Personal Finance 
1
comments

PFBlogger Spotlight: Green Panda Treehouse

Green Panda TreehouseWhat color is US currency? It’s green. What’s one of the most content creatures on the planet? Well, one of them is a panda. And what happens when a bunch of kids get into a treehouse? Well they play fort, have a good time, and otherwise bond and become better friends. If any of that seems like a stretch, it shouldn’t be, because that’s the namesake and origins behind Green Panda Treehouse. I had the opportunity to interview the Green Panda herself for my PFBlogger Spotlight series.

jim: Hi Green Panda, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Green Panda: I’ve pretty much have been working since I was 14. As the oldest kid in my family I helped my mom balance the budget with one income. I’ve had paychecks were half (or more) went to help with the bills and I blew the other half. I wasn’t saving any of it.
I got a credit card in college and like many of my friends, I charged on it like crazy. At the same time I was financing college on my own through apply for grants and financial aid. I was smart with money on some things, but an idiot on others.
Slowly I became more responsible with my money and eventually it lead me to start blogging on personal finance.


(Click to continue reading…)


 Personal Finance 
2
comments

PFBlogger Spotlight: Blunt Money

This latest PFBlogger Spotlight is a few month in the marking and I unfortunately lost it in my drafts folder for quite some time. However, it’s been unearthed and it’s a email chat I had with Blunt Money. Blunt Money describes herself as “a re-married mother of one who lives in the southwestern U.S. I’ve had over $15,000 in credit card debt. I’ve been divorced, employed, unemployed, self-employed, underemployed, etc. I’m currently working on saving & learning about investing, building my very small businesses. My husband and I are working on paying off our mortgage (which is our only debt).”

jim: Hi Blunt Money, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Blunt Money: Sure, I’m a re-married mother of one who lives in the southwestern United States.
jim: What motivated you to begin blogging and how long have you been doing it?
BM: I got interested in simple living, read Your Money or Your Life, and realized that I paid very little attention to my finances. Once I discovered the pfblogging world, I decided to combine two of my goals (writing something every day, no matter how little, and focusing more on my finances) by starting a personal finance blog of my own. I’ve been writing Blunt Money since August of 2006.
jim: How did you come up with the name of your blog?
BM: I’m usually a very blunt person, and I like money.
jim: Fair enough, what do you think makes your perspective unique?
BM: I tend to write more from the emotional side of things. I think emotions and money are very tied together. Also my blog tends to be all over the place, which is very indicative of my personality. You might read about lasagna one day, and tax liens the next.
jim: What are your favorite personal finance books?
BM: I love Your Money or Your Life. I also liked Green With Envy and Hooked, although those aren’t personal finance books in the sense of talking about saving money or investing.
jim: Which of your posts do you think all your readers should read?
BM: I’m not big on “shoulds”, but some posts that have been well-received are:

jim: Speaking of common mistakes, what financial “mistake” that you’ve done has bothered you the most?
BM: Oh, I have a lot to choose from! If I had to pick just one, I’d say trying to make someone happy using money. You can’t make people happy period, let alone with money.
jim: How about your best decision?
BM: Probably to actually FOCUS on my finances each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
jim: What do you do every day now to help focus on your finances?
BM: Well, writing the blog gets me thinking about money every day. And then I go through my spending plan nearly every day to see where I’m at and where I want to be. I also review my money (and other) goals regularly, and do at least one related activity for them each day.
jim: What is your favorite personal finance blog and why?
BM: For once I actually DO have a favorite: The 20 Year Challenge. I love Tread’s blog because she’s got a great combination going: idealism, determination, struggle, success, honesty, and creativity. And, I’ve been where she is, both years ago and pretty recently: living on a shoestring.
jim: What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
BM: Money-wise? A whole heck of a lot. Saving up more money for both long- and short-term goals, learning about investing, helping my son learn more about money, etc.
jim: And, lastly, if your blog ended today, how would you like people to remember it?
BM: I’d just be happy that they remembered it period. But I’d like for them to have taken something positive from it.

Check her out over at bluntmoney.com!


 Personal Finance 
3
comments

PFBlogger Spotlight: David of My Two Dollars

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???).


