You don't need me to tell you

that the economy is in dire straits; it's heavily covered on every news

channel and website. More and more, people are scratching and clawing

to improve their personal finances whether it's new techniques to save more money or creative ways to earn extra cash.


workers, thought of as 'the isolated many' aren't isolated from the

economy. Contrary to what many might think, web working isn't a zero

investment job; there are some significant costs associated with it.

Since they are living in the same world and a part of the same economy,

it's important for them to gear up and tackle the situation in a way

that can cut costs without hurting their business.

If you are a

web worker, consider starting with the following tips and then see if

you need to cut more on certain other aspects of your work.

Identify Expenses

sounds crazy but it's common for most web workers to not have an

organized way to calculate total income and expenditure. When you are

taking projects and small jobs from dozens of people or companies, much

of your time could be spent as bookkeeper, and well, that is not

increasing earnings.

Hence, the first thing you should do is sit

down and make a detailed account of your income and expenditures.

Either hire an accountant or do it yourself, but make sure it is

crystal clear what your home and business expenses are. You will find

people you forgot to bill and you will find expenses you forgot to


Isolate the Absolute Essential

money doesn't mean that you will ditch broadband and go for dial-up

internet; that'd be foolish because the internet is the lifeline of any

web worker. There will be other such absolute essentials depending upon

the type of work you do. Identify them and isolate them from the cost

cutting process. And yes, be prudent in picking the essentials.

Go Paperless
Believe it or not, going paperless could save you a great deal of hassle and money. It will make your home office clutter free

and will keep you from spending hours searching for that important file

or notepad. There is some great software and tools available and they

can easily replace your paperwork.

Use Freeware

I talked about software, I'd say freeware is the way to go, unless of

course there isn't a great alternative (like for photoshop). But for

most of the paid software out there, there some cool open source

alternatives available. Sites like Osalt will help you in finding them.

Use Skype And Reduce Phone Bills

bills could turn out to be a major cost for most web workers,

especially for those who have local clients. If you are one of them,

I'd suggest you suppress the urge to use your cell phone to make a call

every time and instead, use a tool like Skype to make calls.

Look for Free Learning Material
Self-study is an important thing that absolutely shouldn't be overlooked. There is no doubt that paid courses could

be of better quality but the web is full of free, quality ebooks and

guides. Try to find such stuff and use them for gaining knowledge. Free

pdf search engines like PDFGeni could help you in this search.

Ditch the Car
You usually don't go out everyday and when you do, you take the car. Weather permitting, why not bike it next time?

Swap Books & DVDs
You'd love this tip. Did you know that there are services like SwapaDVD to exchange DVDs with others and PaperBackSwap or BookMooch to exchange books ?

Has the economy hit your home office routine or home business? If so, let us know what you've done to sidestep these issues.

Written on 1/06/2009 by Abhijeet Mukherjee. You can catch him at Jeet Blog where he blogs about different Web 2.0 apps and online tools and how they can help you become more productive.

Photo Credit: cogdogblog