8 money saving tips for freelancers - by Andrew Millington from The Accounting Hub

This blog post comes care of The Accounting Hub  - thanks for giving us permission to re-post here! 

1. Have an Emergency Fund

Since you have little or no financial protection as a freelancer, maintaining an emergency fund is a good idea. You never know when the work will dry up, even though it will likely only be temporary. However, in order to have something to fall back on during these dry times, you should try to keep enough savings to cover essential things such as rental or mortgage payments and utility bills.

 

2. Have Multiple Sources of Income

Freelancers often find that work is inconsistent, particularly during the first year or two. A consistent and reliable income comes with time, since you’ll need to build up a regular and reliable client base. As a freelancer, it’s better to have a few strings to your bow, and it’s usually preferable to have lots of small clients rather than rely solely on one or two streams of income.

3. Keep the Debt Down

Avoid borrowing money from high interest sources or racking up a large credit card debt to get your freelancing career off the ground.

4. Use Open-Source Software

While freelancers typically don’t have high expenses, the cost of productivity software can still be considerable. There are cheaper options than purchasing a retail version of Microsoft Office, such as Apache OpenOffice, formerly OpenOffice.org. It’s available for free and it provides similar features to Microsoft Office.

5. Claim All Expenses

Many freelancers actually end up paying more tax than they need to, simply because they neglect to declare all of their expenses. All work-related expenses should be claimed as such when you’re filling in your tax returns, including software, hardware, home office equipment and everyday supplies. Any related bills, travel or education should also be claimed as expenses. Just be sure to keep all of your receipts and invoices in case you need to provide evidence! Using accounting software such as Xero will help with day to day reconciliation and tracking of expenses.

6. Use Free Forms of Marketing

If you maintain a website or blog as the hub of your online freelancing career, spend some effort on promoting it. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending money. Use free methods to promote your website and your business, such as social media marketing, search engine optimisation and content marketing.

7. Use VoIP Telephony

If you rely heavily on communication by telephone, consider VoIP telephony service for handling your phone calls. You can also get an online phone number so that people can call you from a landline or mobile phone. VoIP telephony also tends to be much cheaper for making international calls to landlines and mobiles. Skype is the best-known solution and GoToMeeting, WebEx and Google Hangouts are also worth considering.