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How to Pave the Road to Financial Freedom Little by Little

How to Pave the Road to Financial Freedom Little by Little

Ah, financial freedom! I believe that there is not a single person in the world who does not have this as one of their life goals. Being economically self-sufficient is one of the quickest ways to happiness. I know “money doesn’t buy happiness”, but debt almost assuredly buys sleepless nights, mental breakdowns, and physical illness.

However, even if you have regular income it might be hard for you to stay out of debt, simply because making it from one paycheck to another is a mission that involves everyday puzzle-solving and navigating a labyrinth of impulse buys, small expenses here and there (which you think are necessary), and basically surviving. To stay on top of it, I will use a metaphor to help me explain.

Imagine if you will, a sieve. It’s a simple vessel with a bunch of little holes that let the water go through. The holes are little but there are so many that the water flows almost freely. The sieve in question is the labyrinth I’ve mentioned and the water is the amount of money you have each month. Now, the point of the sieve is to let the water through but the rate at which it flows can be regulated by plugging some of the holes.

That’s exactly what I will try to show you– how to plug those little holes that keep draining your money away each day.

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Take a strict list to the grocery store

The impulse buys are basically the worst enemy of financial freedom. While I will not advise you to never humor yourself (as I myself am not above it), doing this on a daily basis (or whenever you go to the grocery store) can seriously harm your budget.

I have this problem, too. Whenever I go to the supermarket I want to buy something from each aisle even though I’ve only come in to buy the essentials. However, I’ve started making a list before going (instead of just remembering what I need) by assessing what I really need.

I’ve had to practice self-restraint so I don’t buy that box of Oreos I really don’t need that day. Once I’m out of the supermarket I completely forget about those Oreos. For the sake of my own sanity I put a box on the list every now and then.

Also, everyone knows that you should not go hungry when grocery shopping. It only increases the impulse buys.

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Take care of your teeth

When mentioning small ways to help save big this one always comes to my mind. I can only say it in retrospect because I’ve made the mistake of not looking after my teeth when I was a kid, and have had to pay dearly for it.

We all know how expensive dentists can be. I’ve experienced it recently when I’ve had to go and have my whole lower jaw fixed, tooth by tooth. Several visits to the dentist later and I’ve realized that I’ve paid over $10,000 already, and there are still some upper-jaw teeth to fix. The dentist explained to me that this situation could’ve been avoided by taking daily care of my teeth (which I refused to do when I was young).

Brushing after every meal, removing stuck pieces of food, and getting regular check-ups (which are not expensive) can help you prevent that big expenditure later on. I’m not saying that you will never have to fix your teeth, but fixing them while the problems are small will certainly cost less than having to redo them all from scratch.

Invite your friends over to your place

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    Humans have to socialize. It is rare for people to go on for months or years without seeing another person. We simply have to meet up with friends, as without them life can get pretty boring. This means we have to go out for drinks, a meal, or a cup of coffee.

    What we don’t realize- or we do, we just wish to ignore it- is that having a drink in a club costs at least twice as much as having it at home. Getting a beer can cost upwards to $6, while a visit to the supermarket will have you pay $3 for that same beer. (These are not actual prices. It’s just simplified to make a point.)

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    Next time you want to meet with your friends, why not invite them over for a home-cooked meal and a pair of bruskies? You’ll still socialize but it will not be an expensive endeavor as going to a pub or a restaurant. This does not mean that you should never go out, but think of every night out as one more hole in the sieve. It’s better to plug some of them than none at all.

    Walk more (or use your car less)

    Having a car has become less of a social status symbol and more of a necessity in the 21st century. We take a car to take out the trash or go to a grocery store just around the corner. Each time we start a car we spend gasoline. Although oil prices have been dropping at an alarming rate for the past two years, gasoline is still expensive- just not as much as before.

    Having lived abroad for a year without a car I’ve realized that I don’t really need it as much. I was able to walk everywhere. The places that were more than half-an-hour’s walk were reachable by bike. Both walking and cycling are powered by two things– your legs. Your legs are not burning expensive fuel. They are burning body fat. All you need is to eat something. Aside from saving money you will be able to enjoy the scenery.

