Why I’m Not a Baller at $40,000 Profit a Month

June 7, 2013 Posted by Tyler Cruz

In my affiliate marketing income report from a few days ago, I touched on the fact that despite my recent success in affiliate marketing, that I actually live a very middle-class lifestyle.

In fact, I would argue that I may even currently live slightly below the average middle-class lifestyle. I don’t need my financial advisor to tell me to slow down when it comes to spending because I naturally have that discipline.

This may seem a bit odd. After all, I profited over $40,000 in May, and my monthly average from the past 5-months is $32,500. It’s slightly higher when you factor in my other income sources and not just my affiliate marketing campaigns.

That means that I’m on pace, based on the past 5-months of income, to net at least $390,000 in 2013. But if you came over to visit right now, you’d never know it.

My Lifestyle

My Luxury Car

Which of the following cars do you think I own?:

  • 2012 Infiniti G37
  • 2013 Acura TL
  • 2011 Audi A4
  • 2010 Lexus ES 350

If you answered any of the above you’d be wrong, because I actually drive a 2004 Toyota Corolla CE. Here is an insurance quote for Toyota Corolla, the one I’ve been insured with ever since. Talk about true baller status, amirite?

Clothes & Bling

I buy Danny Devito T-shirts collections and a pair of shoes from Wal-Mart, and I don’t wear a watch anymore because it broke and I just use my phone now. The watch I did used to wear was a cheap $30 Timex watch. I also have one durable men leather messenger bag I use everyday.


My Mansion

You should come over and check out my 4,000 square foot house. Its 6 bedrooms/4 bathrooms and has a pool with a slide.

Oh wait, I still live in the same 2-bedroom condo I bought back in 2007.

Vacations Left and Right

Thailand, Bahamas, Mexico, Japan… what do these places have in common? Oh, they’re all places I haven’t been to yet (but would like to).

In fact, that last trip I went on was to Orlando, Florida back in 2011, when I met up with PeerFly and AmpedMedia.

That was before I decided to give affiliate marketing another shot again. That means that I haven’t gone on a single vacation since I’ve been focusing primarily on affiliate marketing.

True Middle-Class

While I’m currently making a lot more than the average middle-class 29-year-old male, my lifestyle doesn’t reflect it.

Everywhere I look, it seems that everyone is driving a new (or newish) car, or at least a much better make and model than what I drive. It also seems that people are going on vacation or taking a trip at least once a year.

It kind of bugs me sometimes, because I’m working hard and trying to be responsible with my money, and then I see others getting new cars and going to Hawaii for a week while my weekend plans are to work.

But that’s not really the whole picture. Behind the scenes, there’s a very different story being told.

The truth is that most people with new cars don’t actually own their cars. They’re leasing them or are on some long-term financial plan for 84 months (7 years).

They struggle to meet their car payments each month because they couldn’t really afford it in the first place, but that doesn’t stop them from buying a new pair of designer jeans, which they can’t really afford either.

They don’t own a home or even an apartment. They’re renting, and even then they’re only 2 paychecks away from not being able to pay their landlord.

They do go on vacation, but usually only stay for a few days, and rush everything and stay at the cheapest motel they can find. They can’t stay too long because they need to make their car payment.

Oh, and I almost forgot. They just bought a brand new 55-inch TV. That’s on credit. In fact, they’re $6,000 in debt spread across 2 credit cards. The same credit cards that the vacation was paid with.

Delayed Gratification

I am a firm believer in delayed gratification. That is, only spending money on luxury items (cars, vacations, etc.) when you can afford to do so.

There’s new data from TK.no that shows that the average person does not practice this. This is why the average person is in debt.

While I am not living in luxury at the moment, my plan is to work and be reasonable with my money now so that I can reap the rewards and benefits later.

The middle-class will stay in the middle-class, as long as they don’t get laid off or fired, and even so, their debt will eventually catch up to them and they will have to cut back.

Meanwhile, one day, hopefully, my hard work and sensible spending will have paid off and I’ll jump to the 1% and live in luxury while everyone else will whine and complain how life isn’t fair.

My Salary

I don’t make $40,000 a month. I make a middle-class wage. My corporation makes $40,000 a month.

