When you think independent woman, what comes to your mind? Is she someone who has her life together? Does she pay her own bills? Is she living her life on her terms? Does she do whatever she wants? We have certain impressions pertaining to what independence really means, and while no idea or perception is totally wrong, it always helps to learn from others experiences. We spoke to three ladies, who share their stories, and tell us some important factors that feature in their independent woman checklist.Fix Your FinancesThe first order of business when it comes to living an independent life, is to have your finances in order. Shaila Dhingra, a 29-year-old digital marketing specialist at a lifestyle brand, who moved out of her parents home and shifted into her own accommodation in the same city about three years ago, adds, Fortunately or unfortunately, money really makes the world go round. So, if youre planning to have your own place, its always recommended to have your finances sorted. Even if you continue to live at home, your savings can really help you later in life. Its always good to know that you have a sizeable bank balance to fall upon. She started working when she was around 20, saved up, and moved out when she saw that she had enough savings to cover all the costs that come with living on her own.She further recommends parking your money in different economic portfolios, such as stocks, or fixed deposits, which can help you double up your savings in the coming years. Its best to do your research, even take help from an accountant, to find out where your money would see maximum returns. In a couple of years, the returns will be more like a gift to yourself, from you, she quips.Self-Serve Your Self-CareWhen you think of self-care, it goes way beyond having a night-time skin routine. Jayati Das, a 32-year-old graphic designer from Bhubaneshwar, who moved to Gurgaon eight years ago to work with an advertising agency, emphasises on taking care of oneself. When I moved here, it was my first time away from home. Up until then, I could always rely on my parents to help me with whatever I needed. Moving to a city like Gurgaon came as a shock to me, as not only was the lifestyle here different from back home, navigating through the city also meant finding myself in certain situations where I had to bail myself out. My parents were only a phone call away, but if things went south, say, if I fell ill, Id be the one taking care of myself. Such instances made me understand the importance of taking care of your own self, and I actively started making an effort for my own good, she says.She started with a routine, which involved waking up early in the morning, exercising, prepping her meals for the day, heading out to work, coming back home and spending time on activities that she liked. Now these activities could be something as simple as reading a book, or just playing some music and dancing about in the house. I wasnt accountable to anybody, which pretty much made these activities a lot of fun, and something I would look forward to after a long day at work, and to de-compress, she adds. She stresses on the fact that once you start taking care of yourself, like you would a loved one, it is an empowering feeling, and youll be free from managing other peoples expectations of you. That, she says, is true freedom and happiness.Never SettleWeve heard this one innumerable times. But, have you wondered, When is a good time to settle? Well, the answer is, dont stop till you have exactly what you wanted. Rita Prasad, a 25-year-old software engineer from Delhi, who is currently in Bengaluru, adds, Having clarity on what you want is extremely important. Whether it is your education, career, even relationships, once you know what you want, you will have that inner drive to not stop till you have what you desire.Now, this doesnt mean that you shouldnt experiment with things. The more you open yourself up to the world, the more youll know what works and doesnt work for you, she says. Prasad further states that as long as you have your goals in front of you, it doesnt matter how you reach them. And that is why, she says, Dont settle, till you have it better.