I love being frugal. It helped me and Darren pay off our debts and make a life in a dream home. But do you know what?
Being frugal alone wouldn’t have done it.
In fact, it would have made us miserable, and angry and left us poor and in debt.
I’ll tell you why.
You cannot save more than you earn.
If you make $50,000 a year and your expenses are $45,000. You might cut those expenses down, to $30,000 or even $20,000 but there’s a moment you have to stop. You still have to pay rent, you have to pay for heating and lighting, food, etc.
And while some people do turn off all the lights, eat food out of store bins, etc. for most of us, that’s not an option.
I can’t imagine telling my kids that we were going to McDonald’s and then dragging them out back to pick over the scraps in the waste bin. No thanks.
So here’s what you need to know. You should save as much as you can from your household budget and your lifestyle budget. Cut out the unnecessary. Buy cheaper when you can. But stop before you end up in a life which is miserable and soul-destroying.
Then it’s time to focus on something else: increasing your income.
Ask For A Raise
It’s amazing when I talk to people about money, the first thing I ask is, “Have you asked for a raise this year?”
Most of them say, “no.” They’re relying on a performance review and a paltry company mandated increase to make them better off. It rarely works.
You need to seize the metaphorical bull by the horns or your boss via his appointment calendar, at least. Ask for more money and when you do, have a good list of reasons as to why you’re worth more.
Explain your value in terms of how much you make your company money or how much you save them. Don’t talk about working hard… everybody works hard, not everybody understands their value. Then ask for an increase.
If you get it, you’re better off. If not, you’ve lost nothing. People don’t get fired for asking for a raise. So ask for one. Then you’ll be richer for doing exactly what you’re doing now.
If that doesn’t appeal to you then don’t worry. There are loads of ways to earn some extra coin in your spare time. You should check out the list of 52 ideas that Darren posted recently, there’s bound to be something for you.
Turn Your Hobbies Into Cash
Yes, I liked this idea too. I am an amateur photographer and while I will never be famous, I can upload my photos to a stock photography site and every now and again, someone buys them. It certainly doesn’t make me rich but given that I am going to take photos anyway, it’s a nice source of extra income.
People who make things in their spare time, who cook, bake, write or otherwise are creative – can turn that into cash. Etsy.com, for example, is a popular place to turn hobbies into money. You don’t need to give up the things you enjoy and they are more fun if you monetize them.
Getting paid to play is my favorite way to live!
Turn Your Household Junk Into Cash
Take a walk around your home. How much of the stuff in it do you actually use? How much of it did you buy and think “one day” and then “one day” never came? What about in your kitchen? Do you really need 30 mugs and 60 plates?
And so on…
If you take an honest look around your own home, it’s not going to be a shock to find you own a lot of things that you rarely if ever use and a bunch of stuff, you just don’t need.
Get that stuff. Put it on eBay, or Craigslist or sell it at a garage sale or garden sale and do it today. This has two bonuses for you. The first is that you’ll have more money. The second is that your home will be cleaner, neater and easier to maintain too. A good result, right?
Turn A Room In Your Home Into Cash
If you have an empty room or a room full of stuff that you never really use, then you are sitting on a gold mine and a ton of wasted opportunities. In the days of AirBnB an empty room is simply lost money.
You’d be amazed at how much difference having a tenant for a few days each month can make. In fact, if you like it – you might consider having somebody stay permanently, you can often get them to take on a share of the housework too. That’s more money and more time for you!
That 5 Step Plan To Turn Around Your Finances
That’s 5 simple steps to getting more money without slashing your expenses any further. You have a life to live and you can live it and pay off your debts if you are creative.
Asking for a raise, selling your stuff and renting a room all make use of things you already have – it costs you nothing to do these things. A little extra work and you can be blogging, working or turning your hobbies into extra money.
This all adds up to a lot more coming in and less time to get bored in too. Start today, get your debt down and don’t feel bad that being frugal isn’t enough. It isn’t enough for most of us. Darren and I included.
Let me know how you're going to start earning more in the comments below or if there's something you'd like to know about getting your finances in order, tell me there too. See you soon.