If you’re like me, and have trouble living on a budget — here’s a few tips that have genuinely helped me write without breaking the bank.
Alright, admittedly I do enjoy mocking myself (and vegans) a few times in my usual articles — but this one is not intended for satire, this one’s from the heart.
If your average returns are around $100-$200 — Keep it simple.
Note: A few prices might differer since I’m writing from my perspective; Hence, keep it mind — my averages are based off of Sydney, Australia (Which is a pretty pricey place to live).
Depending on where you’re reading this from, the prices might differ by a few dollars.
1 — Food.
We all need fuel to write, everybody has their own reservations when it comes to eating on a budget; especially when you’re unsure of what your monthly returns might be. Depending on your living situation and whether or not you have family and friends who don’t mind sharing their food. Here’s a few items I stock to make sure I don’t go hungry.
- Peanut Butter, $3–5 (For 500g):
Peanut Butter is a great source of protein, doesn’t require much cooking. It’s easy, quick, and tastes delicious. If you decide to get creative, you can make more than just a good ol’ Pb&J with it.
I usually blend a scoop full in Milk for Breakfast.
- Coffee, $6–10 (90–500g):
Depending on your preference and whether you prefer a house brand or a classier option, make your coffee at home — stop wasting those valuable dollars at Coffee Shops.
There’s nothing wrong with a fancy Cappuccino every now and then, but a Coffee at a Café will cost anywhere between $2–3.
- Bananas, $3–4 / Kg:
Bananas are a great snack, plus they’re a great source of energy and easy to eat — keeps your body healthy and you can always munch one real quickly.
- Tuna, $ 1–3 / Serving:
I’ve gotten used to Tuna, I used to hate it — wasn’t a fan of Fish.
Life requires compromises, so just pretend it’s chicken and make a sandwich out of it. Tuna’s easy, doesn’t require much cooking either and lasts a while.
- Canned Beans / Canned Spaghetti, $3 (500g):
This one’s the best way to make a unique mixture of a fulfilling meal; combing the Tuna with Canned Beans and Spaghetti, and you’ve got yourself a decent Sandwich or Straight up Spaghetti.
- Pasta, $1–3 (500g):
This takes me back to my College survival days, if you’ve got yourself a Kettle — Nothing is impossible to cook! Pasta lasts ages, it’s easy to store and simple to cook — throw some Tuna and Tomatoes in there and you’ve got yourself a home-cooked meal.
If you decide to get real creative, throw a few veggies in there and adding a sauce will basically cost another $2 (Avg. Lasts up to 2–3 Servings).
- Microwave Rice, $1.50 (250g) $3.50 (500g):
These pretty much work on their own and most supermarkets might have a microwave they’ll let you use for free; They come in plenty of flavours and serve up a decent meal for a $1.50.
If you wish to get creative, throw a few veggies and a can of Tuna in there.
Don’t be afraid to use a Kettle! — This is basically the only necessary utensil I need to prepare food, Kettles are extremely innovative. You can use them to Boil eggs, Pasta, Coffee, and anything that requires hot water (No showers).
2 — Amenities.
- WiFi, Free:
If you ask nicely, you won’t have to loiter at a Café to get your writing done in exchange for free WiFi.
Local Libraries and Apple Stores are more than happy to let you use their Wifi for Writing, and personally — I prefer Libraries because they’re quiet and there’s plenty of inspiration around.
It’s also a great place to make fellow curious friends.
Most College campuses have showers, don’t be a stranger and don’t feel guilty about hogging a few Toilet paper rolls.
3 — Housing, (Tricky).
I have my living situation sorted, which means I don’t necessarily always need to worry about paying the Rent or Bills.
If you are in a situation and have trouble with housing, there’s a few great options.
— Couch Surfing; This is an online platform where, Quid quo pro, folks will let you stay on their couch in return for a favour such as helping with the chores or simply watching the house / pets.
— Elderly and Disabled Citizens Homes; This is a deal that has been around for quite some time, and by simply searching online you can volunteer to help out Elderly or Disabled citizens in exchange for housing (and sometimes food). I did this for a while, and personally found it quite a wonderful experience — you get to meet great people, and feel good about doing a bit of community service. (You can even mention it on your resume)
— Offer your services to Friends and Family; If you have friends who have a busy schedule or a family that doesn’t mind you lurking around, there’s no shame in asking. You can pay them back by offering to help out around the house or with their work.
— The Office; If you find that you have a decent side-gig, asking your boss to take a night shift or extra work hours in exchange for sleeping at the office — might just do the trick. I’ve shamelessly slept in my Office on Campus in my comfy sleeping bag (showers included).
4 — Travel Cards.
Sydney has wonderful public transport, and I don’t mind using it because I love enjoying the view and this is usually where I get most of my ideas from.
Public Transport is not only a cheap way to commute, it’s a great source of public entertainment and inspiration for your next article.
Most Cities in Australia offer a Discount Travel Card, and is easily available. I’m unable to estimate the price tag on there, because depending on how far you wish to travel — it can vary.
Don’t be afraid to give Public Transport a shot, it’s great for the environment and easy on the wallet. Use your free Wifi to look up local transport costs and options.
5 — Keep your Social Media usage to a minimum.
Smart phones, whilst a great way to communicate — are pricey to maintain. I have mine on Prepaid, so I don’t break my budget.
Keep internet usage to a minimum and try not refreshing your social media pages every few seconds; it saves a great deal of data.
Data you can use for Navigation, and tethering to your computer for when you need to write on fly!
Well, that’s all that I could come up with for now.
As always, Good Luck on your Journey!