I recently came across a post on the blog I Will Teach You to Be Rich that made me stop and think.
Ramit Sethi’s post Why do so many personal-finance sites focus on spending LESS? questions why we don’t focus on increasing our income instead of just cutting expenses.
It seems like 98% of personal-finance material (blogs, magazines, books) focus on spending LESS — keeping a budget, saying “no, no, no” to lattes, jeans, and vacations.
Why don’t they cover earning more, or negotiating, or increasing your responsibilities at work, or understanding the psychology of your own behavior, or all the other things besides cutting down on spending?
He didn’t have any clear cut answers in this post – all though lots of folks commenting did. But it made me stop and think about all of the writing I do here at Northern Cheapskate…. and YES, I do primarily focus on spending less.
And here’s why:
Earning more money takes a lot of time. It requires you to make big moves – some of which may actually cost you money (relocating for a different job, getting additional training or a college education). And in this current economy, earning extra money is a huge challenge. In rural areas that have high unemployment rates (like where I live), there just aren’t a lot of money-making opportunities out there.
Spending less is something anyone can do. It’s an easy concept to understand. Spend less money. Keep more of it. While it does take an incredible amount of self-discipline, it doesn’t take much time. And when you set a goal of spending less, you’ll see quantifiable results very quickly.
I’ve also noticed that the more money you make, the more likely it is that you will spend it. So earning more money isn’t really going to solve your money issues.
Learning how to be a better steward of the money you already have seems like a smarter choice to me. If you learn how to live within your means by spending less, you’ll be able to appreciate life more when your income does increase.
You’ll actually be able to do more…. with less.
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