Three strategies to help stretch your budget when client work is light

Are you struggling to find clients right now? Or just going through a lean patch. Here are three strategies to help stretch your budget when client work is light.

In the UK, 1.65 million individuals currently rely on freelancing work as their primary source of income. However, unlike traditional employment, cash flow is often unpredictable.

Even the most experienced, high-earning freelancers run into times when work is lean. When one or more clients does not need your services for a period of time, you may miss out on hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds.

If you are currently self-employed, it is crucial to know how to manage times like this. Discover three effective strategies for stretching your budget when freelance work is light.

1) Use personal loans and credit cards responsibly

Although they can often get a negative reputation, credit cards and personal loans are exceptional tools for freelancers. When you know that you will earn less income for a week or a month, and that your workload will pick up immediately after, the use of borrowed money makes practical sense.

If you are currently in the midst of lower than normal client work, or you anticipate a time like this in the near future, now is when you should decide how much you will need to sustain your financial obligations; take the time to research and compare the lending options available. Your interest rates, as well as the amount that you can borrow, will largely depend on your credit score and current annual income.

Whether you only need £200 to cover minor expenses, or £2,000 to make it through the month, make sure that your finances are in as good a shape as possible before applying.

2) Find out which of your bills have flexible payment dates

Many people think that all bills must be paid on or before the due date provided, with no exceptions. While this is important to do on a regular basis, many lenders and service providers are flexible with payments dates.

For instance, many mobile phone companies now let you schedule a payment arrangement, which allows you to schedule your monthly payment beyond the due date for no additional fee. Also, some lenders have flexible payment options that can put your payments on hold, or add them to the end of your loan.

Depending on how much income you will need to supplement, you can contact one (or more) companies to explore options like these. Whether you need flexible payment options for one or two months, most businesses now accommodate these needs.

3) Simplify your meal plan

The Money Advice Service reports that the average amount households spend on food in the UK now stands at £60.60 per week. If you find yourself at or above this average, simplifying your meal plan is another quick and easy way to stretch your budget.

Stick to inexpensive menu items, such as chicken, rice and vegetable dishes. Avoid recipes that have a long ingredient list, as well as ones with premium food items.

Whether you’re just starting or are years into your career, nearly all freelancers will experience periods where income is light. In addition to following the strategies listed above, the best way to prepare for fluctuations in your workload is to save between one and two months of income.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon