Post from Supporting Contributor Jenna
As a freelancer, you probably want to cut your overhead costs as much as possible, right? Every penny you don’t spend on lunches out or new shoes is a penny that can go into developing your business — or paying your rent during the lean times.
However, there are some expenses you can’t afford to cut or ignore. Trying to save money on these items usually ends up costing you significantly more money in the long run.
1. A good laptop
As a freelance writer, I type thousands of words every day. I work at home, in coffee shops, on planes and in libraries. My last laptop died when I literally wore out the keyboard.
Whether you’re a writer, a life coach, a consultant, or a crafter, it’s likely that you spend up to eight hours every day working from your laptop. Don’t buy one of the cheap ones that can’t stand up to consistent use. Replacing your laptop every two years is much more expensive than a one-time, high-quality investment.
The best laptops on the market are, of course, the MacBook and MacBook Air, but if you prefer a slightly more affordable computer, try Google’s new Chromebook.
2. Health insurance
The Affordable Care Act is one of the best things to happen to freelancers since the internet. You don’t need me to tell you of the importance of getting health insurance, as well as making sure you get the preventative care that’s part of your Affordable Care Act package. As a freelancer, your income may even qualify you for a reduced rate.
Don’t gamble your life savings on the chance that you won’t need health care someday. Sign on to Healthcare.gov and choose an Affordable Care Act plan.
3. Life insurance
In addition to health insurance, you also need life insurance, especially if you are sharing your life with a partner or children. Life insurance makes it possible for your loved ones to keep going financially after your death. It’s less confusing than you might think, depending on how you get your information. Sites like BestLifeQuote.com use your individual life circumstances to determine which life insurance provider has the best package for you and your family. This saves you a significant amount of time that you might otherwise spend contacting individual life insurance providers.
4. A CPA
If you’re doing your own taxes, you’re probably not getting the largest refund possible. Even worse, you might be making accidental mistakes that can lead to an expensive audit or fines. Hire a CPA and visit your CPA at least once every business quarter. Show your CPA your books and talk to him or her about how to appropriately calculate your tax expense, as well as how to run your business more efficiently. A good CPA relationship pays for itself and saves you additional money on top of the consulting fee.
5. A gym membership
The first time I started working from home, I realized my daily steps dropped from over 10,000 per day to around 300. Turns out that when your office is just a few feet away from your bedroom, you don’t tend to walk all that much. That’s why I got a gym membership and spend every other evening running around the track or using the climbing wall. Regular exercise isn’t just important to help maintain a healthy weight; it’s also essential for long-term physical and mental health, as well as the focus required to stay on top of your freelance work.
These aren’t the only expenses that cost money now but save you money later. Think about the costs and benefits of coffee with a potential client or travel to an industry conference. Don’t keep your freelance budget so tight that you can’t afford to spend money on the important things, the items that will benefit both you and your business in the long run.