I Just Gave Up $4000 Per Month to Keep My Freedom of Speech

Wow. Four thousand dollars a month.

It was Automatic Money, rolling in like crazy with no effort on my part, absolutely no overhead, and it was remarkably reliable. Almost $1000 every week, $130 every day, or close to $50,000 a year, probably subject to exponential growth as well. And I just turned off this firehose of cash… over the simple issue of my choice of words on this blog.

$4000 a month is about twice the amount it takes to pay for my entire family’s living expenses. It’s also enough to pay the mortgage on a $900,000 house, lease several of the world’s most expensive cars, buy a family health insurance plan so extreme that doctors would be taking me out for steak and lobster dinners as part of each office visit, or have my family embark on a permanent trans-world adventure. But now, it’s gone. And it’s all because I refused to remove the word “Badassity” from that banner on the top of the site.

Is that crazy? Perhaps we need to know the history of the situation to judge properly.

Those of us who have been reading for a while know  it has been a little crazy since the beginning. I just started typing some shit into the computer in April 2011, and the Spirits of the Internet decided on their own that the blog would become unusually big. I posted a little milestone article after the first million page views, and another after the second million. At that point, I noted that the little advertising boxes on the side of this blog were earning a respectable $500 per month, and that I thought it might eventually grow to $2000, enough to cover the entire Money Mustache family’s living expenses, despite the fact that they are already covered in other ways.

Right after that post in March, things got off the hook. I had accidentally stumbled upon the Cash Cow of the personal finance world without realizing it – credit card referrals. The way it worked, for me anyway, is that I got an account at an affiliate marketing company for bloggers and other web publishers. It’s called Flexoffers, although there are any number of competing companies. From there, you can cut and paste some javascript code into your own website that generates nice credit card offers for the consideration of your readers.  Whenever a reader signs up for a credit card, the blog gets a surprisingly generous commission – often $100 or so.

Not being particularly interested in maximizing revenue, I sequestered my own credit card links into a little rewards credit card referral page in the “MMM Recommends” link above*.  In the hope of making things more useful to readers, I evaluated each credit card offer myself, and sorted them so that the most valuable offers were near the top of the list. Then I went back to writing articles and forgot about it.

The thing is, the Mustachians who read this blog are a lot like me. They already use credit cards in their daily life. So, shit, if a credit card company wants to pay them $100 or more to sign up for a new card with no strings attached (or $200-400 with some strings you can carefully cut), they’ll probably seriously consider it. So as soon as I put up the page, Mustachians started signing up for those cards in droves. I even grabbed a couple of them myself, netting $1000.

In one post near the beginning of it all called “Maximum Mustache March – Update“, I mentioned the Chase Sapphire card I had signed up for. That triggered thousands of dollars in sales. After that, the trickle continued at a rate of over $900 a week.

As it turned out, the Chase company had the highest rewards for customers, along with the highest payouts for bloggers. Suddenly over 80% of the blog’s revenue was coming just from Chase credit card referrals. “Good for them”, I thought, “for finding a way to drastically beat all their competitors, score all the customers, and presumably still make money at it”.

I watched my growing Flexoffers account balance warily. Was this ridiculous stream of money for real? Was it really going to come to me? When would it stop? What does a shitload of extra money mean to a man who has already happily realized that he has no real use for way more money?  I started planning an article to tell you all about it – you might have noticed the title “This Blog is Raking in some Serious Dough.. here’s how” in my list of draft articles. Here’s what the revenue stream looked like since the beginning of Money Mustache Time:

MMM revenue (click for larger view)


I found it fascinating, mildly addictive, and a bit disruptive. I found myself turning down carpentry jobs that I would have enjoyed doing, solely on the basis of having too much money: “Well, the blog is now paying me $1000 every week. Do I really want to go out and swing hammers and sweat for 25 hours to earn an extra $1000 when the money is even more irrelevant than it was a few months ago? Maybe I should be more like Bill Gates and start doing something involving vaccines in India instead of building yet another kitchen or front porch for someone?

In yet another proof of the amazing power of Hedonic Adaptation, I rapidly adjusted to the new level of income, and felt no happier than I did without it. Possibly even less happy, although there was the odd cheerful laugh at the thought that even the most expensive unexpected life event could easily be swept away effortlessly. But at the same time, I’m old enough to know that effort itself is a key part of happiness, so perhaps effortless solutions are not ideal anyway.

The one thing that didn’t change, is that I remained rock solid on my resolve not to inflate my lifestyle beyond its existing level of ridiculous abundance. Adding an even bigger house, newer cars, or fancier vacations would not be in the cards regardless of cashflow.

But then all of this changed in a heartbeat, with the arrival of an email from my friendly Flexoffers representative. To paraphrase his message to me:

Mustache! We’ve got an emergency!

