Why I’m Switching Up My Budgeting Strategy (Again)

June 15, 2015

When I started the shopping ban last summer, my main goal was to become a more conscious consumer, so I could learn how to enjoy what I had vs. constantly consume more more more. As part of that goal, I decided to switch up my budgeting strategy. Rather than map out a plan to save 20% of my income and spend the rest, I decided to try to live off 50% of my income, so I could save more as well as do more of what I love (travel). Fast forward 11 months and I have successfully lived off an average of 52% of my income (including the cost of a few big ticket expenses, such as new car tires and lots of doctor appointments), saved 31% and used 17% to travel.

It’s been an eye-opening experience, more than anything else – to first challenge myself and then physically see how much happier I am now that I consume less. There are still three weeks left in the shopping ban, so I’m trying to refrain from sharing too much of what I think needs to be in the final post about it… but one of the most unexpected outcomes of the experiment was that it revealed what I value and helped me see what I want out of life.

When I started this blog four years ago, it wasn’t meant to be a side hustle. I’ve still never put a single ad up or accepted any type of sponsored content (and don’t plan to), because I’ve always wanted to maintain the integrity of the message I share here. The only reason I decided to buy a domain and write was to stay accountable to myself throughout my debt repayment journey. Since then, however, a number of unique opportunities have come my way.

First, I landed an editorial internship at LearnVest, where I learned how to map out and implement a content strategy, including how to create a style guide and write in a brand’s voice. After that, I started writing for Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s Other Voices blog, which I did for 11 months. I was also given the opportunity to write for The Globe and Mail, as well as share my content on The Huffington Post. And I’ve been writing for Tangerine Bank’s blog, since it launched last spring.

In between all of that, I was also offered a full-time job. For the past three years, I have served as the Managing Editor at RateHub.ca. There, I’ve been able to use everything I’ve learned throughout my writing career and essentially create my own position (I was originally hired to do marketing) at a startup that’s constantly growing. When I started, there were only 5-6 of us on the team and we worked out of the CEO’s home. Today, we’re triple in size and the team in Toronto now works on King Street East. We’ve celebrated milestones for the site, birthdays, weddings and babies… and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with (many of whom I now consider family and friends).

All of this is why I’ve had so much trouble trying to answer the question that’s been on my mind for the last few months, which is… what’s next?

I’ve never been great at coming up with long-term career plans. Unlike some more traditional trades, writing doesn’t typically offer one straight path that you go down or ladder you can climb up. I’ve done everything from write blog posts about mortgages to write speeches for MLAs. I’ve written for free and I’ve written for a good chunk of change. I’ve had next-day deadlines and projects not due for months. And I’ve loved all of it, for one reason or another.

In my current position, however, I got to a point where I realized I had done all I could do; and it wasn’t just task-related but the fact that my time between all projects was being stretched too thin. Something had to give: my job or my side projects. And as soon as I realized that, it seemed like even more new opportunities started to pop-up, demanding me to make a decision. I immediately said “no” to some (and am a firm believer you should only accept work that excites you), but decided to explore a couple opportunities. And after a few discussions, plus some serious soul-searching, I took a very calculated risk and decided to give three weeks’ notice at work.

My last day is on June 26th. After that, I’m on my own as a full-time freelancer.

So, What’s Next?

Anything and everything! That’s how I feel right now, anyway. I’m pretty much booked solid for the next 4 months doing desktop and electronic publishing work. Working on Mindful Budgeting reminded me how much I love doing print layouts, and helping a few friends with their new online courses filled me with I-forgot-how-fun-this-is thoughts. I’m excited to work on a handful of different projects, but there’s no denying that I love contributing to the online learning space. Breaking down learning outcomes, explaining complex concepts in simplest terms, and then copyediting and making sure it all looks good… it’s so satisfying.

Of course, I’ll also be writing. I’ll mostly be staying in the personal finance space, but that’s not all I like to write about, so it’ll be fun to explore some new topics. And then I’m finally making myself available as a freelance editor and copyeditor. An editor is essentially a project manager who helps guide a writing project from start-to-finish, and offers high-level edit suggestions but doesn’t fix every typo they see; that’s a copyeditor’s job. A copyeditor knows their manual of style like the back of their hand, and will fix every last error (both grammatical and factual) until they think it looks and sounds perfect. I’ve been copyediting professionally for 8 years, but haven’t offered it on a freelance basis until now.

