How to save money on a freelancer's income

Sep 03, 2020

It’s tough to save money, especially when your income is unpredictable. If you’re self-employed, you’ll likely have to pay for health insurance and retirement out of pocket. However, there are ways to save your money that will benefit you immensely in the long run.

Put a bit of each paycheck aside.

Whenever you receive a paycheck, whether it is $50 or $2,000, put a bit of it into a retirement account and a bit of it into your personal savings account. Your first priority should be to build a $1,000 emergency fund and six months’ worth of living expenses. You should also set up a Roth IRA and put some money into that account. Having this cash will significantly improve your peace of mind, and you will be prepared to pay your mortgage or rent for six months in the event that you experience a dry period. No one wants that, ever, but it’s a good idea to be prepared, just in case.

Keep track of your business expenses.

Keep track of anything that is even remotely related to your business, because you may be able to write it off when you pay taxes: your phone, computer, desks, travel to and from events or workshops, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, writing classes, etc. If you play your cards right, you might just be able to get a refund when tax season comes around. Who doesn’t love getting money instead of spending it?

Have multiple streams of income.

It never hurt anyone to have multiple streams of income. This doesn’t necessarily mean having multiple jobs, although it can. Consider investing in the stock market, and, if you happen to own a home, consider renting out one of the rooms and earning additional income from it. If you love to paint, write, sing, or exercise, record YouTube tutorials or write how-to books about these activities. You’ll likely be surprised at how fast your income grows.

Eat at home.

It’s so much cheaper to eat at home instead of going out on the town and blowing a bunch of money on food, or ordering in every night. Avoid paying top dollar for Starbucks coffee and make your own. If you have a busy schedule ahead of you and you know you won’t have time to cook, consider preparing a bunch of meals for the week on Saturday and Sunday. This will be so much more efficient, and so much easier on your pocketbook, in the long run.

Take care of yourself.

You might be wondering how taking care of yourself relates to personal finance. It does in many ways. First of all, you will likely able to avoid a number of stress-related medical expenses. And staying in a healthy frame of mind will help you feel productive and motivated in your work.

Make sure that you exercise three times per week, eat a good amount of fruits and vegetables, and get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Also, make sure that you allow yourself to take a day off if you’re burnt out. You’ll be more productive in the long run. Just because you love your job, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve any down time.

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send us your blog post.

Daniella Cressman

I'm a freelance writer. My work has appeared in BirdWatching Magazine, Best Poets of 2019, Upon Arrival, and Teen Ink Magazine. I also do quite a bit of ghostwriting.