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Checklist For Financial Freedom

Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.


  • financial independence doesn't mean living in the lap of luxury
  • it has more to do with liberty from monetary worries
  • no debt -- no credit card bills, car payment, or mortgage
  • a healthy nest egg for emergencies
  • expenses that are below your income
  • a steady habit of saving and investing
  • being frugal and deliberate about your spending choices
  • you don't have to work to pay the bills


  • the first obstacle to financial freedom is the way we view money
  • we place importance on income and material possessions
  • debt has become commonplace and even expected
  • money is really nothing but a means to an end
  • money is only worth the non-materials things it buys you
  • free time, security, freedom to enjoy life, the people around you
  • money is not evil or divine, it is simply a tool


  • financial independence is about value-based spending decisions
  • avoid impulsive spending (proactive rather than reactive behaviors)
  • make conscious decisions about how to invest your resources
  • clear up financial disorganization (interest charges, late fees, etc.)
  • pay attention to how and where we spend money
  • track every single penny you spend for a month
  • look at each expense and ask if you get a tangible benefit from it
  • ask if it is worth the time spent earning the money to pay for it


  • list out all of the balances you owe
  • make note of the interest rate charged by each
  • pay the minimum on all debts except the highest interest rate
  • pay as much as you can on the highest interest rate
  • when that card is paid, apply money to the next-highest rate
  • keep working your way down the ladder until all are paid off


  • decide which expenses are necessary and which waste money
  • start first with incidental expenses (sodas, snacks, magazines)
  • also consider larger expenses (housing, car, vacations)
  • ask if your money isn't better spent elsewhere
  • ask if you would get more benefit from other spending patterns


  • credit cards can build credit and consolidate expenses
  • but when used irresponsibly, they can drive you into debt
  • pay your cards off in full each month to avoid interest charges
  • don't use your cards as a quick "loan" for purchases
  • if you don't have the money, save up before making the purchase
  • be careful about annual fees for "rewards" cards


  • the goal is to live comfortably without having to work
  • compound interest learns money on capital and past interest
  • invest regularly, putting a set amount away each month
  • plan to invest for the long-run -- don't try to "time" the market
  • diversify by including many types of investments in your portfolio
  • protect yourself against loss by spreading your investments around
  • it's never too late to start


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