When Ben Franklin said "a penny saved is a penny earned", he didn't quite get it right. Actually, a penny saved is worth more than a penny earned. Do you find this statement shocking? I am about to prove to you that what I'm saying is true.
Most people erroneously believe the best way to strengthen their financial health is to increase their income. On the contrary, saving money by cutting costs will get you there quicker. You see, it's very simple. When your income increases (with some exceptions like the part of it you put into your 401k), that extra money is taxed. On the other hand, any amount you save by cutting costs is not taxed. Therefore, $20 saved by cutting costs is worth more than a $20 increase in income.
The following (although over-simplified) example will illustrate this principle. Let's suppose that Jack and Cindy have identical jobs and incomes. Let's also suppose they shop at the same grocery store and pay about the same amount for groceries each week. Now, Jack gets a $20 per week pay increase and Cindy does not. However, at about that same time, Cindy finds a new grocery store where she is able to save $20 per week on her grocery bill. Assuming nothing else has changed, Cindy is now better off financially than Jack, even though she did not get a raise and he did.
How can this be? It's because Jack has to pay taxes on his $20 raise but Cindy does not have to pay taxes on her $20 grocery discount. Assuming Jack is in the 25% federal tax bracket (and disregarding any possible increase in his state or local taxes), he will be able to put only $15 into his piggy bank each week whereas Cindy will be able to put the whole $20 a week into hers!
Bottom Line: It is better to receive a discount than to receive an equal amount in a pay increase!