Freelancer Expenses Can Get Complicated. This Service Will Keep Track For You (and Save You Big on Taxes)

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We know all about the challenges of freelancer life, believe us. We know it’s not always easy making a go of it as an independent contractor, a side hustler, a gig worker, whatever you want to call it.

For one thing, you have to do all this extra financial stuff, and it’s tricky stuff. When you work for yourself, it’s on you to set aside money for taxes. And ideally, you’re supposed to keep track of your work-related expenses so you can pay less in taxes. But c’mon, how many of us are really all that great about doing that consistently?

Good news: We’ve found a cool online checking account that helps you do all that stuff. Lili is a mobile banking service that’s built exclusively for freelancers like you. The app, available for iOS or Android, is laser-focused on your specific needs.

Lili is totally free, and its digital tools help you save for taxes, take payments from clients and keep track of your expenses — all in the same account. It also allows you to overdraft your account without hitting you with costly fees. And Lili just added new business tools designed to help independent workers like you save time and money.

Swipe Left or Right to Sort Your Expenses

The account comes with its own Visa debit card. Whenever you spend any money out of the account, you’ll get a push notification asking you to swipe left or right to instantly categorize the expense as either “personal” or “business.”

At tax time, this will allow you to totally maximize your expenses and reduce your taxable income, lowering your tax bill.

Seriously, it’s so much easier this way!

Speaking of taxes, Lili will help you tally up your earnings and gauge what income taxes you’ll have to pay. And every time you get paid, you can have Lili automatically set aside a certain percentage for taxes.

Basically, Lili makes it easy to automate everything so you never have to worry about it again.

Even better: You can earn cash by referring up to 10 friends to join Lili. Once they sign up and spend $250 on their Lili card in the first 45 days, you’ll each get $100. You can also earn a $50 bonus when you open a Lili Pro account and spend at least $1,000 with your debit card within 60 days.

More Tools in Lili’s Toolbox

We freelancers need all the help we can get, you know? Luckily, Lili has more tools in its toolbox for us.

ATMs: You can get cash with your debit card at nearly 40,000 MoneyPass ATMs across the country. You have fee-free access to those. For out-of-network ATMs, there’s a $2.50 fee in the U.S. or $5 if you’re out of the country.

No overdraft fees: Unlike virtually all the brick-and-mortar banks, Lili doesn’t charge overdraft fees. You can overdraft up to $200 without getting hit with a fee. Other fee-free banks won’t let you overdraft at all.

No other fees: There are also no hidden fees.

Get paid fast: When clients and customers pay you via direct deposit, you get access to those funds within two business days — which is faster than most banks.

Cash-back rewards: Get cash back when you swipe your debit card at more than 14,000 businesses.

Mobile check deposit: It’s easy to deposit a check via the app. Just sign the check, then write “for Lili mobile deposit only” on the back of it, snap a photo of the front and back, then enter the amount into the app. Done.

Cash deposit: If you need to make a cash deposit, you can do it at any of 90,000 Green Dot locations like Walmart, Walgreens or 7-Eleven.

Expense reports: Lili automatically generates these every quarter to help you pay your taxes and add up your deductibles.

Unlimited invoicing: When you’re a freelancer, sending your clients invoices is just another hassle. But it’s easy to create invoices and get paid directly into Lili.

Insights: Lili lays out insights into in a visual format to help keep track of your personal and business finances.

Emergency fund: This past year has taught us the hard way that everyone should have one of these. You never know when you might lose a good freelance gig or suffer some other catastrophe. With Lili, you can automatically set aside a little each month to build your emergency fund. And you earn up to 1% interest on your savings — way more than at a brick-and-mortar bank.

Three final thoughts:

  • Money in your Lili account is FDIC insured for up to $250,000.
  • There’s no minimum account balance, so don’t worry about that.
  • It only takes a few minutes to sign up via iOS or Android and make your freelance life so much easier — and save big on taxes.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s also a freelance writer on the side, and he knows what a pain freelance taxes are.