Blogging is a great way to free yourself from the restrictions of a regular, old, boring job. However, there are still bills to pay, and you don’t want to spend your nest egg, or have to be permanently couch surfing just to get by. Unless you’re fairly successful as a blogger you might feel like your finances are quite tight.
As a blogger myself for over 3 years now, I’ve picked up some very handy ways in which to save money – and avoid the dreaded return to the 9 to 5. How many of these things are you currently doing?
Outsource some of your tasks
If you’re finding that you’re spending a lot of time on writing new content for your blog and not having enough time to concentrate on monetization strategies, SEO, or site look and feel, then there is nothing wrong with having other writers take on some of the load. Or, if you prefer the writing side of things, outsource that SEO to a freelancer. For instance, a site like No Deposit Friend (who offer free spins at NDF) will outsource some of their writing and website development to freelancers. I hire someone to go out there and get me quality backlinks. It’s all about spending more time concentrating on what tasks you feel that you like the most.
Choose your location wisely
You have the freedom to work from wherever you choose with this lifestyle. Which means, depending on your responsibilities, that you can take off and work in any part of the world that you deem fit. For me, the obvious choice is South East Asia. Because I’m Australian, I can bounce around the region for a limited amount of money and then come back to visit friends and family.
I like to travel but in the past have found myself in cities that have been difficult to stay in because of the high cost of living. Now, before I travel, I like to check the relative cost of living compared to wherever I am at the moment. To gauge this, I use Numbeo, a comparison tool, as well as check out the cost of Airbnbs in the area that I’m staying. If it’s a popular destination, then getting Airbnbs in advance is clever – if you leave it until the last minute all the appealing reasonably priced ones will have been snapped up and you’ll have to either a) stay in a less desirable area b) stay in a worse house and/or share instead of get a place to yourself or c) pay more. Sometimes even a combination of these things, or worse, the trifecta.
The benefits of staying in South East Asia in many of the spots I’m in mean vacancy rates are never really full – so you’re generally always getting quite a good deal wherever you are and in whatever area you choose.
Learn how to search for the cheapest flights
You can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on plane travel if you know how to search for the cheapest flights to get you where you want to be. For instance, I’m in Bali and I want to get to the Canary Islands, a region of Spain, for the 31st of January. So I head over to Google Flights, input the date I wanted to arrive as a one way flight, and then chose the following departing airports: DPS, BKK, DMK, KUL and SIN. These are Denpasar (Bali, Indonesia), Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang (Bangkok, Thailand), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Singapore. These are the major airports in the region and low cost carriers travel between these airports for next to nothing, so I know I’ll be able to easily get from Bali to any one of them cheaply. Then I’ll input LPA (Las Palmas, Gran Canaria) in the destination airport.
I’ll have a look at the calendar of low fares I could easily fly in the lead up to Jan 31 rather than on a specific date, which may work out cheaper. Oh look, there’s a flight from Singapore for $286 on January 30th. And when I check flights from Denpasar to Singapore, there’s one for $46. $332 all up. That’s versus $625, if I’m finding the cheapest flight when just plugging in Denpasar and Las Palmas – flying on the 23rd of Jan. I’ve saved myself almost $300 just by doing 5 extra minutes of flight checking.
It also pays to know home cities and longest routes of low cost airlines. For instance, Norwegian Air are based in Oslo, Norway, and they fly to Bangkok. Scoot are based in Singapore and fly to Athens. You can input a list of destination cities too and add these ones to the list if you want to get really tricky about things.
Sign up for credit cards with benefits if you can
If you are able to, signing up for credit cards with benefits can save you money. For me, I have one credit card that offers complimentary travel insurance (up to 3 months away from Australia), and one that accrues airline points when I use it. I use the airline points one for any purchases and can take free flights in Australia perhaps once or twice a year. I make sure to activate my travel insurance from my other credit card before I take off from Australia.
Both of these have been very handy, although to be fair, I did sign up for them while I was holding down a regular desk job – you’ll need to provide pay slips to sign up for credit cards generally. If your partner has a “regular” job, you can ask if they’d be interested in having a shared account, or parents for a family account and they trust you of course!
Have a backup laptop or tablet
This might sound a little silly to you, but it pays to have a backup laptop or tablet with a keyboard on hand so you aren’t forced into buying a new one on the spot if you have deadlines. When a laptop of mine got stolen while travelling I didn’t have to freak out – not only did I have travel insurance, but I also had a tablet in my locked bag. This is in comparison to my travelling companion who also had theirs stolen and didn’t have travel insurance. They had to go to the nearest department store and then fork out cash for a lousy and overpriced laptop (around $400 for something with the worst specs I’ve ever heard of) – just so they could continue work that day.
Meanwhile, the most annoying part of my day was having to make the police report before starting work. Make sure if any incidents such as these happen while away that you get a police report ASAP so you can forward the info to your insurance company. Once my work was done, then I could browse and see what sort of replacement laptop I wanted to get – and also whether it was better to purchase in my current location, or put up with the tablet until I got to my next destination and pick one up there.
Track your spendings and earnings
Keep an eye on your finances by tracking all incoming and outgoing expenses. You might like to whip up your own personalized Excel sheet for the job, or you can get an app that does it for you. If you’re working with multiple currencies then you can either do conversions, get an app that does conversions for you, or find a multi-currency app.
The best multi-currency app that I’ve found to do the job is Toshl – however I know that lots of people like to use YAML. You might like to try out both of these different tools to see which one takes your fancy more. They’re slick, easy to use, and have apps that you can use for budgeting on the go.
This way, if you’re finding you’re spending more than you’re making some weeks, you can know that you’ll need to make it up the next week. Or, if you’re finding yourself consistently at a loss, or not managing to save anything, you can make some lifestyle choices such as moving to a less expensive place, not eating out as much, or taking weeks off alcohol – things that can put a dent in your wallet.
Saving bits here are there might not seem like much but it can really add up. Forget giving up your mashed avocado on toast and save money in other ways – because avocado is delicious and you shouldn’t neglect those little pleasures in life.