Greetings Money Buffalo readers! This week's post is contributed by Amy Nickson. Hope you enjoy.
Most of you have learned about money management skills, the usefulness of budgeting, dangers of overspending, and so on since childhood. Isn’t it? But, even after learning so much about the money, you’re still in a financial mess. Right?
Do you want to declutter your finances fast? Are you thinking of achieving financial independence in the last quarter of the year? If so, then you’re on the right page. The below-given steps will show how you can gain financial freedom in just 3 months. Have a look:
- Discover your vision of financial independence
The idea of financial independence varies from person to person. Do you agree? I think many of you will. So, before jumping into any conclusion, think of what financial freedom stands for you.
It can be anything; for example, starting to pay off your debts, using cash to pay bills, opening a savings account, saving for retirement and emergency, and so on.
- Check your present financial health
Do you know your present financial health condition? That is, how much savings you have, how much money you owe to your creditors, and so on. No? Then, find out your current financial health condition quickly. If you have little savings and owe big to your creditors, your financial health is fragile.
- Find out the flaws in your monetary regime
Discover why your finances are suffering. Take a pen and paper and jot down your financial practices like frequency of your shopping, the way you pay your bills (what do you mostly use – card or cash?), the amount you spend each month, and so on.
If you are an impulsive buyer, mostly pay your bills with credit cards, or spend more than you earn, you have major financial faults. So, put a check on these practices as soon as you can.
- Look for ways to fix the financial faults
After examining your current economic condition and finding financial flaws, check out how you can fix the mistakes and change your financial health for better. For instance, if you cannot clear your credit card bills within the given billing cycle, consider using cash to pay your bills.
- Get more financial education
Standing in the middle of an economic turmoil, you cannot ignore the importance of financial education. Remember, the more you’re financially educated, the better you’ll be able to manage your finances. So, don’t waste time on useless things; go and get some financial education and bring your finances out of this mess.
- Do plan a budget
After identifying your vision of financial freedom, try to plan a budget. Budgeting is the most essential and effective tool to manage your finances. It’s like a miraculous drug for your dying financial health.
Are you thinking of why should you plan? Yes? Then, check out some importance of budgeting below:
- Keeps track of your income
- Gives control over your finances
- Helps you prepare for your gray hair and rainy days
- Identifies wasteful expenses
- Makes you save more money
- Alerts you about your future financial problems
Important points to remember:
- Revisit your budget at regular intervals and make adjustments according to your present financial condition.
- Stick to your budget. Unless you follow your budget completely, you won’t achieve financial freedom.
- Visit a budgeting expert if you cannot make your own budget.
- Keep track of your expenses
Planning a budget won’t help unless you keep a tab on your expenditures. To track your expenses, keep your credit card, utility, grocery and shopping bills with you. If possible, keep them in separate folders to avoid mixing up.
- Control your overspending
Overspending is one big reasons why your finances suffer. Impulsive and useless purchasing of items causes overspending. It’s like an addiction and will worsen your economic condition if not taken proper care. Instead of denying its existence, try to control your overspending habit. If you can do that, you’re half toward your financial independence.
- Open a savings account
Savings is essential if you want to reach financial freedom. Try to save at least 10% of what you earn each month. Or, you can automate your savings account and avoid forgetting to deposit your money every month. It’s the safest place to keep your money. Can’t save big? If so, try to save whatever you can.
- Save for your retirement
You don’t want to beg money from your relatives and friends after you retire. Right? If so, then start building a nest egg for your retired days. It’s one of the crucial steps to achieving economic freedom.
- Build funds for rainy days
Emergencies are always unexpected and unwelcomed. They can drain all your finances if you don’t take proper precautions. So, start building an emergency fund and insure yourself to avoid getting drenched in rainy days.
- Think of increasing your income
Besides savings, earning sufficient money is also important. Think of how you can increase your income such as you can talk to your employer about increasing your salary or you can look for ways to earn more like freelancing, and so on. Use your extra income toward something useful like paying off your outstanding credit card balances or your other debts.
- Start eliminating your debts
Debts can create obstacles in achieving financial independence. So, start erasing your debts as soon as you can; Otherwise, it can make you unreliable to your creditors. Do you have debts and are you planning to buy a house or a car? If so, make an effort to eliminate your debts to get the best rates.
You can get rid of your debts through the following debt-relief methods:
- Debt consolidation
- Debt settlement
- Debt management
- DIY debt reduction
The first 4 methods will take a bit time to make you debt free. The last method (bankruptcy) will eliminate your debts within few months. Do you have huge debts? Yes? Then consider filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and kick out your debts fast.
- Never repeat your financial mistakes
Repeating financial mistakes is a big NO. It’ll push your finances in danger. If you want to save your finances from getting hurt, don’t repeat your financial mistakes again, like only making the minimum payment on credit card bills, not saving money for future, etc.
- Invest wisely and help your money grow
Investments will make your dollars grow. You must remember that investments are also risky. So, be careful when you invest your money. Before investing, consult an investment adviser because they know all the nitty-gritty of the game and will guide you in the best possible way. You can also diversify your investments to maintain a balance between risk and reward.
Though your financial health will take time to improve but, by following the above steps, within 3 months, you can head toward achieving financial independence easily.
A piece of advice: Financial independence only needs your patience and a bit of sacrifice. If you have patience, confidence, believe in yourself, and sacrifice a bit, then financial freedom is not far.
Author Bio – Amy Nickson is a financial web enthusiast. She writes for ovlg.com for quite a long time now. Besides writing financial articles she loves to travel.
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.