Chase has reviewed your blog, and they don’t like the banner. It is “inappropriate content” in their view. Also, you should probably change the slogan you created using “WTF!?” as a describing factor for one of their rewards cards.


“Well, shit”, I thought. “Didn’t we already know this was too good to be true?”

I had enjoyed the irony of this blog speaking out against paying ANY credit card interest, yet receiving huge payments from credit card companies. They were issuing cards to a bunch of highly savvy financial hackers, who were maximizing the rewards while simultaneously setting automatic monthly payoffs from their well-funded ING Direct accounts and Google Calendar alerts to cancel the card accounts just before any annual fees kicked in. If these card companies depend on interest payments to make a profit, the Mustachians were surely a source of losses for them. On the other hand, with the billions of dollars of annual income earned by this blog’s readership, there were surely profits to be had in the long run through good business relationships.

So I wrote back to the guy:

 “Tell Chase to read the blog. There’s no inappropriate content here. We swear and we rant, but when it comes down to it, we’re talking about honesty, integrity, hard work, and becoming very wealthy. There’s no reason for a big corporation to shy away from this.

But if  they still insist that I remove the word “Badassity” from my banner, then unfortunately we’ll have to part ways, because even that small act would be selling out the very integrity that we speak so highly of in this blog.

I felt pretty buzzed after writing that email. Was I really willing to give up all that cash over one word?

But inside, I knew the answer was “Fuck Yeah!”

Because this is really a test of what financial independence is all about. If I give them one word, what do I do when they stumble across other articles like the one called “How Much is That Bitch Costin’ Ya?”, or the fact that almost every one contains some sort of profanity? If I’m willing to make my own writing shittier just to comply to a corporate monitoring program, then why not just go right back to an office job? After all, I could also make $20,000 unneeded dollars a month as an Engineering manager, and all I have to do is sacrifice all my free time and throw around a lot of buzzwords and kiss the asses of those above me in the hiearchy!

So really, in a slightly irrational way I was hoping that Chase would not see the light and that they would indeed cancel Mr. Money Mustache from their referral program. It would make a great story of corporate cluelessness. A company shooting themselves in the foot due to the incredible bureaucracy that forces low-level people to set aside their own judgement in favor of following a bland rulebook designed to prevent dangerous creativity.

It’s much like the media and the big-business blogosphere itself. If you dare to be different from the crowd, you’ll pay the price. You won’t get the big advertisers, the big sponsorships, or the mild-mannered mainstream media feature stories.

The next day I received a short reply saying, “Chase still decided to cancel your account, since they feel you don’t fit with their brand”.

So here we are. And it feels absolutely GREAT! What could be a better use of Fuck You Money, then to actually say Fuck You (politely) in a situation where it counts so much? What better definition of the word “Badassity”, than the willingness to stand up and refuse to erase it from your own website, even in the face of mind-numbing financial consequences!?

If this blog were the only thing between my family and a homeless shelter, I’d surely be a banner-changin’, credit-card-hustlin’ fool. Just as the indebted office worker faced with an abusive manager will bow down and do the shitty work, year-in and year-out. Just as the politican without their own cash or grassroots fundraising will sell out to corporate fundraisers every time. Just as the new parent will give up time with her own newborn baby and spend 50 hours a week working and commuting to avoid losing seniority in the company.

Even in this little niche, if you look around at established personal finance blogs, you’ll find they have become credit card selling machines! I mean shit, Chase just recently introduced a “Disney” credit card. I saw it in my list and deleted it immediately, thinking “Why would anyone want some crap Disney points when they could just have cash?”. But it had a great payout, and lo and behold, the PF blogosphere is ripe with “reviews” of the new Disney card.

The world needs Fuck You Money. All of us do. You get it from lowering your expenses, saving your income, and curing your insatiable desire to always have more of everything. Once you get it, you can be freed from the idea of wanting more money when you already have enough.

This will also be a great test of my theory that honesty makes you richer in the long run. I’m tossing aside $50,000 per year in the interest of sticking to my guns. I’m willing to bet that in the long run, I’ll end up even richer by remaining honest. The best part for you as a reader is that this experiment will cost you nothing – I’ll let you know how it turns out.



 * After over a year of being banned, we found a nice workaround that allows this blog to still generate referrals for the good credit cards again. I don’t expect this to re-start the gravy train, since I’m not planning to write a big article to advertise its presence. But the credit cards page is back up and useful again. Yeah!

  • Will June 21, 2012, 9:15 am

    I was on the verge of applying for Slate to take advantage of the no balance transfer fees and the 0% interest but will now reconsider. When I called them about a month ago to ask some questions, the answers were all shady (evasive, condescending) and when I told them I’d have to think about it, they were incredibly nonchalant; they didn’t give a rat’s ass if I applied for the card or not! I wonder: will MMM continue using his Chase card(s)?

  • J-Mustache June 21, 2012, 9:25 am

    Nicely done! This decision will stand as a shining of example of the middle finger, thrust gloriously into the faces of corporate policy!

  • Lisa June 21, 2012, 9:31 am

    Thanks for being a Badass! Your honesty, integrity and badassity keep me reading!

  • GWalker June 21, 2012, 9:32 am

    Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems come to mind when I was reading this post. Aside from the Badass move you made MMM, I personally took away from it the fact that you were potentially going to “drown” in your money. With more of it you would have to find ways to work with it, donate it, make new stuff with it…. it wasn’t going to increase your happiness at all… just complicate a life already filled with BADASSITY! So, I commend you and relate to this sentiment. Can’t wait until I can establish my Fuck You Money. Life will be even happier and although I don’t NEED TO BE badass, wouldn’t mind wielding it every once in a while.

  • Invest It Wisely June 21, 2012, 9:40 am

    That kind of a stream of income would be really hard for most people to give up. I agree, that is one of the best types of freedom one can have: the ability to say no (or “fuck off” in your style ;)), whether it’s to a boss or to some company, and not worry about how they’re going to cover their bills.

  • Dragline June 21, 2012, 9:45 am

    Thank you for taking a stand against corporate censorship and putting your money where your mouth is. Truly Badass.

    Suggest you replace it with a “Recommended Porn” section.

    Yes, I’m kidding. But I’m betting that somehow this leads to even more badass lucrativity.

  • Nunayo June 21, 2012, 9:46 am

    Thanks for sticking up for your readers MMM, especially us lowly slaves who need this blog in all it’s authenticity to inspire us to reach the level of independence & integrity of the Mustache family. Most of us have to censor ourselves at the office all day, and it fucking blows. And I only bring in $3,000 a month from the job.

    Further, I wonder if the real kicker for Chase was reviewing your blog & realizing that you advocate for paying credit balances before interest accrues? Perhaps the swear words are a scapegoat, and the real issue is that MMM readers aren’t cash cows.

  • mike crosby June 21, 2012, 9:48 am

    I guess somehow you can make money by getting a credit card. Even if I did, I would do it with trepidation. This is not a way to make money. My credit card is convenient, but I loathe credit card companies.

    In my business, I’ve received over 1000 calls from merchant service companies. No exaggeration. As far as I’m concerned, these people are slime.

    There’s this company called Dwolla that charges only 25 cents/transaction. If the transaction is a million dollars, the fee is only $.25. If everyone signed up with Dwolla, the credit card companies would be out of business overnight.

    And MMM, you’re definitely proving your Badassity. You are one bad mofo.

    (Chase also now owns ING)

    • Will June 21, 2012, 10:14 am

      Crapitol One owns ING, not Chase.

  • Heather June 21, 2012, 9:51 am

    The king of badassity flexes his muscles and steps right out of the chains! You’re my hero today, Mr. MM.

  • squeakywheel June 21, 2012, 10:11 am

    Makes me even happier that I took Chase’s $400, and gave you $100 in the process. You are a great example of sticking to your principles–even though I’m not a big fan of the profanity. The language makes me unwilling to have my kids read your blog, which I otherwise would think would be very good for them. If they could read it, they would maybe understand that their parents aren’t the only weirdos who believe in living debt-free. Otherwise, we are such an anomaly among their circle of friends…

  • Mr. Frugal Toque June 21, 2012, 10:20 am

    Thanks for raising the bar for the rest of us.
    I’m going to have to stop cheating at solitaire now, I guess.

    Also, they strut and fret over “Badassity”? What would happen if you toned it down to “fiddlesticks”? Would that still be too much? Now I want to go to other sites that are connected to Chase and see what kind of weird things they are willing to associate themselves with. Will it be like the MPAA: lots of violence but no swearing or nudity?

    Good for you for hanging in there. Hopefully you didn’t spend all that money in one place – unless that place was a homeless shelter.

    • GregK June 21, 2012, 2:25 pm

      Haha the incongruity of the MPAA system with respect to those three things has never made any sense to me.

      Saying “tits” or showing tits is bad. But FUCKING BLOWING A MOTHERFUCKER’S HEAD OFF will pass. Not that big a deal, really. Just don’t swear while you’re doing it… or be naked.

  • saywhat June 21, 2012, 10:25 am

    What a perfect way to illustrate the power of Fuck You Money. Good for you, MMM, for sticking to your guns.

  • Squirestache June 21, 2012, 10:27 am

    MMM….. Fuck Yeah!
    Coming again, to save the mother fucking day yeah
    MMM….. Fuck Yeah!

    Sorry… I couldn’t help myself.

  • Carl41 June 21, 2012, 10:30 am

    I like the ideas and content of your blog and think that its good that its written as we speak and not in some lawyereess language.
    What is fucking immoral that companies earn so much out of weak credit card holders that the companies can afford such high fees.
    Keep up the good work,

  • Roberto June 21, 2012, 10:34 am

    This is why this blog is BADASS!!!

  • Dancedancekj June 21, 2012, 10:35 am

    I’m kind of wondering if Chase was just looking for a way to drop MMM’s account because they were looking to drop him from a financial perspective as opposed to it not fitting with their alleged “values”? Then again, people have some serious issues with the most ridiculous things nowdays, four-letter words included, which I don’t understand.
    What’s the problem with profanity anyway? When used appropriately, as an exclamation, it’s fine. As in “What the FUCK are you doing spending $400 a month on lattes!!” It’s not as if it’s really all that offensive in origin to anyone (as opposed to say, homophobic, misogynistic, or ethnic slurs). The way I see, it’s supposed to be a bit of a shocker, and draw emphasis to the situation as in “Hey! Pay attention! Put down the TV remote and listen to me! This is some serious shit!!!” The reaction should be to sharpen one’s focus, not clutch your pearls.

    • Jeh June 21, 2012, 11:01 am

      I think you’re right on here. They were looking for a reason to drop the guy who was telling his readers how to take advantage of their incentive scheme. Still doesn’t mean they aren’t pansy asses for not just admitting that and instead making it about his awesome badassity and swearing.

      • Jamesqf June 21, 2012, 12:25 pm

        Yeah. As he said “…but when it comes down to it, we’re talking about honesty, integrity, hard work, and becoming very wealthy.” Definitely inappropriate content!

    • Brett June 22, 2012, 7:35 am

      At first blush that makes sense, and it occurred to me, but if you think about it you’ll realize it doesn’t hold up. They could have just said they were pulling out of his website right off the bat because of the profanity. Instead, they asked him to change it, which they probably assumed he would given the amount of money he’s been pulling in. Only when he refused did they cancel his affiliate membership.

  • KittyWrestler June 21, 2012, 10:46 am

    Unbelievable!! Yeah fuck those big corporations. They can’t buy freedom of speech.. Awesome that you told them to fuck off.. Now, that’s priceless!

  • Clint June 21, 2012, 11:01 am

    I just started using my Chase Visa about a month ago after signing up through this site. Now, after reading this, I can’t wait to cancel the card once I get my 100 bucks and I sure hope they ask me why. … Chase “Freedom” my ass!

    • Raech June 21, 2012, 12:26 pm

      (This totally makes me smile! Very cool!) Wrong group to piss off, Chase!

    • Brett June 22, 2012, 7:37 am

      Write them an email and tell them, don’t wait for them to ask. If enough people complain about it they may realize it’s more harm than good for them since I highly doubt anyone ever complained or closed an account because they have an ad on the MMM blog.

  • Jakestacian in training June 21, 2012, 11:10 am

    You are an inspiration already, and your tone is honesty. Honesty. Uncensored, say what you feel, and help others while doing it. I was put off a tidge by those agreeing with the ban on profanity – but that was just me. You are you, and they follow you, because they believe in you. That’s why I follow you, and read you, and love your blog. You my friend, have just been upgraded from guru… to hero.

  • michelle p June 21, 2012, 11:19 am

    I’m with you…badassity all the way!

  • Nik R June 21, 2012, 11:20 am

    Yo Stache,

    You are the man. Walking the walk and doing the right thing. You are an inspiration to us.

    Thank you for showing us that it is possible to not only to be financially responsible, but also spiritually free.

    Rock on you baddass!!!!

    Outside Chicago, IL

  • SteveK June 21, 2012, 11:28 am

    I am so glad to hear this place is going to continue to be the non stop source of inspiration that it is. Hearing this after cleaning a sticky penny I found made me feel pretty good. Picking up pennies is looked down upon in some circles but to then also have to clean it? I thought maybe I had gone too far, turns out it was just my inner Badassity.

  • Kevin June 21, 2012, 11:35 am

    I have been lurking for about a year now. I have vehemently read every article on this site, almost all the forum posts and shared this wonderful community with many family members, friends and coworkers but NEVER took the time to comment. Until today. You are an amazing inspiration and have set me on a journey to seek financial independence as soon as possible. THANK YOU for sticking with this and proving time and time again how badass Mustachianism is!

  • No Acute Distress June 21, 2012, 11:58 am

    I live in one of the poorest states in the country, Mississippi, and the salaries of my spouse and I are likely laughable, compared to to most of you. I have lowered our monthly bills to less than $300 per month, paid off half our combined student loans, sold one of our cars, and bought a bicycle and a scooter (just yesterday, in fact) over the last 6 months. Our lives have completely changed with the help of Fuckin’ MMM, and we are happier than we have ever, ever, ever been.

    I have a chronic case of “gutter mouth” myself, but I wouldn’t care what type of language you used on your blog, as long as the message and kindhearted, helpful intentions remained the same. You seems like a wonderful person, and your stand on this issue encourages me to take some additional stands in my own life. Thank you many times over, from my family to yours :) /end gush

  • ddrem June 21, 2012, 12:07 pm

    Kudos to MMM for standing by his principles. But I don’t understand all the cheering in the comments. This is not some big victory for financial independence/the First Amendment, as no one attempted to violate anyone’s freedom of speech here.

    Chase didn’t want to be associated with a blog that featured profanity. Instead of just ending their business relationship with MMM, they attempted to rectify the problem by contacting him. That’s more than most large companies would do. He declined to meet their standards of acceptability, and they severed ties with him. It happens every day, and that’s exactly how things should function in a market economy, i.e. the freedom of association.

    Chase could surely play the villain in other stories, but not this one. There are no villains in this story.

    Since someone mentioned the Prisoner’s Dilemma earlier, I’ll also express this situation in terms of game theory. This is a case of the Nash Equilibrium at play. Both parties (Chase and MMM) are hurting themselves financially by standing by their principles. The payoff would be higher for both parties if one party switched its stance. But since they won’t, equilibrium has been achieved.

    • Heather A June 22, 2012, 5:10 am

      Let me explain my reason for cheering:
      I don’t believe the folks at Chase did anything objectionable. They probably looked at the cheques they were writing, and said, hmmm… We’re paying this blog $4000/month to advertise for us, so we should make sure we like what it says.

      What I’m cheering for is that MMM, having decided that he was happy and had ‘enough’ money, was determined not allow money to boss him around, even over a few swear words. It’s one thing to say you don’t care, but to actually prove it is another.

      There is so much culture around us that keeps telling us that money = good. The media is always printing articles which measure things like public daycare, diseases , and even natural disasters in terms of how much they they boost or cost the economy. As if, that was the only real way of comparing options. It takes an independent mind to say “No, really, money is not important to me”.

    • GregK June 22, 2012, 6:27 am

      Sorry, it’s not a Nash Equilibrium, given your premise that if one or the other changed their stance, both would be better off. By definition, in a Nash Equilibrium, either party switching its stance makes them worse off unless the other does as well. That simply doesn’t fit here. If both parties switched their stance (as would be required to reach maximum payout from a Nash Equilibrium) you’d have MMM not using profanity, and Chase not caring if he did! In fact, if you look only at the dollar signs, we’re not at an equilibrium at all! Of course neither Chase nor MMM are looking only at the dollar signs.

      On to the main point. The story here isn’t that MMM overcame the oppressive censorship of Chase; its that he refused to sell out. That’s rare, and it’s worth cheering for. It’s also a great illustration of the freedom following his principles brings.

  • Jared June 21, 2012, 12:23 pm

    You just blew Chase’s mind.

  • Raech June 21, 2012, 12:23 pm

    Ok, this is tough – I really don’t care for the swearing. I’m a mom with 5 kids looking over my shoulder. I can’t have them read these posts, but VERY MUCH want to! “See kids – this is how it’s done!” But I can’t because I don’t want to expose them to the language. (They have some other adults that they hear this from constantly, so it’s already something we’re working on. Don’t want our “heroes” to be an “issue.”) So…. I’d personally really LOVE it if the language disappeared. Having said that – I would have done the exact same thing you did. WHAT IS THE POINT OF BEING FINANCIALLY SET IF YOU CAN’T SAY F-OFF WHEN NEEDED?! Yes, I agree – one step of concession would simply lead to several more. As a faithful reader, I would love to see the swearing stop. (pretty please??) Nevertheless, you did the motherf*cking right thing. (kids aren’t down stairs. ha ha ha!)

    • Andrew June 21, 2012, 2:35 pm

      Raech, it’s a good thing I wasn’t reading your comment with my kids looking over my shoulder. I mean, one word with all capital letters, I could handle, but *two in a row*, or even a *whole sentence*, now that is pretty offensive.


      • Raech June 21, 2012, 3:26 pm

        Lol! :-) I’ll tone it down a bit, sorry for my exuberance. Ha ha ha. Got caught up in the “moment.” (yes, silly sarcasm.)

  • Melanie June 21, 2012, 12:44 pm

    Go MMM! And fantastic holidays!

  • Sauce June 21, 2012, 12:47 pm

    if BADASSITY offends you, then so should being in debt.

    i shall not be stripped of my badassity, dammit

  • Steve June 21, 2012, 12:59 pm

    you earned my trust months ago

    this article reinforced my feelings

    way to go!

  • BadassCPA June 21, 2012, 1:14 pm

    I needed to read a post like this today to remind me I’m doing the right thing. Six months ago I changed jobs to be 5 miles from home and work much less hours since my first child is due in August.

