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The Target Demographic

I recently found myself in the rather awkward situation (for me) of having to define Dogs or Dollars. Repeatedly. To people who’d never read it. And didn’t know me. Huh. There’s a task that shouldn’t be hard. And sorta was.

Mumble, bumble, leaving corporate servitude, uhhhh saving money, erm growing shit, and how ’bout those dogs? Personal journey? Anyone? I conveniently managed to put myself at the intersection of two of my favorite bloggers: Northwest Edible Life and Mr. Money Mustache. Both of whom, I had the distinct pleasure of being in the same room with at that particular moment in time.

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There they are. Worlds colliding before our eyes. Erica, in all her good food, Urban Homestead, life efficient, and deliciously snarky glory, shoulder to shoulder with a man who needs no introduction, The Mustache. Upon reflection, juxtaposition-ing myself between those two feels a little arrogant. Those writers, they’ve got followings. And while I am super happy to know them, their Facebook ‘likes’ put little ol’ DorD to shame.

The intersection though, that makes sense. In fact, the more I talked about it over the course of the evening, the MORE sense it made. (I’m pregnant so this wasn’t even beer fueled philosophy.) Guerilla money saving AND growing your own. Ugly Garden, as a weapon in the battle against the Big Fat Mortgage. The two lifestyles aren’t mutually exclusive. Anything, but. If you play your cards right, they are symbiotic.

I’ve long advocated that your garden needn’t be beauty-full (read: expensive). True to her name Ugly Garden, is composed mostly of reclaimed wood, bartered compost, and plants grown from seeds. That basically free infrastructure will grow food just fine. The only limitation being human know-how (or lack there of). Money saving in any of its infinite forms, need not be at the expense of what you enjoy. If that just so happens to be playing in the dirt, rah-rah for you. Use that carefully cultivated portfolio of frugality to grow yourself local, organic, seasonally appropriate food. Take a bite out of your grocery budget and reduce your carbon footprint all in one swoop. Watch those cyclical benefits keep rolling.

Despite the obvious overlap, in the blogosphere, it behooves you to specialize. Readers are drawn to the poles – specific lifestyles. The Urban Homesteader. The 30-something Retiree. Personalities. Characters. Who cares if they don’t completely represent reality? We want to read about the person who’s actually doing it! Who knows ‘The Way’, has ‘The Secret’ (and I don’t meant that stupid book). The individuals pictured above are veritable fountains of knowledge in their areas of expertise, and damn fine people to boot. I’d wager their lives aren’t as simple as a tag line. They can’t be completely defined by their target demographics, their google analytics stats, or their place on the lifestyle pendulum.

Around here we don’t do particularly well at staying completely on topic. Sure, I talk dogs. I talk dollars. But, the popularity of my blog will forever suffer from the ADD nature of our subjectS. Emphasis on the plural. Multiple plurals. Gardens and Money and Dogs. Let’s call those the top three. With subcategories of Chickens, Consumerism, leaving Corporate America, Goals, Health, Navel Gazing, and some rambly First World Problems thrown in for good measure.

Being forced to define the project you’ve spent the last year and half on… and struggling, is an interesting exercise. Gesturing towards two representatives across the room, with a “Something like what she does, with an emphasis on what he does” was a convenient out. The truth is, I am not a perfect Mustachian. I like Stuff. I have an affinity for owls. Nor am I a particularly adept grower of food. I suffer from many failures involving dirt. Sometimes repeated failures. Without taking a complete tour of all my shortcomings, the point is I am weak. I have poor impulse control. I make mistakes. I fuck up. I’m probably a lot like you. No offense.

In fact, I’d assert everyone’s life is this way. We flock toward the black and white. We live in the gray. Imperfect Mustachians, who’s crops don’t come to fruition. Gee, there’s a demographic (as in the one I occupy) you should take advice from. This personal inventory could be discouraging. Self awareness is a bitch like that. Why should I even bother? I can’t grow an Extreme ‘Stache as quickly as I want to. I will inevitably mess up even the simplest of growing projects.

Poor me.

Or. Or it could be inspirational. Life at the crossroads of awesome. Tapping multiple disciplines to buoy my money-saving and stay true to my values. The constant challenge of learning new things. What’s more exciting?! This year I’ll work to maximize the return on my Emergency Fund by moving some of it out of those pathetic 1% savings accounts. Even though it scares the shit out of me. I’ll continue to struggle with succession planting and having our own food outside of the prime growing season. I might get it right after the last two years of mixed results. I can pick and choose and write my own brand of success, failure, and frugality.

Here’s the beauty of having a drink with two of your favorite blogger (or part of it), it reminds you that The Money Mustache will happily buy a beer for his new found friends. Even Erica’s garden suffers from a bit of the Ugly now and again. Their lives intersect and swing and fail to fit into any one category, just as much as mine does. Just as much as yours. So I’m reminding you, Dogs or Dollars is something different entirely. And so are you. You are more than a gardener. You are more than your savings account balance. We are a messy journey that defies categorization. Stake out your own spot on the lifestyle spectrum, and embrace it.

Who are you? Are you a gardener-Mustachian? Or a pet-owning, Corporate Servant longing for more?
All (or none) of the above?

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Comments

Kath1213
Reply

I’d say you’re pretty amazing the way you are. And extra kudos for your love of dogs! Dogs = So Awesome!

Found you from Miser Mom (just found her) and have followed MMM since last summer.

Spent a good chunk of today reading your archives (instead of being productive).

What am I? Ramseyite/MMM/Striving for commen sense type of frugality in the quest for debt-freeness. Happen to ADORE my job (retail, but not retail) at what I call The Fruitstand where I don’t make a ton of money but it makes me happy like no other job. (due to my NDA, the name Fruitstand will have to suffice)

Kath

Van
Reply

I have the same exact problem with my blog. I’m deeply attached to the vegan recipes/reselling/vintage/thrifting/craft/creative/whole living subjects and cannot pick one definitive way to go. This would help my grow the brand immensely but I can’t bring myself to do it. The closest I’ve gotten to summing up what I do is “living a happy, healthy, creative life” with is fluff but close. I think your blog is well-defined and never strays too far from its course.

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