Almost all of these ideas require starting a personal blog or website. But the great thing about that is that it's incredibly cheap to do. We recommend using Bluehost to get started. You get a free domain name and hosting starts at just $2.95 per month - a deal that you won't find many other places online! You can afford that to start building a passive income stream.

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Teamwork. Everyone in your household—even your children—must have a say in the written budget. This is the only way to get every person’s buy-in. Working together means taking from one category to fund another (e.g., extracting money from, say, your clothing budget to fund your entertainment budget) until each person is on the same page. Once everybody is on board—once everyone is committed to financial freedom—it is much easier to gain the traction you need.

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By paying myself first I was able to accomplish two goals – being able to invest and then spend less overall since there was less money in my account after the month was over. I made sure that savings were definitely happening, and I had peace of mind that money was actually being saved. The great thing is, once you get this started with the right funds, you then have it automatically taken out, which is even less work for you to manage.


Remember, once you’ve reached financial independence, you no longer have to save. Everybody striving for financial independence tends to save anywhere from 20% – 80% of their after tax income each year on top of maxing out their pre-tax retirement accounts. Therefore, if you’re able to 100% replicate your gross annual household income through your investments, you’re actually getting a raise based on the amount you were saving each year.

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Sam you did it again, you can tell a world class post when it generates so many comments that it takes five minutes to scroll to the bottom of them! I’m trying to wrap my head around how I could ever spend $300k. I could afford to spend that much, even more, if I wanted to now but the fact is I can only find about $100k worth of stuff to spend money on annually. I have no debt, very profitable side gigs and a big portfolio so the money is there but I just tap out of things to spend on right about $100k. I’ve done this for over two years now and my spending is very consistent. And if another several millions of dollars dropped out of the sky into my lap I still would buy not a thing extra. So I like your concept but I kind of think that once you feel completely free to buy anything or go anywhere or do anything you want to do then you are at your own version of Blockbuster FI. I love visiting DC, New York and San Fran but there simply is no reason I’ll ever want or need to fund an existence in one of those cities. I’m sitting on 800 acres of wooded wetlands with mink, deer, otters and foxes so why would I ever leave paradise? Maybe we need a flyover state FI category?
Well I do when its cold…spent 5 weeks last year visiting Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island, 2 weeks sailing in the Bahamas, a week driving the French Riviera, a week hiking the Tetons, and spent Christmas through new years in Costa Rica. Off to Florida next week, then Turks and Caicos next month…haven’t thought too much farther ahead than that. Still no better place on earth to spend summers than on a big lake in the Midwest surfing everyday, anchoring on the sandbar for some sunshine and sunset boat rides or just sitting on your dock watching perfect sunsets over the water…and $100k a year spends like $300k on the coasts. Hopefully people don’t figure it out I’d hate for it to get spoiled with the crazy crowds.
Because 2Checkout exclusively sells software and digital products, it is best suited for established influencers whose target audience is interested in buying products in this niche. But while you won’t find any physical products for sale, 2Checkout is probably the market leader in selling software of every type, including very specific use case items (like software that can convert Microsoft Word documents to PDF, for instance).
Another one of the highest paying and most popular dating affiliate programs is eHarmony, which is based on the actual earnings that can be made from each referred sale. Up to $188 can be made from a single sale. In general, the members at eHarmony are typically looking to find serious long term relationships, so many of them are willing to pay extra to find similar people.
That’s a pretty good breakdown. Budget financial independence is where I’m currently trying to reach. I should be there within a few years. Then baseline would be my next and final goal. I am happy with a $3 million portfolio indexed to inflation. :) Of course one way to feel like I’ve reached blockbuster level is to live abroad somewhere like Thailand. With a lower cost of living the same amount of passive income can go further.
Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
I will admit, I’m not a huge fan of fancy budget spreadsheets, so I just use free tracking apps like Personal Capital. Then once a month I used the data and wrote down every bill and loan I had with the numbers next to them (some obviously varied slightly from month to month) along with every time I spent money on going out, food, clothes, etc. You’d be surprised at the things you catch that has affected your spending over the last year. Slight tweaks and adjustments can make all the difference in the amount you save. This was how I was able to identify how much money interest my student and car loans were accumulating and then identified it was critical for me to start paying them down rapidly.
If you find yourself in this group, financial freedom should be your highest priority. If you truly hate your job, you should be willing to make sacrifices to escape. That might include cutting unnecessary expenses, working a side-job, building your human capital, or moving somewhere with a much lower cost of living. You should be saving as much money as possible so that you can change careers as quickly as possible.
Remember, once you’ve reached financial independence, you no longer have to save. Everybody striving for financial independence tends to save anywhere from 20% – 80% of their after tax income each year on top of maxing out their pre-tax retirement accounts. Therefore, if you’re able to 100% replicate your gross annual household income through your investments, you’re actually getting a raise based on the amount you were saving each year.
Finding this a couple of years later, I had been thinking in the opposite direction regarding post-FI expenses. Because my current saving rate is about 60%, I figured if I did decide to accept part-time work or fixed-term projects, the income would likely fund my living expenses. That would allow my ‘Stash to continue to grow. (Yes, I read Mr. Money Mustache’s blog.)
Safety. Shit happens, so it’s best to create a Safety Net savings account with $500–$1000 for emergencies. Now listen: do not touch this money unless there is a true emergency (car repairs, medical bills, job loss, etc.). Your Safety Net will allow you to stay on budget even when life punches you in the face. Over time, once you’re out of debt (step 3 below), your Safety Net will grow to include several months of income. But for now, worry only about the first $500–$1000 to start, which you’ll want to keep in a separate Safety Net account to avoid temptation (more on that below).
Thus, your level of wealth can also be measured by your long-term thinking and potential sustainability. Working with a financial adviser can help you to set a goal for wealth accumulation that allows you to maintain your standard of living without an additional paycheck and achieve the financial independence of your dreams. This goal can be lofty, however, as most people’s annual spending includes a long list of budget items, such as mortgage payments, car payments, clothing, college tuitions, music lessons, entertainment expenses, and more.
I started small, about 10% each paycheck would be taken out for my savings accounts. Half would go to my Vanguard retirement account and the other half to my savings. Then, I kept increasing it and diversifying where the money went. Anytime I go a raise or made side hustle income, I would do the exact same thing as soon as it cleared in my bank account. Now, I’m on track to save 30% this year of my overall income, which I would like to increase to 40% by next year.
At the beginning of this year, as I was setting investment goals I came up with $2.4M as the amount of liquid cash needed for me to say “I quit!” That would put me in the Baseline FI category. It would take a truly horrible job for me to quit and settle for budget FI. I don’t think I could handle being FI on a tight budget for too long because I would get bored due to not having enough money to pay for experiences/travel which currently bring me a lot of joy.