    It has gone really well so far, until yesterday someone reached out asking me to interview for a position that pays $20k more but includes a 1 hour commute versus my current 10 min driving (or 25 min biking). I said it’s intriguing but I’m not interested, and I have been second-guessing myself since then.

    Time is more valuable, right?

    • Mr. Money Mustache June 21, 2012, 1:36 pm

      Yeah, you definitely made the right choice there, even if money were the only factor. Adding 100 minutes to your daily commute for a piddly $20k would be a fool’s choice!

    • GayleRN June 21, 2012, 4:15 pm

      CPA should be able to figure out pretty easy if this is worthwhile or not. By my estimates that 20K will net you less than $15 per hour of commuting. Not worth it in my opinion.

    • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple June 21, 2012, 5:25 pm

      Way more valuable. I have a 10-12 min driving commute, and I still look for ways to minimize that…aka, work from home to save that 20-30 min at least one day a week.

  • jp June 21, 2012, 1:18 pm

    You are my hero and I wish you were my dad.

    • Mr. Money Mustache June 21, 2012, 1:34 pm

      Haha.. thanks – but how old do you think Mr. Money Mustache IS, anyway?! Can’t I be your brother or something?

      • jp June 22, 2012, 7:47 am

        I think MMM is only 1 year my elder. But given how badass you have proven yourself to be vy sticking it to the man, I think you could have done it (fathered children as an infant, that is). Wow, I just really creeped myself out. I am going to go back to hiding in my lurking hole now (THIS is why I never comment).

        You can’t be my brother, because that would make me the black sheep of the family… I don’t think my ego could handle that.

        • Richard Van Manen July 12, 2012, 5:18 pm

          I think that you may have stumbled upon something here… MMM is really the worlds most interesting man!

          He doesnt always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos E.. uh, it would have to be a homebrew :)

          Congrats on the stand, MMM, I did the same thing with one of the companies I affiliated with back when I ran a website, but didnt have quite the same consequences money wise.

  • TK June 21, 2012, 1:20 pm

    You are da man. Even if I was in your shoes I don’t think I would have given it up as I could have rationalized it would be good for increasing buffer or doing something more noble with the funds. Although I think you are spot on that they or others could continue to ask you to make changes and at any moment choose for no other reason to drop it anyway.

    Complete Badassity.

  • Heather June 21, 2012, 1:29 pm

    From reading the comments, I think this website could use an automated F-filter. Just like google tranlator: you could read the website in its original form, or if it pleased you, in F-filtered form. Different folks respond differently to the same words, sometimes just because of where they live and who they have been exposed to. If the only people you’ve heard swearing, were foaming-at-the mouth angry, and you hadn’t heard much tongue in cheek swearing, then the emotional content of the blog wouldn’t come through properly. My husband just about falls over laughing if I ever swear.

  • Christine Wilson June 21, 2012, 2:09 pm

    Baddassity, baddassity, baddassity! Glad you haven’t given up on your freedom of speech ;)

  • Rohan Jayasekera June 21, 2012, 2:20 pm

    Thanks so much for this post, together with your other post that you linked to at “effort itself is a key part of happiness”. It’s really helped me to understand some of the decisions that I face when it comes to how I can make a living. I don’t have any ethics-type questions to deal with (having settled those long ago), but I still have questions about what kind of life I really want to lead that will cover expenses and savings. I’ve read many of your posts about making what appear to be sacrifices in order to avoid having to make worse sacrifices, but this one really hit home for me because I’ve often been tempted by the idea of easy money and wonder how I can get some of that. Clearly the answer is Fuhgeddaboudit. Okay, hard work it is.

  • Jackson June 21, 2012, 2:47 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this article. This is such an awesome example of how fuck-off money can help a person maintain his integrity.

  • Howard Roark June 21, 2012, 3:22 pm

    Damn. Just Damn. The reason all of us are cheering in the comments is because there is little bravery and integrity in this world, and seeing it is awe inspiring, which is prob more sad than anything.

  • Joe @ Retire By 40 June 21, 2012, 4:43 pm

    Wow, I’m really impressed. Good job sticking to your guns. I don’t know if I could have done the same. Awesome!

  • jlcollinsnh June 21, 2012, 4:51 pm

    what Chase should have done, had they been thinking instead of reacting, is engage with you to offer an affiliate card:

    Chase MMM Badassity Sapphire.

    • No Acute Distress June 22, 2012, 8:42 pm

      I’d have traded my recently acquired Citi card (thanks for the referral, MMM) in a heartbeat to carry an official MMM Badassity Sapphire. How big a sheep am I?

  • Derek P. June 21, 2012, 4:58 pm

    MMM: You are truly a Canadian at heart still with your colourful language skills. Bunch of hosers at Chase eh?

    Honestly I happy to see another speak their mind and follow their heart instead of pocketbook.

