ways to be more independent with your finances pinThe Fourth of July is one of our favorite holidays here at GoGirl, mostly because it’s all about independence. And whether it be our independence as a country — or just as an individual — we need to celebrate. One of the best ways to do so is by taking control of your personal finances. Because if you aren’t in control of your money, you can’t be in control of your life.

Here are five quick tips for gaining control — and achieving financial independence — this Fourth of July.

Don’t Scare Yourself

You may be one of those people who feel freaked out when anything related to finances comes up. Don’t let yourself be scared! Don’t tell yourself you can’t handle this. You absolutely can.

Eileen O’Connor, the vice president of wealth management for McLean Asset Management Corporation says that it’s easy to adopt a “head-in-the-sand approach” to long-term financial planning. We have to change that! Teach yourself the basics. Use personal finance web sites (like this one), blogs, and talk to your friends. The topic shouldn’t be taboo, and the sooner it becomes part of our daily discourse, the better it will be for everyone.

Use Your Intuition

Suze Orman recommends tapping into that intuition that serves you in so many other areas of your life. She told Oprah.com, “If you’re pondering a financial decision, step back for a moment and ask yourself one simple question: Does it feel right? The answer, if you’re being honest with yourself, is more valuable than what anyone else has to say. As always remember, you should never have to talk yourself into trusting anyone. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.”

Squash That Debt

OK, so this isn’t exactly easy but there are plenty of tools out there to help you make a plan to work on your debt. Take a look at all the awesome stories about debt on GoGirl for ideas. Just remember — if they can do it, so can you!

Make a Budget

A budget is just a simple way to get organized. Look at your monthly expenses and subtract that from your total monthly income to ensure you’re not spending more than you’re making. Try to find areas where you can cut back on spending (like expensive exercise classes). As our very own expert Ashley Feinstein says, “the purpose of a budget isn’t to restrict us at all – it’s to empower us. If we just spend blindly and impulsively on whatever comes our way, we lose the power to spend on things that actually matter. ”

Embrace the Emergency Savings Fund

If you don’t have an emergency savings fund you’re asking for trouble. Getting started can be tough, but we’re here to help. And once you see those savings start to add up, you’ll feel great. Promise.