6 Easy Ways Freelancers Can Save Money

Freelance - Ride Your BikeManaging your money and expenses is usually just a matter of prioritizing and keeping track of things for most of us who are full time freelancers.

Freelancing is not a ‘paycheck every two weeks‘ type of job. When you get a fixed income every month, it’s easier to plan things and manage your expenses. That’s not the case with freelancing where you can make get $50 today and a thousand next week from different clients.

Also considering the fact we freelancers don’t get all the various benefits and allowances that someone working at a day job might get, it is crucial for us to save money. Keeping that in mind, here are 6 easy ways you can save money every month and still eat and have some for entertainment.

Identify Your Business Needs And Prepare A Budget

Saving money doesn’t mean stop spending. If you do that then you’ll never be able to grow your business and earn more in the long run.

It’s important to figure out where to spend your money. One of the major reason companies and freelancers fail and even go bankrupt is because they didn’t reinvest their money into their business(es). You need to think ahead and prepare a budget for marketing, office supplies, etc…

Once you are able to identify your needs, prepare your budget accordingly. You may not be able to stick to the budget and may go overboard but still that should give you a good idea of your expenses, money in, money out. And you’ll strive to either reduce your expenses or earn more next month. Either way, you need a budget. Jeffrey wrote a very good post on the topic recently, I urge you to go and read it!

Say Hello To Open Source

For us web-workers, working with various apps and softwares in a part of the daily routine. There are some apps I’m sure you simply could not live without. But we know that proprietary software can be expensive. Thanks to the supporters of free software, we’ve got an open source alternative to almost every paid software available. I mentioned some of them in this post.

Most of the time you’ll find that the open source counterparts of paid softwares are equally good or sometimes even better. You just need to spend some time looking for them, download 2 or 3, and then keep the ones you like.

However there are some programs like Photoshop that you can’t really replace if you are a web designer. That’s something you should definitely spend money on – things that cannot be replaced. For everything else go for the open source (or the cheaper but still very functional) versions.

Go Paperless

If you’ve got tons of files, folders and paper documents on your desk then you are certainly churning some good money every month on paper and ink cartridges. I strongly suggest you try going paperless and save everything on your computer or using an online backup solution. It will save you money and also help unclutter on your desk.

Just remember to backup the data on a regular basis, maybe on an external hard drive or through online backup services like Mozy Backup.

I know many of you writers out there like the feel of paper and writing in a Moleskine notebook. I’m with you, but there are many things I’m sure you can do like subscribing to online billing (which usually costs nothing) or just reducing your paper consumption and not print every document people send your way.

Swap Books And DVDs

Instead of buying books and dvds, you can use services like SwapaDVD to exchange dvds with other users and PaperBackSwap or BookMooch to swap books with others. I’m sure there are many other sites you can use to trade other things and save money.

Reduce Your Phone Bill

If your work requires communicating with your clients over the phone, your phone bill could be a major expense for you. You can use services like Skype or just use instant messenger to chat with your clients. If the client lives in the same or close to your city then you can arrange meetings and talk to him at length rather than just talk over the phone every other day. And of course, if you can respond to emails quickly and efficiently then that can easily lower your phone bill.

Use Other Means Of Transportation

Yeah, you used to ride that two wheeler with pride when you were a kid, why not start again now? It’s time to bring back its glory, get it out of those shackles and use it when you need to travel a mile or too to fetch groceries or catch up with a friend. This will not only save you money on gas but also help you stay healthy.

We freelancers tend to spend way too much time in front of the computer! Sure we already save a lot of money on gas by working from home, but still you could take it further and ride your bike or walk whenever you.can.

What About You?

Most of these have helped me save money and I hope you found my quick tips useful. I’d love to know what you do to save money. Any tips and tricks you can share with us would be greatly appreciated! We’re all in the same boat, so we might as well learn new ways to save our hard-earned money. :)

Cheers,
Abhijeet Mukherjee

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About the author: Abhijeet Mukherjee is a blogger and freelance writer. He is a regular contributer for many blogs notably including DumbLittleMan.com and MakeUseOf.com. He also maintains his own blog about tech tips, productivity hacks and blogging tips – Jeet Blog

image in this post: night86mare

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Comments

  1. says

    Very useful tips on budgeting for a freelancer, Abhijeet.

    I’m beginning my career as a freelance writer and, obviously, any steps I can take to maximize the financial side of things the better.

    I have VOIP (not Skype) provided as part of my home telephone broadband package, but I’ve not used it yet for international calls. Very soon, I hope to promote all my contact methods and this will be one primary way to communicate with interested individuals worldwide.

  2. says

    This is good advice for any and all businesses no matter the size. Many of these points are the same ones that I present to clients (current, former and especially future) when I do technology consulting.

    For literature swapping, some Chamber of Commerces have lending libraries and. or have programs for swapping. If they don’t, ask them. They will more than likely invite you to help establish one if they don’t have one in place.

    Budgets and other plans, business plan, technology plans etc, are just as important to the one person operation as they are to the Billion dollar corporation.

  3. says

    Going without ink and paper (and finally getting my Mrs. to follow along) has put something like an extra 32,000,000 pesos in my pocket per day. And I’m only exaggerating a little.

  4. says

    I’m a big fan for using cash to pay for everything. Also, Bank of America offers a cool “keep the change” program. Say you make a purchase for $5.35….BOA will round that number up to $6.00 and then transfer the .65 cents into your savings account. That may not sound like much…but it adds up very quickly. Plus – you don’t notice it, so it doesn’t feel like you’re saving.

  5. says

    Abhijeet,

    I’ve been using open source software for quite some time and it’s the wonder of the Internet world. You can have top notch software developed by experts, refined by other experts, and free to use.

    And, oh, I also considering using the two-wheeler like you mention in this post :) Saving money, conserving energy.

    Thanks for this good post!

  6. says

    Great point about reinvesting money back into the business. It’s easy to get caught up with new toys… but if that new lens, new program or new computer can bring in more money down the road, then it’s a good way to spend some of your savings.

    Thanks for the great tips!

    Bryan

  7. says

    Whilst it’s important to save every penny you can, don’t scrimp on the basics like a decent web host.

    Sadly the illusion of wealth some how seems to attract bigger jobs … save where you can, but spend when you have to.

    An iPhone doesn’t count as a have to ;p

  8. says

    An other way to save money, is to have a healthy garden, or even an hydroponic one for those who don’t have the soil. It not only bring you fresh vegetable and spices and mushrooms, it connects you with your eating, with the earth (or the flowing water) and it is actually a good way to practice micromanagement skills. Plus you get to do something else than watch a screen…

    And its not really that hard, since its a skill humans have developed for ages; all the knowledge is accessible.

  9. says

    I personally seem to go along with all the things
    that was posted within “6 Easy Ways Freelancers Can Save Money | FreelanceFolder”.
    Many thanks for all of the details.Many thanks-Marylyn

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