Getting paid is the sweetest thing in a freelancer’s life.
Well, I guess there’s that whole “doing what you love” thing… But getting paid for it is pretty great. And so when you start to make some money it’s easy to … TREAT YO’SELF.
You work hard. You deserve it.
And you totally do…. except that sometimes, even though it seems like there’s money coming in, a ton of that money is already spoken for.
I’ve talked about MANAGING DEDUCTIONS FOR FREELANCERS: making sure you remember which money is yours and which money belongs to the government (or your union). But there’s also a bunch of money that’s already spoken for because… well… your life costs something.
Some of those expenses are ones you think about all the time, like rent and phone bills. But some of them only happen once and a year (like the holidays) so they can be easier to forget.
No matter how in tune you might be with your expenses there’s a good chance you haven’t sat down and looked at what they all add up to.
Basically… What your life actually costs.
KNOWING YOUR NUMBER
There is no greater piece of financial information you can have about yourself than ‘your number’.
It’s the amount of money that it takes to run your life, however you live it.
Once you have a number that you know you can survive on, you know:
- How much you need to save to get you through dry times (when the phone just isn’t ringing).
- How much money you need to be making to break even.
- How many months a big paycheque will last you.
- How much money you have left over to invest in the EXTRAS.
Everybody’s number will be different, and that’s great. The only problem is when ‘your number’ is more than your income. That, my dear friends, is a recipe for unhappiness. But we’ll talk about that later… for now let’s figure out YOUR NUMBER!!!
5 Minutes of financial fun!
So here’s a worksheet to give you an idea of ‘your number’.
Sit down and write down your best guess. At this point it’s okay if you’re not sure about how much you spend on food or Christmas. Don’t over think it, it’s not about being exact… it’s about getting an idea of the whole cost of your life (and how that breaks down into a per month number).
Honestly, it should take you around 5 minutes!
DOWNLOAD A COPY OF YOUR OWN HERE: WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER WORKSHEET (FOR FREE)
can you afford your life? this 5 minute worksheet will tell you!
So… How much does it cost? Does it sound like something you can afford?
If so… that’s awesome… but if it ended up being a little more than you’d like there are only two actual options:
- decrease expenses
- or increase income
Ya… I know. There technically is a third option: ignore it and keep putting things on your line of credit… but I’ve got to seriously recommend not doing that one.
FACT: Avoidance is expensive.
So don’t freak out. Here are a few things you could do right now to start trending in the right direction:
- You could TRACK YOUR SPENDING to get a better idea of some of the numbers you guessed at.
- Or BUILD A BUDGET… To make sure you’re getting the most out of every dollar.
- MAKE A BUSINESS PLAN to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your business bucks.
- If increasing your income tickles your fancy check out some SIDE JOBS that other artists have for making sure their bills are paid.
Living a rich life doesn’t have mean a big ‘number’. Actually you’ll usually find the ‘richest’ people have found ways to keep the cost of their life as small as possible.
Size doesn’t matter, and everyone will have different wants and needs in their life. There’s no right and wrong there… but there is a can and can’t when it comes to your ability to afford it.
Can you afford the life you’re living right now? If not, what are you going to do about it?
WONDERING WHAT YOUR NEXT 'MONEY STEP' SHOULD BE? TAKE MY FREE QUIZ
It will help you figure out the perfect place to start getting control over your money.
Want to start getting control of your money? How can I help?
Financial Planner/Opera Singer
Money never came naturally to me. In fact… I was a bit of a disaster. I remember (very clearly) what it feels like to be ‘financially out of control’.
And honestly, I still get stressed about money… that doesn’t stop… the difference is that now I have the tools to deal with that stress.
And those tools are what’s made it possible for me to build a life full of the things I want: art, creativity, travel, family and more.