Money Poll #12: Earning vs. Saving

This week I’ve decided to deviate from the “just the facts” nature of past polls, and to take a somewhat more philosophical slant… Without further ado, here’s the question of the week: “What’s more important when it comes to improving your bottom line, earning more or spending less?” Given the nature of this question, I’d love for you to leave a comment adding a bit of context to your answer. And with that, let’s kick off Money Poll #12…


12 Responses to “Money Poll #12: Earning vs. Saving”

  1. Anonymous

    Yeah, I’m really late to this party, but I think of it this way:

    Make $100 more, and you get taxed on it, so you end up with maybe $70 – $80 (depending on your tax bracket).

    Save $100 more, and you get to keep all of it, plus interest.

  2. Anonymous

    Spending less is always more efficient when possible. If you earn an extra dollar, you are taxed on it – if you save an extra dollar, you get to keep the whole thing.

    While it may not be realistic (or very much fun) to save more depending on your circumstance – you’ll wind up with more money if you save more rather than earn more.

  3. Anonymous

    I think the comments all come down on the earning more side. 1,2,5,6 are on earn more, and 3,7,9 are riding the fence. 4 is just a slight rebuttal to 3. So no one has come out and said controlling spending is more important.

    I find that to quite interesting. I think it explains why so few people have any financial freedom and savings. The easy answer seems to be to earn more money. Doing it is very often much more illusive than saying it and thats the rub. Spending less requires discipline, but so does earning more. It often means building skills, working more, doing tasks you don’t enjoy to reach positions that will reward you more. Thats also a path not often taken. So most people say earn more, do very little about it, and neither earn more or spend less.

    It seems to me the best place to start is with spending less. Its immediately under your control and everyone can always find something to cut out of the budget and then just keep building on it over time.

  4. Anonymous

    Fascinating to see how evenly split the responses are so far! My first reaction was earning more, but I voted for “equally important.” I think earning more makes more sense because there comes a point when you really can’t spend any less — or you could but it wouldn’t be fun at all! My philosophy is that money is for spending, but that only works if you spend less than you make, which I had not been doing at all before I started my blog. Now that I know what I earn, I keep spending under that. But you’ve got to earn more to have more to save and to have less to worry about when you do want to spend.

  5. Anonymous

    The answer to this may depend on the details – if you’re already barely making enough to pay for food & shelter, clearly you need to increase your income. Conversely, if you’re already making a really good salary, you’ve probably got plenty of room to spend less, and there may not be many job opportunities available that pay more. In either situation, the goal should be to maximize income and minimize expenses. This is like asking whether eating less/better or exercising more is a better way to lose weight or be healthy. To really be healthy, you need to do both. If you’re already doing well in one of those two areas, you probably need to start with the other area as well.

  6. Anonymous

    The goal should ALWAYS be to earn more and here are the reasons why:

    1. INFLATION – spending less as inflation grows will make your poorer and poorer until you have nothing to spend. If you earn $10/hour today and do so for the next 40 years with inflation growing at 3% you’ll earn the equivalent of $3/hour. How much can you spend at $3/hour in 40 years?

    2. The goal of earning a wage is to SPEND it otherwise you may as well move to your nearest communist country (i.e. Cuba) and sign up for your ration.

    3. The SPENDING is what is currently keeping you employed. Oh the bellyaching and whining about high gas prices. Hey guess what, BP just hired some interns making 50k/year (yes that’s right 50k/year for INTERNS) because of the high returns on energy investments and profits. 70% of this economy is now based on consumer spending. If everyone listened to the “spend less” advisors we’d be in a great depression.

    The best way to say it is to spend prudently, invest wisely and consume moderately.

  7. Anonymous

    I would prefer earning more money because it gives me options. I can decide what to do with that extra money earned. Should I spend it, save it, invest it into my business or myself or a combination? So many options.

  8. Anonymous

    Although this pertains to the subject of this survey in general, I wanted to reply specifically to mapgirl. Yes, finding a new job can result in a pay raise. How hard it is to find that higher-paying job depends on a lot of factors. I don’t think I need to go into all of them.

    However, although I want the best pay I can get for what I contribute to my employer’s bottom line, there are other factors that I consider very important in choosing a job. I’m interested in a position that enhances my skills. And I want to work with people I respect, trust and even like.

    For enough money, I would take a job that wouldn’t enhance my skills. Enough money in that case is easy to define. It would have to be enough that I could afford to get the training and experience I needed outside of my job. I’m not sure you could pay me enough to work with people I couldn’t trust.

  9. Anonymous

    At this early stage in my career I have to believe that it is equal. While I certainly need to learn to control my spending, advancing my career and thus earnings has to be just as vital at this point.

  10. Anonymous

    I think a lot of people neglect earning more when it comes to looking at their finances, which is too bad because finding a new job is a pretty easy way to give yourself a 10-30% raise. Getting a performance raise out of your current company is like squeezing blood out of a stone. It’s much much easier to just switch employers.

    However, when it comes to the poll, I voted BOTH, because they’re equally important.

  11. Anonymous

    If I spend any less than I do right now, I’ll either be running around naked, hungry, or dirty. I’ve got spending less down to a science; now my job needs to pay me more.

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