I recently posted this question on Rockstar Finance. I definitely wanted to see the different opinions of this age old question. Many people see it differently. Anyway, I’m going to showcase some of the responses I’ve received.
Dollar for dollar, I will always choose cutting costs (even though they aren’t mutually exclusive so this question doesn’t really matter anyway). I outlined why I take that stance earlier this week https://www.marriedwithmoney.com/when-a-dollar-isnt-a-dollar-the-case-for-cutting-costs/1
TL;DR: Taxes make your dollar earned less than one dollar. A dollar in cost you cut, is a dollar LESS you need to survive, theoretically forever. (putting you closer to early retirement)
The key is to not let lifestyle inflation get the best of you. It’s easy to think a $1200/yr raise is $100 extra a month in your pocket.
But if you cut our cable TV and reduce your cell phone bill and that saves you $1200/yr? That’s actually $100 extra in your pocket.
I’ll take the ‘earn more’ side. I find that a pay raise is usually more substantial than any amount I can cut from my budget. Obviously if you are eating out every night, travelling a lot, and constantly buying new clothes you can save a lot by cutting costs but that’s not the case for me. I work within a budget that is comfortable for me and there are not many things I’m willing to eliminate. There’s a limit to how much you can save but your earning potential is unlimited.
Why not both?
I’m also a fan of both
Earning more is useless if you’re not making an effort to save. And saving becomes difficult if you don’t earn enough to set something aside.
Depends if you are living on a bare bones budget or living large…
I’m in favor of cutting costs because it allows you to set up good money habits. However, if you already have that in place in your life, then I’m in favor of earning more. As others in this thread have brought up, you can stop eating out and cut out the cable, but a big pay bump will have a bigger impact.
Both for sure. Live fugally and remember you are a free agent always trying to earn more. But, I enjoy cutting costs, negotiating bills, and saving more. Earning more requires more of my free time, and is less fun.
Invest in yourself, gain more marketable skills that command a premium, and then work smarter not harder to maximise what each hour of effort you expend returns.
As you can’t (sustainably) spend more than you earn, the upside of cost cutting is constrained by what you earn. If you’re earning minimum wage there is only so far you can tighten your belt, and ever after doing so you’ll be unlikely to get ahead financially.
If it were possible to do both, that’d be ideal. Depends upon the level of effort required in getting more income. Does a promotion require an extra 20+ hours / week? Cutting the cable-cord requires an hour of negotiating with the cable company…. but then you’re also cutting out x hours of watching TV; however, maybe some people add extra subscription services to compensate. So, how long does breaking a TV-watching habit take? That’s the real question.
Saving money aims to minimize the loss of wealth while earning money aims to increase the amount of wealth. Now I know we can agree on this, right?
And one is not much good without the other, right? Of course.
In terms of building wealth:
- Earning more is no good if you don’t have saving controls in place to make sure it stays in your possession, and
- Saving money is equally pointless if you don’t have anything coming in to save.
So from here on out, you shouldn’t choose which side you’re on.
Actually you should be on the side of BOTH.
So save all you can while looking for ways to earn more so you can build upon your savings. Common sense, huh?
Thanks for reading,