10 Great Ways To Gain Control Of Your Finances and Reach Financial Freedom

I’m sure many of you are wanting to achieve financial freedom in some form, and you probably have some money-related goals/resolutions for the future. I know I do! If you want to get ahead, stop living paycheck to paycheck, and/or you want to gain control of your finances so that you can learn how to achieve…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 5, 2023

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Find out how to gain control of your finances with these helpful tips. This is a great list!

I’m sure many of you are wanting to achieve financial freedom in some form, and you probably have some money-related goals/resolutions for the future. I know I do!

If you want to get ahead, stop living paycheck to paycheck, and/or you want to gain control of your finances so that you can learn how to achieve financial freedom, I recommend you continue reading below.

I have packed some of my best money tips into this post, and I definitely think you can improve your finances by instilling at least some of the money advice below into your life.


1. Stop letting money control you.

If you want to gain control of your financial life, then you need to gain control of your money.

This means you need to stop worrying about all of the things that are holding you back, and instead create an action plan so that the littlest things do not tear you down or stress you out.

This pretty much leads into everything in this post. You should create a budget, make extra money, lower your debt, have an emergency fund, lower your spending, and more in order to stop letting money control you.


2. Create a budget.

If you complain about money but you don’t have a budget, well, YOU NEED ONE. If you spend more money than you bring in, then you need a budget as well. If you have debt, then you need to create a budget.

I don’t know how else to put it.

If you want to achieve financial freedom, then read this money saving tip – Create a budget with realistic expenses along with your actual income. This can help you figure out what your money problem is, what areas you need to improve in, and more. It can help you save money because you will be tracking your spending and you will most likely figure out what your problem with money is.


3. Make extra income.

Here on Making Sense of Cents, I discuss extra income, side hustles, offline income, and how to make money online a good amount of the time. I do this for a reason…

I believe that earning extra income can completely change your life in a positive way. A person can stop living paycheck to paycheck, they can pay off their debt, and more all by earning extra money.

Many people have at least a few extra hours each day or each week that they can devote towards making extra money. If you want something, you just have to make time for it. I know it’s harder for some than it is for others, but it’s all about how bad you want it.

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4. Eliminate your debt if you want to reach financial freedom.

If you have debt, then you should be working to lower it. Unless you know exactly what you are doing and have taken advantage of something (such as a low interest rate, a loan that you don’t have to pay off because of work reimbursement, or something else), then you should be actively working to eliminate your debt. This way you won’t feel bound by it and feel stuck.

Eliminating debt is a great way to reach financial freedom. Another money saving tip related to this is that lowering your debt will also lead to less money going towards interest.

Have you ever calculated how much of your money goes towards interest DAILY?

Related post: How I Paid Off $38,000 In Student Loans in 7 Months


5. Have an emergency fund.

We have a well-funded emergency fund, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It gives me financial freedom in that I don’t have to worry about a bad business month, repair expenses, unexpected budget busters, and more.

Instead, we have money saved up for a rainy day so that stress doesn’t have to take over our lives.

Everyone prefers something different when it comes to their emergency fund. I like to have around one year’s worth of expenses, whereas others like to have three months. It all depends on your circumstances when it comes to how much should be in an emergency fund. There are emergency fund calculators out there that can probably help you with this.

Read Everything You Need To Know About Emergency Funds.


6. Stop keeping up with the Joneses is a TOP money saving tip of mine.

Keeping up with the Joneses is something that many people have been guilty of at least one point in their life. However, you need to learn how to stop, because who cares about what someone else has?

Shouldn’t you only care about what YOU need and want?

When trying to keep up with someone else, you will most likely be spending money that you do not have. You might put expenses on credit cards so that you can “afford” things. You might buy things that you do not care about. The problems can go on and on.

Keeping up with the Joneses can make you broke and lead to major debt.


7. Save for retirement in order to achieve financial freedom.

Learning how to achieve financial freedom means you need to save for retirement. How can you ever really feel free if you aren’t saving any money? Whether your goal is to retire early, financial independence, or something else, this is a BIG step when it comes to gaining control of your finances.

You never know if something will happen later on that might prevent you from saving for retirement. It’s always best to save now. You can still lead a great life while saving money for retirement.

