–Sondi Warner, Writer/Blogger for Wrought Iron Reads
As a full-time freelance writer, I’m on an erratic pay schedule, but that’s no reason to say bye-bye to financial security. If you’re a writer looking to get more bang from your bucks, then this is the year to make your money work for you, and here’s how:
Assess Your Value
This is a business, and you’re providing a service.
Measure your worth by collecting reviews and letters of recommendation from your clients. This is tangible proof of the quality of your service and can be used as leverage when defining your price points. Even beginner writers who produce quality content deserve to be paid well for what they do.
“As a freelancer, you can raise prices, chase better-paying jobs, work extra hours, or adjust your spending,’’ says Lynn Wasnak. In other words, learn the power of turning down low-paying, time consuming work. If you can’t make a living wage, you’re going to have a hard time saving, so this is the most important step to reaching financial freedom.
For an unparalleled tool for comparing how much you currently charge with what is high, low and average within your preferred field of writing check out her article, “How Much Should I Charge?” It’s a must-read for serious writers.
Plot Your Savings
Freestyling your savings plan means throwing away money, which nobody can afford to do. It’s time to set realistic, well-defined goals instead of vaguely stating you want to “save more,” and the best way to do that is to create a budget.
The same way you’d create an outline for what you intend to write, you need to draw up guidelines for how you intend to spend money. You’ve heard this a million times, but have you tried it? Figure out how much you’ll need for utilities, rent/mortgage, car note, insurance (including health and life insurance), food costs and daily living expenses.
If you’ve followed the number one step above, and you’ve taken Lynn Wasnak’s handy advice on how much to charge, then you should be able to cover all your monthly expenses with your new pay rate AND be able to place a set amount in your savings with every paycheck. Because most writers are paid by the project instead of by the hour, it may be easier to think in percentages rather than dollars. For example, “I’ll set aside 5% of every payment.”
There are innumerable money saving plans all over the internet. Here’s one that will fit even the tiniest monthly income: How to Save Money: 100 Great Tips to Get You Started by Trent Hamm.
Close the Chapter on Bad Debt
Just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean you have to take credit for bad spending. It’s time to stop living like a starving artist, or you’ll never get your just desserts. Too many pat phrases in one paragraph? Maybe, but the point is: Not all debt is bad; bad debt is bad.
Home loans are good. Student loans aren’t as bad as you think. Credit card debt or personal bank loans that you can’t pay in full in under two months is bad.
You need to understand your Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio. Look at how much interest you’re being charged and pay off your highest-rate bad debt first. Let’s say you have a credit card with an 11% interest rate, but you can only apply $200 to the overall debt; however, you have a $200 bill for a credit card with an interest rate of 7%. You’ll get a bigger boost to your score by paying down the 11% card than paying off the 6% card.
Say “The End” to stressing over your credit score, but the only way to do that is to close the chapter on bad debt. Visit TheSimpleDollar.com for The Best Debt Repayment Tools and Apps and find what works for you.
Live Happily Ever After
So, as you tread deeper into 2016, forge ahead knowing this is YOUR year to make money, save money and pay off debt in order to live the life of your dreams instead of just writing about it.
Tell us more of your money saving tips below in the comments section.