Saving for a house---as a freelancer

That frequently-emailed article from last Sunday's New York Times about saving up for a downpayment featured a couple of real-life freelancers: Janey Lee and Pablo Agüero. In fact, Janey is a member of Freelancers Union. She and her husband have a design firm, Hanee Designs, and saved up for their condo while running their own business and budgeting for an episodic income--familiar stresses for many freelancers.

The article mentions that Janey and Pablo were able to accumulate their downpayment by cutting back on expenses (such as smoking, dining out, and new clothes), as you might expect. But Janey's take on the whole endeavor has a particularly interesting twist for freelancers. She says, "We personally found it easier to save when the income was not steady. When a client sends a long awaited big check, it pretty much all goes into our savings account." So, if you set a standard of frugality, that big paycheck can mean a big addition to your savings.

As a freelancer, what financial priorities have you set for yourself--homeownership, retirement, kids' college fund? And what strategies have you used to ensure that you'll reach your goals? Share your experiences in the comments!

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