If someone asked you about how financially secure you are right now, what would be your answer? Are you stable enough that you don’t even realize it’s already payday or are you always counting down the days until that paycheck comes? Whatever your answer may be, one thing’s for sure—each of us is hoping to achieve financial freedom someday.

To wake up one morning with enough cash and not worry about money at all is among the biggest dreams that most—if not all—of us have. But how can you turn this dream into a reality? What habits are you developing today to achieve financial security tomorrow?

If you’re looking for answers to those questions, you can follow these practical steps on how to achieve financial freedom. Let’s get started!

1. Create a list of your life goals

Your list should include both the short and long-term goals. The list can consist of plans as simple as replacing your current laptop after four or five years, or as major as deciding where to buy a home, find a job, or what car to buy. Jotting down the things you want to achieve or experience in life can help you direct your energy towards them.

Asking yourself questions can also help you think about your life’s biggest priorities and distinguish wants from needs. Should you add extra cash to your savings or perhaps unsubscribe to your gym classes and try working out at home? The more specific your list is, the better. This will also give you an idea of what you actually need to do to achieve every goal you set. 

2. Set up automatic savings

Today, most banks allow you to automatically set aside portions of your monthly earnings in a separate savings account. This can be savings for your future business, family needs, dream house or car, next travel adventure, fitness goal, studies, or any other personal goals.

You can even set the amount you’re willing to save, how often you want to save up (weekly, monthly, or quarterly), and when you want the goal to be achieved—convenience at its finest!

This feature not only helps you save money for yourself but also keeps you from the excuses you might have when it comes to putting aside some extra bucks for the more essential things you might need in the future.

Check your bank’s website or mobile app to see if they offer an automatic savings feature. Figure out how it works or talk to a bank representative to see how it can actually help you. This might sound very simple to some, but this can be a brave step to achieve financial freedom for others—especially for those who aren’t really into putting aside some cash in piggy banks and savings accounts.

3. Use your credit card responsibly

Credit cards are one of the most effective means of increased purchasing power. They’re practical and helpful, especially when making expensive purchases or when you happen to run out of cash. You can also earn points or rewards for every purchase, which you can use to pay off portions of your bill in the future or even to waive your card’s annual membership fee.

On the flip side, a credit card can’t be your sidekick in achieving financial freedom if you’re going to stress about paying it off. Try to compute an item’s interest rate before buying it with your credit card; think of whether the amount is worth paying or not, and then decide from there. 

Another good practice to using your credit cards responsibly is not making purchases you can’t afford. It’s always a healthy financial habit to pay off your credit card in full! Remember, a piled-up balance will be much harder to pay in the future and you surely don’t want that kind of trouble.

4. Keep track of your daily expenses

Recording every purchase you make daily can give you a clearer and more accurate picture of where your money goes. This should include even the smallest expenses like a bottle of water from a convenience store or an extra nacho dip from the cafeteria.

If you aren’t a fan of writing things down, you can use expense tracker apps to manage your daily budget. You can organize your expenses in categories like bills, entertainment, transportation, shopping, health, food, gifts, and a lot more.

Some apps also have the option to input your monthly income, so it can automatically compute how much balance you’ll have after a month worth’s expenses. Take a minute or two to jot down your expenses after every purchase—it can be helpful to know where each cent of your money goes.  

5. Plan tomorrow’s expenses today

Besides taking note of every dollar you’ve spent the entire day, another practical step you can take to meet financial freedom is to plan tomorrow in advance. This isn’t limited to out-of-town trips or other adventure travels. This also includes your daily errands—like the trip to your office or your favorite coffee shop, for example.

Having a planned budget before you step outside your front door will save you from unplanned and unnecessary spending. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that it’s easy to not fall into the tempting trap of clearance sale signages—especially when they’re posted at your favorite stores.

Pro tip: You can do the planning before you take that good night’s sleep. You’ll save yourself from thinking of unattended matters the next morning.

6. Keep your financial knowledge flowing 

The world we live in today is evolving and so is the way we spend and earn money. Financial independence can mean you have enough money to support your family’s needs in the future, grow savings through investments, and more.

That’s why it’s crucial to know the latest trends today. Knowing the most current ways to earn money can help you add extra money to your savings. For example, you can enter stock markets, buy and sell bitcoin, or find a side hustle that best fits your skill.

To keep your financial knowledge flowing, you can listen to podcasts, attend webinars, take free online courses, or read books about financial management and personal finance. You can also reach out to your friends and family who are knowledgeable about money matters.

Reaching financial independence isn’t a walk in the park; there will undoubtedly be some obstacles to encounter along the way. When that happens, remind yourself why you started and why you’re doing it. Keep a positive mindset and fix your eyes towards the goal.

Remember, just like any goal, financial success doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t ever let the bad days get you down. Instead, develop healthy financial habits and exercise practical money skills that will push you closer and closer towards being financially stable and successful.

*The content of this article is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.