Thursday, August 4, 2022

Retirement, Pt 3 - Budget

Hi Everyone! Audra here. Thanks for joining me on my journey as I transition from Day Job to Retirement. Today, I thought I’d tackle BUDGET.

I was in Sam’s Club the other day. I love to stop by the warehouse store when I have time and browse through their, at times, surprising inventory. Who would have thought I could plan and purchase a vacation through Sam’s? The thought had never occurred, LOL. But, that’s besides the point.

Today on my wandering, after grabbing the necessary fruits, vegetables and paper towels, I spied a display of tired looking plants over by the freezer section. Hmmm, could be a deal here. When I arrived, I checked out the bedraggled species of plant on sale. 

Pachira aquatica —> Guiana  Chestnut —> affectionately known as the Money Tree

Image by Tumisu at Pixabay

Huh. Money growing on trees. Is that a fact. 

Well, the leaves on these wealth buckets looked a bit short on cash. And no wonder. They thrive in the swampland of South America. These poor plants looked frayed and curled. They'd been innocently enjoying spa weather in the deeeeeeep south before being uprooted, flown through countless climates, and deposited in a cement floored, air-conditioned warehouse at an altitude of 5300 ft. 

Image by Frank Wittkowski at Pixabay

Needless to say, they didn’t really inspire confidence in endless bounty, but the reality would have come in handy at this point in time!!

We were a two income family for 16 years. When my husband retired last year, we didn’t really feel the pinch of a reduced income having prepared in advance by reducing our spending. That’s all well and good when you think of the expenses for the household.

But my writing budget was about to take a substantive hit.

Image by Kevin Phillips on Pixabay

The dream of writing full-time is somewhere in every author’s mind. I had started putting a portion of my paycheck into my “Writing” account when I first began planning for retirement. It wasn’t much, but over the months, my writing nest egg grew to a point where I knew my day-to-day expenses could be covered without dipping into our household fund.

Unfortunately, this was the only proactive positioning of finances I had in place, which means counting pennies and weighing options for any workshop, conference, educational tool, etc. has taken on a whole new meaning for my author journey.

Image by Deidre Weedon on Pixabay

In my defense, I did retire a year earlier than planned, something else to always keep in the back of your mind. 

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. 

Proverbs 16:9

Do I regret retiring a year early even though I might have been a bit more financially stable if I had waited? Absolutely not! God gave me the opportunity to write full-time (which I’m slowly forming the habit) and lack of apparent finances does not dampen my spirits one bit. I retired to write, write, write - not buy, buy, buy. 

Image by Gerd Altman from Pixabay

If you’re thinking of retiring from your day job in the next few years, talk to a financial planner in regards to your years ahead, in general. As far as your writing career in concerned, I recommend you keep these costs in mind:

  • Writing supply costs
  • Replacing equipment
  • Educational opportunities
  • Conferences, chapter dues, subscriptions, etc
  • Possible editing, cover art, audio narration, etc
  • Donations

And the list goes on. Start thinking about your expenses now. Look through your check, credit card, Paypal purchases. What writing books and materials have you purchased on Amazon or other online venues? Make that list! Expenses you feel might be nickel and dime right now, might become bones of contention when on a fixed income. 

You’ve waited years to sit down at your writing desk at 8:00 am (or whenever) instead of your day job desk. The dream is about to come true. Plan for it financially now so you can attack your writing projects with a smile on your face.

Until next time, blessings to you!!

Audra Harders writes "rugged stories with heart" featuring fearless men who haven't a clue about relationships, rescued by ladies who think they have all the answers. In real life, she's married to her own patient hero, has two adult children, and a very strong-willed Corgi. She began writing right after her second kidlet was born and sold her first book to Love Inspired mere months before that same young adult graduated from high school. Surviving those years in between reminds her God does have a plan for her life...and that He has a tremendous sense of humor. You can visit Audra at:
Twitter: @audraharders


  1. This is a great point that no one ever talks about, Audra!
    Having a writing budget is valuable even if you aren't planning to quit the day job to write full time. It is so easy to let those nickel and dime expenses get out of hand. And it's also easy to forget that those subscriptions come due every year.
    It's a tough world out there - such good advice today!

    1. Thanks, Jan! It's especially tough when you're the "queen of gadgets." I see a sale at Office Depot on office supplies -- don't even get me started on Amazon! -- and next thing I know, my shopping cart is filled with must-haves. Budgets are a necessary evil if you want to keep your head above water!

      Audra, still publicly known as Anonymous, LOL!

    2. LOL! My husband won't even let me look at markers anymore!

  2. This is a great post, Audra. While writing full-time is a dream, it isn't an easy one to accomplish. A plan is essential.

  3. Hi Dana! Absolutely, right. Don't dig yourself into a financial hole waiting (assuming) royalties will bail you out. Be smart with your $$$.


  4. Good morning, Audra! Your points hit home. We did plan for a retirement budget that would allow writing expenses, but COVID and a medical-related early retirement for my husband chipped away at it. Then when we came out of the pandemic, there was INFLATION. Right now we're making it okay, but I don't have anything extra for contests or conferences. It can be disheartening. But I'm faithful to the call, and when the Lord tells me to stop, I'll stop.
    ONE good thing is that I'm still filing income taxes, so whatever I spend on the business can be deducted. That's one way to look at it.
    It's a challenge, but a good one to have. As Ruthy always says...(fill in the blanks, people)
    Kathy Bailey
    Your Kaybee
    Trusting God in New Hampshire

    1. LOL, Kathy! Ruthy says A LOT of things!!

      I'm sorry about all the unexpected things that ate away at savings. It happens, but we don't have to be happy about it. I hope your husband is feeling better!

      Inflation. I should have said something about that, so thanks for helping me out. Prices of EVERYTHING have risen. Again, I need to apply my brake pedal to Amazon spending. Frankly, I have everything I need - and I don't need the things I want, right?

      Don't get me started on taxes... that's a whole 'nother issue, LOL!


    2. Kaybee, my hubby and I are in the same boat. Inflation is no laughing matter when you're on a fixed income and you watch the economy chip away at your carefully stashed retirement account every month. :-(

      It makes it all the more important to separate the "wants" from the "must haves," and the "must haves" from the "we need this to survive" list.

  5. Great blog, Audra! May I add that the publishing industry is fickle. An author may make a certain income one year and have that change significantly the next. Nothing is forever, it seems, when it comes to writing and finances. Thanks for providing lots of tips for those who plan to make a career change.

    1. Hi Debby! Thank you for your additional thoughts on finances. That's so true, you can't really bank on consistency in the publishing world. All it takes is a hiccup (editor leaves, pub house gets bought, overstock on titles, etc). Be ready for anything!


  6. So practical. And good job not investing in a money tree! :) Can't wait to read your stories!

  7. A money tree. If it sounds too good... well, you know the story, LOL. Thanks, Erica! I can't wait to finish writing them!


  8. Great post, Audra, and very important. Budget is always something I am working on.

    1. Thanks, Sandy! Budgeting is hard to do, but oh so important! I'm with you - I'm a work in progress!


  9. Honestly, Audra, I was just jealous that you got to browse Sam's. :-D


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