Do you belong to the pool of self-employed dreamers who struggle to combine their passions with the urge to survive? Do you strive to earn and set aside on the love and profoundness of what you’re doing? Welcome to the realm of disciplined freedom and aggressive competition.
At some point in your freelancing career, you’ll realize that you must tighten your belt to attain financial stability. The rat race doesn’t spare anyone, and you need to learn where and how to economize. Read our all-encompassing 17 tips that any freelancer focused on smart economy and growth must always remember.
Table of Contents
- 2 Freelancer Money Saving Tips
- 2.1 Have An Emergency Fund
- 2.2 Have Multiple Sources Of Income
- 2.3 Don’t Leave Your Day Job Immediately
- 2.4 Sign Up For A Low-Interest Line Of Credit
- 2.5 Use Reward or Cashback Credit Cards
- 2.6 Buy Refurbished Or Certified
- 2.7 Use Discount Or Coupon Codes
- 2.8 Search For Better Prices
- 2.9 Shop On Sales
- 2.10 Save On Heating And Cooling Expenses
- 2.11 Get Discounts From Utility Suppliers
- 2.12 Cancel Recurring Expenses
- 2.13 Get An Accountant
- 2.14 Use Open-Source Software
- 2.15 Take Advantage Of Free Marketing
- 2.16 Use VoIP Telephony
- 2.17 Go Paperless
- 3 Bottom Line
- 5 FAQ
Freelancer Money Saving Tips
To be a freelancer is a great relief, but also a huge responsibility. You must continuously seek new projects and clients to keep the wolf from the door. Though you have probably employed efficient saving strategies, we’ll teach you how to take savings a step further. Read our comprehensive guide on eliminating unnecessary costs, and maximize your earning potential.
Have An Emergency Fund
Saving for a rainy day is obligation number one for any freelancer. You never know when the work will dry out and for how long the crisis will last. Most freelancers don’t have any financial protection and support to fall back on, so they get forced to maintain an emergency fund.
Independent workers are never 100% sure about the amount of income for the month. Sometimes it can be more than expected, but other times, there might be no single project throughout the month. Thus, it makes absolute sense to set aside fixed savings each month in case of sickness, home repairs, or other emergencies. Open a savings account and keep your funds to use when necessary.
Consequently, we highly recommend you keep enough savings to cover the essentials, at least. These include rental and mortgage installments, as well as utility bills and monthly subscriptions. Consider setting aside funds to be able to cover up to 12 months to make your life less stressful.
Have Multiple Sources Of Income
You must have realized that the onset in the freelancing business is unstable and risky. For sure, consistency and reliability come when you establish a regular client base. Before anything else, you must vary your income to strengthen your financial position, build authority, and allow yourself breathing space.
As a freelancer, there’s no such thing as too many clients. Plus, it’s better to have several small sources of income than one or two major ones. Diversifying your income means you can tackle any unannounced work disruptions and income droughts. Moreover, you’re exposed to new opportunities and might realize that side revenue streams are more lucrative than the primary one.
Anyways, it’s imperative to be realistic about how much work you can handle. Keep track of sleepless nights and don’t compromise quality for quantity. Even more, at some point, you might realize that you have to hire an assistant to get things done on time. Alternatively, try some of our passive income ideas that don’t require as much work in the long run.
Don’t Leave Your Day Job Immediately
Beginnings can be tough and on shaky legs. Therefore, if you’re attempting to prove yourself as an independent worker and swim with the sharks, do it steadily. In short, don’t leave your regular job unless you’re entirely sure that you can survive on freelancing income. Build a robust pool of clients, and only then, consider quitting your day job permanently.
Moreover, if you can’t walk and chew the gum at the same time, continue working part-time for a specified period. Don’t make the mistake of diving into a self-employed venture prematurely unless you have significant savings and a promising business plan. Plus, if you’re not ready to work long nights and sacrifice sleep, maybe working freelance is not for you.
Sign Up For A Low-Interest Line Of Credit
Do you use credit cards to cover some business operating expenses? Forget about credit cards that accrue high-interest rates and switch to lines of credit with more favorable terms. Nowadays, many unions and banks offer credit lines at lower interest rates to suit the needs of any solopreneur. In short, pay the utmost attention to paying monthly installments on time.
You wouldn’t like to get penalized by excessively unpaid balances. We suggest you stay away from the trap of long-term loans to get your career off the ground. Debt should be the last resort solution that comes to mind after exhausting all other available resources. Use credit cards in case of an ultimate emergency.
Use Reward or Cashback Credit Cards
You’re probably using a handful of credit cards to keep up with all the needs along the way. Then, why don’t you make the most out of cashback rewards? The best available options on the market are those that let you collect points that you can later use for travel or other perks.
Opt for a product with rotating categories or a card with a flat rate and earn cash while spending. The cashback rate is variable, but it can reach 5% on specific types of items. Meaning, if you spend $800 a month, you’ll get $40 back for card loyalty only. Not bad, right? Anyways, pay attention to spending limits and other requirements that most cards entail.
