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Watch Your Money: Budget Breakdown for Content Creator Earning $200,000 | New

Occupation: content creator at, author of the book, From harvest to home

Money transfer : Money management while working as an independent contractor

The life of a top lifestyle blogger like Alicia Tenise Chew of can indeed be fabulous – sponsored trips, media attention and book deals. However, he also has a side that people rarely discuss.

“One thing about blogging, you don’t get your paycheck every two weeks,” Chew, 32, said. “Some people pay you net 30, and some payments, unfortunately, lag five to six months behind schedule. It’s always a bit choppy as a blogger.”

Now Chew wants to put as much energy into having a thoughtful financial life as he does putting together the perfect style shoot. “My partner and I travel a lot,” said Chew, whose partner is a food and hospitality photographer. “There are always expenses to cover when traveling. When we come home, we are so tired and we order on UberEats.”

Chew started blogging in 2011 while working in the fashion industry. She decided to create an independent outlet to express her personal style.

After working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Chew worked 5 hours a day blogging at She built her Alicia Tenise brand and was making $40,000 a year, but she wasn’t ready to quit her full-time job.

“The idea of ​​being a freelancer was really scary for me,” Chew said.

In December 2016, Chew was cut from her position and given a severance package covering three months of her expenses. She decided to try blogging full time.

“I was able to make more money from blogging because I had more time to spend on projects and the quality of my content,” Chew said.

The blog became his career. “I love the community I’ve created,” Chew said. “It’s so cool to have people with you every step of the way. I didn’t expect to have all of this.”

Last year, Chew and her partner moved to Los Angeles after setting a goal of saving $10,000 within eight months for the expensive cross-country trip from their base in Virginia. The decision turned out to be the right one. Chew says she would like to pursue television opportunities in Los Angeles.

“I don’t think I’ll be (blogging) my whole life,” Chew said.

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Chew earns just over $200,000 a year. Chew has credit card debt of $7,000 and student loan debt of $12,000. As a literal thief, her travel lifestyle doesn’t leave her much time for cooking. Chew sometimes only has three to four days between traveling gigs for his blog and personally spends between $350 and $400 dining out a month.

His biggest expense is photography. She can spend between $100, $15,000 and $20,000 for a photoshoot for her brand. On average, she pays $500 per shoot. She rents studios and/or buys props.

Chews spends about $2,900 a month on rent. Utilities are included.

Chew has a high yield savings account.

“Sometimes I put in $500, or sometimes I get paid late and can’t put anything in,” Chew said.

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As a lucrative personal brand, Chew needs to set up its own personal board of directors, said Alleson Tate, certified financial planner and owner of Avère Wealth Management in Atlanta. Tate says people at Chew level need a good accountant, tax strategist, financial adviser and lawyer.

“These people will help her get organized, give her a solid strategic plan, help her minimize her tax liability, maximize the profitability of her business, and give her a solid foundation as she expands her empire to the television,” Tate said.

Here’s Tate’s other tip:

The great thing about being a content creator is that a big part of her lifestyle is radiation. The key is to keep good records. For example, if she is planning a photo shoot. Cameraman, videographer for behind-the-scenes content, location, meals on set and more are tax deductible. To track business expenses, consider apps like QuickBooks Where Spend.

Creating a spending and saving plan can be difficult, but there are plenty of great tools out there. By far the most popular app is mint. People can connect their bank accounts, credit cards, bills and other expenses to the platform. It is a data aggregation tool that will categorize each transaction such as clothes, restaurants, etc. Other applications to consider are YNAB, Every dollar, HoneyDueand Personal capital.

If she must eat out, consider alternatives such as meal delivery or home meal prep delivery services such as home cook, sun basket, Freshly, and others. The average price per meal is still cheaper than using Postmates or going to a restaurant. Chew should also consider preparing some food on the weekends or in her spare time, then putting the food in the freezer and taking it out throughout the week when she’s on the go.

If she is the primary breadwinner in the household, she should consider purchasing disability insurance. You’re more likely to become disabled than to die, and long-term disability insurance will protect it during those critical earning years. Although coverage can be expensive, age is on its side.

As a society, it must pay itself first. She might consider creating a SEP IRA. She can contribute 25% of her earnings up to a maximum of $61,000. She will receive a deduction for contributing to the SEP IRA, which reduces her taxable income.

If she regularly earns $200,000 a year, an LLC might not be best for her from a tax standpoint. In an LLC structure, you pay 15.3% self-employment taxes. Under the S-corp structure, she pays herself a salary. She is only responsible for the payroll that supports her salary and not the rest of her income. If she can consistently afford a $50,000 salary, she should consider an S corp.

Now, there are other considerations, such as the cost of filing an S-corp return that is separate from an LLC’s tax return that goes through its 1040. There are also additional administrative costs to take into account. She needs a good tax planner to determine the total potential savings by changing entity structure.

Natalie P. McNeal is the author of The Frugalista Files: How a Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life