Would You Prefer to Earn More or Spend Less?


We all know by now that spending less than you earn is the key to financial happiness.

I’m sure you don’t need me to type out in full that famous quote about “annual income twenty pounds..” from Dickens’ David Copperfield that led to the so-called Micawber Principle being born. Just earn a little bit more than you spend and you will be fine. Do it the other way around even a small shortfall will make you unhappy.

So, how will you do this? At the risk of stating the blooming obvious I would suggest that there are two ways of doing this. One is to earn more and the other is to spend less. Does it make any difference which one you choose? Maybe it does.

More Income to Deal With

Maybe you would like the ego boost that comes with earning a bigger salary. If you earned more than you do just now then this would give you a lot more flexibility in the way you spend. However, I think that there are two different factors to take into account here. First off, there is the risk of falling into the trap of spending more as you earn more. Anyone who has received salary increases in the past has probably noticed how the extra money can easily disappear if you aren’t careful with it. If you can handle this then the other issue to consider is whether your quality of life would increase or decrease in order for you to earn more money. For instance, would you need to work more hours or do a job you don’t really like? Alternatively, you might find that your dream job pays you more than you were getting doing something you didn’t really like. Wouldn’t it be just wonderful to earn more money and enjoy a better working life as well? Perhaps to do this you would need to completely re-think your career path. Could you earn more money and enjoy life more by doing something you have never tried before?

Less Money Spent

What do you think of living a frugal life? For some people this offers the chance to use their wits and their common sense to spend less without suffering too much. On the other hand, others might feel bad about it or even get a bit embarrassed. If you like a challenge then looking for bargains in the supermarket and finding online vouchers* could be a task you enjoy taking on. If you have never tried living frugally before than perhaps you could give it a try just now. You might find that it is better fun than you thought and that it helps you achieve your financial goals without having to look for a new career. If you can find ways to spend less then this is something that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life, no matter whether your income fluctuates for periods in the future. Even if you achieve the first point and start to earn more then the benefits you have gained from living frugally will still come in useful, as you can save or invest more. Once you start to spend less you will realise that it is something that you can keep on doing.


We all have different personalities and while some of us like the idea of having more spending power others are happier finding ways to spend less each month. This means that you need to spend some time working out what is best for you. Maybe you will manage to do both things and earn more while spending less, but it still seems to make sense to know which one is likely to suit you best before you go for it.

Would you prefer to earn more or spend less?

6 Responses to Would You Prefer to Earn More or Spend Less?

  1. Great article. The ideal would be to do both. I think our mentality should always be to find ways to cut costs even when our income increases and not to increase our spending just because of a raise at work. If you work on both you only widen the gap between expenses and earnings and vastly improve your opportunity to build up real financial wealth and independance.
    It is always easier to control your spending. That needs to be job number one. Then if you earn more you already have the self-control of spending built in to help you as you increase your income.

  2. My husband and I have been working really hard this month on increasing our income by doing side jobs, but also by spending less on things like eating out and purchasing things we do not necessarily need. The extra income really does make a difference.

  3. Alexis says:

    I think I would prefer to make more. Spending less is something I already do and making even less would be extremely hard.

  4. I’d prefer to do both….but if I had to choose one I’d choose spending less. I want to have control over my spending…you cannot out earn bad spending habits!

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