Dear Diary

We’ve already been over my personal 2016 resolutions, most of which are going quite well actually, but this post is all about those dollars. That’s right, RAOP is finally making bank (sort of), and this year our tiny team has some pretty big plans for the pastel empire. The only problem? We really need to get on top of proper money management.

A few months ago I was able to get myself out of credit card debt with the help of Mogo (aka my financial superhero), but now it’s time to move on to bigger financial woes. We finally set up RAOP as an actual business and got ourselves an accountant, but that doesn’t mean our personal money struggles aren’t still coming into play.

Making the move from working at a cushy full time job to working for ourselves here at The Pastel Palace was a tough call for Johanna and I, and though the payoff (not to mention the FUN) has been more than worth it, we’ve definitely got a lot to learn when it comes to budgeting and running a business. Freelance life can be difficult to navigate no matter what field you’re in, and we’re just starting to grasp basic concepts like knowing our worth, charging appropriately for projects, and keeping track of what we’re spending. On top of that, we’ve come up with a few key goals and money saving tips to keep us in the green this year, and we’re sharing them below!

Keep scrolling for our favourite tips and tricks



Don’t Spend on small stuff // I am really bad for spending all of my money on pretty little things, and though a lot of them end up as props in shoots etc. I still can’t help but feel the need to scale down and rethink my approach a bit. Weekly fresh flowers and paper clips shaped like flamingos might look nice in the studio, but saving those pennies to invest in new photo backdrops makes a lot more sense (cents?)

What’s Old is New Again // Johanna is the queen of DIY, and she’s been doing a great job of repurposing and reinventing around the house lately. Old band t-shirt? Let’s make it a crop top and use the extra fabric to make macrame plant hangers! Backpack too stained from pen ink? Give it new life with a quick dye in the bath tub!

Plan ahead // One of our biggest shortcomings is budgeting and keeping track of what we spend, so the prepaid Mogo card is sort of a lifesaver. All you do is load the card with your spending money (ex. our entire budget for a shoot), and whether you’re shopping online or irl you can never overspend! It’s a really clever way to stay on top of budgeting, and the card designs are really pretty to boot.



Don’t get Screwed by CC Debt // I may have gotten my credit card under control, but Johanna still has a handful of debt and student loans to pay off. We’re trying to work out a plan to help her get on top of it, and Mogo’s Liquid Loan is definitely a contender, but in the meantime she’s just saving whenever she can. As for me, I’ll be keeping a very close watch on our new business account visa- there’s something extra scary about falling off the wagon with that card!

Back to Basics // Since leaving our 9-5 life we’ve had to make a lot of little lifestyle adjustments, including but not limited to making tea at home instead of splurging at coffee shops, getting creative with cocktail recipes instead of overspending at the bar, and making more home cooked meals with friends.

Swap Meet // We love the idea of trading what you don’t need for something you do, and we try to do so as much as possible. We’ll often trade social media consultation for business advice and locally-made goods, and we’re really into Toronto’s trading group Bunz Trading Zone. Offering goods and services is a great way to get what you need for less, and it also helps build a really wonderful sense of community, even in the big city.