Today’s big idea is that there are two primary ways to have more money in your pocket–you can spend less, or you can earn more. Or, you can do both. So really we’re talking about three ways. But for simplicity’s sake, let’s keep just focus on spending less versus earning more.
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Because for far too many of us–particularly women–are focused solely on the “spend less” portion of that equation.
After all, women are taught much more about spending, budgeting, and trimming expenses than we are to negotiate or invest. I mean, who do you think all those articles about not buying a latte are for? Are lattes are a typically male drink? I don’t think so. That article would be more about how to spend less money on beer, right? It’s another thing we can thank the patriarchy for.
So culturally, women are conditioned to pay more attention on cutting costs than on earning more. I feel this on a personal level, too. My eyes widen and I lean in to any conversation about how much things cost when most people are tight lipped about the topic. If a friend compliments me on a sweater, I blurt out, “Thanks, I got it at TJ Maxx!” When someone asks how our renovation is going, I vent about all the things we didn’t budget for. When I met with a financial planner and she showed me a searchable database of the tuition at hundreds of colleges across America, you’d have thought I’d discovered the lost ark of the covenant.
Believe me, I LOVE to talk about how much things cost, and I love to pay less for things, it’s just part of my nature
So when I say that most people don’t focus on earning more money, I want you to know that I absolutely counted myself among this group for many, many years.
Which is not to say that you shouldn’t be mindful of what you’re spending. Absolutely, that matters. Especially on the things you’re spending the most money on regularly. Like health care and health insurance, interest on large loans like your mortgage or student loans, or your income taxes. (Better to pay a few hundred dollars on someone who can help you make sure you’re not paying too much in taxes than to scrimp on that and end up owing thousands more, right?)
But really, you can only cut your spending so much. It’s not possible to spend $0. There’s a lot more potential, generally, on how much you can grow your income than there is on how much you can cut your expenses. While how much you can earn isn’t completely limitless–although Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are starting to make me wonder–it’s generally a lot easier to earn $20,000 more in a year than it is to spend $20,000 less.
Here are the basic categories of ways you can earn more money.
- Start a side hustle. Whether that’s something in the gig economy like driving for Uber. Or renting out something you have that’s of value, like, say, your garage, or selling a product or service
- Get an additional client or two. Or raise your rates, or develop a new product, if you work for yourself
- Negotiate a raise or switch jobs, if you are employed. It is the Great Resignation, where many workers are leaving, so employers are hustling to find good people.
- For everyone, you could take some of the money you’re NOT spending and put it into an investment, whether it’s an index fund or cryptocurrency or a rental property. This is a longer term path but hey, the time is going to pass either way, may as well get it to work for you and your bottom line.
The thing is, once you decide that you’re interested in growing your income, you’ll start to look for opportunities to do it.
If you’re busy cutting coupons and trying to get by on less — again, time and a place for everything, and still a fundamental piece of the equation — you’re likely to only be focused on decreasing your outgo (outgo–get it? It’s the opposite of income).
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment is to ask yourself, what are some perfectly reasonable ways I could potentially make more money? This of course is IF you do indeed want more money. But if you’ve listened this far to this episode I’m thinking you likely do. Even if you’re not sure if making more money is something you want to pursue at this time, asking yourself this question is about opening yourself up to possibilities. Maybe there’s something on this list that could grow into something that replaces the income from your current job, or allows you to work less. Or could help you afford something you’ve always wanted but that has felt out of reach.
Write your list of possible ways to make more money down on an actual piece of paper and put it somewhere you will see it regularly. And leave room at the bottom, because more ideas will come to you. You’re capturing possibilities here. And while of course you’ll have to take action to make those possibilities real. If you don’t take time to think and dream about it, you’re way less likely to notice the possibilities and take a step toward them, as they arise. What we focus on grows. So take some time today to focus on growing your income, and all that that would make possible.
And please, BE SURE to come back tomorrow
When Im interviewing financial planner Brittni Sennett, who is SO NOT your typical buttoned up, conservative financial planner. She’s going to be talking to us about the power of healing your old money wounds as a means to inviting more money into your life. Don’t miss it!