Bootstrapping on a Budget: 21 Frugal Hacks That Kept My Startup Afloat

From moving countries to selling kitchen tables, these are the 21 frugal hacks that have kept my bootstrapped startup alive

Richie Crowley


Photo by Florian Schmetz on Unsplash

Celi’s burn rate is $5,318 a month.

The monthly salaries of the developer and designer building Celi represent 94% of that spend.

Subscriptions the rest.

Celi has raised $0, meaning this build is being financed by capital contributions.

Aka, I’m depleting my savings.

Kind of.

I have one freelance contract that pays $3,768 per month and my current cost of living is $2,330 per month.

Which means my overall burn is actually only $3,880 per month.

  • Monthly Inflow: $3,768
  • Monthly Outflow:($5,318 + $2,330)
  • Monthly Burn:-$3,880

To keep this low, I’ve had to live simply.

The intent of In Public is to document my first experiment, Celi, in its entirety, and while this piece may be filed under TMI (too much information), I’m not publishing it seeking sympathy.

When I started incubating the idea of Celi, I searched for bootstrapping blueprints and found none that offered actionable insights on how founders afford to meet the base layer of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

I had to DM a few who told me about their freelancing projects and other creative solutions used to make ends meet.

It almost seems like founders gatekeep their secrets.

This letter seeks to solve that.

It’s something I wish I had 8 months ago and will maybe one day help an aspiring founder to keep their dream alive.

The 21 frugal things I’ve done to keep Celi alive

It all started in January when I broke a lease and moved to South America in an attempt to cut my monthly cost of living in half.

Since then I’ve done 20 other frugal things to earn or save a buck including:

  1. Sold my kitchen farm…



Richie Crowley

Slowly building an audience by publishing original thoughts and ideas only when I have something of quality to say.