I highly recommend that you check out Personal Capital (a free service) if you are interested in gaining control of your financial situation. Personal Capital is very similar to Mint.com, but 100 times better as it allows you to gain control of your investment and retirement accounts, whereas Mint.com does not. Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation, your cash flow, detailed graphs, and more. You can connect accounts such as your mortgage, bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more, and it is FREE.


8. Be properly insured.

This one is a little different from the rest, but I always like to include this in my posts when I can. I always think that a person should be properly insured when they can.

This means have life insurance, car insurance, rental insurance, home insurance, health insurance, and/or whatever other type of insurance policy that you need. Of course, everyone doesn’t need everything, but you should evaluate your situation and see what you truly need.

Not being properly insured can cause stress and a crazy amount of debt. No one wants that. If you want to reach financial freedom, you need to make sure you are properly insured to prevent any financial disasters. No one wants a large problem to pop up in their lives, but being protected can shift a lot of the financial burden to an insurance company instead of everything falling on you.


9. Have regular money talks.

You need to have regular money sessions with yourself or money talks with your loved one in order to reach financial freedom. This is so that everyone can be on the same page.

For example: If one person is regularly busting the monthly family budget and the other person is a strict saver, this can cause problems.


10. Work to increase your credit score.

If you need a loan for anything in the future, you can do easy things to increase your credit score. Watch your utilization rate on your credit cards, pay your bills on time, watch the amount of hard inquiries on your credit report that you have, and so on.

Your credit score is important because it can affect your interest rate and whether or not you will get approved for a loan. A difference of just a few percentage points can save you hundreds of dollars a month.

That’s the possibility of saving THOUSANDS extra each year just by increasing your credit score. You can check your credit score for FREE with Credit Sesame.

Are you in control of your financial life? Why or why not? What are you doing to achieve financial freedom now?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. For the 2015, I am gonna create a more rigorous budget and get more side hustles as many as I can. Next year will be a better year and a meaningful for me and my family. I have great plans to achieve and some travels to do. So excited! 2015 will just be a break, in a good way, in our financial success.

    1. Sounds like 2015 will be a great year for you πŸ™‚

  2. A solid common sense list. Unfortunately it seems too many people still consider these basic elements to be difficult and end up spiraling into debt.

    I can absolutely highlight the need for an emergency fund. Our central heating and water system packed up last week. Perfect timing with the freezing British winter upon us. Fortunately we had a sizable emergency fund and so it was no stress to get a plumber out the very next day and have the financial leeway to be able to advise him to just do whatever it takes to resolve the issue.

    If we hadn’t have had that fund, we would have totally stressed out and had to have put the bill onto expensive credit cards.

    1. Yep and that would have been bad! Thankfully you had an emergency fund. Good job!

    2. I agree that these basic rules seem to be overlooked by so many people. I have a friend that normally laughs at me for being thrifty but she is always broke. She is also fearful of having any emergencies as she does not have an emergency fund. I tried a couple of times to talk to her about saving some of her money but she laughed me off. To each her own, I guess.

      1. Sounds like your friend needs to start reading personal finance blogs! πŸ™‚

  3. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini

    I believe #6 is a major problem for a lot of people. I don’t know why we have to have a flat screen TV in every room to feel comfortable, or the latest car to signal people we have arrived. Living within your means seems to be boring, and living with debt for some reason is normal……well not in my world.

    1. Not normal in my world either! It’s all about priorities.

  4. All good tips. But number 1 is by far the most important. Once you change the mindset that money works for you rather than you work for money, everything else simply falls into perspective.

    I’m already working on the annual update to my financial freedom plan (due to publish later this month).

    1. Oooh excited to read it!

  5. Following these steps is the way to financial freedom. For my wife and I, we watch what we spend by saving 50% of our income and not going into debt. The key to this is paying yourself first, not last. We have automatic transfers set up so that when we get paid, the money is taken from our checking accounts and put into our saving/investment accounts without us doing a thing. When we look at our checking account, we see exactly how much we have to spend each month.

    1. Sounds like you have a great plan Job. Are you hoping to retire early?

  6. Great advice, Michelle! Increasing income is pretty key–it’s tough to save a lot if you’re only making enough to cover your living expenses. I like the two-pronged approach of earn a lot & save a lot, but the “earn” part comes first.

    Regular money talks are a favorite of mine too. You’ve got to be on the same page as your partner if you want to achieve financial success together!

