Being frugal means you need less; when you need less, you spend less.
When you reduce your expenses, you have more money left over in your own pocket. Getting frugal is the easiest way to free up your income to save for a house, pay off debt, or invest in your retirement.
When you do begin to cut expenses, you’re taking advantage of the first and easiest way to build wealth. If what you spend is less than what you earn, you will have a surplus.
The simplicity of this equation may help to explain why there is so much great information out there on how to be frugal, how to save money on this, that, and the other, and how to pinch pennies without driving yourself (or your family) crazy. All you have to do is reduce your spending, and just like that, you’ve increased your wealth!
But if you’ve started out attempting to maximize your wealth by creating a surplus in your budget, you’ll get to a point where there are no more expenses to cut.
You’ll become such an amazing budgeter that the only things you spend money on are things that are truly important and meaningful to you. Being frugal and mindful about how much money you spend won’t be enough to create the kind of significant wealth that allows for financial independence. So what’s a smart, sensible, and frugal individual to do when you’ve squeezed every last “extra” dollar from your budget?
At this point, it’s time to focus on increasing your income.
This can seem challenging, but don’t worry. You simply need to think about the opportunities that may already be at your fingertips and how you can create money-making situations from them.
Earn Yourself a Raise.
If you currently have a job, this may be the first place to look to get an income boost. Ask to take on new tasks, an additional role, or more responsibility at work. When it comes time for annual reviews, this hard work may just result in a bigger paycheck.
If your company doesn’t have annual reviews, you’ll still benefit from taking on new things and showing some drive and initiative; when you go to superiors to ask for a raise, you’ll be able to show them exactly why you deserve it.
Pick Up a Side Gig.
A side gig, or hustle, is a bit of work you pick up and take on in your time off from your full-time day job. The best way to determine where to start in finding and aquiring a side gig is to analyze your skill set. Are you a talented writer?
Start a blog, do some freelance writing, or produce content for websites. Does your day job provide you with unique knowledge, or do you know of something like a second language that you readily understand and could pass on to others? Teach a class or tutor students and share that knowledge. Do you enjoy DIY projects or getting crafty and have an eye for diamonds in the rough?
Try scouring thift shops or yard sales for furniture that has the potential to be “flipped” – refurbish pieces and sell them yourself at a profit. Love animals and have busy, pet-owning neighbors? Offer to pet sit or start dog walking.
Monetize Your Hobbies.
Many people produce brilliant products or works of art as a result of an activity they enjoy, like photography or pottery, as a hobby. And there are plenty of people who appreciate niche items and artwork and would be willing to pay for what you create.
Lots of people also enjoy learning new things just for fun, like app development, and even this can be turned into a money-making endeavor if what you learn translates into a product or service. If you already do something that you love, consider if there is a market for what you make.
Rent Out a Room.
If you have extra space in your home, put it to use! Rent out a spare bedroom to a friend, family member, or aquantaince. If you don’t have room to rent, consider if your car could make a little money for you. If you’re often on the road, some companies will pay you to have your car wrapped with their company name and logo.
Reach out to local companies to see if they would be interested in paying you a small fee to use your car for additional advertising. It could be easy marketing for the company, and an easy way for you to make some more cash.
Declutter and Profit.
If you don’t have enough space in your home, it might be time to start going through all your possessions and determining what can be thrown out, what can be given away or repurposed, and what can be sold. Old furniture, appliances, clothes, collectables – these are all items that can be sold on sites like Ebay or Craigslist. You’ll not only clear out a bunch of stuff you don’t want, need, or use anymore, but you’ll also make some cash to add to your monthly income.
When you find there are just no more expenses to cut out of your budget, don’t despair. There’s still money to be found to add to your monthly surplus: you simply have to take the initiative to go after it and make it yours!
What would you need to do to if you needed to find an extra $500 in your budget?
About the Author: When Kali isn’t working her 9-to-5 office job, expanding on her experience as a living Dilbert cartoon, she is blogging about common-sense financial advice at Common Sense Millennial. She’s passionate about helping fellow millennials figure out how to make the most of their money and how to live well on less, and is currently working on turning the ultimate dream of self-employment into reality.