40 Proven Ways To Achieve Financial Freedom

College is expensive. Shutterstock

39. Find A Student Loan Forgiveness Program

If you have Stafford loans (which are student loans underwritten by the US government), then there is no reason for you not to be enrolled in a student loan forgiveness program. A student loan forgiveness program allows you to make income-based payments for ten years. At the end of the 10-year period, all of the qualifying loans are forgiven.

Many people think that student loan forgiveness programs are only for people who go into public services, such as teaching at a low-income school or working for AmeriCorps. But there are many loan forgiveness programs, and one will likely fit your working and income situation. Go to your student loan account and find how you can get into a loan forgiveness program.

Talk to your bank to learn your options. Shutterstock

38. Lower Your Interest Rates

If you have credit card debt, a car note, a mortgage, or any other liability that is underwritten by a bank, then you can probably get a lower interest rate just by asking for one. While a one-percent reduction in an interest rate may not sound like much, it can shave hundreds of dollars off your payments every month.

Call the bank that holds your debts and try to arrange a lower interest rate. If you are not able to, then ask what other options might be available. Remember that the answer might be no, but if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.

Paying more means paying less in the future. Shutterstock

37. Pay Extra Towards Your Principal

Most of what you pay every month is probably interest, meaning that the size of the debt is not decreasing by much. In order to get debts paid off, you have to reduce the overall size of the loan by paying extra each month. When you make a payment, add 10% extra and request that the additional amount go directly to the principal.

When the principal amount of the loan is lowered, the lifetime of the loan is shortened. If that principal goes down enough, you can see about refinancing the loan. This idea means that you can get an adjusted interest rate and pay even less.

Create one to start paying off debts. Shutterstock

36. Start A Debt Snowball

A debt snowball is when you get one debt paid off, then use the extra money each month to pay off another debt. When that other debt is paid off, you use the extra money to pay off another. The effect of paying down debt snowballs so that you get everything paid off more quickly than you anticipated.

To start a debt snowball, take the smallest debt that you have, and pay it down as quickly as you can. Suck in your belt, put all your extra money towards it, and get it paid off. Then find the next smallest debt and put all of your additional monthly income towards paying it off. This will put you on a clear path to becoming richer right away.

Give up brand name items. Shutterstock

35. Live Below Your Means

To get richer, you have to live below your means. Accumulating additional debt will make sure that you remain in financial purgatory and never experience financial freedom. Without financial freedom, you will never begin to amass wealth.

Analyze all of your monthly expenditures by reviewing receipts and bank statements over the past six months. Use that data to set up a monthly budget of how much you have been spending in categories such as food, mortgage or rent, transportation and car note, gas, utilities, and miscellaneous.

Rule out unnecessary purchases. Shutterstock

34. Shave Money Off Your Budget

Look for ways to remove some expenses from your budget. Maybe you are eating out or buying expensive coffee in the morning much more than you realized. Do you know how much money you can save just by brewing your coffee at home instead of stopping at a coffee shop?

If you’re spending $100 a month buying lattes and Frappuccinos, swap them out for home-brewed coffee. If you are spending $500 a month going out to eat, find the time to cook at home so that you can save that money.

Stop spending because you’ll only make things worse. Shutterstock

33. Don’t Accumulate More Debt

If you have been using “retail therapy” as an excuse for racking up credit card debt, find a better way to cure your emotional hang-ups so that the money can go towards saving, investing, or paying down debt.

If that dream vacation is going to put you in the hole, or if Christmas shopping is going to give you a financial hangover come New Year’s, learn to say no. Most people don’t even care about receiving Christmas presents. They would instead enjoy their time with you. Skip the next iPhone. Don’t do anything that will put you in more debt.

This idea is tempting, but don’t spend more than you would otherwise. Shutterstock

32. Avoid Coupons

Clipping coupons sounds like a great way to save money, but stores that use coupons are engaging in a deceptive way of actually getting you to spend more. Sure, there are extreme couponers who are so savvy at what they do that they get their own television shows.

