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Tag Archive | "Personal Finance"

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Personal Finance Blog Interviews

Posted on 16 January 2010 by Tim

As you’ve probably noticed, I am a fan of personal finance blogs and podcasts. I find them interesting and motivating and the personal finance community is very supportive and down-to-earth.

Although I like to visit a variety of blogs individually, if you don’t have the time or interest I recommend checking out a few of the personal finance related blog carnivals. These are basically weekly collections of really good blog posts. I like the Carnival of Personal Finance, the Carnival of Debt Reduction and the Festival of Frugality.

Do you have personal finance, investing or money saving questions? If so, comment below and I’ll help you find answers!

I have been lucky enough to have interviewed many of the most popular blogs in this niche including:

I plan to continue interviewing personal finance bloggers. But I also want to drill down and hit on some specific topics. If you have suggestions for what you’d like to learn more about please comment below.

I also wanted to say thank you to all these bloggers for writing amazing articles and (of course) for talking with me!

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Flexo Discusses Personal Finance Tips

Posted on 11 January 2010 by Tim

If you’ve read personal finance blogs, you’ve likely heard of Consumerism Commentary. It would be hard not to. Since he writes great material, Flexo’s blog has been mentioned by BusinessWeek, Yahoo! Finance, and Kiplinger.

Flexo, founder and author, launched Consumerism Commentary back in 2003 and is also well known for starting the Carnival of Personal Finance. Recently, Flexo also launched the Plutus Awards to honor personal finance blogs.

Since creating Consumerism Commentary, Flexo has improved his net worth from less than zero to over $300,000! That’s pretty impressive. The next decade will likely be even better as the economy recovers and his blog continues to grow.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Flexo!


What are a couple things people can do right now to improve their financial situation?

At the most basic level, there are only two ways to improve a financial situation: earn more money or change your expenses. Earning more money doesn’t have as much of an effect if you haven’t optimized your spending, so I would look at that first.

Track every dollar you spend for one month. Where does the money go? If any of the spending can be removed the next month, remove it. For example, if canceling cable wouldn’t have a big effect in the enjoyment of your life, or if you value improving your financial situation over the reward you get by watching cable, cancel it. The same goes for eating out in restaurants, manicures and pedicures, and hockey games.

Once you’ve tracked your spending, you can use it to create a basic flexible spending plan. Decide how much you want to spend in each category for the next month, looking for ways to challenge yourself to spend less.

I don’t recommend living the life of a hermit or monk and extracting all enjoyment for life for the sake of saving money, but for anyone who is looking for an immediate solution to improving financial situation eliminating unnecessary expenses is the best method.

From your experience, what would you say is the most misunderstood concept or principle of personal finances?

The idea that personal finance is psychological is often misunderstood. Supposed experts in personal finance have expressed difficulty understanding how people can find themselves in debt when the concept of spending less than you earn, the key to building wealth, is built on kingergarten mathematics. Personal finance is much more than spending less than you earn. Personal finance advice needs to tackle psychology and the emotional side of the brain rather than just the rational.

What 3-5 blog posts from Consumerism Commentary are must-read for new visitors?

I would start with these:


Flexo has a Personal Finance Podcast! Download it free!

For those who don’t know, could you explain the Carnival of Personal Finance?

The Carnival of Personal Finance is a weekly event. Each Monday, a different blog serves as the host after compiling the week’s best articles about personal finance from over 100 submissions. The complilation is posted on the host’s website, containing critiques and summaries to highlight the best of the best.

Participation in the Carnival of Personal Finance is a great way for new blogs to receive exposure within the blogosphere. I created the Carnival in January 2005 when the part of the blogosphere focused on personal finance was much smaller. The Carnival helped bring attention to writing on the web about this topic and helped to expand the community into what it is today.

You’ve been blogging about personal finances since 2003, what have been the major milestones for Consumerism Commentary?

Although Consumerism Commentary has been mentioned in the press often, I was particularly proud when Money Magazine cited the website, alongside Get Rich Slowly, as the best in the blogosphere. More recently, this past year Consumerism Commentary surpassed 10,000 subscribers via RSS feed, and that’s a number I hope to keep growing.

