Embracing a Frugal Lifestyle
Freelancing as a graphic designer comes with many risks. You never really know when your next paycheck will come, whether it’s due to a lack of business or a project gone wrong. And with bills to pay, the stress will affect your well-being and productivity. Furthermore, everything is getting more expensive nowadays, made worse by excessive consumerism in today’s society.
Even after achieving success, the last thing you want to do is lose everything through poor spending habits. Instead of working longer hours to pay off an increasing mountain of credit card debt, why not stretch your dollars and live without financial stress by embracing frugality as a lifestyle?
KNOWING YOUR NUMBERS
In essence, frugality is about spending less than you earn — which really isn’t as hard as it sounds. You just need to make small changes on a daily basis and stick to it; two dollars saved every day will amount to more than seven hundred dollars in a year.
Keep track of your income after tax and expenses. As a freelancer, you are most likely working online and using an online payment service like PayPal, which makes it easy to figure out how much you earn; generating a monthly statement on PayPal is as easy as a click of the mouse.
Keeping an accurate record of your spending is harder since they come from many different sources, whether physical or digital. One suggestion is to save your receipts and debit or credit card statements in a folder, and use a single email to make any online purchases so payment notifications are sent to one place.
With the information obtained, create a spreadsheet to categorize and prioritize your spending. A bar of chocolate is definitely not as important as paying rent and utilities. Once you have a better picture about your spending habits, it should be easier to manage your monthly budget. You just have to make sure that what you spend doesn’t exceed your monthly income after factoring in savings and any debt repayment.
LIVING BELOW YOUR MEANS
By living below your means, you are guaranteed to save more than you earn, which leads to long-term wealth building. Here are some changes you can incorporate into your daily life.
Nowadays Netflix and Amazon Prime are getting increasingly popular, and for good reason. At less than $10 per month, they provide you with more value and entertainment than cable or satellite. Going further, think carefully about the subscriptions you are paying for. Some of them are probably unnecessary, and won’t be much of a loss even if you cancel them.
Being sick means a loss of income and expensive medical bills. As such, make the effort to eat healthy and exercise regularly. If you are working from home, you probably aren’t eating out as much. However, it might be tempting to order fast food delivery, especially when you don’t have time and have a lot of projects to handle. Such meals are not only unhealthy, they also eat (no pun intended) into your earnings. Instead, consider prepping your meals ahead of time.
If possible, try not to use credit cards. Many people pay for everything with credit cards without understanding what they are really getting into. As the interests start kicking in, they end up in a lot of debt, and it can take years before they get out of that hole. You don’t want to be in debt as a freelancer, so it’s best to avoid that trap altogether.
Hopefully you are able to incorporate some of the suggestions above as you start embracing a frugal lifestyle. You might have to make some drastic changes to your daily life — but the rewards are well worth it. By earning more than you spend and making every dollar count, you can focus on achieving success as a freelance graphic designer without having to worry about money all the time.