Earning More While Working Less: Financial Hacks for Freelancers

financial hacks for freelancers

You’ve been grinding it out as a freelancer for a while now, but you feel like you’re barely scraping by. The hustle is real, and you’re working around the clock just to cover your basic expenses. But what if, there are some financial hacks for freelancers that can help you earn more while working less? It’s true! With just a few simple tweaks to how you operate your freelance business, you can maximize your income potential in a fraction of the time. 

In this post, you’ll learn clever ways to raise your rates, land better projects, automate your workflow, and take control of your finances. Get ready to turn your side hustle into a profitable career that gives you the freedom and flexibility you desire! The financial hacks that can help any freelancer or solo entrepreneur earn more with less effort.

Understanding the Gig Economy

The gig economy is all about flexibility and independence. As a freelancer, you have the freedom to choose your own hours and work on your own terms. But that also means you have to hustle to find new clients and projects. And since you’re not earning a steady paycheck, budgeting and managing your finances requires some strategy.

Build your business plan

A business plan will help guide your decisions and keep you accountable. Outline your mission, target clients, services offered, marketing plan, and financial projections. Review and revise it regularly as your business grows.

Diversify your income

Don’t rely on one or two big clients for the bulk of your income. Aim for multiple part-time clients or a mix of part-time and full-time work. That way if someone cancels a project or decides not to renew a contract, you have other sources of income to fall back on.

Set financial goals

Figure out how much you need to earn each month to cover essentials like rent, food, and bills. Then set income goals to make sure you’re bringing in enough. Track how much you invoice and actually collect each month. Make adjustments as needed to meet your targets.

Keep an emergency fund

With an unpredictable income, an emergency fund is essential. Aim to save enough to cover at least 3 to 6 months of expenses in case work slows down. Put aside a percentage of each payment you receive to build your emergency fund over time. Then you’ll have a financial cushion if clients fall through or you have gaps between projects.

Consider a side hustle

For extra financial security, look for ways to diversify your income beyond your freelance work. A side hustle, like online surveys, market research studies, or ridesharing, provides an additional revenue stream. And since the work is flexible, you can do it when you have spare time between clients or during lulls in your schedule.

Managing Irregular Incomes

As a freelancer, your income likely fluctuates from month to month. This can make budgeting tricky, but with some planning you can manage the ups and downs.

First, track your income and expenses. See how much you’re earning and spending each month so you know where your money is actually going. Look for expenses you can reduce or eliminate. Even small changes can help balance the budget.

Next, create separate accounts for business and personal finances. Have one account for client payments and business expenses, and another for your living expenses. This makes it easier to keep track of your irregular income and ensures your rent gets paid even when business is slow.

Finally, budget based on your minimum income. Assume you’ll earn the least amount possible and budget around that. Put any extra income into an emergency fund. Aim to save enough to cover at least 3-6 months of essential expenses. That way, your budget will stay on track even if work dries up for a while.

While freelancing comes with financial ups and downs, with the right system you can manage the irregularity. Track your income and spending, separate business and personal finances, budget conservatively, and build an emergency fund. These hacks will help you earn more, work less, and gain financial stability. Pretty soon, you’ll be thriving as a freelancer.

Retirement Planning for Self-Employed Individuals

As a freelancer, saving for retirement is entirely up to you. Without an employer match, you’ll need to take matters into your own hands. The good news is there are several options tailored to the self-employed.

IRA (Individual Retirement Account)

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) permits annual contributions of up to $6,000 ($7,000 for individuals aged 50 or older) for the year 2019. The tax deductibility of contributions depends on factors such as income and the choice between a traditional or Roth IRA.

SEP IRA (Simplified Employee Pension Plan)

A SEP IRA functions similarly to a traditional IRA but allows much higher contribution limits—up to $56,000 for 2019. As the employer, you fund the SEP IRA for yourself and any employees. Contributions are tax deductible and the plan is easy to set up and administer.

Solo 401(k)

Also known as a Self-Employed 401(k), this plan allows employee and employer (you) contributions up to $56,000 for 2019. As the employee, you can contribute up to $19,000 ($25,000 if 50 or older). As the employer, you can contribute up to 25% of your self-employment income, up to $37,000. Solo 401(k) plans provide the highest contribution limits but tend to have higher fees and administration requirements.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

An HSA isn’t technically a retirement account but can be used to save and invest for medical expenses in retirement. Contributions are tax deductible, and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax free. For 2019, you can contribute $3,500 as an individual or $7,000 as a family. HSAs require enrollment in a high-deductible health plan.

