How to Celebrate Independence Day the Right Way
Happy Independence Day! Today is a day where we celebrate the independence of our country, but do we ever stop to think about our own, individual, independence? FINANCIAL independence, that is. Standing on your own two feet, managing your finances and taking care of your loved ones are how we move our lives forward. But if you’re not financially independent, that’s pretty difficult to do. Here are 4 tips on how you can start to become financially independent, or stay that way, so you can celebrate this holiday the right way!
You hear it time and time again because it’s true. You HAVE TO SAVE in order to get ahead instead of trying to catch up after the latest emergency. We’ve all gone through the times where you just can’t seem to catch a break, but if you prepare for it, it won’t hurt so bad. By saving regularly, regardless of how small the amount you save each time may be, you build up a cushion for when life happens, so you can depend on yourself to get through it.
Here’s how you do it: Save FIRST! If you only try to save what is left after spending, you will never have anything left to save. Instead, put savings away first, and live off of the rest. If you’re reaction to this is, “I was struggling before, how am I going to save and still stay afloat”, that’s an excellent question. Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, “Something’s gotta give.” Save that fast-food money and Starbucks money, do your nails at home, and spend less money on leisure. Your wallet (and blood pressure) will thank you.
People ABSOLUTELY HATE THIS WORD! We get it. At the same time, almost 80% of our country was living paycheck to paycheck BEFORE COVID, which is mostly because people were never taught to manage their money properly. It’s not your fault if finances weren’t taught in your high school, but it’s still your responsibility to figure it out. Simply put, give yourself (and your household) permission, with limits. If you give your kid permission to eat cake for dessert, it’s not the whole cake, it’s a slice! Save some for later, right? Lead by example. When you overindulge, there’s nothing left for tomorrow. In order to manage their finances, some people prefer to use spreadsheets, others prefer apps. Whatever is most comfortable, helps you set goals & limitations, and allows you to see where your money is going, is what you should use.
Limitations don’t exist without some sort of supervision. Using either pen and paper, spreadsheet or an app/site will allow you to see your progress. When you can see what is and isn’t working within your budget, you can adjust and learn from it. It takes time to get the hang of it, and to create the new habit of checking, tracking, and sticking to your financial goals, and there will be mistakes along the way. But you only keep making the same mistakes if you don’t learn the lesson from it.
Independent does not mean by yourself, or without help. That’s just silly. It just means taking control of your own situation. But you can’t do that without being accountable. This is really hard for most to do by themselves, because it is hard to say “No” to yourself. Besides, the rest of the world tells you things like, “you deserve it”, but that’s mostly because they won’t miss a meal if you go broke. This is why people hire coaches, or do things with a partner. We do it for dieting, working out, any sort of club, school, art, band, sports, and everything else under the sun. Why not do it for something really important like your finances?
I hope that on this holiday that celebrates independence, these tips help you find the independence you can celebrate all year long. If you have trouble, there are always resources to help, and professionals to guide you through. Independent doesn’t mean alone. You know where to reach us if you need a helping hand, and the first consultation is always complimentary.