Part of the thrill of going into freelancing is the ability to make more money. You work when you want, and you keep all the profit you get.
The only challenge to this type of economic lifestyle is that sometimes you’ll get paid three days in a row, and then you won’t bring in any money for weeks. It can be lucrative, but it’s not steady.
So how’s a self-employed business owner supposed to save money when they don’t know when their next paycheck will come their way?
It is possible!
All you have to do is follow these tips, and you’ll have a hefty nest egg in no time.
1. Split Your Business and Personal Accounts
When you leave the 9 to 5 and strike out on your own, it’s tempting to skip paying yourself and use your personal assets to cover business expenses. This is a slippery slope.
For one thing, it makes it harder to split your receipts for tax purposes. More importantly, though, it isn’t easy to recognize when one area of your life is sliding downhill.
By having two different accounts, you pay your bills out of the appropriate funds. Say you’re running low on money in your personal stash, but you want to go out for dinner. If all your cash is combined, you go anyway and deal with the deficit later.
But when you recognize that your money is tight, you can say no to the unnecessary spending and grab a home-cooked meal (or a bowl of cereal) instead.
Pay yourself a living wage, and cover your personal expenses with it. And if you’re not making enough with your freelancing gig to do this yet, see where you can cut back or take on a side job with a steady check until your business is booming.
2. Start a Savings Process
Expert financial guru Dave Ramsey’s first recommendation to people who want to be successful is to have $1,000 in their savings account.
It’s easier than you think to do this. The hard part is not touching the money when you know it’s there.
Living on a Budget
Saving money should be part of your budget, especially since you’re going to have to be prepared to pay your share of income taxes. Every time you get paid, make it a point to put part of that money into savings and part toward the IRS.
The general suggestion is 30% of each check should be saved for taxes to avoid an unpleasant surprise when you file your tax return. Then, put at least 5% into your savings account.
We get that 35% of your check disappearing right away sounds scary. However, when you were an employee, that was happening anyway. You just never noticed because you didn’t pay attention to the gross numbers.
If you can get used to living on 65% of your income, you’ll be able to break free from the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle with a healthy savings account as your safety net.
3. Cut Back on Your Spending
This isn’t the fun one, but it’s necessary. Until you’ve amassed enough savings to cover three to six months of your bills, see where you can cut back on your current expenses.
Most of us have at least a few places where we are paying too much money. Car insurance, health insurance, streaming services, and utility bills are good places to start.
As a freelancer, you’re able to get cheap rates that other people don’t have access to.
Through members-only companies like Gigly, gig workers get volume discounts on health coverage, prescription medicine, and more. The monthly membership fee pays for itself with the money you save on your essential services.
Check out your insurance policies in detail. Are you paying for any coverage you don’t need?
Call an agent and find out which parts can be canceled, or shop around for a better deal elsewhere. Even five dollars a month adds up, and that extra can go straight into your savings.
You might not have a steady paycheck quite yet, but you can figure out how to make your freelance job work for you. The key is to know when you’re able to finance your lifestyle with your gig work and when you need to add a part-time job to bring in some extra cash.
Budgeting, saving, and cutting back on expenses are part of every successful financial journey. Yours just happens to be along the freelance route.
Let’s face it, though. The trip is more fun when you’re working for yourself!