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Did you ever think you would be pinching pennies in order to save money?

Some people view the life of a graphic designer as exotic and full of creative wonder. They see us portrayed on TV and in movies as smart, responsible people who, although not necessarily wealthy, do manage a pretty good living. For some reason, those fictional graphic designers are rarely shown struggling to make a living and trying to save money on every purchase they make.

Truth be told, graphic design is not a profession you get into if you have aspirations of being rich. Don't get me wrong, there are some very wealthy designers out there, and the average designer can make a very good living. But for some of us, especially those working from home, living a simple but comfortable life through careful spending and creative ways to save money is what we can expect.

With that said, I thought I'd share the knowledge I've gained over more than 25 years as a graphic designer of various ways for us to save money. Be sure to listen to the podcast for full details and much more than what's writing in this post.

7 Ways for Graphic Designers to Save Money.

1- Hold Off Upgrading

We all want the newest gadgets, the newest toys, the newest fads, but when it comes down to it, there's probably nothing wrong with what we currently have. Save money by keeping your current computer, software and services a bit longer until there's a reason to justify the upgrade expense.

2- Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk is a great way to save money. Whether it's ink for your printer, ordering new business cards, or purchasing credits at your favourite stock photo site. The more you buy, the less expensive they'll be. The same goes for bundles such as software bundles or font bundles. Save money by purchasing the software you need as part of a bundle and you also gain access to other great programs in the process.

3- Pay More Now To Save Money Later

It sounds crazy that I'm telling you to pay more for something in a podcast about ways to save money. But sometimes in order to save money, paying more up front is the best option. Look for things like developer licenses, or lifetime access where you pay a bit more but never have to pay again.

You can also use this strategy when purchasing hardware. Spend a bit more on your new computer today, and chances are it will last you longer.

4- Find Ways To Cut Costs in your business

This one's a no-brainer. If you want to save money, find creative ways to spend less whenever you make a purchase.

Examples of cutting costs to save money are…

  • Shop around for best prices. Don't assume the last place you made a purchase still has the best price. Shop around each time you need to make a purchase.
  • Buy refurbished. When you buy refurbished you get the same great item including a full warranty at a discounted price.
  • Take advantage of student discounts if you can. Many hardware and software companies offer special student prices.
  • Buy old versions of software and then upgrade. It's usually cheaper than buying the newest version outright.
  • Hire cheap help. Foreign developers, artists, programmers etc. are just as good as local talent but at a fraction of the price.
  • Wait for special days to make your purchases. You can save money by waiting for Black Friday, Boxing Week and even Mother's & Father's day to make your purchase.
  • Use less expensive alternatives. Serif DrawPlus & Serif PhotoPlus or Affinity DesignerAffinity Photo are affordable alternatives to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

5 Become an Early Adopter

For many things, the earlier you get in the less expensive it is. Membership groups, associations, beta versions, conference tickets, even Kickstarter campaigns all offer discounts for those who show an early interest. Take advantage of the low prices by purchasing early.

6 Collect Points/Credits

Many companies offer points to loyal customers. Save money by using these points to pay for things. Collect travel rewards on your credit card to pay for trips. Refer people to the software or stock image sites you use and collect credits towards future purchases/upgrades.

7 Take Advantage of Freebies

There are so many companies and services vying for your hard earned money that offer freebies as incentives. Look for free fonts, images, software betas, and trial versions. Sign up for newsletters that send you easy links to weekly free downloads. You could also use free software such as GIMP instead of paying for Photoshop.

Tip of The Iceberg

These are just some of the ways you can save money as a graphic designer. The tip of the iceberg if you will. I'd love to know how you manage. Be sure to leave a comment below with your creative ways to save money.

Questions of the Week

Visit my feedback page and submit your question if you would like it answered on a future episode of the podcast.

This week’s question comes from Michael

I'd love to hear your thoughts on creative placement agencies and if it would be a good idea to work with one to find jobs or would I be better served flying solo and try marketing myself as a freelancer or potential employee. I'm sure there are pros and cons to both sides. Thanks in advance.

To find out what I told Michael you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

Resource of the week is Creative Market

Creative Market is a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world.
They”re passionate about making beautiful design simple and accessible to everyone. Visit Creative Market to purchase and sell great designs. And be sure to sign up for their newsletter with weekly freebies.

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

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