From 2011 through to March 2013, I was paying myself a salary of $2,847.03 net a month. That’s only $34,164.36 a year.

In March and April, I increased that to $3,395 since I saw a big jump in my income throughout the year which proved to be consistent.

Then, my latest payroll sent to me on June 1st, 2013, was increased again to $3,853.35. That means that I increased my salary by $1,000/month since February 2013.

This is my “reward” for continuing to bring in high numbers, and actually increase my corporate earnings.

I will not be increasing my salary again anytime soon though, even if my affiliate campaigns skyrocket. If I manage to net an average of over $40K/month over the next 6 months or so, then I’ll probably reward myself with another increase, but until then I’m going to sit tight on my extra $1,000 a month.

Since I’ve been living off of $2,847/month for around 2 years or so now, the extra $1,000/month is actually a dramatic increase for me.

Roller Coaster Industry

Affiliate marketing is such a volatile industry that you can be making $300,000/month profit one month, and literally $0 the next.

Offers can go down, traffic sources can ban you, and competition can change at the blink of an eye.

That is why it is so important to scale things up and make as much as you can as fast as you can.

It’s also why I am being so frugal with my money. My campaigns have been doing well lately – so well that I could be buying a brand new car every month if I wanted to. But that would be incredibly irresponsible.

Since I’ve sold off a lot of my website portfolio, especially my largest money maker, my income now comes primarily from affiliate marketing. It’s my bread and butter currently. It takes a lot of time, effort, and MONEY to find a winning campaign, and so I need to make sure I have enough money in the bank that will let me stay afloat should all my campaigns die tomorrow.

As it is now, all my campaigns could die tomorrow leaving me earning $0, and I’d still be able to keep paying myself my current salary for years, and that’s factoring in taxes and everything.

The Rewards Will Come

I won’t be living my current lifestyle forever. In fact, it will be changing soon.

I’ve actually been actively selling my condo for a very long time now, but the condo market here is insanely dead. Once it sells, I’ll be buying a nice house. I’ll be sure to post photos and give you guys a video tour when I get it.

After I have a house and have bought some new furniture and all the stuff that goes along with upgrading from a condo to a house (lawn/gardening equipment, for example), my next toy will be a new car.

I don’t plan for anything too fancy though, as I’m definitely not a car guy, so there’s no point in getting anything real special. I just have a car to drive from point A to B. I’m thinking of possibly a 2012 Camry or maybe a 2012 RAV4 if I get a dog or two. You may notice that I said 2012 and not 2013 or 2014 – I’ll never buy a brand new car. I make sure to get the car checked here in Riverside, CA. Don’t feel like losing 11%+ of the value once I drive it off the lot (check out these (car depreciation reports). This is why opted for used cars, which can be found at dealerships like Bluff Road Auto Sales.

I’ll be paying for it all in cash too – no finance plan for me.

And once I’m settled in my house, the vacations will come. My house mortgage will be my only debt, so it’s important I put as much down as I can.

I Need To Get to the Next Level

So there you have it. This is why I keep talking about how I need to up my game and get to the next level.

I’ve been working hard and have been fairly responsible with my money, so I want to enjoy some of the fruits of my labours soon.

Hopefully I can continue to increase my revenue so that I can do exactly that.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: June 7th, 2013 under Miscellaneous  

40 Responses to “Why I’m Not a Baller at $40,000 Profit a Month”

  1. Ryan Gervais says:

    This post deserves more comments than your new record posts IMO,

    Well said and you are in the 1% already because you think this way!

    I almost never comment on any of the 100 blogs I read but thought I would say keep it up and its been great to read your blog over the past year! Its been a helluva ride!

    I am crushing my real estate competition because of all the info you and other affiliate marketers share so keep on posting!

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I see you have a link to RealEstateWebmasters – just thought you may be interested to know that they’re actually based in the same city as me, just a 15~ minute drive from where I live.

      I actually applied to work for Morgan many years ago, before I started making decent money myself (Then I changed my mind because I didn’t like the job description once I heard more about it). Also, I worked as the web designer/web developer for a local realtor from Re/Max here back in the day as well. It was my last ‘real’ job before I started to make a living purely from the Internet.