Quite a few personal finance bloggers have gone on to write books or appear on television but you’ve kept relatively private. Will you write a book about personal finance or maybe even your blogging exploits?

I don’t have any immediate plans to write a book through the traditional agent-publisher-distributor process. I have several ideas for a series of shorter, self-published books and I hope to have the first ready by the end of the summer of 2010. The difficulty is executing everything I’d like to do in addition to my full-time day job, but expect there will be some changes in that situation this year.


Be sure to follow Flexo on Twitter – @flexo

Other Interviews with Flexo:

  • Moolanomy suggests that, “Although Consumerism Commentary may not be #1 in term of readership (among the handful of A-List Personal Finance Blogs), I believe you are the most influential one.
  • Money Crashers says, “…he tends to have some of the more fresh and original material covering personal finance.”

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Plutus Awards: First Annual Personal Finance Awards

Posted on 15 December 2009 by Tim

A blog award show for personal finance blogs is in the works and leading this endeavor is Flexo from Consumerism Commentary (One of my Top 20 Personal Finance Blogs). The awards are meant to showcase the best of the personal finance blogosphere.

Plutus Awards - Personal Finance

It’ll be tough to narrow down the field and vote on winners. But it’s going to be really fun to see who wins. Important: Nominations will begin Monday, December 21, 2009 and will continue through January. There will even be prize money (possibly more?) for category winners.

The Plutus Awards will feature categories such as “Best Savings Account,” “Best Money Management Software,” and so forth. The Plutus 2.0 Awards are an extension of awards into blogs and social media. These awards will feature categories such as “Best New Blog,” “Best Investing Blog,” “Blog of the Year,” and so forth. [More About Plutus Awards]

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6 Questions with David from MoneyNing.com

Posted on 05 November 2009 by Tim

MoneyNing is all about becoming debt free, building wealth and demonstrating the effects of personal finance decisions. One reason I like David’s writing so much is that he approaches it from a great philosophy – “Life throws you unexpected challenges, but I promise the path to be fun, entertaining and informative.” David has also written a book called The Little Budget Travel Book.

In addition to MoneyNing, David also runs PFBuzz.com a personal finance social networking site and Investing-School.com which offers real lessons about investing.

MoneyNing.com also made my list of Top 20 Personal Finance Blogs.

Interview with MoneyNing.com

Briefly describe MoneyNing.com and what makes your site different than other personal finance blogs.

MoneyNing allows all of us to share our journey to be financially free. Unlike many other sites that try to tell you exactly what to do, I see mine as a buddy system where we can encourage each other by talking about our daily lives as it relates to our finances.

What do you enjoy most about owning/running a blog?

What I enjoy most about the blog is the reader interactions and the idea that I’m earning a living helping other people. Readers email me with questions all the time, and I’m very lucky in that I can relay that information on my site and have not only myself, but other readers provide feedback and suggestions.

When you launched MoneyNing, what were your expectations for the site and how have those been met or have they evolved?

To be honest, I had absolutely no expectations when I launched MoneyNing. I saw it as a good way to establish some accountability for my own finances, so the earlier articles were much more personal in nature. Eventually, I realized that what I write about is read by hundreds of thousands of people, and it was at that juncture that I started making sure I put enough emphasis on how responsible spending helped me, and can help others as well.

How has running a successful blog affected your life?

Having my online presence literally changed my life. I was in sales before so I was traveling all the time, not having enough sleep, not seeing my family while eating fast food everyday. Now, I work at home, my hours are flexible and I have a regular plan for my meals. One thing that hasn’t changed is the hours I put into work. People think it’s so relaxing to work at home and you can do anything you want, but it’s exactly the same as your career in that the more you put in, the more you get out. If anything, I work longer and harder now than ever before.

Within personal finances, what is your favorite topic to write about?

I like variety, so the “change” is actually what I love the most. I do however talk about my spending and frugal habits often, because frugality is what enabled me to have the courage to step out into the unknown to do this, which I love, full time. Without some level of confidence in my own ability to control expenses, both business and personal, I would never have the guts to take a crack at this full time.

