I’ve been reviewing my income and expenditure. It’s the time for putting things into perspective and to consider some options.
Previously I revealed my desire to travel around Europe in the near future, ideally within the next two summers. The target is to earn an additional £1,000 over a matter a months.
This will be money that I can eventually afford to ‘splash out’ on something that I’m passionate about. At the moment the reality is my income will not allow me to do so in the next six months. Either way living costs come first and I’ll have to start making money for the life I want.
What I Need
Using The Budgeting Tool I’ve discovered I need upwards of £600-700 a month to live. This can be divided into several chunks per month:
Rent = £300
Food and energy bills = £200
Internet bill and extras (clothing etc.) = £100
Socialising and other outgoings (tobacco etc.) = £100
I should also say that I live with my brother. Like me his needs are pretty basic, yet we both like a good square meal. I do the cooking whilst he has a full time job. His earnings are not my earnings; this should be obvious, although he’s helped me out when he can.
As well as cooking I generally sort out the grocery shopping, and even though he pays me for his half I need to be able to cover the full costs of the weekly shop to Aldi and other local shops before I can get reimbursed. Recently we’ve started using a ‘food bill jar’ that has helped us oversee our spending.
So long as I can cover food and any travel costs I should be fine, but like everyone I don’t want to be ‘just fine’. I want to be able to have some extra cash for emergencies and to build up some savings. I’d also like to see friends around the country who have either moved south from Manchester or are based in the Midlands where I lived for three years. Trains are very expensive and I don’t drive.
There is also one other lingering possibility; what if I meet someone?! There is always the off-chance a young lady will crumble under the weight of my charms, but through relative poverty I currently cannot treat anyone to anything. I can barely keep myself.
What I Earn
I earn a steady £300 a month from writing, but there’s always more writing gigs waiting in the wings. The internet is a source for prosperity as well as all the social media nonsense, and I must admit I haven’t best used this worldwide tool thus far.
Most of us will admit to using Facebook, Twitter and alike for telling the world what we had for lunch, when really we can all be telling the world our stories and passions through an abundance of blog-sites and forums.
As well as giving feedback to other bloggers, and hopefully making new friends, I need to spend a certain amount of time reading and writing. This will take me a few hours most days. I should look to spend between 12 and 15 hours a week on writing.
A lot of it will be reading but I’d also like to expand my writing through short stories and scripts that I used to write regularly. I write fast but I tend to edit slowly, almost like an artist standing back from his painting and rubbing his chin for too long… Hmm…
I also do claim some housing support, which may alter depending on my employment status. At the moment the support is £250 a month and has been a lifeline for covering the majority of my rent. The whole housing benefit system is off-kilter though, because if I work a single hour over 16 hours it will mostly probably reduce my entitlement for support. Mad.
Bottom line: I have to start making money and change the way in which I do it.
So What Are My Options?
There are the two main options. They are straightforward and nothing elaborate. I’d probably do well if I tried to juggle them both, but might be better to focus on one. They are:
Option 1: Get a part time job (or two). This could be something like cleaning rooms in hotels or serving a few drinks at a bar once or twice a week. In an ideal world I’ll be able to find something that is not only good experience but could also turn out to be closer to a full time position. A lot of new staff later get offers for more hours once they’ve proven their worth. I like being part of a team. I actually prefer it even when there is no guarantee that you’ll get along with everyone.
The real point is to earn more money, and remaining flexible by doing three part time jobs could be of great benefit. The downside is a lack of security when doing part time work. These ‘0 hour’ contracts with a lot of companies tends to mean that you can be taken off the payroll and be out of a job without any genuine or proper explanation. Working more hours and spending more time overall in a certain job can tie you down to set tasks, day to day, but it can also mean you’ll be protected by management. I’d rather have the security, but what I need is more opportunities through having flexibility.
Option 2: Look and ask around for writing jobs. I know I have the ability but lacking confidence has been a constant in my life. A lot of freelancing work pays well, and most people average between £50-70 an hour for things like script writing and ghost writing. I can’t imagine I’ll be writing a celebrity’s autobiography, but I can envisage writing scripts for radio and television and writing posts for other bloggers (any offers welcome). There’s always plenty to talk about in the world of personal finance and storytelling.
A great source for publishing is said to be books like the ‘2014 Writer’s Market’, and this is certainly material I should purchase. It offers advice on the business of writing, setting up and promoting yourself as a freelancer.
Bloggers are all warm and welcoming in my experience, so I’m sure over the next few months (and years) I can land myself onto writing gigs that can give me some, if not all, that extra income I so need. It’s simply a case of staying focused, active and confident.