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With holidays sales galore, it’s very easy to go overboard on spending.  You work so hard saving your money all year only to blow it on some trendy tickle me Elmo doll that goes unplayed just a month later.  Computer gadgets seem to be particularly popular as companies such as Apple discount their Macbook Airs by an uninspiring $100 dollars, and their iPad 2s by an even more unexciting $50 dollars off.

I’ve got a perfectly healthy 3.5 year old Macbook with 4 gigs of RAM and a 120 gig hard drive.  Even though I just spent $29 to upgrade my OS to Snow Leapard to improve the operability of my computer last week, I still almost couldn’t help but buy a MacBook Pro for $100 off!  Shopping is like crack where one saves more if they buy more.

Recognizing I have a problem with spending, I wrote out a list of things I wanted to buy: socks, shoes, cards, ties, toys for the kids, Macbook Pro, 40″ LED TV, round-trip to Hawaii, and a 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo in black.  You know, the usual list of things every minimalist needs to have.  Hey, gotta throw something really sweat in there right?  Adding up the items excluding the Porsche, came out to a not cheap $3,500.  Yikes!  That’s a lot to spend in one weekend.

COMING UP WITH A FUN GAME PLAN

I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly enjoy spending $3,500 on things that aren’t necessities.  Socks, shoes, cards, ties, and toys are necesities, since they wear out and I’ve gotta get my nieces, cousines, and nephews something.  However, the rest are just wants that anybody can do without.

Hence, in order to justify any spending, I made a pledge to only spend money if I were able to make online income between Thanksgiving to November 30.  Furthermore, I could only spend as much as I made during this time period, and not a penny more.  I gave myself a challenge to not just accept the fact everybody is on holiday and that things are slow.  Instead, I made it my mission to contact all loose ends to see if there was any business to be had.

The other presumption is that I would pretend I’m flat out broke.  If daddy didn’t work, there would be no food on the table or Elmo under the tree.  Ready, set, go I was motivated now!

THE STRATEGY

With most Americans not working from Nov 23 to Nov 27th at least, I decided to cross out my list of American clientele.  Instead, I went through the database and pinged my English and Australian clients one by one on Thanksgiving morning.  Fat chance anybody would respond or have anything anyway, so I decided to also create a “Spam Back A-mail” that I would send to anybody who spammed me for solicitation. The Spam Back E-mail should contain a nice greeting, your advertisement page, and some rate ranges.  You gotta create on of your own, they are awesome and effective about 25% of the time!

After sending just three follow up e-mails to clients in the UK and Australia, I was able to get a lead that lead to a $1,100 ad!  It was almost like finding a wad of hundred dollar bills in the backyard because I decided to look.  The UK client responded back thanking me for reaching out and that he was surprised to hear from me since things are pretty slow nowadays with the US holidays.  In fact, if I didn’t ping the client, he probably would have called it a month or done business with another client in the UK where there isn’t a holiday.

With $1,100 in the PayPal account I got the green light to buy some shoes, socks, cards, ties, and toys with around $600 left over.  $600 might be enough to buy a 42″ LED TV on sale, or a non-holiday round trip ticket to Hawaii, but not both.  $600 certainly can’t buy me the cheapest MacBook Pro for $1,220 after tax and $100 off!  But you know what?  That’s OK!  I used the money to pay for the necessities, and now I have several more days to try and make a couple thousand dollars more to warrant the purchase of the other items on my list.  Furthermore, I’m going to see if the client would like to advertise with other Yakezie sites.

MONEY IS A GAME, SO CREATE A GAME FOR YOURSELF

Making money is one big game after a certain level of income sustenance.  We all know that we don’t need that snazzy computer, or another big screen TV.  We get in trouble when we let our desires overrule our finances.  As a result, we get into credit card debt and begin the cycle of blowing up our finances.

Instead of going into debt or pounding a hole through our savings to buy things we really don’t need, we should create a game to justify our spending habits.  If we are able to make extra money within a certain window of time, then we can treat ourselves to our desires.  If not, no big deal as we don’t need those things anyway.  If we really, really want those things, then we will try extra hard to make that side hustle money.  And if we don’t, we probably won’t even try and just stuff our faces with mashed potatoes.

A lot of us make online income simply because clients come to us.  Guess what?  We can follow up and go to clients as well and work a little bit while others are playing.  Not everything is about making money and it’s really nice to relax during the holidays.  But if you are like me, and like to buy nice things you don’t need sometimes, pretend you are poor and try and make some extra money beyond what you normally make.  That way, you’ll sharpen your senses, perhaps build new relationships, and you’ll never go broke in the process!

Photo: Downtown Union Square San Francisco on Black Friday. Sam.

Regards,

Sam