Today is the day you discover the politically incorrect truth about money.

This lesson will probably be much different than the one your parents taught you. I know my mother would disagree with what I’m about to say.

Pinching pennies is a losing game. Obsessing about cutting costs is a waste of your valuable time and energy. You see, the only way to truly create financial independence and take control of your future is by adding value to the world and creating your own economy.

You don’t build wealth by extreme cost cutting. Instead, you build wealth by increasing your income so you have much more money to save and invest.

“But Craig”, you might protest, “right now all I can do is try to cut expenses”.

I understand. I’ve been broke.

Unfortunately, personal “austerity” can only get you so far. Sure you can cut and slash expenses to the bone, but eventually the fact remains that you always do get down to just the bone.

However, you have to eat. You need a roof over your head. And there are always going to be emergencies that come up. Those are mandatory expenses, and you can’t cut them.

Let’s take a look at a $40,000 per year income.

In the United States, a person making that much money, with no dependents, would be getting about $600 per week in take-home pay. Let’s say your monthly expenses are $600 for rent, $300 for transportation, and $300 for food.

You’re left with $1200 per month for everything else (and let’s be frank, you’re living a spartan existence – albeit a Westernized version – on the above expenses).

But wait, there’s more. Reality usually throws in a spouse, a child, even a pet, and things start to get tight. Real tight. Real fast.

That leaves with you two choices.

Put your positive energy into earning more money.

Or exhaust yourself with the negative mindset of cutting costs.

You can only do one or the other.

As NY Times best-selling author Ramit Sethi eloquently put it:

“We have limited cognition and attention, so each additional thing we try to focus on means an overall reduced amount of willpower and attention.”

If you had to use your limited willpower to cut back on $2 a day of something you love, versus learning how to negotiate a $10,000 salary increase, which would you rather do?”

Exactly.

Stop trying to cut costs to the bone.

Now you might find this callous or cold, that’s fine.

But I’m asking you to trust me…and to take all the energy that you put into slashing your budget and transfer it over to creating value.

It will make all the difference in the world to your wealth building efforts.

Let me tell you a little story.

Last year I visited Norway. It is the most outrageously expensive country in the world.

The Economist had Norway at the top of their annual “Big Mac” index. It showed that the iconic burger costs TWO times as much in Norway as in America. And a gallon of gas in Norway is $10. In Toronto, only $6. In America, even less.

And while I was visiting Bergen, Norway, we decided to check out a McDonald’s restaurant (NOTE: I didn’t eat anything there, I was just checking out the menu.)

Want to guess how much a Big Mac combo costs?

$15 USD.

In Toronto, that same combo costs $7.61.

As a result of Norway’s high prices, two of my traveling partners spent most of the time complaining about costs and discussing ways that they could cut travel expenses.

While they complained, I sat there. *Shrug*.

$4, $14, or $40 Big Macs, I really don’t care.

No big deal, I thought. If I want a Big Mac (which I don’t, of course), I’ll just go up to my room, add value to someone’s life with my writing, and encourage them to buy one of the dozens of valuable products that I’ve created to solve their problems.

Fair deal.

That’s how a free market works: Add value. Earn reward.

Normal people, those that don’t think like you and I, can’t do that.

They don’t have a positive outlet for economic energy. All they can do is turn money into a negative issue.

It’s too bad they haven’t discovered what you and I know.

And that secret is the bottom line.

It’s easier – and more positive – for you to ADD value to the world and earn greater rewards than it is for you to try and cut costs.

It’s easier to make money than it is to slash expenses.

Now before you disagree, just hear me out.

Making more money is a simple equation.

After all, you are already making money with your skills, right?

So to make MORE money, all you need to do is take your skills, add the way you create value and do it for more people.

That’s it.

Add more value = make more money.

It’s not rocket science.

Nor is making money the root of all evil.

The correct phrase is:

“The love of money is the root of all evil.” – 1 Timothy 6:10

BIG difference.

And not only is money NOT evil, but in fact, money is the answer to a LOT of life’s problems.

Don’t believe me?

Try going without money for a day.

You might be able to do it if you spend all day in bed, but you sure as heck better not allow your browser surf over to Amazon.com…because you’ll wish you had money then.

So back to your money problem.

If you need more money, the best thing for you to do is to switch from a negative cost-cutting mindset to a positive value-adding approach.

If you need money, you must find a way to MAKE more of it.

You can only slash your spending so far. At some point you’ll hit the bone of necessity – and you can’t cut that.

So you need to switch your energy over to creating more value.

Better to do it now while you’re young and full of energy.

Yes, this message is politically incorrect. And yes, it goes against everything that you and I were brought up to believe…

That making money is hard.

That getting rich probably involves something shady.

That it’s better to be frugal and clip coupons and drive an extra mile to save a penny on gas (even though this is the ultimate waste of time). That approach is WRONG.

I dare you to believe me…that you can add value to the world, make it a better place, AND make more money ALL at the same time.

In fact, when you make more money, dozens of people will directly benefit from it.

OR you can deny this premise and live in a zero sum game world…thinking that if you make money that it must be by taking it from someone else.

You can slash to the bone or you can afford $14 Big Macs.

It’s your decision to belive the truth about money or to deny its existence. Your choice.

Choose wisely.

[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a research newsletter to provide a blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future. Each issue has topics dedicated to personal finance, advancing your career, building your on and offline business. His recent research uncovered a unique way to make credit card companies pay you. Discover how you can make money with your credit cards. Click here to learn more.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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