The most foolish mistake we make when spending money is cutting back things that matter most to us.

I remember the day I returned to my favorite gym.

My membership had already expired, but I was super pumped to get back into training and build that summer bod.

As I walked up to the receptionist and asked what the gym membership price was, my heart sank.

Wait, gym membership is $75/month now? Wasn’t it $40/month just a few months back?

A dozen calculations ran through my head.

Based on how much my rent, groceries, utility bills and commute were, there was no way I could squeeze an extra $35/month for my favorite gym. Not in the Silicon Valley anyways, where the average meal cost $10.

So I went with the most reasonable decision.

I cut off what I prized most for the next best alternative — a cheaper gym with basic equipment and restrictive hours.

Photo Credit: Rafał Pacyk

The first few days were tolerable. I was able to get a solid workout done without much complaints.

But as weeks rolled by, the smell of dirty gym socks and long queues for machines got to me.

Man, do I really have to sacrifice what I value most? Will I always have to resort to second-best just because I’m tight on money?

Having little money sucks. But getting second-best for the rest of your life sucks a LOT more.

While I tried to save more (e.g. paying less tips to servers, eating instant noodles every other day), it didn’t solve the main issue. I still had to sacrifice to get what I wanted.

So instead, this is what I did.

I found ways to make money.

Affiliate marketing

As a writer and YouTube creator, I get most of my earnings from affiliate marketing. This is where you receive money from a company for bringing in traffic or sales through your content.

Amazon is one of my prime moneymakers.

This is Day 3 after posting: 10 things under $25 that will instantly upgrade your life


I had no idea you could earn money back when you buy something online. Until I stumbled on Honey, a Chrome plugin that automatically applies discounts when you checkout.

Writing stories for Medium members

Thanks to Medium’s new Member Partner Program, writers can now get paid for their stories.

My first post got $38.46.

My second post got $19.52.

Payment looks low, because I switched this to a paid post after submitting it to a publication first.

The Takeaway

If you can’t afford to get what you want, find ways to make more money. Don’t cut back.

There’re reasons why some people don’t flinch when they see the price tag. It’s because they make enough money to get what they want.

You can do the same.

You could drive for Uber, Lyft, Grab.
You could write a blog and sell your work/services.
You could rent a spare room on Airbnb.
You could sell your photos to ShutterShock or iStock.
You could even recycle old bottles and cans.

By drilling the notion that you can make money from almost anything, you could easily make ends meet AND get the best for what you want.

  1. ouqiliang
    Jan 02, 2018