But when retailers send out coupons, they know that they are drawing in customers who might not otherwise spend their money there. You really don’t need the half-price rainbow pancakes with sprinkles and a unicorn horn even if the coupon makes them look enticing. Skip the coupons unless they are for things that you already buy regularly.

Be picky about your groceries. Shutterstock

31. Only Buy What You Need

In order to live below your means, you need to stop buying things that you don’t need. Just because a store is having a sale doesn’t mean that you need new clothes or housewares. Seeing a new book on the stand at a bookstore doesn’t mean you should buy it.

Get a library card, and you can save hundreds of dollars a year as opposed to buying books. Appreciate the clothes that you have and make the most of them instead of continually buying new ones. When you do need new clothes, look at local thrift stores. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save while still getting good brands.

Start saving more money. Shutterstock

30. Begin Saving

It seems clear, but to become rich, you have to start saving money. It isn’t going to fall out of the sky (well, it probably won’t fall out of the air, but some people do inherit fortunes), so you have to make an effort yourself.

Review your budget and set up a realistic savings plan for the year. Experts suggest that you save at least 10% of your income each month by putting it into a savings account and not touching it. People who become rich by practicing thrift and saving aggressively put between 20% and 50% of their income into savings.

It’s a careful balance. Shutterstock

29. Save Or Pay Down Debt? Both.

People who are trying to attain financial security so that they can begin to accumulate wealth often wonder if they should put their extra income towards debt or savings. The short answer is that you should do both.

Beyond the 10% that you put into savings each month and an extra 10% towards debt principals, look for ways to add extra money to go towards both savings and debt. Take money away from the clothes budget (you probably have enough clothes) and put it towards those categories. Find ways to earn extra income so that you can save and pay down debt.

Don’t reach for money you need to keep. Shutterstock

28. Do Not Touch Your Savings

If you have a budget shortfall one month, find a way to make it up without touching your savings account or accumulating debt. You may need to limit the number of out-of-town trips that you make or how much money you spend on nights out with friends to make sure that you don’t have budget shortfalls.

When the holiday season comes around, do not use your savings account to buy people presents. Either save money throughout the year to use on Christmas presents or don’t buy them. Christmas is not a good reason to have a budget shortfall.

You’ll be thankful you have more. Shutterstock

27. Create An Emergency Fund

Sometimes, there are emergencies that you don’t plan for, and that are not in the monthly budget. If you don’t want your plan towards accumulating wealth (instead of debt) and becoming rich to get derailed, you need to have an emergency fund to deal with those surprise expenses.

Start by setting aside $500 into a separate account. Grow that amount to at least $1500. That way, if you need a new set of tires or have to go to the emergency room, your budget won’t take the hit. Your financial plan and goals of becoming rich will remain intact and you can keep pushing ahead.

Put more in your account. Shutterstock

26. Save, Save, Save

Almost a quarter of people who become millionaires don’t have spectacular jobs and weren’t born into wealth. They live below their means and save as aggressively as they can. While saving 10% of your monthly income is a reasonable goal for achieving financial stability, if you want to generate wealth, you need to save 20% or more.

Once you get your debts paid off, you may be able to save as much as 50% of your monthly income each month. That money will generate interest in a savings account, as long as you don’t touch it,  and set you on the path to becoming wealthy.

It’s a risk but worth it. Shutterstock

25. Begin Investing

Having money in a saving account is a great start, but if you want to become rich, it should not be the only goal. To make your money work for you by generating lots of interest, you need to begin investing.

When you invest money, you mainly provide capital for a business, which will use that money to generate a profit. Part of that profit is shared with the investors in the form of interest or increased value of stocks and shares. Investment can be risky, so make sure you go in informed with your eyes open.

It takes money to make money. Shutterstock

24. Invest In High-Risk and Low-Risk Ventures

When you invest in a high-risk venture, you create the potential of generating a large amount of interest. A high-risk investment may pay 10% interest or more, but there is a catch: it has a higher risk of failing, so you could lose money.

