When I was in debt I felt stuck. I owed so much money in payments every month that it limited what I was able to do. I worried about possible changes to my job that would make working undesirable or big expenses that might pop up that would derail all my progress. I had trouble sleeping at night because I never seemed to have enough money and was afraid I’d never get ahead.
Things shifted after I paid off my credit cards and car. I was able to start building an emergency fund and stash money aside for other things that I wanted to do. I remember walking into work one day with a new outlook- I don’t have to be here if I don’t want. I was no longer living paycheck to paycheck & I had POWER.
Financial independence means something different to everyone, but for me, it’s the ability to live simply and not have my life ruled by the lack of money. It’s the freedom to take risks and opportunities when they feel right. It’s not having to worry about paying the bills and eating today, next month, or anytime in the near future. It’s about not being tied to a job or location because of financial reasons.
To me, financial independence doesn’t mean NOT working ever again or being “retired.” It’s more about being able to work at my own pace, enjoying what I’m doing, and spending my time where I find the most value.
It wasn’t getting up early, rushing out the door, communing 30 minutes, and sitting at a desk working for someone else for the majority of my waking hours that was doing it for me anymore. I’m not saying having a job is a bad thing. I think if you have a passion for what you’re doing and enjoying it, that’s all that matters!
We all need money to live, and life can be REAL expensive. Gaining control of your money is so much more than increasing your income. It involves creating good habits and making intentional decisions over and over again for a long period of time.
A few things that I noticed when I started cleaning up my financial act is that life became SIMPLE. I wasn’t stressed out all the time, going after new opportunities actually felt possible, and I felt in charge of my life and future.
Here are some practical things that I did to change my struggle with money. These things helped me get closer and closer to a better financial future. I still use these principals today so I will never again have to face money problems.
• Budget- Always have a plan for your money, not the other way around
• Only buy necessities – have a plan before splurging
• Always pay yourself first- You’ll figure out a way to pay your bills I promise
• Never use debt- pay with cash or don’t buy
• Automate your savings & investing
• Lower your expenses and save (or pay off debt) with the difference
• Learn a skill that you can turn into a business
• Remind yourself why you want this and commit to your goals
Your life can dramatically change from what it is today in just a few short years. It took me just over 2 years to pay off my debt and another 4 to build up a substantial cushion to where I felt comfortable leaving my full-time job to freelance. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a very long time. It all just took a plan, determination, and consistency.
It’s not easy, but nothing is easy that’s worthwhile.
What does financial independence mean to you? Comment below.
“Don’t let money keep you chained to everything you hate. Life is too short” – ME =)
Thanks for Reading,