The third article in a four part series.
“I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this.” – Cormac McCarthy, author of The Road
If you’re a writer, chances are you don’t earn much. Whether you have a day job or make your living as a writer, it can be challenging to watch your peers excel financially as you struggle to make ends meet. While these tips may not help you as much as a winning lotto 649 ticket, you’d be surprised how much you can save.
This can be a pain but it’s wellworth it. Write down everything (and I mean everything) you spend. Did you buy a $3 slice of lemon poppy seed cake at Starbucks? A $4.75 birthday card? Write it down. At the end of a month review your expenses. Where could you have saved? Make the appropriate adjustments for next month.
There are plenty of courses available for writers. Unfortunately the fee for a 10 week writing course can be more than your rent! Before you drop all that cash, first ask yourself what you hope to gain from the experience. When you target your goals you can often find workshops that are less expensive than full courses. Libraries also have writers in residence who offer free workshops on dialogue, character creation and story. It’s also a great chance to connect with other writers.
Library. Library. Library.
If you absolutely must own, purchase them at a used bookstore or ask for them as gifts.
Food and Drink
If you’re looking to save money, eating at home is a great place to start. Drinking at home saves money, too, or you could stop drinking all together. (…On second thought, just drink at home…)
When it comes to grocery shopping, do as your mother told you and eat your vegetables. By learning how to make veggie meals you will be saving both your body and your wallet.
Bake homemade muffins and granola bars so you won’t be tempted to spend the $3 on a slice of lemon poppy seed cake.
I can’t speak for other cities or suburban areas, but the amount of free/inexpensive things to do in Toronto is outstanding! Here are just some of my arts and culture favourites:
Word on the Street
The Fringe Theatre Festival/Next Stage Festival
The SummerWorks Theatre Festival
The Hot Docs Film Festival
Pay-What-You-Can days at smaller theatres
And if you’re under 35 there are some great deals available if you know where to look.
As if that’s not enough, NOW magazine lists dozens of free events on a weekly basis.
Stay away from dollar stores. Seriously. Those dollars add up and soon you’ll have a $30-$40 charge on your credit card for a whole bunch of crap.
Christmas can be an expensive time of year. My husband and I put away $30 a month towards presents so we don’t end up with a massive credit card bill in January.
It can be hard to deny yourself the more expensive luxuries (a day at the spa, new clothes). Every once in a while treat yourself to something small. Like a slice of lemon poppy seed cake. (…Starbucks does not sponsor this blog)
We are so bombarded with advertisements trying to sell us this and that. Recognize that you have all you need. Live a simple life. Live a creative life. Live a writing life.