Personal finances can be a tricky skill to master. For starters, there’s the inexplicable urge to spend your new pay check immediately. Then, once that urge passes, you have to balance your budget accordingly—and actually stick to that budget!

This process can get even more complicated when finances are shared. According to a survey by Surety First, half of Americans consider themselves at least somewhat financially dependent, with an astonishing 32.9% claiming to be completely dependent on another. Additionally, nearly half of Americans (48.3%) ask their parents for help paying bills. 

So, how can we change these numbers to help every capable American become literate when it comes to personal finances, and therefore, financially independent?

  • Set a budget that works for you.


This tip may seem obvious, but it’s one of the most important factors when it comes to personal finances. Many websites will tell you exactly how much money you should be setting aside for savings, for groceries, for spending, etc. But, if these numbers don’t work for your personal needs, you won’t be able to stick to this budget. Talk to a personal financial advisor or use an online calculator to find a budget that is right for you.

  • No more impulse purchases!


I know, seeing those new shoes in the store window can be extremely tempting. Not to mention the perfectly-tailored ads that swarm social media feeds nowadays; at this point, it’s almost taunting. Stay strong! Refraining from impulse purchases will almost exclusively benefit your financial status. Of course, it’s alright to treat yourself every now and then, but plan accordingly in your budget and think about what you want to spend that extra money on in advance

  • Take an interest in interest rates.


Interest rates can cause you to sink in debt like quicksand. These hidden annoyances can be difficult to spot, or at least, difficult to keep track of. Be sure to pay off debt as quickly as possible– especially when it comes to your credit card. As Albert Einstein once said: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.” Pay off your debt early, either by paying off your smallest debts first or by keeping up with the minimum payments on all of your debt.

  • Find a hobby you enjoy, then learn how to make money doing it.


No, there’s no need to quit your full-time job. But, if you spend your weekends painting, playing a sport, or studying, why not benefit from your skills? Starting a side hustle is easy. It does take a substantial bit of motivation, but if you find a side hustle that aligns with your hobbies and interests, it should be easy. Start an Etsy account to sell your artwork on. Give private lessons to those who are trying to learn your sport. Tutor others in the subjects you’re studying. The list goes on, but the bottom line is that nearly any hobby can be turned into extra income.