Should You Earn More Money or Spend Less to Get Ahead Financially?

In this week’s episode, we talked about frugality and if it really makes a difference in your monthly budget and your ability to get ahead financially, or if it’s better to find ways to earn more money by side hustling.

All four of us are pretty frugal (except for maybe Kayla, who is an admitted shopaholic), but we all also work hard as freelancers to earn more money and get ahead financially.

The first step for many of us was to cut things out of our budget so we could see an immediate boost of cash we had to put toward our financial goals, like debt freedom and building an emergency fund. But at some point, we all felt that we couldn’t cut any more from our budget without sacrificing our quality of life.

This is where side hustling came into play. Here are our thoughts on spending less, earning more, and finding that perfect balance between the two.

Many people are conflicted about whether they should earn more money or spend less to get ahead financially. We give you our take on finding balance here.

Spending Less

“Spending less is a crucial factor in managing your money better in my opinion. Uncontrolled spending is what gets us into debt and delays us from financial freedom. When I first started trying to get my finances in order, I did a spending audit by tracking what I spent money on for an entire month manually and with the help of Mint.com. Even though my spending wasn’t out of control, I saw some areas that could have used improvement. I ended up saving more than $7,000 last year by moving to a cheaper apartment, cutting cable, bringing lunches to work, shopping around for lower insurance rates, and signing up with a cheaper phone company. All of these changes were not huge sacrifices that altered my happiness in any way so, in that case, I was happy to spend less and save more.”

-Chonce

“I did cut several things from my budget in order to get my spending under control. Before I started budgeting, I was spending several hundred dollars more than I was earning each month and my credit card debt was racking up quickly. Cutting my spending was the easiest way for me to stop increasing my debt on day one.”

-Kayla

“I have always been frugal – it’s like second nature to me. When I graduated from college, I tracked every penny I spent, shopped sales and clearance racks, and spend a ton of time searching for the best deal. I was entirely focused on spending less – earning more hadn’t even occurred to me because I didn’t think it was possible. I figured my salary was my salary, and it was up to me to spend less so I could keep more of it.”

-Erin

“I grew up in a really frugal household.  We never bought anything unless it was used or on clearance. Those traits of frugality really helped me in my own home as an adult when we were struggling to make ends meet because spending less has become second nature to me.  It got to the point where we couldn’t cut anything else out of our budget, though, and we were still struggling. We realized that we had to do something different and find a way to bring in more money.”

-Kristi 

Earning More

“I reached a point when I realized that I was limiting my earning potential by staying in an office job that wasn’t going to give me a raise. I had the opportunity to relocate to a cheaper cost of living area, and with my savings in tow, I decided to begin freelancing. I realized how empowering it was to set my own rates and figure out my worth. With that, I also realized how valuable my time was. Cutting back can only get you so far, and the value of cutting back isn’t always as clearcut as it seems. My time is better spent on trying to earn more rather than clip coupons or find deals, although I still always shop sales.”

-Erin

“Like Erin, I reached the point where I cut as much of my expenses as I could when I started improving my finances and I knew that if I wanted to make even more progress, I needed to find a way to earn more. My income was already pretty low so I figured there was no where to go but up, so I started hustling on the side of my main job and in my free time to bring in more money to meet my goals. Freelance writing has been one of the main extra streams of income for me and the extra money I earned helped me pay off my car loan early last year and it’s helping me put more money toward my student loans currently. If I didn’t implement a combination of spending less and earning more, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make that much progress at at all.”

-Chonce

“Unfortunately, I had grown really accustomed to my life style and I wasn’t willing to cut everything that I enjoyed out of my monthly budget. Instead of making additional sacrifices by cutting more of my spending, I chose to work a part-time job on the weekends. Then I started freelancing in the evenings and weekends to help earn more money to put toward my financial goals. Now that I’ve grown my business and quit my job to run it full-time, I don’t think I could ever go back to the limited amount of income I was earning before.”

-Kayla

“As a stay at home mom, I had dabbled in different jobs to bring in more money, and I never let a money-making opportunity pass me by. I watch other people’s children, sold vegetables from my garden to the local feed and seed store, and tried my hand at selling a home-based product. It all worked for a while, but none of it was sustainable or made me happy. Now that I work as a freelance writer, I’m able to bring in more money to help our household, while still staying home with my kids. Finding a way to earn money from home has been life-changing.”

-Kristi 

Finding a Balance

“Sometimes I think it’s asinine that I work so hard in order to pay for some of the things in my budget. This is where Erin’s tip about “Value-Based Spending” really comes into play. Ever since she planted that idea in my head, I’ve been trying to make sure that what I’m working hard to earn money to pay for are the things that I value and enjoy. That said, my balance beam between earning more vs. spending less is definitely always going to fall more on the side of earning more rather than spending less.”

-Kayla

“Striking a balance can be difficult. I’m very grateful that my frugal nature will likely never leave me, so it’s incredibly easy to find ways to save these days. However, there are a few things I’m unwilling to compromise on, like spending hours cutting my own hair only to end up sobbing over the results. I try and be smart with how I spend my time, and remember that there is more to life than earning money. You can’t think of every single hour as a chance to earn more, otherwise you’ll never allow yourself to enjoy anything.”

-Erin 

“I’m always striving to find a balance between spending less and earning more. It’s a tough rope to walk, though, especially when you have kids. I want to work my hardest for them to provide the things that they want and need. I find that the more I earn, the more I spend. I don’t want to lose sight of how I was raised or how I want my children to be raised. I want my kids to be able to live a healthy balance between spending less and earning more, and I want to set that example for them. I’m really working on living on the same budget as before and using any extra income mostly for debt payoff and savings for our futures. ”

-Kristi

“To find a balance between the two, I’ve committed to always making an effort to keep my expenses low. If you earn a lot of money but spend it all each month, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. By keeping my expenses super low, I can side hustle less some weeks if I please and take time for myself. I also try to take one goal at a time. If you try to do everything at once, you can become pretty overwhelmed or even wind up getting nothing accomplished.”

-Chonce

Bloopers From Episode 8

Okay, we have to have a little fun. Here’s proof that we don’t take ourselves seriously all the time. 🙂

Are you a fan of earning more of spending less to get ahead financially?

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