After more than a decade working locally for non-profit museums, I decided last year I needed a change and have been working remotely as a content writer and editor ever since. There was a lot of news about people like me, a millennial who quit my job in the wake of a pandemic that was transforming the lives of almost everyone on earth. However, I haven’t read much about what the financial implications have been for us. After a year, I think it’s time to start thinking about personal finances.
Higher utility bills…but higher productivity
When I made this change, I was working remotely, 100% of the time, from 100% of the time onsite (with the exception of a few months in spring and summer of 2020, like many Americans in office jobs). I used to not be concerned with keeping my home comfortable for people all the time. My cats have fur coats and enough cozy beds and blankets to keep them usually comfortable, even though it’s cooler at home on a cold winter’s day. Now I spend more on mine utility bills, because I have to have a comfortable temperature in my living and working space all day long. Thankfully, my home office sees the fewest temperature swings of any room in my house.
However, my productivity has increased since I started working from home. It’s always quiet, and I can often easily get the deeper headspace needed for research, writing, and editing. And because my work is always at hand, it’s easy for me to work more (and make more money) than I used to. I love my job so I see that as a good thing!
Move less… and more often
My old career was very local, to my personal and financial disadvantage: if I wanted a new job, I had to move. I’ve moved 10 times in the last 10 years. Now I no longer have to worry about the proximity to my employer. And as a result, I’ve signed up to stay in my current rental for at least another year, and I may stay even longer.
While I may not move as often as I used to, I am able to move my body more since I no longer have to commute. Due to the flexible nature of my work, I also have more time for myself during the day. I love going for long walks and I live in a nice, walkable area. I try to walk at least once a day (sometimes twice!). I listen to music or a podcast and it’s one of the best things I can do for my physical and mental health.
Yes to the technology … no to the wardrobe
get thanks a better control over my finances this year I’m a much smarter shopper than I used to be and the things I spend money on have changed. I hadn’t owned a desktop computer in 10 years, but earlier this year I bought a high-end computer. This computer can handle anything I throw at it and I got a good deal when I bought it refurbished by the manufacturer. It has also resulted in higher productivity than I could have ever done with a small screen laptop, which was all I ever needed as a personal computer before working from home.
When I worked in museums, I had to spend a good chunk of my income to fund the wardrobe I needed for work. On any given day, I may have built exhibit components, taught interns, given a tour, made a public presentation, or even met with notable donors or local government officials. So I always had to look for the part. Now I keep things simple and rely on my existing wardrobe.
Planning for the future… and mourning the past
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot for many people and I am no exception. It was the impetus for me to change careers, and this career change has opened financial doors for me that were previously closed and sometimes even nailed shut. I am hoping to buy a house in a few years, and after paying off my debts, I’ll be able to save money for it. my credit-worthiness is the highest ever and I hope to get even higher. I have no retirement provision, and that’s another goal I’ll be working towards starting next year. I’ve never made enough money not to live paycheck to paycheck and I’m finally in a place where I can put this stressful lifestyle behind me.
The last year hasn’t been all sunshine and roses, and sometimes I miss my old job. But I don’t miss never having enough money to plan for the future and always feeling like I’m dangling over the edge of a financial cliff. Those of us who participated in the “Great Resignation” were all looking for the same thing: greater freedom, greater happiness, and greater financial security. I’m happy to report that I’ve had success with all three so far.
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