(FiveNation.com) – What’s the key to financial independence summed up in one word?
Whether we are active stock investors or we work for ourselves from home, the same principle applies. And it isn’t just about where income comes from, either. It’s also about where it goes and where it simply isn’t used.
When there are limits on earnings, it is almost impossible to be financially independent. That’s because the income is a set number, but the outgo can change at a moment’s notice. That doesn’t mean a job with a set income is a bad thing. It means that it’s a wise move to create a second or third income source, preferably by doing something enjoyable.
People who do things they love end up naturally being sought out to do those things, and this is how a hobby turns into a business. The same is true when it comes to investments. One solid investment is great, but as COVID demonstrated, the unexpected can happen at any time, so it’s better to have several to minimize risk.
Nothing can cripple financial independence like a mound of overwhelming debt. Just the thought of paying it down can be overwhelming. Start with a budget. Then pick the way to pay it down that works best or combine multiple methods.
- Round up monthly payments to always pay extra.
- Pay off debts starting with the smallest first to obtain a sense of accomplishment.
- Combine debts under one lender, if making multiple payments a month is a struggle.
- Apply any extra income to debts.
- Always pay extra, but pay the most extra on things with the highest interest rates.
- Contact lenders and offer a payoff amount for a fraction of the amount owed and an agreement to take it off the credit report.
- Use “rewards” or points to pay down debt where applicable.
It’s not just about debt. Unnecessary spending sometimes hurts more than the bank account. Becoming financially independent also means reducing dependence on outside sources. We can do this in several ways, many of which offer rewards outside of financial independence.
- Review subscriptions and cancel unused or unnecessary ones.
- Eat more meals at home while teaching children to cook and/or enjoying time with loved ones at the table.
- Create a food supply. Herbs can be grown indoors or out, gardens are a great tool for reducing stress, and raising livestock reduces the number of chemicals in your food.
- Freeze leftovers for quick snacks later on.
- When retail therapy is in order, go through one of the boxes in storage to renew joy found in older items.
- Wait 24 hours before buying something after you choose it.
Diversification also means finding more than one use for things. Growing herbs in the kitchen helps with the food bill, but also helps filter and deodorize the air. Unique kitchen tools are useful when needed, but might also make great decorations. How many more things in the house can serve more than one purpose?
Money management is key. Create a plan and stick with it, but adjust it as needed. That means when one debt is paid down, don’t spend the extra money, but use it to pay down other debts. Committing a portion of the income to specific plans means you always know what’s available and can easily predict what will be available in the future.
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