Congratulations on taking the first of many steps towards financial independence. The financial independence road is long and lonely. It’s not something that can be mastered, or achieved within a short period of time. There will be times where it seems easy and times where you’ll want to give up.
This 30-day Financial Independence Challenge is designed to be completed in any order. Use this challenge as a source of inspiration, motivation and get you to ask yourself and your family the difficult questions that it takes to pursue financial independence.
These types of financial checklists are typically found in a course where a guru charges hundreds of dollars. While forking over your money does increase the likelihood that you’ll participate, I hope it’s clear that I’m not after your money. I want to do everything in my power to help you get your family on track for financial independence.
I realize that everyone's financial situation is different and we’re all starting from different spots. Some of the tasks provided won’t apply to you, and that’s OK. The goal is to get you thinking in a way that prioritizes your finances on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly level.
30-day Financial Independence Challenge
Write down all of the reasons why you want to achieve financial independence for your family
Share with your partner a short-, mid-and long-term financial goal you would like your household to achieve
Set a SMART-Fi Money Goal using the worksheet found here.
Tell your partner about the #DIFYB Challenge and gain their buy-in. Gauge their interest on a scale of 1-5. 1 being completely apathetic and 5 being enthusiastically on board
Determine your total monthly household expenses by looking at the past 30-days of bank transactions and adding them all up. I know, this can be scary
Determine your total monthly household income by looking at the past 30-days of income and add them all up. Let the group know if your expenses are < or > your income. Don’t worry, by the end of the 30-days, expenses will be < Income
Read my book
Create a zero-based budget for the next 30-days. Basically, every dollar of expense needs to be tied to a dollar of income. Saving and investing would be considered an expense as well. We want every dollar to have a purpose! Read more. For a deeper dive, check out my budgeting course
List all of your debts, length of the loan, and interest rate. Rank by the highest interest rate to lowest
Calculate your financial independence number. Here’s how
Determine your household net worth (assets-liabilities). Is it positive or negative? Run the numbers with and without home equity
Discuss the Money Marriage Checklist with your partner. How did it go?
Find yourself on the FIRE Flowchart. This isn’t the path everyone should follow, but it should get your wheels turning
No clothes shopping for 30-days! The easiest way to accomplish this? Don’t go to the store!
Put all of your cards in our #DIFYB card sleeve! Get it here
Don’t buy any name-brand groceries the next time you shop. You may find some brands don’t make a difference, while others have to be name brands… like ketchup!
Use a cash-back rewards app next time you shop. My wife uses these programs
Don’t spend any discretionary (non-essential) income for 7-days
Don’t spend any discretionary (non-essential) income for 14-days
Don’t spend any discretionary (non-essential) income for 21-days
Don’t spend any discretionary (non-essential) income for 30-days
Don’t use your credit cards for 7-days
Don’t use your credit cards for 14-days
Don’t use your credit cards for 21-days
Don’t use your credit cards for 30-days
No restaurants for 7-days
No restaurants for 14-days
No restaurants for 21-days
No restaurants for 30-days
Sell items from around the house. The average person has at least $500 worth of stuff they don’t use or need
Determine the income range for your position, industry & location. Are you over or underpaid? Knowledge is power and will help you make critical future financial decisions
List what it would take to earn a promotion or a higher paying job
Consider negotiating a raise at work. If you’re underpaid, this should be an easy conversation.
Payoff any piece of debt. Don’t stretch yourself too thin, but if you have a debt that you can easily pay off, consider doing it. Note how it makes you feel
Learn about your employer's 401k & Request an info packet (if available)
Contribute enough to earn your employer 401k match (if available). This isn’t necessarily “free money” like people say, but it is a nice perk to have
Determine how much emergency fund you need to cover 3, 6, and 12 months of barebones expenses. Are you protecting your family against financial emergencies?
Open high-yield savings account for your emergency fund. This is a “better than nothing” scenario for your emergency fund
Set up a recurring automatic transfer from checking to an emergency fund. No matter how little. You’ll forget about this money and your emergency savings will start growing
Create sinking funds (physical or digital). We have one for gifts, vacations, and furniture. Read more
List out all of your investments. Stocks, bonds, real estate, etc… How have they performed over the past 1-, 3-, 5-, 10-years?
Use the free gift planning template found here
Negotiate bills & subscriptions by calling and getting new quotes for car, home, or rental insurance. We’ve had great results calling and threatening to cancel cable, Dish, and Sirius XM
Unplug & unsubscribe. Find something you all can do without for a month. Cut the cable cord, cancel Netflix, Spotify, or that box of the month club
Eat dinner as a family. We try to do this every single night. Time with our kids is so precious. No phones allowed
Go on a family walk, hike, or bike ride after dinner. Family time + activity + fresh air = Time well spent
Instead of going out, have a family game night. Our kids love this. If you don’t own a game, make one up. Play hide and seek or kick a soccer ball around
Discover a new free activity in your town. We’ve been to all the parks! Find a park or hiking trail you’ve never been to
Start a chore chart for your kids (or your partner), no child labor, but a few key responsibilities. Our 8-year old pick-up dog poop, makes his bed, and cleans his room daily in exchange for an allowance
Start an allowance for your kids (spend, save, give) relate it to what you’re doing with your finances. The amount is not as important as the lessons learned. Read more