I knew financial freedom was the goal when I grew frustrated with having only one source of income last year. I had a decent-paying job, but it wasn’t enough for me to live the life I envisioned. I was tired of living paycheck to paycheck so I knew something had to change.
I started reading personal finance blogs and listening to podcasts to teach myself how to make money work for me. Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The 4-Hour Workweek was a pivotal moment. Here are some key takeaways from each book:
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
by Robert Kiyosaki
a. You’ll never become financially independent from a 9 to 5.
b. The way to wealth is through diversifying your income
c. Invest. Invest. Invest.
The 4-Hour Workweek
by Tim Ferriss
a. You can do more in less time (working remotely, outsourcing, delegating etc.)
b. Time is the ultimate money-making machine
Tim and Robert helped me figure out what to do to change my situation. In short, I had to become efficient at work and I had to diversify my income. Following these authors’ advice, I made a plan.
Most people say they want to be financially free, but they aren’t willing to commit to making it happen. Financial freedom isn’t something that just happens. It starts with a plan and requires determination.
Disclaimer: I haven’t arrived at complete financial freedom YET, but in the past few months, I followed a course of action that’s progressively taking me there. So I know a thing or two about what it takes. To help you get started or keep going, here are the steps you can take. We can group them within broad categories.
Living within your means
If you’re earning less than you’re spending, you’re bound to be living paycheck to paycheck. Take a close look at your bank statements. Are you always stuck with credit card debt? Do you spend a check before you actually get it? Do you make exceptions for stuff because the discount was so good you couldn’t pass?
Track your spending. Have a budget. Stick to it. You’ve heard it all before and it’s not rocket science, but it’s hard. The ideal would be to not even look at the price tag before we get something! But until we get there, we will have to adjust our spending.
If you’re really struggling with this, take these baby steps every day:
Go 2-3 months without Netflix
Can you do that? Use a friend’s account info.
Pay more than the minimum on your credit card each month
Trade a week’s worth of coffee for that extra $10 if you have to. You minimize your interest fee that way.
Put $5-10 aside every week
Make some of your disposable income disappear (in a piggybank never to be found).
To live within your means is to make sacrifices when you can’t yet afford everything you want. This means saying no to using your credit card when you don’t have that sum on your debit card. Forget that extra pair of shoes or eating out when there’s food at home. It’s skipping Uber and taking the train. It’s buying groceries for the whole week and bringing lunch to work instead of dropping $12 on a salad or a sandwich + soda combo. It’s…you get the idea!
Diversifying your income
And well, if you’re not willing to make sacrifices, but can’t afford to live the life you want, you just need to make more money. It starts with diversifying your income – which basically means making money from different sources.
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know I’ll encourage you to develop a few income streams. I’m a huge side hustle advocate and I’ve been able to acquire the most skills from having them.
When you make money from just a 9 to 5, you’re putting your eggs in one basket – which is risky. You can lose your job at any moment (because business is business and life happens). Even a generous compensation can’t always cover your random splurges or unexpected bills. Instead of waiting to increase your salary by a percentage every six months or so, find other ways to make money. It’s easier and it’ll make you less dependent on your primary gig.
Where to start, you ask? I detailed the first steps to diversify your income here. Next, use these ideas to make a plan.
Get a part-time job
Bartend on weekends. Teach a class. Become a lifeguard in the summer. There are many part-time jobs that can work with your full-time schedule. Having a second steady gig might throw off your work-life balance, but it is another way to make money.
Sell a product
If you have a knack for making things (jewelry, furniture, illustrations etc.), you can earn a few extra bucks from them each month. If not, you can resell thrifted items on Amazon or buy things in bulk and offer a higher price per unit. The possibilities are endless.
Start a side business
Become an Uber or Lyft driver. Rent your apartment through Craiglist or AirBnB. Create an app that helps parents find local tutors or babysitters. Take people’s engagement photos. Start an Etsy store. Sell thrift finds on Amazon or eBay. Promote brands on Instagram. Walk dogs or house sit.
When people think about starting a business, they tend to picture themselves building the next Facebook or Tesla. It’s cool if you have an idea that can change the world, but entrepreneurship doesn’t stop there if you don’t.
Related: 75+ Ways to Make Extra Money
Become really good at something then get people to pay you to do it for them. Whether you write for magazines, shoot weddings, direct editorial photoshoots, build people’s websites or design company’s logos, freelancing is a great way to monetize a skill. It’s more flexible than a regular job as it gives you control over your schedule.
Saving as an extra income stream? Who would’ve thought?! Put your savings in a high yield savings account and watch your money grow passively!
Buy stocks. Purchase properties and rent them out. Collect antiques. Fund a company. It doesn’t matter how you invest, but that you do. You’re basically saying “See you later” to your money. These investments will generate more cash for you in the future. A lot of people don’t invest because they don’t think long-term and they’re afraid to lose their money. Investing is risky, but money comes and goes. To learn more about it, visit Investopedia.
Your turn! What have you done/are you doing to achieve financial freedom? Let me know in the comments!