Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Day 18 of Making it in March is about making Progress

It's Great Saving Money but we Need to Earn it First

Please note that this blog post is not selling you anything, it is simply giving you the story of Frugaldom so far.

Over the past 15+ years I have been involved in many money saving projects, worked within many industries and, throughout, maintained my status as a self-employed individual. Along the way, making significant income has never been my priority - I don't know why, I am simply not motivated by money. Getting the best bang for my buck, however, is a definite motivator when it comes to spending... when needs must, you understand.

Recently, I was sharply reminded that buying a fixy-up house for cash and then focussing almost all of my attention on how to develop the property in the most cost effective way may not be the best thing to do, especially if I intend actually living here for any length of time. For starters, property development works ONLY if the completed project is sold at a rate that both recoups all original investment and generates sufficient profits to warrant the equivalent of a fulltime income over the period of the project. Hmm...

As I said recently, we are now 3 years into what I consider to be a 5-year project but while concentrating on this, I have taken my eye off my own long term financial prospects. Creating a self-sustaining microholding is all well and good but the economic and political climate in which we live dictates that we must deal with hard cash. Put bluntly, no amount of berries picked from the fruit garden nor eggs laid by the poultry will pay ordinary household bills, nor will they pay the costs of maintaining my self-employed status. Cue some speedy research!

NYK, Frugaldom on Facebook

I haven't focussed much attention of Facebook but am assured that we 'need' to be there because 'there' is where everyone else is, apparently. If you use Facebook, please consider visiting my NYK/Frugaldom page and clicking the 'like' button so I know people are seeing it. Thanks.

NYK's Scottish multimedia sites preparing for upgrade

The NYK websites have been hanging around since the late 90s, changing now and again in between years of neglect during the more trying times that have included divorce, 10 house moves, daughter's engagement and then wedding, the birth of 2 grand children and the tragic, sudden deaths of more family and friends that I could ever have imagined possible. Just staying financially afloat has been the main focus, but so far so good. Having never had the security of a well-paid professional career, I can't miss it - hence the reason I think I'd feel cash rich if I ever managed to earn myself the UK's minimum wage!

Earn a living, I must! And that's why I now need to spend so much time pulling everything back together again, in an effort to earn the income that I need in order to budget for my frugal lifestyle of the future. I decided to call UK2, my web hosting company, on their 0800 free phone number after logging into my long-suffering control page. I was shocked at how out-dated everything was! But I couldn't believe my luck when I saw the half price sale for upgraded web services, so an investment has been made! I'm calling it an investment because I am hoping that the new and fully interactive site will pay for itself then begin earning me a small income before the house project is completed.

Fast approaching 50 and no longer a tech-savvy frugal babe, I've had to employ the services of a professional to pander to my every online need! We are currently working on design concepts that can encompass everything from blogs, forums, social media and PR/marketing/advertising opportunities to the online book shop and arty stuff, so it's a real challenge. (Sneaky peek at Wilbur, my flying pig, trying out a new page layout.)

Working on the new interactive version

Now we all know I blog and those who know me personally know I could talk for Scotland if given the opportunity, so communicating with the outside world is always a major concern of mine - I live a rural lifestyle of frugality but I place a very high value on social interaction - I'm sure it's what keeps us sane when things get tough. I've been using Twitter for a long time but only relatively recently decided to link it up with the frugaldom challenges. I love my number-crunching, so I decided to do a quick bit of research into how necessary it is to have a decent Twitter following... and proved my own point! Social media is not the be all and end all of succeeding in building yourself a customer base for your self-employment. See for yourself...

Researching aspects of social media

I won't name the businesses connected to the above figures but, suffice to say, you wouldn't expect many serious start-ups or home-based entrepreneurs to wish themselves into the unenviable position of the final listing - would you? I would!

Contrary to everything that the marketing and business gurus are saying, that tiny 260 followers Twitter account belongs to the Startups Award for 'Home-based freelance Business of the Year 2013'! I wonder if Catherine Kennard is a frugal living fan?

In conclusion, today's 'Making in March' has been all about making progress towards becoming self-sustainable in both home and working life by making plans for my frugal business empire.

The big question is, can I do all of this without incurring any debt and, at the same time, fit in my next crazy mini-adventure with my wacky friends? I am running out of time to chase the aurora borealis this winter, so I think we should infuse a little more excitement into this frugal life before the time comes to spend every minute in the garden. Better still, if the new website plays nicely on my Kindle or iPod then I may not even need to come indoors to check on my work status this summer! How great would that be?

Already setting budgets, checking travel costs, accommodation costs and route options while comparing notes with willing frugal friends! :)

Graphic above courtesy of http://www.blessedaretheweird.com/ and UK2 is an affiliated link. In their favour, their 0800 Freephone help is great, especially for someone of us whose knowledge of anything tech doesn't even stretch as far as working the TV remote control!


  1. Hi NYK! This is rather a daft question. But what is it exactly that you do for work? I have been a little confused since I first started reading you. (Hmmm...probably should have asked this question earlier...) Do you write blog posts for others as well as freelance articles? I know you run/moderate a forums which could earn an income from advertising. I know you mentioned your housemate does artwork but I also believe his income is separate from yours.

    And good luck getting back to the basics of earning an income! Even though your household annual income is small, you have to keep your eye on it and I can understand how easy it is to get distracted given all that you are doing with your home/property. I know you are not money-motivated but I feel it is always nice to have a little extra for all of life's bumps and for the good things (yay for frugal trips!). Cheers ~ Pru

    1. Hi Pru, my paid work is media based research, writing, editing and publishing digital content, plus freelance assistance for other small businesses. :)

  2. The quantity over quality discussion is an interesting one. Some people do seem completely hung up the numbers and having as many as possible. I prefer quality followers (ie. Those that engage).

    I recently read an article saying you need quantity to get quality. I'm not sure. It's a vicious circle... Or should that be virtuous circle?!

    1. Hello DAJ :) I've done several studies over the years for various reasons, looking at stats on an assortment of free platforms. The one thing that seems to run true for them all, from a business perspective, is that it's initially about free advertising and those who shout the loudest are heard first... but looking closer shows they auto post and seldom interact. It opened up a new trickle of income for those who now get paid to post on their behalf. For me, I've had so many names swiped in the past that it's just a way of protecting what's left of them. I like the interactivity of it all and, as you know, try to spend my hard-earned cash locally with those who take the time to communicate. :)

  3. NYK, I know you will achieve what you need to do. I'm not as good as you with my money but then again I have our pensions. I make it work for us but I'm sure you could do a lot more with it.

    1. I'm sure you are every bit as adept at balancing your finances, Sylvia. :) I'm a bit obsessive about number-crunching after a few years of debt aversion therapy - that's how I see my years of indebtedness. :)

  4. I applaud what you do and how you do it.

    1. Thanks Gill. But I sometimes do wonder if readers understand that I do have a normal life and that it's not just all online in moneysaving mode - I keep the vast majority of my work, personal and family life out of it while trying to keep it as true a reflection of my frugal home life as possible. It's a very fine line and I know I've overstepped it a few times. Oops! :)

    2. NYK I think it's very clear that you not only have a normal life but a full one. The online moneysaving mode just helps to sustain it. Cheers - Pru

    3. You would be amazed at how many find it abnormal! LOL


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