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Defining Financial Freedom

Finance

Finance (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

As I prepare to revisit my quest for financial freedom I realized that I had not truly defined what it means to be financially free. Now lets keep in mind that for the past two years I have been a full-time graduate student….so money has not come easy and no raises my way!!!!!!

Despite being on a fixed income (which technically most people are on a fixed income-lol) I am really excited because I only have one more payment on my car note! I have also been able to take more trips and enjoy my life in general.

What I have come to realize is that the way I have spent money is very focused on the NOW instead of planning for my future.

Being financially free is NOT about now.

I have decided to revisit my idea of being financially free. Below are three goals I have set for myself to help define and measure my trek toward financial freedom:

•Raise my credit score by 30 points in one year
•Save (DO NOT TOUCH) $1K in one year
•Increase my income by $100 each month during the next year

I am thinking that If I can increase my income by $100 each month it should make sure that I have my savings of $1k. I am also thinking that by no longer having a car note I will be able to redirect some of my monthly expenditures to clearing up other debt.

I will do a 6 month check in and let you know how it is going.

Please share with me some how you define being financially free.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Are You Responsible to Yourself First?

A friend of mine always says “Ashley I like you very much, but if I have to make a choice between you and me, I am going to choose me every time.” This resonates with me for various reasons, and as I get older, I have begun to fully understand what my friend implies when she makes this statement.

Now, to put this in context, my friend is exceptionally giving. For about a month when I was going through financial struggles, she was nice enough to bring me a home cooked lunch to work every day (we were colleagues). Whenever I share with her a situation I am seeking a solution for, she helps me figure out a plan, and will include herself as a resource.

Her common phrase to me, is not one that promotes being selfish, but reminds me to not do something for someone else, at the detriment of myself.

For many years I have gone out of my way to assist others, improve my community, and begin to leave my mark on the world. I neglected my health, forfeited too much leisure time, and found myself “all over the place”. I do not regret the time I spent putting others first. I needed to do that, to get here; I needed to learn when and how to balance others needs and wants with my own.

Recently I was tested! (I always believe that when you take ownership of a self-discovery you are tested shortly after) I was offered a gig at a rate that was much lower than my previous pay AND more importantly, the job required an individual with education and experience that exceeded the rate of pay.

I turned down the opportunity and received a counter offer approximately $6 an hour more than the previous. I passed the test. I chose me!

Prior to becoming self-employed, I prayed about financial freedom, my desire for a schedule that aligned with my purpose, and enjoyment in my income activities and working environment. Accepting a job that pays too little, but requires the same amount of work is a HORRIBLE situation to be in. Not only are you not making enough money (hence always concerned about needing more money), but you do not have the time to work other jobs or pursue opportunities that help bring in additional income. If I would have accepted the original offer, I would have been choosing the company over myself.

The company would be moving forward; the company would be getting my quality outputs; the company would have greater stock due to my investment; the company would win.

I am choosing me!

How have you chosen yourself lately?

Below is a link to quotes that encourage you to put yourself first.

http://www.inspirationline.com/Quotes/inspirational-quotes-SelfEmpowerment-courage.htm

 

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Financial Freedom: Every Little Bit Counts

Financial Freedom: Every Little Bit Counts

A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend about my income activities. Since becoming self-employed, I take on a lot of random opportunities that lead to (some) of my bills getting paid. Tutoring, taking surveys for ClearView research, managing small projects for individuals, and my unemployment check is how I currently survive. Paycheck to paycheck is an understatement. 

My friend went on to explain that she and her husband budget their lives based on one income without even maxing their expenses at the top of that salary. I was flabbergasted! How was this possible?

After describing her family’s financial history, it became clear that she learned to manage money by observing the ebbs and flows of her parent’s financial maintenance. At that moment, I realized that I too learned from watching my mother maneuver financial sources like a chess game each month (I will save that lesson for a future entry).

My friend had learned financial management better than I did, and now I have some catching up to do. 

I don’t think it’s too late. In my late 20’s I can actually visualize my financial freedom. I am on a two-year plan that involves learning all that Suze Orman has to teach.

On a daily basis I figure out how I to practically cut corners and save on my most common expenses. One thing I have started doing is using coupons to save on purchases at grocery stores.

Also, on my previous post, Shaped by Budget: Aligning Goals With Personal Finance, Ruben Berenguel commented that I should figure out how to increase my income instead of being confined to what I currently take home.

Since then, I have consistently found ways to make more money. The additional income, whether it be $20 or $60, helps cover mandatory expenses, including gas and groceries.

In the comment section, please share some of your convenience saving tips or legal ways to make a few bucks quickly.

Below is an article from Shrinkage is Good by Jonathan Rivers. The post contains cost saving tips on common expenses.

http://www.billshrink.com/blog/1062/the-cost-of-convenience-10-things-we-overpay-for/

 

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