Lots of people use coupons. And let’s be real for a second, the primary (and really only) goal of using coupons is to save money. I like to save money as much as the next person. My family often uses cash back sites and other means to save on concerts, sports, and other events. I also look for travel deals and make an effort to find bargains whenever I want to buy something. However, I don’t go out of my way to pinch every penny anymore. Sometimes it’s better to just focus on making more money than to keep cutting your costs. Let me explain.
I Don’t Pinch Every Penny (and That’s Okay)
I’m not much of a coupon clipper. I’m perfectly willing to pay a $2 convenience fee when I purchase movie tickets online in advance. This is especially true for shows that have preassigned seating, since it means that I’ll know I have a good seat and be able to sit with the people I choose to see the show with.
Rather than worry about squeezing every last penny out of my spending, I’d rather concentrate my efforts on making more money.
There’s Only So Much You Can Cut
First of all, I recognize that there’s only so much you can cut from your budget. At some point you end up unable to get rid of any more costs. Once you get down to the absolute essentials, you can’t go any further. At that point, you’re stuck. The beauty of making more money is that you don’t have an upper limit — other than your time. You can sell things you don’t need, pick up an extra shift, or start a side business.
In my case, as a freelance writer and website owner, there’s almost always another gig I can take. Or something else I can do to my site to earn extra money. At the very least, there’s usually a blood bank somewhere that will pay $25-to-$50 for plasma. There are plenty of unusual ways to make a quick buck. However, that’s not always the case when it comes to cutting costs.
Cutting Costs Can Make You Miserable
I used the example of not fretting about a $2 convenience fee for movie tickets, but I haven’t been this way. If anything, I was formally as penny pinching as they come. I was that guy who took an extra fifteen minutes to walk across two shops at a big plaza just to comparison shop for a bottle of ibuprofen. Now that I think about it, I would only save a maximum of a dollar or two. It really didn’t matter to my finances in the long run. However, overpaying used to annoy me to no end.
I also used to get anxiety before I bought something. I would be afraid that the item would end up going on sale shortly after I bought it. For a big purchase like a laptop or something, it might be okay to procrastinate or think it over. However, I would feel anxious for stuff like a $8 iPhone charging cable or a $15 screwdriver. I would refresh that Amazon page over and over, wasting my time and mental energy while I try to make do without a tool that I needed for weeks on end. That’s a bit crazy, right?
Nowadays, I’ll just buy it and make it back by working a tiny bit harder. My time is worth far more than a dollar or two. My sanity is worth even more.
I Like Flexibility To Do What I Enjoy
Another reason I’d rather make more money than cut costs is that I like the flexibility to do what I enjoy. Too often, you end up having to cut out things you really like — especially if you’re focusing on getting costs down as low as possible. I don’t spend money on just anything, though. I just don’t spend money on things that aren’t important to me. Instead, I focus on spending money on things that matter the most to me.
I won’t spend money just because a new iPhone comes out. Or when my laptop is a few years old. On the other hand, I will be happy to buy my wife a an expensive gift out of the blue. Oh, and before you think I’m a saint, let me just say that I get just as much enjoyment out of gifting her a gift than if I were to spend it on myself. In fact, sometimes I feel like I’m happier when I buy her something than if I used that same amount of money to buy something for myself. I want to show her my love, sure. But there are selfish reasons why I’m buying her a gift as well. Love languages and all that, I guess..
How Making Money Works Better
Making more money allows me to get those gifts without sacrificing my comfort. If I buy her a gift, I don’t have to avoid eating out for the next month or two. I just have to take on one extra gig or hustle a bit. I can still enjoy eating out, buying gifts and more.
This mindset doesn’t work very well if you don’t already have your priorities in place or if you are struggling to get out of debt. Once you have your debt in control though, it’s a totally different story. As soon as you establish your priorities, you can begin arranging your finances in a way that doesn’t require you to always be scrimping and saving. You can make more money and enjoy your wants as well as your needs.
