When you hear a writing contest has a submission fee, most gut responses include something along the lines of “I can’t afford that right now, so I can’t participate.” While your current financial situation might not have room for a contest fee, there are many ways you can prepare, plan, and budget for the next writing contest on your calendar.
Here are five savvy saving strategies to have under your belt and help your YA story get the recognition it deserves.
1. Research costs ahead of time. In order to start your budget plan, you need to know how much you should be budgeting for. Research writing journals, magazines, and other literary organizations that offer writing prizes. See if you can find contest fees listed on their website or through previous contests. If you can’t find any information, reach out to them via email or social media.
2. Calculate your income. Sit down and write a list of your monthly income, as well as monthly expenses like bills. Knowing exactly how much you make and how much leaves your wallet each month is a great way to evaluate where you have wiggle room to start saving money. No room for extra spending in your budget? That’s okay! Getting a roommate, looking for side gigs, or just cutting back on coffee trips are a few ways you can incorporate more money into your income.
3. Test out different budgeting methods. Everyone’s circumstances are different. Which means not every saving method will work for you. A popular budget plan is the 50/30/20 rule. This plan leaves 50% of your income on necessities, 30% on wants, and at least 20% on savings. However, you can adjust these percentages based on your needs. Remember: your budget plan is there to help you, not to stop you from enjoying life. If you leave no money for fun, you’re less likely tostick with your budget plan.
4. Understand the difference between needs, wants, and essentials. Needs are essential for you to live, work, and survive. They can include things like utility bills, grocery store visits, transportation costs, and paying rent. Typical wants include dinners out, traveling, and shopping. While buying that new YA release at Barnes and Noble might feel like a need, deep down, you know it’s a want!
5. Expect the unexpected. Life can be full of surprises, and it’s best to be prepared for them in your budget. Set aside a little bit of cash to cover miscellaneous expenses each month and make regular contributions to a rainy day fund for emergencies. That way you can handle an unexpected car repair or another unwelcome surprise without taking money out of your writing contest fund.
Writing competitions are an amazing way to achieve publication, payment, and recognition for your work. It can be easy to dismiss these opportunities because of external obstacles like money, but it’s important to remember that you can overcome and anticipate these obstacles in the future.
We hope these tips can not only help you budget for writing competitions but allow you to treat yourself to a new book (or two) during your next visit to the bookstore.