Four tips for achieving financial freedom

If you find yourself staring at debt, dealing with costly emergencies or struggling with overspending now is the time to take control of your finances instead of being controlled by them.

Local financial professional Barry Bigelow from Great Waters Financial has four tips to help in achieving financial freedom.

"Although it seems counterintuitive, saving for the future and building a healthy emergency fund are huge steps that you can’t just set aside and say ‘I’ll build that habit after I pay off the debt,’" says Bigelow. "You have to make sure you’re doing all of those things at the same time- so making sure you’re saving for the future and building a healthy emergency fund while you’re paying down the debt are key."

Bigelow says a healthy emergency fund should have enough money to cover 3 to 6 months of expenses if you were to lose your job, miss a paycheck or face an unexpected medical bill.

Next – create a debt payoff plan.

You can either organize your debt by the amount you owe and tackle your smallest balance first, called the snowball method, or you can create a debt avalanche by prioritizing paying off high-interest debt first.

Lastly — Bigelow says spending less than you earn will help keep you out of debt. Start by writing down exactly what you’re spending each month. Compare that to how much you are earning and ask yourself if there are where you need to cut back.