Friday, February 27, 2015

Why the "Little Pleasures" That You Allow Yourself Might Be Hurting Your Cash Flow

As a freelancing professional, you work hard and are extremely dedicated. You always think of ways to craft a marketing strategy to attract new clients. You return your clients' calls as soon as possible, and you submit your work promptly.

But here's the deal: you realize that while "dry spells" are happening a lot less often in your career, your cash flow could still benefit from, well, a few tweaks here and there.

Plenty of people have aspired to turn freelance, but the ones who manage to stick and thrive in this business of being your own boss did several things radically. There will be a time when projects and assignments fly left and right, raising your confidence in your abilities and earning capacity.

But beware. This self-confidence might border on complacency, leading to a lack of budgeting and planning your finances.

Here's what you may need to do if your savings aren't as huge as you'd like it to be: evaluate your spending habits and see if you've been spending on items that may not cost a lot, but when added up after, say, a month, three months, or even a year, would have put a huge dent in your income.

To illustrate, when I started supplementing my writing with designing and selling greeting cards in 2007, the money came pouring in in ways I could never have imagined. I hit a nerve among employees in a corporate office that needed my prototype paper product, the gift card, and I found myself with a constant supply of jobs. 

I set aside small amounts with every sale, but I didn't think twice about shelling out Php200 on a thin-crust pizza and Coke every time I went out to replenish my supply of cardstock. My magazine reading habit reached an all-time high at that time, too.

For other freelancing professionals, three-figure lattes or having a sweet snack all too often might be the culprit. And think about this: a bag of potato chips might not cost much at Php14-Php16, but if you buy two bags a day, seven days a week, you would have spent roughly Php224.

So what's the solution to these "little holes in a freelancer's ship that might cause it to sink"? I'll give you a hint: it doesn't involve depriving yourself. Next week I'll give you practical tips on how you can enjoy on a freelancer's wages.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Want A Month's Worth of Paycheck by Year's End? Reduce Your Overhead Expenses (Part 3)

This is the last installment of this three-part article series, and I'll talk about two essential elements that comprise part of the routine of a freelancing professional.

Here's how to save up on --

Transportation and Meals

There are times when you have to go out and do research in a public library, or venues that allow access for research. You would need to plan your course of action carefully in order to maximize your days out. 

Setting a budget for transportation fares and meals is very important, especially if it will take more than a few days for you to find all the resources you need in libraries and other venues. 

A budget will prevent you from spending unnecessarily, causing you to deduct very little amounts from your cash flow. Consider the following in order to cut costs:

  • Pack a water bottle in your bag.
  • Bring a couple of sandwiches so as not to be tempted to turn to vending machines for soda and salty chips. Whole-wheat bread is best because it's extra filling.
  • Take the jeepney, bus, or train whenever possible. Riding taxi cabs can rack up horrendous amounts of cash.

I have talked about this in greater detail in a previous post (click here to read).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Want A Month's Worth of Paycheck by Year's End? Reduce Your Overhead Expenses (Part 2)

In this next article installment, I'll cite additional ways for you to have a substantial amount of savings by year's end. Here's how you can save on --

Health Care
  • If you're freelancing in the Philippines, I strongly suggest that you start making contributions to Social Security System and PhilHealth. Google "SSS contributions" for further details.
  • If you started freelancing in your 20s and 30s, you will probably be less likely to be prone to serious illnesses. Still, you should think about getting yourself covered for routine check-ups like annual physical exams and dental and ocular inspections. When acquiring health insurance, simply settle for the one that would be most affordable given your monthly cash flow.
  • The cheapest health insurance still remains to be eating healthfully and exercising moderately. Make physical fitness a part of your daily routine.

  • You need not spend Php40,000 or even Php30,000 on a new computer. Pre-owned desktop and laptop computers that are still in good condition can now be bought at olx[dot]ph (click here to view site). Be forewarned, though, that making transactions in this site would mean complying to certain guidelines.
  • There are a multitude of free software that can be downloaded from reputable websites. Be selective enough, and make sure to choose the ones that are virus-free and will be most practical for you.
  • Forego furniture stores and visit garage sales, or ask friends or relatives if they have an old desk that you can repurpose.
  • If you would need to send your manuscripts and CDs through snail mail, National Bookstore sells brown envelopes with bubble wrap inside in various sizes. Apply for a Laking National Bookstore card to accumulate points for your other purchases, like pens and stationery.
  • Save up on folders and brown envelopes by buying a separate USB for backing up files like copies of your Freelancer's Contract, collection letters, replies to promissory notes or negotiation letters, and records of transactions.