Trying to maximize your donation to charity, but worried that this requires you to give up lots of nice things for yourself? There are more purchases than you think that are justified. This is because attention is a scarcer resource than money. Any time that I have to worry about money, it takes up space in my very small working memory that could be used for useful and interesting thoughts. I think that for many people there’s a fairly low point at which it’s more productive to spend your marginal bits of working memory on trying to increase your income (or equivalent thing that you optimize if you’re not earning to give) rather than reducing expenditures.
This mirrors e.g. Ramit Sethi’s point that it’s easier to increase earnings than to suck up all of your attention trying not to buy a latte every day. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you should never try to cut costs; for instance, it takes a lot less energy never to start drinking lattes, and some types of spending cuts like a cheaper house are big wins. But in general, just because cost cuts are more available doesn’t mean they’re the best thing you can do.
Edited from a post in the Effective Altruism Facebook group.