Have fun making a little extra money on the side

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”
Desiderius Erasmus

I’ve always felt that money doesn’t matter until you don’t have enough. While that is true its also a fact that a little extra money, even if it is only a few hundred dollars, can make a massive difference to the ease and quality of your life.

That is why this year I am going to refocus around the theme of making just a little extra money on the side.

In writing this blog I’ve come to understand that many people see the transition to simple living as idealistic hippy talk. I often get an “I’m a realist. I don’t live with my head in the clouds. I’ve got bills and a mortgage to pay” reaction when I promote simple living as a happiness solution. I realise now that for most of us the thought of leaping off the cliff of full-time working into the swells and tides of entrepreneurship is just too daunting. The transition is to great.

In contrast making an extra $50 a week or making an extra $100 a fortnight or $1000 a month sounds possible.

If you are in that frame of mind then please join me and make a commitment to make a small side income this year. You don’t need to quit your job, grow a beard and eat any garbanzo beans (unless you love them like me).

Start this journey by picking a figure that you think is achievable. Set that target.

For now please pick a number that isn’t scary, but is inspiring enough that having that income would make a material improvement in the quality of life. Fire goals like $2 per week and trade up to targets of say $200 instead.

Don’t worry about how you can do this just pick a number and ready yourself to take some action to achieve it.

Post holiday trudge back to work

“There is a melancholy that stems from greatness”
Nicolas Chamfort

Christmas has past and for many of us that means we spent way too much money on one nice morning with out kids, a decent lunch with our extended families. Perhaps altogether too short holiday as well.

It’s like we scrimp and save and forgo all year to have a little savings that we blow in one orgy of consumerism over the Christmas period.

How the bankers must laugh at us.

Now though the zeal of holiday time with family is giving way to the stark reality of returning to working life. The inadequate pay, the dorky coworkers, the crappy boss, the deadlines and the stress.

This year is the year to make a change and I want to help you. Beginning soon I am going to start to shift the focus of this site. I want to help you to discover a life without working in a job you hate.

There are better ways to support your family.

Look out for details starting in the next series of posts.

5 Simple Living concepts I got wrong and don’t promote anymore

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest”

We’re all on a journey.

Me especially.

So many things have changed in my life in the shortest time.

Largely my life looks pretty conventional, but behind the scenes I feel like a Duck in a pond.

My head and body look calm, but under the water my feet are paddling a hundred miles an hour!

I’ve made more than a few mistakes. Here are the 5 things that I used to promote, but that I don’t anymore.

1. Simple living as sustainable or self sufficient living. We’re living in a society. There is no need to do everything alone. Besides sharing is fun. Why go it alone?

2. Simple living is action oriented. Not true. Mostly the simplest choice is no action at all. Often it is about reframing the activity or event to let myself recognise that I need play no part. What is happening is okay and I don’t need to control things.

3. Not doing stuff because of what ‘people’ might say. I used to have this baggage about wearing the same sweatshirt everyday. I felt like people noticed and that they were probably talking about me behind my back. Now I figure people are so busy and so into their own shit that there is no chance that I am their dinner table conversation.

4. Overmending stuff that didn’t really work in the first place. I’ve grown up. Some stuff just needs to go to landfill. Not everything is a treasure to be saved.

5. Searching for good news about bad habits. There are certain things that we all know are bad for us and the simplest choice is to stop doing them, but I was always ears out for reasons that justified the stuff I was doing that I plumb knew was wrong (think eating meat, eating fried fluorescent foods, smoking, being an aggressive parent – or whatever). Eventually I learnt about the concept of bad faith and from there I just had to man up do what I always knew to be correct. It was uncomfortable. It was hard and truthfully it was no fun at the time. Now I look back and future self thanks past self for being brave.

How about taking a leaf and executing one of your bad habits right now?

Our soil nature

“Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree”
Rabindranath Tagore

Life sure moves fast.

It can be loud, bright, complicated and stressful.

At those times it pays to remember your soil nature.

You eat food.

You accumulate a food body that is made from the food you eat.

That body grows, changes and declines until one day it returns the loaned food to the soil.

If you wish to become soil sooner neglect your vessel.

Ignore what passes your lips.

Otherwise care for your food body and it will transport you on a ride called life.

Care, but there is no point attaching to this food body for it is temporary and how healthy is it to attach identity to that which is loaned anyway?

We will become soil and so we must check in and ask ourselves if we are using our opportunity well.

We will all return to soil.

So ask yourself: Is my right use to labour for a crumby company in a mediocre industry or is there some better use of this gift that I have been given?

When you have your answer, no matter the barriers, do that and you will be happy.

