5 Simple Ways to Save Money as a Freelancer
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Freelancing can be a great way to bring in extra income that can meet a variety of different needs. I’ve seen people using freelancing as a way to pay off debt, have extra money for retirement or simply have extra spending money – and everything in between.
Extra money can be great, but it’s also important to save money as a freelancer especially if you have a specific goal in mind for the money. If you’re wanting to grow your side gig into a full-time business or simply want to be leaner, financially speaking, then some of these tips should help you save money.
As freelancers we think we can do everything. I get it. I like to think I could accomplish everything and still have time in the day to do the things I enjoy. It can’t be done though. There just isn’t enough time in the day. You want to be able to free up more time to simply enjoy life or take on higher paying work.
This is where outsourcing comes into play. You need to be careful though as outsourcing can unintentionally turn into big money being spent. To avoid this, you can sign up for Fiverr or Elance to get someone of quality without spending a lot of money. Just make sure to vet them first.
Save money for Retirement
Saving for retirement seems like an odd way to save money as a freelancer, but it is something we often overlook – myself included. I know putting aside money for retirement may hurt if you have a specific goal in mind for your extra income.
Putting money aside for retirement out of your freelance income actually helps you in two ways. Not only does it let you save money for the future, but if you open a SEP IRA, or something very similar, then you also get the benefit of a tax deduction for the given contribution year. You effectively kill two birds with one stone.
Avoid the “It’s Deductible” Trap
Being a freelancer means that often times you can buy something for your business and get a tax deduction for it. I love tax deductions, but how often have you heard someone say “It’s deductible” and go ahead and make the purchase?
Yeah, I’ve heard it too and it drives me nuts when it’s used as an excuse to spend when spending isn’t needed. Instead of getting into that trap, simply determine if it’s a true need. If it’s not, then you’re not saving money. You’re spending money you don’t need to and that puts you on the losing end of the equation each time.
Have a Plan for Your Money
This doesn’t necessarily have to be a budget, but the point is to have a plan for your freelance income. I like to think of it as mental accounting – assigning a specific income stream for a specific goal.
Whether it be to pay off debt, save extra for retirement, or save for a vacation, just make sure you have a plan for your cash. Not only will this drive you to work harder to reach your goals, it will also help you avoid mindlessly spending money and thus, wasting it.
I know telling you to spend money in a post aimed at saving money as a freelancer is a bit of a misnomer. It fits in my opinion though. If you want to grow your freelancing career to get more clients, make more money and perhaps turn it into a full-fledged business you’ll need to spend money to reinvest.
The challenge is deciding which things to spend on. Instead of spending on every opportunity or every chance to get your brand out there you want to focus on the things that will bring you the greatest ROI possible. That can mean a variety of things, depending on what your freelance niche is, but it’s vital to spend money wisely to grow.
How do you save money as a freelancer? How do you use mental accounting to attack specific goals with your extra income? What was the last item you bought because it was deductible?
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.
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