Writing for a living can get expensive. Payments seem to avoid coming in on a regular schedule and prefer to keep me guessing. Guessing makes a budget cringe.
The last couple of years have required major money managing skills. The writing income has carried the bulk of the family expenses. Learning how to juggle the unexpected paychecks with the regular bills has given me some insight into how to survive as a freelance writer.
Tips for Balancing a Freelance Budget
1. Never spend what is not already in the bank. You learn (often the hard way) that “the check was sent Monday” means you may not see any money until next month. Accept that fact and spend what has already been deposited.
2. Work as though the deadline is today. Procrastination can cost more than any other action when it comes to freelance writing. Get the project done and then you can move on to the next project.
3. Set aside at least one third for taxes and savings. The more income that you bring in then the higher this percentage should go as well. Uncle Sam will get his and you want to be prepared for that bill.
4. Always be looking for new work. Putting all of your eggs in one basket may leave you with a mess. I had a big project that paid most of our bills, but when the economy sunk, so did that project. I am still scrambling to make up for depending too much on one paycheck.
The key to surviving financially as a freelance writer lies in patience. Do not be in a rush to spend money, do not expect money to arrive on time, and always prepare for the drought!