      • Ryan Gervais says:

        That’s cool that you have experienced the real estate industry. The industry tech wise and website wise is years behind in internet marketing especially in canada. Some agents get it others do not. I learned my craft consulting for pokersourceonline (I noticed you have done well in the poker niche. I also own pokertrainingguide.com which was doing great before the USA ban.)I applied a lot of that to real estate and its been very lucrative. Canada where I am from is backwards as well as the big IDX sites are not as prevalent here due to a number of reasons which means there is no super easy way to generate leads in a lot of markets.

        I have been thinking up a few ways to solve this problem but can never put enough time into it because of my “real” job.

  2. Zac Johnson says:

    As this is how you stay rich. I always never went crazy when I started making big money. Good to hear you are still doing so well and happy with the way things are. Keep stacking cash as you never know what may happen next. Congrats!

  3. Jay says:

    Kudos for being strict with your cash.

    As far as the condo, if you’ve had it on the market for 3yrs+ it’s not that there is a “condo glut”, it’s simply priced wrong.

  4. Goh says:

    Indeed it is what a young people thinking should have. I’m sure the prosperity life will come to you in future. Keep it up.

  5. mr brain says:

    How about invest some of your money buying real estate or high divident stock ?

  6. Dave Starr says:

    Good on you, my friend. It’s nice to have someone else (younger) with the same views as I have. So many Americans (and Canadians) have this “thing’ about “owning” possessions … when In point of fact many of them own not a thing except a life time commitment of debt.

    I see this so often when I work to help people who want to move to the Philippines (as did 7 years ago). They ‘would if they could”, but in fact their “possessions” own them instead of the other way around. They act as if they are doing well, yet they really are indentured servants without any recourse except to stay on the treadmill, month after month, just to keep the wolf from the door.

    Internet Marketing is only one way to earn money, it is a person’s lifestyle which can set them free.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I was looking at some real estate in the Philippines.. of course location is everything, but from the very little research I did, I was surprised how expensive housing is there. I would have thought it’d be a lot cheaper…

  7. Darek says:

    It’s sad but true how you talked about those people trying to look rich but they barely have money to pay their rents, it’s good that you’re not one of them. I’m sure one day you will get to the point where you could get anything you want, I wish you the best luck, you deserve it.

  8. Kj Rocker says:

    That`s what i call a real baller Lifestyle …. Don`t spend your money on luxuries but Save money as a backup .. Save as much as you can … Wasting money on a FB Pic with your rental luxury car isn`t what real ballers do …

  9. Nick says:

    Be careful though you should not always live only for tomorrow, banks can and do go bust (look at Cyprus) and you are only young once. You don’t want to look back on your life as say I wish I had done more when I was younger when you have the actual opportunity to do it.

    Everything else you said I agree with. Fuck debt and fuck living a baller lifestyle without having the green to back it up (i.e. the money you blow needs to be a drop in the ocean).

    When I was on $40k a month I justified spending $10k a month, now I am on more than double that I can just about justify spending the same πŸ™‚

  10. Patrick says:

    It’s all about having a balanced life. You must be smart and save, but reward yourself, have fun and live life.

    Don’t be one of those guys who dies with a lot of money in the bank while living like a pauper and someone else gets to enjoy it when you are gone.

    Congrats on your success! Keep it up! But go out and reward yourself! You deserve it!

  11. Ivan says:

    do not put off living until tomorrow. you will never be 29 years old again.
    and no tomorrow always comes.

    it’s not about luxury, but not be stingy, miser.

    and… hard work is not a reason to be proud. an easy job and a large income, that’s reason to be proud of.

  12. Sunday says:

    I have to say you are very smart with your money, like most of the “really” rich are… the Warren Buffets of this world… and that’s how and why they keep getting richer.

    I like how low you pay yourself. It shows that your wealth is not in the money you pay yourself but in the money your corporation makes. I remember reading “Richest Man In Babylon” a while back and he said β€œA man’s wealth is not in the purse he carries. A fat purse quickly empties if there be no golden stream to refill it”.

    But I have to say I don’t agree your income can ever drop to $0. That’s almost impossible. As far as the Internet is still here and people are still buying and selling stuff online (online buying/selling is, in fact, increasing everyday), money will still be made in affiliate marketing! And the knowledge that affiliate marketers have spent years learning will always come handy.