Needless to say, I’m going to be busy – but I’m ready for it. For the past 2+ years, I’ve been working remotely for RateHub.ca, which came with some unique challenges that I’ve written about before. Looking back now, though, I can see it prepared me for what’s next: managing my time working on multiple projects… from home. :)

What About Blonde on a Budget?

In my mind, this is the million dollar question. When I gave notice, Alyssa (my boss and friend) asked me: what does your ideal day look like? My answer came out like an automatic reflex: I want to wake up, work on Blonde on a Budget for a few hours and then get into client work. Over the past couple of years, I’ve dreamt up BIG ideas for this blog… but it’s been difficult to execute some of them, as I’ve struggled to make the time between work + all my other projects. Now, I want to make it my top priority – because it is my top priority; that’s something the last year has helped me see.

A few months ago, I wrote a post that outlined the 3 truths about minimalism I’d discovered so far, which were: it gives you more time, it helps you become more resourceful and it reveals what matters most. When I wrote that, I was still mostly focused on the physical objects in my life, and how removing 70% of them (yes, I’m up to 70%!) had changed my environment and lifestyle, as a result. Today, however, I can finally see the greater impact this journey has had on my life as a whole.

When I dream of the future, I want the work I do through this blog to be my entire career. I’ll always want to help people with certain side projects, but I want the stories I share here and the tools I create to be my main focus. I want to put Mindful Budgeting on bookshelves and partner with someone to turn it into an app. I want to do more public speaking and start a podcast. And I want to write a book – and I already have a literary agent who believes I can, and who has been patiently waiting for me to piece together my first proposal. These are all of my wants, right now. But if they remain as items on my side-project-to-do list, they will always be second priority. I want them to be at the top of my list.

Going back to those 3 truths, I know what matters most: sharing my story and spreading the message that you won’t find happiness through “stuff”; passing on my budgeting strategies to others, in hopes more people can adopt it and become conscious consumers; hearing your stories about how you’ve been able to feel grateful for everything you have, even on a tight budget; and just connecting with more people, in general; that’s what this is really all about. Now that I will have more time to do it, it’s time to become more resourceful.

It’s Not All About the Money, Money, Money

When I first started questioning whether or not I should switch over to full-time freelance, my top concern was obviously how it would affect my finances. I’ve always budgeted knowing I had a steady paycheque coming in, and the thought of not having that was terrifying. But when I set out to live on 50% of my income last year, I had no idea that I was preparing myself for this next step. I now know the exact amount I need to live off each month and be happy and it’s not much… in fact, most months I already make close to that amount just with the few smaller side projects I work on. I obviously want to make more than that, so I can continue to save and travel. But once I calculated how much extra work I would need to take on, and that work started to come in, I knew it was time to take the leap.

I’m walking away from a good salary, yes, but I already have enough freelance work lined up to make the same amount I would’ve made in the last half of 2015 – and now I don’t have to struggle to manage both. Would it be nice to have both income streams? Sure. But the past year has shown me that I value my time more than anything else… and I want more of it back. Like I told my boss, I want to wake up in the morning and work on Blonde on a Budget first thing. Then I want to get outside – either to go for a hike or to meet a friend – then come home and do client work in the afternoon. Of course, there will be weeks where freelance deadlines takeover and I’m prepared for that. But my goal will always be to wake up and work on Blonde on a Budget before anything else.

It feels like an oxymoron for a personal finance blogger to say they aren’t motivated by money, but it’s true – and that might be the greatest lesson I’ve taken away from the shopping ban and my decision to embrace minimalism. I believe in being paid what I’m worth, but I don’t dream about making a certain amount each year, or being “rich” or retiring by a certain age. I don’t want to struggle either, of course, and my work ethic would hopefully help me avoid ever being in that situation. But life is too short to spend it doing anything other than what we want to do.

I’m extremely grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given, since starting this blog. I’m not lost on the fact that, without it, I wouldn’t be in this position. But now it’s time to switch gears and put my focus back on this blog first, so I can do some really great stuff with it.

