Cutting Off the Cash Cow


The past few weeks have been expensive. Some of it was planned expenses (the down payment on our September trip to Slovenia/Austria/Italy and the downpayment for the cottage in PEI where we spend a week each summer) and some of it was me going a bit hog wild because I received a nice royalty payment and decided to treat myself. All that self-imposed non-spending for six weeks was hard, after all, and I had things I needed wanted. So, I thought it was time for a review and perhaps a bit of a kick in the pants to keep me on track.

Of the money spent, only approximately $50 landed on my Visa and still sits there. That will be paid off at month end. I used money from my free spending amount set aside out of each pay, a little from short term savings that I keep on hand in case I want something that goes beyond the amount I have left in free spending, and the rest from book royalties.

BUT – that isn’t the point. Because in the end, taking money from my royalty payments means that I don’t have that money to put toward other areas such as the trip, paying the house off early, long term savings. I’m still putting money toward those three categories each month, but the more the better, especially while the royalties are at a higher level because by year end, the royalty payments will be smaller given I’m stopping my publishing schedule to work on a book much different than what I’m currently publishing. A book that may never be an income producer.

Given this, I need to be careful with my writing income and how I use it. I cannot be spending it all willy-nilly like it’s some cash cow that I can constantly milk for an endless supply of coinage.

In the past few weeks, I’ve purchased clothing items that, while needed, I could have lived without for a little longer until I saved the money up in the short-term savings account. I also purchased books. You know, that thing that was on my list of do not buy for an entire year. Ahem…yeah. And not just one book, either. I bought 4…maybe 5. I can’t remember exactly. It was all a blur…

And, while my spending moratorium did not extend to yarn, I did indicate that I was only going to purchase yarn from my free spending money. Which is exactly what I did last week. And then I went and bought some more ($100 more to make myself that sweater) and then of course I didn’t have the right sized needles so I had to go purchase the set of interchangeable needles (another $100).

Here’s the thing about that – I likely won’t even cast on with that sweater for about a month because I want to finish up another knitting project first. Which means I could have saved up some money from a combination of free spending money and short-term savings to use toward the sweater supplies. But did I do that? Oh no. Instead, I did a little happy dance because I had a nice royalty cheque arrive in my account that day and boy, oh boy, I couldn’t get to the yarn shop fast enough!

Sigh…Right. Clearly the idea of (1) being more mindful of what/how I’m spending my money, and (2) not spending it on certain items has thus far been hit or miss. To cut this off before it gets (more) out of control, I’m cutting off the cash cow (my royalty income stream) from any spending that is not (1) writing related (marketing, book production, taxes, etc.); (2) going towards our trip; and (3) being put into our house account to help with some expenses coming up (de-thatching and aerating the entire yard for one) and extra mortgage payments.

My goal is to keep this up until the end of March and then re-assess how things are going at that time. If I have been responsible with my spending, I will allow myself to put some of my April royalties toward my spring wardrobe capsule items that will need to be replaced/purchased. But – before I can shop, I will make a list of what is needed and a budget of how much I can spend so I don’t go overboard. Because apparently, I am really good at going overboard.




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