Financial freedom isn’t really something that me and my friends tend to talk about that much, as were only only seventeen, luckily, we’re yet to reach the age where we have to worry about mortgages, pensions or investments. However, over the last year, ‘money’ has been a lot more of a hot topic than it ever used to be. ISA’s, fixed term savings, student loans and tax have all become topics on our lips as we enter into ‘adult hood’ (totally not giving up my Disney Frozen posters anytime soon though!)
I think it’s fair to say that due to our new found widening of our knowledge around finance, we have become a lot more aware about our parents financial situations too. This, in turn, has led me to really want to be financially independent, to the greatest possible extent I can. There comes to time when we all have to stop relying on the bank of Mum and Dad and try to make it on our own in this field, however daunting that may seem. I thought I’d try to put together a few helpful little tips and tricks in order to successfully ‘break free’ without having to come running back a few months down the line. I hope these are useful and if you have any ideas that you think I’ve missed, feel free to comment and share them in the comments section!
1) Know when the right time is to do so
Sit down and try speaking to your parents and discussing the idea of you being incharge of a few more things on the financial side. They may feel that this is the right time to do so, or not. Take into account what they are saying and see if you can come to an agreement that you are both happy with.
On the Experian expert blog, writer Darren Beach says to look out for certain ‘signs’ that you might be ready for financial independence. Sometimes its just about being able to tell yourself ‘no’ when you really, really want to splash out on something you don’t need and can’t really afford. There’s also the realisation that sometimes you are just going to have to spend money on something you need, but don’t really want, such as household repairs or car tax.
2) Baby steps
Try not to take things too fast or you risk being overwhelmed. Perhaps take on a gradual amount of responsibility over time, in order to save being dropped in at the deep end.
3) Be disciplined
If you have already moved out, be it away at uni halls or in your own accommodation, chances are that you are already having to deal with fixed, regular costs such as rental, household costs, travel costs plus buying your own food. This can be hard, especially when sometimes it seems like the money in the bank just isn’t going to cover all the costs. Try to be disciplined and plan ahead. I am forever using ‘Google sheets’ which is an online, free software which enables you to edit and make spreadsheets whenever you have internet connection. By keeping on top of your outgoings it will be easier to plan for bigger expenses and track how much you have coming in each month, versus how much is going out.
4) Pay ALL your credit bills on time
When I say all, I mean all. Not just loans and mortgages, but mobile phone contracts, utilities and credit cards. This is vital as missed or late payments can stay on your credit report for at least six years and could affect the likelihood of you receiving credit in the future. If you want find out anything else about credit reports there is more here.
5) Register to vote
This may sounds like a funny one that has nothing to do with financial freedom, but trust me…it does! Registering to vote not only gives you the potential to vote but could also boost your credit rating. This is because lenders often use the electoral register to help confirm where you live and who you are. All you have to do is go to the Gov.co.uk website and follow the simple steps.
I hope you found these tips helpful!