Spend some time chatting with folks who work in all sorts of industries and you’ll find that freelancers are everywhere. From the creative fields to the trades, to marketing consultants and scientific researchers. The reality is that many people find themselves freelancing either by choice out of necessity. Sometimes, it’s easiest to take freelance work and be your own boss than it is to compete for a permanent, full-time office job.

But the ability to work anywhere and make your own schedule still comes with a unique set of challenges. Late payments, changes in work schedules, and client issues can all make it so that having a steady flow of incoming cash is easier said than done. So how can you stay on top of your finances and keep your bank account healthy while freelancing? Check out the following financial tips.

Assess Your Debts

Before you launch into the world of self-employment and being your own boss, you have to be honest with yourself about your current financial position. Financial professionals at a firm like David Sklar & Associates can help individuals who are struggling under debt. If you are like the majority of the population, you likely have some debt — whether it be in the form of student loans, credit card debt, overdue bills, or something else.

Start your freelance journey by assessing the debts you have and building those debt repayments into your monthly budget. You will need to make enough money not just to cover your living costs, but to repay your debt and work towards a debt-free future. Licensed Insolvency Trustees (formerly known as bankruptcy trustees) and credit counsellors are excellent resources for financial advice regarding debt. They can also show you what debt relief can look like, whether it be filing for bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, both of which are viable options for those seeking relief from difficult debt and the persistent calls and reminders from creditors.

Track Your Payments as They Hit Your Account

There are several ways to get paid these days, and how you get your money as a freelancer will depend heavily on your clients and their preferred method of payment. Unfortunately, one thing that happens all too often is that payments are delayed and postponed, meaning someone who is in a tight financial place can find themselves even worse for wear.

When freelancing, you need to know more than just how much you’re getting paid; you need to know when you’re getting paid. Use accounting software or set up bank account alerts to notify you every time a payment arrives.

Schedule Your Bills with Payments

If you’re not already keeping track of when certain bills are due, then it’s time to start. Depending on how your freelancing income will be spread across your expenses, set up a system where you can correspond certain payments with bill payments. For instance, if you have one client that provides a substantial amount of income, then consider using that entire payment towards your rent.

Get Ahead

Got a smaller client that pays on a reliable and regular schedule? Consider putting that chunk of cash toward another, smaller expense. Your bill due dates and freelance income may not align perfectly, so you will probably have to be smart about your money to ensure you’re not at a loss if a hiccup in your payment schedule arises.

Have a one-month buffer fund in your account at all times. This can make it so that you can automate certain bill payments and so that you don’t find yourself short at the end of the month. Freelancing can be a tricky but rewarding venture. Good luck with your financial planning and freelance freedom!