I've known for a while that Freelance Switch offers this super-nifty calculator that will help you determine how much money you should charge per hour based on your cost of living and quantity worked. I hadn't really taken advantage of it yet, because when you first get started as a freelancer there's about a million and one things on your to-do list that don't make money directly, and this was nowhere near the top of the list. But last night I made up for it by running the calculator several times, and recording the output. Putting the data I pulled from the calculator, I made three separate charts: the first was based on bare-bones survival (no eating out, no health insurance, etc.), the second was based on a decent living (hiring a bookeeper, budgeting for retirement) and the third was for "making it' (budgeting for concerts, higher rent, decent Christmas gifts). Considering each chart, I plugged in different combinations of potential hours worked per day (my hours are on the low side because I'd like to devote a few hours daily to my blog or novel). This gave me hard numbers for how much I need to work to survive/succeed as a freelancer. Or conversely, how much I need to charge to work the hours I want to work. I think this will help motivate me to either work harder or negotiate harder for more pay. It may also allow me to not stress out and work 24/7 because I know when I'm making a living wage.
I thought I'd share this as it is a way of using the freelance calculator that maybe you haven't thought about.