Budget Surplus? Here’s How to Get the Most for Your Money

August 31st, 2021

For managers and leaders allotted a certain budget to spend each year, the concept of “use it or lose it” might ring a bell. While it’s less common today than in prior decades, the “use it or lose it” predicament requires managers to make some key year-end money decisions.

It’s a good problem to have. Your department or team spent less than expected, so now you have a budget surplus. But unless you spend that surplus, higher level management might remove that unused money in next year’s budget because it appears you don’t need it. If for some reason that doesn’t make sense, don’t worry – Michael Scott from The Office famously struggled with this concept too. (But seriously, it’s pretty straight forward).

Although an imperfect system, removing unused budget is intended to reduce waste. But for the prudent manager, a budget surplus can be spent in a way that isn’t just spending for spending’s sake. Enter freelancers. In this short post, we’ll explain why “use it or lose it budgets” are best used on hiring freelance talent to accelerate the growth and progress of your department’s thorniest projects.

Spending Your Budget Surplus on Freelancers

What do we mean when we say you should spend your extra funds on freelancers? Consider that for any team or department, there will always be a backlog of projects that are either on the priority list, or next in line.

Getting to each of those projects usually is a matter of team bandwidth. With a certain-sized staff, only so much can get done in a week, quarter, year, etc. But what if you could expand your team with the snap of your fingers? With pre-vetted expert freelance talent, that’s exactly what you’d be doing.

At 10x Management, we match expert tech talent with organizations that need immediate support. That often means deploying freelancers on new projects in as little time as 48 hours. This, we believe, is one of the most impactful ways managers can strategize around their “use it or lose it” budget surplus. Just think – which projects could use some extra technical support as the year comes to a close?

Example of Spending Budget Surplus on Freelancers

As an example, consider you’re a managing director of a department in a large agency. As you track your department’s expenses for the year, you begin to notice around Q3 or Q4 that you are pacing towards a surplus – somewhere between $20k and $30k.

Your department has a very outdated website that consistently causes problems for one of your employees who manages the site to the best of her abilities. “New website” is not necessarily your top priority, but you recognize that the projects that are priorities are getting plenty of resources. You also recognize that the cost to the company in lost productivity from the outdated site is meaningful.

So… why not use the surplus on that new site? With 10x’s pre-vetted freelancer(s), you remove the burden and resources of having to find that perfect candidate. Much of the hard work is done – the only additional work for your team will be communicating to the freelancer(s) what you want and need to achieve.

What Next?

We’ve seen the “use it or lose it” situation play to the benefit of many of our clients who understand the value of making that final push at the end of the quarter or the year. And the following quarter/year, when you find that you have another surplus, you can rinse and repeat.

If you’re looking to involve freelancers in some of your “use it or lose it” projects, feel free to reach out to us directly at 10x.

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