What is my favourite four-letter f-word? If you guessed “free,” you’d be correct (with “food” coming in a close second). It’s August and, thanks to the efforts of our first Prime Minister, ministers and political leaders, we are gearing up to celebrate the colonial freedom of our dear country.
On our very first Merdeka celebration, headed by Tunku Abdul Rahman, a great cry of Merdeka rang out seven times to commemorate the occasion. Following this trend, as I will be talking about a kind of freedom here as well, here are seven steps to a greater financial freedom:
1. Track your spending
Not being able to explain where the money went, and how you used it, can get very embarrassing very quickly. Utilising a notebook, a planner, or even a phone application can go a long way in keeping tabs on yourself.
2. Be accountable
Whether it is being accountable to your parents, or to yourself, not being accountable to your money can quickly lead to an empty bank account with no idea where the money even went. Not being accountable can also lead to people pinpointing you as careless and irresponsible.
3. Make sure you really need it before you get it
That hair product may make you look and feel successful. Those new handbags may be what you think will make your life complete. That upgrade to first class might seem like the best idea you’ve had in your life. However, take the time to really think of the long-term consequences of your actions.
4. Live within your means
Unless you have some relative or friend in some far-flung place in the world willing to donate huge sums of money into your bank, I’m willing to bet that your funds are limited. Having fun in the now may seem great and all, but your actions now may come to haunt you in the future.
5. Be sensitive towards the overall financial needs of your dependants
If you are a working adult, you may have people depending on you, not just yourself. Whether it be your spouse, your children, your parents, or even your pet, your spending may matter to others too. Just because your spending doesn’t affect the country as a whole, doesn’t make the needs of the people who depend on you any less important.
6. Don’t use money that is not your own
It sounds like an obvious statement, but you may be surprised how many people are severely in debt because of unchecked credit-card spending. In the same vein, try not to make a habit of borrowing, because the general idea of it is that you have to eventually pay something back, be it the money and/or a souring of the relationship with you and the lender.
7. Keep a clear conscience
The best way to keep a clear conscience to your spending, is to ask yourself: would I be in trouble if someone finds out about my earning and/or spending? If the answer is yes, then you have some soul-searching to do. True financial freedom is not just about having enough money, but also about having the peace of heart and mind to use that money wisely. Oftentimes, a simple yet clean and honest life is better than one where you have to lie, cheat, and steal to keep yourself in a lavish one.