Web designers find themselves continuously facing the largest issue for anyone in an artistic career. It is often difficult to start a career making work you love while earning enough money to live comfortably. Every artist is used to cutting costs when they have to, like eating Ramen noodles for a week or two to afford a program or drawing tablet.
Of course, there are less drastic ways to save money so that you can be a successful designer. One of the biggest costs for designers is software. $400 Adobe products that get updated every year can take a huge chunk out of your budget, but there are plenty of small software developers creating cheap or free alternatives. For $50-$100 you can find software that can accomplish nearly everything that $1000 dollar Creative Suite can do.
Speaking of free resources, the design community also serves as one of the greatest methods to get free textures, photography, icons, WordPress themes, and any sort of plug-in you could imagine. Searching for blogs and sites that offer these types of free resources also gives you an opportunity to interact with others in your community which can lead to strong professional relationships down the road. Just a simple, friendly “thanks” for the free stuff leaves a nice impression.
The active design community offers another type of resource that can save you tons of money on books and classes as well. There are all sorts of free tutorials and workshops online you can participate in that will keep you up to date on the latest design standards while putting you in direct interaction with others in the community.
Brian Spero from Web Designer Depot has plenty of other ways designers can keep their costs down. If you are a recent graduate or a newer freelancer, these ideas are definitely better than living off of Ramen.