    Yes, the methods will change… the offers will change… the mediums will change… the players will change… but the business will continue… and those, like you, who have spent years mastering the skills of affiliate marketing will ALWAYS make money, even bigger money as time goes on!

    As usual, I found this in the Internet Marketing Social Networking and voting site – Kingged.com and I “kingged” this post and left similar comment:


  13. Mike says:

    Hi Tyler,

    Thanks for the awesome post, you’re an inspiration to me and I’m sure to thousands of other people, and based on how you view and approach life, you definitely deserve everything coming your way right now!

    I’ve recently started to have some success doing Facebook marketing, and wanted to scale a few of my campaigns to PPV traffic sources and a few other places, and so what I wanted to ask you is – is it worth the hassle ($1,000 initial deposit) to apply to TrafficVance, and if yes, what are some tips would you give to increase the chances of having a successful campaign on TrafficVance?

    Also, I would like to start using a tracking program now, and wanted to ask you which tracker are you using and would recommend? I think you mentioned that you use CPVLab somewhere, but I just wanted to confirm!

    Thanks in advance for your reply Tyler!


  14. At least you’re smart and see the real way to get rich, DON’T SPEND IT ON B.S. That’s where the middle class always fail, they spend all their money on useless crap instead of looking at the BIG picture to be financially free. GOOD JOB, realizing that you will be way better off than 99% of your friends.

  15. still right says:

    I’ve never been one to bite my tongue when lashing out (I’ve been especially bastardy to Finch over the years, and I can admit he’s a guy that knows his shit), however. I have NOTHING bad to say about what you’re doing, have done and intend to do in the future.

    Let me explain (backstory)

    Ages 29 – 30 (I’m in my mid 30’s now) was the peak in affiliate marketing for me (all legit lead gen btw, no Adult, Spyware or rebill BS) and I was making $120k/month on average. That was 2008, and that lasted 6 months, but don’t cry for me, because my 8 year average was still in the $40k/mo range (yes, this is profit, not rev). And I was banking a steady $500k/yr, with 2008 falling $30k short of $1m.

    What did I do? Act a damn fool. I had at one time, I shit you not, 5 cars in the driveway of my rented house ($1,800/mo) and a $500k condo I was on a lifetime payment plan for in a nice area downtown. My bills were $17,000 a month! a…fucking…month. I never thought it would end, the bills or the ridiculous income.

    Turns out, it did.

    By August of 2010 the company I had worked with for 5 years not only cut my lead fee to 1/4 of its height, but actually sold their business! There was no reworking this…nothing. To this day I settle for 1/4 of what I used to get, with competition that’s 10x as stiff. Every once in a while I’ll catch a break on an offer and hit $23k/mo…but that’s rare, not that I catch a break, but that the advertiser cuts fees, conversion drops, inserts caps, or straight fucking disappears.

    It’s a huge fall if you’re not on the ball, and I can freely admit I was not. I got lazy, sloppy and I paid for it by losing not only everything I used to have (or didn’t have if you count renting pretty much everything) – I have to bust ass to get back up, when all I ever had to do save and not be a greedy bastard and spend.

    Did I mention I would randomly pick up bar tabs and dinner for people I didn’t even know? Yeahhhh. Don’t be that guy. The favor is NEVER returned.

    So, Tyler. Even though I would have liked to have ripped whatever article this catchy lead-in subject line was about, I couldn’t. If you’re legit on what you say (btw, thank GOD you’re not a car guy!) you at least have a head on your shoulders and have been very smart to not only live under your means, but plan for the future and pay yourself modestly.

    Now, if I find out you’re full of shit, have a Ferrari and quietly dabble in the multi-million dollar Adult industry while trying to sell some gay ass “work at home with Tyler Cruz to make millions” newsletter e-series book rebill of the month. I’ll be back.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I’m definitely not a car guy at all. I’ve never really understood why so many people seem to love cars.

      I mean if you really love cars and it’s your passion, then I can understand getting a nice luxury car (or even two) if you’re making the money to back it up. However, I think that a lot of people buy nice or new cars just for the status symbol they bring.

