Freelancing: Reducing those subscriptions!

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Nowadays there’s a subscription for everything and it’s so easy to get carried away and sign up for everything you need to get your work done. But, the costs can quickly add up and before you know it most of the money you’re making is being consumed by subscription services.

When I switched back to freelancing earlier this year, I was adamant I didn’t want to fall into this trap. So, I did a fair bit of research to find alternatives to the software and services I was used to working with.

Here are my findings…

Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator › Affinity Designer/Photo

Affinity Designer

Having come from a Photoshop/Illustrator background, I wanted something that was similar and Serif’s Affinity Designer fit the bill nicely. For a one-off fee, you get a great vector based design tool, made for UI design. It has many of the features and functions you’d find in Adobe’s tools.

Sketch App

Sketch App

Sketch is another great UI design tool with a massive community. They have a yearly fee for updates if you want them. If not then the app will continue working at the current version you are on.

Microsoft Office › Google Drive

Google Drive

I never used Word or Excel enough to justify signing up for Office 365 and I found Google Sheets/Docs to be more than adequate.

Evernote › Google Keep/Docs

Google Keep

I used evernote a lot over the years, but after their recent price changes and restrictions, I found it unreasonable. Their free plan would have been acceptable, but not anymore. And, when my paid subscription did come to an end, I was bombarded with signup requests – very annoying!

FreeAgent › Wave Accounting › Rounded


Being from the UK, FreeAgent is one of the finest accounting services out there (if you are from the UK) and I used it for years. They help you with everything you need including submitting your tax return at the end of the year. So, when I moved to Australia I was looking for something that was very similar at around the same cost.

At first, I tried Wave Accounting, which was free and did the job. But, I found it to be a little bit too “clunky” and it didn’t really help me with the Australian tax rules. Then I came across this article, which recommended Rounded, an Australian accounting app which is perfect for freelancers.

Toggl › Rounded


Toggl is great for time tracking projects and creating reports. I love the UI!

I signed up for the monthly subscription which was $10 at the time but after having regular connectivity issues and a lot of 400 bad requests, I felt it was time to look at alternatives.

And, it just so happened that Rounded had a time-tracking feature built-in too, with the bonus of connecting with invoicing – All good!

Toggl › Time Doctor

Time Doctor

If you’re not using Rounded for your invoicing, then a great alternative to Toggl is Time Doctor.

Time Doctor is a feature-rich time-tracking tool used by a wide variety of companies of different sizes for managing remote teams, digital agencies, software teams, remote support agents, freelancers and more.

The tool offers some interesting features such as website and application monitoring, beautiful reporting, privacy controls, and a notably cool feature that gives users a friendly nudge when it detects that they might be distracted by a less productive task.

New users are allowed to take the tool for a spin for a 14-day free trial period after which it cost $9.99 per month.

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