I have a confession: sometimes I get sick of hearing people praise frugality. It’s not because I don’t think there’s any merit to being frugal, it’s just because frugality will only get you so far.
If you really want to improve your financial situation, you need to do a lot more than cancel your cable and shop the sales.
That’s only the beginning.
When it comes to earning more vs. saving more, you should be doing both. (And in this order.)
Learning to Live on Less
If you’re in college, now is the perfect time for you to really hone your frugality skills. Because when you’re in college there are usually two common themes: you’re busy and you’re broke.
And if you’re smart, you’re only using your student loans for the necessities — tuition, room and board, etc. You’re also taking on the least amount of debt that is humanly possible for your specific situation.
This type of scenario sets you up to master your financial creativity. You learn to live on less and make do with what you have. These characteristics need to follow you long after graduation.
When you start your financial journey by learning to live on less, you’ll be better equipped to handle your money when you begin your career.
Frugality for the sake of frugality is pointless — it gets you nowhere. Frugality for the sake of avoiding consumer debt, saving more for retirement, taking that trip you’ve always wanted to take, or achieving another financial goal is where it’s at.
That leads us to earning more.
Once you’ve mastered your money-saving methods, earning more is what you need to concentrate on. If you haven’t mastered your own sense of frugality, then you need to focus on this before you give a lot of effort to increasing your earning power. If you don’t, you won’t have the ability to direct your money where it needs to go and earning more money will become pointless.
So how do you earn more money?
There are tons of ways that you can earn more money. And they don’t have to be tied to your day job. Find something you enjoy doing and make a side business out of it. Trust me, it’s easier than it sounds.
Combining Both to Reach Your Goals
Fine-tuning your frugality skills does not mean that you have to live the college lifestyle for the rest of your life. It means that you’re able to take a look at your financial situation and be able to choose where you spend your money, depending upon your own set of goals and values.
Being frugal isn’t a be-all-end-all. It doesn’t mean you should be living in a home with dirt floors and eating ramen noodles for the rest of your life.
It’s simply a tool meant to help you purposefully manage your money. And when you pair frugality with earning more, you’ll be able to accomplish your financial goals at a much faster pace.
What do you think? Earn more, save more, or do both?