      That being said, ironically one of the things I do really want is a very nice house – which is basically the most expensive thing I could pick. But I work at home all day and I’ve been living in a condo/apartment since 2005, so I feel that getting something nice is justified, especially since I don’t spend money on cars or watches, etc.

  16. receitas says:

    I have always been quite inspired on each blog post you write on how you run and develop your affiliate business. This is the first time i read about your philosophy of life on the way you live and manage your income. I can only say that a applaud you for that! That you are one of the 1% that dont like to live on credit.

  17. JSM says:

    Hey Tyler,
    if your corporation is making $40k a month, and your it’s only “employe” why only give you a slightly less than $4k salary each month? Is there any benefits of leaving all the rest of the money in the corporation? Probably paying less tax, but couldn’t you just take half of it, and leave the other half in there?

    I understand what you meant in your post, i’m just not sure i understand why you’re not allowing you a bigger salary when you could and should! You work hard for it, you should give yourself a bigger worth than $35k a year (thats quite a low income here in canada)! πŸ˜‰

    It’s not about going crazy spending, but don’t cheap out on yourself…Life is short, what if you died next week…All that hard earned money untouched!

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I already covered this is in the post. It’s because campaigns can die at any second and I could end up making $0 in July. If I was somehow guaranteed $40,000 a month for the rest of my life, then yes, I’d be paying myself a far bigger salary. Maybe $20,000 or $25,000 or so. But nothing is guaranteed, especially in affiliate marketing.

      The longer I can continue to pull in these types of numbers, and if I can grow my earnings over time, then I will slowly increase my salary as well. It’s also a good way to self-incentivize yourself to push yourself to earn more. I reward myself with a bigger paycheck when I bring in higher or more consistent numbers.

      • JSM says:

        I see, does makes sense yeah. If you leave money into your corporation, if you were ever to make 0$ in a month, you would still be able to pay yourself the same salary that given month…

  18. Andre says:

    Keep up this thinking. True wealth is measured by your passive income generating assets. Buy your luxuries with passive income only. Read up on the Millionaire Next Door and also MrMoneyMustache.com. Only when you’re financially independent are you truly wealthy.

  19. HipHopper says:

    Great, don’t spent, give it to the government taxes.

  20. UshaJi says:

    I am really touched by your article. Yo work really hard and still pay yourself a wage that is too low. But i totally get your point behind this and in order to be successful you go to manage your money well even if your are earning a quite handsome amount of money.

  21. Kyle says:

    Remember…your only young once. Enjoy it while your Single and no kids. You might have way more money when your 35 but you might not be going on any vacations.

    I have seen way to many people save like crazy and then either Die young or get sick/injured and they regret it like crazy….

    There is a GOOD middle ground of having fun while your young and being responsible…..

  22. Lyndsie says:

    Such a great post Tyler! As a mentor in this industry, I love that you’re showing this side of the industry to your readers. I think that AM at times is flooded with flash, glam, and bling and as some of the individuals above mentioned, it can all be gone in a blink of an eye. This advice is not only great for this industry, but for people in general, which you also mentioned in your post. Thanks again for sharing!

  23. Idris says:

    I’m printing out this post and pasting it onto my wall.

  24. Well Tyler, you know I do not subscribe to this way of living…well, not exactly :):)

    On the one hand, I think you are doing the right thing by not buying things on credit, whether it be a car, house or TV etc. You are right to live within your means….though I think you are being way too cautious about everything.

    Your whole outlook on life seems to be based on the fact that things could go wrong. It seems very pessimistic considering your circumstances.

    Here’s something you will realise more and more every year. Life is short. You are in the prime of your life and you are staying at home every day staring at a computer screen. Hey, I’m not one to mock this as that’s how I make a living too, however time flies past really quickly. You should be using some of this money to do all of the things you have wanted to do.

    Visiting Thailand and Japan etc will only cost you $2,000 on air fares and when you are there, you can still work. So I don’t know what is holding you back. Seriously. We live in an age where guys like us can take a $200 laptop and a small bag and just work anywhere on this whole planet (I have been living out of a 40 litre bag for the last two years).

