A couple of my past posts outlined a number of ways to reduce my food and automobile related expenses. I now find myself struggling to think of other ways to cut my expenses. I am having trouble finding additional ways to be frugal in part because I am already a very frugal person.
The truth is that I didn’t just start this warpath at the beginning of June with my very first blog entry. I have been building up my bulging frugality muscles for a lot longer than this blog might suggest. I have in fact been reading about personal finance and have putting its tenants into practice for a number years.
Here is a list of frugal activities that I am already doing:
- I live in a small one bedroom apartment.
- I minimally furnish said apartment.
- I drive a nine year old economy car with no power windows or locks.
- I live as close to work as possible to reduce commuting miles.
- I don’t buy gadgets or other stuff.
- I use a pay-as-you-go cell phone provider.
- I borrow books from the library instead of buying them.
- I don’t buy or accept gifts for Christmas, birthdays, etc.
- I volunteer time rather than donate money.
- I try to drink water in lieu of soda at restaurants.
- I try to eat at home more than I eat out at restaurants.
- I don’t pay for cable television.
- I stopped going to the movies.
- I drink black coffee instead of those $5 sugary liquid desserts.
- I pursue no-cost hobbies (writing, hiking, swimming, and frisbee).
- I exercise in my work’s gym or outside.
I think this list illustrates that I am already living a relatively efficient lifestyle. There really isn’t much more I could do to significantly add to my savings. Sure, there are some crazy things that are at the very least a possibility. I could sell my car and bike everywhere. I could move into an RV instead of a regular apartment. I could cut my last few entertainment sources that cost money (internet and Netflix) in order to focus on writing full-time. While these major cost cutting measures appeal to me on a number of levels, they just aren’t that practical for me to pursue at this time.
I am writing all of this because the practical side of me realizes that I cannot reach my $100k BHAG by cutting expenses alone. Focusing on both sides of the equation is ideal, but the obvious fact that is staring me in the face is that I have to develop new income sources in order to reach my goal within the one year time frame that I have allotted. I need to pivot the majority of my attention towards money making endeavors.
So what is my strategy for growing income? I’m glad you asked…
1. Get a raise at work. I have been putting a lot of effort into making myself a competitive candidate to be promoted. I have pushed my management for the most challenging assignments. I have become a member of Toastmasters and am aggressively working towards my “Competent Communicator” designation. I also joined a study group in order to pass a test for certification in my field. I hope that all of these efforts will be “feathers in my cap” that will result in a promotion next year.
2. Write eleven e-books. I recently listened James Altucher’s podcast with a guy named Steve Scott. The guy writes an e-book every single month and has over forty titles with his latest series being focused on habits. He said he is on track to make $40k in one month. Doing something similar is appealing to me because I have already invested a lot in my writing and communicating abilities. I also think there is an opportunity to write e-books for my professional community since it is a pretty untapped niche market that I already know a lot about. It also might be another feather in the cap to say on my resume “Hey, I’m a published author of e-books on XYZ topics”. I rather focus on writing about things that are more personally interesting to me, but I think it is important to leverage off of existing knowledge and to focus on where my current effort is to make my life as synergistic as possible since these efforts will certainly fracture my attention and time.
3. Blogging income. Blogging isn’t going to be the focus of my income generation, but I believe it is necessary for my marketing strategy to promote the e-books series that I intend to write and will maybe provide residual advertising income. Perhaps the blog can display certain chapters or excerpts from chapters to provide a free taste of the content that will be available in the e-books while the actual e-book would be a deeper perspective providing a much better value proposition for readers. If the blogging platform turns into a marketing machine, then maybe I can partner with other people in my industry to sell their e-books or training further down the road.