Wouldn’t the world be grand if we could pursue hobbies and careers without needing to worry about money? Unfortunately, a very select group of people are able to do so. The rest of us have to juggle a full-time job in addition to working on our craft. However, whether you’re writing full-time or you’re currently pursuing it as a side-gig to another career, it’s always a good idea to be responsible with your finances. Here are 5 money management tips for writers that you should consider.
1. Hold On To Your Receipts
I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping all receipts for transactions related to your writing. Whether you’re buying notebooks, printer paper, a new writing desk, an organizer, or even a new set of pens, keep that receipt. When tax time rolls around, you may be able to deduct these purchases as business expenses if they’re used as part of your writing work. Not only do I hold onto these receipts, but I also have an Excel spreadsheet that lists the purchases, the dates, and the amounts. Please speak with a licensed tax professional to learn more about deductions.
2. Don’t Be Tempted By The Bells And Whistles
How often do you stroll into the book store and see a row of fresh notebooks with gorgeous covers and think, “I need a new planner!” Then, when you get home, you discover that you have a stack of unused planners and notebooks that may look nice, but will never be used. I’d love to fill my writing desk’s drawers with the latest writing gizmos and gadgets, but I manage to stop myself and think about how often I’ll actually use them. Even if you’re following the previous tip and writing these items off as business expenses, it’s always a good idea to consider the difference between “wants” and “needs” so that you’re not overspending on unnecessary items.
3. Write At Home
Before Covid, I loved writing in the local bookshop/cafe because I enjoyed the atmosphere as well as the easy access to good food and drinks. But then I realized that I’d be spending close to $10 each time I went to write (and that’s not including travel costs). I started writing at home, which is a little more solitary than I like, but my wallet has thanked me. If you want to continue writing somewhere besides your home, I recommend the local library where it’s nice and peaceful, and you won’t be tempted to spend extra money.
4. Avoid Ordering Food So Much
This point goes hand-in-hand with the previous paragraph. Writing can build up a massive appetite, and after you’ve knocked out about 4,000 words in one sitting, you might want to treat yourself to a quick snack, so you pick up the phone and order takeout or delivery. Although tempting, this can end up being very pricey, especially if you do this every day. Eating at home is much better for your wallet (and usually your health), but you may be like me and not want to take a half-hour out of your writing binge to make yourself food. I recommend making a “writing meal” and store it in your refrigerator before you begin your writing session. That way, you can go and grab your food and head right back to your desk in less than a few minutes.
5. Use A Budget Calculator/App
Sometimes, you need a little assistance with keeping your finances organized and in determining where all your money is going. Once you’ve figured out the money drain, you can work on fixing it. Fortunately, there are numerous budgeting apps available for any kind of phone, computer, or tablet, and the best part is that many of them are completely free. I personally use Mint because it helps me break down and categorize all my spendings and savings. Other great apps include YNAB, EveryDollar, and Goodbudget.