10 Small Things

I don’t know of one big secret to becoming financially independent. Here are 10 little things I can do.

1. Maintain a steady source of income
2. Make sure your income is greater than your expenses
3. Save a portion of everything you earn
4. Minimize necessary spending
5. Cut out unnecessary spending
6. Work smarter, not harder
7. Make your money work for you
8. Increase your income (get a raise, add an income stream, find a better paying job)
9. Develop an emergency fund
10. Give back

These seem simple enough, but realizing them is a bit harder. To make things even more manageable I will break them down again.

1. Maintain a steady stream of income
– Find a day job
– Keep a day job
– Make yourself more valuable within that job

2. Make sure your income is greater than your expenses
– List all your expenditures over the last month or two
– Figure out whether you are living within your means
– Write down each necessary item on one list and save for step 4
– Write down each unnecessary item on another list and save for step 5

3. Save a portion of everything you earn
– Find out how much of your income goes towards fixed expenses
– Pick a percentage of what is left
– Set that much aside every time you get paid
– Leave that money alone

4. Minimize necessary spending
– Look at list of necessaries
– Seek a discount or cheaper alternative for each
– Decide whether it is really a necessary expenditure
– When you are about to acquire a new expense (internet, car, longer commute, etc.) restart this process.

5.Cut unnecessary spending
– Look at your list of unnecessary items
– Keep it handy
– When you feel the urge to spend money on something, check to see if it is on the list
– If it is not on the list, decide whether it belongs there or on your other list
– If it is on the list, don’t spend the money

6. Work smarter, not harder
– Keep your work space clean and organized
– Sharpen the saw (take care of yourself and your equipment)
– Eliminate distractions
– Get enough sleep to function properly
– Seek additional education and training
– Take breaks to avoid burn out

7. Make your money work for you
– Try to buy things that won’t lose their value
– Buy things that will appreciate in value
– Add to your career education and training
– Learn a new skill
– Get a savings account with higher interest

8. Increase your income
– Ask for a raise
– Add an income stream
– Find a better paying job

9. Develop an emergency fund
– Figure out how much you would need to function for one month with no income
– Start saving a portion of your income until you have one month’s expenses in reserve
– When you have one month saved, go for six months
– Have at least $500 set aside for car trouble, preferably $1,000
– Keep it in cash

10. Give back
– Recognize how lucky you are to be where you are and have what you have, even if it isn’t much
– Help someone out of a bind
– Pay for someone’s lunch
– Gas up someone’s car
– Help someone find gainful employment
– Teach a man to fish

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