On an average day I read about a dozen blogs that have little to nothing to do with frugality. Several of them discuss saving money occasionally, but most of them are all about making more money, or entrepreneurship, or small business issues, etc. In fact, many of the books I read are on these same subjects. You might be surprised to learn I even read a couple blogs that don’t like the idea of living frugal at all. Blasphemous, I know!
The reason I read these books and blogs is because I believe the path to ultimate success is a combination of improving your income while watching your expenses. It is increasing the gap between what you earn each month and what you spend each month that leads to debt reduction and increased savings. For too much of my life those two amount have been equal (and some of that time the expenditures ran even higher!).
While I am known as the “frugal dad,” I also like to think of myself as the “side hustle dad” because I love the idea of finding creative ways to improve my income. Some of them are related to my 8-5 job; most are not.
One of my daily reads is written by Ramit Sethi of IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com. Ramit is an admitted frugal-hater, writing in one post, “I hate frugality and all the frugality sites that waste my time focusing on saving money on frozen orange juice and rice cakes so I can save $1 per week.” Fortunately, I don’t think Ramit hates me because I’ve never written about saving money on rice cakes. But if I did, I would point out that generic rice cakes sold in bulk quantities through wholesale clubs…I digress.
Ramit does have a point. The risk many of us frugal living followers take is that we get too caught up in the small stuff. Yes, I know we are supposed to sweat it, but perhaps we could make bigger strides towards improving our finances if we thought bigger. Instead of spending our life energy saving a few dollars on homemade laundry detergent (yes, I’m going there again), maybe we should spend that time finding creative ways to make an extra $100 per month, which could add $1,200 a year to our bottom line.
Instead of driving all over town to find the cheapest price on gasoline, or shopping at three different stores to save $7 using coupons, perhaps we should value our time and look for ways to spend it more wisely. After all, we could use the two or three hours a week spent hunting bargains, rinsing plastic bags, and making homemade cleaners to attend a class at a local college to improve our job skills, or to acquire a skill that we could use to start a side hustle.
Of course, many of us do these things because we are frugal by nature. We simply do not like to waste things, and we refuse to pay more for something when there is a quality alternative available. I get that, because I am the same way. However, I am becoming more and more mindful of how I am spending my time, and making sure I spend it in just as frugal a manner as I spend my money.