All of My Expenses as a $50/hr Freelance Writer

All of My Expenses as a $50/hr Freelance Writer

Blogging + Freelancing Finance

Recently, I’ve been feeling a strong urge to reach out and start helping more lower + middle-class people in a way that I can.

Though I haven’t set specifics such as a time/date/location, I’m planning on hosting a 3-hour workshop soon-ish to teach others about freelance work. 

Very few schools teach about the possibilities of working from home, and really, a lot of Americans who were born before the internet existed, have no idea that this line of work is realistic AND viable. 

Freelancing can be beneficial for anyone who wants to have a remote job for traveling, raising kids, or just being more independent- but it’s especially useful for those of us who live in rural areas with low costs of living.

Being able to work remotely means that we can work for anyone, even those who have a high cost of living, who naturally expect to pay us way more than our locals ever would.

If I quote a local person $200 for a short article, their eyes bug out, and they take off running in a zig-zag pattern. 

But when I quote a New Yorker or Portlander $200 for a short article, they ask if that’s even enough for me to live on. 

Out here in ‘the middle’ we can find very nice 3 bedroom/2 bathroom houses for $550 a month, yet charge $50/hr (or more) for our time- while our clients feel like they’re getting away with robbery. And that’s a good feeling.

While talking to local people interested in taking this workshop, I’ve been getting asked a lot about the upfront costs of freelancing. Those Multi-Level-Marketing products have made everyone skeptical (which they should). So today’s post is about addressing those expenses. 

My Expenses as a $50/hr Freelance Writer

First things first, let me clarify that I currently charge $50/hr for just my writing.

Website building is anywhere from $7 to $25 an hour (I sell that in bundles, so how much I make per hour entirely depends on how quickly I can make my client happy with the site I build).

Content/Magazine/Blog Managing is currently $25/hr (if I can include the project in my portfolio) or $35/hr (if I cannot include the project in my portfolio), yet I still have a few old contracts open from when I charged $20/hr. 

Editing is also $25/hr (for projects that can go into my portfolio) or $35/hr (for projects that cannot go into my portfolio) for now.

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By January of 2019, I plan to charge roughly $35/hr and $45/hr respectively for new managing and editing contracts, as my portfolio and positive reviews keep expanding.

New writing contracts will likely also see a price increase.

So let’s get into the nitty gritty of my actual expenses as a freelancer!

Bluehost + Domain = $60 annually

Those are the expenses for having this website, Diamonds N’ Denim.

I’ll probably switch from Bluehost to Siteground soon, Bluehost isn’t very friendly for larger websites (it crashes during traffic surges).

Not only is Diamonds N’ Denim a blog that offers free content for readers (like this article), but it’s also a sales page (check it out here), and a portfolio on its own (potential clients can see my personal work here, and they can also reach out to me to get a list of past client projects). Future clients love ‘getting to know me‘ before they even get to know me.

This expense is actually covered by the ads and affiliate marketing that this blog hosts. You can see my blogging income report here.  

Grammarly = $139.95 annually

This is Grammarly Premium, and it’s my favorite expense, hands down. 

Grammarly Premium checks my writing for relatively advanced errors, and it quickly tells me when I’m starting to pick up bad writing habits. I’m 21 years old, and I still second-guess whether to use ‘it’s’ or ‘its’ (when ‘it’ has ownership, I *really* want to give ‘it’ an apostrophe). 

This page does a better job of explaining what Grammarly Premium does than I could. No, that’s not a referral link- just my honest opinion! 

UpWork Payment Protection = 20%

I still get a large number of my clients through UpWork (I just got promoted to a Top Rated Freelancer on there!). 

UpWork takes a 20% cut of everything you make. That’s your fee for using the program, and it’s also an insurance policy of its own. If I were to get a client who refuses to pay, UpWork deals with them, or will outright refund me the money I was owed by the client. 

20% is a pretty significant chunk of money, but it’s ultimately worth it to me. Here’s a little pro/con graphic I made about UpWork: 

Charter Internet = $779.88 annually

I need Wifi to work! 

Now although I could pretend this isn’t a freelance expense since I’d pay it anyway, I want to be totally upfront and include EVERYTHING. 

