I've mentioned a class I took at the Actors Fund this spring in a few places. If you're working in the performing arts or film industry in LA and you don't feel like you get money and you're always broke, I highly, highly, highly recommend taking this class. It's free and it's life-changing.
Over the course of six weeks, we learned a lot of practical things, but the biggest lessons I learned were:
1) Take deep breaths.
Getting scared doesn't help. Just breathe, accept where you are in the process, and move forward. You can't undo your credit card spending by getting scared.
2) Keep at it.
There are a lot of steps and a lot of things to manage. You must keep working on this, basically until you die. It's okay. You are making progress.
3) Don't overcomplicate things.
Prioritize simple and effective over complicated and perfect. You may have to revise your system. You may end up breaking groceries into 30 categories. For now, keep it simple.
4) Stop before you are tired.
Remember how I said you'd be working on this til you die? Since that's the case, don't wear yourself out today. Working on money stuff can make a body crazy, and once you get crazy, it's hard to calm down. Stop working for the day when you start to lose your calm. It will be there tomorrow.
5) Be meticulous.
You have to care about money to have money. Notice the small transactions. Work hard for a little increase in interest. It's worth it.
6) Ignoring money means you're ignoring yourself.
If your money isn't in order, if you're constantly on the brink of financial ruin, you're not doing yourself or your art or the world any favors. Get your shit together already. You're not better than balancing your books. Accept that and move on.
I'm still in the thick of the actual steps we learned about: Tracking my money every damn day, learning how to earn more, paying down debt, etc. But these concepts are keeping me sane and keeping me moving.