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PFBlogger Spotlight: Mighty Bargain Hunter

Welcome to another edition of PFBlogger Spotlight, a series in which I interview some personal finance bloggers so that we all get to learn a little more about them. This week, we have John from Mighty Bargain Hunter [3], a blog that is a member of the Money Blog Network and someone I had a chance to know better when I was a member. MBH and I have privately discussed everything from the government screwing us by re-taxing the Roth IRA to hoarding gold, but after today even you will have a greater insight into the mind behind the Mighty Mighty Bargain Hunter! 🙂

jim: Hi MBH, could you tell us a little about yourself?
MBH: I grew up and went to college in upstate New York and came to Virginia in 2000 to thaw. I’m in my mid 30s and have a wonderful wife of almost six years and an adorable three-year-old daughter.
jim: What’s something no one else in the blogging world knows about you?
MBH: If I told you, then it wouldn’t be known by no one anymore! 😉 I’ve put enough out there in “tell us five things about yourself” memes that I have to think hard — or make something up. OK, here’s one: I love shopping for shoes. Just kidding. Really, here it is: I love to play Monopoly and I shoot to kill. (Figuratively. While playing Monopoly, that is. Not killing people in real life. That would be bad to say in a widely-read public forum such as Blueprint For Financial Prosperity.)
jim: What motivated you to begin blogging and how long have you been doing it?
MBH: A friend from work got me onto online rewards programs and estate auctions, and I really liked them. I started the website in 2004 as a smart-shopping, bargain-hunting, frugal-living newsletter. I sent out the newsletters and posted them to the website. The original articles are here [4]. Basically, I saw what SavingAdvice.com and TheFrugalShopper.com were doing, and it looked like I had something to say and could contribute to the discussion.

Since I’m an introvert, this also seemed like a good way to start up a side income. In the site’s first incarnation, I spent about 25% of my time writing the articles and 75% of the time formatting the web pages — they were all hand-coded. This got tedious, and my posting slowed to a crawl for a while. After squeaking out one article per month or so for a while, I stumbled on blogs like pfblog.com, and commented on Free Money Finance’s posts and (probably) Five Cent Nickel’s posts there until they informed me that they had their own blogs.

In the spring of 2005 I started blogging because I could spend 95% of my time on the website writing content and about 5% formatting it. MUCH better. And a couple thousand people think I still have something worthwhile to say. Which is why I keep doing it. 😉
jim: What do you think makes your perspective unique?
MBH: I love getting good deals and deep discounts. I have an entrepreneurial streak. I’ve learned conventional wisdom regarding career, money management, and investing, and have had enough of it thrown into question that I’m a little contrarian in my thinking.
jim: What are your favorite personal finance books?
MBH: The Millionaire Next Door [5] (Stanley and Danko) and Automatic Wealth [6] by Michael Masterson.
jim: Which of your posts do you think all your readers should read?
MBH: Judging by comments, hands-down it’s “Missed Fortune 101: Horrible Advice! [7]” with more than 200 comments. One that still makes the rounds on StumbleUpon is “Twenty-five ways I save money [8].” Another one I like is “Sixteen ways being disorganized costs you money [9].”
jim: What financial “mistake” that you’ve done has bothered you the most?
MBH: I had a tech stock that lost 99% of its value post-bubble. I got frightened listening to a colleague that it might go completely worthless, and sold it near its low. It went up 25-30 times its price in the following years, and had I listened to the actions of every single board member in the company (they were buying the company stock like there was no tomorrow) rather than my friend, I’d own my house free and clear now. Lesson: Don’t let someone scare you into selling at a loss, especially if they don’t have a stake in it and if you know they like stirring the pot. Think for yourself.
jim: How about your best decision?
MBH: Getting married to a Christian woman and having a daughter. Aside from a joy that you can’t put a price on, I see money much more as a tool than as an end in itself. I was socking away a lot more before I got married, but it has turned out to be much more rewarding to provide for a family and return part of what I earn to God’s Kingdom than to just protect myself, by myself.
jim: What is your favorite personal finance blog and why?
MBH: I don’t have a favorite. I like dozens of blogs for very different reasons.
jim: What do you hope to accomplish this year?
MBH: I have a post that outlines my goals [10] for the year. The financial goals are to track my finances regularly and to get my online income to cover my mortgage payment again (I wasn’t wise enough to have diversified my online income when Google moved the text-link cheese).
jim: And, lastly, if your blog ended today, how would you like people to remember it?
MBH: I’d like it to be remembered as a blog that had something useful to say to someone, and as a blog that didn’t take itself too terribly seriously. Heck, how serious can the blog be if it has posts written in the style of Dr. Seuss?

Go check out Mighty Bargain Hunter [11] and tell him I sent you (then duck!). 🙂