Top Tips to Save Money While Working as a Freelancer
Freelancers face a unique financial situation when they start working outside of the traditional 9-to-5 job. There’s no consistent income to rely on every month, and there’s a good chance that you’ll go without a sustainable amount of cash during certain parts of the year.
If you plan on maintaining the right amount of cash flow when you’re a freelancer, then you need to have a plan of action in place for saving money and making the most of your finances. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how you can save money when you’re working as a freelancer.
1. Start Tracking Your Expenses
The best way to save money, whether you’re a freelancer or not, is to put a budget together that allows you to manage your incoming and outgoing expense. However, you can’t put an effective budget together unless you know exactly how much you’re spending each month. Start by tracking your expenses on a week-to-week basis.
You can either measure your spending habits by keeping a note on a piece of paper, or you can download an app that tracks your spending for you. With an average overview of your monthly expenses, you can compare your average income to your regular outgoing cash to see what you need to earn each month.
2. Be Careful with Discretionary Spending
When you’re employed with a fixed income, it’s easy to know exactly how much cash you have left over each month after bills to spend on things like luxury coffees and meals with friends. However, when you’re a freelancer that left-over cash one month could be the difference between you being able to pay the bills the next month and ending up with a bunch of angry letters.
While you don’t necessarily need to stop spending on the things that you enjoy all together, you will need to remind yourself that you can’t rely on getting a specific amount of cash each month. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to put at least a portion of your left-over cash aside at the end of each pay cycle.
3. Cut Down on Your Spending One Thing at a Time
Everyone faces moments when they may need to cut down on their expenses. However, freelancers struggle with these times more often than most, particularly when they’re just getting started. Think about where you can begin to cut down on your spending by looking at the parts of your budget that have the biggest impact on your financial health.
For instance, if you spend a huge amount of money each month on hiring office space so that you can meet with clients, would it make sense to set up a spare room in your home for the same purpose instead, or simply host video meetings? Could you try using a co-working space to save yourself some extra cash? Concentrate on one thing at a time so you’re not overwhelmed by too many changes at once.
4. Be Cautious with Loans
As a freelancer, there’s a good chance that you’re going to need some extra help with your money from time to time. For instance, you might need to take out a small loan when you first start working as a freelancer to pay for equipment that will fuel your income. A graphic designer needs software to help them produce the best possible designs for their customers, along with a fast-paced computer and plenty of desk space.
To make sure that you’re getting the most out of your loans, make sure that you figure out how much money you need in advance, then spend some time comparing the lending options that are available to you. This way, you can ensure that you’re only lending exactly what you need, and you won’t be paying too much on interest.
5. Always Have an Emergency Buffer
Ultimately, one of the most important things you can set up for yourself when you’re working as a freelancer is an emergency source of savings that you can turn to when the going gets tough. Freelancing doesn’t always go according to plan, and many people in this space find themselves going through periods of feast or famine. If you want to make sure that you don’t end up struggling to pay your bills, ensure that you always have a little extra cash available to tap into.
This emergency buffer will make it much easier for you to handle the often unpredictable swings and turns of freelancing.