No one wants to be a slave to debt. The image of creditors alone is enough to send any person into a fit of sleepless nights. In these hard times, achieving financial freedom is by itself considered a miracle by the working class struggling to make ends meet.
You do not have to be one of those people perpetually dealing with a mountain of unpaid bills. You have the power to make changes to your attitude and lifestyle to free yourself from the shackles of debt and a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. But first you must want it, and then cultivate self-discipline so you do not fall into the trap of a spendthrift pattern like a lot of people have.
The journey to financial freedom starts with:
. Looking at your monthly take-home income versus your monthly expenditures. The goal is to save at least 10% of your earnings each month and forget about that amount. If you see that you are spending so much that you don’t even have 10% left to set aside, it’s time to figure out where you can cut back.
. Determine needs versus wants and basics versus luxuries. Forgo the fancy steak dinner and the imported cosmetic products. Go back to the basics, save plenty of money and you’ll attain financial freedom before you know it.
. Get rid of all your credit cards except for one and don’t use it unless it’s for a real emergency. The more credit cards you have, the more you are easily tempted to spend. Having too many of them is also bad for your credit score, as each card could represent thousands and thousands of potential debt.
. Draw up a monthly budget plan and stick to it mercilessly!
. Pay any debts you have. If you can’t meet the minimum payments on some of them, request for payment restructuring tailor-fit to your income. Most creditors would gladly go with this alternative than not being able to collect anything from you at all.
. You don’t have to give up a social life for the sake of saving. You can still meet up with friends without having to spend a lot. Instead of going to the bar and indulging in expensive cocktails, have a get-together at a friend’s house for a potluck dinner.
. Downsize some more. Get rid of the gas-guzzling SUV and switch to a fuel-efficient car. Find a cheaper Internet subscription. Cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions and read everything online. You help save trees, not just money, in the long run.
. Have at least the equivalent of eight months’ income in the bank for a rainy day. Why eight months? Because studies show that’s how long the average person takes to find another job after getting laid off.
The above suggestions may seem difficult, but they are small sacrifices in the face of the financial freedom you will eventually reap and enjoy.
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