Friday, August 5, 2016

How Much Should You Sacrifice for Writing?

No matter how you look at it, writing whether full-time or part-time requires you to make sacrifices. These may be just little things like skipping your favorite T.V. show to getting up at the crack of dawn to going into thrifty mode and cutting way down on expenses. You may choose to do just one of these or you may be forced to do all three. And sacrifices don’t come easy.

Skipping your favorite T.V. show is easy. You may be lucky enough to have the technology to record your program to view at a later time. That also means you’re probably paying your phone/Internet or cable provider a hefty fee for the privilege.

If you’re still working at a full-time job, then you may have to create time to write by getting up before the chickens. While that may sound like a good idea in theory and it may work for a short while, the stress on your body from not getting enough sleep will eventually catch up to you. To be able to rise before dawn means you should probably go to bed at sunset.  That means that you’ll most likely be doing so right after dinner—not good for your digestion.

Lastly, you can cut back on your expenses—or better yet, put yourself on a strict, but reasonable, budget. Doing so will do two things. It will take the stress off of you to work long hours to pay bills that are higher than they should be. And it will help simplify your life. While this may work well if you’re single, it probably won’t work if you have a family. Those little mouths beg to be fed—a lot.

But controlling your expenses doesn’t have to be a severe sacrifice. First list all the expenses you can’t do without, such as housing, food, temperature control, transportation, food, etc. Then list all the expenses that are extra luxuries. This will be a subjective exercise because what’s a luxury to one person may be a necessity to another. While you may not want to give up your Starbucks coffee, you could switch to a less expensive coffee shop. But if you can’t give up the former, build it into your budget.

If you go to the movies once a week, consider getting a T.V. control box that will let you stream movies and T.V. shows from such outlets as Netflix, Hulu, or HBO. You can watch a whole lot more movies and such for the small amount per month that they charge.

A big expense is transportation. Consider driving less or buying a compact car that gets really good mileage and costs a lot less to maintain. You really don’t need an SUV or a van, even if you have a couple of kids. You can also take public transit if it’s convenient for you. Also, shop around for less expensive auto insurance that will give you the coverage you already have. Combining homeowner’s and auto insurance will allow you to get discounts.

Shop for clothes at less expensive retail outlets—skip the mall and department stores. You may even want to buy some of your clothes at local thrift shops. Chances are you’ll find some excellent brand-name items for a whole lot less. Sporting an L.L. Bean shirt that you purchased for $5 is a lot better than buying it new from the source for $50 or $60. Clothes from this retailer are made to last, so even used ones will be fine for a long while.

Cut back on eating out. “Cutting back” is the key here. Eating other than at home will be a treat if you do it once in a while. Also, keep your eye peeled for coupons and enroll in rewards programs. Not only will you get a free-bee once in a while, but you’ll also be privy to special promotions and discounts. Cook larger batches of food and freeze them in meal-sized portions. Not only will this save you money, it will also provide delicious prepared food when you’re too tired to cook.

Skip the gym but don’t skip the exercise. Work out at home. Invest in dumbbells or just do bodyweight exercises. You can also search YouTube for exercise videos. Or do the easiest exercise of all—walk around your neighborhood.

If you put your mind to it, you’ll find plenty of ways to save a buck or two. And before you know it, your life will be a lot less stressful, plus you’ll be enjoying yourself more as you find time and energy to write more.

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