If you’re a freelancer, you’re no doubt familiar with a little financial uncertainty. It’s part of the territory. That’s why it’s good to have something to fall back on if times get tough or something unexpected comes up. This is where the emergency fund comes in.
Here are a few situations that will make you wish you had one if you haven’t already:
One of the employee benefits you end up missing out on when you go freelance full-time is sick pay. If you end up unable to work, you lose money, simple as that. So if you’re too sick to work that could mean you end up struggling to pay for bills unless you have some other income source.
It’s inevitable that at some point you will have busy periods and quieter ones. One of the ways to make the dry spells sting a little less is to have a fund to dip into if you need to in order to pay for living expenses and keep the business going.
A more long term solution to avoiding dry spells is to make sure your marketing plan is solid and that you’re sending out plenty of pitches to companies on a regular basis.
This applies for the self-employed and employees alike. At some point everyone runs into unexpected costs. Things like home or car repairs are costly and often come out of the blue. If you don’t have savings, you’ll probably end up struggling to pay for them.
What an emergency fund is not
An emergency fund should be just that, not a pot you dip into if you fancy a mini break or some new clothes. If you get into the habit of dipping into your emergency fund for anything but emergencies, then you’ll find it harder to save a decent amount that’s enough for when an emergency does hit.
How to save
If money’s tight or your income is unstable, it might be unthinkable to save. However, it’s important to save as much as you can from your earnings in order to maintain a sense of stability should anything go wrong.
The best way to save consistently is to put away a set percentage from everything you earn into your savings. You might even want to automate your savings process so you don’t even have to think about it.
If saving is too difficult, then it’s probably about time that you raised your rates. Make sure you’re not still in the employee mind-set and are charging a similar rate to your hourly pay at your last day job. You have business expenses and employee benefits like sick and holiday pay to cover as well as living expenses so you need to be charging more.
Have you ever been caught out without an emergency fund? What other situations would you keep one for? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!