The single greatest problem with frugal living

“It’s the intelligent thing to be frugal”

Chuck Feeney


There are lots of frugal communities on the internet. There are discussion boards, groups, blogs, tweets and websites.

There is nothing wrong with frugality, but one of the themes that I see is poor people remaining the working poor because of frugality and I find this very sad.

I’ll illustrate by telling you about my sister in law.

She and her husband don’t have a lot of money.

They both work hard and are outstanding people, but their jobs are never going to make them millionaires. They have a largish house with a mega mortgage and two young daughters with lots of hobbies and interests.

Consequently they have developed an amazing ability to find the greatest deal imaginable.

I mean it.

In fact they are so good that if I ever need to buy something I will get them to source it for me and mostly I will get an unbelievable deal.

So what’s wrong with this?

Nothing, except that they have absolutely no savings and they are not making any progress with their mortgage.

So here’s how it works.

Everything that they buy is the cheapest version available and that doesn’t mean the quality is always so good.

They find such good deals that they buy stuff they never use. To them the deal is so good that they need to make the buy rather than leaving money in the bank.

Together they are so effective at finding specials that they can easily spend their entire income every period.

That’s the wrong goal though right?

If the choice is:

1. Buy something high price/high quality (buy it for life)
2. Buy something that is the minimum viable and cheapest product
3. Save the money and don’t buy anything

Our family takes option 3 and gets creative to solve the problem without buying something (often we can).

Their family goes for option 2 even when they don’t need the thing that they are getting a deal on.

Also the stuff they buy isn’t very good quality.

If I am going to buy something I am happy to part with money to get the absolute lightest, strongest, most functional and best item (option 1).

I want to buy it now and use it for the rest of my life. If I can get a deal like that I am happy to pay $400 as opposed to the $12 item that will break in a year.

That said I mostly don’t buy anything. Option 3 baby!

Unfortunately, I see a lot of frugal people out there that are like my sister in law.

They are frugal because they want to have more money, but without a saving/investing habit they are always going to be terrible with their money no matter how much they ramp up frugal in their lifestyle.

Worse, a lot of these frugal guru’s are really just spammy internet marketer types that make their living spamming channels with affiliate links that they are paid.

There can be a gigantic chasm between being frugal and being a saver. Don’t let a frugal focus distract you.

Saving is King, Queen, Prince and Princess!

A message of freedom to graduates

“We don’t stop going to school when we graduate”
Carol Burnett

So you’ve just graduated from 4 years of epic study at a big time college?

First, let me congratulate you for your persistence and tenacity to study and sacrifice to get that degree.

I’ve been there.

Now comes a bit of travel and then the serious business of making your parents happy by putting that degree to good use in your first real job.

Spoiler alert…

Working sucks. It bites. If you are a normal human you are going to hate it. You’ll develop feelings of resentment, anger, frustration, desperation and anxiety within a couple of years.

Probably the very first thing you will notice is the loot is ok, but beyond that you’ll also notice how little freedom you suddenly have going from student to worker.

So little freedom that compared to being a student that it can be shocking. Most people struggle with this sudden evaporation of person determination, self direction and general freedom.

Suddenly you have a boss that determines your reality. They expect you to be in a certain place, at certain time, they tell you exactly what to do and sometimes with overbearing microscopic exactness every minute of most every day.

For most of us one of the biggest life shocks is the transition from student to worker. Your experience isn’t unique. We all feel this way.

It’s painful to suddenly you see you life stretching out in front of you with unending monotony.

So my advice?

Don’t play the game.

You are smart.

You have a degree to prove it!

Use that big brain to explore alternatives.

There will never be an easier time to start your own business.

There will never be another time where you can live in your parents basement while you write a novel.

There will never be a better time to set yourself up outside of the mainstream corporate job.

Knowing what I know now I feel confident saying that I won’t be encouraging my kids to limit themselves by getting a job.

I actually think the advice to get a job is terrible life advice.

Please set your sights higher.

Is a job working in some grey corporation going to give you that life you really want?

How do you holiday when life is a vacation?

“Laughter is an instant vacation”

Milton Berle


One of the massive problems with simple living is holiday planning.

A couple of years ago I wrote that if you need holidays you are doing life wrong.

That advice is evergreen.

Our biggest problem is what do you tell people you are doing on holiday when your life is effectively a big holiday?

We don’t have money to fly off to some exotic beach at the very time that accommodation costs the world over are at their most expensive.

We don’t see the value in wasting tanks of gas on a road trip so we prefer to stay local.

In fact we are at the point where we don’t bother with ideas like vacation and the need to manufacture dreamy fantasies to impress virtual strangers.

When every day is your vacation defining periods of time as a holiday is a complete nonsense.

We are free.

We can eat, beach, sleep, repeat any day we care to.