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Dollars and Cents | Financially free

Published:Friday | August 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMYaneek Page

Most of us aspire to be financially free, where we can live the life we want without ever having to worry about money. However, what's most important is understanding that financial freedom is not about who has the most money or trying to make the most money at all costs. It's personal to each individual and depends entirely on how you want to live, your priorities, and what makes you happy.

Below are some simple and practical steps to becoming financially free.


Step 1: Put Your Dreams on Paper


1. Think about what a happy and fulfilling life means to you personally, professionally, spiritually, financially. Your dreams and vision for your future will be the driving force for your financial goals.

2. Write down two specific goals that you want to accomplish in the short term (up to 3 years), medium term (3-10 years) and long term (over 10 years), including lifestyle, professional development, health and family life, housing, travel, education, major purchases, retirement, etc).


Step 2: Get a Financial Health Check-Up


1. Meet with a licensed financial adviser or financial coach to assess your current financial health and the best path to achieving your goals vis-‡-vis your personal and professional standing. The end result should be a clear, written financial plan with actions you should execute immediately as well as over the medium and long term.

2. One critical action is budgeting. You should have at least a 12-month estimated budget which outlines expected earnings, what you expect to spend, save and invest. Writing down what you actually earn and spend is one of the most critical success factors for financial freedom for almost everyone as it helps maintain discipline and accountability.


Step 3: Earning More


Tips and ideas if your goals require that you earn more:

1. Consider freelancing online - using sites like Upwork, Fiverr, People Per Hour, etc

2. Consider selling items on eBay, Amazon or Etsy.

3. Turn your hobbies into profits - example, offering photography services, baking, decorating, landscaping, etc.

4. Start a side business - equipment rental, social-media services, fitness and health services, affiliate marketing, etc.

5. Consider a career change where you can get the highest and best return got your talents, skills and effort.


Step 4: Saving More


If your goals require you cutting back on expenses:

1. Create shopping lists and do meal prep plan and package meals so you only buy what you use and eat out less (also saves on cooking gas and electricity).

2. Drink more water and less juice or soda (walk with your water bottle so you don't need to buy water).

3. Save money on food by substituting peas and beans for meat example, make more stews and soups (cheaper, healthier you don't need oil, etc).

4. Use Wi-Fi at work or home instead of putting service on your phone.

5. Use your phone less - unless its for business (it can boost your productivity and save credit).

6. Carpool with your spouse and friends to save gas.

7. Plan your activities for the month and create a travel log to avoid making unnecessary trips.

8. Fill up your tank late in the evening when it's cooler to save money on gas (less evaporation).

9. Use cash or debit cards instead of credit cards.

10. Pay off your credit cards in full at the end of the month to avoid costly interests.

11. Do movie nights at home with Netflix, a good DVD, and microwave popcorn.

12. Women can wear protective styles to reduce the number of visits to the hair salon.

13. Men should cut their hair lower and trim their beards at home to stretch the time in between barber visits by up to 3-4 weeks.

15. Change the bulbs in your home to LED and plug out appliances and electronics (even phone chargers) when not in use.

16. Iron once for the week to save on electricity.

17. Work out at home by watching YouTube videos and using free weights.

18. Wear branded shirts to work to cut back on work clothes (example, oxford shirts with your company/organisation's logo).

19. Cut back on partying.

20. Accessorise outfits to extend the wear.

- Yaneek Page is a certified business trainer and coach.