If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, you often have some flexibility in how you plan your work schedule. Whether you work for yourself, remotely from a coworking space, from home or whatever the case may be, there are perks to having a flexible schedule. While this is great for many reasons, did you know it can work to your advantage financially?

1. Run to the gym

If you enjoy exercise, type the kind of workout you want to do in the search engines for your local area. Sometimes local high schools or recreation centers offer exercise programs at a reduced rate by qualified instructors. Emily McGee, Writer of MyAdaptableCareer.com is able to snag a reduced rate based on when she shows up to exercise. She explains, “I joined a local gym that had different rates for peak and non-peak hours. I workout mid-morning, which is considered non-peak, so I get a discount.” See if your area gyms offer something similar. If they don’t, consider suggesting the idea to the owner. You might be able to get a discount as well.

2. Run to the sales

Comparing prices can be time-consuming especially if you’re manually searching for better deals, coupons, etc. It also seems like it’s for retirees, people on fixed incomes, stay-at-home moms or people who have time to coupon as if it’s their full-time job. You shouldn’t have to be penalized for shopping smarter because you work all day.  A tool like Priceblink automatically does the searching for you. It even has an option that notifies you about price alerts when the item you want goes on sale.

Shop Savvy is an app that also compares prices both online and in-store. If you’re out window shopping, you can scan the item and see where the best deal is using your phone. There’s also a price alert option to keep you posted when an item you want to buy goes on sale. If the price on a piece of equipment like a printer or tablet you’ve been eyeing drops, you can readily go and get it once you’re notified.

Once you scout out the best price, you can potentially knock the price down further by purchasing discounted gift cards through sites like Raise.com and GiftCardGranny.com. There are digital ones that show up in minutes while others might take a day or so. If you can wait to have one sent to your email or mailed to your home, you can choose from a wider selection of discounted cards that can land you deeper discounts.

3. Run to the freezer

No matter what your schedule is like, you have to plan what you will eat to some degree. If you want to maximize your working hours, find ways to boost your productivity and eat better, Freezer Meal Extraordinaire and Founder of FreezEasy.com, Erin Chase explains how fast, simple and healthful meals can come to the rescue when you’re hungry and tired after your work day comes to an end. To have this happen without having to spend hours in the kitchen every day, she recommends freezer meals as the perfect solution. 

You won’t have to struggle to figure out what to eat every night by prepping and cooking in advance. Chase recommends starting small if you’re new to freezer cooking. Pick 2-3 meals to make when you have some down time on the weekend. Over time, as you get more comfortable with making meals to freeze you can increase how many you make in one shot. Chase adds, “It also helps eliminates the stress of spending too much of your paycheck on take out or drive thru.”

The Bottom Line

With some prep work and planning, a flexible schedule can allow you to be more strategic with the money you make. This will allow you to stretch your dollars, do work that you love while having a lifestyle you enjoy.

 

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Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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