 Personal Finance 
4
comments

PFBlogger Spotlight: Frugal Trader of Million Dollar Journey

When I started blogging I knew of very few personal finance bloggers outside of the United States. Now there are plenty whether it’s plonkee over in the UK or our interview victim participant today, Frugal Trader of Million Dollar Journey. He hails from the great white north, yep, that’s Canada, and he gives us great insight into the great sport we call a “personal finance obsession.” So, I invite you to enjoy my brief chat with FT today.

jim: Hi Frugal Trader, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Frugal Trader: I always find this to be the toughest interview question. :)

Here it goes. I am a married Canadian who was born, raised and currently resides in Eastern Canada. I graduated from University almost 5 years ago with an Engineering degree along with a side degree in personal finance obsession.

From a personal finance perspective, I started saving at a very young age (like 7) and started dabbling in mutual funds while in high school (I was 16).

From there, I continued saving throughout University (with a part time job) and graduated with around $10k in my bank account. Sounds pretty good right? Well, it was pretty good, but unfortunately my fiance at the time (now wife), had a lot of student loan debt along with a brand new car loan. So combined, upon graduation we had a negative net worth.

Today, almost 5 years later, we have dug ourselves out of the hole, have a net worth of over $270k and a goal of a $1 million in net worth by the age of 35.

jim: What’s it like being a Canadian pf blogger in a pfblogosphere dominated by US blogs? Do you find that a lot of the topics overlap (that’s what I would suspect)?
FT: To answer your question, in my opinion US and Canadian personal finance are similar in some ways, but very different in others. The similarities are with portfolio asset allocation, stock strategies and budgeting/frugality. The major differences are with taxation, retirement, and government benefits.
jim: What’s something no one else in the blogging world knows about you?
FT: Hmm.. I have disclosed a little bit about myself already in the post “5 things you didn’t know about me“, but another thing would be that at the age of 28, I’m just starting to learn how to play the guitar.
jim: How did you come up with the name for your blog?
FT: When I was thinking about setting up a website, I had a bunch of domain names in mind. However, the name Million Dollar Journey really suited me best as my financial story is literally that.. my million dollar journey.
jim: What motivated you to begin blogging and how long have you been doing it?
FT: Million Dollar Journey was my first (and only) blog with it’s first post on December 6, 2006. What motivated me to start the site? I was at a time in my life where I wanted to get really organized with my finances to reach my goals. I then thought what better idea than to announce my goals to the whole Internet world to help keep me accountable. It’s easy to set a goal for yourself, but I have a tendency to stop pursuing goals if no one else knows about it. The blog really helps keep me on my toes with regards to my finances.
jim: What do you think makes your perspective unique?
FT: I’m not sure that my perspective is unique. My perspective on building wealth is spend less than you earn, and look for ways to make more money. Simple.

Perhaps what attracts people to my blog is that I started young with good money habits and I have a legitimate shot of being worth $1 million in 7 years.

jim: What are your favorite personal finance books?
FT: I have them listed on MDJ. They are:

  • The Wealthy Barber – for saving and personal finance strategies.
  • Stop Working: Here’s How You Can – for early retirement and dividend investing strategies (the author retired @ age 34).
  • Why Swim with the Sharks – for early retirement
  • The Smith Manoeuvre – A method to convert a Canadian non-tax deductible mortgage into a tax deductible investment loan.
  • One Up on Wall Street – for learning how to stock pick.

I would say that the book that has influenced my financial life the most is ” The Wealthy Barber”. I read this book back in high school and it’s what really got me interested in personal finance.

jim: Which of your posts do you think all your readers should read?
FT: MDJ has a bunch of popular articles listed on the right sidebar. But as to articles that are popular to non-geographic specific readers, they would have to be:

