Tuesday, August 18, 2009

#4 Spend Less Or Earn More

This is posting #4 on my very own mini 10 part series about the Road to Financial Freedom.

You can read the previous postings here:

#1 - The Greatest Mistake

#2 - Protect what You Cannot Afford to Lose

#3 - Spend Less Than You Earn

This posting is actually a continuation to the previous posting on spending less than you earn.

Okay, so you have made it through thus far...you have created a financial plan, you have insured yourself against the various risks (death, disability, critical illness, hospitalisation bills, personal accident). Now is the time to figure out how you can actually spend less or earn more so that you will be able to set aside a reasonable amount of money each month for savings or investments.

What is a reasonable amount to be saving or investing each month? The answer is actually simple: It Depends.

Yes, it depends on when you plan to retire, what you intend to purchase in the future, etc.

But for an average person who hopes to retire by 60, I would like to think that saving 20% to 30% a month should hopefully suffice. I understand that many people would advocate saving just 10% but I think it might be stretching it a little to assume that by saving just 10% of your monthly income, you would have enough for your retirement years. Unless you put that 10% of savings into something which gives you consistent high returns over a long period of time, I think it is unlikely that 10% of savings while spending our remaining 90% of income will be sufficient.

Think of it this way, a average person works for an average of 40 years and expects to be in retirement for an average of 20 years. So you are working for 40 years to essentially fund your expenses for a total of 60 years.

What one must do then is to learn how to spend less of his income or earn more such that the percentage that he is spending is much smaller than the percentage he is saving.


A person can spend less by eating out less, watching less movies, shopping less, etc. There are so many ways to survive and actually enjoy life on a budget. Borrow a book instead of buying one. Rent a dvd instead of catching it in the cinemas. It is possible to be much happier when one spends less and saves more. The converse cannot said to be true. I am sure many people/bloggers have many other innovative ideas to share on how to save money or live on a budget so I will not dwell deep into the topic.

Another way that one can approach this issue of spending less is to list out all your monthly expenditures and see which you can reduce and which you cannot. Identify the necessities and your wants (luxury). Do you really need that high end internet speed? Do you really need the extra sports channel on your television? Do you really need to eat at a restaurant every weekend?

Earn More

Spending less is of course only one side of the equation. As one progresses through the various life stages, it is common for one's expenditure to increase in terms of absolute dollars. Likewise, we should look to increase the amount we earn. This could be attained through either active or passive income.

Active income involves income that you earn through your work or part time work. You should aim to increase your active income either by giving your best at work to get a better promtion opportunity.

Passive income involves income that comes to you without you doing anything actively. This could be through stock dividends, online affiliate programs, book royalty, etc.


To spend less or earn more, one will slowly be on the road to financial freedom. If one can spend less AND earn more at the same time, financial freedom should be within grasp.


  1. Hey Financial Freedom,

    Great blog, want to exchange links?
    my blog address is http://www.beginningwithf.blogspot.com. It is a blog on personal finance and frugal living.

  2. Thanks! I have added a link to your site already


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