Hey freedom fighters, I’ve got an update post for you today! I’m at work on a couple of longer articles, but wanted to take a time out to share a few going’s on from the past week.
First of all, an update on my no-spend January. As I detailed in a recent post, I’ve kicked off 2017 with a month-long personal spending freeze. I know, crazy right? My primary goal this month is ZERO discretionary spending. I’m not including regular fixed expenses, or items I deem to be absolutely essential. I’m also not enforcing my no-spend month on the rest of my family. That said, my wife is so frugal by nature that she’ll spend next to nothing, in all likelihood. Another goal for the month is to limit our grocery bill to $600 for our family of 5, and cut back on our driving, which won’t be easy because it’s INSANELY cold!
While I don’t have a specific target in mind for our fuel savings, it can be a significant expense (which drives me crazy, no pun intended) due to my 70-mile daily round trip work commute. Additional mileage for my son’s hockey in the winter months adds to that. Clearly, I have yet to take the advice of one Mr. Money Mustache, of living close to work.
Before I get to the bottom line, I’ve got to say this: I LOVE the looks people give me when I tell them I’m not spending a cent this month. Of course, I don’t usually provide the context of the blog, my Mystery Money Man alter-ego, or any of that stuff. In most cases, I just get a look that says, “why in the world would you ever consider such a thing?”
All that aside, I’m 1/3 of the way there, and I’m doing pretty well! To date, I haven’t spent a penny on non-essentials in January. The best part is, I haven’t found it that hard, which surprises me somewhat. No doubt, I’m a pretty frugal guy, but I do have a weakness for my almost daily stop at the coffee shop. I also buy lunch at work at least two or three days each week. As such, I do anticipate things will get more difficult over the next week.
WHAT’S MADE THE DIFFERENCE?
It’s simple, and it’s something I preach constantly. Be prepared! Coffee? If I’m going out, I take a thermos with me. Lunch? You guessed it, I’m brown bagging it the night before. I’ve joined my 10-year old daughter, rocking the apple, yogurt & PBJ when I leave the house every morning. No stir fry’s or greek salad’s for this guy, I’ve got to keep things simple.
As for other expenditures, I’ve stuck to my strategy. Don’t go near the store.
What HAVE we spent money one? Our grocery bill month-to-date is $270, but we’re well stocked for the coming week. I filled the car for $38.00 this morning, and I had my son’s hockey skates sharpened for $5.00, an essential item. That’s our total spending for the month, less fixed expenses such as the mortgage/utility payments etc. Only 21 more days to go!
BLOG UPDATE: THE POWER OF PINTEREST
I had an interesting experience on social media this past week. As the New Year arrived, I released an epic, 3700 word post titled, “30 Kick-A$$ Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2017”.
I turned things into a bit of an experiment and spent time creating a pretty detailed Pinterest-friendly image, to accompany the post. I should note that to date, my reach on Pinterest is almost non-existent. I’ve just begun to focus on the platform over the past month or so, and most of my articles are only re-pinned a handful of times.
Imagine my shock when this post was re-pinned/saved onto over 1500 boards in less than a week! I couldn’t believe it. Better yet, it brought over 700 visitors (and counting) to my site during that time. Anyways, I thought it was pretty cool, if only I could figure out how to replicate that success. 🙂
The last update I’ve got for you this week is a pretty cool one! I’ve been assisting on a startup project for the past few months, which saw it’s official launch this past week. BroGoLogo is a boutique logo design firm, headed by a friend of mine. Jay is an experienced designer who’s done lots of work for different organizations, websites, bands etc. over the years. BroGoLogo is his baby, but we plan to work together on a number of projects.
Most recently, we had a great opportunity to work with a fellow personal finance blogger in the month leading up to the launch. Ty, over at GetRichQuickish commissioned us to design the new logo and banner for his site, a project that we had a blast working on! Ty actually tells the story on his site of how the project came about.
If you have a blog or website, and you’re lacking a great brand/logo, or have something that is in need of a refresh, I would strongly consider working with Jay. He’s even got a ‘web special’ price point that’s geared specifically for bloggers and online businesses. If you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll hook you up!
That’s my January so far, in a nutshell! I’ll be back in a few days with a fresh post! If you have a few minutes, I’d love for you to head on over to BroGoLogo to check out the new site!
25 thoughts on “UPDATE: NO-SPEND JANUARY, THE POWER OF PINTEREST & STARTUP LAUNCH”
Oucchhh that mileage sucks! But hey, sometimes Mustachian advice doesn’t work for everyone. I’m taking the Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal Month Challenge and we have totally bought discretionary items. I bought a $5 throw pillow and Mr. Picky Pincher bought a door mat. The door mat was arguably a need since we’ve been tracking mud into the house and spending more money on cleaning, but the pillow was pretty frivolous.
We’re trying to save 60% of our income this month (up 10% from our usual 50%), and I think we can do it as long as we stay prepared and buy ONLY what we NEED.
We’ll see how it looks at the end of the month. 🙂
Ha, I think it’s hilarious that your only discretionary item has been a throw pillow! 🙂 I would have made sure it was a vente caramel latte or something like that lol.