Buy Refurbished Or Certified
Once you decide to operate as an independent worker, you’ll realize that you have to arrange a working spot. Or a home office, to be more precise. Refrain from overspending and forking out on lavish furniture and accessories. Even better, purchase refurbished or certified items when possible since they also come with warranties.
Bear in mind that money spent on office items can classify as expenses for tax purposes. Yet, make a meticulous list of what you need for the course of work and what you can omit. Of course, there is no room for compromising on a comfortable, ergonomic chair as this a priority for any office worker. Buy everything else second-hand or adjust items that you already have at home.
Use Discount Or Coupon Codes
Coupons should become an essential part of your purchasing habits, indeed. Not only when it comes to work-related services, items, and products, but also for daily purchases and needs. Before burning the plastic, do a quick search to see if there are any available coupons or discount codes. Price reductions vary, and it’s a great relief to see that the software package you need to update gets offered at 50% off.
Promo codes, on the other hand, will considerably decrease your spending. Check the Sunday papers regularly and download coupon apps to snitch some freebies. Grab leaflets with discount codes on your walks through stores for your next shopping trip. Also, consider coupon stacking and price matching for even greater frugality.
Search For Better Prices
Compare prices of similar products when you buy stock images, fonts, or design resources online before making the final purchase. Prices of identical items can vary greatly depending on the supplier and the store you’re visiting.
For instance, if you’re a freelance translator and need to purchase a CAT tool, don’t buy Trados right away. Wait for a discount or sign up for their newsletter. Very soon, you’ll receive an offer with a discounted rate. Alternatively, you have a zillion of other CAT tools with the same performances and quality, but at drastically lower prices. Finally, it’s always up to you to decide what tools will help you get the full benefit of your time and knowledge.
Shop On Sales
Planning is a crucial aspect of savvy buyers, and why would you be an exception? When you’re a freelancer and learn to manage time successfully, you’ll probably have enough free time to search for better bargains. Learn how to be a wise shopper by finding the best stores with deals on clothing, food, and gadgets.
Make visiting garage and yard sales part of your shopping routine, too. Don’t underestimate thrift shops and bargain sections at stores, either. Finally, plan your purchases upfront and buy during the sales. Black Friday, Christmas, and Boxing Day are periods when you can find quite cheap deals. So, if time is not pressing you, it’s best to wait for holiday discounts.
Save On Heating And Cooling Expenses
Thermostat management is another approach to maximize the efficiency of air conditioning. Program the thermostats to switch off when nobody’s in the office. We suggest you turn the temperature by at least 7 degrees Fahrenheit from the standard settings, i.e., 68. This way, you’ll save up to 10% a year on heating.
In reality, heating and cooling systems take a significant fraction of the monthly costs. If you want to keep expenses low, maintain the system regularly, and keep filters clean. Don’t forget that a fan in the hot summer season or a heater in the colder months can save you a lot.
Finally, consider other related factors that contribute to energy efficiency. For example, why don’t you switch to solar energy? Installing solar panels will require little maintenance and is eco-friendly. Make sure your workplace is well isolated, too. Focus on high-grade window films and repair any leaks and drafts to save energy and decrease costs.
Saving on heating and cooling is one of the many proven ways to decrease your electric bill.
Get Discounts From Utility Suppliers
The ugly truth is that some monthly costs are there to stay, and you can’t waive them. But, who said you couldn’t decrease them by changing the supplier or seeking discounted rates? The chances that your request gets approved are huge, to be honest. No supplier would like to see their clients walk away just because they weren’t flexible enough to offer a discount or a bonus.
First, contact your internet or cable supplier and ask for a discount on the services you receive. If your providers aren’t ready to compromise, look for alternative ways. Call other local providers that offer the same services and check their rates. You would be surprised how much you can save by changing your usual ways.
Cancel Recurring Expenses
Have your recurring costs come to the verge of debt? The golden rule to maximize your income and keep away from debt is to cut any expenses that are surplus at the moment. Scrutiny your monthly and annual subscriptions such as software and plug-ins and decide if you need them. Cancel any memberships that burden your finances, and you never get to enjoy their offerings.
For example, ask yourself if you get the full money’s worth of your current mobile plan. Can you cancel that gym membership and try an outdoor activity with a friend? It’s a must that you look into each recurring expense in detail. Even more, consider arranging a better deal on disability or health insurance.
Get An Accountant
An accountant is a magician with numbers and knows all the hacks related to prudent tax-related savings. Not hiring a bookkeeper may save you money at the onset, but in the long run, you can lose money overspent on taxes. In a word, doing the accounts and calculations on your own might be a false economy.
Any accountant can make things related to applicable rules and taxes clear. So, if you’re not sure about filing quarterly taxes or paying in lump sums, it’s best to consult a bookkeeper. Finally, if you are good with numbers, understand fees, and have time, complete tax returns on your own. You can always use software like TurboTax to find deductions and file annual returns.
