If you are a freelance anything, you carry all the costs of doing business. From paper clips to dues for professional organizations, it is all on you. You are your own IT Department, Accounts Payable (and Receivable :) ), and the person who makes the coffee in the morning or evening, whenever you start work.
So how do you cut some corners and save a little money even if you are not paying the expenses of a daily commute? I have a few suggestions. Some of the items may be obvious to you, but not so to the newbies. If you have any I have not thought of, send me some comments. I am always interested in cutting my freelancing costs.
- Re-use whatever you can. Mary Lewis re-uses bubble envelopes, and Sharon Wren uses a big ceramic planter as a garbage can. Sharon also uses a box that once held Harry & David chocolates as a place to store her Post-Its. (I think she would rather have the chocolate!)
- Bundle your services. I am saving about $1000 this year by bundling my phone, cable TV. and internet service for one year. Yvette Deluca Davis suggests using freebie versions of document creation software such as Open Office. She says they provide quality as good as MS Word. She also suggests some of Google’s applications. I have recently been using Google Documents (look in Applications) for documents I am collaborating on with others. You can all work on the same document virtually. So far, it has been working well.
- Craig's List is a great place for freebies, too. The chair I am sitting on came from a group I discovered on Craigslist, and so did my webmaster, Zack Rosen. How cool is that? (Shameless plug: Check out my webmaster's work at http://www.rosemaryob.com/.) Incidentally, Craig's List is also a good place to find the odd writing or design assignment.
- Sometimes you have to spend money to save money or your valuable time. Take Norma Murray of Able Assistants, my new virtual assistant. I met her through a women’s networking group (Wild Women Entrepreneurs) and hired her to update my expense report. I dread inputting all of my receipts for the accountant, and frequently put off this task while the receipts pile up. Well, Norma took care of the pile and charged a reasonable amount to do so. A writer friend who hates typing now uses her for his transcribing. Yay, Norma!
- If you work from home, you may ignore all of the household chores in order to complete assignments. Dig out the old Crockpot, Google some recipes, and get dinner going. When you use it, cook enough for two meals and then freeze the leftovers for another busy day. Or check out my new favorite service, Emealz. The two sisters create seven dinner menus along with a shopping list. If you live near them, you get the added benefit of a shopping list tailored to the grocery store in which you shop. This is my first week with them and my family LOVES dinnertime (and I love the number at the bottom of the grocery receipt!). I saved approximately $80 on my grocery bill this week and got two meals out of their recipes a couple of times. For a modest cost, you save some time and money.
- Cancel any subscriptions you do not read such as women’s magazines, hobby and craft magazines, etc. While I love getting my scrapbooking magazines, I found them piling up while I felt guilty about not getting to them. Life is short. Look it up on the internet! It will save money, some paper, and you will not have to look at the pile you are not reading.
Give some of these ideas a try. You will definitely save money, and remember that time is money, too. Then leave a comment for me and let me know how it worked out.
Six Flags Military Appreciation Day
Saturday, August 9
Price is $37 per person and includes admission to both parks (Six Flags andHurricane Harbor), free parking and an all-you-can-eat buffet from noon to 2p.m. The menu includes: a quarter grilled chicken, char-broiledquarter-pound sirloin hamburgers or cheeseburgers, all beef hot dogs, fixingsbar, potato chips, ice cream novelties, tossed salad, pasta salad and aselection of soft drinks in the pavilion.
Tickets may be purchased at the ITT office (Newport Naval Station) or call841-3116/841-3137 for more details.
AAFES Offers Aspiring Young Writers Opportunity for Great Prizes
DALLAS - School may be out for the summer, but the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) has one more assignment for military dependents. The"Back-To-School Essay Contest" will give students in grades first through twelfth the opportunity to submit an essay of 200 words or less on "WhatAAFES means to me and my family."