I think I’ll just try to make more money

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I frequently try to curb my spending with moderate success. I feel a little ridiculous because I remember living comfortably on less than $1,500 per month as a student, and now making way more than that I can’t find spending to cut.

Know why? Because cutting spending sucks.

Do you want to do it? Because I don’t want to do it. If anything I would like to have more disposable income to throw around. Frankly, I wish I had so much money I didn’t even have to think about my spending. I wish I could buy more new clothes, more make up, get massages twice per month instead of once, get my hair blown-out every weekend, hire a housekeeper, buy a Mini Cooper, live in a swank condo or loft, and travel more often. Is that greedy? Ok yes it is, but I’m being honest here. Don’t pretend you don’t want some ridiculously luxurious things too!

I know I cannot have all of those things, or at least I can’t have all of those things at one time. I have to make choices and set priorities, and one of my main priorities are getting rid of my debt. Once that’s gone I can probably knock a few more items off that list. In the meantime, I’m not in the mood to cut any more out of my budget. Instead, I think I’ll just try to make more money.

I also think you should try to make more money.

This has been said before and more eloquently by other personal finance writers, but the reality stands that we can only cut so much from our budgets. We can move into smaller, cheaper homes but we still need to have a home. We can eat less expensive meals, but we still need to eat. We can buy cheaper and less clothing, but we still need to buy clothing. The list goes on.

There’s a limit to what you can cut from your budget, but there’s no limit to what you can earn.

Well, ok, the limit is how much you’re willing to work for. There will be a point where quality of life takes precedence over earning more money, but that doesn’t mean right now you can’t make a little bit of an effort to earn just a bit more money. I’ve found that I can keep things in my budget if I earn the money to cover them. If I want a new shirt that costs $30, I find it a lot less painful to tutor for 1 hour to earn the money rather than attempt to cut my grocery bill by $30. As you know, I’m also partial to selling things when I want to purchase a big-ticket items. And I’ve found one of the easiest (read: least stress-inducing) ways for me to increase the money in my brokerage account is to buy stocks that pay regular dividends.

I have a very lofty income goal for 2012, that I foolishly set without doing any math. Consequently I’m behind schedule, but I’m not ready to give up just yet — it’s not over until it’s over! I’m going to try to earn more money in 2012, so I DON’T have to cut any more out of my budget.

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About Author

Student debt killer, super saver, and stock market addict. BSc. in Chemistry from the University of Alberta, MBA in Finance from the University of Calgary, and PhD from the school of life in being a badass. Currently residing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but hooked on travelling.

20 Comments

  1. At this point we’ve cut just about everything we’ve wanted to. The process has been a good one for us. Even though we thought we didn’t have a lot of waste in our budget, we definitely did.

    But I’m also a firm believer that one can not live on cutting alone. It takes both elements of making more and saving more to make it work. You know, unless you suddenly earn more money than you know what to do with – then cutting may not be so important. šŸ˜‰

  2. That’s a great goal! Right now I’m trying to spend as little money as possible to keep my student loans down to an absolute minimum, but I’m thinking that I need something more concrete.

  3. Long time lurker, first time commenter! I totally hear ya. I’ve been eating out a ton in the past little while but I’m not going to stress about it or stop doing it. I’ll just pick up a shift or two at my second job and *tada* guilt is gone!

  4. I agree. I have cut a lot on my spending and it has been a good process. It made me realise I havewasted enormous amounts of money on things I don’t really care about. But I don’t want to cut costs on the things that matter to me like good food and exercising. Next step is definitely to earn more. I am both working on a pay raise application and looking for opportunities like side jobs etc…
    I am curious about your side tutoring, do you do that in addition to a full time job? How many tutoring hours a week would be a maximum for you?

  5. Agree wholeheartedly. It’s hard to cut daily spending when you are already spending the minimum amount and saving the maximum amount that you are able to. The only logical next step would be to make more money. I’ve been lazy with selling my stuff but I used to do it all the time and it was painless!

  6. I swear we are long lost twins. We are so in sync about money stuff! I feel the exact same way. The other thing about making more money is that if you’re busy working a second job, it cuts into your social life. Sucky? Yes. But you don’t really have time to spend money. So the benefit comes from both ends.

  7. Honestly, I’ve never had to really cut anything. Sometimes I may skip a snack or two but I’ve never actually cut away anything to get more money. I don’t think I’ve ever been in that bad of a situation. Of course, this affects the rate of which I save I guess and I guess in the long haul, I take a long time to get some of my big ticket wants.

    I’m all for improving income so long as it doesn’t require a sacrifice of happiness. I’m willing to go a little out of my comfort zone for more money, but not to much.

  8. Past a certain point (as a North American, I’m sure you’re at or near this point), stuff does not actually contribute to your quality of life. The stuff that you buy produces “diminishing returns” in another important way. After buying an item, the “joy” of using it diminishes over time.

    Money, on the other hand, tends to grow over time.

    P.S. I find the brand power of Apple to be very remarkable. Apple is unique in its ability to turn otherwise intelligent people into drivelling, wanton consumers who will pay anything for less computing power. I’m in a kitten punching mood.

    • Also, try to focus on the marvels of modern life. Hot showers, supercomputers (on the scale of 1990s computing) in your pocket, a job where your work requires thought rather than sweat… it’s all pretty amazing. Who needs stuff? There’s a better, cheaper version coming out next year.

    • That’s true. I don’t buy too much “stuff” though… well I guess that wish list is pretty substantial. I don’t know I really just want to go to the spa more and travel =\ EXPERIENCES NOT STUFF!!!

      • You’re right. Experiences are must more important and valuable than stuff. Perhaps even more important are the people with whom we have those experiences. Make the experiences cheaper but have them with people you care about?

  9. I also think it’s unsustainable to cut too much from the spending category, but I do think it’s important to balance money saved with money earned (of course) in order to get ahead. I think making more money sounds wonderful! Do you plan on picking up more tutoring jobs?

  10. If you’ve spent any time around my blog, you know I’m a big proponent of earning more. In fact, I seem to remember a guest post I did over at GMBMFB saying this exact same thing, and having Bridget poo-poo it. So I’m glad she’s figured this out.

    Saying that, most people don’t have earning problems. Most people have spending problems. To use a sports analogy, offense may be glamorous, but it’s defense that wins games. If you make extra money to buy extra things, are you really accomplishing anything?

  11. I think this sounds like a great idea. Earning a lot of money can be difficult for some (they have to make up for it in hours, not in job career climbing), but not for someone like you with a great education šŸ™‚

  12. It works both ways. I think the idea is to cut things that really aren’t adding the value that you pay for them. For a lot of people, this is a lot of things.

    Personally, I think it is a heck of a lot easier to NOT spend $100 on two nice dinner’s out than to earn an extra $100 (post tax too!) working. But it is much easier to earn $100 than to cut another $100 from an already tight grocery budget. Not that my grocery budget is tight – that is just an example. šŸ™‚

  13. I HAD to cut my spending first, but now I’m definitely looking to earn more money. But even though I’ve figured that part out, I haven’t dramatically increased my income yet. It’s a learning process! And some things take time. But not spending any money on extras is making a big difference in my finances!