Are you already sweating out managing your finances as a freelancer? Well, newbie freelancers generally find this difficult but trust us, if you have the right tips and tricks to manage your finances- things will be easy and hassle-free.

Unlike businesses, freelancers generally do not have a separate accounting team for managing their finances; hence, it freaks them out during the taxation or audit. We are, therefore, here with a blog to help freelancers like you learn some easy steps for managing the freelancer finance yourself.

Let’s Dive into the Life of a Freelancer

A freelancer is an independent professional. A freelancer can be a designer, contractor, gig worker, content writer, web developer, interior designer, photographer, or any other professional working for themselves and not for any organization or company.

Freelancers enjoy a different work-life than corporate workers. They have an attractive method of working, and many freelancers across the globe are making more money than corporate employees.

The Freelancer Life: Benefits & Drawbacks

Are you confused whether being a freelancer is a boon or a bane? Here is a simple table mentioning the benefits and drawbacks of freelancing.

Freelancing Benefits Freelancing Drawbacks
Complete Flexibility: Freelancers can set their own schedules and work from anywhere they like or wish. Uncertain Income: Freelancing income is quite uncertain. When there are no projects, there shall be no income.
Diverse Projects: Freelancers can work on various projects and benefit from multiple industries. No Corporate Perks: Freelancers do not get corporate perks such as paid leave benefits, health insurance, and PPF.
Skill Development: Freelancers have no compulsion to visit the office; hence, they can invest time in polishing their skills. Also, they can be involved in various courses. Inconsistent Project Flow: There is no guarantee of the project’s timeline here because clients can add or remove freelancers from the project at any time.
Finance Control: One of the merits of freelancing is that freelancers can enhance their freelancing fees anytime. Tax Management: Managing taxes is a burden here because the freelancers have to tackle their taxes independently.
Work-Life Balance: Freelancers work remotely or from the sites, enjoying their work-life balance. No Structured Routine: There is a lack of discipline in the life of freelancers as there is no structured time for their work.
Independence: Freelancers enjoy 100% freedom by working on their terms and time. They have complete autonomy in designing their work schedule. Challenging Work Environment: As freelancers do not work from the office, tackling any issues or bugs they face becomes challenging.

Freelancer Money Management: 8 Useful Tips

Freelance finance keeps changing, so it becomes essential to have a wise money management strategy to keep the expenses going smoothly. Here are eight tips to assist you in how to manage finances as a freelancer.

1. Freelancers Must Keep a Separate Business Bank Account

Freelancer finance needs to be managed effectively and appropriately for which it is essential for the freelancers to have a separate business account. Imagine you are working as a freelancer and are sharing your personal account number with your clients to receive payments. It shall look unprofessional and also not advisable as both the income and expense account must be defined differently for your business.

How about having your employee identification number that helps to keep your business bank accounts different from your existing savings account? Business bank accounts, different from a saving account, are really useful to manage your freelance income.

2. Freelancers Must Invoice Professionally

Are you using invoicing software for freelancers? If not, it is the right time to invest in the best freelancing software that helps generate invoices, estimates, and credit notes in minutes. Invoicing software for freelancers offers freelance invoice template designs that save time for freelancers in designing final invoices. All the invoice templates are easy to customize for generating a professional-looking invoice for your client.

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3. Track Your Freelance Expenses

Freelancer has to track personal and business expenses as most of them are important to submit for getting timely reimbursement. One of the money management tips for freelancers includes timely recording and tracking of freelance expenses. Issuing timely expense invoices helps you get paid on time thereby improving the cash flow and leaving it unaffected.

Overall, a freelancer needs to keep a bird’s eye on their personal and business finances including both income and expenses to manage their money wisely.

Common Types of Freelance Expenses

Below are some of the common types of freelance expenses that need to be invoiced to the client for timely reimbursements.

Common Types of Freelance Expenses

  • Communication Expenses: A freelancer has to pay for the internet, paper, pens, ink, prints, devices that communicate, software or tools, and many other things that help them stay rightly connected with their work routine. For all these expenses, the freelancer can demand reimbursement as per the early freelance contract signed with the client or organization.
  • Travel Expenses: A freelancer has to travel to various places while attending to the client’s project needs. For the same, a freelancer incurs a lot of travel expenses on his or her which are further reimbursed by the organization while submitting the expense slips or invoices.
  • Advertising Expenses: If a freelancer has to promote the brand on behalf of the organization or client, these are called advertising expenses. It can also be considered as a marketing expense which is reimbursed by the client upon the agreed terms.
  • Meals & Entertainment: Some meals and business expenses are deductible by the client as per the project agreement or terms.
  • Subcontractor Costs: If a freelancer hires more people for the work or project, it is calculated under subcontractor costs. These costs are reimbursed by the client after issuing an accurate expense invoice for the same.

4. Create a Freelancer Budget

As we talked about the freelancer expenses earlier, it is now to talk about the budget. Of course, a freelancer has to set a perfect budget for his project, calculating the income as well as ongoing expenses and its reimbursement cycle. In this case, having a budget plan isn’t bad to keep your freelancing business going smoothly.

Have a Buffer Fund

A buffer fund is an excess or extra fund that you keep aside during your high-earning months or year during freelancing. A buffer fund keeps your freelancing business unaffected during the cold earning days.