​Network marketing, or multi-level marketing, seems to be on the rise. Companies such as Young Living Oils, Avon, Pampered Chef, and AdvoCare are all multi-level marketing companies. You can earn passive income through network marketing by building a team underneath you (often referred to as a down line.) Once you have a large team you can earn commissions off of their sales without having to do much.
All of these are great ideas to earn a little more spending (or saving) money! I agree that investing in real estate can be passive, but it also depends where you invest in! If you invest in real estate in a college town (which has many pros and can give you a nice deal of money), in my opinion it doesn’t tend to be passive! College students (even the more responsible ones) tend to cause wear and tear, making your job as a landlord non-passive.
The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them. 
Income is routinely mistaken for wealth. For example, if John Doe's income is $250,000 per year, some people might say John is "wealthy." However, if John's mortgage, car payments, student loans from medical school, medical bills for his child, and private school tuition for his other child consume most of his monthly income, he may not have much left for saving at the end of the month. Consequently, John may have a nice house, but he has virtually nothing saved up for retirement, college, or emergencies. That is, he may have a high income, but he is not "wealthy" because he owns little of the things in his life.
Focus on reviewing products and services that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product or service you are promoting. Almost anything sold online can be reviewed if there is an affiliate program – you can review physical products, digital software, or even services booked online, like ride sharing or travel resort booking. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.
Great post and right on target. I found that if you blog and/or do videos that sharing little stories will help connect you to potential leads. I do how-to videos and posts and I always tell personal stories or my own experiences that relate to the subject. It works and I get personal messages from people about it. It makes you more real and down to earth in the viewer's eyes. Once they like you and trust you they will become a lead and hopefully a sale. They may very well become a regular buyer because you will be their go to person. For best results it's best to blog daily and do at least one video a day.

I have been reading some of your posts, and jlc and mmm, and I have no idea exactly where to post this question or to whom. My husband and I already live by debt-free principles, although not necessarily 100% minimalist, though I am trying to move us in that direction. Anyway, I am wondering if you or anyone knows how to calculate the impact of this lifestyle on children who reach college age? We have four kids, are car-free, pay low rent, and minimal expenses, and while we won’t necessarily reach FI before they all reach college age, I am wondering if there is a calculator to find the tipping point for income vs. savings vs. eligibility for college financial aid, to help us understand how the balance works. I just don’t want any surprises in that realm. My husband and I both paid most of our way through college, with a little help here and there, and my kids already understand that they have to work for what they want–we do not give them money, so they know that if they want money they go out into the neighborhood and work odd jobs for people who are willing to pay. The idea that they might have to pay their own way through college would not be a surprise to them, but I still want to proceed with knowledge of how all these factors fit together. Any direction you could give us on where to look for how to calculate these factors and their balance would be a huge help.


