Have you ever tried to cut down on expenses to increase your spending in other areas or save up for something you want? If you did so by sacrificing conveniences like dining out, using delivery services, or any other number of money-saving hacks, chances are, you understand how hard — but incredibly beneficial — generating sacrificial income can be. Yes, income. The money you bring in when you ditch certain luxuries or make big changes doesn’t have to be saved. There are several ways to make sacrificial income and spend it wisely to improve your financial wellness and reach your goals.

What is sacrificial income?

Sacrificial income is money intentionally obtained by making sacrifices in spending habits or lifestyle choices. These sacrifices involve cutting back on discretionary expenses or forgoing certain conveniences to spend extra money above and beyond your traditional income for a specific purpose or goal.

While many people sacrifice things like driving a new car with a high payment, cable TV, or subscription services, to save money, the same strategy can be applied to give yourself an income boost. When used this way, sacrificial income can be used to do things like pay down debt, finance home improvements, or fund needs that pop up throughout the year like back-to-school shopping or auto repairs.

And it’s not all just about sacrificing luxuries — some of what you’ll need to sacrifice is time and energy. For example, instead of having your groceries delivered to your door, you might shop at multiple stores to purchase what you need at the lowest prices.

Similar to money you bring in from passive income, sacrificial income can be incredibly beneficial for your finances if used wisely. We’ll get into more ways to do this below, but one idea that stands above the rest is to use sacrificial income for debt payoff. To help you get started, Credello’s debt payoff calculator can help you easily compare debt repayment plans like the debt snowball and avalanche methods to see which method will help you pay down debt the fastest with the funds your sacrifices yield.

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13 sacrifices you can make now to earn income

The term “sacrificial” implies that these earnings are achieved through deliberate choices to forgo immediate gratification in favor of money that can be used elsewhere. In short — you have to give something to get something.

Here are some ways of earning sacrificial income to consider:

1. Cook at home. The expenses from dining out can add up fast. Consider cooking meals at home and packing lunches to save money on dining expenses.

2. DIY when you can. From your beauty and grooming routine to home decor, if you can go the DIY route and save a few bucks, the work is worth it.

3. Delete convenience apps. Having groceries delivered or Uber Eats drop dinner off is incredibly convenient, but the associated costs add up.

4. Evaluate your subscription services. Take a look at what you’re signed up for and cancel or downgrade services for streaming platforms, magazines, or gym memberships you don’t need or use.

5. Work out at home. Speaking of your gym membership, a home workout can be effective, and it’s a great free or low-cost alternative.

6. Limit entertainment costs. Things like going to the movies or attending concerts can get expensive quickly. Look for free or low-cost alternatives like parks, community events, or even at-home movie nights.

7. Shop around. You can use coupons and discount codes, and compare prices multiple places before making purchases. Also, consider buying generic brands or shopping during sales to save on groceries and other essentials.

8. Buy second-hand. Especially for clothing, electronics, home goods, and other things you might purchase regularly, shopping for used gear can yield big savings to leave you with extra cash on hand.

9. Reconsider your mode of transportation. If feasible, use public transportation, carpool, or bike instead of driving to significantly reduce fuel and maintenance costs. You can also consider refinancing your vehicle or trading in a car with a high payment to cut costs and keep more money in your pocket.

10. Sell your stuff. Declutter your home and sell items you no longer need or use in online marketplaces.

11. Negotiate your bills. Contact your current service providers and negotiate better rates for utilities, insurance, or cable/internet services — or, switch to providers with lower costs. As far as your cable TV bill is concerned, you might consider cutting the cord altogether.

12. Travel smart (or not at all). Not traveling at all can leave you with some serious sacrificial income, but it’s a major sacrifice. Consider budget-friendly vacation options, travel during off-peak seasons, or explore local destinations to save on transportation and accommodation costs if you don’t want to miss out altogether.

13. Lower your housing costs. Living with a roommate or (gasp!) moving back in with your parents isn’t the most fun thing in the world, but this sacrifice can afford you a bump in income to help you reach your financial goals. Moving out of the city and into a more affordable area is another option.

Ideas for how to spend sacrificial income wisely

Before you decide how to spend sacrificial income, it can be helpful to evaluate your budget. Create a detailed budget that outlines your income and expenses. This can help you easily identify areas where you can either cut back (creating a sacrifice) or spend extra.

Below are some smart ideas for putting your sacrificial income to work:

  1. Pay down debt.
  2. Build or add to your emergency fund.
  3. Pay off credit card debt.
  4. Fund home renovations or updates.
  5. Start or add to a college fund.
  6. Go on your dream vacation.
  7. Put a down payment on a home.
  8. Save for retirement.

Bottom line

The sacrifices you make to bring in extra funds shouldn’t go unrewarded. Generating sacrificial income requires discipline and a commitment to your goals. Regularly review your spending habits and make adjustments as needed to stay on track. Over time, these small sacrifices can add up and contribute significantly to your overall financial wellness.