How Expense Trackers Can Help You Manage Your Freelancer Budget (And Five You Can Try For Free)

How Expense Trackers Can Help You Manage Your Freelancer Budget (And Five You Can Try For Free)

Budgets and cash flow don’t exactly sound as sexy as say, monthly promos, but they are the backbone of your business. Being on top of the first results page and bending social algorithms to your will are great and all, but not if you’re always running low on cash with which to pay off your team of freelancers and consultants at the end of the month….and have no idea where all your income went.


Admittedly, manually drafting, and reviewing your employees’ payroll can prove rather tedious. It can be very tempting to just keep approving expenses and simply see how much you have leftover at the end of the month.


As with a lot of things in the 21st century, however, technology has come up with a solution: expense tracker apps. These can:



  • Catalog expenses such as invoices and recurring charges;

  • Automatically calculate the team’s remaining budget;

  • Monitor your billable working hours;

  • Provide you with a clearer picture of where you and your team are financially.


Curious yet? Here are five free expense tracking apps you can try today:


1. Invoicely.


Invoicely

As its name suggests, this app features well-designed automation tools that can churn out recurring invoices and payments, create and manage taxes, discounts, and shipping rates, and provide you with a way to track all your finances in a visual format.


This app has both free and paid plans, with the latter enabling you to brand each invoice with a custom URL, colors, icons, and log-in screen. The paid plans also have different tiers depending on how many members your team has, and you can downgrade or upgrade at any time as needed.


2. Cushion.


Cushion

Cushion’s main selling point is that it takes out much of the uncertainty that comes with freelancing by helping you manage time and expenses so you can budget projects and also make plans for your business’ future performance.


The key features that help users accomplish this are schedule forecasting (which can help you plan projects for up to one year at a time), tracking for project-based costs (so you know which clients are cash cows or money drains), and time-tracking tools for when you need to measure and tweak productivity.


Cushion has three paid options, but it also offers a free month-long trial.


3. Wave.


Wave

If you’re new to freelancing, this app can help you hit the ground running without having to pay for all the bells and whistles that you might not need just yet. It doesn’t have time-tracking, but it does let you import and track your expenses.


The app also produces easy-to-read reports that give you real-time updates on your current ability to pay your team members, and these even include tax calculations and online pay stubs. And save for payment processing and payroll features that incur minimal fees for credit card transactions, Wave is free for all users.


4. Shoeboxed.


Shoeboxed

Hate having to hold on to so many slips of paper just to keep track of your receipts? Shoeboxed has got your back.


With features like precise scanning and human data verification, expense reports generation (complete with receipt images attached), and a “magic envelope function” to hold and store prepaid envelopes with your actual documents and tax preparation tools, this online app saves you from having to dig into a pile of receipts to retrieve key information.


Best of all, it’s free and its simple interface makes it almost a no-brainer to use.


5. MoneyPenny.


MoneyPenny

This highly intuitive expense tracking solution rolls up invoicing and time and project tracking all into one painless package. Its user-friendly interface lets you capture, track, and report expenses at your own pace, plus it automatically syncs all your projects, timesheets, expenses, and invoices.


Like Shoeboxed, it also lets you snap photos of receipts, which you can link to your MoneyPenny account, link expenses to tax forms, and assign tax-friendly categories so your tax consultant can have a look at them any time.


Restrictive as they might seem, budgets can actually be quite freeing. For one thing, they let you know how much wiggle room you have when it comes to certain expenses. Regularly assessing what becomes of your monthly budget also gives you key information on whether you are maximizing it or not, and which expenses you need to keep an eye on if you want a more favorable outcome.


Lastly, staying within your budget is important simply because it means you can properly compensate your team of amazing freelancers and remote workers without going out of pocket, thus helping you retain your top talent. And with PayStaff’s revolutionary payment platform and competitive service rates, you may also find yourself netting significant savings without having to deduct a cent from your remote workers’ pay.


Imagine what your expense tracker would make out of that.



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