You get what you pay for

Last month I wrote an entry on the Pastry Box about valuing your time. I’ve been meaning to write a follow-up post looking at my monthly outgoings as a freelancer, how much they cost and why I pay for them.

Office Rent £180/month

Before moving to Frome late in 2011 I’d been freelance for six months or so working from home. As I’ve written before I had really struggled working from home and was fortunate that Frome had a vibrant and affordable co-working space. I rent a studio along with a bunch of other freelancers which costs me £180/month including bills. This is a lot of money but has paid for itself and having a dedicated work space has really helped productivity, sanity and socially.

Hosting £35/month

For a long time I’ve been with 1&1 for hosting and whilst I’ve been really happy with their service it’s not been a solution that scales very well. With numerous domains and several sites to manage I’ve long been meaning to look for something more dedicated so at John Baxter’s recommendation I recently moved over to a VPS with Memset. I’ve now got much more control over my sites and can manage multiple accounts separately!

Freeagent £15/month

I’ve been using Freeagent since it was in early Beta and I honestly couldn’t imagine working for myself without it. Even when I was only working a few hours freelance a week the £15/month outlay more than paid for itself in saving my time managing accounts, invoices and expenses. A truly invaluable service and you can get 10% off your monthly Freeagent subscription using the referral code 1c8frs9e

Github £5/month

Github is such an invaluable and brilliantly executed service. Whilst they have a free option for public repositories I happily pay to host private repositories for client work. Bitbucket is another service where you can host unlimited private repositories although you are limited to who you can share these with.

BrowserStack £12.50/month

As someone who spends a lot of their time in HTML and CSS having a ready means to test in various browsers is essential. I’ve never got on well with running a Virtual Machine on my laptop so BrowserStack is a brilliant solution with the added bonus of being able to test local server or files. Indispensable for front-end folk.

Dropbox £10/month

I cannot remember life before Dropbox. It is such an essential tool in my day-to-day work; whether it is for versioning or sharing files, synching work across devices or hosting HTML templates. You get 2GB with their free account but Dropbox has become such an integral part of my workflow I am more than happy to pay for the Pro account.

Sanebox £4/month

I am such an idiot when it comes to email. I really struggle to keep on top of messages and hate having unread email in my inbox. Sanebox has been a massive help in managing my emails. It synchs up with Gmail (and other email services) and takes stuff out of the inbox that doesn’t think is important. It’s pretty clever and stuff rarely slips through the net.

It pings me at the end of each day to show me what it has archived and has some pretty powerful features like defer (you can archive messages and set them to reappear in your inbox at a later date), reminders (ping you if someone hasn’t replied to an email you sent) and black hole (for burying all those pesky newsletters you’d forgotten you’d subscribed to). All in all a pretty magic service!

Spotify £5/month

Okay so technically not work-related but for concerted head down productivity you can’t beat sticking on the headphones, loading up Spotify and sticking on some beats – a few years ago it would be hard to fathom having so much music at your fingertips for just £5/month.

Total spend: £266.50/month

So the outgoings do all add up but there isn’t anything there that doesn’t help me work better and ultimately save me time. Be interested to hear what services others subscribe to. Chris Coyier and Stu Robson have also blogged about their monthly outlay.


All these things add up and it seems like a lot when you’re just starting out but I would find it hard to run our business without them now.

* Basecamp £65pm (could not live without) * Spotify £10pm (for iPhone use) * Xero Accounts £18pm (brilliant) * Debtor Daddy £19 (a necessary evil) * Beanstalk SVN hosting £16.50 * Dropbox £6.50 × 4 pro accounts * Fasthosts Reseller hosting £50pm * Office rent £125pm

Total £329.50

Thanks for sharing Cole