12 Months / 12 Income Streams

I have a friend who goes by Whiskeytrail. He’s been a reader of this blog for years now, and every few months he emails me with interesting experiments he’s trying out. Currently he’s on a mission to land 12 new income streams, one for every month of the year :) Hoping to “change it up some” and learn a ton in the process.

I thought you guys would get a kick out of this (and maybe get a little motivated yourself?) so I’ve copied and pasted the entire last update he shot me below. Which includes these latest endeavors, as well as an update on his own personal finances.

A few notes before you start reading: Whiskeytrail’s a married man with two older kids, no debt except for one mortgage, and lives off a meager $62,000 a year – gross, not net. Which he’s pretty proud of “having barely made it through high school.”

Here’s the latest on his hustling binge:

As we discussed, my goal was to develop/find one income stream per month, keeping in mind that I would use up to $1,000 to start each item (preferably less, but can’t make none if you don’t spend some!). Here I am in April and well, its not happening as fast as I would like it but, I am learning tons like you said.

(I’m only showing rounded net below, and not totals.)


  1. Started a 401k this year even though the company I work for doesn’t provide a very good one. None the less, its free money and as of right now its returning about 5%.  Net $30
  2. Opened a Roth IRA. This is for stocks, options, dividends etc. After much deliberation, I’ve settled on starting with “dividend investing”. I’ve not started a drip though as I want to see “cash” returns. Still in the hole but its all about learning and money well spent. In a nutshell, made $21 in dividends but spent $63 in buying/selling fees. That’s ok for now as I’m learning but will be working on expenditures as time moves on.
  3. I created a separate savings acct that I put a small amount of cash in strictly for opportunistic investments. I have some ideas of what the next stream will be, and this acct will be for that, but I want it to grow some more. Net $200 (Yes it’s not much but I used quite a bit on purchasing stocks so rebuilding phase.)
  4. Craigslist -up net $2,000 so far. Had originally thought that I’d do 1 item per month, but I got greedy and sold 4 items including an old car that didn’t run. I’ve got a garage full of stuff so, more to come…
  5. eBay: Selling funeral plots*. As I had told you, it takes time, lots of time. Had some interest but in the end they are still listed. Will keep this up till the end of the year at which time I will make a decision to either do a $100 starting bid or donate to a needy family.


  1. Got a raise. Freakin awesome. This goes straight into savings. Net 3%
  2. Adjusted withholdings & pretax, again, to get lower taxes as I keep having to pay more each year. Averaging 25% tax bracket. F&%#!!! It’s time to do something about this. I will actually seek the help of a professional on this one as I’m not sure what else I can do. I’ve increased my pretax, decreased my withholdings etc. GRRRRR!!
  3. Increased total savings to all accts. I have a percentage chart at the bottom of my spreadsheet and I’m either below in expenses (good) or flat out killing the percentages for savings/retirement. (very good)
  4. I hate having a credit card but it does give me cash back. I don’t mean credits on services they offer or discounts. I mean, call them up and say hey, I want my money and I want it now. About a week later I get a check in the mail. Yessssss….. Net $100
  5. Sold a vehicle that I owed on and actually made money. Woohoo!  Net $1,750 (yes you could argue I didn’t make money since there’s interest & maintenance etc. But now I have more liquidity/less liability, so I’m not going to argue.)


Originally took yours [Excel] and modified it, but over the last few years I’ve needed to expand and have it make more sense to my brain. So, meet the new spreadsheet based on J’s awesome one: Single Sheet Budget Template 2014 [OpenOffice]

What you don’t see is I actually make it 12 tabs deep (1 for each month), then anything that’s listed as last month gets automated to the previous month’s (tab’s) current cell. I’m somewhat of a math nerd so planning out this far “floats my boat”. I also have tabs to track all my investments and a 12 month calendar so I can plan or make a quick “reference to” in my monthly layout.


8 more months to develop more income. Already made a few mistakes and by no means am I done, but hopefully I won’t make the same ones. All in all it’s good and have learned a lot.

I’m going to do some more reading/research but I like what I see at Lending Club. This may be my next foray… I still am giving thought to your suggestion about blogging. No quick answer on this, yet…

Until next time,

I love seeing this on SO many different levels.

