Buy Yourself a Week of Vacation

Freelance writer vacations are important, but for many freelancers vacation days are non-existent. If you do manage to take a vacation, you’ll probably be stuck working early mornings and late nights because you can't afford to abandon your work completely. There are still bills that need to be paid.

At my last corporate job, allowed us to buy an extra week of vacation. Payroll simply deducted a one-twelfth of a week’s salary from my monthly paycheck and each paychecks were the same each month no matter when I took vacation days. For example, if I made $62,400 a year, a week’s salary would be $1,200 and I would have an extra $100 deducted from my paycheck each month to pay for the extra vacation days.

If you haven’t been taking vacation because you can’t afford to, “buying” a week of vacation is how you can afford to.

How Much Do Freelance Writer Vacations Cost?

The cost of your vacation days depends on your income. Divide your annual income by 52 for weekly income or divide it by 253 for daily income (assuming you don’t work weekends and you take 8 holidays during the year). That’s how you can tell how much a week or a few days of vacation will cost.

Example: If I’m projecting $48,000 gross income this year, my weekly income is about $923 ($48,000 / 52). My daily salary is about $190. If I wanted to take 4 days vacation this year, I could buy it for $760 (that’s $190 x 4).

Planning Your Vacation Purchase

If you’re buying vacation a year in advance, divide the cost of your vacation days by 12. That’s how much you need to set aside each month for vacation. Based on the example above, I’d need to set aside $78 each month for the next 12 months to take some vacation days next May. But if I want to take vacation sooner than that, say in November, I need to set aside $154 ($923 / 6) aside each month for those vacation days (assuming I haven't been saving already).

Once you decide to buy some vacation days, you need to factor it into your budget. You’ll be putting this money away just like other savings, so your budget is key in making sure you can afford it and adjusting your spending as necessary.

You can buy your vacation in two ways:

  1. Pay yourself less. If you give yourself a salary each month, you can reduce your pay by the amount of your vacation. Remember to leave your vacation money in your business account (or whichever account you use to pay yourself). The month you take vacation, pay your normal salary.
  2. Put your vacation purchase in a separate savings account. You’ll pay yourself a regular salary or transfer your income as you normally do and put your vacation income in a separate savings account each month. Then, the month you take vacation, transfer your vacation savings into your primary checking account.

The money you set aside for a month of vacation isn’t necessarily the money you use to pay for the vacation itself. This is really a way of making sure your income doesn’t drop in June because you’ve decided to go to the beach with your family.

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LaToya Irby is a full-time freelance writer and a graduate of the University of Alabama. She primarily writes about personal finance, freelancing, and other self-employment topics.

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