The day I started doing this was the day my life changed for the better
In my younger days, I wasn’t very well-off at all. In fact, I was pretty poor. I remember a time in my early 20s when I was in debt and down to my last fiver. I had even maxed out my credit card and the bill was due for payment.
I had the £5 minimum payment, but if I used that to pay my card bill, I’d be broke. Oh, what to do? I simply went to the bank and paid my bill. Then after the cashier had given me the receipt, I’d hand her my card and ask to withdraw £5 in cash. This used to baffle the cashiers. They’d keep asking why I didn’t just keep the original £5 I had. Well, because I would have had an extra charge for non-payment if I’d done that.
They obviously didn’t realize that people were living such an existence as I was.
Counting the pennies
It was sometime after that that I decided I needed to have a budget and stick to it. So I literally started counting the pennies.
When I shopped I’d figure out where I could save a little money here and a little money there. I started heading in the right direction, but I was still almost broke the whole time.
Saving £1 her and another £1 there does add up over time, but it never seems to make a meaningful difference.
Other people seemed to have money, so why didn’t I?
Increasing my income
After thinking hard about this and discussing it with a few equally broke friends, we came to the conclusion that we just didn’t have enough money to begin with.
If you have very little money, saving a little is almost pointless. What you need to do is earn more.
One of my broke friends at the time somehow managed to find someone that needed their house painted. He asked me to help. The work was fairly easy and we made £100 each.
With my counting pennies approach, I had managed to cut my spending by around £5 a week. That means it would take me 20 weeks to save £100. But I had just earned £100 for a couple of days’ work.
This ignited a spark within me and was the day my whole life changed for the better.
It’s hard to explain how such a small thing had such a big effect on me. It was like an aha moment that made me look at money in a totally different way. After that, I moved ahead financially in leaps and bounds. My life has been forever upgraded.
Are you counting pennies instead of earning more? Making more money can take a lot less time than counting all those pennies.
I’m always reading articles on Medium about making money and building side hustles. That’s how I came across an article from Tom. In the article, he had the line…
Something I wish I knew sooner: Stop counting the pennies, increase your income instead.
I thought this was such a great line that I adapted it for the title of this post. So thank you, Tom. Here’s his article.