I think too many people become over-focused on their number, on achieving what you call basic FI and I call independence. They’re so dialed in on that that they ignore the fact that they’re gradually achieving greater independence all the time. That’s too bad. I think folks would be happier if they could take the time to appreciate their state, you know?
When I was working towards financial independence I calculated that every $100 I was saving I was buying at least 3 days of freedom in the future. This made saving easy. Most things weren’t worth 3 days of freedom!! I’ve designed this calculator so anytime you want to buy something you can determine whether it’s worth trading your time and freedom!
Hi Sam, interesting post as always. I’m always very curious about how you arrive at your estimates. It would be great if you could show us the math! (actually I’m very curious about this in your 401k value post) Anyway, in this post you mention: “need between $800,000 – $1,600,000 – to replicate 40,000 a year in passive income” This is a bit bigger than the standard 4% approach. I can see that you are cautious, I’m just wondering about how I could replicate some of the math too.
AWIN is probably best for experienced affiliates who can hit the ground running without a lot of guidance or feedback from the network. There is a $5 fee charged to apply to become an affiliate, but if you’re approved, the $5 will be added to your account. If your application is denied, however, you will lose the $5 fee. AWIN operates globally, but it is most heavily concentrated on British and EU merchants.
I find it easy just to figure out what lifestyle you want, what it costs, and then make that your monthly nut. We relocated to a low cost-of-living midwest community, with excellent schools, and a medium-sized city within a 30-minute drive. My military retirement covers about half of our nut and we’re making up quite a bit more than the other half with work / contracts we’ve landed. We will save the remainder, pay off our house so that reduces our nut even further, then start jamming enough money into passive-income generating investments so that we can quit working entirely if we want, though work right now is interesting enough and is on terms that we set, so I’m not in a hurry to quit working anyway. As always, Sam, a good piece that I enjoyed reading…
The best way to think about affiliate marketing is quality over quantity. There are a lot of small websites that will promote your product, but the key is finding a small number of partners that will deliver conversions. For example, an equity management services firm has over 20,000 affiliates in its system, but only about 25 affiliates generate 85 percent of revenue.

As long as the network is legitimate, it can be a good way to pick up some extra money on a steady basis. You won’t make a fortune, since your rewards will be limited to how much money you will spend. You certainly don’t want to get carried away, spending money just to generate rewards. That could put you into a situation where you will spend more money than you will earn from the network.

There are three main categories of income: active income, passive income and portfolio income. Passive income has been a relatively loosely used term in recent years. Colloquially, it’s been used to define money being earned regularly with little or no effort on the part of the person receiving it. Popular types of passive income include real estate, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and dividend stocks. Proponents of earning passive income tend to be boosters of a work-from-home and be-your-own-boss professional lifestyle. The type of earnings people usually associate with this are gains on stocks, interest, retirement pay, lottery winnings, online work and capital gains. 
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.
Many people factor in control over their time when considering their wealth. Having complete control over your time is often one factor of achieving financial independence. You may not have totally reached the investing goal that allows you to maintain your lifestyle without an additional paycheck, but having total control over how you spend your day can be a variable factored in to how you define wealth.

How do I live a financially independent life


There are many strategies to achieve financial independence, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. To achieve financial independence, it will be helpful if you have a financial plan and budget, so you know what money is coming in and going out, have a clear view of your current incomes and expenses, and can identify and choose appropriate strategies to move towards your financial goals. A financial plan addresses every aspect of your finances.[2]
Shopify is probably the most popular e-commerce solutions provider out there, but because there are so many products and options, newcomers can easily get confused. If you believe your audience has products to sell and could benefit from Shopify’s products and are able to elucidate the benefits of signing up for Shopify, you can definitely earn some big money with their affiliate program.
Many affiliate programs run with last-click attribution, where the affiliate receiving the last click before the sale gets 100% credit for the conversion. This is changing. With affiliate platforms providing new attribution models and reporting features, you are able to see a full-funnel, cross-channel view of how individual marketing tactics are working together. For example, you might see that a paid social campaign generated the first click, Affiliate X got click 2, and Affiliate Y got the last click. With this full picture, you can structure your affiliate commissions so that Affiliate X gets a percentage of the credit for the sale, even though they didn’t get the last click. 
Individual sellers and companies offering products or services have to deal with their consumers and ensure they are satisfied with what they have purchased. Thanks to the affiliate marketing structure, you’ll never have to be concerned with customer support or customer satisfaction. The entire job of the affiliate marketer is to link the seller with the consumer. The seller deals with any consumer complaints after you receive your commission from the sale.

