I don’t blog about it much on this blog, but I’ve been really into ‘money saving’ for a few years now. Over on my main blog, you can find my ‘how to get FREE gluten-free food series’ where I share my tips on being gluten-free on a budget. Starting out as a freelancer, money can be tight so I’ve teamed up with Latest Deals today to share my top tips for saving money and budgeting.
1.Figure out your ‘noodle’ money
This was one of the most important tips given to me before I began freelancing and it’s something I still have in my head at all times! Figure out what’s needed to pay your bills and live off noodles for a month; in other words-your absolute bottom line. When going into freelancing, it can be helpful to have a set amount of this held back (e.g three months worth of ‘noodle money’) but sometimes life moves quickly! Either way, I’m always making sure I hit that number each month, so I can then breath a little and know whatever I earn afterwards can be put back into the business.
2. Make the most of every discount site
If you follow my Instagram, you’ll know I love discount sites and cashback apps. Each week when doing my food shopping, I’ll use cashback apps like Shopmimum: it’s really straightforward; you find items on offer and purchase as normal. Then you simply scan your receipt and, depending on the offer, you’ll receive either the whole amount or a percentage, e.g. 50% off back via Paypal. It’s a bit faffy but these purchases do soon add up!
I will also ALWAYS check for discounts and vouchers before making a purchase. For example, I’m thinking of getting a vlogging camera (since my current one is flip-down which isn’t great for this) so I’ll simply head to that section of Latest Deals and see what the latest offers are on cameras- for example, I can see through Argos, if I was to buy the next version of the Olympus pen EPL8, there’s a £50 discount code!) Don’t forget cashback on your purchases here: I use Quidco myself and Lotty Earns has a great in-depth guide on getting starting with it if you are new to cashback sites!
Finally, although your mobile phone can be a taxable expense-we all end up spending more than we mean to on data. This is a great guide to being savvy with your mobile phone costs.
3. Photograph EVERY receipt
Technically not a way to SAVE money, but it’ll certainly help save on tax! I mentioned in my ‘everything bloggers need to know about tax self-assessment post’ that making sure you claim all the expenses you’re entitled to is key, but I knew I was missing out on lots of smaller purchases when I forgot the receipt-for example when I’d get food when in London for meetings or I’d buy new stationary for the office! I now use the Quidco app on my phone, as well as the laptop version, and as soon as I make the purchase, I’ll photograph it and add it into the system that way I don’t need to worry about keeping the paper copy! (HMRC says electronic versions e.g. photos or scanned, are fine)
4. Make the most of off-peak and student discounts
Being freelance means we can use facilities at any time of day-so make the most of off-peak discounts; for example by purchasing an off-peak gym membership or having your date nights on Tuesday afternoons with a 241 restaurant voucher! (This works for me as my husband works in retail so doesn’t have many weekends off). I have also just signed up for my NUS card now I’ve started my journalism training and I’m amazed at the discounts available. For example, you can get six months of free Amazon Prime! (something I subscribe to anyway). Many of the short courses us bloggers take means we can qualify for student discount. I am a little bit addicted to buying cheap, online courses from sites like Groupon and many of these can actually qualify for NHS (who knew!). I’d actually advise getting a course you WANT to take, but apparently courses that cost as little as four pounds (like this one I just found) can still make you eligible!
5. Put a value on your time!
This is actually one of the most important ones for me. Being new to freelancing means we can often underestimate our rates and how long it might take to do something. This is a learning curve but don’t be afraid to stop and reflect once in a while and adjust your fees accordingly. If a brand doesn’t have an increased budget, they might be able to accommodate by changing the workload to match instead. Keep a ‘bottom line’ in mind in terms of a daily and hourly rate when freelancing (whilst when blogging specifically, this will be more dependent on your followers) and don’t be afraid to discuss rates with others. This video I made about setting your rates.
This post is in collaboration with latestdeals.