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I’m currently paying $64.99 a month for Charter Internet at 200 Mbps. That speed is absolutely bonkers. With that, we can host ridiculous game nights, like: 

  • Run the Xbox One online (for my husband)
  • Run an additional Xbox One online (for my husband’s cousin)
  • Run a third Xbox online (for my youngest sister, and sometimes myself)
  • Run Hulu or Netflix (for my middle sister)

Even with all that chaos, we have yet to experience any lagging. 

For those of you wondering, originally my internet was through Insight, then it went to Time Warner Cable, and then Spectrum, and now it’s Charter, so we’ll see how long that buyout lasts before it changes again. 🙂

My Devices = $800 (one time)

When I first started blogging and freelancing, I was doing it from my iPhone 6 (I’ve since switched to a flip phone). Technically, I could still do all my work from an iPhone or tablet, but the iMac desktop that my sweet husband Devin gave me this year for Christmas was an absolute game changer. 

If you’re scared about your start-up costs, just begin with what you have and work your way up as you earn money for it. It IS worth the upgrade eventually, but it’s certainly not worth stressing over in the beginning.

The TOTAL Costs of Freelancing

My annual recurring costs: $979.88 ($779.88 of that is my wifi) + 20% of what I make via UpWork 

My one-time, upfront costs: $800


Nope, you’re not exempt from paying taxes as a freelancer. I wish!

The Financial Perks of Freelancing

In this article, I estimated that white-collar workers could spend upwards of $21k annually, just on their career’s necessities.  Here are the quick takeaways from that article: 

Less Food Costs

By working at home as a freelancer, you’re no longer tempted to eat out at restaurants or drive-thrus. Switching from daily take-out to home-cooked meals could save about $3.3k annually. 

No Commuting

I estimate that to be at least a $735 annual savings. It’s probably way greater than that if you live in a more rural area.

No Coworker Costs

You’re no longer obligated to buy Christmas/Birthday/Promotion/Funeral/Injury/Wedding/Baby Shower gifts and/or pitch-ins for coworkers! 

You can also save on Christmas parties, and obligatory drinks after work.

If you work at a non-social job, you may not have this cost to begin with. If you do though, that’s probably a $685 annual savings. 

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No Child or Pet Daycare

Assuming you have one child (about $972 per month) in daycare and one pet needing walked and fed during the day ($395 per month), switching to freelancing could save you a whopping $16,404 annually. 

No Wasted Time

If you have a 25-minute commute to work, attend one office party once a year, go out for drinks once every two months, and go out to eat with coworkers once a month, that’s 231 hours, or 9.6 days worth of your time that’s UNPAID. And of course, that figure doesn’t include any work that you may be taking home.

Freelancing Could Save You Money, it Just Depends on Your Situation

If you have one child in daycare, it’s definitely worth the upfront + recurring costs of freelancing to switch over. One month without daycare could probably fund an entire year’s worth of freelance expenses.

If you have a longer commute, and you eat out frequently, it’s also possibly worth it to switch to freelancing.

If you really want to get away and have more vacation time, freelancing is a great choice.

Let’s Talk!

  • If you’re in the Southern Indiana area, would you like to attend this totally free workshop? Contact me here (or comment below) if so, I’ll let you know more about it when I have the details. 
  • If you’d still like to attend the workshop, but you’re not local, contact me here (or comment below) and I’ll notify you when the virtual workshop becomes available. 
  • Would you consider freelancing? Are the costs too great for you, or would it save you money? 

Like this post?


If this is something that inspires, helps, or just plain entertains you, please don’t hesitate to share it! The goal of Diamonds N’ Denim is to reach as many people as possible, so be sure to talk about it to your friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors, share it on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter, or pin it on Pinterest- I even made a pretty pin for you below! Just click the image once, in the upper left corner there will be a red P, click that, and get to pinning! 

As always, thank you for stopping by!

1 thought on “All of My Expenses as a $50/hr Freelance Writer”

  1. Hey Sarah! I found you on Boss Girl Bloggers and I’ve been following you on Twitter for ages ☺️ this article is great! I’ve written fiction, nonfiction, and a blog, and I’ve always wondered if freelancing should be my next challenge. If your workshop would be streamed online, I’d definitely watch! Thanks for being so willing to let others in on your tips and tricks ☺️

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