Work wise i'm a bit fortunate to still work at a good company and managers, so it's not a big deal to continue working, although the work can be repetitive and lack of challenge, i consider that a blessing. Still, once you know the date it seems hard to keep still, but the anxiety seems more from the retirement itself (what would I do), rather than the current work. I think for people who are fortunate enough to not worry about financials after retirement, our real challenge is the lifestyle choice and psychological change we need to adapt to.

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The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 
Hi Sam, interesting post as always. I’m always very curious about how you arrive at your estimates. It would be great if you could show us the math! (actually I’m very curious about this in your 401k value post) Anyway, in this post you mention: “need between $800,000 – $1,600,000 – to replicate 40,000 a year in passive income” This is a bit bigger than the standard 4% approach. I can see that you are cautious, I’m just wondering about how I could replicate some of the math too.
In economics, wealth (in a commonly applied accounting sense, sometimes savings) is the net worth of a person, household, or nation – that is, the value of all assets owned net of all liabilities owed at a point in time. For national wealth as measured in the national accounts, the net liabilities are those owed to the rest of the world.[27] The term may also be used more broadly as referring to the productive capacity of a society or as a contrast to poverty.[28] Analytical emphasis may be on its determinants or distribution.[29]
Later on, I managed to earn more money from Walmart.com as an affiliate and joined commission junction and other affiliate networks to earn more money in affiliate marketing. the one part I really find challenging is creating rich content for my site every day or every other day. This is when I focus on other things such as YouTube video marketing, writing periodicals online, and so on. But nevertheless, joining a multiple affiliate networks is good for anyone to do because you want to create diversify sources of income. Just be mindful that when you join multiple affiliate networks you’re not only keeping in touch regularly with the affiliate managers you partner with through those specific affiliate programs, assure also asking them questions often about how to create effective affiliate landing pages,, informative YouTube videos with your affiliate link in them, as well as asking your affiliate manager to offer any other kind of promotional tactics you can use to increase your affiliate commission potential. I am sick and tired of hearing some people say they never earn one dime in affiliate marketing. That’s absolutely nonsense because they’re lazy and don’t bother to do the extra work. If you’re building relationships with your target audience and affiliate managers, creating content for your site and engaging YouTube videos daily or every other day, and staying active with other marketers in the affiliate marketing community, there’s no reason for you to fail.. Simple as that!

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As Target is the second-largest general retailer in the United States, their affiliate program is primarily for American bloggers or publishers who can route visitors to relevant products. Overall, the program works much like Amazon’s does in that publishers (bloggers) get a small commission on sales, but Target’s gigantic product base (over one million items) and high brand recognition make their affiliate program a great option for influencers.
In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.[21]:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors.[21] Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.[21]:149–150

Part of providing value is building trust. Don’t link to things that aren’t of good quality or people won’t trust your recommendations. The other part of making an audience is consistency. It matters less how often you post than how consistently. If you only have time to do one post a month, that post should come out on the same date and time each month.
What many people desire is more flexibility with their schedules. Freedom of time and financial independence go hand in hand. Together, they are about leaving the rat race to follow your passion, or spend more time with family, and not going completely broke doing it. It could come in the form of more paid time off, flex time or perhaps working remotely on occasion. Not having to take a day off from work just so you can visit the dentist or take your kid to the doctor could be a huge benefit for some.
I agree with FS. I hope my $1M number is too high but it’s not unreasonable. According to the Department of Agriculture study last year the average family with an combined household income of greater than $107,000 will spend on average $372,000 to raise a child to age 18. Add in $250k of college costs (before inflation) and you’re already over $600,000 for the average. This average doesn’t include private school costs. I hope to send my children to public school but private school tuition around here is $40,000+/year if the public schools aren’t good enough. Without kids we would have a 3 bedroom house, with kids we had to go with a 4 bedroom. Adding that 4th bedroom here adds about $400,000 to the price of the house and $8,000+ extra in property taxes annually. And we haven’t gotten to any extras yet. I was fortunate enough to travel internationally with my family growing up and I want to provide that experience to my children. I believe that is valuable but it also costs thousands per year.

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Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
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