Many reports have come out and said that the average American is about $1,000 away from a financial catastrophe. Reason being that a good portion of Americans do not have a healthy savings account set aside for emergencies. Some reports even suggest that a good portion of Americans don’t even have enough money to cover a $500 emergency room visit.
This leads to a vicious cycle. You can’t pay for the emergency in cash so you need to slap it on the credit card. Now you’re in debt and probably feel like you can’t save because you need to pay off said debt.
I’m here to make the case that while the average American needs to make sure they have a healthy savings account, freelancers need to pay even more attention to this.
Learning The Lesson the Hard Way
About a year into freelancing full-time, I found myself with a $3000 emergency. Long story short, I needed oral surgery on my gums to treat an infection. To make matters worse, I was still under a waiting period for my dental insurance so they didn’t cover the procedure.
I had about $1000 in the bank, which apparently is still better than most people, but I needed to put $2000 on the credit card.
The bad news is emergencies suck no matter how you make your money. It can also really suck when you’re only a year into a business known for fluctuating income.
The good news is I was able to able to make extra money by hustling for new clients and paid the credit card in full that month. However, I never wanted to be in that position again. From that moment on I vowed to prioritize my emergency savings.
How to Build Your Emergency Savings With Fluctuating Income
I know how difficult it can be when you have fluctuating income. It is not easy to figure out your budget when you don’t make the same amount of money every month. This is especially true in the beginning.
However, I also know that because I run my own business that I can give myself a raise by hustling a little harder. The reality is that, at least in some respects, freelancers have it a little easier because there is no cap on their income. We just have to constantly remind ourselves of this.
Here are some of the ways you can ensure that you are building a healthy savings account as a freelancer:
- When you make more money than usual, save a nice chunk of it. In the past few months, my business has started to take off and I’ve had my first five-figure month. Rather than spending all that extra money, I’ve made sure to use a big portion of it to boost my emergency savings account.
- Prioritize your savings. The best way to make sure you’re prioritizing a healthy savings account is to take your savings off the top. You can do this with each client payment or you can do it when you are giving yourself a salary, depending on what stage you are in.
That’s really it. Saving money isn’t complicated, people just make it out to be. It’s up to you to make sure that you’re building a healthy savings account. Hopefully, you won’t have to learn the hard way like I did.