What I Paid, Saved, and Bought on Pay Day

It’s been several months since I did a What I Paid, Saved, and Bought on Pay Day post so today on this glorious payday, I’m bringing it back! Pay day is usually my most active spending day of the month so it’s fun to share what I’m doing with my money on this super active money days.

What I Paid On Pay Day

  • Rent. First paycheck of the month means it’s rent time! I’m lucky that my new rent is not even a quarter of my monthly income so it doesn’t hurt as much to pay it as it did when it was over 50% of my monthly income.
  • Health insurance. I have health insurance through the government marketplace and I pay full price for it. So $150 for bare minimum coverage each month. At least I won’t go bankrupt if I get hurt, right?
  • Electric Bill – I paid $85 for my electric bill. It was due today so it’s lucky that pay day coincided with this due date.

What I Saved On Pay Day

  • Roth IRA. I put $100 toward my Roth IRA today. I plan to put away at least $100 each pay check and last month I put in an extra $100.
  • Emergency fund. I moved $250 over to my emergency fund savings account from checking. This account is still not where it needs to be at but I’m happy that it’s at least big enough to cover rent and utilities and such for a few months.

What I Bought On Pay Day

  • Lunch. Though I haven’t done it yet, I’m planning to go out to eat for lunch today. I usually always bring my lunch if it’s not a company paid for lunch, but today felt like a good time to treat myself. Buying lunch out if definitely a luxury.
  • Coffee. I’ve got a Starbucks habit and I’m not planning to apologize for it or give it up. Coffee makes me happy and brightens my day and mood so it’s well worth the expense each month. The first paycheck of the month means it’s Starbucks card top up time!
  • Groceries. It’s grocery day! It’s a good thing too because my pantry was getting pretty bare in there. I’m planning to stock up on some frozen veggies and staples that won’t go bad quickly. It’s also the shopping trip where I get fresh fruit and vegetables for this week. I’ll be cooking dinner at home tonight and it will be so nice to have everything I need!

So that’s what I’ve paid, saved, and bought today! It’s a pretty average first of the month payday. The second check of the month is much more fun for me because I get to save more and spend more on fun stuff. It’s definitely a lot more fun when I don’t have to pay rent or bigger insurance bills!

 

How a Little Money All At Once Can Beat a Lot of Money Spread Out

A little money spent all at once can easily outpace a lot of money spread out over time. This may seem counterintuitive, and contrary to good money habits passed down to us by people who seem to know better. But the fact is, a single good financial decision can pay off for years to come. Decisions like this are investments, and investments require money. So where is this money coming from, all of a sudden?

Money typically comes into people’s lives from regular old income. They work, they receive a paycheck. But occasionally, funds come in large amounts all at once. This process is sometimes called a Windfall. You may receive your windfall in a variety of forms: a structured settlement, an annuity, lottery winnings, or other lump sums of money. Most of these lump sums will not be paid out all at once, but will instead drip into your life monthly. This is inherent to the structured settlement and annuity models, but is often the case with lottery winnings, inheritances, and the like.

Monthly payments of larger sums can be good for the average person. Instead of getting spent all at once, often a poor decision, the regular payments can provide long-term security for the individual. But many people don’t want this. They know exactly how to use the money, if it were all available to them at once. They would be able to invest it in a long-term solution to their money troubles, one that would pay them many times over the sum they are actually spending.

In a situation like this, to sell structured settlement or annuity is the goal. Companies like this will buy your structured settlement in exchange for a lump sum. You have to be careful with a decision like this, because you won’t be selling your settlement for its full value. Instead, you’ll take a small loss in exchange for the convenience of a lump sum. However, it is possible to make a small lump sum go much farther than a string of small payments. Here’s how.

In the case we’re describing, it’s only legal to sell your settlement (or whatever) if you are using it for a specific kind of purpose, one which will benefit you financially for many months and years to come. Specific uses might include starting a business, getting further education, or paying off a high interest debt. You can see how these spending purposes require a lot of money spent all at once.