In future posts, I can share what I did with my finances to prepare for this (and why I’m calling it a “calculated risk”). And I don’t know what my exact budgeting strategy is going to look like, so maybe you can help me navigate that this summer. All I know right now is that in two weeks’ time, I’m going to wake up on a Monday morning and not have a “job” to go to. The future is open and full of unknowns… and I can’t wait to see what it holds. :)

Any full-time freelancers out there? What’s your #1 tip for staying on top of your finances? 

  • Our Next Life June 15, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Congrats on taking this leap! Good for you! Definitely looking forward to seeing all the big things you have in mind for Blonde on a Budget, and seeing your other projects come to fruition. Please share what you learn about freelancing along the way — it’s something we plan to do more of, mostly for fun and interest, once we quit our jobs in a few years. It’s funny — early retirement isn’t actually so different from what you’re doing. It’s all a calculated risk. It’s just a question of timing and the purpose of subsequent work. We want to be able to do work that pays peanuts after we quit, so are saving up our cushion now. You’re putting more value on your work, and so can do that for pay without having to save up the big cushion first. :-)

    And, different subject, you inspired us to do a two-month shopping ban (we bought a few little things this weekend that we truly needed), but even though it was short, it was a good mental reset, and a nice way to appreciate what we have, and see most needs as truly being wants. So thanks!

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      Yea, I can see why it would be easy to compare freelance to early retirement. One goal is certainly the same: to not be working at a day job. Of course, I’ll still be pretty busy, haha. And I’ll need to work to eat. ;) But you’re right – I’m just putting more value on the work I do and creating that opportunity for myself.

      Amazing news about the shopping ban! Although I’m surprised you guys need it. ;) Two months is a great amount of time, though. I feel like people learn a lot of lessons about what they consume in the first 30-60 days… so it’ll be a good mental reset, for sure! Good luck!

  • Stephanie June 15, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Please make Mindful Budgeting an app! I’ll be first on board!

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Haha, I will do my best! Thanks, Stephanie. :)

  • Nicola June 15, 2015 at 10:06 am

    What a great post, and congratulations! I’m sure the next stage of your journey will be even more exciting :) I’m looking forward to seeing what you do next and wish you every success :)

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Thank you, Nicola! :)

  • Revanche June 15, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Not a freelancer anymore but congrats on already having that much work lined up! That’s wonderful!

    It’s been a while since I could afford to take such a huge leap between all the dependents and households we support but it’s great motivation watching y’all do so and I may very well choose to do so again a little while down the road. In the meantime, I’ll be following along with interest.

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      Yes, the fact that I don’t have to consider anyone else in this equation certainly gives me some freedom, in regards to this decision. But don’t rule it out. :)

  • Amanda June 15, 2015 at 10:45 am

    This is exciting news! Congrats on your new journey. I started a shopping ban last at the beginning of this month (messed up week #1 LOL), so hearing you say this is really encouraging. I was planning to make it a half year ban (until December), but this makes me wonder if I should make it longer. One week into this ban revealed a lot that I need to work on, inside and out, so I can only imagine how far I’d progress if I make it longer.

    Have you thought about doing online coaching? I think you’d be great at it!

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      Wow, congrats on starting a shopping ban, Amanda! Don’t worry about the first week. Honestly, I’m sure this is in my head, but part of me thinks the reason I was successful in the beginning was because I started it on a random day (July 7th). So I encourage everyone to just start the minute they think “it’s time”. I would say do 6 months and then assess where you’re at. If there are 1-2 things you really need, pick them up and then keep going. Or if you think you’re “cured”, so to speak, try to let the ban go and see what happens. I’m 3 weeks away from being done and I don’t even know if I want to give the ban up yet, haha. (Oh, except that you’re done around Christmas… maybe see if you can push yourself to go to mid-January, past all the sales!) As for coaching… I don’t know! I’ve thought about it but am not entirely sure what that would look like yet. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

  • Sylvia June 15, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Congrats on taking the leap to become a full time freelancer. I wish you much success on this new journey!

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you, Sylvia! :)

  • Sarah June 15, 2015 at 11:14 am

    I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU! Your’e entering a whole new chapter of your life and it’s such an exciting one. Money is best used as a metric and a tool, and I’m a firm believer that if you love what you do and really believe in it, the money will come anyway :) But we’ve talked about this!

    In short… Ree!

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Ree reeee! (Oh no, we just waved our freak flags on my blog, haha.)

  • Giulia June 15, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Congrats for every goal you achieved and for your new work adventure:-D

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you, Giulia! :)

  • Stephanie June 15, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Congrats on this next and new chapter of your life!

