Because we’re still fresh into 2011, the financial advice about how to make this your best year yet is still pouring in. As is always the case, much of the "wisdom" is predicated on the idea that the way to shore up financial stability is by cutting expenses. Just the other day, I read a fresh article in a well-known online financial publication that essentially stated that the key to success lies in doing things like bringing your lunch to work instead of eating out, cutting your own lawn instead of using a service, buying generic products instead of name brands, and making other similar kinds of efforts.
Another problem with cutting back is that it’s generally unpleasant. Even if you steeled yourself to making do with next to nothing, the result is a chronically distasteful lifestyle that makes the sound of the morning alarm little more than the starting gun to a depressing day. I’m not talking about for the person who may be eating out five nights a week and is now facing the “painful” prospect of eating out only two; I’m talking about for the person who has already made eating out entirely a thing of the past, never takes any sort of vacation, no longer even goes to the movies, and for whom cutting back further might mean eliminating basic cable TV, dumping some forms of insurance coverage, or actually modifying diets so that less food needs to be purchased at the grocery store.
In the end, the efforts at increasing your income by working more at your present job or taking a second (or even third) job will surely compromise your available recreational time, but when you do have some, you’ll actually have the ability to enjoy it. By attacking cash flow problems solely by cutting expenses will mean that while you might have more time, there’s nothing you can afford to do with it except sit in one place with the lights out…and what kind of life is that?
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Bob Yetman, Editor-at-Large at Christian Money.com (www.christianmoney.com), is an author of a variety of materials on personal finance and investing, as well as on topics of fitness and self defense, to include the book Investor's Passport to Hedge Fund Profits (John Wiley & Sons, Inc; www.investorspassport.com) and the unarmed combat training DVD Thunderstrikes - How to Develop One Shot, One Kill Striking Power (Paladin Press; www.mikereevesonline.com).