  7. Great list, Michelle! For us, a budget is key. Without it, we just end up spending way more than we need to.

    1. I agree! We need to get a little better with our budget though and tighten it a little bit.

  8. Great tips. I’ve definitely taken control of my finances in the last couple of years. We’re working toward paying off all of our debt (but both my fiance and I have a lot from school – we weren’t very smart about money then), and building our savings. We’re definitely working towards it and hope to have more of a handle on our finances soon! πŸ™‚

    1. Good job on taking control of your finances. I hope you can pay off your debt soon. When do you think they’ll be done for?

  9. “If you complain about money but you don’t have a budget, well, YOU NEED ONE.” <— YES! Not everyone struggles with money. In fact, a lot of people are wealthy and manage their money well without a budget. That said, for everyone else who needs to get on the ball with their finances, a budget is absolutely necessary.

  10. Great way of summing it up Michelle. All of these steps involve taking action which is very important because simply talking about improving your finances won’t help at all if you aren’t implementing a plan of action and sticking to it. I feel that once you stop letting money control you, it will be that much easier to gain control and improve your finances.

  11. For us, once we stopped trying to keep up with the Joneses and put our own goals first, we started getting our finances on track, and now we realize that financial independence is not as far away as we originally thought.

  12. For us, we like a bigger emergency fund since we are both self-employed. It helps us cover a bad month, big repairs, and so on.

  13. Good luck Kathleen!

  14. Great list for us a budget and communication have been our keys to our success.

  15. Good luck increasing your income! I’m sure you can do it πŸ™‚

  16. Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver

    Ugh, my student loan debt is the only thing keeping me from following all of these guidelines! But I’m on a 10 year repayment plan and already 2 years in… plus I keep thinking saving for retirement (because of compound interest) is better for me right now than devoting money towards student loan debt. Ah, something we all have to deal with individually, huh? πŸ˜‰ Great list Michelle!

    1. Thanks Melissa!

      Yes, everyone is different. Not everyone needs to take the same path πŸ™‚

  17. Thanks Kaileigh! I hope 2015 is a great one for you πŸ™‚

  18. Those are all great tips. I plan to go crazy making extra income in 2015.

  19. Great list! I don’t understand how people manage their finances without a budget, I just don’t see how it works!

  20. I agree! It doesn’t have to be hard.

  21. Connie @ Savvy With Saving

    Right now, I am in control but I wasn’t before. I use to want to keep up with the Joneses or everyone around me but I realized that it didn’t make me happy (and the people around me weren’t actually happy either).

    1. Yup, no one is happy in that situation!

  22. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

    I feel that we’re in a place where we have control of our finances. We’re living off half our income, making some extra income, paying down our mortgage. We’ve left our end game open for now, but we’re giving ourselves options.

  23. Newlyweds on a Budget

    Creating a budget where you learn how much you make and how much you’re spending is VERY important. Definitely one of the first steps in getting a handle on your money

    1. I agree! Too many people skip this step.

  24. Amy

    We’re working on regular talks and firm budgets

  25. Awesome list. I would say that along with a reasonable and sustainable budget find waste that can be cut and still not impact your happiness or leave you feeling like you are living a deprived life. Sometimes we just get comfortable with what we pay for without looking for ways to trim costs. What we consider important isn’t as important anymore as time goes by and our interest change. My budget is always being reassessed. Great Post!

  26. Absolutely agree!!!

  27. Sarah

    Agree on all these points. My husband and I are taking a free personal finance class from the library (it starts tomorrow) for six weeks, hoping to go just that much further into our personal finance situations. We have a budget, but we really need to start saving a lot more and investing a great deal more too.

    1. Wow that sounds like an awesome class! Free is always good πŸ™‚

  28. Good luck Michelle!

  29. Good luck Alison! You can do it! πŸ™‚

  30. I love this list! I think #9 is one of the most underrated ones on here. Knowing where you’re at and where you’re going is so important and those money talks can do exactly that…especially with you significant other. All around great tips!

  31. Ann Harris

    I’m a 60 years old widow with no savings.Every cent I earn goes toward a bill. I have insurance through work. I have a small pension through work(only been on job six years). One credit card ($1100.00) owed. Everything else are all necessities mortgage,heat,water,food,gas to work,etc.Any advice would be appreciated.

  32. Tom

    This is a great blog post. A lot of good information shared here and I feel that everyone should read this post. I also liked #9 about having money talks. I feel that most families do not do this and it causes problems in a relationship later on in life.