Financial Planning and WritingOct 17
As writers, we often don’t want to think about finances. That’s too “practical” and we tend to be the artsy, creative types. Right?
Wrong. If you want to write for a living, you have some serious financial planning to do now.
Walking away from a 9 to 5 job with benefits is going to be tough when the time comes, regardless of the planning you’ve done. However, it will be impossible if you haven’t done any planning at all. Imagine it, you get your first book deal, and you still can’t afford to quit work and write! Not exactly what you’re dreaming of, is it?
Let me say that once more…. Unless you plan financially now, you’ll never be able to quit work and write for a living.
So, what are you doing about it?
Over the past year or so, we’ve been working on our finances and planning/hoping that my writing career can be my main source of income eventually. Here’s what we’ve done.
- Stop going into debt. This one really is a no-brainer. We don’t charge gas, food, clothes, etc. We don’t even charge bigger items, like furniture.
- Pay out of debt. If you’re not going INTO debt, then paying off the debt you have becomes much easier, and faster. If you’re able, add a little extra to one of your bills each month so you can see it disappear even more quickly.
- Layaway is your friend. Many stores still offer layaway plans. This is great for larger purchases you might put on a credit card otherwise. We bought a home recently, and we’ve been furnishing it with layaway. It feels great bringing a piece of furniture home knowing it’s paid for!
- Cut expenses. Sit down with your last few bank statements and track where your money is going. You don’t have to do a fancy spreadsheet, just look. Are you paying for a service you no longer need or use? I recently found a subscription I hadn’t logged in to for over a year, and it was costing me $15/month. Other easy techniques are searching online for coupons before you shop (online or in-store!) and asking for interest rate discounts from the credit cards you currently hold. If you can talk them into even a small decrease, it will make paying the balance off that much quicker.
- Save! Sign up for one of the online savings accounts and start putting something in every payday. Once you’re used to saving that amount and you no longer miss it, up the savings by a few dollars. When you get a raise, put at least half of it in the savings.
- As time goes on, put more of your paycheck into savings and practice living on your spouse’s income only, if you’re in a two-earner family. Start slow and gradually put away more and more of your income as your expenses and debt decrease.
Yes, living on an erratic source of income can be scary, but it’s also very doable! Plan on making just one financial change this month that can put you closer to that goal. What will yours be?