Don't Step Over Dollars to Chase Pennies

Don’t Step Over Dollars to Chase Pennies

One of the biggest mistakes people make in saving money is stepping over dollars to chase pennies.  This happens any time you put so much time and energy into cost-cutting tactics to save a few cents, that you ignore the greater opportunities to make money.

The reason this is so attractive is that it takes less mental energy to remove something than it does to add. However, the glamour stops there, because you can’t shrink your way to wealth. 

For your efforts to result in the freedom you crave, you must stay in the right mindset of abundance, creation, innovation, and production.

Two Mindsets About Saving Money

You want to save more in your business and personal life.  But when it comes to saving money, there are two methods.  And these camps are about as opposite as can be.

The Procrastinators

On one extreme, there are the procrastinators.  (Newsflash: if you’re reading this article, this probably isn’t you.)

This is the mindset of the person who lives it up today, overspending and overleveraging but attempting to outrun the mess by making more money.  They think that higher income will solve all their problems. 

They’re partially right.  If they did make more money, they could build savings.  However, Parkinson’s Law takes over and finds a way to spend the new income before they have a chance to save it. 

Unfortunately, this strategy comes with some pretty hefty baggage.  Stress and worry become constant adversaries when you’re not being honest with yourself. Instead of creating solid wealth habits, those who follow this method continually spend tomorrow fixing today’s mistakes.

The Misers: Experts in Stepping Over Dollars to Chase Pennies

In the other camp, we have the misers, the experts in stepping over dollars to chase pennies.

These people try to spend as little as possible.  In fact, they seem to think spending nothing at all is akin to godliness or some kind of financial nirvana.  They scrutinize every decision, always opting for the cheapest option.

The end game of this mindset isn’t pretty either.  Imagine the miser invented a way to live with zero expense.  What then? They may have all the money in the world, but they’d be stunted in their ability to enjoy life.

Life and Business Examples of Stepping Over Dollars to Chase Pennies

The misers will drive six miles out of the way to save two cents per gallon on gasoline.  They’ll fail to hire a needed accountant, administrative assistant, marketing strategist, or business coach because they “can’t afford to pay someone else to do it.”  They buy from the cheapest suppliers and brag about how little they spend.

How do I know?  I’m embarrassed to admit that I used to live here. 

About 7 years ago, right as I was starting out in business, I attended an extreme couponing class.  I then spent several months zealously clipping and organizing coupons in a thick binder full of baseball card holders.  I then planned my meals and weekly shopping around the coupons and sales and rejoiced when my bill was smaller than my savings. 

The problem was, I filled the pantry and closets with huge stashes of toothpaste and Worcestershire sauces we’d never use, just because they were “basically free.” 

And the time I spent conserving dollars could have been used to work in the business, increasing my production, and consequently, my income.

Here’s one business owner’s story about how she stepped over dollars to chase pennies.  Doing everything herself to save money capped her business potential.  After she allocated the money she did have accordingly to hire and spend where the most help and resources were needed, she had the time and energy to excel and grow her business.

How to Escape the Naivety of the Procrastinator, Without Falling into the Trap of the Miser

Neither the procrastinator or the miser have solid money habits that lead to wealth production. 

Yes, you have the responsibility to steward the resources you currently have, delay gratification, and build wealth before you enjoy it.

But don’t run headlong into miser territory or you’ll end up stepping over dollars to chase pennies.

How do you build time and money freedom without shooting yourself in the foot with the scarcity mindset of the miser?  How do you instead keep an abundance mindset while reaching towards your financial goals?

In Today’s Conversation

This conversation will help you increase the stewardship of all of your resources. Then, you’ll make the most of your time, your money, and your life.    

We’ll show you why most money-saving tactics are a waste of time and what to do instead.  You’ll find out how to keep an abundance mindset when you’re saving money. 

And most importantly, you’ll know where to focus your time to impact your cash flow the most.

