To be financially fit, you want to play great defense AND offense. What do I mean by this?
Great defense means: you make sure that your expenses are less than your income. It’s great when your expenses are low enough that you have enough money to put aside to create a cushion for yourself. Here, you keep unconscious spending to a minimum.
Great offense means: you are actively creating more income for yourself. You seek out higher paying jobs with bonus structures. You maximize your tax returns by investing in a tax professional. Or, you actively create income by developing products and services that people really need and would gladly pay you for. (Playing great offense is a skill that most of us have no training in, being conditioned as employees. But you can absolutely learn it.)
The balance of both offense & defense is key. Keeping your costs down as your ONLY strategy is very limiting over time. (And it feels gross.) On the flip side, bringing in new income is wonderful! But if you don’t keep what you make because your expenses keep increasing, you’ll never create that cushion.
Bottom line: you want to play both positions really well to reach the REAL goal: to create a surplus, the cushion, that nest egg.
(How’s that for a sports analogy from someone who never played a competitive sport in her life?)