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      Thanks, Stephanie! :)

  • catherine June 15, 2015 at 11:33 am

    You are motivated by the *value* of money which is so much more important than the sheer accumulation of money in your bank account. Most people spend their entire lives looking for this level of financial satisfaction and never get it. Congrats to you Cait I know you’ll grow and continue to do amazing things, can’t wait to hear more ;)

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      YES! I mean, I still want to max out my TFSA, contribute to my RRSP, etc. I want to save money! But I don’t want to bust my butt working 60-70 hours/week, even if it means achieving those goals sooner. I want to live. Our lives are so dang short, and the money won’t go with us. It’s time to get outside. :)

  • Kelly June 15, 2015 at 11:57 am

    WOW!!! First of all this is awesome!! You are taking a huge leap and it sounds exciting and scary…but YOU are doing it. that is so cool
    I am glad your doing what makes you happy

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      Thank you so much, Kelly! People keep telling me I am “beaming”, so there’s a visual to show how good I’m feeling about this decision. :)

  • Melanie @ Dear Debt June 15, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Congrats! I am so happy for you! :) You will rock self-employment. My advice is to live on a minimal budget at first, and use a set percentage to save. Since your income is variable it’s hard to “budget” in the traditional sense, but I commit to saving ten percent of all my income — oh, and pay a lot to taxes. Don’t forget about taxes!

    • Cait Flanders June 15, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Haha, ugh, I won’t… those freaking taxes are already stressing me out! :P Thanks, girl! Can’t wait to catch up and talk shop at FinCon. :)

  • Jen Ferris June 15, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    WOW!!!!! That’s so fantastic!!! I’m so happy for you! Of course, you have worked so hard to reach this milestone … and here it is looming ahead of you in two weeks.
    You are my second friend who has walked away from a corporate job in one month’s time. There’s something in the air out there in Beautiful British Columbia … that has all you successful people leaving your corporate jobs to choose yourselves. It’s my goal, as well. And one day, I will be there. I have a few other milestones to reach, first. During it all, I will remember to stay focused on the process.

    I was hoping to get some freelance tips from you. I signed up for Carrie’s Client Connections with carefulcents.com, in hopes of reaching my financial milestones, faster. I’m thinking it will help me along my debt-free journey.

    Have a good week.

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Ha, maybe there is something in the air over here… ;) but yes, I think you’re smart to stay focused on the process rather than get impatient while waiting for the end result to be here. It will come! In due time. I hope Carrie’s group helps you out! Lots of people share work in her Facebook group too. Talk soon, Jen!

  • Claire/Justalittleless June 15, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Well done you’ve worked hard to make this happen. I really admire your clarity and vision!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Thank you so much, Claire! :)

  • allroundbetterme June 15, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Congratulations! This is a very exciting step for you. I am not a freelancer, so I have zero input or tips to give you. I know you will be successful in whatever you do going forward, so there is no need for luck, but good luck with this new phase of your life!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      Aww, thank you so much! I’m using other people’s confidence in me as extra fuel to move forward, so I appreciate the kind and supportive words. :)

  • Jessa June 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I am so excited for you. I can’t wait to see what you come up in the future. I am planning on coming back to read a few posts about your spending ban. I want to do one soon.

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      Nice! I can’t recommend it enough, Jessa.

  • Heather @ Simply Save June 15, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Congratulations on taking this leap! I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes you!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      Thanks, Heather!

  • My Own Advisor June 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Congrats on making this change! You sound motivated, inspired, passionate and nervous at the same time. Exactly what a good change should feel like….well done Cait and best wishes for the future.


    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      Yep, that about sums things up right now, Mark! Thanks for your best wishes. :)

  • Alyssa @ Generation YRA June 15, 2015 at 2:47 pm


    I know I have already said it, but you deserve to hear it as much as possible – congratulations!!! I am incredibly excited to continue reading about this new step in life for you. It’s encouraging & motivating to read your progress. It’s amazing how many rewards have come from your perseverance! I will continue to be a loyal reader & can’t wait for all the new projects that will come with Blonde on a Budget. :)

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:27 pm

      Aww, thanks girl! I’m so excited/anxious/happy/scared right now, haha… but mostly excited. I can’t wait to see what the future holds and where this new path will take me. Happy I can share it with so many others. :)