Where Your Mindset About Spending and Saving Fits in the Cash Flow System

To save more, increase your cash flow. One way to do this is to reduce your expenses so that saving happens consistently, as a top financial priority.

Cash Flow Awareness is a critical financial milestone that helps you track your money, create a spending plan, and get in control of your expenses.

Cash Flow Awareness

As necessary as this step is, it’s just one chapter in the story of building time and money freedom.

Before you tackle your expenses, you need the right mindset, or you’ll wind up stepping over dollars to chase pennies.

And after you’re in control of your cash flow, you’ll be able to save more, building peace of mind, and giving you more money to put to work.

That’s why we’ve put together the Entrepreneur’s Cash Flow System, to help you through all three steps of achieving a life of significance when you create financial freedom.  First, you build a foundation to help you keep more of the money you make. Then you protect your money. Finally, you get it working for you to increase your cash flow from assets.

Why Most Money-Saving Tactics Are A Waste of Time

I want to tread lightly here because often, there are legitimate and healthy ways to cut overhead, increase efficiency, and boost profits immediately.  These steps are necessary and even critical to save your personal finances and business from drowning.

What I’m talking about is taking the cost-cutting to the extreme.  Extreme couponing, cutting your own hair, rationing the heat … you get the idea.

If you really wanted to save money, you could buy a goat so you’d never have to mow the lawn, grow your own food, wash your laundry by hand, ride a bicycle to save gas, and forgo the modern convenience of electricity.

You Get What You Focus On

You get more of whatever you focus on. So, watch where you put your attention because that thing will grow and consume your life. 

You can increase cash flow in two ways.

You can spend less. 

This emphasis is restrictive and limiting in nature.  You’re worried about not having enough money to go around.  It translates to business worries about not having enough clients and the fear of money running out.  Ultimately, this will repel your best clients, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

This is pure scarcity in the driver’s seat.  The best case is spending nothing at all, and even still, you wouldn’t be happy or fulfilled.

Or, you can earn more. 

Here, you’re focused on expansion and growth.  You’re developing your potential and exercising your full capacity of production. The best case is unlimited and infinite potential, more innovation, or developing new product lines or service areas. You’d increase your creativity and pride in your work, and serve more people, improving their lives.

This is abundance in action.  It’s putting feet to your faith.

The thing is, you get to choose what you focus on, and consequently, what your life impact will be.  You can’t be in fear and faith at the same time.

Steward of All Your Resources

When you consider stewardship, it’s easy to think of managing the money you’ve already made. 

However, I believe stewardship starts much earlier in the financial cycle. 

Your resources extend far beyond the money itself, to the resources that cause your money in the first place.  You were given the raw materials of time, talent, mental capacity, and attention. These gifts call upon your responsibility to use them to make the most out of your life.

You direct your production first, by stewarding your time, attention, and abilities to produce the greatest value.   Only then have you earned the ability to direct and steward what you’ve produced.

Time is Your Most Valuable Commodity

As Americans, we make over 35,000 decisions a day.  When you break it down to the micro level, it’s easy to see how that’s possible. 

You didn’t just decide to work today, you decided exactly which tasks to do, in what order, at precisely what time. Then, you adjusted your decisions potentially based on deciding how to respond to other people’s decisions and the thousands of other stimuli you encountered.  You decided which lane to drive in, when to change lanes, and the precise second and pressure you used as you started to brake for the light ahead.

Don't Step Over Dollars to Chase Pennies

With so many micro-decisions calling for your time and attention, what decisions will you make in how you spend your time in pursuit of your financial goals?

There’s an opportunity cost on your time because, with every decision to use your time one way, you’ve literally cut off your ability to use your time and attention another way.

In Thou Shalt Prosper, Rabbi Daniel Lapin illustrates the decision to use his time to conserve vs. using that same time to produce. 

Given 90 minutes during an afternoon, he could choose to mow his lawn to save $60 it would have cost to hire a landscaper.  The impact to his personal economy would be that he reduced a potential outflow, increasing cash flow by $60. 

