Happy new year everyone
Hey, where did that Christmas break go? Ms MM is back at work already and it feels like we barely stopped.
In fairness, Ms MM didn’t want to take any more time off than she had to as we are now on the countdown to our Bali trip at the end of January. More of that in a minute.
So now that I’m back to spending the days by myself again, what’s a bloke to do?
Head to the mall for some retail therapy? Errrr, I don’t think so.
Spend the day on the couch watching re-runs of Seinfeld and eating bon-bons? Tempting, but nope to that too.
I’m not one for making New Year resolutions which are often made while under the influence of stupefying liquor and more often than not, regretted the next day. I prefer to take my good time deciding what new plans I have for the coming 12 months and what existing plans will continue or require a little rework. And if a great idea comes along, why would you wait. I reckon that the concept of ‘making New Year’s resolutions’ may be getting a little left behind in these modern times wouldn’t you say?
So what have I put on my to-do plate at this stage?
“Out damn ads, out I say!”*
Firstly, I’ve removed all of the advertising, Adsense and affiliate ads from Get FIRE’d asap. For all of the time that these have been cluttering up my pages and slowing down the site loading times, they’ve earned me around $15!! In fact, they haven’t actually netted me anything at all as most sites don’t pay out until you reach a threshold and I can tell you people, I’m a long way from any getting my hands on any of that folding.
Truth be told, unless you are getting website views into the tens, if not hundreds of thousands per month, you’re probably not going to make any money from click-thru ads. It’s definitely a numbers game and you need to have some serious traffic to get the numbers to make it worthwhile.
I’ve also discovered that unless you’re running the type of site that lends itself to recommending actual products, and you can get your readers to click through your affiliate link to sites like Amazon, again, you probably won’t be retiring anytime soon on the bucks made from your website ads.
Coincidentally, Dave at Financial Slacker, who writes one of my favourite blogs, has just this week written about how he has come to the conclusion that there is an inherent conflict of interest when you write about how to live a more frugal life, and then go and post ads pushing your readers to spend more money.
And so I have made the decision to ditch all of these ads except for the few links, at the bottom of the page. These are services I do use and, by way of your generosity in clicking on them and using the service, will gain me the odd free ride, and the occasional free night’s accommodation. If you become a contributing link-clicker, I thank you.
*Borrowing a little Shakespearian license from Macbeth, there.
Freelance writing gig
A couple of weeks before Christmas I was contacted by the CEO of a nation-wide franchising business who had read a few of my finer, Get FIRE’d articles, asking whether I’d be interested in writing content for their customer e-mailouts.
Initially, this would be a total of about eight emails per month.
Without revealing how much they are offering to pay for my efforts, I discovered that having the ability to string some words together with some semblance of comprehension, as well as knowing where to place a full-stop or a comma, can be a pretty lucrative side hustle.
After more digging, it turns out that freelance writers, web developers, designers, and virtual assistants, for example, are in increasing demand. More and more businesses are outsourcing work either to reduce overheads, or because they don’t have the time or resources to give sufficient dedication to creating effective content.
So I reckon freelance writing is an ideal fit for a side hustle in my new found retired-but-not-quite-ready-to give-up-work-completely phase. And what’s more, I can do this from practically anywhere so can throw in a few hours of productive, stash generating work per week even when I’m on my travels. Perfect!
A while back I wrote an article about how Ms MM and I were researching a move to an exotic, to-be-decided, location somewhere in South East Asia. Why? I use to travel to the region often with work and love the exoticness, food, culture, and often, manic-but-somehow-organised chaos I’ve found in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and have always wanted to head back for an extended stay or even to live.
On top of that there is the fact that that the general cost of living in many of these places is 50 to 70 percent less than living in western countries such as Australia or New Zealand. For a retiree, this means you can live a life of comparative luxury for the same, if not less, than the more frugal life you may have to live in your home country especially if money is a little tight.
So Ms MM and I are off to Bali in a few weeks for a month long stay that is part holiday and part discovering what an ex-pat life in this exotic location could be like. As well as the fabulous food, washed down by plenty of Bintang beer, there will be a heap of learning to be done as we do our best to experience living well outside our existing comfortable western lifestyle. No doubt I’ll be sharing some frugal travel tips along the way as well.
And more travel
In May I’m heading to Denver, USA, for a month to visit my brother and see Roger Waters (think Pink Floyd fame) on his North American tour. I’ve seen him live three times already and his concerts never fail to impress.
I’m keen for any suggestions of things to do and must-see places to go in Colorado and surrounding states so if any of my American readers can help me out here, I’d greatly appreciate your input.
Sell, dump, or donate
I’ve recently instigated a program of de-cluttering my life and selling off what I possessions I no longer need or use. Gumtree for what’s worth selling, and what isn’t worth selling but could be useful to someone, such as excess and unused kitchenware, will head to the local charity shop. What’s left can help top up the local landfill which is no doubt bursting after the Christmas rush.
It’s surprising how much ‘stuff’ accumulates over the years and as I’ve discovered, once it gets buried deep enough in the storage system, often ends up being completely forgotten and therefore, replaced by another of the same item at a later stage. I mean, how many bottle openers and potato mashers does a guy really need?
Not only is this converting to some extra dollars but is also going to result in getting rid of the storage unit we currently rent. Yowsa!!
Top 15 at Frugal Student’s Top 100 blogs
And finally, Welsh blogger Lewys, from frugalstudent.co.uk, has painstakingly built a list of his top 100 fave personal finance and investment blogs from around the world. Get FIRE’d asap has not only made the list, but features in the top 15!
I’m amongst some mean company on this list so am pretty chuffed to be recognised for having a blog that’s worth a read.
And so, here’s to the year ahead. If you’re still on the financial independence journey, may it be filled with great investments and positive growth as you get closer to your goal. And if you’re like me and already there, here’s to enjoying the fruits of our labour whilst doing whatever makes us happy.