Friday, 27 March 2015

Personal Finance Blogs that made me crazy

Whenever the topic of personal finance and my savings come up I generally get a few sideways glances, and get told I'm a little crazy. The spreadsheet I use to track my savings and account balances is jokingly referred to as my 'Scrooge McDuck' spreadsheet. But I didn't get crazy on my own, I had a little help from some (internet-famous) bloggers.

Mr Money Mustache -
This man (and his wife) has almost built a cult. He spends less than $30,000 a year and retired at the age of 30. He is an advocate for spending significantly less than you earn, in-sourcing everything, saving money with DIY and (in his words) generally being bad-ass. He is probably the reason I ride my bike everywhere.

I think my biggest takeaway from this blog was when MMM listed all the things he wanted to do in his life, and the hourly cost. From working out in his home gym, to mountain biking, to learning to fly a plane. The interesting part was that, if you start with the cheapest (or free) things, you find that you will run out of time, long before you get to expensive hobbies like horse riding or learning to fly a plane.

The same logic applies to holidays - why pay hundreds and thousands to travel overseas if you haven't already explored all the options in your own backyard? 

Afford Anything -
Paula's argument is that you can't afford everything, but you can afford anything. She is a strong advocate for earning more as opposed to the typical personal finance blogger perspective of spending less (although she is pro-spending less as well).

This year she has challenged her readers to save an extra 1% of their income every month - so if you started at zero, you should be saving 12% by the end of the year. There's a whole facebook group dedicated to the One Percent Challenge, and a lot of great ideas being thrown around.

No More Harvard Debt -
This guy is some kind of crazy inspiring. He is on a six-figure salary, which some people hold against him, but he decided to pay down his student loans in 9 months. $90,000 worth of loans he wanted to destroy in 9 months. It was 9 months between deciding the loans sucked, and the end of the next tax year and in that time he would be earning less than $90k.

He pulled it off in 7 months by working like a demon, getting a promotion (and a sweet bonus), trying out pedi-cabbing, starting a business, selling his car, motorbike and road-bike, and renting out his 2 spare bedrooms.

You can read the entire journey on his blog, and it's actually pretty amazing to see. Not just the change in his finances, but the change in his attitude, from being obsessed with expensive toys and gadgets to a whole new understanding of having 'enough'.

Get Rich Slowly -
I note this blog more for it's history, than it's current showing. I think I've been reading Get Rich Slowly for more than five years. When I started it was still owned by J.D. Roth. He sold it (for a fair chunk of money) and the vibe has shifted and doesn't really work for me anymore. Plus it's American based, so there are a lot of articles about health insurance and taxes that don't apply to me.

That being said, GRS was the start of my personal finance blog journey. I have always wanted to have passive income, and GRS was a good starting point for concepts like frugality, investment and budgeting.

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