All the best on the remainder of your Uber Frugal challenge, I look forward to hearing how it goes!
Wow MMM, you are killing it! Good for you! I can see how the no spend thing gets derailed by the smallest things… just wanting a coffee, needing to go into a store. Planning ahead is the only way. But it can be the hardest thing.
Thanks Linda, we’ll see if I can keep it up. 🙂
A 70 mile commute! Ugh. Though in Bay Area traffic I have to say that a 26 mile commute sometimes feels like a 70 mile commute. Pinterest is seriously weird, congratulations on getting it to work for you. Also congratulations on BroGoLogo. You’ve had an interesting January so far!
Thanks Mrs. Bita! Regarding the commute, the only thing that bothers me is the fuel costs. I do drive a small, fuel efficient car but it still adds up. The drive itself is all highway, zero lights or traffic, so I view it as my downtime, time to come up with solutions to all the worlds problems lol. 🙂
You are starting 2017 off on point, triple-M! I’m excited to hear an overview on the no spend experience at the end of the month.
Thanks Melanie! 🙂
Man, I’m trying to crack the Pinterest nut right now … I know it’s a great site if you can get the hang of it, but success has been elusive to me thus far.
Congrats on your no spend January and a HUGE thanks once again on the logo. I love it! BroGoLogo is amazing!
Hey Ty, yeah, my ‘mini-viral’ pin (relatively speaking) appears to definitely be a one-off, but it was an eye opener to the kind of traffic that Pinterest can drive. It certainly has me motivated to spend more time working on it!
Great job on the No Spend Month so far! Awesome that you are brown bagging it and taking a thermos. We have this excellent thermos (1 liter) that will more than get us through a whole day when we’re traveling (and it keeps us out of the starbucks drive thru).
This week a friend texted me and asked me to go to the store with her – I told her I was doing a no spend challenge. She’s said – oh, I’m not spending, just looking. WHY? Why is she going to the store just to “look”? Anyway – I did spend money this week – a very intentional choice that allowed me to spend 2 hours with my teenagers on Wednesday afternoon. No way am I passing that up – I’ll share it in a couple of days in my update.
Congrats on the pin doing well! Pinterest works well for me…it’s about 80-85% of my blog traffic. I’ve had a couple of pins go viral – the two that did the best were no spend “lists”.
Thanks Amanda, and I agree with you, there are things that are worth spending money on at anytime! I actually noticed your viral Pin, way more viral than mine lol. You may receive an email looking for a few tips! 🙂
Sometimes the only way to do it is to live a simple life. Brown bagging it doesn’t sound exciting or glamourous it beat getting out of control with debt and …. Weight.
As far as the Pinterest thing goes. Formulas work but nine times out of ten it still is mostly luck.
I enjoyed the post, got here from Twitter.
Thanks William, I agree with you on all counts! Thanks for reading : )
Great blog! Just found you for the first time. I’m really interested in your success with Pinterest. I’ve spent a couple of weeks trying to build some momentum there and have yet to meet one visitor our repin. It’s a little discouraging.
Thanks so much Mike! I have to say, aside from my out of nowhere ‘viral’ pin, I’m still just getting off the ground myself. Like everything else, I figure that a relentless focus will win the day in the long run. 🙂 I checked out your blog by the way, love it. And I enjoyed your most recent article, great stuff!
Thanks for the encouragement! Relentless commitment it is!
We always go on a “spending fast” in January – it happens pretty naturally as everyone settles in after the holidays. We just use January to reset and refresh. Congrats on the Pinterest success. That is something I have yet to attempt. Seems so daunting to start. 🙂
Thanks for reading Maggie! I agree, the time of year is making it a bit easier. The tricky part for me is extending it to the end of the month. I have to say though, it feels as though it’s the beginning of a whole new level of frugality, I’m thinking of ways to carry it forward in subsequent months. 🙂
Congrats on no spend month. How did you create that Pinterest picture?
Thanks MC! I’ve got 9 days left, and I still haven’t spent a penny (discretionary spending, that is), although our overall spending is down significantly as well. As for the Pinterest pic, are you referring to the 30 Kick-A$$ ways Pin? If so, I created it (and ALL of my Pinterest images) using PicMonkey. I use overlay features to create the different backgrounds before placing the text on top. Still experimenting with different looks/feels though. I’ve been wanting to do a PicMonkey review, and will one day soon, just haven’t gotten around to it yet. It’s a great app!
Way to start 2017! Cooking at home and brown-bagging it (or just regular plastic-bagging for us Europeans!) can make a massive difference when you’re trying to save. I always find that my food budget more than halves if I stop eating out and just cook at home – even if I cook fancy stuff like steak 😉
Great news on the Pinterest success as well! Getting good at it is one of my top goals for the next few months – so far I’ve had promising results, so I hope I can scale it up and get lucky with a couple of post going viral.
Thanks Ricard! The brown bagging, make that “eco-friendly reusable lunch bagging” has certainly helped to kick start the budget for the year! I’ll be sure to head over to Pinterest and follow your boards! 🙂