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.