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practical tips for writers

Living the Dream: Pursue Writing on a Budget

writing on a budget

The idea of seeing their name in print captivates many writers. It’s a dream we pursue and nothing can stop us from writing that novel. Until we see the latest bill, the kids are misbehaving, and the inconveniences of being an adult catch up with us. Being a writer is difficult, especially when you’re starting out.

Don’t be fooled by the rags to riches stories of J. K. Rowling and Stephen King. The life of a writer is very hard and full of setbacks. It can be years before you’re reaping the benefits of your hard work and lots of people give up because of the low pay associated with writing. Don’t hang your head in despair yet though because you can make it. A combination of hard work, talent, and some savvy budgeting can lead you to success as a writer.

An article from Publishing Perspectives shows the harsh reality of writers earnings. Many new writers work for free to build a portfolio. Here are some tips to live on a budget so you can make your dreams come true.

Get A System

Everyone needs to keep track of their budget, but when you don’t have the luxury of endless streams of money, it becomes a necessity. There are many ways to manage your incomings and outgoings.

Spreadsheets

Microsoft Excel is the most popular spreadsheet software and people use it for their business and personal finances. It’s easy to use and can also perform basic calculations.

Free Software

You can find financial software online and some programs are even free. Check out Manilla and Mint.com.

Financial Software

If you’re a computer whizz, then you can use some financial software. However, it’s difficult to use and can take up a lot of time.

Take Note

There’s nothing wrong with an old-fashioned pen and paper. Keep a notebook and use it to detail all your finances. This was you can monitor your incomings and outgoings.

Manage Your Money

So you’ve got that paid writing job! You can enjoy the fruits of your hard labor and treat yourself; after you’ve paid your taxes. One of the worst things about writing is you still need to pay your taxes each year, even on a low income. It’s tempting to treat yourself, but you could also get into debt.

Experts from multiple budgeting websites advise self-employed individuals to set aside at least 30% of their paycheck each month. Put the money in a separate account, and this way you know you’ll have money when you need to pay taxes.

It’s also important to keep your finances in order. Opening multiple bank accounts can help you budget. Once you’ve set aside money for your taxes and paid for your essentials, you can treat yourself.

Groupon It

Finding money for treats is difficult, especially if you have children. You want to pursue your writing dreams, but you don’t want your children to go without, right? There are loads of discounts on the internet.

One great website where you can find discounts is Groupon. They have loads of vouchers on offer, including discounted clothing, and household essentials. If you want to treat your kids there are plenty of fun day trips on offer. These include trips to the water park, zombie scavenger hunts, dolphin discovery adventures and dining out options. You can also take full advantage of lower price meal delivery kits. Living on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you keep your eyes open for opportunities.

Balance Your Wants and Needs

Everyone has things they want and the essentials they need. Water, food, and shelter are necessities. Those jeans that make your butt look great? Not so much! It’s easy to get carried away with our wants, but living on a budget means you must make sacrifices. However, by balancing your wants and needs, you can still set money outside for some luxuries.

Nights Out

Save money when going out with your friends by being the designated driver. You can still socialize and enjoy their company, but save money while you do so. Think about the cost of a soda compared to an alcoholic drink. You’ll also save money on cab fare and wake up refreshed instead of nursing a deadly hangover.

Clothing

Forget designer labels and hit the thrift stores instead. You’ll be surprised at what you find! Many people donate their used clothing to charities, and if you look, you’ll find some great items. Shopping at thrift stores also means you can put together your own outfits and style yourself.

Stay at Home

One of the best ways to save money is by staying at home instead of going out. Yes, there are plenty of fun places to visit, but they all cost money. If you get inventive, you can have as much fun at home with your loved ones. Here are some ideas:

  • Movie nights – Save money on cinema tickets by creating your own home theater. Dim the lights, set up cushions, buy popcorn and choose your favorite movies.
  • Games evenings – Twister, Trivial Pursuit and Scene It are great to play with friends or family.
  • Cook-Off – Forget going out for dinner, set up a cooking competition with your friends. Each cooks for the others and gets an overall score.
  • Cocktail Evening – You’ve probably got some ingredients to make cocktails. Either way, buying them is a lot cheaper than a trip to the local cocktail bar.

Grocery Tips

Grocery shopping isn’t an enjoyable experience. It’s so easy to pick the first things we see off the shelves to dodge the screaming children and frantic shoppers. However, if you know what you’re looking for and stick to a list, you’ll save money. Reduce your grocery spending by:

  • Making a menu so you can plan which items you need. Stick to it regardless of the complaints you get from the kids!
  • Buy store-brand goods instead of the luxury items. You won’t even taste the difference.
  • Get your essential items in bulk. It works out cheaper than buying a smaller version.
  • Go shopping after you’ve just eaten. It means you won’t buy everything that looks good and you’ll stick to the list.

Change Your Lifestyle

That gym membership is costing you a fortune, but you don’t need it! OK, so your home doesn’t have a state-of-the-art swimming pool or sauna, but you can still work out for free. Forget the yoga class and get a free workout online. There are plenty of videos available on YouTube, so you can keep fit and save money. Go for a run, power walk, or take up cycling. Your local swimming pool will have more cost-effective membership options than most gyms and health clubs.

Statistics published on the National Association of Home Builders shows how much the average US household spends on electricity. Turning off your appliances can reduce your bill by a significant amount. Encourage your children to contribute to the household savings and reward them if the electricity bill is lower than usual.

Saving money requires a lot of commitment, but it’s worth it in the long-run. If you want to make it as a writer, accept that money might be tight. However, you can build a career, and appreciate the smaller things in life.

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