How to Save Money and Invest in Your Dream

Creative Ways to Stay Afloat When Going Solo

By Kristin Hanes

Quitting your 9–5 job and going solo can be thrilling and freeing, but it can also one of the scariest things in the world. Giving up a steady paycheck and the comfort and safety of routine to pursue your passion is a move that requires serious guts, and sometimes, penny pinching to make it all happen.

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Many people love going solo for the flexibility and independence, and more and more people are taking off the shackles of a 9–5 job and diving into Soloist careers.

According to new research by MBO Partners, there are now 41 million independent workers in the United States, which represents 31% of the U.S. workforce.

In the report, CEO Gene Zaino said this:

“The population generally reports that independent work — and the independent lifestyle — is a satisfying way of building income and obtaining greater freedom, control and purpose.”

The report says in this current booming economy, Soloists are finding even better and higher paying work. Now, 3.2 million full-time independent workers make more than $100,000 per year annually, up 4.9% from 2016.

And while those numbers are awesome, everyone has to start out somewhere, and when you make the decision to strike out on your own, money may be tight at first.

Here are 5 creative ways Soloists can stay afloat when going independent.

1) Make a change in your living situation- big or small

A really big drag on the monthly budget is paying rent. There are many ways to cut costs on that big monthly bill. If you’re game for a big change, think about getting a roommate, AirBnB’ing your place or even just a room, or, if you’re super adventurous, check out some of the more off the beaten path housing options. If those moves aren’t right for you, save money and stay put by checking your daily habits. Turn off lights when you leave the room, unplug your A/C, or throw on a sweatshirt before you adjust the thermostat. These habits will protect your bottom line and are more eco-friendly.

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2) Check your recurring bills

Another good thing to thoroughly examine are any recurring bills. If you’re paying for multiple streaming platforms and cable, cut down to just one. If you’re afraid of missing your favorite shows, schedule viewing parties with friends or even check out what kind of access you can get at your local library. You’d be surprised what you might be able to get for free. Also, look at trials you may have bought that you forgot to cancel that later turned into subscriptions. Comb through your credit card and bank statements and eliminate any recurring charge that you don’t absolutely have to have. Chances are you have a few that you might have forgotten about, and those little charges add up.

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3) Harness the power of negotiation

It’s always good to practice your negotiation skills. Not only could it benefit your future gigs and contracts as a Soloist, but it could also help out with your monthly budget. Many car insurance companies, for example, will lower your insurance if you say you have a competing offer from another company. You can use this same tactic for your phone bill and cable company. It never hurts to ask. Be strong, and ask for things you might be afraid to ask for. You never know the result. At worst, they’ll say no, and you’ll have gained more valuable experience negotiating

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4) Eat at home

Eating out and spending $4 on a latte can really affect your bottom line. If you’re at a coffee shop for a client meeting, try ordering the house coffee, which is usually much cheaper than a latte or mocha. Iced tea is another good choice. Try to limit going to a coffee shop unless it’s important for a client meeting.

Skip dinners out for now. Cooking at home is so much cheaper, and usually provides you not only with a dinner, but a lunch the next day! The $5 Meal Plan is a program where you get a brand new menu every week for just $5. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of what to make for dinner. When you do go out, take advantage of happy hour deals instead of paying full price. And finally, if you have the space, gardening is a beautiful way to grow your own food, eat healthy, and harness your creative energy.

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5) Examine your bank accounts

Now’s the time to examine the health and wealth of your bank accounts. Do you have a balance in your savings account that you could transfer to earn higher interest? Are your checking fees too high? Does a business account make more sense for you now that you’re becoming a Soloist? Could you open a business credit card and take advantage of the opening points bonus? All of these questions are worth answering as you step into your new career.

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So, there you have it. Five simple and creative tips for staying afloat when you’re just starting out as a Soloist.

Work Independently, Not Alone.

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Learn More

The Five Dollar Meal Plan

How to Switch to a new Checking Account

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee

How to Negotiate like a Badass