Budgets and Expenses

Updated:September 2013

As a freelancer it makes sense to master budgets and to get into the habit of drawing one up for every job and assignment that you do - including self-funded trips.

Good Budgeting

A thoroughly prepared budget - like a Risk Assessment – will help you to properly plan trips and assignments. It will alert you to any unforeseen costs or holes in your thinking, and will probably save you money.  It will also put you in a stronger position when negotiating a job or commission.

A properly tailored budget  will also show potential clients that you are organised, thorough and professional in the way that you work.

The section Negotiating Costs - who pays for what? considers the potential costs involved in planning an assignment .  Our down-loadable budget templates can help you lay out a professional-looking budget and itemise costs - from fees to small expenses.

Keeping track of expenses

Whether on assignment or a self-funded trip, it's a good idea to get into the habit of filing receipts and keeping a daily, detailed log of expenses.  Be especially vigilant when working on a long trip or in a foreign country where receipts can be easily lost, and their purpose soon forgotten or misinterpreted.  Rest assured you'll never remember what that faded till receipt or scrap of paper was for when you get home and trying to reconcile your outgoings with a two-week pile of unlogged receipts is a thankless task that you'll never win. 

If you're on a paid assignment, you will be expected to keep accurate expenses.  But keep in mind that you may also need a record for proof of costs if you're negotiating a sale or an assignment whilst on location - and for your own personal accounts and tax purposes.   Whatever the reason, an accurate expenses log will let you know how much money you're spending - and where.  it's a good habit to get into.

Get a notebook or take some expense forms (see RPT templates) with you to fill in as you go. Or you may want to make an electronic log for safety.

Photo for this page by Camilo Rueda López

Next: Invoicing and Getting Paid

Created: August 2013

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