As business owners, freelancers must always keep one eye firmly on their expenses to stay profitable. When you are busy and have cash available, it can be tempting to want to spend money to upgrade your office fixtures or software, or invest in other items. Do weigh out each purchase carefully to ensure that it makes sense for you and your business before you reach into your pocket.
While your legitimate business expenses are a tax deduction, you still need to spend the money to get that benefit. To that end, here are some money saving tips for freelancers that you can use for your business.
1. Record All of Your Expenses
If you want to get a good handle on your expenses, start by making sure you are keeping track of all of your receipts for items you buy for your business. Place them in a file folder or a separate box and keep track of the total amounts you are spending in various categories (office supplies, computer hardware, software, telephone, etc.). These days an easier alternative is to file electronic receipts on your computer or open an online checking account so that you can monitor your business’ transactions in real time from your smart phone.
2. Check Out Open Source Software
Before you shell out money for paid versions of software, look for an open source version that will give you the features that you need. You may not get all the bells and whistles, but you may be able to make do with a basic version of the package.
Another option is to check out the free trial version of any software that you may be considering to make sure that it is right for you before you commit to buying the full package. Just make sure that if you have to provide your credit card information to sign up for the trial period that you make a note of when your free offer expires so that you can cancel the subscription if you decide that the software is not right for you.
3. Buy Used Office Furniture
Are you in the market for a desk, chair, or a filing cabinet? It doesn’t necessarily need to be new to be something you can use in your office. You can save money by checking out the selection at a used office furniture store. Go in with an open mind and see what is available. These items are sold on an “as is” basis, so you will need to inspect them very carefully before you take them with you but if your goal is to save money, you may be able to pick up some bargains here.
4. Consider Using Your Cell Phone Exclusively
If you work from home, do you really need a land line and a cell phone? You can save money by getting rid of your landline. If you disciplined enough to communicate by e-mail or IM in most instances, you may not need to increase the number of minutes you have in your monthly plan.
5. Get an Updated Auto Insurance Quote
The rate you pay for car insurance is based partly on the number of miles you drive per year. If you are working from home, your mileage will be reduced, which means you should qualify better rates on your auto insurance coverage. If you are spending less time behind the wheel, contact your insurance company to get an update quote for coverage. You could also take this opportunity to shop around to find out whether another provider can give you a better rate for the coverage you need.
6. Use Coupons and Discount Codes
Check out weekly flyers as well as online sources for coupons. They can help you save on the cost of products and services for your business, both in brick and mortar locations and online.
7. Cut Back on Dining Out
Eating meals in restaurants can add up quickly. If you want to get together with friends and family, suggest lower-cost celebrations like a potluck meal at your home or getting together or dessert and coffee instead of a full meal. That way, you can still enjoy spending time with people you love without breaking the bank.
The freelance life can be a juggling act, and it can be a battle to stay on budget at times. By following these suggestions for money-saving tips for freelancers, you can keep on top of your expenses while you build your business. For more helpful tips to help you keep costs down, check this out: Savings 101 for New Freelancers.
Images via 401(K) 2012, sdc2027, and Jamie
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