Articles - 25th April 2019

How To Stop Wasting Money As A Freelancer

Words by Emma Stokes
Illustration by Will Francis

If you search for ‘how to save money’ on Google – up pops 2,780,000,000+ search results. You wouldn’t be able to read them all, sadly. Not even in ten lifetimes.

In this digital age, the tsunami of websites, blogs and articles telling us what we ‘need-to-be-doing-right-this-second-to-save-money’ can no doubt be exhausting. How do we know what really works? What if we’re being scammed into another website deal? In remembering that seven billion of us are living our separate (and quite varied) lifestyles, what might work for one person might not for you. And that’s absolutely fine.

In the working world especially, being a freelancer with money woes can be frightening if you rely on varied income each month. However, being a freelancer doesn’t necessarily mean putting your life on hold as you wait for your next client payment. But it is important to make sustainable and practical life choices that will benefit you in the long run.

As we venture deeper into the labyrinth of self-employment, we tend to rely on the tried and tested methods from those we trust to get us from point A to point B. With this being said, here are just a few simple ways in which we can save ourselves money without even realising.


You can spend hours each month updating spreadsheets with your finances. But imagine having a virtual system do it all for you. For free. Well, now you can! Not only will this method save you hours of time, but it further alleviates stress when it comes to tax returns.

Popular and free banking apps such as Starling and Monzo are the current favourites, as they allow users to track monthly spending, create individual money pots, split bills with ease, as well as give detailed breakdowns of purchases. Did you know you can also add your ‘spare change’ into pots from each payment you make? Those spare pennies saved throughout the year could equally go towards a well-deserved treat. Not sure of what to do next? Read more on the Monzo zero-sum or 50/20/30 rule. Remember: piggy banking isn’t just for kids, folks.


Meal planning can be fun. Really. And there’s something to be said for doing just one shop per week. Not only does it encourage you to become a more organised person, but there’s ultimately less room to splurge on random, unnecessary items. Writing down one list per week will enable you to carefully plan meals, only buy what you need, and is also a great motivator to prepare healthy lunches in advance. Become your own inspiration and encourage coworkers, partners, friends and family to do the same. Just imagine how much you could save each year by cutting down on your daily £5 meal deals…


Aside from a range of environmental benefits, going waste-free and packing your food in reusable containers has many advantages. Whether you’re out co-working, going to client meetings or simply popping out of the house, using reusable tupperware minimises plastic use and reduces the need to buy additional tin foil, cling film and sandwich bags throughout the month. Keeping a reusable mug or bottle close by can also mean bagging great discounts in certain coffee shops. Don’t forget, most places are happy to refill water bottles for free, so say goodbye to single plastic use. With potential savings of over £1000 per year, reusable items should be at the forefront of every freelancer’s mind.


Do you know how much you spend each year on mobile bills, electricity, water and internet usage? Most of the time it doesn’t bear thinking about. Luckily there are always cheaper options. Certain UK providers will help you switch when they find a cheaper deal ( is the UK’s Number 1 free smart switching service) so definitely give this a try. Every couple of months, shop around for deals you might not otherwise be told about. By simply using trusted comparison sites, or by contacting providers for their current deals, this can ultimately mean all the difference between cutting your expenses in half or paying double.


The joy of freelancing enables us to say no to projects we don’t want. So why can’t we do the same with meetings? There are times when meeting in person is essential, but today’s technology allows us to schedule face-to-face calls or use platforms such as Skype or Zoom at the click of a button. Not only do these free services allow us to save money on transport costs – but they also save us crucial hours of working during the week. The positives of meeting up for a ‘virtual’ coffee means not being stuck in traffic; encourages flexibility, and allows you to chat while you’re still in your pyjamas. Got the cold or flu recently? Virtual meetings save everyone else getting sick too!


Another great way to save money as a freelancer? Increase your working rates at least every 12 months to reflect your expertise and the great work you do. You know you deserve it.

Do you have any tips when it comes to saving money as a self-employed worker?
I would love to hear from you: or tweet me at: @emmor

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