Spending Freeze

This morning I ordered an Acer Veriton M460-ED7201C – Core 2 Duo E7200 2.53 GHz computer to replace my aging workstation at home. I have to keep the process viewer open all the time to kill the programs that are bogging down my PC. It has really been interfering with my work because I need to run memory hogs like Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2005. But it is the browser that is usually hogging all the system resources. My workstation for my day job is a lot faster than my home PC so I hope to see the same speed improvement with this new computer. It has been taking 20 minutes just to compile my custom help collection and my computer is too maxed out for me to do anything while that is going on.

But that was my final splurge. I intend to go on a spending freeze from here on out. Everyone thinks the recession is going to get a lot worse so I don’t want to be unprepared for hard times. I don’t think my day job is at risk unless the Pennsylvania state government has to cut back drastically on funding many programs. I’ve heard that the state is in some financial trouble and that will probably get worse. I expect to continue to find plenty of freelance web development work online but you have to be careful about your clients. There has been a surge in entrepreneurs looking for web developers. However, many of these entrepreneurs were probably laid off from their jobs and are now going through their savings trying to start their own business. These people usually underestimate the costs of running a startup. They think their great idea for a web application is worth more than the expertise to implement that idea. So they expect the poor programmer to work for nothing more than a stake in the company. Or they try to defer any payment until later when the site gets going. Eventually they’ll run out of money and stiff you for a lot of work.

I’m going to raise my rate for any new clients I take on. I’ll also demand a deposit and require the client to sign a formal agreement that is legally binding. I neglected to do that when I was desperate for work but now I can afford to be choosey.

I don’t know if I’ll go on a lavish vacation this year. I’ve been thinking of going to France which would be a dream come true. I’m doing some research on guided tours which should eliminate the need to speak any French. I don’t have time to brush up on my French. This is the kind of trip you dream of going on after you retire but who wants to travel when you are old and decrepit? If consumer credit becomes tight and people start losing their credit cards then I’d certainly have to cancel my plans. I’ve only noticed that credit card companies are canceling inactive cards.

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