Friday, May 22, 2015

3 Ways I Save Money as a Writer

By Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2        

I was born into a frugal family. We reused, reduced, and recycled long before it was cool. When I embraced my inner self and came out of my writer’s closet, I quickly realized if I wanted to survive, I also needed to apply my family’s thrifty ways to my writing life. Today I’d like to share three ways I save money as a writer.


#1  I pay a college student to post my social media updates.

Yes, you read this correctly. In a post about how to save money, I’m suggesting you spend money. Contradictory? Nope. Smart? Yes.

Social media is a necessary and valuable way to share our blog posts, book promotions, and status updates. It helps us reach the friends of our friends’ friends—people we might never connect with otherwise. But Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, the three platforms on which I concentrate most my energy, take time. Valuable time. Time in which I could be writing and, on a good day, earning money.

This is why I pay a tech-savvy college student for a few hours of her time to manage my social media updates. It’s easy for her, and she can get a lot done in much less time than it takes me.

Once a week my beloved assistant schedules all my Facebook and Twitter posts through Hootsuite. Twice a day, five days a week, she hops on my Pinterest account to repin some of the posts I’ve pinned to my main board. (I pin each blog post initially, choose the image and write the description, then she repins it onto the different boards on my page.) She can do this from her laptop or smart phone in minutes, thus saving me a tremendous amount of time and energy. Easy peasy.

#2 I use the gray scale setting on my printer for paperwork that never leaves my house.

Gray scale is a setting that determines how dark the print is on your document. When I print something intended for someone else, I want the type crisp and dark. Much of my printing, however, is only for my benefit—rough drafts, sample copies,  even the electronic coupons I take to the grocery store. For these, a lighter print is fine. Using grey scale saves ink or toner. Lots of it.

Computer operating systems are different, but on my Windows 7, I go to the Control panel, then Hardware and Sound, View Devices and Printers, Select your printer, Adjust print options, Printing Preferences, Advanced, and finally, Greyscale or Toner Saver Mode.

The only downside to this ink-saving step is that I must remember to switch it back if I’m printing something that will be leaving the house.

#3 I recycle paper.

For documents that are for my eyes only, I use recycled paper from the dental office where I work part time. The office manager saves it for me, and every week or so she hands me a big stack of paper printed only on one side.

Be careful with this, though. One day I looked up while my husband was preaching and discovered to my horror that the backside of his page of sermon notes had a sales ad for dental supplies. Note to self:  make sure my family knows there is recycled paper in my printer BEFORE they print something that will leave the house.

If you’re looking for ways to save money while pursuing your dream to be a writer, I hope you’ll find these suggestions helpful. Paying a college student to post on social media, utilizing the Greyscale setting, and using recycled paper are three ideas that have helped me cut corners and work more efficiently.

What about you? How do you save money? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

TWEETABLE

Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books. Her second, Hungry for God…Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women released in December. A blogger, writing instructor, and women’s ministry speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God…Starving for Time. Connect with her on Twitter at @LoriHatcher2 or on Facebook - Hungry for God, Starving for Time.

20 comments:

  1. I love this, Lori! I just purchased a new toner cartridge this week. Boy, they are expensive. Setting the print to gray is brilliant. Thanks for the tips!

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  2. Thank you for the tips! I am also a frugal person and I look at it as a challenge not a burden. I hope your day is blessed-beyond-belief! TammyW.

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    1. I agree, Tammy, saving money is fun. Blessings back at you.

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  3. Great ideas. Thanks for sharing these.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lillian.

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  4. Thanks for the tips, Lori! I religiously follow the re-used paper one already, and you're right, you do have to be careful about which papers get out of the house! But I'd never thought of using gray scale for the printing as a way to save. Great idea! Your view on hiring a social media assistant is also good food for thought--that it might actually save money in the long run.

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    1. It has been SUCH a blessing to me, Jerusha. I don't know what I'd do without her now. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Great tips Lori. Especially the gray scale.

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    1. You'll be amazed how much longer your toner cartridge lasts, Cherrilynn. Try it and let me know.

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  6. This was very helpful; I recycle used paper as well. Never thought about a college student! That's great advise because I stink at most social media. What could take an expert 5 minutes would take me over an hour. Thanks again. Beth

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    1. Yup, Beth, I know exactly what you're talking about. My savvy assistant has taught me quite a bit about the whole process.

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  7. Thanks, Lori! I love when I learn new things - and actually do them. The money-time-saving hints are so helpful!

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    1. Maybe one day all our frugality will remove the title of "starving artist" from the writers' vocabulary, Verna :)

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  8. Lori,

    What a great post and very timely.

    Social media is something I struggle to do AND limit the time I spend on it. I've often longed for the day when I could afford to pay a social media manager. I never thought of hiring a student. Shame on me, with a college right in town.

    The other two ideas I've been using for some time. My husband is the one who brings paper home and we both use it for everything.

    Some printers have a draft mode for printing. Mine does and I use it a lot. Pages don't look as nice, but they print more rapidly and it saves a ton on ink cartridges.

    Thanks for the reminders, though. We can all use those!

    Best wishes,

    Carrie

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    1. Yes, Carrie, Draft setting is the same thing as Greyscale. Thanks for reminding me of that.

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  9. Thanks for your suggestion, I'm definitely going to use all three of them.

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    1. I'm so glad you found my ideas helpful, Therese. Blessings on your frugality!

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  10. Great ideas! Question - How did you come up with how much to pay your college techie? That would be a great help. ;0

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  11. Looking for a college student now and I've always recycled paper and used the draft mode on my printer. Great tips! Thanks.

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