Steps to Financial Independence

Whether you are a young adult taking your first steps toward financial independence, or have recently experienced a major life change, such as divorce or the death of a spouse, that requires you to become financially independent, there are many helpful steps that you can take.

Here are a few that I have learned along the way:

1. Finding ways to save is often easier than finding ways to earn more.
a. Sell anything you absolutely don’t need. Use the income to pay of other debts and lower monthly expenses, or put it in a savings account and let it earn interest.
b. Plan meals before going grocery shopping. Take advantage of coupons (but only on item you would have purchased anyway). If possible, grow some of your own vegetables. It’s a great family project and can save a lot of money.
c. Get information on any government grants or assistance programs you may qualify for. Now is not the time to let your pride get in your way. Make your tax dollars work for you.

2. Find creative ways to earn extra cash.
a. If you were a long-time homemaker, make a list of the things you did each day; cooking, cleaning, budgeting, childcare, etc. You’d be surprised how many jobs you qualify for. Pick up a second job for awhile until you are more financially stable.
b. Cash in items like aluminum cans. You’ll be surprised at how much extra this can bring in.
c. Use your talents! Small crafts are fun to make and can bring in extra cash at flea markets.
d. Search the internet for at-home money making ideas. Be careful not to make any big investments. There are plenty of scams. Do your homework.

3. Establish your own credit as soon as possible.
a. Build credit in your own name. But Beware! This can backfire if you’re not careful. Apply for a credit card to help you get started. Only charge what you have the cash to pay for. Set the cash aside and pay off the balance each month.
b. Invest whatever you can, whenever you can. Even small amounts grow. Watch for opportunities. I was able to acquire a small, rundown hobby farm which increased in value almost $200,000 in ten years.

4. Believe in yourself! Better yourself!
a. It’s never too late for changes. Go back to college, change your career, or just shoot for that promotion.
b. Set realistic goals. The smallest success can change your whole outlook on things.
c. If you have children, make success a family experience. Work together. Plan small rewards for your efforts. You’ll be surprised at some of the great ideas they have.

For most of us, financial independence doesn’t happen overnight unless you’re a lucky lottery winner. Be patient. Be creative. Be successful!