This is a guest post by Tsholofelo Mabona
So you have taken a plunge, quit your claustrophobic 9-5 job and dived into the world of a freelancer. And you now can explore your home country or you can travel the world. But like anything else; there are pros and cons of freelancing. I mean, sure nothing beats being your own boss, working at your own pace, or not having to deal with Condescending Connie with her wacky wardrobe (there’s vintage and then there’s Connie outfit).
One thing that will complicate making the switch from a full-time job, is the inconsistent salary. Your earnings will fluctuate; some months your income might be double the usual amount and other months, you might need to take on extra work to supplement your income.
Don’t worry, there’s is a bright side to this and it’s called prudence. Rolling on a budget isn’t just a catchy phrase; it literally becomes your motto in life. You know you’d rather be poor than working in a dead-end job that drains the happiness out of you.
Below are top three tips of being money savvy.
Gone are the days where you can buy items on a whim just because they look pretty on display. You know you don’t really need the latest version of a smart writing kit. Every month, you need to draw up a budget:
A) Make a list of all your monthly expenses.
B) Divide your expenses into necessities (rent, food, and electricity) and luxuries (dinner dates, pizza nights or book festivals)
C) Settle all the necessities bills.
D) After you’ve settled the necessity payments, you can indulge your eccentric senses.
We live in a digital era, so make the most of it by downloading budgeting apps such as Wallet a budget tracker, to keep abreast of all your expenditures and it’s free to download. There’s also PocketGuard, which you can synchronize your bank accounts with it and know the exact amount available in your bank account; that way you avoid needing an overdraft.
We need to discipline ourselves.We all have that one thing we like to splurge on. For me, it’s definitely a handbag (Hi, my name is Tsholo and I’m a bag hag) And it doesn’t matter how much it costs, if I like it, I buy it. That simple. Unfortunately, as a freelance creative, you will have to work on your discipline and previously lifestyle of instant gratifications. You can either buy those expensive items when they are on sale or shop around for similar designs at cheaper shops. Downscaling will also help you live a minimalist lifestyle and you’ll be surprised at how little we actually need.
This is the most important part of being money smart as a freelance creative, you need to save money for the months when things aren’t looking up. You can get through this by; paying double the rent money when you have extra cash available and using coupons with grocery shopping and cooking at home instead of dining out.
You can invest in short-term, tax-free investment accounts, which yields returns within a few months or years (depending on the product). You can make use of short-term fixed deposit, which has very low or zero risk and allows you to earn interest on your money. Talk to your bank or financial advisor to educate yourself on the finance options available in order to make the best of your savings.
The above-mentioned tips are a great start at managing your freelance lifestyle. Once you take heed of these tips, you will be able to pull yourself out of any financial pitfalls and prepare for the future as a successful freelance creative.