  • Maggie June 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Congrats, Cait! I did this a couple of months ago as well, after finding that I was simply doing too much “off the side of my desk” and realizing that I had enough side work to make a full-time job. It has felt like the right thing to do ever since and I don’t regret a thing. That said, my bread and butter contract is up in October and then… eep! Who knows what I’ll do next.
    Does this mean you’ll be visiting the Island more? Would love to get together!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:29 pm

      That’s already how I feel, haha. I know I’ll have X amount of work until late fall/early winter… but then what!? Guess we will see what the future holds for us both. ;) And yes! I’ll be in Victoria a lot this summer. Let me know if/whenever you’re coming down next!

  • Bridget June 15, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    You’re my hero, homegirl! So excited for this next chapter!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:29 pm

      Woo woo! Thanks, girl. :)

  • Rob June 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    A big congratulations from me too, Cait. It’s been wonderful to watch how your career has evolved over these past few years. Back when you first started this blog, and were so deeply in debt, I bet that you had no inkling on where you would be in a few years. So, here’s a question to think about – where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? (the infamous 5-year plan question – lol). Will you be still working solo, working within a group, directing others under you, who knows, eh? Maybe, you’ll be on a book tour by then. The sky’s the limit, my friend. It all breaks down to taking it one day at a time, with future targets in mind.

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:31 pm

      If I’m dreaming BIG, I’d like to think I’ll still be working for myself and potentially have 1-2 employees. A book tour would be pretty cool. (At least we know I like to travel, haha.) But honestly, you know me… I suck at planning for the long-term. One day at a time has worked out pretty good, so far. :)

  • NZ Muse June 15, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Congrats, Cait! Exciting (if not surprising).

    You’re so right about there being no linear path. At a recent job interview I was like ‘hmmm, well, I could see myself getting deeper into content strategy, but I’m really also interested in UX, or maybe going down the project management path…’

    Too many interests!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      Haha, it’s so true! I’ve even been brushing up on some coding, but then also getting back into InDesign and working on new print layouts… and then I actually miss speechwriting! We’re all over the map, I guess. ;)

  • Kate @ Cashville Skyline June 15, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Congratulations, Cait! So exciting! I’m excited to continue following along :)

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      Thanks, Kate! :)

  • RV Chua June 15, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Wow, this is inspiring especially that I am still in the planning stage to leave my regular job and focus on other things. I haven’t made the leap yet (still scared) and hopefully your journey and articles will enable me to finally do it!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:34 pm

      I will share as much about this process as I can, so you know all the ups and downs that go along with it!

  • Potato June 15, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    I don’t think I’ve got anything for you that you don’t already know: remember taxes (signing up for HST when you hit the $30k threshold, and setting some aside for income tax/CPP); live on a time lag (spend the money you made 6 months ago — gives you a big cushion, and lots of warning if you have to tighten the belt from freelancing vagaries).

    I just finished editing my first fiction novel (editing as a hired gun, I didn’t write it), and it’s been a pretty decent year freelancing so far. I’m actually cutting back now because I don’t have nearly so much work coming in that I can think about quitting the day job (esp. one with benefits and a pension), and I’m getting to the point where too much is falling by the wayside because I just don’t have any free time (like that post on savings rates I keep meaning to get around to…).

    Anyway, congrats!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:37 pm

      Sounds like it’s been a successful first half of the year for you, which is fantastic! But yes, nothing wrong with cutting back and creating some boundaries around how much extra work you take on. I read somewhere today that to stay creative you should only schedule yourself at 80% capacity. We all need a little breathing room. :)

  • Jordann June 16, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Go Cait! I have no doubt that this, as with all your other endeavours, will be successful. I can’t wait to hear about how your first month goes!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      Thanks, Jordann! It should be interesting, budget-wise… and time-wise, too!

