Financial freedom – a word which we all love and desire and yet which seems like a Utopian reality! Handling our finances effectively and having a stable financial position is considered difficult by many. Call it a lack of knowledge or ignorance, very few people actually master the art of managing their wealth. I was also a victim of ignorance wherein my financial liabilities always outweighed my income. Distressed I resolved to find a way to achieve financial freedom. It started out small but then I was surprised when a change towards simple, mundane and not-so-financial habits led me to financial freedom. It was no rocket science. Just a simple attention to details and I was sorted. Want to know how?
Here are 5 of my not-so-financial habits which made the difference:
- I paid my credit card bills on time
I always depend on my credit card for most of my transactions and I am sure many of you do too. However, whenever I received the bill I either forgot paying it or delayed paying it till the last possible minute. The result – I was charged with exorbitant penalty fee and interest rates which always jacked up my outstanding liability, not to mention hamper my credit score. Credit cards allow you to ‘buy now and pay later’ but they also require you to pay the dues by a specified time. If you don’t, there are bound to be financial consequences.
I pledged to pay my bills on time. By paying the bills within the due date I saved on the late payment charges and hefty interest rates.
- I started depending on home-cooked meals
Who doesn’t like dining out? Those gourmet meals and classy cocktails! I was also fond of such dining experiences and never blinked when the bill racked up to thousands. In fact, hanging out with friends also involved eating out. No wonder my credit card bills were high. I switched to home-cooked meals. There was no compromise on the cuisine. I bought exotic vegetables and dished out gourmet food. I even sourced my own liquor and whipped-up exotic cocktails. The result – the same dining experience, and that too, at a fraction of the cost!
- I avoided the sale season
You might find this strange but I vowed never to go shopping during the sale season. The reason is no mystery. The sale season is meant to indulge us in binge shopping. We always end up buying more than required thinking that we are saving money. Are we actually? Saving in sale is a myth. You end up buying things you don’t need and waste money. I understood this and curbed my impulse to shop during a sale. When buying at full price I was forced to buy only what I needed and not what I desired. What a relief from unnecessary shopping!
- Not financing electronics
Electronics are my weakest spot and I always end up binge shopping on them. Even stores lure us to buy electronic appliances at no-cost EMIs. Such is the attraction financing options that we tend to buy expensive gadgets and appliances. Though EMI facilities are available what about the inevitable debt trap? Does financing electronics save you from a debt trap?
Through financing options we end up buying appliances beyond our affordability and then get stuck in loan repayments. Who needs the high-end iPhone when a 20, 000-rupees smartphone works just fine?
I avoided buying electronics on finance options. For my electronics need I started buying an appliance or a gadget which was within my budget.
- Holiday planning in advance
Holidays are fun and if you plan them in advance they become financially great too. Advance tickets cost less and so do advance hotel accommodations. Moreover, since I plan in advance I can do research, negotiate rates and economize the entire trip. After all, wise men are not wrong when they say the early bird catches the worm. If you are early you definitely save money. So, I stopped delaying my holiday plans, booked in advance and saved money.
Aren’t these ideas simple and fun?
Financial freedom is not rocket science if you just be careful with a few things. I discovered some simple tricks to save money and enjoy financial independence. I am sure these ideas would appeal to you too. Try them and see the difference Believe me you wouldn’t regret your decision.