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 negatively affect your well-being and productivity. Furthermore, everything is getting more expensive nowadays, made worse by excessive consumerism in today’s society.
Even after finding some success in your business, 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. For instance, 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 likely working exclusively 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 habits might be harder since they come from many different sources, whether physical or digital. If possible, save your receipts and and use a single bank account to make any online purchases.
You might want to create a spreadsheet to categorize and keep track of what you spend on. Take note of important payments such as rent and less important ones like fast food. The aim is to reduce unnecessary spending as much as possible. Once you have a better picture of your spending habits, it should be easier to come up with a monthly budget that’s within your financial means — make sure that it doesn’t exceed your average monthly income after factoring in 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. That said, 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 too much. 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 could take years before they finally repay everything. You don’t want to be in debt as a freelancer, so it’s best to avoid that trap altogether.
Hopefully you will be 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 lifestyle right now — but the rewards in the long run 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.