How to Manage a Buffer Fund as a Freelancer?

  • Here is an example to help you understand saving buffer money as a freelancer.
  • You’re running an X Freelancing Firm for which you earn 8000 USD. For your living, expenses, and luxury, you require 6500 USD only. The rest 1500 USD is considered as an extra income which can be deposited in your savings as a buffer fund to cope with the bad times.
  • It is one of the best tips on how to manage finances as a freelancer.

Save Money

Have you ever thought about how to save money as a freelancer? Well, if you haven’t this is the time to start acting wise in your business by saving money. Act-wise, look for more options while purchasing or buying things for your freelancing hustle, try to spend less on miscellaneous expenses, keep a paycheck of 5-10% in your savings compulsorily, and follow more tricks to save money as a freelancer.

Pay Estimated Taxes Quarterly

Money management is more about paying your taxes on time. As a freelancer, you must research and learn about your business’s applicable taxes and the tax that needs to be paid. Keep a well-maintained freelancing budget for paying taxes on time.

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5. Keep Your Expenses, Taxes, Insurance, and Savings Aligned

As a freelancer, you must have a proper plan to bear the expenses, pay the taxes, get the right insurance, and save your income. Here is detailed information on each of these aspects while you are figuring out how to manage finances as a freelancer.

  • Create a perfect budget for your freelance expenses by calculating your income and expenditures per month/project.
  • Differentiate your fixed and variable expenses, and as per the expenses, plan for your upcoming or ongoing project’s income.
  • Calculate the taxes for each quarter and add them to your expense sheet, as you need to pay them on time.
  • Get a quick answer on how much you save for each quarter after paying all the expenses.
  • If you are in profit, it is time to buy the necessary insurance policies such as health insurance, life insurance, automobile insurance, and business insurance.

Keep Your Expenses, Taxes, Insurance, and Savings Aligned

Organizing Expenses Professionally

Wondering how freelancers manage their personal and business expenses so aptly and without making much drama about their variable income? It all comes with a perfect budget plan that includes all types of expenses and a roadmap to pay for the same.

Paying Taxes on Time

While you are working independently as a contractor or as a freelancer, you have to fill out the W-9 Forms with each client you have been working with. Though your client shall send out a final 1099 assessment of your freelance income at the end of the year, staying ahead of your taxes by paying it at the right time helps.

Buying the Right Insurance

Select the right insurance for your health and business as you are working independently. Organizations buy insurance for their employees, but when it comes to contractors and freelancers, they have to buy the right insurance for themselves.

Investing for the Savings

Savings are pretty important for a freelancer as there is no fund guarantee or fixed salary that will be credited to your business account on a predetermined date. Hence, freelancers need to think about how to save money as a freelancer and must invest a certain amount in bonds or equities to keep their future secure.

6. Figure Out How Much to Pay Yourself Monthly

Freelance income that you earn every month is technically not 100% yours because out of the same income, you have to manage both the operating expenses and the government taxes. Hence, there should be a proper calculation to figure out how much you need to pay yourself.

  • Calculate your net income after deducting the expenses from the gross income.
  • Pay yourself a certain amount for luxury and self-care as a reward
  • Save the rest of the money for your retirement

7. Invest in the Right Insurance as a Freelancer

Selecting the right insurance isn’t challenging if you understand that your business needs which type of insurance.

  • A freelancer who has to travel from one place to another needs travel insurance with the coverage of health and personal equipment; likewise, a person working from a still place needs insurance for all the personal devices along with their health.
  • If your freelance business involves traveling on your personal vehicle, then you need the right automobile insurance along with accidental life insurance to guard your financial stability.

8. You Must Save for Retirement

We already talked about the buffer fund in the blog, which is one of the best methods to save money for your retirement, but along with that, various other ways help to save money as a freelancer.

Buffer or Emergency Fund

Saving for retirement is a boon for you and your freelance business because it not only helps you prevent future financial issues but also keeps your business secure against the quickly approaching financial crisis. Save a certain amount of your income in the buffer fund to enjoy the luxuries during the downfall.

Retirement Policy

Have you invested in a perfect retirement plan that helps you earn half of your current income post-retirement? Look out for the most popular and money-saving retirement plans to keep your future secured.

Make Proper Use of Your Old 401k

401k is only applicable if you were a full-time employee before. Well, if you have an old 401k, try to cash out. Stop paying taxes; instead, use the amount in your current plan and let it grow.

Conclusion to Managing Freelancer Finance

Freelance money management is accurately possible by following the tips and tricks that we have listed in the blog. If you are still wondering how to manage finances as freelancer, you must appoint a chartered accountant who can help you manage all your income wisely and shall help in paying the taxes as well. From your freelance business audit to freelance money management, the accountant can help with complete guidance and paperwork.

Few highlights:

  1. Save money to manage your freelance finance like a PRO
  2. Use professional invoicing software for freelancers to send estimates, and invoices
  3. Read books on freelance money management if hiring a financial advisor is quite costly for your business
  4. Invest in the right retirement plan to answer your question on how to save money as a freelancer
  5. Cash out your old 401k if you were a full-time employer in the past