  • Lindsey P. June 16, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Many congrats again! Such an exciting change and I know you’re going to excel at whatever path you choose. It sounds like the universe was nudging you in the freelance direction with your successful foray into minimalism and the plethora of working coming your way. The freelance life is definitely satisfying and a little bit scary!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      Ack, yes… I’m somewhat terrified! But also sooo excited (mostly to get my mornings back!). I definitely think life was pushing me in this direction… I just couldn’t see it, at first. Anyway, will be an interesting challenge! Thanks, Lindsey. :)

  • Helen June 16, 2015 at 6:26 am

    Congrats Cait! Can’t wait to see even more content on this blog :) Im envious of your life

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      Thanks, Helen! :)

  • Leslie June 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    I think that living the virtue of temperance brings its own rewards and you are an excellent example of that, Cait. How many people think they would want to quit their jobs to pursue other interests but can’t? Their credit card bill, car payments and over-the-top lifestyle simply won’t allow them to do so. Your lifestyle is bringing rewards quickly. Being responsible with money isn’t just about what will happen in fifty years when you retire. Kudos, girl!!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      Yes, that is so (SO!) true, Leslie. I couldn’t have done this 4, 3 or even 2 years ago… but all the challenges I’ve taken on and financial goals I’ve set have made this possible. Onto the next challenge. :)

  • Louise Rayner June 16, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Congrats. Self-employment has its pros and cons, but it will be 15 years this fall for me, and most days it is awesome. Put away 30% of all income into a no touch account for HST and taxes. That’s what I advise my clients to do in my accounting practice.

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      Wow, that’s amazing, Louise! What type of work do you do!? Accounting/bookkeeping?

  • Susan June 16, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Congrats on making the transition to full-time freelancing!

    I made the move for similar reasons eight years ago, and I’m so glad I did. It’s more geared towards American freelancers, but you might find some useful information in “The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers and the Self-Employed.” It includes a system for saving for retirement and other goals, managing inconsistent income, tracking income, etc.

    You’re already in the habit of living well below your means, so I think you’ll do fine. Even if you aren’t strapped for cash, though, late cheques are not fun (it’s a respect issue and also the uncertainty factor) so I’d recommend carefully vetting your clients and setting clear expectations upfront around milestones, payment timelines, expectations, etc. Some clients assume that all freelancers are hobbyists or trust fund babies who don’t really need the money, so you sometimes need to be firm and professional about following up on late payments. (Maybe you’ve already encountered some of this as a part-time freelancer?)

    Best of luck, and I can’t wait to read about your adventures in freelancing!

    • Cait Flanders June 16, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      I’ve actually been extremely lucky with clients, so far… but I’m sure this is something I’ll face one day, so I appreciate the advice, Susan! And thanks for the book suggestion! :)

    • Louise Rayner June 17, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      I’m a Chartered Professional Accountant. I do corporate and personal taxes, prepare financial statements, plus some consulting and coaching for new small business owners. Also accounting software training and support.

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods June 17, 2015 at 9:57 am

    HUGE congrats! I’m so excited for you and everything that this journey will entail! I think it’s awesome you’re taking the plunge to do what you really want with your time. And, I have no doubt you’ll be tremendously successful. Can’t wait to follow along :)!

    • Cait Flanders June 17, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks, lady! Appreciate it. :)

  • Michelle June 17, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Congrats Cait! I’m super excited for you. You’re writing your own story 100% and it’s awesome to see. This might sound a bit lame but reading your post had tears of joy streaming down my face. You made me smile with this, big time! :D I can’t wait to see your plans for the blog.
    Keep up the amazing work, you deserve it.

    • Michelle June 17, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      Er, meant to say, you deserve this. LOL. See I got so emotional reading this, I confused myself.

    • Cait Flanders June 17, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Haha, aww. That’s so sweet! Thanks, Michelle. :)

  • AB June 18, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Very exciting, congrats!! Can’t wait to see how this unfolds. :)

    • Cait Flanders June 19, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks! :)

  • Lara June 18, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Congratulations!! I was wondering when you would make that step. I love your writing and I’m sure you will rock self-employment! Now I can’t wait to follow along your new journey. Haha, sounds silly, but I’m really excited for you! :)

    On another note, I have to admit that I’m also pretty curious what the work of a “Managing Editor” looks like (this just sounds like the perfect job to me). So I’d be happy if you ever feel like writing a retrospective on your (soon old) job.

    Cheers from Japan and keep up the great writing!

