me. Trust me when I say that it’s a lot and I have every intention to completely pay him back. And trust me when I say that my credit card dangerously close to being maxed out, something I never thought would happen. I’ve been looking for work this past year, but haven’t had much luck. The only job I got an interview for turned out to be a bust.

I am broke. Every dollar counts. Every cent I have, I earn, I receive goes to paying bills.

And yet it still baffles people that I don’t spend the money I get as a Christmas gift or a birthday present on something for myself.

First of all, I can’t justify it. When my mom gave me money for tickets to a Cubs game, I only bought the tickets (the cheapest bleacher seats I could get on StubHub) after I made sure I could pay my bills for that month. I admit, I splurged on a twenty dollar shirt for the game. Again, the bills were paid before I did, but I know I could have put it toward the next month’s bills. I did feel guilty about that, but I figured I’d deserved a little something extra since I’d spent so little on the actual tickets. I chalked it up to being part of the gift from my mom.

It’d been months since I’d splurged quite like that and then do you know what I bought? Lunch at McDonald’s. Yep. When a value meal from a fast food joint is considered extravagant, you’re broke.

Secondly, those shiny things I could buy would be nice, but the relief I feel knowing that my bills are paid for another month, that I’ve bought myself some more time to scrape up the money for the next month, that I’ve got some more time to come up with a new plan, sell some more stuff, apply for some more jobs is so much better than any shiny new thing.

I know it’s just money. Eventually (hopefully sooner than later), I’ll be making more of it on a regular basis. I’m not kept from getting something I want for long. I will find a way. I will get my debt paid off and I won’t have to worry about getting my bills paid every month. I’ll return to being my semi-reclusive, frugal self rather than the totally reclusive, miserly self I am right now.

Until then, so long as my friends and family give me money as gifts, I’m going to continue to disappoint them by putting obligation before pleasure.