Budgeting In A New Life

by Khaleef Crumbley on July 22, 2011

in Personal Finance

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This guest post was written by Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting in the fun stuff along the way. If you’d like to see more, feel free to follow BFS via RSS, Email, Twitter, and Facebook. Thanks for reading!

For those of you who haven’t met me yet, hi, my name is Crystal and I am a blogging addict.  In fact, I started blogging in February 2010 and just quit my day job last week to pursue blogging full time!  I am officially self-employed!  I am loving every minute of this new career freedom, but there are some personal finance aspects of my new life that I have to take into account.

Income

First and foremost, I always knew I wouldn’t let go of my day job until I could replace its income completely through my online work.  I am a huge fan of stability and the comfortable lifestyle my husband and I have formed, so I knew I was going to have to work my butt off on two jobs at once to eventually work from home.

Specifically, I was making $35,500 a year from my day job.  After taxes and benefits, I was taking home about $970 in every biweekly paycheck.  That meant that I needed to be able to consistently bring in $2500-$3000 a month from my online endeavors to cover my income and what I would need to cover health insurance and higher taxes.  That was a struggle with only one income stream from my main blog, so I started branching out.

Over the last year, I started staff writing as an income stabilizer and also looked into other options.  I finally decided to put my cum laude Marketing degree to work.  Crystal-For-Hire Blogging Services was born and I started taking on miscellaneous blogging jobs.  I also started offering my services to run other bloggers’ advertising for a commission since many bloggers don’t have the time to capitalize on all of the little deals we are offered on a daily basis.  I was surprised by the great response!  That service has been extremely successful and I was able to hit my $3000 or more goal per month.

I finally had the income part taken care of, which couldn’t have come at a better time since I had been working 16-17 hours a day for most of April, and all of May, June, and the beginning of July.  Whew!

Benefits

My secondary concern was replacing benefits like my health insurance.  Luckily, my husband has a semi-stable position as a public school librarian.  I have always known I could join his plan for about $125 a paycheck and be covered for my health, dental, and eye care.  What wasn’t as known was how I would save for retirement.  Taking that into account, my husband and I opened a second Roth IRA and fully funded it already for this year and will be doing so from here on out.  We are also going to attempt to throw even more into the stock market.

Long story short, I am now tackling my first weeks of dealing with self-employment tax.  I will be sure to let everyone know if all of my planning worked out or not.  One way or another, I will succeed.  I won’t accept any other outcome.  Let’s see if I can do it on my terms or not, lol.

Have you ever been self-employed?  What advice or suggestions would you have for me?

photo by Don Hankins

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa

Thanks for sharing your journey. I am self-employed now, though it will be on a very part-time basis until my little one is in school full-time. I look forward to following your journey!

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2 Jon -- Free Money Wisdom

Congratulations Crystal for pursuing your goal and for being able to work full-time doing something you love. Not many people can say that. Keep up the good work.

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3 Tim @ Faith and Finance

Keep detailed records. I know you’re probably super organized already Crystal. But keeping excellent records of income and expenses will keep you from headaches during tax time.

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4 Squirrelers

I think the things that I’d pay attention to would be insurance, issues with irregular income, and diversifying sources of income (making sure no one customer/source is too dominant in your income stream). Also, making sure that you can set boundaries around work/life balance, now that you’re fully in charge:)

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5 Jackie

I think you’ve hit on the biggest things to be aware of when self-employed: health insurance and taking out enough for taxes (including self-employment tax).

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6 Suba

Great recap of your journey. It will be very useful for people aspiring to become full time blogger. Congrats again!

I have up’ed my withholding quite a bit at work, so that should cover the taxes. But we are setting aside the blogging income anyways, so we should be able to pay from that.

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7 retirebyforty

J$ wrote about paying estimated tax when he left his job. You might want to read that. It’s great that you achieved your goals so quickly. I know you work really really hard though.

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8 Everyday Tips

I think you have covered the many aspects of self employment wonderfully. My biggest piece of advice is to turn off the computer at the end of the day and not look back. Working from home can be hard in that it is always there, beckoning you.

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9 jana

Congratulations on getting to be self-employed!

This is such a timely post as this where I hope to be in the next few years. You’ve definitely given me a lot to think about.

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10 Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer

It’s been wonderful watching you make it happen. This article is great for people considering moving to full time blogging outlining what to consider.

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11 krantcents

Being self employed is a little like being a grown up, it need to take care of yourself. This may mean replacing benefits, reporting and paying taxes, or marketing of your business. Self employment is a lot more work, but can much more lucrative. More importantly, it can be much more satisfying.

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12 Amanda L Grossman

Great recap of all that you have worked on in the last year and a half! Congrats again. I need to start saving up for taxes….:).

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13 No Debt MBA

Congrats!

I’ve been self employed for a while and my suggestions would be:
1) Track all expenses that might be deductible, save receipts, start a mileage log for your car etc
2) Look into a self employed retirement account to go beyond the Roth if you have extra cash. Major options would be a SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or Solo 401k

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14 Little House

I think it’s awesome you made your goal so quickly. I’m quasi-self employed. I consider myself more freelance, I think. As a sub teacher, I receive benefits, but I’m never guaranteed a job. So I have to hustle and get creative with side income. (Hopefully I’ll be fully employed as a teacher by next year! – but I won’t be relinquishing my side jobs!)

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15 Crystal

My husband was a substitute teacher for a few months – those 5am phone calls drove me crazy! Good luck!

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