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You can’t talk about independence in life without mentioning financial independence. Becoming an adult comes with many responsibilities, not the least of which is making your own money, and learning to provide for yourself appropriately. 

Learning how to budget your money is also important. As you enter adulthood, learning how to budget so that your bills get paid every month on time will allow you to build strong credit, and just about every major purchase you’ll make will look at your credit score and credit report as representative of how consistently you pay your bills and utilize your available credit. 

Here are five ways to grow your financial independence:

  • Learn to live within your means. What this means is, don’t spend all the money you make. When you bring home your paycheck, you’ll have bills that will have to be paid first to make sure they’re paid on time. After that is done, you can decide what to do with the rest.

  • Learn to create a realistic budget, and stick to it. By utilizing a budget, you’ll know you’re living within your means. Sticking to your budget will also allow you to create a savings account and put money away for larger purchases.

  • Save money for emergencies. You never know what the future holds. You may need to travel to family in the event of an illness or death in the family, or you may find yourself in need of a new car suddenly. Always expect the unexpected, and place a portion of your income into a savings account that is only accessed in an emergency.

  • Build your credit when you’re young. This means you should utilize credit accounts - but don’t abuse them. This is easier said than done for most people, so make sure you are disciplined about your spending. Eventually, you will want to purchase a new automobile, house, or finance your education, and one of the ways you’ll accomplish that is with a loan. The higher your credit score, the less you’ll pay in financing costs, and the easier it will be to obtain a loan. As anyone with bad credit can tell you - it pays to keep your score up rather than try to fix it when you’ve screwed it up.

  • Learn your way around your credit report and score. You’ll be able to monitor your report for any signs of identity theft and be able to take care of any problems immediately.