When you first quit your steady paycheck to go freelance, you will (and I repeat, WILL) have a low-key freakout about how much money you have in the bank, and how you will “absolutely have to get another job and there’s just no way you can watch your bank balance go down and down and down and”…stop. Chill out. It’s going to be fine.
I know that feeling so well, and if things don’t kick off with a flurry of clients, then you might be having that feeling for quite a few months before you start to feel comfortable with your wallet again, but rest assured, every freelancer has been there. As has every entrepreneur, self-employed person, and even people in full-time, well-paid employment, in fact. You’re not alone.
When you’re done panicking, it’s time to look at a few ways that you can save money while you start your freelance business. Here are 3 of the best:
Stop the coffee shop campout
When I first started freelancing I was scared of becoming lonely, so I started my day early in a coffee shop and ended it around the same time as my working day used to end. As you probably know, sitting in a coffee shop or a cafe all day comes with an unspoken agreement that you will buy at least one or two things throughout the day, hopefully more, so I felt an obligation to buy tea and snacks while I was working. I know many people do a similar thing, so one way to save money is to ditch the everyday coffee shop visit and limit this to one or two times a week, or not at all if you can help it. Not only will this save you money on drinks, but it will limit your commute spend too. If you’re too attached to your coffee shop, consider looking for any deals they have, such as buying 9 drinks gets the 10th free, and so on.
Top tip: On O2 network in the UK? You can get a free Cafe Nero drink every Tuesday! Huzzah!
Prepare a packed lunch
One of the dangers of going freelance is realising that you can do pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want. You go from a strict three meals a day diet, to spraying whipped cream directly into your mouth between blog posts (No? Just me?). If you struggle with snacking throughout the day, then I can’t urge you enough to start meal planning, and making yourself a packed lunch the night before, just like you might do if you were going to work. You’ll probably be healthier for it, and you won’t find yourself scratching your head over a £1,000 food bill every month.
Don’t get caught up in your new social life
Now that you have all this unmonitored time, you may find yourself agreeing to more social outings than you usually would. You don’t have a commute that prevents you from going for drinks after work, you can do things during the week if you like, and you won’t feel the standard 9-5 stress that keeps you from doing the things you want to do. Freelancing is amazing for finally getting some free time, but it’s easy to get caught up in the “I can do anything!” mentality. Advice? Allocate yourself a ‘play budget’, and pick 3 or 4 things you want to do or people you want to catch up with during the month. That way you’ll stay productive and not spend all your savings in your first month of freelancing.
Photo by Nafinia Putra via Unsplash Nafinia Putra