A few weeks ago, a Cushion beta user suggested the idea of multiple financial goals for the budget timeline. At the time, there was only one goal in Cushion, which made it somewhat difficult to picture the year. Do I set the goal to what I need to make or what I want to make?—these are two very different goals. Because of this constant confusion, I replaced the single goal with three—minimum, target, and stretch.
When considering your finances, it’s good to think of what you absolutely need to make to stay alive and pay the bills—your bare minimum. From there, you can aim for a higher target that allows you to do more than just survive, like go out to eat more often or take a cab instead of the subway. And, if you reach that target, you can then try for more, which might be enough to add a vacation to your year.
These goals are important in the freelance life because there’s really no cap on how much you can make. Since you have no salary, you can decide how much you want to make beyond covering your expenses, granted the work is available. If you want to overload your schedule for a month in order to take a month off, you can do that. If you want to work consistently and make a killing, that’s cool, too.
Personally, I don’t do a great job of aiming high. I tend to make enough to pay my minimum, then I invest the extra time in my personal projects. Recently, I’ve been investing any income over my minimum into buying more of my own time, as if I’m my own client. I’m betting on myself and my productivity. Maybe two weeks of full-time Cushion could amount to more than a two-week client gig. And maybe, with Cushion, I could reach my stretch goal all on my own.