Canadian Musician - May/June 2017 - Page 44

(LEFT) MURRAY WOOD & SCENIC ROUT E TO ALASKA WHERE CAN YOU SAVE MONEY? Food OR Per Diems: If you’re in a band with no hired members, purchase all the food on a band card or with merch money and keep the receipts. This is better than paying out per diems, as per diems will be spent less efficiently. Note per diems can be use- ful for grants. If you’re claiming per diems, you don’t have to return individual food receipts. It saves hassle. Whether you’re paying per diems or not, count on $35/day per member of the band. Sometimes it will be less, sometimes it will be more; it will depend on the day. Get specific and figure out how many of the venues you’re playing are providing meals. This will allow you to calculate a pretty specific idea of how much money you’ll be spending every day. Food is usually one of the top spending categories. Artist/Crew Fees: Bringing a side musician, tech, or tour manager with you will cost money. Enter that cost here. Accommodations: Figure out where you’ll need hotels. This is the perfect time to start looking for deals, or preferably, finding a place to crash. Hosts prefer to have a heads up. If you know you’re going to need a room, ask in advance. You’ll have more luck this way. I usually include a few little ‘Thank You’ gifts for hosts in this budget. They are always less than a hotel and people appreciate them. Airfare: Book your flights six weeks out to get the best deal. Use Hopper or a similar app to keep your eye on flights and get the best deal. 44 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N In that list of expenses, you can find ways to cut costs. Let’s dig into a few of the biggest expense cate- gories and give you some ideas on cost-saving measures. Ferries/Tolls: When you are figuring out how far you’re going, take note of ferries and toll roads. Figure out how much they cost and budget for them. Tour Promotion: We’re talking post- ers, Facebook ads, etc. Misc. Travel: This is for taxis, parking, etc. Equipment/Instrument Rental; Agent & Management Fees; Room Fees: Many independent bands won’t have these last few, but if you do, they can take a significant toll on your revenue. This seems like a lot, but it really doesn’t take very long. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll realize that you can often calculate a few things at once. While you’re figuring out how much you’re getting paid for a show, you can also figure out where you’ll be staying, if you’re getting fed, and how far it is from the last show. Doing this will keep you organized and keep your bud- get afloat. Accommodations: Nothing digs into a budget faster than spending big money on a hotel room every night. Hotel rooms are not cheap. Even using Hotwire or Priceline, you’ll still end up paying $90+ for a room each night. I generally budget for $110 per night if I’m buying hotels, because it’s possible to end up in a city with- out many hotels or with high prices. Always ask the venue to put you up. They’ll usually say no, but you never know. Sometimes they have a “band house” or a friend who likes to host bands. Failing that, ask your friends, family, and distant relations. If you do this in advance, you’ll have an easy time finding someone. Typically, if they say yes it’s because they actually want to. You can make some great friends this way. Motels are also significantly cheaper than hotels. They are usually found on the edge of cities, and are often under $100, taxes in- cluded. Many of the rooms are just as nice as hotels! Read the reviews though – you don’t want to end up with bedbugs. AirBnB and similar sites are also options. There are usually a few in every city that will cost $50, sleep you on couches and air mat- tresses, and be qu єͅ