From your experience, what would you say are the most common mistakes people make with their money?

The most common mistake people make with their money is not knowing how their actions affect their finances. It’s not wrong to buy a cup of coffee, nor is it to use a credit card because those are just personal choices. If you can afford it and doing so makes you happy, then go ahead. People get into trouble only because they repeatedly allow their ignorance drive their behavior.

Thanks for your time David!


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Top 20 Personal Finance Blogs

Posted on 02 November 2009 by Tim

Understanding, controlling and improving my personal finances has always been an interest of mine. So much so, that for a couple years I ran a personal finance blog. Although I no longer write exclusively about personal finances I do want to share with you my Top 20 Personal Finance Blogs.

My list is a reflection of my preferences and thus is wholly subjective. You’ll find that there are many great personal finance, investing and money saving blogs out there written by talented and friendly people. So, I encourage you to use my Top 20 as a starting point to find other great sites. If you’ve found one that warrants some attention please include a description and a link in the comments below!

The Top 20 Personal Finance Blogs

  1. My Money Blog – This is the first personal finance blog I ever read and it’s still one of my favorites. My Money Blog answers reader questions, conducts interviews (travel Asia for $9/day?) and gives tips on how to make or save money. Jonathan shares his personal net worth, over $248,000 as of August, and his investment portfolio.
    [Stats: PR3, 11,491 Subscribers, 7,998 Compete, 6,743 Quantcast] Find MMB on Twitter.
  2. Bargaineering – Over the years, Jim Wang’s Bargaineering.com has been featured in The New York Times, Business Week, Smart Money, and many others. Jim’s grasp of financial issues has even earned him appearances on ABC News. With an MBA and an understanding of economics, Jim provides fun and insightful articles that will help you develop your blueprint for financial prosperity. Two Recent Posts: Should you consider pre-paid cell phones? Maybe you’re looking into a Netflix subscription?
    [Stats: PR3, 11,031 Subscribers, 8,585 Compete, 8,469 Quantcast] Find Jim on Twitter or Facebook.
  3. Bargain Briana – This mother of four works as a Controller for an HVAC & Plumbing contractor by day and a blogger by night. She rounds up and shares great deals on all sorts of products. In addition to sharing great deals with us, Briana also does giveaways! “Because Bargains Don’t Find Themselves
    [Stats: PR3, 6,732 Subscribers, 14,218 Compete, 30,267 Quantcast] Find Bargain Briana on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. Budgets Are SexyJ.Money, an under-30 blogger from the DC Metro, runs a surprisingly entertaining blogger showdown, shares his net worth and makes personal finance topics enjoyable to read. Budgets Are Sexy is written with the kind of playful style the name suggests.
    [Stats: PR3, 1,488 Subscribers, 69,486 Compete, Unknown Quantcast] Find J.Money on Twitter and Facebook.
  5. I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich (the blog and book), focuses on personal finances and a healthy dose of entrepreneurship-focused lessons. Learn how to negotiate like an Indian and learn how to DO instead of simply KNOW.
    [Stats: PR3, Unknown Subscribers, 32,836 Compete, ~153,253 Quantcast] Find Ramit on Twitter.
  6. Get Rich Slowly – “Most inspiring money blog,” according to Money magazine. J.D. Roth, author of Get Rich Slowly and co-host of the Personal Finance Hour on BlogTalkRadio, is devoted to a sensible personal finance philosophy.
    [Stats: PR5, 67,914 Subscribers,7,076 Compete, 5,986 Quantcast] Find JD on Twitter or Facebook.
  7. Money Saving Mom – “Helping You Be A Better Home Economist.” Coupons, deals, freebies…pinch those pennies in style with the Money Saving Mom. Crystal Paine, mother of three, shares a ton of great ways to make the most of your money.
    [Stats: PR5, Unknown Subscribers, 4,461 Compete, 13,323 Quantcast] Find Crystal on Twitter or Facebook.
  8. Consumerism Commentary – Features: frequent personal net worth updates, awesome tips and articles and one of best personal finance podcasts. Flexo writes great reviews, like his recent update on ING Direct. Consumerism Commentary is great because Flexo tends to write really meaty articles. Even if they’re short, they have a lot of substance.
    [Stats: PR6, 9,417 Subscribers, 20,252 Compete, 14,379 Quantcast] Find Flexo on Twitter or Facebook.
