Thank goodness it’s payday.

thToday I got my first paycheck since Nov. 29. At times this self-employment thing is for the birds.

My tax guy suggested I pay myself four times a year instead of monthly. It makes the paperwork easier, but part of me believes the quarterly system stinks.

That would be the part that’s been monitoring the checkbook balance – and suffering periodic panic attacks – since Thanksgiving.

Yet another part of me is glad that I’m not collecting 12 paychecks a year. The quarterly payouts help me keep my frugal edge.


Not that I’ve turned into a party girl or spendthrift. I can’t afford either persona now that I’ve voluntarily slashed my salary. But I’ll admit that I’ve indulged a bit here and there.

Although Christmas was very frugal (hint: rewards programs), I did fly to Phoenix to visit my daughter. Using an airline buddy pass cut the cost considerably, but it did cost me. (As did the meal at Bobby Q’s, which was totally worth it.)

Thus not getting paid for four months has meant having to hold myself (mostly) accountable. This is particularly true since I’ve also slashed my freelancing in order to create and market my online writing course and coaching business.

Technically I could have paid myself on Jan. 1, but I wanted to wait until my business and personal tax returns were completed and my quarterly taxes were computed and sent off. In other words, I wanted to make sure I could afford to pay myself for three months and still leave a sufficient cushion in the business account. (That includes enough money for the next batch of quarterlies, which will be due in June.)


Stretching my funds

That cushion will be sorely needed: Next month I’ll be speaking at the New Media Expo in Las Vegas – about writing, naturally, but I hope to learn more about podcasting. It’s my first trip to this behemoth, which takes place alongside the National Association of Broadcasters conference. Nearly 98,000 people (including vendors, of course) are expected, which makes it a prime place to promote my new product and service.

(I loathe self-promotion but it’s a necessary evil.)

Two days after that I’ll be at the Press Publish seminar in Phoenix. Boy, that couldn’t have worked out better: I’ll be just a short plane ride away, I’ll get to see my daughter again and I’ll be able to catch up with someone I know who’s on a seminar panel.

But it’s definitely going to cost me: three plane tickets, the conference hotel, a monorail pass, food and drink. Most of these are business expenses, but I have to wait until next year to declare them. Expenses for the days I spend not working in Phoenix are all on my own dime.

That’s why I might not pay myself again until late June, depending on two factors: how much I bring in between now and then and how long I can stretch the paycheck I’m about to deposit. I’ll be spending very, very carefully over the next few months.

Well, except for another meal at Bobby Q’s. Some things are worth the freight. However, for the time being I’ll hold off buying one of the restaurant’s T-shirts emblazoned with, “I like pig butts and I cannot lie.” Maybe I’ll just put it on my Christmas wish list.

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  1. Holly S

    Yes it is a pain in the…….I have lived with a similar payment schedule and a ‘if I have $, I will spend it’ DH. Simple solution is to keep 1/3 of your ‘pay’ in checking and 2/3 in savings the first month. Pay your self the 2nd thir dthe second month. Repeat w/the final 1/3 the last month.

    • Donna Freedman

      Since I don’t have a spendthrifty partner (in fact, we have separate accounts), I’m able just to leave it in checking and try to keep it there. But yours sounds like a good solution for those in a different situation.

  2. If you haven’t considered The Deuce bus for the Vegas Strip and Fremont areas, please look it up. Its only 20$ for a 3 days pass. The Deuce is slow during peak travel times but it’s heated and air conditioned and the people watching form the upper deck is fantastic! It also has a LOT more stops than the monorail. Not for everyone but I liked it.

    • Donna Freedman

      Sounds intriguing! I’m not sure how much free time I’ll have, but I bet the people-watching is indeed fantastic. Las Vegas is just a bunch of short stories begging to be written.

  3. Mirabella

    I hope to be in Vegas during the same time period as you, though not for the NAB convention. Do you plan on having any kind of a meet-and-greet while you are there?

    • Donna Freedman

      I’m not sure yet, since I don’t have a clear idea of what the conference will be like (other than “overwhelming”).
      Once I get a better feel for what my days will be like, maybe I can put up a “wanna get coffee?” post for anyone who’s living/visiting Sin City.
      Do you know where you’ll be staying? I’ll be about a 10-minute monorail ride away from the Las Vegas Convention Center.

      • Mirabella

        I’ll be staying in the downtown area, which the monorail sadly does not reach though I will have my own transportation. This of course depends on if I will have enough funds to even take the trip–it would be the height of irony to meet the frugal goddess during a trip I can’t very well afford.

        • Donna Freedman

          We’ll see how it goes, then. I’m mostly unfamiliar with Vegas but perhaps there’s a midway point we can both reach on foot or other public transportation.
          I just took a break to look at the conference schedule and holy cow…After 15 minutes of searching and marking what I might want to do I decided this is something that needs looking a little closer to the date.
          You can always e-mail me at SurvivingAndThriving (at) live (dot) com to update me on your plans.
          Maybe you and I — and others? — can have a meetup.

  4. Wow! I don’t know that I could deal with that payment schedule. Why did your tax guy suggest it? I’m entering a similar self-employed situation but I still like getting paid more frequently!

    • Donna Freedman

      You know, I’m not sure I remember why…! But it’s been working out for me.
      As another reader suggested, you could always move two-thirds of the money to savings and “pay” yourself once a month that way. Or pay yourself a monthly paycheck, or a biweekly or even a weekly one. Do what works for you.
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

    • Probably because freelance is so hit-or-miss. She specifically told the guy she was going to cut down on her freelance, so it makes more sense for her to do a wait-and-see approach to when she’s paying herself.

      If you’re getting a definite amount of income, a monthly check makes more sense. But if you’re not sure you’ll even make enough to pay yourself each month — she’s cutting waaaay back on articles — then it’s just not a viable plan.

  5. Oh Donna, I may have a bit of an attack for you. I like to see how I can stretch money but I think I would fall into the trap of spending a bit more in the beginning and not being able to afford beans at the end. I was thinking that getting one check a month would be hard, I honestly, don’t think I could do this one. You really live what you preach.


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