Money matters can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for freelance writers. However, the good news is that there are simple habits you can adopt to improve your personal finance.
These habits will help you save more, pay off debt, and reach your financial goals. Let’s look at some of them in more detail. You can find a lot of good information regarding home services online such as looking at sites like https://www.cinchhomeservices.com/faq-library/-/faq/how-to-clean-a-microwave. But there are still financial decisions that freelancers should make in their lives that will set them up comfortably when owning a home.
Table of Contents
1. Set a Budget
A budget is a great way to help you clarify your financial goals. The first step is to decide what’s important to you, which may include setting up emergency savings, paying down debt or saving for a new home. It’s also helpful to set short-term goals, such as treating yourself to a spa visit or buying that cashmere sweater you’ve been eyeing.
Determine your monthly expenses by reviewing your bank and credit card statements, as well as receipts from everyday purchases. Try to find where you can cut back.
Be sure to include free coping skills like taking a walk, calling a friend or listening to music in your budget as well. These can make it easier to stick to your budget.
2. Pay Yourself First
A popular personal finance strategy is “paying yourself first.” This technique involves setting aside money for savings, retirement, debt payments, or long-term goals before spending any of your income. This way, you can avoid impulse purchases and focus on saving for financial security.
This method is also great for reducing your risk of overdrafting your bank account or taking on credit card debt. However, it may not be appropriate for everyone, especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
To determine how much to pay yourself first, start by tracking your monthly expenses using a budget tracker. This will give you an idea of your current net or take-home income. Next, add in any additional sources of income that you’re expecting to receive each month, like bonuses or tax refunds.
3. Keep a Journal
A journal, also known as a spending log, is an excellent tool for tracking your finances. You’ll need to keep it up consistently and be willing to spend some time sifting through the data. Make sure that you include all relevant information like when you bought something, whether it was a need or a want, the amount spent, and how you paid for it.
Create a page for income, a page for expenses and a future goals page in your journal. At the end of each month, analyze the overall data. Determine if your
expenses are more than your income and identify areas where you can cut back e.g., cut out that daily coffee run or sell unused items to make some extra cash.
4. Avoid Impulsive Spending
Impulse spending can derail your financial goals, even if it feels small. It may cause you to go into debt, affect your credit score or prevent you from contributing to your emergency savings fund.
You can curb impulse buying by avoiding shopping temptations. For example, don’t shop when you’re feeling sad, stressed or tired. Instead, try activities that are free or low-cost, such as exercising, eating a healthy meal or hanging out with friends.
If you find yourself tempted by an item, wait a day or a week before purchasing it. Similarly, you can make it more difficult to spend by paying in cash instead of with a card. Those little psychological hurdles can make a big difference. You can also use the “save for later” folder feature in online retailers to hold off on making a purchase until you feel more logical about it.
5. Create an Emergency Fund
It’s important to have an emergency fund so you can cover unexpected expenses without having to rely on credit cards or loans. While the amount you sock away may vary, many experts recommend having at least three to six months’ worth of expenses saved.
Work towards this goal by earmarking a small percentage of your paycheck or recurring transfer to an emergency savings account. Also, look for a savings account that’s insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or National Credit Union Administration and offers a competitive savings rate.
Using these simple strategies can help you save more money and create better financial habits that will keep you out of debt, even when unplanned expenses arise. With these tips in mind, you can focus on pursuing your writing goals and creating the best possible content for your clients.