When you invest in a low-risk venture, the projected interest that you will earn is much lower, but the risk of failure is also much lower. If you invest in both high-risk and low-risk ventures, you will have a reasonable chance of generating a high level of interest while balancing the risk of losing money.

Don’t use all your savings. Shutterstock

23. Only Invest Money That You Are Willing To Lose

Even when you balance the risk of losing money with gaining interest, there are no guarantees when you make an investment. The best rule of thumb is only to invest money that you are willing to lose.

That way, you won’t put an excessive amount of money into an investment that should have been saved in a savings account. Should there be a failure in the stock market that causes your investment to lose value, if you have only invested what you are willing to lose, your goal of accumulating wealth won’t be derailed.

There are better things to invest your money in besides an expensive car. Shutterstock

22. A New Car Is Not An Investment

Far too many people splurge on buying a new car and justify the purchase by saying that it is a good investment. A new car is the single worst thing that you could buy if you want to invest money. It is the only thing you can purchase that will lose 20% of its value the second that it leaves the retail lot.

You invest money to gain money. Forget the maxim that you have to spend money in order to earn money – you don’t. You spend money to go into debt. You invest and save money to make money.

Don’t go splurging on shopping sprees. Shutterstock

21. Don’t Touch Your Investments

If you are the kind of person who gets anxious about any change in the stock market, turn off all notifications about your investments and don’t watch that section of the evening news. Keeping tabs on a daily, or even hourly, basis regarding your ventures can tempt you to pull your money out.

The thing about investments is that while they may lose money over the short term, they usually gain money over the long run. So keep the money in the shares or stocks that you have invested in and don’t touch it.

Smart decisions mean you can monitor your money less.
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20. Start Making Money In Your Sleep

If you want to become financially secure, you need to get debts paid off, start a regular savings program, and begin investing. If you’re going to become wealthy, you have to go above and beyond those things. You have to start making money in your sleep.

In other words, you have to start generating passive income. Passive income is money that you earn without making an ongoing effort by working or marketing. One way to generate passive income is to earn interest on savings or investments. But there are other ways to earn passive income and give your finances a chance to get head and shoulders ahead.

Consider what you have that you can make money off of.
Shutterstock

19. Participate in the Share Economy

The share economy is a means by which ordinary people without their own business can offer resources that they already have available to earn extra income. Some websites allow you to rent out extra storage space on your computer for extra money or rent out your car when you don’t need it.

You can also become a host on Airbnb if you have an extra bedroom for guests to stay. You can make hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by renting out a bedroom that you already have in your house. Make sure that the guest has clean sheets and towels and the money is yours.

This option is a great choice if you have a big personality.
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18. Create Viral Videos

Okay, this one is easier said than done. Unlike participating in the share economy, this one has no guarantee of success. But if you succeed, you can make enormous amounts of money while you sleep. People who make YouTube videos that go viral can make hundreds of thousands of dollars because of the ads that companies pay to have shown.

If you want to try your hand at making viral YouTube videos, you need to have something unique to offer in a market that is established. You will also need a strategy to get your video out to large masses of people who will watch it. Just because you have an excellent YouTube video doesn’t mean it will go viral. And remember, there is no guarantee of success.

Teaching others your talents can make you hard cash. Shutterstock

17. Create A Udemy Course

Udemy is a website that allows people to create learning courses based on their fields of expertise. The courses are not accredited, but they do have to pass through a rigorous verification process through the staff at Udemy. People can pay to take the class to learn a skill and enrich their lives.

If you have a unique skill or niche field of expertise, you may be able to create a Udemy course and make money off it. Make sure first that the ability or area is marketable, meaning that people will be interested in it and pay money to take the course.

Writing can be hard work, but it can also offer a big reward. Shutterstock

16. Think About An E-book

Self-publishing has created a new market for people who have always wanted to write books but cannot find a traditional publisher. Now, there are booming markets for e-books that are self-published, and some authors are making hundreds of thousands of dollars by marketing the books that they have written.