    (Note: This paragraph does not count if you are a Venezuelan. The Venezuelan government subsidizes gas prices for the locals and makes it extremely cheap to drive a car.)

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    Save on your mobile phone service

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      Mobile phones have, like cars, become a part of our everyday life. It is great to be able to reach someone, no matter where he or she is, and to be reached. However, providers charge us for whatever they can think of and then there’s the cost of a new phone every now and then (when your old one breaks).

      Saving the money on your phone can include anything from not talking as much over shopping around for deals and not getting a phone with your contract. Actually, the last one is one of the best ways to plug a hole (and this one is actually not so small). Getting a SIM-only contract can reduce monthly fees up to 50% (depending on the provider).

      Also look for loyalty deals and do not be afraid to threaten to leave for another company, if the current one is not giving you something better. There are also numerous other ways to save money on your mobile phone service but for the sake of brevity I am only mentioning a few. Saving a small amount each month will amount to something tangible after a period of time. Your financial well-being largely depends on your everyday decisions. Even those that seem like not much of a harm can make a difference at the end of the month. You do not have to be completely frugal when it comes to spending, but a bit of self-restraint goes a long way. Get informed and don’t just take everything for granted. Chances are you’ll be on your way to financial freedom and no debts without even realizing it’s working.

      Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/money-card-business-credit-card-256319/ via pexels.com

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      Aleksandar Ilic

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      Last Updated on June 20, 2019

      50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

      50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

      Most people want a few more dollars in their wallets. But between an employer and family, the time most of us can devote to a second job is severely limited. Running a small side business can provide a few more options: you don’t have to show up at a set time and you can use skills you already have. Not all will be perfect for everyone, of course, and I’m sure that you’ll have a few ideas of your own after reading this list. If you’d like to share any other business ideas, please add them in the comments.

