Budgets are extremely SEXY when J Money sets the record straight, the way he did in his exclusive interview with The Budget School. He tells readers that managing your money is about finding what works best for YOU. There is no cookie cutter formula for everyone to follow. He also encourages them to change their mindset and focus on the things that they actually want to spend money on. “A lot of people hate the word budget and thus never even give it a shot, but if you thought about it more along the lines of places you DO want to spend your money (like maybe a nice car or foreign vacation) the whole process becomes a lot more fun.” Read more.
1. How did you get starting in blogging? Tell us about the gratification that you gain from blogging about money. Why do you do it? What do you hope to accomplish?
I originally got into blogging because we had bought an expensive (for us) house without having a budget, and with no money down. I quickly realized a few months later that I should probably get a better handle on my money and come up with a solid game plan, so I turned to Google and all I came across was blogs after blogs after blogs. And I fell in love with them! The idea that people were sharing their stories on money AND divulging how much they had in the bank themselves was just crazy inspiring to me. So I thought – Hey! I can do that too, and so I did :). Originally all I wanted to do was keep myself entertained and have some fun with it all, but after a few hot months I got addicted to the community aspect of it all (as well as making a few dollars which came out of the blue!) and I’ve been blogging every single day since. For over 5 years now.
Oh man, I barely give any advice, haha… I just share my thoughts on stuff and hope to motivate others to pay attention to their money too! I guess maybe that’s my main “advice,” I’m constantly pushing people towards: Always finding ways to manage their money the best way it works for YOU. And I stress the “you” because most people want to keep things black and white and with money it’s rarely ever that easy. We all have our own personalities as humans, and that’s very much connected to the way we handle our money as well. So the trick is finding out how we work psychologically, and then formulating that game plan when applying it to money. That probably sounded way more complicated than it is, but you get the point :).
3. What topics on budgetaresexy.com seem to get the most attention as far as comments and reactions? Why do you think that is?
Hmm… Probably anything having to do with sex or beer or any crazy situations I get myself into ;). You know – everything finance is NOT about, haha… ‘Cuz at the end of the day we’re all human beings and enjoy reading stories on one extreme or the other. Which makes it even better when it has some tie to money because then it means I can blog about it!
My philosophy continues to change as time (and life) goes on, but lately it’s all about *prioritization.* Figuring out WHY and WHERE I want my money to go, and then arranging my habits to line up more with them. A lot of people hate the word budget and thus never even give it a shot, but if you thought about it more along the lines of places you DO want to spend your money (like, maybe a nice car? or foreign vacation?) the whole process becomes a lot more fun. And there’s nothing wrong with spending money on things you enjoy like a fancy car or house/etc AS LONG as you’re cutting back in other areas of your life to make up for it. This is your life and your money – you can arrange to use it however damn well you please! It’s when you go to the extremes that you start getting into trouble… like wanting the car and house and latest gadgets all at the exact same time – it can’t happen, unless you’re bringing home killer income. But budgeting around your preferences makes everything a lot more easier and doable. The tools of keeping track of it all are small parts of the puzzle.
5. In your opinion, how can one begin to reach their personal finance goals such as saving and investing once they’ve practiced good spending habits?
Well once you’ve got your spending down – and it doesn’t go up every time you get a rise or promotion/etc – it’s a lot more easy to start checking those other financially sexy boxes off too. Like with your savings and investing, and even debt-paying off too. The order I usually like to go in is: debt payments, emergency fund, 401k, Roth IRA, and then stock investing and the like. And depending on the person I might even switch and put the emergency savings fund first and THEN debt concentration as having that cushion of cash to fall back on can be key, especially if you’re still not that good at managing all that money yet. But typically investing in things like stocks are the last on the list because you still have the 401(k) and IRAs to take advantage of as well – which all have tax benefits in your corner (though you can invest in stocks there too, of course, but you know what I’m saying).
I’m not sure if this answered your question all the way, but really it’s about figuring out the level of importance of each key area (saving/debt/investing) and then running some simple numbers so you can start divvying up your money accordingly. And just like with budgeting, it all comes down to your personal preferences and what will help you sleep better at night. If that means more cash savings than debt payments – so be it! And if it’s the opposite, that’s fine too! Don’t let anyone else try and force you down a certain route just because they feel like it’s the “best” way to do things. There’s no right answers, only the ones which work best for you.
6. Do you have any examples or stories of anyone who has struggled in the area of personal finance and overcame their obstacles to reach their financial goals? Please share.
Probably one of my best online and blogger friends, Brad Chaffee. He started Enemy of Debt to share his story of debt and weight struggles, and I can’t think of a better person to be motivated by it all than him. He’s come back from thousands and thousands of dollars in debt to saving tons and helping people in the process. He hates debt so much that he’s paying cash for his next house! Haha… and he’s also got the license plate: IH8 DEBT. He’s a great guy, you should check out his site if you want to learn more: EnemyofDebt.com (another writer there is Travis, who also has an inspirational story with money)
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