Like creating viral YouTube videos and Udemy courses, there is no guarantee of success with this one. Don’t quit your day job so that you can self-publish books for Kindle. But if you write a few e-books, market them well, and begin to generate passive income, it can put you on the path to becoming wealthy.

The opportunities out there. Pixabay

15. Find A Job That Pays More

Sometimes, you can do everything right and still find that you are not accumulating any wealth. You have to have enough money to cover all of your bills and set at least 20% into savings and investment. If, after all of your efforts, you are not able to do those things, you may just need a job that pays more money.

If you are happy at the company that you currently work for, but there are better positions that you could possibly hold, look into what path you may need to follow to get into a higher-paying job at the same company. But if there is no path to promotion, you may want to start looking into other options.

You might have to up your game. Pixabay

14. Consider Going Back To School

This option may be advisable but only under certain conditions. Keep in mind that school is expensive, even trade schools. In addition to tuition and fees, you will not be able to work as many hours as before, so you’ll have a lower income during the time you’re in school. If your goal is to accumulate wealth, one thing you do not want to do is collect student loan debt instead.

So find out if the company you work for has an option where it will pay for you to go back to school to obtain new skills that the company needs. If there is no explicit policy, consider talking to your boss about what options may be available. If you are looking for an entirely new trade, look into a one-year program at a community college where fees are low and you will not accumulate debt.

Start looking for that new opportunity. Pixabay

13. Apply For Jobs

The old-fashioned way of getting a higher-paying job is to find a new job. If you think that your best option is to put your skills to use somewhere else, where you will make more money, then you need to start polishing off your resume and checking to make sure that your references are up to date.

If you are applying for a new job, make sure that you factor in the expenses associated with taking a new job. You may need to relocate or pay more money each month on transportation costs. You may also have more time away from your family, which could end up costing you in the end.

Your work may be worth more than you’re getting paid. Pixabay

12. Apply For A Raise

The days when companies automatically provide cost-of-living raises to keep up with inflation are pretty much over. If you think that you are not making the money that you deserve, then you may want to consider asking your boss for a raise. The money won’t come automatically – you’ll have to ask for it.

Before you ask for a raise, make sure that you prove that you are worth the extra money. Don’t call in sick, don’t ever be late, and be willing to stay late at least one day per week. Help out your colleagues and do what you can to contribute to positive company culture. Your boss may give you a raise to make sure that he or she can keep you.

Climb that corporate staircase. Pixabay

11. Apply For A Promotion

Many companies promote from within, even when they advertise the position externally. Bosses are often preparing their best employees to take a higher place, which will require more responsibility but will also pay more.

If you have been proving yourself at work and think that you are worth the advancement, arrange to talk with your boss about what promotions may be coming up that you would be suited for. Ask what you need to do to be considered for the promotion and then do what you need to do to get there.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Pixabay

10. Become An Entrepreneur

About a quarter of people who become millionaires do so through thrift and frugality, and more people become millionaires because they earn a high income. Also, you can become a millionaire by becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business.

When you become an entrepreneur, you get to be your own boss, but you don’t get to decide what your paycheck is. In other words, you may not want to quit your day job until your business takes off and begins generating an income that you will be able to live off of while also growing the business.

Do you have a great idea? Visit a patent office. Pixabay

9. Invent And Patent A Product

If you have an excellent idea for what you know will be the next best thing, consider inventing it yourself and getting a patent for your invention so that no one can steal the idea. Your product may be an app, a tangible piece of hardware (look at the success of the Instant Pot), or a technique (such as helping people develop better memory retention).

If you are trying to create an app by writing code, and you can do the work by yourself, then you can probably do everything in your free time without too much outside help. If you want to create hardware, you may need investors to contribute money to the venture in exchange for a share of the return profits.

