Cents and Sensibility: 5 Tips to Financial Freedom

Have you ever heard of the phrase “people are enslaved to those they owe?” Those you owe could be creditors, banks, or even family members.  Break free from debt by utilizing five tips on how to mentally transition to financial freedom.

1. Talk it Out

Talking to people about the problem is probably the most difficult tip to tackle. But it is important to communicate how debt affects you and your family. Establish a group of people who will not only support you, but will also understand when you say “I can’t go to the mall to shop today” or “Come over and I can prepare lunch, instead of going to an expensive restaurant.”

2. Face your fears

The first step to overcoming your fear is to identify what you are afraid of.  Realize that the debt is present and you have the tools and strategies needed to decrease it. If you are afraid of being in so much debt that you will lose everything later, make sure you learn everything you can on how to spend, save, and balance your budget now.

3. Enforce Discipline

Be disciplined and stay out of the stores, put the credit cards away, and stick to a plan. It is easy to pick up a credit or debit card and go buy a new pair of shoes that you don’t need. Figure out the reason(s) behind your spending habits. Put a stop to unnecessary spending by disciplining yourself and refocus negative habits into positive ones.

4. DIY

Do it yourself! Be willing to cut your own grass, clean your own house, wash your own car, do your own hair, walk your own dog, paint your own nails, put on your own makeup. Don’t waste money paying for things you can do on your own. It may sound like a hassle, but truly, doing things for yourself now can lead to a better financial situation later.

 5. Just Say No

Saying no does not have to be painful. Understand that soon you will be in a better financial situation to potentially say “yes.” Move forward with integrity. Let go of your fears and simply speak the truth. If you don’t know how to say “no,” practice listening to yourself say: “I wish I could, but I have other financial commitments at this time” or “Maybe next time when I have a couple of dollars to spare.” While this tip may be difficult to execute, it often saves the most money.

About Dr. Karen Ratliff

Credit: Dr. Karen Ratliff

Dr. Ratliff is a certified life coach and professional educator, assisting many people in accomplishing financial, career, and educational goals.  She is also the author of “Tightening Your Bootstraps: 104 Tips to Kick Your Debt to the Curb Now.” Keep up with her budgetary advice via Twitter @drkarenratliff and her website at