Money management tips for disabled freelancers
But while being your own boss can be incredibly liberating and a great way of taking your life and career into your own hands, it also increases your financial responsibilities. You’ve gotta get really good, really quickly when it comes to managing your time and meeting your commitments to clients while hustling for new ones. Plus, you’re in charge of money management. When you have a disability, money becomes a 7 layer dip of confusion and stress. Issues with healthcare cost, insurance and how much you’re able to actually commit to can muddy the waters but there are still opportunities for great success.
My little blog is just my side project, but I do hope that one day it might grow to be more! Here are some tips I’ve learned over the last year to help you manage your finances a little better.
Get your monthly outgoings under control
All freelancers have to deal with the problem of sporadic income. One month can bring two or three lucrative paydays while the next may bring none at all. Budgeting becomes all the more important. If you’re trying to dodge the disability debt spiral your monthly outgoings need to be kept manageable.
This may be easier said than done if you have loan or credit card repayments from multiple sources at different interest rates to keep track of. Look into things like best debt consolidation loans to see if that’d be a good solution for you. It could improve your credit score, so long as you can keep up with your payments, which can definitely help you in the long wrong when it comes to purchasing new software or equipment to use for your work. You could also see if you can meet with someone once or twice to help you come up with a good plan for your finances. If you don’t know what you’re doing, find someone who does!
When you’re disabled, you tend to have a lot of expenses that a lot of abled people never have to think about. Things like medicine, appointments, wheelchair repairs, etc can be really hard to save for without insurance. It’s also just hard to find work in general because of ableist snap judgments. All this to say, believe me, I know how hard it can be to limit your spending.
Try to prioritize while you can and find free things to do in your area. Pay attention to the random things you’ll spend money on. If you can look at your bank statement and not have any idea what a charge is, you can probably cut that expense out next month.
Figure out your taxes and remember your deductions
Taxes are different when you’re self employed and working as a freelancer. I’m going to be super honest here: I’ve never even had to file taxes yet. I didn’t earn enough last year, but I did start earning some money so I’ve been starting to look into it so I can be ready when I have to file next year. You should definitely do the same! You have to keep track of your income but also your expenses because from my understanding, they’re going to look at your profits rather than just your income.
I’m by no means the person you should be turning to for tax questions, but I’m happy to talk about the process as I figure it out for the first time! I know that taxes are something that we all prefer to leave out of sight out of mind because they’re confusing and terrible, but you need to take the time to figure them out. This is especially important for disabled freelancers since your health insurance may place restrictions on how much you can earn so you need to ensure that your needs are met.
Be realistic in what you commit to
Writing a blog is so much more work than people tend to think it is. It can take agonizingly long before you ever start making money off it, so it’s super tempting to say yes to any and all projects that may come your way. The same goes for any kind of freelancer. You want to get your name out and start making a profit, so turning anything down feels like a sin.
You wind you saying yes to deadlines and demands you’re unsure about simply because you don’t want the client to have second thoughts about them. Here’s the thing, though. Being honest and coming to a compromise or tweaking a schedule so you can turn in a great end result is a much better option than biting off more than you can chew and disappointing a client.
Having a disability may mean you have to work alongside factors that are completely outside of your control. Things like doctors appointments, physical therapy, procedures, or simply days where you’re in too much pain or discomfort to work. This isn’t to say you can’t be as successful as your abled peers, just that it’s necessary to be realistic with your obligations and workload. You shouldn’t be consistently killing yourself to be able to turn in a project on time.
I’m still figuring all of this out for myself, so I hope you’re all stoked to learn with me!
*This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links*