Planning for retirement as a freelancer requires diligent saving on your part. But with the right accounts and strategies, you can build wealth for your future financial independence. The key is starting now and making consistent contributions for the long run.

financial hacks for freelancers

Financial Hacks for Freelancers: Streamlining Expenses and Mastering Tax Strategies

As a freelancer, you’re responsible for tracking your income and expenses to determine your tax liability each year. It’s crucial to keep good records and take advantage of any tax deductions available to you.

Track Your Income and Expenses

Record all income from clients and any business-related expenses. Things like a home office, office supplies, travel, and professional development courses are typically tax deductible. Use a simple spreadsheet or expense tracking app to log everything. At tax time, the totals will help determine your business profit or loss.

Deductible Expenses

As a freelancer, you’re responsible for paying your own taxes. But the good news is, you also get access to many tax deductions and credits that can help lower your tax bill. Some of the major deductions and credits to take advantage of include: 

  • Home office: If you have a dedicated workspace, you can deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage interest, utilities, and office supplies.
  • Travel: Any travel for business such as to meet clients or attend conferences is deductible. Track mileage, airfare, hotels, and meals.
  • Office equipment: Things like computers, printers, furniture, and software that you use for your freelance work can be deducted.
  • Continuing education: Expenses for courses, training, and professional development to improve your skills can be written off.

Quarterly Taxes

As a self-employed individual, you’ll need to pay quarterly taxes on your income to avoid potential penalties. The tax rate is around 15.3% and covers your Social Security and Medicare taxes since you’re not paying the employer’s share. It is required to pay a minimum of 90% of the total tax liability for the current year or 100% of the tax indicated on your return for the previous year, whichever amount is lower.

Using deductions and keeping good records of your income and expenses can help lower your tax burden as a freelancer. Paying quarterly taxes and staying up-to-date with your payments is also key to avoiding interest charges or late fees from the IRS. With some diligent bookkeeping, you can focus on the work you love while managing the financial aspects of freelancing.

Business expenses

Almost anything you spend money on for your freelance business can be deducted, including office supplies, travel costs, health insurance, retirement contributions, and equipment. Keep good records of all your business expenses throughout the year.

Home office deduction

If you work from home, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. You can deduct a percentage of rent, utilities, and maintenance costs. To qualify, your home office must be your principal place of business and used regularly and exclusively for your freelance work.

Health insurance deduction

The premiums you contribute towards health insurance are eligible for tax deductions. As a freelancer, you can deduct 100% of your health insurance premiums. This includes premiums paid for you, your spouse, and any dependents.

Retirement plan contributions

Contributions you make to an IRA, SEP IRA, or solo 401(k) plan can help lower your tax burden. As a freelancer, you can contribute significantly more to these retirement plans than traditional employees. Contributions may be tax deductible, depending on the plan.

Maximizing your tax deductions and credits is one of the best ways to keep more of what you earn as a freelancer. Be sure to take advantage of any deductions and credits you legitimately qualify for. And if needed, consider working with an accountant who specializes in freelancers and the self-employed. They can help ensure you get all the tax benefits you deserve.

Automate Your Finances

Automation is key to saving time and money as a freelancer. Set up automatic payments, transfers, and budgets so your money works for you even when you’re not working.

Automate bill payments

Implement financial hacks for freelancers by arranging automatic payments for recurring expenses such as rent, utilities, insurance, and loan repayments. This prevents late payments, helping you avoid penalties and maintaining a positive credit history. You can automate payments using your bank’s bill pay service or directly through the merchant’s website.

Automate income transfers

Have a percentage of each client payment automatically transferred to your savings and retirement accounts. This makes saving money effortless and helps ensure you’re socking enough away each month to meet your long-term goals. You can set up automatic transfers through your bank or payroll service.

Automate your budget

Use an automated budgeting tool like Mint or You Need a Budget to categorize your income and spending each month. They can create budgets, alert you to overspending, and provide an overview of your cash flow. Connect them to your bank and credit card accounts so they can automatically import and categorize transactions. Review your budgets and spending at least once a month to make sure you’re staying on track.

Automating time-consuming financial tasks is one of the best ways freelancers can earn more while working less. The less time you spend managing your money, the more time you have to focus on doing great work for your clients and earning higher pay. Take advantage of the technology and services available to make your financial life as hands-free as possible.

