Independence has unique context and meaning for each of us. Regardless of what label best fits this particular stage in your life—employee, parent, student, teacher, or traveler—having a sense of financial safety makes a big impact on the quality of our life. We all deserve to feel secure in our financial future.

If you’re anxious about high interest credit card debt,  your credit health, or even just habits that haven’t served you, financial independence for you might mean alleviating that worry. Here are three (free!) resources that can move you closer to financial independence—wherever you’re at.

Build a Budget

We talk about budgeting a lot here at GreenPath: why it’s important and how to build one. A realistic budget is what allows us to take control of our money and allocate it in a way that aligns with our big picture goals and values. But budgeting isn’t just about creating rigid limitations; it’s about making intentional choices that move us closer to our money milestones and lessen future anxiety.

If you like starting with a loose framework, consider the 50/30/20 model: allocate 50% of your income to essential needs like rent and groceries, 30% to wants for entertainment and dining out, and 20% towards savings and debt repayment. This method ensures your essential needs are met, allows some flexibility for fun, and keeps you moving toward long-term financial goals.

Invest in Financial Education

In high school, we learn geography, algebra,  and social studies, but did you ever have a course on how to finance a car or navigate student loans? As adults, many of us learn to manage our money simply by doing, but with free online education, learning best practices is as simple as picking up your smartphone.

When it comes to achieving financial independence, having an educational foundation can simplify the process of home purchase. Or help determine which debt repayment path is right for you. Wherever your priority lies, be proactive in seeking the knowledge that can move you closer to your end goals.

Get Inspired

Chances are, if you’re not struggling in our current economy, you know someone who is. But how often are any of us candid about the mental or emotional barriers we face?

Creating a realistic budget and investing in your financial knowledge can strengthen your financial foundation, but there’s something else that brings peace of mind: knowing your burden is shared. Whether it’s the father who grappled with crippling law school debt or the woman who overcame financial abuse, there is solace in hearing firsthand that endings are often better beginnings in disguise.