Noone has to be broke. Becoming a money rockstar has to do with three connecting things: Making money, spending money, and saving money.
If you don’t have enough money in your pocket, odds are that you’re going wrong with one of these. But that’s perfectly okay–and, even better, easy to change.
Here’s a quick guide to the three keys of personal finance.
THE BASICS OF PERSONAL FINANCE FOR FREELANCERS: MAKING MONEY
As life has taught us (sometimes brutally), you have to make money. This means working the right job, being in a career that gives us the opportunity to make more money in the future, having access to alternate ways to make money, and the ability to ask for raises and more money.
For freelancers and the self-employed, it’s a bit different. Making money means knowing how to ask for higher rates, having clients that give a steady stream of work, working on higher-paying projects that take less time to complete, and finding ways to maximize money from side gigs.
Ultimately, making money comes down to one important thing: Guaranteeing that you are paid the money for work that you deserve. If you aren’t making enough money at your day job, find other ways of making money (anything from babysitting to driving for Uber or Lyft to selling items on eBay) that help maximize your cash flow.
THE BASICS OF PERSONAL FINANCE FOR FREELANCERS: SPENDING MONEY
Say it with me: It’s okay to shop, and it’s okay to buy things. You deserve that awesome restaurant meal, you deserve that fancy shirt. But you need to spend smart, and not spend money on things you don’t need or use.
Conscious spending is crucial. Basically, conscious spending means you make a plan for what you’re going to spend ahead of time–and you stick to it.
If you love impulse shopping, budget money for it before you go out. And make sure you’re spending money on things you love… That lunchtime salad from the food court might not seem like it costs a lot of money, but by the time you buy 10 of them you could buy that fancy kitchen gadget from Sur La Table you’ve had your eye on.
And remember…. Only spend what you have in cash, in your bank account. Spending money and putting it on your credit card without paying it back the same month means you start losing lots of money to compound interest.
THE BASICS OF PERSONAL FINANCE FOR FREELANCERS: SAVING MONEY
Smart people make money by squirreling away some money so it makes more money. This is a truth.
The same compound interest that stinks when it comes to your credit cards is great when it comes to investing.
If you have spare money lying around, the important thing is taking care of your credit card debt and any high interest loans you have. That’s your alpha and omega and what you really, really want to focus on. Then make sure you have an emergency fund–life has a way of throwing weird things at you, and you want to make sure you have a few backup dollars.
Once you do that, start making money on your spare money by investing it. Put it in a high-interest online savings account or in a ETF program that allows you to invest in the stock market with less risk. Invest in properties or commodities in an area you’re knowledgeable about.
THE BASICS OF PERSONAL FINANCE FOR FREELANCERS: BEING SMART ABOUT MONEY
Lastly, don’t be afraid to be overwhelmed. Making money, whether you are a freelancer, self-employed, unemployed, full-time, or part-time, is a hard job. But once you learn the keys of money intelligence, things become much easier.