  9. No Credit Needed – NCN focuses on becoming, and living, debt free. Looking for ways to become debt free? Read about how NCN used a little experiment to help him destroy his debt! You may remember me mentioning No Credit Needed in my awesome personal finance podcast review. One more cool thing – NCN wrote a free debt reduction ebook!
    [Stats: PR3, 5,538 Subscribers, 91,482 Compete, 72,373 Quantcast
  10. Money Ning - This is one of the newest personal finance blogs I've started reading on a regular basis. David Ning is an author, entrepreneur and blogger. David also runs PF Buzz, a social networking site for personal finance blogs. To get an idea of what Money Ning is about, check out the latest monthly review. From the serious to the hypothetical, like "what would you do with lots of money?", you're going to learn a thing or two about money.
    [Stats: PR4, 3,072 Subscribers, 23,022 Compete, 34,456 Quantcast]
  11. Man vs. DebtAttention! Join the MvD Militia! Or just read Adam Baker’s awesome personal finance blog Man vs. Debt. You’ll get a look at Adam’s budgetary ups and downs, learn how to kick butt like Rocky, and hit the battlefield in the War on Debt.
    [Stats: PR5, 2,917 Subscribers, 49,199 Compete, 73,194 Quantcast] Find Adam on Twitter or Facebook
  12. Free Money FinanceFMF explores a variety of personal finance and money topics including interesting topics like how intelligence is linked to income but not wealth. Not only is the site informative but all the revenue generated by FMF is donated to charitynearly $200,000!
    [Stats: PR5, 13,931 Subscribers, 22,057 Compete, 19,762 Quantcast]
  13. Bargain Babe – The Bargain Babe finds many ways to save money, sharing the savings with her readers and having a great time while doing it. Thinking of using layaway for Christmas this year, you’ll want to read this.
    [Stats: PR3, 2,317 Subscribers, 59,482 Compete, N/A Quantcast] Find Bargain Babe on Twitter and Facebook
  14. My Two Dollars – Recently, I interviewed David about his blog and personal finances. He’s a real cool guy and he writes great stuff like where to find green jobs!
    [Stats: PR2, 3,044 Subscribers, 65,226 Compete, 59,420 Quantcast] Find David on Twitter or LinkedIn
  15. The Digeratti Life – Looking for a place to squirrel away some cash? Check out what The Digerati Life has to say. Known only as Silicon Valley Blogger, this secret agent…er, writer…contributes to many different sites including WiseBread.
    [Stats: PR2, 5,028 Subscribers, 21,361 Compete, 15,569 Quantcast] Find SVB on Twitter
  16. The Simple Dollar – Following a financial meltdown in 2006, Trent Hamm decided to get things squared away and learn how to manage his money. Now, Trent mostly stays on track despite the occasional stumble. Along with frequent blogging, Trent has written several books including 31 Days to Fix Your Finances. Or you can download his free ebook – Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance On Just One Page.
    [Stats: PR6, 67,990 Subscribers, 8,919 Compete, 8,185 Quantcast] Find Trent on Twitter and Facebook
  17. Dual Income No Kids (DINKs) Finance – Both Miel and James are from Oregon, near where I live, and have been writing DINKs Finance since 2005. Recently, attitude towards savings was discussed, “…savings accounts can serve purposes larger than just emergency funds.” James wrote about how to avoid the 6 common investing mistakes. Their articles are thoughtful and useful. It’s interesting to hear from a married couple who doesn’t have kids.
    [Stats: PR4, 846 Subscribers, 271,443 Compete, 302,160 Quantcast] Find DINKs on Twitter
  18. Mapgirl’s Fiscal Challenge – “Single, attached, Korean-American (yes, I prefer the hyphen), nerdy, liberal, and freaked out about my financial future.” With a playful, casual style Mapgirl shares her personal finance experiences, money saving tips and investing strategies. Like many other personal finance bloggers, Mapgirl shares her personal net worth.
    [Stats: PR5, 293 Subscribers, 489,736 Compete, 484,087 Quantcast]
  19. Mighty Bargain Hunter – Reading MBHunter will not make you a stingy scoundrel. But you will find one thing you can count on in this economy. MBH was among the first few personal finance blogs I ever read. It’s still a great blog all these years later.
    [Stats: PR3, 3,114 Subscribers, 92,204 Compete, 100,590 Quantcast] Follow MBHunter on Twitter
  20. All Financial MattersJLP has been writing about personal finances since 2005. You’ll find updates of his investing portfolio and 30 jobs that pay $80,000 per year! JLP’s commentary on financial news makes his site one of must-read blogs.
    [Stats: PR5, 5,381 Subscribers, 43,891 Compete, 62,607 Quantcast] Find AFM on Twitter


