Every time I catch up with my closest friends, our conversation turns to the same topic: money, or rather, our lack of it. It seems like everyone I speak to follows the same guilt-ridden cycle. We feel bad about the way we manage our finances, resolve to stop spending so much, then inevitably splurge, starting the cycle all over again.
The issue, I realized when I spoke to money expert Stefanie O’Connell, is that our solution focuses on deprivation, which isn’t a great long-term strategy. “We talk a lot about cutting back on spending, but if you’re making about $30,000 a year in a major city, you’re going to be stretched no matter how much you scrimp and save,” she points out.
Sure, curbing your spending is important, but O’Connell says it’s crucial to focus on the flip side: growing your income. “Take a look at your skill set, see where you can uplevel, ask for a raise, and find other sources of income like a side hustle,” she says. “It’s just as important as curbing your spending.”