Federal law dictates that in order to sell a settlement, you’ve got to run your decision by the state courts. They will make sure that you aren’t selling your settlement for a purpose that ultimately won’t benefit you, like an expensive vacation or a new sports car. But if your decision will turn into a money engine for you, one more powerful than the structured settlement or annuity that you presently have, then the courts will allow the sale. This is how you can make a big expense turn into a big money making opportunity. Most people can only afford to make financial moves like this once or twice in their lives. So choose carefully, but then act boldly. It is likely to pay off.

Want to be wealthy? Do what wealthy people do.

One of my favorite bloggers and inspirational saver Save, Spend, Splurge recently shared a list of things wealthy people do:

  • Don’t own most of their net worth in real estate (e.g. their primary residence)
  • Don’t want to be a slave to anyone or any company and have the attitude to boot
  • Don’t go into debt for consumer spending (e.g. clothes, electronics, vacations)
  • Don’t leave huge chunks of their savings sitting in high-interest savings accounts
  • Don’t believe that the only way to go through life is to be in crippling debt for anything, including houses
  • Do make more money and look at increasing their net worth (e.g. they negotiate their salaries)
  • Do take the time to learn how to manage their money (e.g.budget, invest it in index funds,ETFs, stocks such as dividend paying ones)
  • Do take calculated risks
  • Do understand that  student loans (that lead to dead end jobs), homes and cars are debt traps if they aren’t careful
  • Do spend their money and enjoy it, but within reason

Great list! It shows what wealthy people do and then as the opposite of this list goes, shows what unwealthy people do.

Want to be wealthy? Do what the wealthy people do.

A few of my personal notes from the list:

  • Don’t own most of their net worth in real estate – In the next year this will probably be true for me as I buy a house, but ultimately the plan is to have my home/real estate be just a fraction of the overall portfolio. My plan is to diversify my portfolio as much as is reasonable.
  • Don’t want to be a slave to anyone or any company and have the attitude to boot – I don’t want to work for anyone at a certain point. I watched my parents slave away their lives for one employer and I’d rather climb up and out through my own entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • Don’t go into debt for consumer spending (e.g. clothes, electronics, vacations) – This is something I haven’t done since I was young and dumb racking up credit card debt in college. After paying off all my credit card debt and learning to use credit cards responsibly, I realized how dumb it is to buy consumer goods on credit.
  • Don’t leave huge chunks of their savings sitting in high-interest savings accounts – This is huge! I invest as much as I can where I’m earning 12-15% on my money. So much better than earning less than 2% or worse, keeping it in checking and earning nothing!
  • Don’t believe that the only way to go through life is to be in crippling debt for anything, including houses – Crippling debt is overrated. Be responsible when you borrow money. Choose less house, a cheaper degree, and you’ll be a lot happier without a huge burden of debt.
  • Do make more money and look at increasing their net worth (e.g. they negotiate their salaries) – I’m currently making the highest rate per hour I’ve ever made and I’m also investing in a growing business of my own. Growing your salary and saving to grow your net worth is so important!
  • Do spend their money and enjoy it, but within reason – I’m currrently learning to do this. I want to save EVERYTHING but friends and my boyfriend are helping me open up a bit and spend without going crazy. It’s a new balanced lifestyle that is reasonable and fun! This is the year of frugal fun after all!

It’s really, really easy to get caught up in the typical advice you hear from most people about how to live your life and spend your money. That means you’ll probably end up in crippling debt and with no escape plan in sight. Wealthy people don’t follow the “normal” advice and they live a bit differently – in a good way.

If you plan to be wealthy, and I certainly do, then you can’t rely on your old habits. You have to adopt a different mindset and different habits. Reading about what the wealthy do is a great way to get started which is why I share posts like this and habits of the wealthiest people and 20 things rich people do every day. Reading about what the wealthy do in their daily lives can help us adopt some of the same habits. Will it automatically make us rich? No, but it will get us a lot closer than the typical spend, spend, spend advice out there!

 

 

Regular Income from Freelance Writing – Is it possible?

