Freelancers do not have the luxury of always getting paid on time, this means that certain months they have to find ways to stretch their money. Here are some tips to help ease the cost of living, plus a proactive payment reminder template to expedite prompt payments with every invoice you send.
- How to find the cheapest petrol prices
- Why fixed energy deals aren’t always the cheapest
- How to become a zero-waste cook and meal planner
- How this proactive payment reminder email template could help get you paid on time
How to find the cheapest petrol prices
Petrol and diesel prices have hit the roof. Everyone who drives is keeping their eyes peeled and chatting on social media to find out which petrol station has the cheapest prices in their area. One way to have someone else do the legwork is to use a petrol price comparison website and app called Petrolprices.com.
Earlier this month, due to the current increase in fuel prices, the site was experiencing unprecedented numbers of people using its PetrolPrices mobile app, web app, and website.
Several times over the last couple of weeks, the mobile app, in particular, has struggled with the level of demand and has not been available to users. At the time of writing, the company had resolved capacity issues and was monitoring performance.
If you do sign up for the app and experience problems, the company suggests taking the following steps:
- Use the web version which can be used on any desktop, tablet, or mobile via an internet browser. You can log in to use that for free just like the app here.
Fixed energy deals aren’t always the cheapest
Financial comparison site, NerdWallet says in the past it was usually a safe bet to place yourself on a fixed rate energy tariff after you researched and found the best rate. That said, even if you are on a good fixed rate, once your contract expires it is unlikely that you will get that good of a deal in the near future.
You now have to keep in mind that fixed isn’t always the cheapest. At the time of writing, NerdWallet’s Brean Horne said that with energy prices currently at an all-time high, you’re unlikely to find a fixed-rate deal that is cheaper than the energy price cap.
“So it may be worth sticking to the variable rate for the time being but keeping an eye on new deals, which may offer a cheaper tariff.
“If you’re struggling to afford your energy payments, contact your supplier as soon as possible. It may be able to offer financial support or an alternative payment plan. It’s also worth checking whether you’re eligible for a grant to help with your gas and electricity bills,” said Horne.
Other energy-saving tips include:
- Don’t charge your mobile phones throughout the night and make sure you don’t appliances charging on standby if not needed at night
- Use light timers
- Have extra blankets around the house to grab instead of pumping up the heat
- Bleed your radiators so they would efficiently
- Defrost your freezer so your fride is not overworking and wasting energy
- Make slow-cooker or pressure cooker meals more often since they use less energy than a hob and save having to clean up so many pots and pans
- Monitor radiators so they aren’t on too high in rooms you don’t use. Use a space heater in your home office, rather than have the radiators blaring throughout the house during the day. Keep the office door closed to contain heat.
Become a zero-waste cook and meal planner
If you have the luxury of affording three meals a day, then it pays not to waste a morsel of it.
- Make waste not, want not, your new kitchen mantra. It may seem obvious, but portion control is a good place to start to cut down on food waste (it is arguably one if not the biggest contributor to climate change). If it looksk like you may have some more left for one perdon , then save the portion for a child’s packed lunch the next day or for yourself.
- Shop at a local fruit and veg market once a week to bring your food bills down while also boosting your intake of real rather than processed food, the latter of which always has a mark up. You can also barter for a few more items with a market stall trader at the end of market time if they need to shift produce. Most markets will also sell cheese, breads, biscuits and chocolate. Just keep an eye on the sell by dates! Some markets also sell fish and meats, so it doesn’t hurt to haggle just a bit if you think you’d like to buy a few extra items for freezing.
- Try out scraptastic recipes. Before you throw out veg scraps or fruit peels consider making a vegetable stock (just boil, drain, cool and keep stock in a sealed glass jar or a freezer bag), or find a recipe for a fruit liquor, make some candided fruit or DIY oil essences. Hop on YouTube for tutorials or follow zero-waste chefs, like Maz La Manna for inspiration.
Check out Max La Manna (@maxlamanna) • Instagram for some zero-waste recipes.
Create email templates: proactive payment reminder
Instead of having to write emails every month chasing clients for payment, here is a template email that you could have at hand and that you could use time and time again. The one below is a proactive payment reminder that you can schedule to email two days before payment is due. Schedule the email for two days before your invoice is due and set it up to send on a certain date the day you send your invoice.
As of 1 July 2021, the Prompt Payment Code calls for the following:
- the requirement to pay 95% invoices within 60 days
- introducing an added requirement that 95% invoices from small businesses (with less than 50 employees) must be paid within 30 days
[Name of Accounts payable manager],
We hope this finds you well. [Name of your company] is sending this gentle reminder that [invoice reference] sent on [date invoice was sent] will be overdue on [due date].
To avoid any late payment fees, which we have included in the terms of our invoice, please kindly make the payment before the due date.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions regarding the latest invoice.
If payment has already been processed, thank you, and please disregard this message.
As always, [name of your company] enjoys serving [name of client’s company].
[Your email signature]
[Your company contact details and logo]
Is your company signed up for the Prompt Payment Code? Sign up here
If you haven’t already set up an invoice template, there are many that can be found online, such as invoice generators provided by companies like Invoice Owl.