I’ve been working as a freelance writer and photographer for over ten years now and I’ve never been without work.
For the past six years I’ve been lucky enough to have regular work with a publishing company who paid my invoice every single fortnight without fail. For a freelancer, this is an ideal scenario. Ideal with a tendency to create a sense of complacency, of course.
A week after we returned from Bali I had a call from my boss with news I’d been expecting for a while: print is dying and there’s not much work from here on in.
It didn’t come as a complete surprise but the reality of the situation had me immediately rethinking everything; grocery lists, direct debits for bills and unnecessary purchases. I’ve been forced to put some really strict measures in place to ensure the rent and the bills are paid each week, hence I’m doing things I’ve been meaning to do for a while now; consistently meal plan, grocery shop to a list, resist any flippant purchases and embrace a new way of thinking about work, money and savings.
How does it make me feel? I’m not worried (that’s new) and in a way, I’m grateful for the push to make changes I’ve been intending to make for a good while. But still, there is an element of security that has been lost and, if anything, I’m determined to establish it once again and keep it, for good.
But perhaps what has been the most potent realisation is this; I have everything I need. If I can buy food every week, pay the rent and keep the bills in check, we’re all good.
Last week I opened my new diary (always an inspiring place to start) and wrote down some new daily intentions to keep myself and the budget in check:
- meal plan each and ever week : the beauty of doing so is that the kids stop asking about what we’re having for dinner (refer to the list on the fridge!) and I’m not caught in a pickle about what to cook.
- shop to the list : I’ve always been a flippant grocery shopper but I’ve learned that when I don’t stick to the list I so, so easily overspend. Again, the added benefit of sticking to the list and meal planning is that no food goes to waste and I don’t have to make extra (usually expensive) trips to the shops.
- re-read this book : because it’s full of good, simple, no-frills financial advice and it’s applicable to anyone regardless of your income, marital status or age.
- sell outgrown, unwanted clothes : an instagram sale is coming to your feed soon!
- follow up on health, house and car insurance : I managed to cut $25 off my monthly direct debits).
- call the electricity company : I’ve been with them for over ten years and they now give me a 26% discount on the total cost of my quarterly bill if I pay before the due date.
Of course, I’m also seeking work left, right and centre and grateful for my established connections and platforms.
How are you going with budget/money plans for the new year?