The Importance Of Cash Flow

If you asked me what percentage of people know how much they spend each month I couldn’t tell you. But I DO know the number isn’t very high and I also know that the percentage of people that know HOW MUCH they make each month is higher still.

Do you know what you get when you know how much you earn, but not how much you spend per month? Debt.


But not only debt, not knowing how much you spend per month also makes it difficult to save up for the goals that matter the most to you.

That’s why I fully subscribe to the notion that it’s not how much you earn per month, but how much you keep.

Most of us use our brains, energy, and time to earn money. Put those things together and you get your life. So you trade your life energy for money.

You give your life, and you get some money in return.

Yet people waste money every single day! Often in little bits here and there, but sometimes in one big purchase. I’m not saying that you can’t EVER spend money, but only to understand that anything you spend in one area is money you won’t have for another.

We all know someone who complains that they never have any money but is always buying lunch, new clothes, and going out on the weekend. Hmm, I wonder why you don’t have any money to go on vacation. These types of people who, when they do go on vacation, throw everything on the credit card and make the minimum payments for the next 10 years.

If your money = your life forces traded, then being in debt means that your life is now owned by someone else. You are a debt slave.

This is why it is extremely important to know where you are spending your life (money). That means you need to track it.

Now I used two programs in the past, “You Need A Budget” (YNAB) and “Mint.com.” Both are really useful programs to track your expenses. YNAB is an offline software program, while Mint.com is a free online program. But remember if something is free, then you are the product. Mint.com will analyze your finances to obtain data to sell. Up to you to decide if you are OK with that.

Nowadays I use PersonalCapital.com as it is more focused on wealth building, which is the phase I am in now.

You can also just use an old-school ledger and a pencil if you wish. It doesn’t matter what method you choose, just that you do it.


The purpose of tracking is to know where you are so you can head to where you want to be.

Imagine if you were blindfolded and dropped into the wilderness with a map and compass. It wouldn’t be very smart to just start walking in a random direction and hope for the best, but this is exactly what millions of people do.

No, you would want to figure out your position on the map and then plot your path to the nearest town.

Put into a financial sense, you want to figure out how much you earn and how much you spend to discover your cash flow. Your cash flow is how much money you have to work towards your financial goals each month.

Want to backpack around Europe next summer for two months and think it will cost $4,000?

If you cash flow $400 per month it will take you 10 months to save for the trip.

Cash flow $1,000 per month and it only takes 4 months.

In the first example you could take one trip per year, but in the second you could take two. How does 2 months traveling around Europe and two months in Australia each year sound?

The higher your cash flow, the faster you can reach your financial goals.


Now that you see how powerful cash flow can be, you might be thinking of ways to increase it.

Short-term there are two ways: Spend less and/or earn more.

Spending less is often known as being frugal, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up what you want. For instance, maybe you have been going out with your friends to dinner and drinks every Saturday night. That can really add up.

The trick to being frugal without sacrificing the present is to understand the underlying WANT from something. In the example above you want food, drinks, and friendship. Good news! You can get that without spending lots of money going to restaurants and bars!

Why not have them come around to a potluck dinner at your place? Have them bring a dish and a drink. After dinner, maybe put in a cheesy movie that you can all laugh at or maybe play a party or board game?

You still have all the fun of eating and drinking with your friends, but with a much-reduced cost.

The other way is to increase your income.

Sure, you could go ask your boss for a raise but that is going to depend on another person. What I like to do is grab the power of earning by doing side-hustles.

There is a whole gig economy out there, from driving Uber, delivering Amazon packages, to secret shopping. Anyone can find something they can and WANT to do.

You can easily grab a few hundred dollars per month if you just go and do it.

In the long-term, you can invest in different passive income sources to earn money even without working! Invest in enough of these and you can build up a cash flow high enough that you never have to work again. But that is something for another post.


Stop turning your life into money and wasting it on things that don’t really matter. The power of cash flow is there for all of us if we only seek to use it.

By utilizing the power of cash flow we can turn it towards the financial goals of our lives.

You only have to step up and take it.


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  1. Mr. Robot

    Great article! I’ll never forget a colleague from the finance department of my previous employer. She literally said one day: “I’m glad it’s the 23d so I get payed. I don’t have any money to buy food.”. I was so amazed at that remark, coming from someone who has a job in finance!
    Mr. Robot recently posted…This is my buy for February 2018My Profile

  2. Reverse The Crush

    Great article, Mr. Doubling Dollars! I agree 100% that cash flow is king! I think similar to you about giving up your energy and time for money. I don’t understand why no one wants to keep some of the money they’ve given up so much for. And like you said, it gets wasted on small and meaningless things. I subscribe to the same notion that it’s not about what you earn, it’s what you keep. You’re right – cash flow can be utilized towards towards financial goals and things that provide more value. Thanks for sharing!
    Reverse The Crush recently posted…How Blogging Is The Perfect Personal ProjectMy Profile

  3. Dividend Portfolio

    Good write up. By the way, I used to use MINT, but never tried YNAB. Nowadays I use Personal Capital and so I finally know what my net worth is.

    I think it is definitely important to know what your cash flow is. I recently discovered the awesome relationship between your savings rate and being able to retire early. But ultimately, I agree with you. It’s not how much you make but how much you keep that really matters.
    Dividend Portfolio recently posted…How To Spend Tax Refund?My Profile

  4. ichimaruni

    Thank you all for sharing these!

  5. GlobalCaja

    MrDD, thank you ever so for you post.Much thanks again.

  6. Mr Defined Sight

    Good stuff Mr DD! It’s all about widening that gap between income and expenses. And hopefully using more passive ways to do it instead of working longer hours. But there is a time and place for that too during the accumulation period. Enjoyed the post.
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…Arrange Life To Live Your Perfect Day Every DayMy Profile

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