Most experts in the frugal living field will tell you to cut costs wherever possible, to give yourself a better chance of a happy and financially secure lifestyle. And most of these people actually offer pretty good advice.
However, today, let’s flip everything on its head. Let’s assume that you don’t want to work extremely hard and lead what actually is a pretty tough lifestyle to save what could be as little as a very meager $5 a day. Is there another way to be frugal?
Well, actually, there is. And today, we’re going to take a look at how trying to increase your income – and show how it could be the most prudent move you will ever make. Read on to find out more!
As we discussed in the intro, when you work hard in your job five or six days a week, being frugal can be a bitter pill to swallow. Sure, it’s cheaper to bring a packed lunch with you and to stop buying lattes every day on your way to work. And over the course of a year, you can save a significant amount of money, although, it’s only a lot of money relative to what you would usually spend.
Now let’s assume that you start your career and excel, and then get a $5,000 pay rise. Because you are earning a lot more money a lot earlier in your career, by the time you retire how much do you think that early $5,000 pay rise will be worth to you? According to the math, it could be over a million dollars. That’s a lot of lattes.
It’s also worth pointing out that having more income opens many more doors for you when it comes to being frugal. Everything is cheaper when you have the ability to pay up front, from unlocked cell phones through to mortgages. And if you earn more money, you will be able to afford expensive money-savers like solar power panels – which will eventually save you a small fortune in energy costs.
Add all this up, and it makes sense that those that focus more on improving their income will often end up being able to live more frugally than those that scrimp and save as much as possible. Of course, we’re not talking about earning more and spending it all – only a fool would do that. But by earning more income and applying some basic rules of frugality, your life will be in a much better place – and you will have some fun along the way. So the big question is, how do you do it? Let’s take a look at some of your options.
Make a change
OK, so the first thing to do is to stop what you are doing right now. If you don’t feel you are being paid enough and are trying to save a few cents here and there by making your own washing powder, it’s admirable, but it’s also clear that things aren’t working as they should be. You can’t expect to experience a different result if you don’t try and change things, so it’s vital to shake up your reality.
And the great thing about the modern world is that anything is possible. It doesn’t matter what you have – or haven’t – done in the past, there is always new decisions to make, and paths to forge. So, decide to make a change and start clawing back some financial security by making more money, and work out a plan to get started.
Know the ground rules
The next step is important to understand: this isn’t about selling your soul for money. There are plenty of millionaires who have no self-worth, and define themselves only by the money they have earned, and the reality is that many of them have something of a miserable existence.
Instead, see this as a way of changing your current state of mind, and to see what is possible if you can get a little more confidence. And like we discussed before, it’s not about earning a lot more money and then blowing it. It’s more the fact that a frugal lifestyle will be much easier to achieve when you are financially comfortable.
Another important ground rule is to protect your income. Let’s say you have a specialist skill, but an injury ends up giving you a disability, or you find yourself developing some kind of sickness. Over the lifetime of your career, it could cost you an astonishing amount of money, unless you have speciality specific insurance in place. Protect your earnings by continuing to learn, too. The skills you learned at college or night class might do well for you now, but if you want to stay relevant in the workplace in 15-20 years time, you’ll need to keep brushing up on your subject.
Work out what you are good at
The next step can be tough for some people. Get some paper and a pen and start writing what you are actually good at. If you are finding it tough, think about everything you do in an average day, and write it all down – whether it’s at work or at home. You will be surprised at what is in front of you, and it’s at this point that you might start to see the early signs of something you could do on the side.
Good with accounts? Why not offer a weekend or evening clinic for local small businesses? Able to use social media? Businesses everywhere in the country are desperate for people that can use Facebook and Twitter effectively. Keep an exceptionally clean house? Busy people will pay good money for a super focused, premium cleaning service – so why not get something started?
As you can see, everyone has a specific set of skills and loves in life, so it makes sense to put them to good use and earn little extra money. And if your business starts to grow, who’s to say that you can’t go full-time, quit your job, and start earning some better money?
Even if you don’t want to run a business, you can still use this tactic to improve your standing in your current role – or find another job. As we discussed earlier in this guide, the quicker you can get a pay rise or a better-paid job, the bigger impact it will have on your career earnings. A lot of people worry about asking for a raise, so let’s take a look at that now.
Ask for a raise – and get one.
It might be a lot easier to get a pay rise than you might think. But be prepared to kick yourself, due to the fact you haven’t tried it out already! The first step is simple enough – have a brutally honest chat with your boss about what you are doing. Realistically, if you have been in your job role for at least six months, you need to make sure that your supervisors understand that you are taking your work seriously and want to progress.
Put yourself forward for more responsibility, too. Unfortunately, it’s often the case in the modern workplace that you have to ‘dress for the job you want’ – not the job you have. But by being proactive, asking for responsibility, and solving problems that have positive results for your employers. And communicate your wins, too. Do it in a regular way, rather than saving up all your accomplishments for your annual review. You’ll find that people start to tune in to what you are saying a lot more than before, and when the time comes to hit your boss with a raise request, they will know that you deserve it.
‘Why you deserve it’ is the key to all of this rather than why you need it. When it comes to getting a raise, ultimately, if you are giving your employer more value than they expect, they are more likely to be receptive to the idea of a pay rise because they won’t want to lose you. And it will mean you are always on the front foot, too, and won’t be asking for a rise just because your mortgage payment has gone up or the cost of living is rising. Proving yourself and asking for pay rises at the appropriate time will give you a lot of breathing space, and, as a result, will give you the opportunity to be more frugal.
And finally: be more frugal.
As we have discussed a few times already, earning more money gives you means to spend more money. But it doesn’t mean you should. Some of the richest people on the planet are also some of the most frugal for a very good reason. Whether you are rich or poor, waste is waste – it’s that simple. And by cutting costs, your finances will be in a much better place and help you provide a much better lifestyle for you and your family. However, if you really want to see the benefits of your frugality, make sure you focus on improving your income, too.