Want more? Check out these three Top 100 Personal Finance Blog rankings:

Thanks for droppin’ in!


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Interview with Personal Finance Blogger David from My Two Dollars

Posted on 14 October 2009 by Tim

Today, I’m pleased to introduce to you David from MyTwoDollars.com, which is a personal finance blog. David writes about his experience in getting out of debt, managing money, saving and investing. David says he launched the site, “after finding my way back from the brink…overloaded with debt, getting married, and changing careers…and decided to throw in the knowledge I have learned over the last few years.

Personal Finance Blogger David from My Two Dollars

For those who are new, who are you and what is My Two Dollars all about?

My name is David, and after 12 years working in corporate America, I struck out on my own as a writer and web designer. It’s been almost 4 years of working for myself, and since there is food on my table, I have to say it’s been a success! My Two Dollars is kind of my take on the personal finance world – you won’t necessarily find investment advice or ways to get rich – but rather, a systematic, rational way of living a life free of debt and within your means. I hope my experience of being in debt, getting out of debt, and living a reasonable life encourages others to do the same.

Why did you decide to leave corporate America and become an entrepreneur?

I was burnt out, plain and simple. I was tired of going to work for someone else, sticking to their schedule, and earning them money and only getting a % of it. So one day I up and quit my job without a backup plan – not the smartest move, but one I think forced me into action.

What 3-5 posts from your blog would you consider essential reading for helping people get their finances under control?

I would suggest the following posts:

What, if any, role do you think schools should play in educating young Americans about responsible financial management?

Personal finance needs to be taught in school, period. If it was, I bet less college students would graduate with credit card debt and young adults would be a little more responsible with their money. Most parents, to be honest, do not have a solid grip on personal finance, so having a qualified professional teach the basics in school could go a long way to help out.

Piggy-Bank-Saving-Money What role has your blog played in managing your finances? Do you feel more accountable?

It does make me more accountable, sure, but even more than that it keeps me honest with myself. I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing about one thing and doing another, so I try to be as open as I can be on the site.

You’ve been blogging for a few years now, have you noticed any changes in website traffic or the types of questions asked (or anything else) since the economy started to tank?

Advertising revenue is definitely down, for sure. But I expect that to recover. However, traffic on subjects like “getting out of debt” or “saving money” or “how to find a job” is way up, which is no surprise given our economic situation.

Your blog is ranked very high, in the top 20, among personal finance blogs. Have you been surprised that MTD has become so popular?

Yea, I am surprised – but that just tells me that there are people out there who really need advice and guidance on finding their own positive relationship with money. Not everyone is into being rich or having the best “stuff” or talking about where to invest money…some just want to live a comfortable life doing what they love. I feel MTD has found that niche and filled it nicely.

What personal finance blogs do you enjoy reading?

That’s a tough one because there are certainly many. To name a few, I enjoy reading Cash Money Life, Five Cent Nickel, Being Frugal, and Lazy Man & Money because they have a solid, personal voice behind the “screen”. Too many sites make you feel like you are reading text written by a robot, so I appreciate the personal touches and stories. It keeps things interesting.

