Frugal Author: Writing On A Budget

Let’s discuss writing. But writing on a budget, with frugality, with a finance edge.

Writing…on a shoestring budget.


We all know about writing, probably. But I want to come at the writing process and author life with my background in accounting and my personal interest in…personal finance.

I mean, I got into writing way back in 2012 because it was an economical means of art and creative expression. It still is! Think about it.

To write, all you REALLY need is a computer with some internet and a printer if you want. Or, if you want to go old school, have paper and a pencil or pen. Either way, pretty sure you can find this stuff around you right now. I assume you gotta chair and table somewhere you can use. I should take the cost of electricity into account, but that’s honestly pretty minimal, maybe $1 or $2 a day for your writing computer and lighting. Total cost: $0-$300. $300 if for some reason you just don’t own a computer. (A tablet works OK for writing to start too.)

Moving along, you need to use a program. Most people use Microsoft Word. I became strangely attached to Evernote, so that is my personal choice. Pick what works for you. There are many free word processor programs out there, like LibreOffice, which is like Word. Google Docs is very popular as well. Total cost: $0.

Should you choose to forgo an editor to save more money (not recommended if you are super serious about publishing a physical book) then you got to learn about grammar. I usually Google my grammar questions, like about verb tense or comma use. Grammar is best to learn EARLY ON. It’s a pain to revise grammar mistakes after writing 100 pages. Trust me. Do your best to get the grammar right, the punctuation, the tense, the FIRST time you write your draft of your writing. Total cost: $0. (Assuming you do not use an editor at all, which is at your discretion.)

If you love to go out, you can get a $3 cup of coffee at a local shop and sit there and write. I just like to write at home, and eat my snacks at home in the meanwhile. Post COVID though, I may consider going to local Starbucks places to get a bit of social engagement and inspiration while I write. Total cost: $2-10. (Depends on the cost of gas, if you eat a meal while you write, and choose to get the Starbucks wrap box with your coffee while you’re there. The $2 is because you gotta eat SOMETHING while you write, even if you’re at home.)

But, I mean besides other things like a bonsai tree or mood scents in the air, that should cover the basics. Writing on the cheap.

No need for pricey software, a fancy setup, an exotic location, or crazy specific food. (My guilty pleasures are popcorn, gum and fruit cups.)

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