Living a Debt-Free Life: One Cent At a Time Blogger On Finding Financial Freedom

(Photo Courtesy of Sudipto Basu)
Managing our personal finances can seem overwhelming and daunting for many, but Sudipto Basu, the blogger behind the popular financial online destination, One Cent At a Time, makes it look easy.

The South Florida-based technical project manager has avoided carrying a single cent of debt (not including his mortgage) his entire adult life. Thanks to informed money decisions, discipline and taking heed to parental advice early on, Basu has managed to live a full life virtually debt free.

Capital One caught up with Basu to get his tips on how proper money management can help lead to a life free from financial burdens.

1. Spending less than you earn can set you up for financial freedom.
"I learned valuable lessons from my parents, which laid the foundation for my financial awareness. My father taught me to never spend more than my earnings. By implementing that practice, I literally saved 50 percent of my monthly salary when I first moved to this country [from India]. He also told me to go over my finances regularly and always keep track of what I spent and my investment returns."

2. Understand the difference between good spending and bad spending.
"I’ve been too frugal at times. Eventually, I learned to invest in things that don't immediately earn interest or dividends. Creating a beautiful experience is also an essence of life. Things like spending on a good vacation, getting a technical certification or a buying a painting for the living room, are now examples of good spending for me. Before, I used to encourage my wife to rent DVDs from the local library; now we regularly go to the movie theater. We will take our memories with us wherever we go…but that doesn’t apply to the latest gadget."

3. Create multiple income streams to increase your bottom line.
"When I first moved to this country I landed a well-paying job as a software engineer. Despite earning a decent salary, I leaned on my middle-class upbringing and practices of living below my means. Slowly, I developed a few money streams, including my blog. In fact, my blog is now one of the main sources of extra income. As a result, I save almost all of my salary as the additional streams of income increased enough to sustain our three-member family and lifestyle."

4. Enroll in automated services to avoid late fees and interest.
"Being a busy working dad, there are many things that require my attention. To make my life easier, I use automation as much as possible. All of my credit cards and loans have a monthly auto-pay setup in place. This practice eliminates the possibility of forgetting to make a payment, which could result in late fees and unnecessary interest. Without automation, I really couldn't have managed a demanding job and a flourishing blog, with an infant son."

5. Get the financial education and guidance you need to flourish.
"There’s a lack of financial education in our society. Many people are too casual about their earning potential and misinformed about the importance of money management. The Capital One Café is working to bridge that financial literacy gap in an innovative, laidback way. Capital One has created an approachable way to get smarter about your finances and more proactive about managing a life without debt. These cafés bring a much-needed service to communities that can help people feel confident about their relationship with money."

To find a Capital One Café, visit capitalone.com/cafes

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