I"m still working on that 2012 budget. A budget is a living thing in the best of times, and with the changes that have gone on and are still going on around me (financially and otherwise), I'm taking a couple days to let everything sit. Then I will go back and look things over with a fresh view-hopefully. I've already looked at some places that can reasonably be cut, which I will share later. the other side of that double edged sword is that I will need to bring in liquid income.
I should probably say here that as with many things in life, my needing additional income is on some level a choice. I have chosen to stay in my current home, knowing that I will have a mortgage payment for quite some time. I could have downsized or I could trim expenses more. Eventually I will do both. For the moment however, I have chosen to remain in this 2300 square foot home. I love the yard, I love the covered patio. My children are both single and one is a not yet employed college graduate. Both still need a place to come home to, and I appreciate that. I figure I should share these things so that folks reading this don't automatically say to themselves "oh, no!!". I've chosen regular travel and a home with a mortgage as part of my lifestyle. Were I to downsize, travel less, or make other changes, life would certainly be different.
I've written about income streams, especially my quilting, before. This income stream is perfect for me in that it allows me to mainly be at home (craft fairs aside). Quilting and sewing were hobbies, yet I find that I don't particularly mind being "forced" to do them on a regular basis. Supplies are my only overhead, meaning I have no reason to add commuting costs or a studio to my end costs.
I was really having a problem getting customers and make any major sales. Although I am a member of the Etsy online selling group, that market tends to be flooded with some kinds of fabric art. I tend to use it as a reference, a place to go so that people can see what I make. I would really like to do craft fairs in the spring and summer, but because of school was unable to create in the large numbers needed for a fair or market. Word of mouth can be nice advertising for a home business, but I needed a bigger telephone chain (for lack of a better description).
Recently I created 25 sets of six quilted coasters each for my sister in law. The coasters were made for SIL to give to her coworkers and the folks working under her in the field. When I delivered them, she put a bug in my ear, one which I took to the next level. She casually mentioned that she, as well as my two nieces, had been speaking amongst themselves. They thought it would be a wonderful idea if I went to a sorority at SMU, which is located not very far away. The idea was that I would offer to make a sample T-shirt quilt out of sorority shirts, and embroider the Greek letters in the border. I would do that for free. I would then use the quilt (through pictures and by borrowing said quilt) as a marketing tool during rush week and when girls join. It seems mothers are willing to get their daughters anything related to this particular social group during that time.
This is a great idea for me on many levels. Most of the cost in creating said marketing tool is labor (the shirts are the major portion of the quilt). Completing the project gives me a small sample and a large quilt, as well as the recommendation of the happy recipient. Tto get the same amount of advertising free would be much more costly-and frankly, my advertising budget is...zero. When I needed fabric, I am using what I already own. This is not free, obviously, it is inventory. But that's not the same as immediate out of pocket costs. I love this idea, and probably would not have thought of it myself-at least not for quite awhile. Next week, I'll be on vacation, visiting family. Cutting up these shirts will be easy while watching TV, visiting family, or when we're playing Trivial Pursuit and it's not my turn.
Every so often I have what I call, "why didn't I think of that" moments. This time, I'm every so glad the person who DID think of that is someone close to me, and that they told me first.