Taking your income into your own hands, whether that means freelancing, telecommuting or starting your own business, means that you sacrifice the stability of a guaranteed paycheck every two weeks for the possibility of making so much more. In every business, there are slow seasons and there are busy seasons, and while that may not have much effect on a cashier who gets paid by the hour whether they ring two or two hundred people through, it has a tremendous effect on those of us who make our living on those busy seasons. Here are some tips to help ensure that that busy-season-money covers us when work, sales or clientele are nowhere to be found:
1. Always Have Savings
This one goes without saying, but it’s worth repeating to the point that we may as well start off with it. You don’t want to live check to check, so if you’re just starting out, you should try to have enough money to get through a month or two before you quit your day-job.
2. Live Somewhere Cheap
It’s hard to be in control of your own financial destiny if you live in an expensive city. Moving into a studio apartment or even moving back home as you get started can be a big help.
3. Learn to Shop Smart
Many young professionals find it hard to break the habits they had when they drew a steady salary. You don’t need brand-name everything
4. Grow Your Own
Backyard farming can go a long way towards helping you save money on groceries. A garden, a few chickens to lay eggs and a rainbucket for drinking water can save you a lot of cash.
5. Walk More
Simply walking more means less money towards gas, and since you don’t have to drive to work, you’ve got a great excuse to drive less. Plus, it’s good for your health status, to keep it in good standing.
6. Don’t Obsess About Coupons
Yes, coupons can save money. No, there’s nothing to be gained by obsessing over them. It’s possible to save hundreds and hundreds of dollars with coupons, but obsessive clipping takes more time than earning what you saved at a minimum wage job.
7. Repair and Maintenance
Having a professional take a look at your A/C or your car when you have the money for it means it probably won’t break down when you don’t have the cash for repairs.
8. Avoid Loans
When in doubt, it’s better to pay a late fee than it is to start the payday loan cycle. Business loans are a good idea. Mortgages are a good idea. Taking a loan because you’re strapped for cash is about as wise as lighting your wallet on fire.
9. Buy a Bicycle
A used bike means you won’t have to spend gas money every time you want to take a longer trip. Alternately, you can…
10. Invest in a Bus Pass
This will allow you to get all around town without breaking the bank.
11. Raise Your Rates
This sounds to a young freelancer like a great way to lose work, but when you raise your rates, you keep the clients who are willing to pay what you’re worth and lose the ones that you don’t really want to work for anyways.