No matter where you came from in terms of your financial background, I think it is possible for everyone to become financially independent and this is a life goal that everyone should proactively be looking to achieve. Financial independence brings an endless amount of both extrinsic and intrinsic value to your life such as an increase of freedom, stability, success, confidence, and happiness.
Often times people think that making a ton a of money automatically means a person is financially in a better place than someone else but I think what is more important than how much salary an actual person earns is how one manages their money. I have seen people who significantly make less money but they are never in debt and still have money leftover to save while I have seen people who are very wealthy but don’t know how to save effectively and in extreme cases end up broke AF. So the good news from all of this is that anyone can truly benefit from the financial strategies provided here and it does not matter what your current financial status is as there is always room for growth and change. I do not think it is ever too late to start practicing better money habits, it just takes some discipline and mindfulness on your part.
Stop Spending Beyond Your Means – I think this is probably most people’s biggest money problem–they spend money they don’t really have. There is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy your hard earned money and treating yourself to nice things but this can be done in moderation. Instead of going to Starbucks every single morning, why not just treat yourself once a week and then make coffee from home the rest of the week? By this simple change alone, you are saving a few dollars each week which adds up to a lot in one year.
Keep a Financial Journal – I do not know many people who do this but I have been doing this as early as high school. I write down every single day how much I spend and record how much I earn. It is not fancy by any means and although people might do this nowadays in some type of spreadsheet, I keep it old school and literally keep track of it in a journal. I just put the date, where/what the money was spent, and the exact amount. I do this for many reasons. For one, I like to know where my money goes and keep a record of my expenses and earnings. I do not add up my spending totals for the month (I easily can and have done that before if I wanted to let’s say keep track of how much money I spent on different categories such as groceries, etc. from month-to-month) but I do add up my totals for how much money I make each month. I think it is a good practice to do this for general self awareness and I truly believe whenever you write anything down, you are taking accountability for your actions. Ultimately, this personal practice will bring a sense of mindfulness when it comes to how you choose to spend your money while also paying attention to how much money you make.
Find Multiple Streams of Income – Thanks to the internet, there are so many ways to make a little extra money on top of your full time job or it can even help you find your main source of income. You can start up an Etsy shop or Ebay business or go on Craig’s List and place an ad for odd job work/services that you can provide. There are many apps and resources to find freelance work or to sell things so the opportunities are endless when you take the time to look and see what is available.
Sacrifice Short-term Happiness for Long-term Happiness (aka Your Future) – It is time to start planning for your long-term future if you have not begun to do so already. Depending on what stage you are in your life, that could mean purchasing your very first home or starting a retirement fund. A retirement fund is a must and ideally you should start one as soon as you can. Even if you can barely contribute at the moment, every dollar goes a long way thanks to compound interest. In order to reach these goals, you will have to make everyday sacrifices so you have money set aside for the big purchases in your life while also saving for retirement so you can retire comfortably. Instead of buying a designer handbag on sale (yes, it might be on sale but do you really need it?) which is a short-term happiness purchase, remind yourself of the bigger picture.
Pay Your Bills on Time – I feel like this sounds like common sense but it amazes me how many people are not doing this each month and as a result, they incur late fees which is just a total waste of money and equivalent to throwing your money into a trashcan. The best way to do this is to set up automatic payments and then this way you do not have to worry about whether or not you missed the deadline on a payment. To stay even more organized, write down each month what bills are due and when so you know in advance when the money will be taken out of your bank account. If you notice that too many bills are due around the same time in which it liquidates too much of your bank account at one time, you can usually call the company and request a different date that it gets taken out each month. This allows for more balance from week to week in terms of how your money is distributed between all your monthly expenses and to ensure you always have enough money in your account. If you find that you cannot pay off your basic monthly expenses due to not being able to afford it then you need to either find ways to increase your income or cut back on certain things in its entirety.
It truly is never too late to start taking control of your financial destiny and improving your money management skills. It really comes down to two basic principles of spending less and saving more. If you really take the time to examine where you are now, set some financial goals for your future, and implement these strategies, then you are on the road to financial success.