David, thank you for your time!

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WiseBread Author Will Chen Shares Practical Personal Finance Tips

Posted on 27 July 2009 by Tim

WiseBread is a community blog focused on personal finances including saving money, living frugal, and career advice. Their mission is to help you enjoy a fun and rewarding life in a financially responsible way. In fact, if you incorporate some of their money saving tips you might not even notice that you’re on a budget. Yeah, they’re that good.

The WiseBread Philosophy:

Too many financial experts focus on the negative aspects of money management. They freely throw around words like “sacrifice” and “responsibility” like there was a fire sale at the Boring Store.

The answer to financial independence isn’t a ramen-eating, vacation-skipping, fun-depriving life. Far from it. In fact, we love to indulge in life’s pleasures whenever we can—just as long as they fit into our budget.

We know the best way to stick to a budget, especially in tough economic times, is to create a lifestyle that is as much fun as it is practical. Are you ready to live large within your means, no matter how small that may be?

I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with Will Chen, one of the writers on WiseBread and a California attorney that focuses on consumer rights and corporate corruption. I’m confident you will find Will’s tips as helpful and practical as I did. When you’re finished reading, let me know what you think by posting a comment below. Enjoy!

For someone looking to improve their finances, what 3 things can they do today?

  • Question old assumptions. Brainstorm about actions that will make the biggest impact on your finances. Take out a piece of paper, sit down in a quiet corner, turn off your inner critic, and brainstorm away. Some common ideas include moving next to work (so you can sell your car), getting a second job, using home equity loan to pay off high interest credit card debt, etc.
  • Simplify your finances. Cancel accounts you’re not using, pay all your bills online, and get rid of ongoing expenses that you don’t need.
  • Join a support group. We are easily influenced by our peers. If your friends are eating out all the time and driving new cars, you are likely to do the same. Start hanging out with savvy, frugal-minded folks who take personal finance seriously. The Wise Bread forum is a great place to start!

What 3-5 posts do you consider essential reading for getting their finances under control?

What was the best part about putting together (or contributing to) 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget?

We had lots of great guest contributors, including Sharon from Frugal Duchess, SVB from the Digerati Life, Leo from Zenhabits, Trent from The Simple Dollar, and JD from Get Rich Slowly. It was a pleasure working with them and learning from their invaluable writing experience.

How have readers been reacting to the book? Any funny, unique or interesting stories?

We weren’t prepared for the torrent of great media attention for our first personal finance book. As a result we’re constantly surprised when people ask us to sign books or give an interview (like right now, for example). When Linsey Knerl (one of the co-authors) held a book signing in her hometown, she received lots of congratulations from old high school friends. That must be a lot of fun — to be able to go back to your hometown and let your old friends know you’re a published author!

Where did you learn your financial skills?

Everything I need to know I learned from my fellow Wise Bread authors! They are a really diverse group. Among our ranks are financial consultants, homemakers, journalists, career counselors, professors, and even professional hobos! Each of them brings an unique perspective to personal finance that I find useful and entertaining.

Who do you currently look to for financial tips and inspiration?

From our Wise Bread readers and the top 100 personal finance blogs.

While it’s not much, I remember learning how to balance a check book and budget a vacation in 5th or 6th grade but I’ve heard schools don’t really teach that anymore. What role do you think schools should play in teaching responsible financial management?

Schools should take very active role. Every high school student should be required to take the following courses:

  • Introduction to Statistics and Accounting Principles: provides a foundation for the following courses.
  • Personal Finance: covers budgeting, credit card use, mortgages, investments, and savings (teach them the magic of compound interest early).
  • Career Building: covers how to write a resume and cover letters, finding mentors, doing mock interviews, and volunteering for local charities to build experience.
  • Financial Policy: covers how the Federal Reserve works, the various regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing our economy, various economic theories, important political financial issues like healthcare and the trade deficit.

Will, thank you for taking to the time to chat with me!

WiseBread Around The Web:

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