Financial freedom is something that’s attainable for most people, but it takes a lot of practice and preparation for you to be able to actualize it. Financial planning requires self-discipline, money management, and often cutting out the frills so that you can afford to save and get yourself ahead. Here are some tips to help you start to work towards achieving financial freedom.

Build a strong budget

If you want to take control of your finances, one of the first and most important things you need to do is build yourself a budget. While this may seem a lot like busywork, it can be difficult to stay on top of all of your bills and expenses if each month you forget that one of them must be paid. Building a budget tells you exactly how much money each month needs to be spent on rent or mortgage payments, gas, utilities, and other necessities. That way you can see how much you need to spend and will be better able to calculate the amount you need to save each month to help you get ahead.

Refinance, refinance, refinance!

When you finance different things, you come to learn that not everything is financed at the same rate. For instance, credit cards and student loans have rather high interest rates that will increase the overall price of whatever it is that you’re financing over time. However, things like real estate, residential property in particular, typically has a much lower interest rate. Therefore, if the time comes to refinance, look into consolidating your loans and other payments into your mortgage if you have the equity available to do so. One final note: make sure that you take the time to shop around and truly find the best refinancing plan for you. Don’t rush into anything until you’ve had the time to fully understand exactly what you’re getting.

Make sure you have an emergency reserve

Even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and you’re very spread thin, one of the most important things that you can do for yourself and for your loved ones is build up an emergency fund. If you have a car you depend on to get you to and from work, having that car break down could spell an avalanche of financial troubles if you don’t have money saved to fix the car quickly. You can’t plan when emergencies will happen to you; all you can do is try to be prepared as best you can for when one does arise.