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How to Gain Financial Freedom

Even though you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, you might feel fairly comfortable. You know where your money for bills is coming from, and you have an idea of what’s left to spend on extras. But one unforeseen circumstance can leave you playing catch up and feeling added stress.

Even if you make a good salary, it’s easy to “live into” your income over time. Start creating healthy habits and positive lifestyle changes that set you up for financial success now and in the future. Here are four easy things that you can do to help save you from a stressful financial situation down the road.

Make Saving the Priority

Have you heard the saying pay yourself first? That doesn’t mean spending money on things you want – it means that you should save. Even if you have no particular goals in mind, save. If you don’t have goals set, it’s time to consider some. It’s so much easier to save when you can point back to a specific reason.

What are your dreams? Whether they include a comfortable retirement, a vacation, putting kids through college or buying a new home, you’ll need to translate those dreams into savings goals to make them a reality. Set up automatic transfers to a separate account for your savings.

Stop Spending Money You Don’t Have

Are you reliant on credit cards to survive? Maybe you swipe your credit card for lunches out, gas or unexpected expenses. If you’re not able to comfortably pay your balance off each month, or if you have to constantly rely on your credit card, it’s time for a change.

The same goes for personal loans. Both are great tools to help you, but they shouldn’t be relied upon – especially if an extra payment strains your already tight budget. If you ARE making payments on credit cards and personal loans, consider what you could do with that extra money once they are paid off.

Start Saying No

If you have kids, family, or friends who “help” you spend money, it’s time you learn to say no. No to eating out, no to shopping frequently and no to extra activities. If the expenses don’t truly fit in your budget, say no!

Saying no can be so hard, but it doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself or your family. Eat out less frequently, choose less expensive restaurants, and limit extra spending where you are able. You may find that saying no provides relief to more than just your wallet.

Consider Refinancing

Whether you have a mortgage, auto loan, personal loans or credit cards, it’s time to think about how you can save on those payments. Even if you’ve been turned down for new lines of credit, don’t feel discouraged. Lenders will often refinance existing accounts with a good payment history.

This could save you money over the life of your loans with lower interest rates or give you more room in your monthly budget with lower payments. Either way, you’re making a positive change for your budget in the long term.

The team at Gulf Winds is here to help. We can talk to you about your short term and long term goals, help you create a financial plan and even assess your financial portfolio to see where refinancing may help you save. Come to your local Gulf Winds branch and speak to your member advocate today to learn more about how you can lead a financially healthy life.

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