It’s natural for people to crave financial independence and for many people, it’s one of the most important things in their lives. For others, however, it’s a little more difficult and some people just aren’t sure where to start. While financial success won’t happen overnight, there are simple steps to take in order to get you in the right direction.
Before you can take your finances to the next level, it’s important to understand what you’re spending versus what you’re bringing in as without this information, you’ll be flying blind through the entire process. Calculating necessities and bills against your income is a good start, but to get an accurate reading, you’ll need to look at your bank statements for the last few months.
By looking at the details of a few months’ worth of expenses, you’ll be able to see patterns in your spending habits and this is the most important aspect. A lot of people tend to spend money on trivial items without even realizing it and they’re often surprised when they go through their bank records to discover just how much they’re spending on coffee or eating away from home. Seeing these things in front of you will help you combat them and hopefully break any bad habits you’ve picked up.
Once this information has been established, it’s time to set a budget. A budget will be different for everyone, but in general, the idea is to cut back on spending money on unnecessary things to put more money elsewhere. By putting this money into savings or paying extra on your debt, you’ll find that your financial success will come much quicker and it’s typically much more satisfying than that morning coffee.
Along with creating a workable budget, you should look to see if there is any money that can be saved in other areas of your finances. If you’d like to save more money on your utility bills, investing in some energy efficient lights such as those from Maxlite will drastically reduce how much you spend on electricity each month. If you find you’re spending a lot of money on gas, try to pinpoint why this might be. If you’re making extra trips to the store or running out every time you need one thing, consider bulking up your errands so you can run them all at once. Grabbing the groceries, going to the post office, and heading to the Laundromat could probably all be done at once for the most part and once you get into this habit, you’ll see you’re saving quite a bit on gas each month.
Paying down debt will understandably be the most difficult part of achieving financial independence, but it’s certainly doable. Once the budget has been set, commit to paying a certain amount off your debt each month and stick to it. The longer the debt sits, the more interest it will accrue, which means more money out of your pocket for not really any reason, and this could be avoided if you raise the payments you make each month. This will also eliminate the stress of having those debts weighing on your shoulders, which will make your path toward financial freedom that much more rewarding.
The most important part to remember about financial independence is that it takes time and effort on your part in order for it to really take hold. Every budget or habit that you put into place has to be committed to month after month and while it might be hard in the beginning, you’ll find that it will feel much better once you get into the swing of things.
The Happy Homeowner says
I think some people become impatient with the effort it takes to get to the point of true financial freedom. This is sad because if you put in the work upfront, you reap far more benefits over the long-term!
Debt Roundup says
I believe that this is very important to know what you are spending, but also you should know where you want to go. You should always set goals in order to know what to achieve.
Pauline, you are so right, I have recently started monitoring my spending, because now I put everything on credit card. Low and behold, what I found is that I am being incredibly frivolous with my habits. I have gotten better since I began tracking it, more out of respect that I will see where the money goes at the end of the month. But, you are correct you need to get a hold of your spending before you can be serious about a budget.
I have been in a BK for 6 months now, each month it actually seems harder, and every month there seems to be one or more expenses that hit me. This month its a tax bill and a new tire.
But I am sure hoping that soon, it will feel easier!
It does take time for a budget to work. Money/compound interest can sometimes require years to show the effort that you’ve put in. However, once your money starts to make money you get that great sense that you’ve accomplished something.
It’s taken years, but soon we’ll be debt free and I can’t wait for the day.
My Wealth Desire says
I believe, our ultimate goal is to have a financial freedom. To pay off bad debt and to live peacefully and financially worry free. Pauline, you are right to reach our financial freedom it takes many process and right strategies. This cannot be done in one night, but over the time slowly and surely manner.
Creating a budget and actually being able to see where our money was going changed our financial life. We highly recommend budgeting!