If instead of reduction, he focused on production, he could spend the time to finish writing a manual for a car dealership owned by a friend of his and get paid their agreed-upon $350. Meanwhile, he could hire the landscaper and pay him $60, increasing his overall cash flow by $290.

Production = Service = Exchange = Velocity

Taking this story one step further, the focus on production has improved the financial condition of three people: the friend, the author, and the landscaper.  Each now has more money as a result of the decision to produce, rather than constrict the flow of money.

Staying in abundance enables us to improve the lives of others.  Instead of shrinking our own life, we expand our life and the lives of others around us.  Because of the principle:

Dollars follow value

When I produce, I provide a value exchange for others, paving the way to a financial transaction.  When money changes hands, it increases the velocity of money, the number of times that it can work in our lives and the lives of others.

Therefore, the more we elevate our production, the more opportunities we gain to improve the lives of others, either by providing value or compensation, which are really just two sides of the same coin.

If you’re hunched over, agonizing about saving five cents, when you could be coming up with an idea to serve others and increase your wealth by $20,000 instead, you’re shrinking as a person and exercising poor stewardship over your most valuable time resource.

What Is Wealth?

Wealth isn’t just more dollars in the bank account.  It’s a more fulfilling life, more experiences, more accomplishments, more friendships, and better health, as articulated beautifully by Jon and Missy Butcher, of Lifebook.

Wealth is having cash flow from assets.

Any way you look at it, you can’t become wealthy and satisfied by spending nothing at all.  Instead, wealth comes from creating more. 

How Do You Create Dollars Instead of Stepping Over Dollars and Chasing Pennies?

So rather than step over dollars to chase pennies, how do you focus on what matters and make more money?

You can improve your skills and education, applying them in your work and business.  You might expand your business with new products or services, or perhaps bundling or repackaging work you already have to deliver it in a new way.

Maybe you have lazy assets – money just sitting around that could be working to produce cash flow.

And a key way to make sure you overcome the treacherous rapids of Parkinson’s Law, don’t raise your lifestyle commensurate with each rise in income.

For instance, if you were spending 90% and saving 10% when you made $100K, shift your ratios when your income increases. With an income of $200K, you could save 30% and spend just 70%, still increasing your lifestyle from $90K to $140K, while gaining much more traction towards time and money freedom.

Stop Stepping Over Dollars to Chase Pennies

Now that you’ve recognized the ways you might be stepping over dollars to chase pennies, what do you do with this information? 

If you’ve been camping out in miser-land, the plane of competition, limits, and finite resources, lift your attention and perspective to the creative plane. 

Decide to switch your value system. Maybe you’ve felt that having and being less is somehow a morally superior way of being.  If so, you’re trying to take up less space, live on fewer resources, as if to apologize for existing.  If you stay here, you’re out of integrity with who you are, and you’re not valuing yourself enough to do your best work.

Instead, recognize that you are an infinite being with limitless potential.  You were not meant to live in lack.  Your most valuable purpose is to expand, do the most good, make the most money, serve the most people, and enjoy life the most.  Having and being more is the noblest thing you can achieve with your life.  It allows you to steward all of your resources to your utmost, to do and be the most.  This is how you maximize and fulfill your potential.

Book a Call to Find Out Your Next Step to Time and Money Freedom

Contact us to find out the one thing you should be doing today to optimize your personal economy and accelerate time and money freedom. 

Success leaves clues.  Model the successful few, not the crowd, and build a life and business you love.

Rachel Marshall

Rachel Marshall

Rachel Marshall is the Co-Founder and Chief Financial Educator of The Money Advantage. She is known for making money simple, fun, and doable.Rachel helps her clients create time and money freedom with cash flow strategies, Privatized Banking, and alternative investments.Rachel is the co-host of The Money Advantage podcast, the popular business and personal finance show. She teaches how to keep more of the money you make, protect it, and turn it into cash-flowing assets.
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