    • Cait Flanders June 19, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      You were wondering!? Why didn’t you tell me? ;) I honestly didn’t know that this was my next step… at least not until a few months ago. But I’m so glad it’s almost here! And here’s the job posting, if you want to take a look: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/55429362?trk=biz-overview-job-post

      • Lara June 21, 2015 at 4:15 am

        Sorry for not telling you earlier ;)
        There are just so many self-employed bloggers out there in the “financial blog” scene that I was rather surprised(?) to find you working for a corporation. As I like your blog the best, making “Blonde on a Budget” your “main job” seemed kind of natural to me. I don’t know, just a feeling :)

        And thank you for sharing the job posting! I may try to build my career in this direction, though it’s a bit difficult at the moment as I’m not a native of the English language and also don’t live in my home country… but we’ll see!

  • Stephen Thompson June 19, 2015 at 5:20 am

    I coach a number of independent and freelance consultants. A long-time colleague gave me my #1 tip for staying of top of finances: “Spend it when you have it!” Don’t use credit cards unless the only reason is to have a record of all transactions for downloading into a financial money management application. If you must have a credit card do not use it unless you can pay it off monthly.

    If freelancing is in your future, remember to get your backlog up as high as you can and working it down as fast as you can. Be sure to allocate sufficient time to finding additional work (through friends, colleagues, clients, websites, blogs, etc.)

    • Cait Flanders June 19, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks, Stephen! I think I’ll always use my rewards credit cards to pay for everything, as I know the cash is sitting in the bank, so I can pay them off anytime. Seems like now it’ll be even more important to earn “free” money/rewards wherever possible. :)

  • Erin June 19, 2015 at 6:42 am

    What a brave and inspirational decision. It’s fantastic how you managed to be recognised without trying to be anything but yourself on this blog and that it led to other great opportunities. You are totally right about not continuing to push things to a “one day” list even though they are things you really want to do. I hope I can do the same in the near future! I love hearing you managed to cut back so much on “stuff.” This is definitely an area in my life that I struggle with. We bought a big house with grand plans of renovating it and having a big family but after two kids I’m 80% sure I’m done ( that 20% is still niggling at me!) The biggest hurdle is getting rid of baby things though. When people buy things for our children I feel obligated to hold on to them when really I am just tired of tripping over them. We managed to do a little bit recently and emptied the house of eight or so bags of bits and pieces to the donation bins. I said to my other half I want a 2 bedroom house next time that is made up of square rooms so i can push the furniture against walls. The house feels so much more cluttered with the furniture acting as room dividers! When he flies home again we will no doubt be doing another big declutter. Do you have any tips for storing printed photos? Good luck with everything :)

    • Cait Flanders June 19, 2015 at 9:02 pm

      I can’t imagine how tough it would be to get rid of gifts people have bought for your kids, Erin… but my guess is most people wouldn’t even notice! And all they’d want to know is that your kids got joy out of it at one time; that’s what it was meant to do. As for printed photos, I don’t have any personal experience with that, as I only had a few sets from high school. I just kept them (for now). In future, I might scan them and just save them in the cloud. Good luck with your next declutter! (I miss how good that feels, haha.)

  • Stephen June 23, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Best of luck on the future career path! I like seeing bloggers working for themselves independently. It just shows how many opportunities are out there for people willing to seek them out and put in the hard work.

    • Cait Flanders June 25, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks, Stephen! And yes, I couldn’t agree more. If more of us were willing to take unconventional paths, I think we’d all find a lot more freedom in this world. :)

  • Kristen June 25, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Cait,

    Working for yourself does have its benefits and I always keep in my mind, if worst comes to worst, I can become an employee, although I have never been one so it would be hard.

    I have been lucky in my role as contracted, my husband has a steady government job. This means, every 2 weeks we are guaranteed a certain income (which we could almost live on now with some changes), and he has a great benefit package.

    After several years of doing this, I know what the “minimum” I will make will be (I can do it based on my contracts I currently have) and use that as my plan. Whatever else comes in, is bonus (travel funds, savings and sometimes fun!)

    I am confident it will all work for you!

    • Cait Flanders June 25, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      It’s great to hear from seasoned self-employed professionals, Kristen – thanks for sharing your experiences with me! So you’ve NEVER worked for someone!? That’s really interesting! How did you start your career on your own? I’m sure a lot of people could learn from you. :)

  • Tre July 1, 2015 at 5:20 am

    “It feels like an oxymoron for a personal finance blogger to say they aren’t motivated by money, but it’s true -”
    That sentence speaks volumes! Making more money does not solve your financial problems and make you happy. Good luck with your freelancing!