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The first thing you need to understand if you’re thinking about becoming a freelance writer or any type of gig worker or you’ve just begun the adventure is that you’re starting at $0. No one has guaranteed you any money. This is very different if you’ve been a W-2 employee you’re entire life. When you get hired for a traditional job, you are guaranteed either X amount a year or X amount an hour plus overtime and possibly holiday pay. When you’re working for yourself, you are not guaranteed any overtime, holiday or vacation pay. The rates that the platform pays or the rates that you set are the rates.

How You Budget When You’re Working a Traditional Job

Budgeting with a traditional job involves getting paid X and paying X number of bills with that money. You have a rough estimate of how much money you’re going to make.

So, let’s say that you make $20 an hour and work 40 hours a week. That’s $800 a week or $1,600 every two weeks minus taxes, which makes it closer to $616 per week or $1,200 every two weeks. From that $1,200, you have to pay your gas, electric, CC payments and purchase whatever essentials and food that you need. Plus, you have to buy gas for your car and take care of any car maintenance. You know that if you spend more than $1,200, you’ll overdraft your account, so you probably stop paying bills and buying essentials before then and wait for your next check because you are fairly certain that you’ll get a next check.

Budgeting as a Freelance Writer or GIG Worker


Budgeting as a freelance writer or a gig worker involves knowing exactly how much money you spend each month, and I mean down to $10 either way. So, let’s take a look at the bills and items that you’ll need to track.

Basic Bills

These are bills that don’t typically change unless you physically move into a new house or apartment. These are also typically static. Most people tend to pay the same amount for electric in the summer and winter. Same for gas. However, it’s important to understand how those fluctuate when you switch from A/C to Heat. For me, my gas bill gets higher and the electric gets lower in the winter, but it tends to be an even swap, unless they decide to be greedy little shits, like this year and last year. 

  • Rent or a Mortgage
  • Electric
  • Natural Gas
  • Home Insurance
  • Medical Insurance
  • Car Payment
  • Car Insurance
  • Internet
  • Cell Phone
  • Water and Sewer
  • Prescription Medications

Bills Needed for Survival and/or Comfort

These bills are secondary to your basic bills. You’ll primarily pay these in order to make your life more comfortable and/or to continue living. 

  • Grocery – Food you purchased at an actual store or gas station or drug store that isn’t pre-made, aside from the deli and/or hot food bars.
  • Essentials – Toilet paper, kleenex, paper towels, trash bags, plasticware, dishsoap, handsoap, shampoo, conditioner, sanitary products, first aid products, all-purpose cleaners, toiler cleaner, aluminum foil, plastic baggies... yada yada – you get the idea.
  • OTC Medications – Acid reflux, pain medications, allergy meds, etc
  • Laundry – If you have to go to a laundromat to do laundry.

Bills You Have to Pay or Someone Will Try to Steal Your Shit

  • Federal Taxes – You won’t have this your first year. However, if you earn enough, you need to set back your estimated taxes and pay them every 3 months (Quarterly)
  • State Taxes – You can also pay these quarterly
  • Personal Loans – Any personal loans you may have taken out for X, Y or Z, but they’re not credit cards. You’d do well to pay these off BEFORE you do GIG work.
  • Credit Cards – Any credit card payments you have. You’d do well to pay these off BEFORE you do GIG work.


Bills You Really Don’t Need, but Probably Have Right Now


  • Memberships – Get rid of these. Minus your gym membership. If you don’t earn enough money gig working, you’ll need the showers at the gym.
  • Subscriptions – Get rid of these. You don’t have the money. You just don’t know it yet.
  • TV Channels – Only watch Free TV. Stop paying for premium channels. You don’t have the money.
  • Gaming Expenses – If you pay money to play games, stop doing it.
  • Lottery or Gambling – The odds are always stacked in the house’s favor. Stop doing this. You’re not going to get rich, but you will go broke if you do this and work gig jobs.
  • Random Crap – You’ll have to determine what this is in your life, but everyone buys random crap that they really don’t need.

Add Up All Your Expenses

Next, add up all your expenses in every category and multiply it by 1.10. Then, multiply it by 12 and divide it by 52. This is how much money you need to earn each week, assuming nothing changes.

Expenses per Month

  • Rent or a Mortgage - $1,500
  • Electric - $200
  • Natural Gas - $150
  • Car Payment - $600
  • Home Insurance - $100
  • Medical Insurance - $350
  • Car Insurance - $150
  • Internet - $100
  • Grocery - $600
  • Essentials - $400
  • OTC Medications - $15
  • Laundry - $75
  • Cell Phone - $100
  • Water and Sewer - $150
  • Prescription Medications - $200
  • Personal Loans - $200
  • Credit Cards - $300
  • Memberships - $100
  • Subscriptions - $100
  • TV Channels - $50
  • Gaming Expenses - $75
  • Lottery or Gambling - $75
  • Random Crap - $75 

TOTAL Monthly Expenses - $5,665

$5,665 *1.1 = $6,231

$6231 * 12 = $74,778

$74,778/ 52 = $1,438 per week 

I’m going to be very honest. Earning $1,438 per WEEK as a gig worker is a tall order, especially if all you’re doing is freelance writing. That’s closer to what you can expect per MONTH! A good month might be $2,500. This is why I recommend writing down all of your expenses and taking a hard look at them, especially if it’s just you. If you are the only earner, you need to really pare it down because this is how much money you need to EARN every week.