The articles below are Canadian Specific:

jim: What financial “mistake” that you’ve done has bothered you the most?
FT: I’ve written about financial mistakes before. The biggest one that I’ve written about was investing in Nortel when I didn’t know a lot about the market. The result was basically losing all of my $3,000 “investment”. On the spending front, the biggest regret is probably getting such a large car loan upon graduation. In our defense though, we still drive that car and will continue doing so until it falls apart.
jim: How about your best decision?
FT: I’m not sure if there is any one good financial decisions that I’ve made thus far, it’s more of a combination of a few. One would include buying a 2 apt home upon graduation, living in one and renting out the other. Others would be living below our means, making sure to max out our retirement accounts, starting non retirement portfolios in addition to investing in rental real estate (not including our primary residence). The most significant would probably be the rental property as it was purchased at a discount.
jim: What is your favorite personal finance blog and why?
FT: This is probably the toughest question out of the batch! I read a LOT of blogs and don’t have a particular favorite as each has their own unique point of view. As a group though, I read Canadian pf blogs the most, as they relate to my life the most.
jim: What do you hope to accomplish this year?
FT: This year will be a big one for us as we will be moving into our new house along with a new baby on the way. Financially speaking, even with the income setbacks of maternity leave, we hope to grow our net worth by 25% along with increasing our charitable contributions.

In terms of the blog, I hope to keep going strong with the daily posts and hopefully double my readership.

jim: And, lastly, if your blog ended today, how would you like people to remember it?
FT: I would hope for MDJ to be remembered as a site that provided useful information in improving our personal finance lives.

We hope you enjoyed our little discussion with Frugal Trader and Million Dollar Journey. While MDJ is based out of Canada, I think that many topics in personal finance are geographically independent and so MDJ is certainly a site worth putting in your reader.


 Personal Finance 
2
comments

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, 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. 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 (Stanley and Danko) and Automatic Wealth 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!” with more than 200 comments. One that still makes the rounds on StumbleUpon is “Twenty-five ways I save money.” Another one I like is “Sixteen ways being disorganized costs you money.”
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 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 and tell him I sent you (then duck!). :)


 Investing 
11
comments

Interview with Phil Town, Rule #1

Today I have the opportunity to present a brief interview with Phil Town about both his life and his upcoming book, Rule #1. Phil has been writing a blog (unlike other authors who write a book and then a blog to promote it, Phil’s blog has been around for quite some time) on which he gives you an overview of rule #1 and tells you how to submit “homework” that he can review. Onward to the interview…

jim: On your blog and in the book, you’ve mentioned less-than-glamourous jobs (such as being a ditch digger, equipment washer), what have you been doing recently? (besides writing Rule #1)
Phil: I’ve been busy promoting Rule #1, and since I live in Wyoming, I have to get in some snowboarding. We’ve been getting dumped on big time this year and the snowboarding has been amazing. Of course, I spend about 15 minutes a week investing. Then, to break the tedium of goofing off, I travel to give talks a few times each month. It’s kind of different from the old days. Money isn’t what life is all about, but having some sure helps you be able to do what you want to.


(Click to continue reading…)


 Personal Finance 
1
comments

PFB Spotlight – Fat Pitch Financials

George runs Fat Pitch Financials which is primarily an investing related blog where he searches for profitable arbitrage opportunities in the marketplace. As he puts it, his quest is “to find dollar bills for 40 cents… Value investing and personal finance discoveries for those seeking to invest with a margin of safety in stocks with wide moats and to profit from arbitrage opportunities.” George has graciously agreed to not only answer all my questions but he offered me membership into his Contributor’s Corner where he offers a wealth of arbitrage opportunities. I’ve actually taken advantage of one such opportunity and when it comes to fruition, I’ll be writing about it in the future. Until then, enjoy the interview.

I started the PFBlogger Spotlight Series was started in Nov. 2005 with the intent of giving some exposure, however much I could, to other personal finance bloggers out there so we could get to know a little bit about the person behind the blogs. Lately the series was on hiatus because of the holidays but it’s back and anyone willing to answer some questions is eligible for a spotlight. Please contact me if you’re interested.


(Click to continue reading…)


 Investing 
1
comments

Interview with a Financial Advisor – JLP

Today I have the distinct honor of posting an email interview I had with JLP of AllThingsFinancial. I befriended JLP through the course of writing this blog and I’m thoroughly impressed with his extension knowledge of all things financial, which is why I approached him. He was kind enough to agree to answer all my questions and I’ve printed them in their entirety without any alterations whatsoever. And if you haven’t been to AllThingsFinancial, I suggest you stop on over and read his daily postings because they’re extremely informative.

(Click to continue reading…)


Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2014 by www.Bargaineering.com. All rights reserved.