A few months ago I decided to make my freelance writing the majority of my online income. It was the more lucrative option and since then I’ve had many conversations with my friends about earning extra income from writing. We all have side jobs and ways of earning extra money so it’s a regular topic in our circles. A few of us have started businesses and I’ve relied on blogging and freelance writing for extra income. Since I’ve been writing for a while they all wanted to know if regular income from freelance writing was possible or not.

is regular income from freelance writing possible

My Experience with Freelance Writing

Early on my one complaint about blogging and freelance writing income was that it wassn’t stable enough. I would make $300 one day and zero the next. I knew it wouldn’t be sustainable or regular enough to rely on at that level so I set about learning way to make it a more regular income source. I knew you could make a regular income from freelance writing because I saw other people doing it. In the beginning it didn’t seem possible but I now rely on freelance writing to cover several bills each month because it’s something I can count on.

I started my side job career of freelance writing by writing for content farm websites. I then moved on to starting my own blog which led to higher level and better paying freelance writing jobs for websites and other blogs. That experience helped me gain the confidence to go for bigger jobs and local gigs writing for magazines and bigger websites. Most of my freelance writing is for other blogs and websites on topics I enjoy so I’m really getting paid for something I love doing.

Where do you start with freelance writing? 

There is no right or wrong place to start with freelance writing. I started small in a low-pressure environment but many people start with a bang writing for a national publication with huge audience. Whether you start small or go for the stars, there are lots of opportunities for freelance writing.

Freelance writing opportunity: Writing Services

If you don’t know where to start you can start with a writing service online. You can get decent and regular income in return for writing for a service. It’s an easy way to get started and especially good if you are a writer fresh out of college and want to stick with academic writing. It’s even better if you don’t feel like seeking out your own clients and gigs.

Freelance writing opportunity: Blogging

Blogging is a great way to start writing online and a wonderful way to earn money as a writer. You get immediate feedback on your work and you can start a great career by blogging. Beyond just starting your own blog and earning money from it, you can earn money as a staff writer for other blogs. Many will pay between $10 and $25 per post depending on length and experience and topic. Having a blog and networking in the blog community will help you get these kind of blog staff writing jobs and you can also find them on certain freelance writing job boards and communities.

Freelance writing opportunity: Companies

Many companies will hire freelance writers to write copy, update blogs, and create regular content for their websites. You can find these gigs on Craigslists of job boards for writers. Many more experienced freelance writers with sales ability also approach companies with the pitch to help their marketing via writing.

Another approach here is to approach a local marketing or digital agency. These companies have lots of clients and consistent work that they will farm out to freelancers. Reach out with your portfolio and build a relationship with the agency and they will send you freelance writing work when they need your skills and have more work than they can complete.

Freelance Writing Tips

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the time I’ve been writing with regularity.

Create your portfolio

When you apply as a freelance writer the person offering you the gig is going to want to see previous work. This means to get freelance writing jobs you need to have examples of previous writing work. It’s best to have a portfolio of work that matches the type of work you are applying for. Gather up your writing work, or create new work by writing some free content or creating blog posts, so you can show your writing ability.

Work steadily

Part of my problem initially was an irregular income because I worked irregular hours. You have to put in the right amount of time finding jobs and completing jobs to keep your income flow steady as a freelance writer. There’s very few of us who have jobs fall at our feet, so put in the work each week. It helps to set aside a time each day or each week to work on specific tasks like finding jobs, doing admin work, and writing the articles for your clients. Being consistent with the amount of work you put in each week will keep your income regular and reliable.

Keep your expenses low

If you plan to fully survive on freelance writing then you should definitely keep your expenses low. Even with regular staff writing jobs and a surplus of work, it can always dry up. It’s important to keep your expenses low and save as much money as possible as a freelancer so you can survive those down times. Keep your expenses low, keep your savings high, and keep as many jobs as you possibly can.

Get to writing!

Whether you plan to use freelance writing for your main income or just a regular side income, it’s a great way to bolster your bank account and learn about new topics. If you ever have questions or want to talk about freelance writing, just leave a comment!