You might have met Irv through our latest testimonial commercials. Since joining Chime, Irv has made the most of the SpotMe feature to ensure his life as a freelance musician goes as smoothly as possible.
Having a financial cushion to fill gaps in cash flow has helped him pursue what he was born to do: share his musical talents through teaching and playing shows. Irv details his journey of staying on top of his money situation as an artist:
Building a career with unpredictable cash flow
Irv is a rapper, sound engineer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator. He was born into a musical family and picked up the keyboard and drums while waddling around in diapers at the tender age of 3. “Music is the only thing I understand outside of food and sleep,” says Irv, who is based out of West Philadelphia.
While there’s a lot that Irv enjoys about being a musician – like meeting interesting people, sharing his love with the world, and constantly growing as an artist – managing his money with an irregular income is not one of them. It’s hard to know precisely when money from different gigs will drop into his checking account. This makes it challenging for him to know how much cash he’ll have on hand each month.
How do you budget when your income fluctuates? Check out our financial planning guide for freelancers and gig workers.
For example, Irv was hired to play a gig a few years back. Unfortunately, he had no money for gas. To make things worse, he was given the incorrect address of the venue.
Before he knew it, Irv was stuck far from his home, at the wrong location, and with no money on him – or in his account. With a few minutes to spare, he called his nearest friend, who was luckily available to give him a lift. But by the time the ride came, Irv missed the show and, sadly, burned a professional bridge.
Steering clear of overdraft fees
Irv needed a way to smooth over any bumps with unpredictable cash flow. At the time, overdraft fees on one of his primary accounts were accumulating quickly. Irv also tried taking cash out of ATMs as needed, but some of those ATM withdrawals came with fees.
“The fees started getting out of control, and when I got paid, it would cover the overdraft fee, but it took a huge chunk out of my paycheck,” says Irv. “I just couldn’t live like that anymore.”
Irv first heard of Chime from the TV ads. Clients and friends also recommended he check out what Chime was all about. “So I made myself an account, and it’s just been smooth sailing ever since,” he says.
Overcoming gaps in cash flow with different tools
Chime’s SpotMe offers fee-free overdraft of up to $200 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals.* When Irv uses SpotMe, his next deposit is applied to his negative balance. Plus, with SpotMe Boost, fellow Chime members can “boost” Irv, which makes him eligible for a temporary SpotMe limit increase.
When he’s between checks and tight on cash, SpotMe can help Irv pay for an equipment rental, his Uber ride to a gig, or his tab when he’s with friends at a restaurant and a little short. “SpotMe has made me more confident in knowing I can get where I need to be,” he says. “Or if something comes up, I’ll still be okay.”
Besides SpotMe, Irv has also found Chime’s Get Paid Early feature, which helps members get paid up to two days earlier than some traditional banks¹, keeps his cash flow steady. To use this feature, just set up direct deposit once you open a Chime checking account, and boom! Your direct deposits can drop up to two days early.
Find out how it works – here’s how Chime gets you paid early.
Now that Irv doesn’t have to pay overdraft fees, he’s freed up money each month to buy more food and add gear to his home recording studio. “I can buy better mics, stands, instrument cables, instruments, VSTs, plug-ins – all the things that go into making my musical life work,” he says.
Coming up with his hacks to steady out cash flow
Learning how to budget as a freelance musician is a never-ending learning curve, Irv says. Besides using SpotMe and Get Paid Early1, he’s devised other ways to save:
- Set some cash aside. Irv has a little drawer to stash cash earned from gigs. That way, he has an emergency fund should he need money to cover a bus ride to a gig or rehearsal.
- Stick to event-based budgeting. By staying on top of all his gigs, he knows what he can afford to do. He’ll play two shows one weekend, three shows the next, and prepare to travel out-of-state for a festival in the coming months. Irv keeps tabs on all his gigs, both near and far, and budgets ahead of time to make sure he has enough stashed away to cover upcoming shows.
- Skip the hang to build savings. It’s easy to drop some dollars on food and drinks after you play a show. Before you know it, you could spend half your gig pay on the same day.
“A very prominent working musician who is a bit of a mentor and big brother gave me the best advice on saving my money,” says Irv: “Play your gig, get your bread, and go home. Don’t hang out.”
Closing gaps in cash flow can help you pursue your creative endeavors
With features like Chime’s SpotMe and Get Paid Early, Irv has greater confidence, security, and peace of mind knowing he can plan his life as a musician. Plus, he can save for the future and spend money on what he cares about the most.
Irv recommends starting today for those who want to go after their creative passions – whether that’s art, music, writing, or crafting.
“No matter what, no matter the circumstances, make something,” Irv says. “Don’t force it, and take your time. Create art from your heart. Share with the world. And from there, whatever is supposed to happen will happen. Build it and let it grow.”
Read more about how Credit Builder helped Chime member Matthew achieve his dreams and see the world.
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