    Also something to note is that more than a few countries out there allow for business to add an extra transaction charge for those using credit cards. I see nothing wrong with it honestly, a lot of big ticket items that people use credit cards are very low profit margins and 1.5 to 3% credit card fee really eats at the bottom line.

  • smedleyb June 21, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Holy integrity, Batman!

    I did sign up for ING and bought some tools through another site mentioned here. Hopefully others will do the same to make up the revenue shortfall and keep the cash flowing to this unique site.

    If it’s any consolation to the MMM family, I just tapped the Chase corporation for another $1500 in free travel rewards; just doing my part to starve the great vampire squid.

  • Will June 21, 2012, 9:31 pm

    I LOVE how not ALL of the references to their cards have gone away. They say “bad publicity is better than no publicity at all.” I disagree, and will help badmouth them with you all you want!

  • Math teacher June 22, 2012, 12:53 am

    If integrity and freedom is what you want, why not take off all ads and remove all the credit card offers? After all, aren’t you against credit cards anyway? Let’s face it… The blog is a business.

    • Tanner June 22, 2012, 12:43 pm

      Thumbs Down to this complainy pants post. You obviously miss the point of the blog and the post.

      This blog is about helping people see the light of financial freedom. It just happens to earn money by helping people. :)

      • Mr. Money Mustache June 22, 2012, 3:52 pm

        Tanner’s right – I have no problem earning money and I do it almost every day. I just don’t compromise in areas that are important to me to do it. So on this blog, I only run affiliate links for stuff I actually use and like myself.

        Against credit cards!? Of course not – they’re useful, convenient, give a wise user hundreds of dollars of cash back per year and I’ve never paid a dime of interest on them! I’m definitely against anyone ever running a balance on one of those things, but that’s a different issue, addressed in many parts of this blog.

        Also, not only will all the proceeds of this blog go to charity, but hopefully over 90% of everything I ever earn in my LIFE will go to charity. That’s an incentive for me to earn as much as possible and compound it as well as I can.

  • Kath1213 June 22, 2012, 1:33 am

    You’re more authentic and honest than Chase will ever be.

    Thanks for keeping it real!

  • TonyS June 22, 2012, 1:42 am

    Math teacher,

    MMM has been completely transparent with his attempts to monetize this blog, and why he has done so. It most certainly is not “a business.”

    Everything that MMM recommends offers a real value to his readers, so what does it matter if he gets a cut of it? I like that I can purchase something through an affiliate link of his, because it is a small way for me to pay him back for the priceless knowledge and inspiration he is offering.

    Also, the credit cards he recommends actually offer his readers ways to profit, which, from my understanding is the reason he promotes them in the first place. So, before you write off the blog as nothing more than a business, take the time to really figure out what he’s doing. I bet you come to a different conclusion.

    • Math Teacher June 22, 2012, 9:58 am


      I’ve been reading the blog over the last year so I’m well aware of MMM’s POV. It just seems odd to come out pounding one’s chest about integrity and not selling out and go half way. If you don’t need/want the money from the blog DON’T monetize it at all. Just watch… soon enough there will be a MMM book, book tour, lectures, etc. It really is a business since MMM’s POV is to look at everything as a business.

      • TonyS June 22, 2012, 10:22 am

        Math Teacher,

        I didn’t know you had been a long time reader, so I apologize for making the assumption.

        From your comments, It seems that you find the idea of having a business, and having integrity as being mutually exclusive. Maybe I’m reading into your comment a bit too much. Yes that must be it, because surely you don’t think business in and of itself is an evil thing.

        So, lets go ahead and agree that yes, this is a business. He has been totally upfront about monetizing, and what amount of bullshit he is willing to accept to monetize. Chase’s bullshit was more than he was willing to tolerate, so he said “nope, I don’t need your money.” That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t still want some people’s money. He is just unwilling to sacrifice the values that he has defined for himself. That, good sir, is integrity.

        We can call it integrity in business if you like. But either way, I’m damn impressed by the act. I also don’t consider it chest pounding. I think it was meant as a teaching point to show people what is possible by taking control of their financial lives. It goes so far beyond not having to work for a living. It means you don’t have to compromise. Ever.

        • Math Teacher June 22, 2012, 3:19 pm


          Absolutely there is NOTHING wrong with running a business. I run a business that has VERY high integrity. They are not exclusive. MMM has high integrity too — he spends time, effort, etc to run this blog and he should make money off it. I just have an issue with the fact that he says he doesn’t need/want the money but will still hock bikes, credit cards, etc on the site. MAN UP MMM— if you don’t want the money, either donate all the proceeds of the blog to charity or turn off the affiliate stuff. If you do want the money that’s fine too but just be clear with the readers.

          • Joy June 25, 2012, 1:28 pm

            Dude. Seriously? Seems to me someone has their jealous-pants over top of their complainy-pants today.

