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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Financial Literacy for Online Freelancers

There are many reasons why people, professionals, moms and students alike engage in online freelancing – to earn money. Often, what we earn online is double, triple or even quadruple of what we make from our usual office jobs. Some online jobs even offer medical benefits, paid leaves and holidays, less than 40-hour work week and bonuses for work milestones. Working online also gives us the luxury of time. We can work in the morning, bring the kids to school, hit the gym, walk the dog, enjoy a latte and then later return to work. In short, working online allows us several luxuries, in time, money and control over our lives.

However, online freelancing can be an expensive lifestyle if we do not value or spend our earnings wisely.  Some freelancers get their pay on a weekly basis, twice a month or monthly. Others may enjoy pay-per-project services allowing them to earn and have access to a generous amount of money daily. With all that cash laying around our PayPal or Payoneer accounts, it can sometimes be tempting to buy the latest laptop, a new smart phone, a noise cancelling headset or mic or any new gadget that we think would be helpful for our routines especially online. Spending a few bucks on our favorite coffee or trying out the nearest Nomad office to experience working in an office setting again can pile up and be categorized as wants and unnecessary expenses instead of investments and assets for your online careers.

Whether you work online or as a regular employee in an office setting, it is important to be financially literate. Just like your day job at the office, you are not guaranteed to always have a job where your main source of income can support your daily needs. Unlike the usual employees, online freelancers do not have the perks of getting separation pays or retirement bonuses. Thus, being extra wise when it comes to your finances is a good start for a more stable future, even without a retirement fund from your employer.

Here are some tips for online freelancers on how they can stay on top of their finances.

Practice the save now buy later method

As professionals depending on the internet as our source of income, it is sometimes very easy for us to justify why we need to buy a new laptop or an extra monitor or a new set of headphones. However, if we do not actually need a gadget or device immediately, setting aside a portion of our salary to save-up for something we want or need for work would be a wise financial decision. As we save for a certain gadget we have in mind, we are given the time to really think if we need such item or if there is a better yet more affordable option available for us out there.

Get insured

Most online freelancers do not have the health and medical benefits unlike regular employed professionals. Invest in an insurance that does also covers medical expenses if you may need it in the future. Insurance policies in the Philippines can start as low as $50 to $60 a month. This is just a few hours or a day or two salary from online freelancing.

Save a lot

Since you are not spending money on transportation costs, dining out, buying office clothes or putting on make-up every day, try to save a portion or the whole of what you might have been spending for these items if you were still working in an office. Let say you used to spend $100 a week for transportation costs. Now that you are not getting out of the house anymore to go to work, consider saving up that amount or at least half of it to fatten up your savings fund. Do not be overwhelmed with the amount of money that you are earning. Live the same amount that you used to even without the six-figure income you have right now. You’ll be amazed with how much you can save if you keep low-profile and try not to get too excited with the amount that you currently earn right now.

Get a life coach

Life coaches are not exclusively for the rich and famous. Having a mentor, for free or for a fee can help you get back on track or divert you into a more fruitful, progressive and happier career and life. Working at home can sometimes deprives us with the opportunities to meet great people where we can get inspirations or people who can help us be better in what we to. Try to find that person that can bring out the genius in you. Life coaches can guide you to improve your finances as well.

Financial literacy is not an overnight process. It is a journey that comes with ups and downs. The important thing is to remember to keep moving forward, learn from our mistakes and aim to become better people that who we were yesterday.

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A graduate of Civil Engineering but a writer by heart was the main reason why I figured out that the corporate life was not for me. I enjoyed being at home, far from the competitive atmosphere of a typical 8-hour job. I hated the idea of extending work hours at the office or bringing work at home. I cringe about the idea of having to prioritize work over my family and living. Luckily, i managed to break free from the corporate world after seven grueling years. Although I must say that I have learned a lot both personally and professionally from my office job, I would never see myself turning back after being able to achieve my dream of being at home and working online. As I try to reach my first million while working online I also plan on entering a home-based business in between blogging and taking care of my kids.


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