Keeping an online diary or helpful family blog may generate money. Pixabay

8. Create A Blog

Viral blogs can generate big money. If you are a chef extraordinaire and you want to share your recipes with the world, then consider making a cooking blog. You can generate passive income by allowing retailers to advertise on the website. If you are a teacher with decades of experience, you probably have much wisdom that you could share by creating a blog for teachers that also uses advertising.

In other words, the blog becomes a business that you run. It probably won’t grow into a full-time business, so you will need to dedicate a certain number of hours each week outside of your regular working hours to maintain it. In return, you get an extra paycheck.

A lot of cash for a lot of hard work. Pixabay

7. Entrepreneurs Generate the Most Wealth

According to financial advisor and researcher Tom Corley, people who dream big and take significant risks are the ones who generate the most wealth. You can become a millionaire by living a frugal lifestyle or earning more money at work, but if you want to make it big, you have to become an entrepreneur.

Becoming an entrepreneur does not mean that you have to become an employer and open up a storefront. What it does mean is that you have an idea that you follow through with and market well.

Determination will see you through to the end. Pixabay

6. Be Prepared To Fail

You probably won’t strike it big with the first idea that you have that you try to get out to the world. You may not even succeed the tenth time. If marketing your plan as an entrepreneur is what you really want to do, and you have the skills necessary, then you have to keep getting up and trying again.

Consider that you may not be cut out for entrepreneurship. That’s okay. Find what does work for you and follow through on it. Remember that being rich is a mentality before it is actually money in the bank.

You have a talent no one else does. Pixabay

5. Develop A Marketable Skill

If you can do something that nobody else can do, and if the thing that you can do has a market, then you pretty much get to write your own ticket. Keep in mind that there has to be a market. You can be the best person in the world at peeling bananas, but you’re not going to make money as a professional banana peeler.

Also, keep in mind that a marketable skill is not necessarily a unique skill. You may be able to speak Spanish, which is certainly marketable, but many people speak Spanish and already work as teachers and translators. People need to be able to do something that no one else can do.

You can learn from the experts so you can hone your skill too. Pixabay

4. Go To School To Develop That Skill

If you already have a Master’s degree and have a unique field of expertise that you want to develop, consider going on to get a Ph.D. In order to obtain the degree, you have to make a unique contribution to scholarly research in that field. In other words, you have to develop your niche of expertise.

If you can develop that niche in a field that is marketable, then you’ll be on your way to being able to write your own ticket. For example, if you study nutrition and arrive at an educated conclusion about the best diet for people with a specific medical condition, you can turn that research into a product to market at healthcare facilities all over the world.

Having a mentor can help. Pixabay

3. Get Real-World Experience

If you want to understand the impact of a specific religion on a particular culture, you need more than knowledge about faith and culture. You need to get hands-on experience within that particular culture. Consider how you can intentionally immerse yourself in that culture, possibly during vacation time or by meeting local people.

That kind of expertise can make you an invaluable resource to institutions all over the world, from universities to law enforcement agencies, even to government intelligence. There is no end to what you can do when you have your expertise that no one else has.

Even if you haven’t been good in the past with spending and saving, keep trying. Pixabay

2. Be The Best At What You Do

Maybe you don’t have what it takes to develop your unique field of expertise, but you think you have the potential to become the absolute best within your industry. Many of the people who become millionaires work in either publicly held corporations or privately run businesses, and they are just really, really good at their jobs.

These people are the ones who work hard, who put in the extra hours, who go through all of the training available, and pretty much give it their all. They become invaluable to the company because of how much revenue they can generate, and a portion of that revenue turns into extra money in their paychecks.

Don’t go into this blind’ it will work out if you take the proper steps. Pixabay

1. Don’t Fall For Traps

You probably won’t win the lottery, and if you make any money gambling, you will most likely lose it all back. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be deceived when a bank announces a lower interest rate and tries to convince you to buy a new house.

If you want to become rich, you have to set your own goals and not let anyone or anything deter you. Don’t let yourself be swayed by shiny objects, even if they are on sale. Don’t quit your job because you have a great idea. Instead, make a plan and stick with it and you will be on the path to newfound riches.

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