            If you were financially independent and continued to work at your job, would you expect them to pay you?

            If your buddy told you about a sale on something that you had been looking to buy, would you punch him in the face?

            If someone recommended a way for you to make $400 by simply filling out a form, would you call him a sell-out?

            FUCK NO. You’d call him a bad-ass.

  • cj June 22, 2012, 2:16 am

    Honest to God bro I think you’re nuts. You should just give up the banner imho

    • FreeUrChains June 22, 2012, 7:17 am

      It’s the principal of the matter, Saving “FUCK YOU” to the banks. Power in it’s Truest Expression!

    • jp June 22, 2012, 9:47 am

      There is nothing $4000 per month adds to MMM overall happiness. So really, by taking the money and giving up the banner, he is giving something for nothing. Bad deal for MMM.

    • Shiznik June 27, 2012, 12:20 pm

      You’re missing the point. As Triple M said it could grow to more than just a banner. Chase could simply send an email telling him to remove paragraphs or even entire posts because they don’t like the language or even the topic. Triple M is avoiding Chase lording over his blog. This is his blog, not Chase’s.

      That sir, is why he kept the banner.

  • G.E. Miller June 22, 2012, 5:44 am

    Before you all go calling Chase evil fuckers, remember this…
    Just as MMM is saying F you to Chase, Chase has the right to say F you to MMM. It’s their brand, and they can protect it however they like. In this case, I think they are being a bit ridiculous if they truly believe their brand could be damaged by the word “badassity”. The more likely story is that the high amount of referral revenue caught their eye, they started reading the content, and realized that they were losing $50k annually on referrals to MMM in addition to $200k in cashback bonuses to MMM readers because you are all a bunch of people in the financial know. If they read the content, they’d also know that MMM wouldn’t censor himself just to keep working with them (vs. terminating a strong affiliate for no reason). If that’s the case, can you blame them?

    In the end:
    1. Chase is smart for not losing more money.
    2. MMM gets a cool opportunity to flex his independence muscle.
    3. Readers should be complemented that they were eating into Chase’s profit margin.

    • FreeUrChains June 22, 2012, 7:21 am

      Either way Chase would find any reason to never pay MMM!

    • Geek June 22, 2012, 9:51 am

      Agree 100% G.E.

    • Mr. Money Mustache June 22, 2012, 4:22 pm

      I’ve got a different theory than G.E. I don’t think big credit card companies are that clever in their low-level operations.

      I bet they have a cautious and inefficient legal/marketing department that tries to keep them out of trouble from the literally hundreds of thousands of blogs and websites that are serving up Chase referral ads. They don’t want to get the wrong image in a generally socially conservative populace, so they try to stick to very clean and tame marketing platforms – that’s where the money is.

      I happen to know a Chase branch manager here in my city. He told me that high-income/high-credit-score people like MMM readers are actually really good targets for the bank, despite never paying interest on credit cards. They spend a lot (generating merchant fees), open bank and investment accounts, never default on their loans, and are generally low-maintenance on a revenue-adjusted basis. This is another reason I’d doubt that MMM got dumped based on low-revenue customers.

      So while I don’t feel they acted unethically in any way when they dumped this blog, I think they acted dorkily. Some junior-level person saw a superficial problem – swearing, and lacked the authority to evaluate it at a higher level. That’s the kind of corporate clunkiness I need to steer clear of if I want to run a blog that can speak freely, which is why I felt fine about not complying and losing the income.

      • Geek June 22, 2012, 5:10 pm

        You know that is quite likely, but if their principles are not to offend people in order to make more money, I think that’s ok.

        I work for a large company with a very active department to prevent image issues, and we escalate for customer experience vs. perceived offense all the time. Perhaps I assume too much about other companies (or even other departments in this company).

      • G.E. Miller June 22, 2012, 6:17 pm

        Quite possible.

        Another theory: affiliate manager saw the content and thought: “shit, if it gets back to an exec that I let our ads show on a site with profanity, it’s going to be on me”. Chase is probably as bureaucratic as they come, after all. That affiliate manager, while saving his/her job by cancelling the relationship, probably died a little inside, and then subscribed to MMM b/c they realized they need to get the F outta town.

        • Mr. Money Mustache June 27, 2012, 3:40 pm

          I love your latest theory, GE – let’s go with it. (And welcome, all Chase employees!)

    • Shiznik June 27, 2012, 12:21 pm

      Well said, theres always two sides and its good to get a peek at the other one.

  • MrCrore June 22, 2012, 6:36 am

    Badassity personified !

  • Mr RiskyStartup.com June 22, 2012, 7:11 am

    They are just using profanities as an excuse to dump you. They are banks, they would sleep with bad mouthed cannibal vampires if that was making them money.

    They don’t like the content as it shows people hot to take advantage of them for once.


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