Seeking Professional Financial Advice

As a freelancer, managing your finances can be tricky without a steady paycheck. One of the best hacks is to work with a financial advisor. They can help set you up for success and avoid costly mistakes.

Develop a Financial Plan

Leverage financial hacks for freelancers by collaborating with a skilled financial advisor. Together, you can craft a personalized plan aligned with your objectives, whether it’s achieving financial independence, clearing debts, saving for retirement, or pursuing other significant goals. This strategic roadmap provides clear targets, guiding you towards financial success.

Manage Cash Flow

Freelancers often deal with uneven income, so managing cash flow is critical. An advisor can help you create budgets, set aside funds for estimated quarterly tax payments, and determine how much to keep in an emergency fund. They may recommend ways to generate additional income during slow periods to keep money coming in.

Make the Most of Retirement Plans

As a freelancer, you have access to tax-advantaged retirement plans like an IRA or solo 401(k). A financial advisor can help you select the right plan and maximize contributions to get the best tax benefits. They can also help invest your funds to provide the best chance of solid returns over time.

While you may be tempted to go it alone to save money, working with a financial advisor is one of the smartest investments you can make as a freelancer. Their guidance can help reduce stress, avoid costly mistakes, and set you up to achieve true financial freedom and stability in your freelance career. After all, your time is better spent focusing on your business rather than trying to become an expert in personal finance.

Invest for the Future

As a freelancer, planning for retirement and long-term financial security can feel overwhelming. But investing your money is one of the best ways to build wealth over time without having to work more hours. Here are a few tips to get started:

Employ financial hacks for freelancers by initiating a retirement account, such as an IRA or Roth IRA. These tax-advantaged accounts facilitate tax-free or tax-deferred growth of your funds. Strive to contribute at least enough to secure any employer matching, if available. If not, commence with a feasible amount, even as low as $50 or $100 monthly.

Explore low-cost index funds, specifically designed for freelancers seeking efficient financial management. These passively managed funds mirror the broader stock market, featuring lower fees than actively managed counterparts and often superior long-term returns. Index funds prove ideal for retirement accounts, allowing your money to thrive over extended periods.

Consider a side gig to generate extra income for investing. Driving for a rideshare service, renting out a spare room, selling unwanted items online, or starting a blog are all options. Put that extra money directly into your investment accounts each month.

Meet with a financial advisor. A good advisor can look at your full financial picture and help create an investment plan tailored to your needs and risk tolerance. They can also help you choose specific funds and rebalance your accounts over time to keep you on track. Even meeting with an advisor once a year or every few years can be enormously helpful.

Investing for the long run isn’t exciting, but it’s one of the smartest things you can do for your financial future. Start with whatever you’re able to put aside each month, choose simple low-cost investments, and revisit and rebalance regularly with the help of an advisor. Building wealth as a freelancer is challenging, but with time and consistent investing, you’ll get there.


You’ve made it through the jungle of tips and tricks to earn more while working less as a freelancer. The key is to implement as many of these financial hacks as you can to boost your income and gain back valuable time. Start with the basics: raise your rates, reduce your expenses, and automate whatever processes you can. Build up from there by improving your skills, finding higher-paying clients, and considering passive income streams.

Every small change you make will add up to big rewards. An extra $25 here, 30 minutes saved there—it all counts when you’re in control of your own financial destiny as a freelancer. The more you can optimize your time and money, the closer you’ll get to achieving the freelance dream: earning more while working less.

Continuously refine and enhance your systems as you progress. Experiment with novel tools and methodologies to assess their efficacy for your business and clientele. Discard ineffective practices and adhere to those that yield positive results. The freelance landscape is always changing, so make continuous learning and adaptation a habit.

Most of all, don’t get discouraged if building up your income and scaling back your hours takes time. With consistent effort and persistence, you’ll get there. You have the power to shape your freelance career into exactly what you want it to be. Follow these financial hacks, stay determined, and keep your eyes on the prize of greater freedom and fulfillment. The life of earning more while working less can be yours. Now go make it happen!

Freelancing may not always be easy, but by employing these tried-and-true strategies, you can make it easier and more rewarding. Keep putting in the work each and every day, and you’ll be earning more while working less before you know it. You’ve got this! Now go out there, optimized your freelance life in whatever ways make sense for your business, and start reaping the financial rewards and time freedom that you deserve.