Some may think I’m the last person to write about financial freedom. I confess, my husband and I have debt. We have a mortgage and we have debt on one credit card. We do not have a lot of liquidity and something major-like an appliance going out or a car needing replacing– becomes a problem.
That said, much of our debt is due to schooling (we have two children) and medical situations, partly because I am disabled. However, on the other side, we have savings accounts and our car is paid off.
We continue to work for financial freedom, and while I do not have all the answers, I do understand the process. Part of it is simple. One step to financial freedom is this, don’t spend what you don’t have. If there is no money for something, don’t purchase it. In other words, live within your income. Tomorrow does come, the piper has to be paid sometime, and credit card debt will eventually consume what you need for today for basic needs.
It is very easy to build up debt when we flash our credit cards. Somehow, that little card doesn’t make the money we spend real-until we get the credit card bill in the mail and discover just how much we spent without even thinking about it. That leads to another step to financial freedom. Use cash for smaller purchases. It is much easier to track what you spend. And, you don’t get credit card bill shock at the end of the month.
Another important step to financial freedom and to getting out of debt is make a budget. Figure out what money you have available and what bills you need to pay and what other expenses-like entertainment or trips–need to come out of your income. Of course, the second part of this plan is to stick with the program. A budget does little good if you keep fudging the situation by using the credit card “just this once.”
Along with this step to financial freedom is to learn the difference between a want and a need. Do you want it or is it vital to your life-like medicine. Do you need that fancy house or car or will a more modest one better fit your budget and give you breathing room with your income?
Another step toward financial freedom that helps keep you out of debt-besides judicious use of credit-is to save. Put ten percent of your income into a savings account. If you find it difficult to do this, have it taken directly out of your paycheck so you don’t even miss it. If that isn’t enough, put the money in an account not readily accessible. Savings build up and gives you a cushion when those big ticket items need replacing.
Finally, the last step toward financial freedom is to let it go. Don’t, like Scrooge, hold too tightly to what you consider yours. Even as you save part of your income, give away a portion as well Don’t give it with expectations of gratitude or accolades. Sometimes an anonymous gift provides it’s own reward. There is nothing so freeing and exhilarating as helping someone else. Donations is a way to share your blessings.
Yes, there is a road to financial freedom. Is it easy? No. Is it possible? Yes. With commitment and planning, we can be on the road out of debt and into financial freedom.