FROM TERRY SAVAGE: SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN.

your money will be happy too if they need not work.

This is often the most overlooked scenario, because many people believe it’s a matter of cutting back on your current standard of living — a strategy that’s almost impossible for most people. Certainly, you can affect your personal balance sheet by spending less money dining out or on entertainment. Making a pot of coffee at the office instead of buying a $3 latte will make a slight difference in your cash flow. But the big difference is usually made on the income side of the ledger.

Stop looking at your budget as a fixed pie that must be cut up into different size pieces to cover your regular bills for housing, telephone, electricity, car expenses and insurance. Instead, concentrate on thinking about how you could expand the size of the pie. Sure, you could ask your boss for a raise. But that’s a less likely prospect than figuring out how you could earn more money on the side.

Take a look at how you’re spending your time, as well as your money. Perhaps instead of dining out this weekend, you could earn an extra $100 by becoming a waiter or bartender. Instead of shopping at the mall, you could be a salesclerk earning some extra cash. Instead of paying for a baby sitter, you could take care of a few other children on Saturday or Sunday, freeing working parents to do their errands. Then, instead of spending the extra money you earn, you should invest it so the money can work for you.

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