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PFBlogger Spotlight: David of My Two Dollars

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Before my wedding in February, I had sent out a bunch of interview requests and questions to some personal finance bloggers I didn’t know too well and then prompted forget I had done so (I blame it on the hustle and bustle of the wedding!). David, of My Two Dollars, was one of them and thankfully he asked about it the other day or this would forever have been lost in my GMail archives!

David’s background is certainly quite eclectic and he single handedly brings a pretty diverse perspective on a lot of things. I don’t want to give too much of it away but the guy has a degree in Criminology and Sociology and has never used either in a job (oh and don’t move across the country for a girl, unless you know her really well :) ).

Oh, and it’s his birthday today, so send him your well wishes!

jim: Hi David, could you tell us a little about yourself?
David: I was born in Boston, MA and moved to California 13 years ago when I finished college. Although I don’t work in the field that my major was in, I spent my first 12 years in California working in the movie and television industry, and just last year left the corporate job to strike out on my own building websites, writing, and doing video editing.
jim: Do you have any crazy or funny stories from your twelve years in the movie and television industry?
David: One that stands out in my mind was when I was working at Paramount Pictures, and I went to use the restroom in my building. As I am at the urinal, who walks up to the one next to me but Tom Cruise. You get very used to seeing celebrities every day at work, but never would I have expected to run into Tom Cruise in the bathroom. Very surreal – and before anyone asks, no, I didn’t look.
jim: What motivated you to begin blogging and how long have you been doing it?
David: I started blogging in 2006, strangely enough, because I was bored at my job and needed something to do. I figured it would be a nice hobby to pass some time in the office, and it was then that I started my first site about the environment, The Good Human. That site is still doing really well now, and in November of 2006 I started My Two Dollars.
jim: Can you tell us a little about your other site, The Good Human?
David: I started The Good Human at first just to diary my thoughts and motivations for becoming a “better human.” There are so many ways that we can all contribute to our existence here on Earth, and I found over time that one of mine was talking about environmentalism and sustainability issues with people. I wanted The Good Human to be a place where people could learn about these types of things without being made to feel guilty or like they were not doing enough.
jim: How did you come up with the name for your blog?
David: I wanted something catchy, and it was called about 5 or 6 different names before this one stuck. My Two Dollars came from watching a rerun of Better Off Dead, that movie with John Cusack where that kid chased after him for his two dollars.
jim: What do you think makes your perspective unique?
David: I think I have a unique perspective because I did not start off life after college as a financially responsible person. I spent like I was made of money, I used my credit cards to impress people (girlfriends, mainly), and lived the high life on around $35K a year. But a few years ago something clicked that I was getting older and was digging myself further into debt that I was not going to be able to get out of. So I stopped spending, learned about finances, starting saving, paid off my credit card debt and came up with priorities that to me saved me from financial ruin.
jim: What’s something no one else in the blogging world knows about you?
David: I have a degree in Criminology and Sociology that I have never used for any job. Also, I moved to California following a girlfriend. And guys, don’t ever do that, seriously, unless you have been together for a very long time.
jim: What are your favorite personal finance books?
David: Lately I have been enjoying The Automatic Millionaire, Your Money Or Your Life, The 4 Hour Workweek, and The World Is Flat.
jim: Which of your posts do you think all your readers should read?
David: I think a few that best represent what kind of writing I do would be Making The Financial Sacrifice To Get What You Want, Why You Should Stop Paying For Storage And Just Get Organized, Sometimes The Simple Things Can Save The Most Money, and The Start Digging Out Of Credit Card Debt Challenge.
jim: What financial “mistake” that you’ve done has bothered you the most?
David: Spending money like it was growing in my backyard. By the time I was 29 years old, I had racked up over $30,000 in CC debt…and had absolutely nothing to show for it.
jim: How about your best decision?
David: To stop leasing cars and to start buying them. I used to lease expensive cars until I realized I was paying over $500 a month to rent a car that I could not even sell at the end of the lease!
jim: What is your favorite personal finance blog and why?
David: That’s a tough one – before I had a personal finance site, I started off reading Five Cent Nickel, Get Rich Slowly and of course, your site – and since I still read all three I would have to say they must still be favorites of mine. There has been such an explosion of PF blogs in the past year, and so many of them disappear after a short time. It’s nice to see the familiar faces are still around, as I hope to be in a few years as well!
jim: What do you hope to accomplish this year?
David: My wife and I would really like to have children, so we will be starting to try this year. And now that I have gotten a clean bill of health from the doctor after a cancer scare, we will be moving forward with our dream of moving to New Mexico, buying some land, and building a house.
jim: I didn’t know about your cancer scare, I’m glad things worked out.
Did it change your perspective on anything (life, money, etc) that you
think would be helpful for others?
David: Going through 6 months of the possibility of having cancer was quite frightening – it opened my eyes even wider to what is really important in life. My wife, my lifestyle, what I do in my spare time and how I expend my energy is way more important to me now than amassing huge amounts of wealth or the finest cars or anything like that. I was on that road before, but after thinking you are going to die relatively soon, the important things come to the front and you realize how useless and unimportant “stuff” and wealth is. Now we just want enough to be happy and to be able to do the things we love – we have no need for getting rich. Thankfully, the symptoms I was having are related to something else that I can live with for a very long time, so we were quite relieved.
jim: That’s great… I’m curious also about New Mexico, why there?
David: We decided to move to New Mexico because we spent a while there last year…and have not stopped talking about it since. We absolutely fell in love with the area; the clean air, the lower cost of living, the wonderful people and the views that go on forever. My wife and I are avid hikers and campers, and this area suits our lifestyle much better than Los Angeles.
jim: And, lastly, if your blog ended today, how would you like people to remember it?
David: As a blog that gave sound advice on lifestyle choices and an encouraging voice to those who are looking for said advice. I am by no means a financial planner, but I have my head on straight and hope I have offered valuable information that will be around for a while. And if only one person got something out of it, I can be happy with what I did.

I invite you to check out both My Two Dollars and The Good Human, both are excellent blogs and I’m not just saying that (just look how interesting his life has been, how could his blogs not be fun to read???).

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3 Responses to “PFBlogger Spotlight: David of My Two Dollars”

  1. Frugal Dad says:

    David’s blogs are terrific – I read both of them daily. Thanks for sharing more about his personal side. So, he left Boston to go to California to see about a girl. Great, now I know how Good Will Hunting ended!

  2. David says:

    Thanks for the interview opportunity Jim! And Frugal Dad- you got it, I am practically those guys!

  3. Laura says:

    I love the interview. It’s amazing what motivates people to become bloggers.


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