How to Figure Out the Best Way for You to Make Extra Money
“That’s fine and dandy for you, David,” I hear you saying. “But I don’t work in a gig economy and can’t just pickup extra jobs.”
Good point. For those who are working the 9-to-5, you might be able to simply stay later and be paid more. Then again, there’s no reason you can’t add a side gig to your money-making quiver. There might not be an automatic answer. You could need some research into what side hustle works best for you. However, taking the time to get it right is well worth the effort. Surely, it’s worth more than the $1 you might save on your next penny-pinching purchase.
If you are trying to figure out the best way for you to make extra money, here are some things that can help you take the next step.
Do You Need Money Immediately?
First, you need to consider whether or not you need money immediately. If you need cash fast, you might not have time to start a side business and wait a few months to start seeing the fruits of your labor.
There are options, but the sooner you need money, the more limited the choices are. If you have a little more time to start earning more money (or if you’re trying to reach long-term lifestyle goals), it can make sense to try to start your own business or do a little freelancing.
What If I Need Money NOW?
You might need to get a part-time job if you need money in a hurry. This isn’t always the favored way to make extra money, but it might be more practical in your situation. Another consideration is taking advantage of blood plasma donation. If you have a blood bank in your area, you might be able to make between $25 and $50 per donation (up to two donations a week) to make fast cash.
You can also make money moving your financial assets around. Brokerages and banks routinely give out cash bonuses for people willing to give them a chance. Signing up for new credit cards offers or switching banks are another avenue to make quick cash without a ton of effort. You do have to be careful though. You want to change the way you manage your finances, but you don’t want to start selling and buying too many different assets. There could be tax consequences.
What is Your Expertise?
If you have a specific expertise, you might be able to make money based on what you know. I was able to start a freelance writing business because I already run a website on financial topics. I know people who take on side gigs related to software development, graphic design, coding, and social media consulting.
You can also turn your expertise into other types of businesses. You can tutor others, teach online classes, or consult. I remember hearing on the radio how one person lost her teaching job and then ended up teaching English online. She is now making three times the amount of money she used to make as a teacher (and she works far fewer hours). If you have knowledge that other people will pay for, then you can sell that expertise.
Can You Make Something?
The ability to make something can net you more money in the long run. Woodworking, sewing, and any other type of crafting can provide you with regular income through what you sell. It can take time to get up and running, but many people find it a fulfilling way to make money on a hobby. I know someone who makes beautiful wood signs with vinyl cutout letters. She does quite well selling them.
When our kids were born, we bought wooden lettering from an older gentleman on eBay. They weren’t cheap but we were happy to pay for it because the work was beautiful and it was also unique. The seller told us that he does it for a hobby. He loves it because he can work as much (or as little) as he wants. His services are always in demand too, so he has a ton of flexibility.
Are You Able to Provide a Service?
Finally, even if you aren’t able to sell your expertise, or if you aren’t sure you can make items to sell, it’s possible to make money providing a service. You might be able to provide child care, walk dogs, or offer some other service. Carefully check the laws and regulations in your state and city to make sure that you are doing it properly. Take extra care to make sure you have the right licenses before you proceed.
I know babysitting is always in demand around my neck of the woods. It may seem daunting to babysit toddlers or babies, but I bet that caring for preteens while the parents just want to go out on a date night is a breeze. You just need to be willing to put your name out there.
The Bottom Line
In the end, there is a good chance that you can figure out a way to make extra money. You just need to determine what’s likely to be more effective for you. It’ll take time to build up a reputation but like I said, the effort will pay off far more than if you keep using your mental energy to scrimp more pennies.
They say there’s more than one way to Dublin, but some of the routes are definitely shorter than others. Do you want to get there sooner and then enjoy the view while you wait for others? Or would you rather be the last ones to arrive just to feel exhausted and grasping for air?