First, he’s learning a shit ton! Not only by diving in and getting dirty, but by researching a month ahead too and then tweaking as time goes on. This helps increase both his book smarts, and more importantly his street smarts. Which is one killer combination.

Secondly, he’s MAKING MONEY! Not a lot in some areas, and eventually he’ll run out of things to sell, but every month he’s physically bringing in more money than had he been sitting on his ass. And every month some of these streams will continue paying dividends too – both figuratively and literally.

Thirdly, it seems like he’s having a whale of a time poking around new things :) It’s like Xmas morning every month over there it seems, haha…

And lastly (though I’m sure I could go on and on), he’s TAKING ACTION. He’s not sitting around bitching or complaining to all his friends – he’s getting out there and experimenting. Some are failing while others are doing better, but he’s taking his future by the balls and trying to improve it. And doing that every month over for 12 months straight is a helluva great way to spend a year, if you ask me.

We’ll see what he comes up with next – or 8 *somethings* for that matter? – but I love the challenge he’s taken on, and I hope it inspires/motivates you to get down and dirty too.  Either with your money, or just with life in general. Doing a new thing each month is exciting no matter what it’s about!

* You’re probably wondering how much cemetery plots sell for these days, as was I, so here’s more info on that from a previous exchange of ours ;) –> “As far as pricing, its just like a house; location, location, location. Some have transfer fees vs none, rules and regs etc and you have to remember you are competing with the cemetery on pricing. As far as my plots, they are in an older section that is almost full. My plots would actually sell for over $8k if bought from the funeral home directly. I’m hoping to beat them and am only asking $4k. (I stand to make a nice profit if they sell since they were free to me).”

[Image credit: Mary Margret]

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  1. Derek April 22, 2014 at 5:37 AM

    This is all very sexy, thanks.

  2. Whiskeytrail April 22, 2014 at 6:52 AM

    Thx J for shout out.
    The missus reminded me that Im supposed to be makin money so now I have to charge you for the usage of the name {another stream}. Its nothing personal. Its just business. MUAHAHAHAHAHA. ;)
    Later Gator

    1. Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.) April 22, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      Whiskeytrail, you are totally the kind of guy I’d want to party down with. Always trying new things, hustlin’ like crazy, and also: whiskey.

      Cheers, dude.

      1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        Haha… I second Claire’s statement.

  3. Catina Mount April 22, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    This is really awesome and super motivating! It makes me want to create some new income streams AND get a cool nickname.

    1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Why do you need a nickname? “Catina” sounds awesome! (And pretty much nicknamey anyways, haha… you def. don’t hear that every day :))

  4. Dave @ The New York Budget April 22, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    What an awesome project! Could one project be that Whiskeytrail starts his own blog? I’d love to read more about this!

    1. whiskeytrail April 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      This may happen. J has been on me a little to consider it. Stay tuned…

  5. a terrible husband... April 22, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    Interesting stuff. I’m doing something similar for the rest of the year called the 222 where I will finish up and release 2 books, get at least 2 new coaching clients (only limited space so that’s actually quite a bit…), and 2 new speaking engagements. Having multiple sources of income is such a huge deal. Good stuff.

    1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Loving that 222 plan! Specific and direct goals. I dig it man. And hope you reach it indeed!

  6. Brit April 22, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    This is really good and inspiring.

  7. Dee @ Color Me Frugal April 22, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    I am still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that you can actually buy funeral plots on eBay! Is there anything you can’t buy online these days???? Good for you Whiskeytrail! Keep on hustlin’!

  8. Shannon @ Financially Blonde April 22, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    I would never think to go to eBay to buy a funeral plot, but I am sure there are stranger things you can find on there. Good for him for trying new things. I think a great key to success is diversifying your income streams that way if one area performs poorly in a given year, it will not impact your lifestyle in other ways.

  9. Pranav April 22, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    Woah, nicely done Whiskeytrail…been working on something similar myself, though more like on a quarterly basis…just started this April :P monthly basis is currently not feasible for me from time aspect :(
    You are right J, there’s so much to learn out there…and the best way to do that is proactively, rather than reading article over articles and never implementing anything…

    Cheers and keep them motivational ideas coming!

    1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      “the best way to do that is proactively, rather than reading article over articles and never implementing anything…”

      YES! 100% Truth right there. It’s great to learn and read about stuff here and there, but you gotta get down and dirty and put things into motion or you never go anywhere! And even when you fail you learn, so it’s win-win all around. As long as you’re conservative with your risks/time (that sounds counter intuitive, but I think you get what I mean).