Use Open-Source Software
In reality, most freelancers can operate on low expenses and thus, increase their earning potential. However, software costs can be substantial since specialized, and high-quality tools are often crucial for professional work. Luckily, there is an array of tools created to aid every aspect of your work, from monitoring finances to communicating and marketing.
To begin with, why splash out on hefty accounting programs when you can do your bookkeeping and invoicing with the Wave apps. Another software app you might consider to handle invoicing and project management is Zoho. This app is excellent for start-ups with a handful of regular clients.
When it comes to productivity, your possibilities for free of charge project management tools are limitless. Try out Trello to set tasks, collect and collate ideas, and set deadlines. Also, NowDoThis.com is an incredibly simple program that helps home workers keep up with their to-do-list. Our further suggestions are Teambox and Asana that offer flexible boards that give a quick summary of pressing tasks.
Evernote and Dropbox are your best company in the world of cloud storage. Plus, if your work involves documents and editing, feel free to rely on Google Docs and OpenOffice. There’s no need to shell out on Windows Office since you get the tasks done with equal accuracy and efficiency. Finally, consider using Insightly for managing contacts and building your business.
Take Advantage Of Free Marketing
Boosting your earnings as an online freelancer won’t come by default. You must dedicate considerable time to promote your products and services. As luck might have it, the number of free online marketing tools is abundant. Some of the available promotional strategies include social media marketing, content marketing, and SEO.
Your presence on social media is compulsory. More specifically, you must be visible where your target audience is. Focus your attention on platforms where jobs get posted, and you might find potential clients. For instance, if you’re into visual arts head for Instagram or Pinterest, whereas if you’re a writer stick to Medium and Twitter. Check Facebook frequently for various local gigs, too.
No doubt, email is the most powerful tool for marketing purposes that is both free and efficient. Regular emails have the potential to develop customer loyalty and drive traffic to your website through personally-crafted newsletters. Ask your clients for up-to-date reviews and referrals to include them in your blogs, portfolios, and social media pages.
Use VoIP Telephony
Are you a lone worker who does most of the job via phone? If your cell phone is a primary means of communication with clients, gather detailed information about the Voice over Internet Protocol system. Popularly known as VoIP, this is a telephone system with no physical limitations and a bunch of versatile features. Plus, you get the chance to be available on several devices, including laptops and tablets.
Above all, the cost per call is lower, whether you do national or international calls. You can adapt your needs and scale of work to the perks offered by the VoIP technology. Finally, conference calls are an added benefit for efficient client interaction. Some of the best-known and wide-spread solutions are Skype, WebEx, and Google Hangouts.
The vast leaps in technology development have enabled efficient and profitable work without using a single piece of paper. Going paperless not only reduces your costs and saves you time, but it also preserves the environment.
Some of the added benefits of moving to the digital realm include faster payments and accurate tax returns. Meaning, thanks to invoicing software, you can easily handle your finances and get paid within hours. When it comes to annual tax returns, you can rely on software like SimpleTax to do the accounting job and identify potential savings.
Among other things, abandoning paper means a lot of free space in your cabinets and storing all necessary documents in a digital form. This way, it’s much easier to find files, and you don’t have to worry about loss, theft, or accidental damage.
Regardless of whether you’re an experienced freelancer or a rookie, we bet you’ll find our economizing strategies useful. Any combination of our hacks will teach you how to avoid unnecessary expenses and optimize your monthly savings. Just be brave and persistent in whatever path you pursue.
Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media. You’ll undoubtedly find many other articles to support you in any far-fetching business plans you might have. Finally, we’ll be super happy if you share some of your saving ideas like a self-employed worker in the comment box below.
Does freelancing pay off?
Any freelancing income mostly depends on your skills and ability to start and develop your business scheme. Moreover, your industry determines the annual profit, and a robotics engineer is likely to earn more than a freelance photographer or writer. Also, depending on the experience in the field, you can set competitive rates and make decent money. Lastly, your negotiation and organization skills, as well as your location, can impact your income to a great extent.
How do I ask for money as a freelancer?
To avoid feeling awkward and guilty for seeking your money, begin by sending an e-mail reminder. To keep things moving, make sure you include an invoice, too. If you’re uncertain how much to charge, think about the perceived value of clients or get them to name a price. In cases when you feel uncomfortable asking for money directly, just drop it in a conversation. Finally, including a prior payment plan in the contract may be the smartest idea to urge your clients to pay on time.
How can I save money when I barely make anything?
When struggling to make ends meet, there is no one-fits-all solution to transfer to the positive side of the balance. First and foremost, try to wipe out any debt you have and focus on your savings account. Be honest about your spending and track expenses to define priorities and cut down on unnecessary money-drainers. Finally, implement ‘no spend’ days as a strategy to establish items and services that aren’t necessities.
What is the best way to save money fast?
Start by automating savings transfers and bill payments each month to maximize your saving potential and eliminate fees for due payments. Exploit various online tools and apps to score savings on groceries, accounting, and nutritionists. Eliminate any excess subscriptions you have or ditch one small expense per month. Finally, don’t refrain from negotiating your phone or insurance bills.