Ever wanted to become financially independent but felt held back by your current situation? July is a month that celebrates independence. And if there’s one thing many Americans would love, it’s to become financially independent. But doing so means different things for different folks. A short list of money-related aspirations that could bring a stronger sense of stability might include:
- Paying down debt
- Improve spending habits
- Better budgeting
- Reducing credit card spending
- Making a significant purchase (like a car or home)
Here are some suggestions for planning a (more) financially independent summer.
Be Honest About Money Troubles
Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a rut, working a job you don’t enjoy and barely making ends meet. Maybe you’ve even gone down the path of debt to pay for your pastimes and obligations, and you’re now struggling to catch up. It can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to stay stuck!
Why not take a moment to consider what smarter habits you could try implementing in your own life? You don’t have to change your habits all at once. But defining one or two goals could certainly be a start.
Balance Income Generation with Monthly Bills
Most people struggle with money at some point in their lives, and sometimes it seems like there’s no way to get ahead. But there are small, simple habits that can make a big difference in your finances, and when practiced diligently, can help you achieve financial independence. Many people think that they have to save a lot of money to become financially independent, but that’s not always the case. A closer look at your monthly expenditures – against how much money is coming in – will give you a more realistic idea of where you stand. Perhaps dropping a pricey habit or picking up a few extra hours at work is all it would take to get your finance back in order.
Develop Financial Literacy
Did you know that simply understanding personal finance can help you become more successful in life? According to one study, only 57% of Americans are financially literate.
Financial literacy may mean being able to understand and effectively use various financial skills. Some of these skills include financial management and budgeting. But it also means having a basic grasp of how money works. In order to manage your money effectively, it is important to know where every dollar is going and how to avoid making future mistakes.
Read the Fine Print – and Get Interest Rates Under Control
Understanding interest rates is just one example of financial literacy, but it’s an important one. Too many consumers fall into the trap of agreeing to unfavorable payment terms on mortgages, credit cards and other forms of loans. It’s possible you’re paying more interest or fees on credit cards and other forms of debt than you realize. If you’re having trouble paying the bills, ask for help. Perhaps you can negotiate a lower interest rate that will make your monthly bills easier to pay off.
Improve Your Credit Score
Keep in mind that not all debt is bad. Most of us accumulate debt at some point. It’s only bad if it gets out of control, is the result of over-spending, or becomes too difficult to pay off. Consider finding out what your credit score is and what steps would be necessary to bump it up a notch. Demonstrating your ability to make steady payments to pay off that car loan will eventually improve your score.
Use Financial Resources and Services at Chicago’s South Suburban SSCE
Finally, use a neighborhood financial service provider you can trust. Chicago’s South Suburban Community Exchanges (SSCEs) have many different types of services to help you pay bills on time, take care of transportation needs, and stay on top of your finances this summer. And you can accomplish these goals under one roof, whether you need to:
- Pay bills electronically
- Cash a check
- Load up your prepaid debit card
- Get a Ventra card
- Auto title & registration
We’re here to serve you and help you achieve your financial dreams with an array of services. Find your nearest location or check out our other services online to find out what else we can do for you this summer.