  10. Brian@ Debt Discipline April 22, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    Love the idea. Surprised that investing were the first couple, my first thought was selling stuff or web sites. Building more passive income streams are great goals. Good luck Whiskeytrail!

  11. Even Steven April 22, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Always like reading about how people think of different ways to make money and sometimes makes you realize that you already have an income stream(401K for example). I think the 12 income streams is great, only caution I would send your way is doing 12 income streams average or taking 2 or 3 and doing them at your highest level, but that’s why we play the game!

    1. whiskeytrail April 22, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      Point taken. The whole idea was to see what I can accomplish and more importantly what I like/comfortable with, that way Ill stick with it. (And make $ along the way)Either way, when you maximize into just a couple of items you can really watch it rocket.

  12. SavvyFinancialLatina April 22, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    It seems everyone is trying to diversify their incomes. I want to diversify my incomes just slightly. I know the majority of my income will come from my corporate salary, but would like to grow side income. Whiskeytrail actually has some pretty good ideas.

  13. Chellie @ Debt and the Girl April 22, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    Great work! How I wish I can work with Whiskeytrail, I’m pretty sure I can learn a lot from him! Especially on business thingy. Continue inspiring people and good luck to your career! Cheers!

    1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      Let’s see if we can convince him to start his OWN blog, eh?

  14. Broke Millennial April 22, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Wow. Awesome! I love seen that much ingenuity in a person. My only question — perhaps get a credit card that does direct deposit so you don’t need a check in the mail and is he sure that card is giving him the maximum amount of cashback he could be earning for his lifestyle (what does he tend to spend the most money on)?

  15. Crystal April 22, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    This is a great idea! I wasn’t planning on attempting anything extra this year, but pet sitting drew me in…yep, I started another business. I hope Whiskeytrail learns a ton and finds a side hustle that he enjoys enough to continue into 2015!

    1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      And quite the fun business too, eh? :)

  16. John @ Sprout Wealth April 22, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    As others have said, this is flippin’ awesome! Not only is he making money, but he’s learning new things and definitely not sitting around! This just goes to show you that so much of it comes down to wanting it and then taking action. I’m looking forward to seeing what else he comes up with for the rest of the year.

  17. Done by Forty April 22, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    Awesome idea! I think income diversification is an underappreciated idea in our circles.

    One thought (and a quick disclaimer that I’m not a tax professional). With $62k gross for a married man with two kids, how is a 25% applying? It seems with just the standard deduction and personal exemptions, the family should be squarely in the 15% bracket…with some 401k maxing and traditional IRAs, the 10% marginal bracket might be a possibility.

    1. whiskeytrail April 22, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      My thoughts exactly. Somewhere something isnt adding up right. Therefore I will be getting with a local tax guy to see what I can do. Hes already suggested opening another ira for my wife which we may do. Ill keep J up on all the happenings. Stay tuned….

      1. Aimee April 22, 2014 at 6:17 PM

        I am a tax professional and something is missing here. Does your wife have an income? Do you file joint or separate (separate would put you in the 25% bracket and is generally not advisable)? Are these 2 “older kids” still dependents? It is highly unlikely that a piece of tax software is calculating your tax at the 25% bracket incorrectly, but I’ve seen stranger things! Good luck!!

  18. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen April 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    How great! Whiskeytrail is taking action and doing so much to make sure he does as much as possible. Pretty freaking amazing that he’s doing all this over the course of a year and aiming for 12 income streams. I would love to see an update on this one later this year to see how it’s all going!

  19. Bobby April 22, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    Hi J.Money just came across your site today.

    I think it can be a very powerful experiment what your friend is doing. I have done similar things in the past where I needed to make money and did whatever I needed to do.

    The good thing about this is that you can actually discover something where you can suddenly make a nice chunk of money and that could change your life forever. I know a man that literally had nothing when he came to our town. he and his wife lived out of a caravan. He then went and advertised that he will fix small appliances for people.

    Long story short he now own his own warehouse where he not only fixes small and large appliances, but also sells new and used appliances and to say that he is doing well is an understatement.

