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Art Budget Banks by Luann Udell
This post is by Luann Udell, regular contributing author for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
Years ago, I came across an unusual metal box at a flea market. Roughly 6” square and 2” deep, the lid opened to reveal six smaller metal containers. Slots on the box’s lid aligned with slots in the smaller boxes inside, and the whole thing locked shut with a key.
A little research revealed I’d found a “home budget bank.” Banks would provide such a locked box to their customers. The slots were for inserting coins or bills into each little box. The best part: There were little labels provided, some pre-printed for rent, utilities, food. Or you could turn the labels over and write your own financial priorities. (These are my favorite ones.)
Once a month, or when the little boxes were full, you’d return the box to the bank, where it would be unlocked. Voila! You had successfully saved money to pay all your bills for the month.
I love so many things about these boxes. I love the cheerful painted metal: red, yellow, turquoise and dark green. “Look!” they seem to say. “Isn’t it FUN to save?!” I love that, human nature being what it is, the bank held the only key to the box—which is also why it’s rare to find these with their key.
I love the array of little lidded boxes inside and the different categories each person came up with. I have one with the preprinted labels.
Others have handwritten labels like “stamps”, “paper”, “vacation.” I’m charmed by the idea that once you could fund an entire vacation with only enough money that would fit into a little box smaller than 3”x2”x2”…
I love imagining the age and circumstances of the previous owners. Surely “camp” and “bicycle” were for a child? But “insurance” and “rent” were for an older person.
And I found this poignant story of a home budget bank with the categories “honeymoon”, “yours”, “mine” and “ours”.
I love the hope that this simple little gadget could build character, change our spendthrift ways, and move steadily, diligently toward our goals—and our heart’s desire. I love that each box, each label, represents a responsibility accepted—or a dream. I love the implication that even a dream involves responsibility—planning for it, saving for it, even naming it. Realizing it takes energy to bring that dream to fruition. I think this is the thing I love the most.
I like to imagine such a home budget bank for my art. I wonder what I would choose to budget money for.
Perhaps “supplies”; “classes”; “framing”; “new studio”. Or perhaps time? “New work/experimenting”; “cleaning the studio” (on second thought, maybe not this one); “finish an old project”; “research”. As a creative person with many demands on my time—spouse, children, aging parents, job, friends, pets, housework--I sometimes forget to just sit and dream. Perhaps a time slot/box for “daydreams”….?
I can think of some things I wouldn’t budget for—“pointless anger”; “self-doubt”; “fear of failing”; “procrastination”; “envy”.
Maybe I could replace them with “forgiveness”, “confidence”, “courage”, “motivation”; “self-improvement”.
What labels would YOU put on your six little boxes, if you had a home budget bank for your art?
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