While I like feeling like I'm getting a good deal, it has always bothered me a little bit that a lot of emphasis is placed on spending less. While I certainly don't think that you should let your tendencies to spend control you, I'm not convinced that the best way to create the lifestyle you want is to simply cut back on your spending.
To me, frugality is more like a lifestyle choice that involves getting the best value for my money and time, rather than a collection of actions that involve pinching pennies and “sacrificing” for the future. Yes, you need to get out of debt, and yes, you need to spend your money wisely. But why all the focus on cutting back? What if you looked for ways to earn more money?
Cultivating Income Streams
I'm not saying you have to run out and get a second, part-time job in order to earn more money. What would be the point of that? It would detract from time you could spend with your family. Instead, you could consider cultivating income streams that would eventually lead to you receiving a reliable source of income. If you have a couple hours a night, you can do this. I recently read a post on My Journey To Millions that encouraged you to ask yourself what you could be doing instead of watching TV. Cultivating extra income streams, that's what!
You can even get your spouse and other family members involved. Some of the things you can do to help cultivate extra income streams in your spare time include:
- Starting a blog, and working toward monetizing it.
- Getting involved in a worthwhile affiliate program.
- Taking a hobby and trying to monetize it (this works especially well if you are a “crafty” person).
- Freelancing or consulting (my husband did a statistical analysis as a consultant recently).
- Researching solid dividend stocks and bonds, and building an income portfolio.
With the right plan, you could be well on your way to making more money. You could be taking your wasted time, and turning it into extra income — and you can do it as a family. A little creativity can win you some breathing room in your budget, so you won't have to worry so much about cutting back all the time.
Reality: Building Income Streams Takes Time And Effort
Of course, it is important to acknowledge the reality of income cultivation. Your income portfolio isn't going to suddenly manifest itself as a way for you to quit your day job. A successful blog requires that you take some time and effort to provide content, as well as use different tools to market your blog, and build networking connections with other bloggers. A freelancer or consultant needs to have some knowledge or expertise. It can take time to build these extra income streams, so you might have to continue pinching pennies for a while if that's what your budget demands. However, the idea is to work toward more creative ways to pay for the lifestyle you want.
Later on, your income streams can help you in retirement, and you will be well-placed to have a “working” retirement if that's what you want.