    1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 9:57 PM

      Hot dogs! Love hearing stories like that, man. Thanks for stopping by, and then thanks for sharing :) Hopefully you stick around and enjoy what you see here.

  20. Slinky April 22, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    “I’m somewhat of a math nerd so planning out this far “floats my boat”.”

    Ha! I’ll see your 12 month budget, and raise you a 10 year budget! Yep. That’s right. My budget already has every month for 10 years planned out. I tried the one month at a time budgeting, but right from the get go it always felt very myopic. My budget is my blueprint to accomplish my goals. It shows the rise and fall of my utilities and accounts for periodic spending like birthday gifts and annual camping trips and insurance bills and whatever else. It also allocates all my surplus towards my goals. I can see exactly when I should reach those goals and how over or under spending affects them. There’s nothing like having to push a much coveted vacation back 2 months because you blew money on something stupid! The best part is getting to play around with different strategies to see what will work best. Should I pay off this loan or save for X or do this other thing first? I can just plug in the numbers and see.

    I’m still trying to figure out how people that budget monthly manage all of those things. I’m guessing they mostly don’t?

    1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 9:59 PM

      Holy crap! Haha… That is awesome! (And hardcore!)

      And I’d agree – those who do monthly budgets probably do not take future stuff like that into account – unless you have a section of siphoning off money for “miscellaneous” or something to cover a lot of those issues…

      You def. win the budgeting award today though, haha… Or, forever for that matter ;)

  21. wes@GenWiseWealth April 22, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    Nice work Whisky! It’s great to see that his raise will go directly into savings…tough for many to do!

  22. Aimee April 22, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Thanks for sharing your spreadsheet!! It’s cool to see how everyone does theirs differently. Mine is based more on cash goals since my main focus has been student debt, is now funding a 5 week road trip in the Fall, and my next focus is enough cash to buy some land. I can tell exactly how much touchable cash I’ll have (based on my normal spending habits) at the end of 2016. This is both depressing and empowering. Lately I’ve been thinking about how I can add income without taking up all of my free time. Kinda tricky!

    1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 9:59 PM

      Tricky yes, but oh so SEXY! Ow ow!

  23. stephanie April 22, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    Shock and awe Whiskey! Those are some very cool and thought-provoking ideas you have and to think you not only considered your options, but got to work on them is nothing if not commendable. I can’t wait for the next chapter. Best of luck – I wish you many happy and hearty returns.

  24. Dustin April 23, 2014 at 1:42 AM

    This is awesome. I love the idea of starting a new income stream per month. I recently became a fan of 52businesses.com and http://www.theweeklystartup.com. Both sites start a new business each week and show the lessons they learn fro them. Coincidentally, both sites started at about the same time. Personally, I like “The Weekly Startup” more because he goes more in depth.

    My brother and I are starting a project that is similar to the 12-month idea, but rather than do investment accounts and the like, we are starting 12 side income projects. The website doesn’t have enough content yet, but when it does I’d love to share it with you!

    Have a great day!

    1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 10:02 PM

      Oh man, that’s hardcore! I’ve had the idea of doing a new one monthly, or even in a random 24 hour “power” day, but one a week?? You must have a looooot of time and resources in your back pocket to pull that one off. Perfect for the creative/ADD types though :)

  25. Liquid April 23, 2014 at 4:17 AM

    It’s doers like Mr. Whiskeytrail that gives me faith in our economy :D that I think in the long run he’ll benefit a lot more from the knowledge and experience from this challenge than the monetary gains itself. Would be interested to see an update at year’s end to see how he fared with p2p lending and what his other ideas are :)

  26. Aldo @ MDN April 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    This is very motivating. I was in the same boat a year ago and am slowly taking charge of my finances. I still have a lot of work to do but I’ll get there one step at a time. The good thing is that, like Whiskeytrail, I’m learning so much everyday.

    1. J. Money April 23, 2014 at 10:03 PM

      And that’s all you can do, really :) Take it one step at a time and continue trying/experiencing new things which will eventually grow your stash more and more as time goes on! Both your money stash and your mental stash.

      Keep going, bro!

  27. Tonya@Budget and the Beach April 24, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    I think this is an awesome project. I think I might adopt it and see what I can come up with for the rest of the year!

    1. J. Money April 24, 2014 at 8:36 PM

      Do it! But it only counts if you then blog about it :)


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