Personal Finance 101

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This isn’t writing related at all, but I think it’s super important to learn how to manage your finances. It’s an essential life skill that will have a huge impact on your life, yet so many people are really bad at it.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much money you make, you will use your money skills until the day you die, so you might as well get good at it, the sooner the better.

I’m considering starting a finance blog, but for now, here are some bullet points of what I’ve learned over the years.

Track all your spending and income

You need to gather raw data before you can assess the situation, so you need to track where all of your money goes. Track every single dollar that comes in and goes out.

I use mint.com, which is free.

I recommend doing this for 2-3 months before you move on to the next step so you get a sense of what you make and what you spend in an average month.

A lot of people say you should use cash as much as possible because it’s too easy to overspend if you use credit cards, but I disagree. I pay for everything I can with my credit card, and pay if off at the end of every month. This improves your credit rating, and it’ll be automatically tracked in mint so you know where your money’s going.

Make a budget

Step 1: Figure out the totals for your income and expenses. Hopefully, your income is more than your expenses every month.

Step 2: Categorize your expenses.

fixed – same amount every month (rent, car payment, student loans, health insurance)
variable – the amount changes month to month (groceries, entertainment, clothing)

Step 3: Calculate the minimum amount of money you need every month. Always know this number.
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ipad apps that help me write and draw

i bought the ipad when it first came out, and i use it all the time to get real work done. its portability and long battery life often makes it a better choice than my laptop. here are some apps that i like.

omnioutliner

omnioutliner costs more than the average app ($20!), but it’s worth every penny to me. i used the desktop program to outline every script i’ve ever written, and the ipad version has just as much functionality. nothing helps me structure text better than this program.

2do

i’ve tried a ton of to do lists for my iphone and ipad, and 2do is by far the best one. it’s a universal app, which means you buy it once and it works for both the iphone and ipad, it has a ton of features, and it syncs with the free online service toodledo.

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mid year creative review 2010

the year is half over!

here were my top 3 goals for 2010:

  1. get into a writing fellowship, or get representation (an agent or manager).
  2. make a web series or short film.
  3. write a pilot sitcom script.

1. get into a writing fellowship, or get representation.

the real goal is to be a professional writer, and i think the best way for me to break in would be a fellowship, or get an agent or manager who can get me work.

i finished the 30 rock spec i started at the end of last year, and applied to the nick fellowship with it. i didn’t feel that great about that script though, so for cbs, wb, nbc, and abc/disney programs, i submitted my himym spec.  while i wait and hope to hear back from one of them, i’ll finish my short and then work on another spec just in case i make to the next round for any of the fellowships and they ask to see another sample. plus it will be good practice regardless.

as much as i would love to get into one of the fellowships, i know the odds aren’t in my favor. while i’m waiting to hear back, i plan on sending queries to agents and managers. i’m sure the odds of anything coming from that are dismal, but i feel like i would at least be able to get a couple people to read my work.

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2007 resolutions

first, a quick review of 2006: i got to go to sundance. i made my 3rd short film - martial artsy, which was funded by atomfilms studio. i wrote a…

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search engine queries

some funny search engine queries people used to find my site: craft service extra crazy actor needs - 12/03 film producers don't like writers - 11/29 - ha ha. i…

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