Money Management 101 for the Writer marilyn l davis two drops of ink amanda winstead

Money Management 101 for the Writer

By Amanda Winstead


Writers and Wealth


“Money per se does not make you happy – it’s what it enables you to do with your life.”― Lois P. Frankel, Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich: 75 Avoidable Mistakes Women Make with Money

If you consider yourself a full-time writer, you know that the term “starving writer” exists for a reason. Since there is no universal pay rate for writing work, there can be many monetary ups and downs as one job can pay a lot while another can pay pennies per word. Still, you must have a strategy for maintaining your finances and avoiding falling into debt so you can properly provide for yourself and your family.

The good news is that with proper planning and a bit of self-control, you can keep a handle on your finances and even make money regardless of your annual income. Below are strategies for budgeting and setting goals, ideas for diversifying your earnings, and how to make some extra cash, among other easy-to-implement ideas.


1. Budgeting is Key


“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six , result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery”― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Without understanding your income and expenses, it’s hard to strategize, which is why creating a budget is so important. Take the time to sit down and make a list of all income streams that you have coming in every month. As writers, we often have many different projects at once, so include every dollar. If the work you get from a particular job fluctuates, consider that as well.

Now you know how much is coming in, and it’s time to account for all of your expenses. Don’t rush this step because the last thing you need is to think you have a plan in place only to get that unexpected expense and find yourself in hot water. 

Don’t leave any expenses out; include:

  1. Mortgage or rent payments 
  2. Utilities
  3. Food, whether groceries or eating out
  4. Student loans
  5. Credit card payments
  6. Car payments 
  7. Childcare costs
  8. Insurances 
  9. Entertainment, tv, music, games
  10. A realistic estimate of what you spend on fun or an evening out
  11. Consider the coffee on the go that happens frequently  

Once you have all of these expenses down in writing, you need to take a good look at your list and determine which costs you can eliminate, especially if you find yourself in the red at the end of most months. The task may seem daunting at first, but all you need to do is think about what you can and can’t live without, like the five coffees a week?  


2. Are You Being Extravagant?  


“Become a minimalist. Eliminate clutter from your life by living with the 100 things that you wear and use the most.”― Ann Marie Sabath, What Self-Made Millionaires Do That Most People Don’t: 52 Ways to Create Your Own Success

Look at your subscription to all of those streaming services. Can you stick with basic cable until your financial situation improves? Another expense that many people can cut down is their lunch and coffee budget. Do you need to go out to eat every day, or can you get what you need at the grocery store and make your food at home for half of the cost? All those clothes hanging in your closet and you wear leggings every day. Consider selling the unnecessary clothing on eBay. 

Think about what is or isn’t absolutely necessary and make the proper adjustments.


3. Avoid Debt


“Money often costs too much”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

It may seem obvious, but to stay in control of your finances, you should avoid debt whenever possible. We know it can be hard to stay afloat when you are in between writing projects, but you must be careful about where you borrow money, even if you have only a few options.

For instance, if you find yourself in an unexpected financial situation, you should never look for assistance from short-term solutions like payday loans. You’ve likely seen the commercials for payday loan companies where they tell you how much money you can get upfront when you need it most. What they typically don’t say out loud is that the interest rates for these loans are through the roof, sometimes as high as 600%, which means you owe more, and if you are already low on funds, then the loans can be almost impossible to pay back, which means you will find yourself in even deeper debt.

Even modest loans can be challenging to pay back when you’re strapped for cash, so during these lulls in writing work, look at your budget to see if there is anything else that you can cut out to save a bit of cash. 

If you are never in debt, then you will never have to worry about the additional bills every month as you pay them back. To prevent the chance of debt, avoid using credit cards whenever possible and instead use only your debit card or cash. That way, you are not spending beyond your means, and you won’t get caught in the trap of having to pay more later.


4. Seek Professional Help


“Coming out of your comfort zone is tough in the beginning, chaotic in the middle, and awesome in the end…because in the end, it shows you a whole new world !!
Make an attempt..”― Manoj Arora, From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom

If you have tried everything and you can’t seem to crack the code on your financial situation, then you may want to consult a professional. Look online for an accountant that fits your budget, and then schedule some time with them to pick their brains and create a plan that can help you retain control of your finances.

As a freelance writer, you may want to consult a virtual accountant because not only will they have financial knowledge, but since they also work remotely, they may have some tips for your specific situation. And try bartering your services – maybe their web site needs editing!

Two excellent books that can help you reduce expenses and increases wealth are, Personal Finance For Beginners In 30 Minutes, Volume 1 and From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom by Manoj Arora  Even if you buy both books, it will only set you back, $24.00, and that could be money well spent if it helps you understand your finances and continue writing. 


5. Bring in More Money


“We live in the land of opportunities. People come from all over the world to hustle and work their way up to places that they could only imagine or dream of.”
― Farshad Asl, The “No Excuses” Mindset: A Life of Purpose, Passion, and Clarity

While it may seem easier said than done, if you can earn more money, you can improve your financial situation and avoid the need to take out loans. Although you’re working hard to find writing clients, you may want to think outside of the box to find the extra funds you need to support your craft and your family. 

Have you considered any of the side hustles available today? Driving your car for a food delivery service, starting a small online tutoring business where you can teach others about your particular area of expertise, or offering your writing services on Fiver are all ways to earn extra cash. 

Side hustles are great because you can make money while working around your writing jobs. For instance, you know you’ve got a book editing job that starts next month, which means you can work extra hours driving this month. 

Of course, if you only want to stick to writing, then you could use your downtime to learn about a new topic or writing style that you can use to attract more clients and make more money. 

Take a look at writer job listings and see what companies are looking for these days and learn that subject to gain more clients. For instance, many businesses are looking for experts in search engine optimization. There are many resources where you can learn about SEO, and once you have it down, you can find more work.


6. Save Any Extra Income


“Money looks better in the bank than on your feet.”― Sophia Amoruso, #Girlboss

Another way to make some extra cash is to be smart with your leftover money and make your savings work for you. You can start by putting a percentage of your paychecks into a high-interest savings account where you will earn interest just by saving your cash with that company. 

In addition to your savings accounts, you can diversify the extra money you save every month by putting a certain percentage into other buckets, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. That way, you can earn cash over time, and if one of your buckets is suddenly empty, you don’t lose everything you have.


Persist in Your Passion for Writing


“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge

We may not all be starving, but it's not easy being a full-time writer. You will not always have the money and success you crave, but you can reach your goals with hard work and dedication. Click To Tweet

Use the tips described above, and you can have some extra cash to help you along the way.



Bio: Amanda Winstead

Poetry's Comeback & Evolution Today  two drops of ink marilyn l davis amanda winstead

Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts.

If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her onTwitter.

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One comment

  1. One income stream could disappear, change shape or reduce — but you’ll still make it through. You’ll still make something. And ten dollars here combined with one hundred dollars over there adds up. Load that figure up with dividends from your financial investments and then add back the money you saved up during the good times, and you know what you’ve got. And with the help of milanvan222, he linked me up with a group that have been paying me $3500 weekly without much stress involved.

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