    I think this attitude may stop you from living life to the fullest. Do you really want to wait until you are 50 or 60 to start visiting all the places that you want to visit?

    I am not saying all of this to criticise. We’ve known each other through our websites for years and I am nothing but happy for the success you are having….though I think you can afford to make your life a bit richer :):)


  25. Ryan says:

    This article was excellent – though a little pretentious. Yes – people in this industry used to make tons of cash and spend it on “stupid stuff” (their prerogative). I took a break from AM after making millions.. I have a family so I live more of an “upper middle class” lifestyle. I think you are missing something very practical here. You are comparing yourself to others in this industry (which at least once was a booming niche with lots of young guys and girls making lots of money). You are probably the richest 29 year old that you know – but nowhere close to the 7 figure months some of us were having back in 2006. I certainly was the richest 29 year old I knew as well. But as I have grown and moved into some of my older circles – I have realized that spending money isn’t just fun, its essential. When you are in your 30s and your friends household incomes are over 150k and you play yourself off as this pauper internet millionaire – you will feel a tinge of failure. You mentioned eventually adding another thousand bucks to your salary – but surely on the open market you are worth more than 40k a year? If you dont know, maybe talk to some people and find out what you would look like as a salary? 29, internet marketer, im thinking at least 60k? I am not saying buy the Acura over the Honda – though my friend making 65k a year did. I am merely saying that you will likely learn that having money for the sake of money will leave you unsatisfied. Saying you are a millionaire is only fun as long as people are shocked by it. I’m still pretty cheap too, I still have all my “principle”, but I have learned to spend some of my money on things that make myself and my family happy.. trust me – you will look back on your 80 hour weeks one day when you’ve hit a “milestone” and lament all the time you “wasted”. Try to enjoy your life man – take those trips – with the cash you appear to be making.. live on 25% and keep 75% if it makes you feel good (thats still ridiculously conservative). But enjoy your life. Another consideration is taxes – you probably aren’t maxing out your ability to take dividends or cash, make charitable contributions, start a trust (not sure your country or tax jurisdiction but im sure you have at least talked to an accountant).. I’m hoping you are talking about what you live off of, as opposed to what you declare on your return at the end of the year? Some other comments seem to have “been there and done that”.. The biggest lesson I learned in this game is to not get stuck in one niche or one mentality. Don’t aim for something like a million bucks, because when you get it you wont know what the hell to do with it. It sounds like you like the control of being in charge and running your own thing – a great quality – but invest your money in relationships in and out of affiliate marketing and you will never go hungry. Don’t mean to be critical (if that’s how this comes off).. really happy to see that you are doing well and wouldn’t we all like to be having the debate as to how much of our 40k a month we should live off. Congrats!

  26. Phoebe says:

    I saved lots living in a homeless shelter lol. Had my own room with a key near the beach πŸ˜›

    All true lol. I think one day I need to write a book. I need to make some cash first too.

    Good article Tyler. Always come here to read what you are thinking about.

  27. Aldo Vargas says:

    by living on an island like Dominican Republic, 2.8k and much more now with 3.8k you will be living like in vacation.

    Since you will be having a pool or at least a beach near you…

    So the best idea for affiliate in my opinion will be living on Latin America.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Yeah, I’ve read that the Dominican Republic has very cheap housing and cost of living, and is certainly beautiful. But there are a ton of considerations to take in before making such a massive life decision…

  28. Kang says:

    I drive a RAV4 too and I love it!

    Great post, mature thinking, I thought only asians like me think this way πŸ™‚

  29. I Am Attila says:

    Hey Tyler,

    I truly respect the way you do things, typical people in the rat race think like promotion>new car>new house>vacations.

    Successful entrepreneurs think more income>more business investment>more success later (the car can wait).

    I have a house i built from scratch using cash, I also drive a BMW, and wife a Mercedes. (I’m 30 years old like you).

    Recently my main biz (I own an outsourcing company) grew 30% overnight – people locally noticed my office expanded rapidly and I kept having people asking me, so are you going to buy a new car now?

    I told them, no I’m perfectly fine with my 2007 BMW πŸ˜€ and then they just looked at me dumbfounded…

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  31. Troy Anderson says:

    Very inspiring


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