      1. Selling collectibles — From antique books to teddy bears, there are plenty of opportunities to buy and sell collectibles. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the collectible of your choice but if you choose something that you’ve been collecting for a while, you’ve got a head start.
      2. Locating apartments — It can take time to sort through apartment listings, but you can make some money by finding the perfect apartment for a renter.
      3. Baby proofing — New parents often prefer to bring in an expert to make sure their home is safe for a new baby.
      4. Calligraphic writing — If you’ve got elegant handwriting, you can pick up gigs writing or addressing wedding invitations, holiday cards and more.
      5. Selling coupons — Search on eBay for coupons right now and you’ll see thousands of listings for coupons. It’s just a matter of clipping and listing what you find in your Sunday newspaper.
      6. Pet training — A surprising number of people don’t know where to start in training a pet. Even teaching Rover simple commands like ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’ can bring in a few dollars.
      7. Running errands — A wide variety of people want to outsource their errands, from those folks who aren’t able to leave their homes easily to those who have a busy schedule.
      8. Researching family trees — Amateur genealogists often call in experts, especially to handle research that has to be done in person in a far off place. If you’re willing to go to a local church and copy a few records, you can handle many family tree research requests.
      9. Supplying firewood — The prerequisite for selling firewood is having a source of wood; if you’ve got some land where you can cut down a few trees, you’ve got a head start.
      10. Hauling — As more people trade in their SUVs for compact cars, hauling is becoming more important: people have to rent a truck or hire a hauler for even small loads.
      11. Image consulting — Image consultants provide a wide variety of services, ranging from offering advice on appearance to teaching etiquette.
      12. Menu planning — For many people, the trip up in eating home-cooked or healthy meals is knowing what to prepare. Meal planners set a schedule to solve certain dietary problems.
      13. Microfarming — Cultivating food and flowers on small plots of land allows you to sell produce easily.
      14. Offering notary public services — Notary publics can witness and authenticate documents: a service needed for all sorts of official documents.
      15. Teaching music — If you’re skilled with a musical instrument, you can earn money by offering lessons.
      16. Mystery shopping — Mystery shoppers check the conditions and service at a store and report back to the store’s higher-ups.
      17. Offering research services — Just by reading up on a topic and compiling a report on it can earn you money.
      18. Personal shopping — Personal shoppers typically select gifts, apparel and other products for clients, helping them save time.
      19. Pet breeding — Purebred pets can be quite value, especially if you can verify their pedigree.
      20. Removing snow — During the winter months, shoveling walks can still be a reliable way to earn money. You might be asked to take care of the driveway too.
      21. Utility auditing — As people become environmentally-concious, they want to know just how efficient their homes are. With some simple testing, you can tell them.
      22. Offering web hosting services — Providing server space can be lucrative, particularly if you can provide tech support to your clients.
      23. Cutting lawns — An old standby, cutting lawns and other landscaping services can provide a second income in the summer.
      24. Auctioning items on eBay — Want to get rid of all your old stuff? Stick it up on eBay and auction it off.
      25. Babysitting — Child care of all kinds, from babysitting to nannying, can offer constant opportunities.
      26. Freelance writing — If you’ve got the skills to write clearly, you can sell your pen for everything from blogs to advertising copy.
      27. Selling blog and website themes — Do a little designing on the side? Customers that don’t want to pay full price for a website will often pay for a template or theme.
      28. Offering computer help — Particularly with people new to computers, you can earn money by providing in-home computer help.
      29. Designing websites — It may require a little skilled effort, but designing websites remains a reliable source of income.
      30. Selling stock photography — For shutterbugs, an easy way to put a photography collection to work is to post it to a stock photography site.
      31. Freelance designing — Check with local businesses: you can provide brochures, business cards and other design work and get paid a good fee.
      32. Tutoring — Math and languages reamin the easiest subjects to find tutoring gigs for, but there is demand for other fields as well.
      33. Housesitting / petsitting — Stopping in to check on a house or pet can earn you some money, and maybe even a place to stay.
      34. Building niche websites — If you can put together a site on a very specific topic, you can put targeted ads on it and make money quickly.
      35. Translating — The variety of translating work available is huge: written word, on the spot and more is easy to find even on a part-time basis.
      36. Creating custom crafts — No matter what kind of crafts you make, there’s likely a market for it. Etsy remains one of the easiest places to sell crafts.
      37. Setting up a wi-fi hotspot — With a little bit of equipment, you can set up a wi-fi hotspot and charge your neighbors for the access they’ve been ‘borrowing.’
      38. Selling an e-book — You can write an e-book about almost anything and put it up for sale online.
      39. Affiliate marketing — If you’re willing to market other companies’ products, you can earn a cut of the sales.
      40. Renting out your spare room — From looking for a long-term roommate to listing your guest room on couch surfing sites, that spare room can make you money.
      41. Offering handy man services — Handling small household tasks can provide you with plenty of work, although you’ll probably be expected to have your own tools.
      42. Teaching an online class — Share your expertise through a website, an online seminar or variety of other methods.
      43. Building furniture — For those with the skill to create handmade furniture, selling their creations is often just a matter of advertising.
      44. Providing personal chef services — Personal chefs prepare meals ahead of time for customers, leaving their customers with a full freezer and no mess.
      45. Event planning — From planning corporate events to bar mitzvahs, an event planning business can require plenty of work and offer plenty of pay.
      46. Installing home safety products — Particularly as Baby Boomers age, people able to install handrails and other home safety products are in demand.
      47. Altering / tailoring — If your sewing skills are up to par, altering garments is coming back as people try to stretch more wear out of their clothing.
      48. Offering in-home beauty services — Hair cuts, makeup and other beauty services that can be performed at home have a growing demand.
      49. Business coaching — Helping others to establish and develop their businesses can provide many opportunities to earn money.
      50. Writing resumes — Writing resumes can provide a reliable income, especially if you can put a polish on a client’s credentials.

      There are plenty of offers that claim to provide you with the opportunity to make thousands of dollars a week. Unfortunately, none of these businesses will provide that sort of income, but they aren’t scams either. They were chosen because they all require a minimum investment to get started — some require nothing more than a flyer advertising your business. Even better, if you do enjoy any of these businesses, there is a potential with most of them to continue to expand — perhaps even to the point of going full time.

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      Featured photo credit: Omar Prestwich via unsplash.com

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