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June 16th Features

 

 

 

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EAT Money – Know Your Blogger Series

Know Your Blogger Series

EAT Money

Come read about how you can earn, automate, and track your money for financial success with EAT Money.
Each week at Personal Finance Blogs, we publish interviews from amazing bloggers from the personal finance space. This week, we are featuring the blog, EAT Money.
During these weekly features, we are hoping to provide a way for you to interact and learn more about different blogs in the personal finance space.
Below, you can read more about the story behind EAT Money, learn about the author, and learn personal finance tips from EAT Money to help you improve your financial situation.
A big thanks for EAT Money for this interview! Now, we will turn it over to the author for this interview.

Tell us about EAT Money

I started my blog because I thought it would be a fun project and would allow me to get more involved in the personal finance community. I started reading dozens of blogs when I graduated college in 2011, but had stayed mostly silent since then.
The “EAT” in EAT money stands for Earn, Automate and Track. Earning more at my 9-5, automating my life and tracking my expenses is what has allowed me to have the financial success I’ve had.
My purpose is to give people the freedom that I have achieved! I have SO FAR to go on my journey but I’m confident I’ll get there. To do this I show people what I’ve done and how they could think about incorporating it into their life. I don’t save 80% of my income and I don’t plan on retiring when I’m 35. I just want to have a good financial cushion and not have to worry about my finances.

What makes you and your blog unique?

I think its really the focus on earning more at your day job and budgeting. A lot of blogs talk about side hustles, retirement accounts and taxes. Those are all important things.
My site focuses on being an outstanding employee and tracking your money. If you do those long enough the gap between your income and expenses will grow each year. It takes hard work and it takes patience but I truly believe it can work for anyone!

What does “being good with your personal finances” mean to you?

Being good with your personal finances means having a:

  1. Firm foundation on your income
  2. Understanding where you spend your money
  3. Having a financial plan, however simple, to get you where you want to go
I believe that with those pillars put in place it really will make everything else in life easier. There are certainly things you can do past those things but they are mostly building off of those three key items.
It certainly takes some work to get there but once you are it doesn’t take a lot of work to maintain.

What are some habits you practice to keep your personal finances in order?

I’m a strong believer in habits and how they can have out-sized impacts on your life (either positive or negative). I actively track my habits and work to get better each day. Like any walk of life, your finances can benefit from positive habits.
The first habit that I started in 2011 was tracking every expense. My systems and methods have changed along the way but I’ve always done it. This has given me a crystal clear picture of what my family spends our money on and how that has changed over time.
The next habit is putting together a monthly budget. I’m not someone that follows their budget to the dime. I use my budget to really understand what expenses are on the horizon this upcoming month and what we may want to try and hold off on. I try to avoid big spikes in spending as that tends to create bad habits.
The last habit that I’d like to mention is one that I have cultivated that helps me in every facet of life. I’m an avid learner. Starting in 2012 I’ve tracked every book I read and have read (or listened too) as many as 40 in a year. Being a learning machine is a competitive advantage no matter what you are doing.

What are your three articles people should read to get to know you and your message better on your site?

My posts tend to fall in one of three categories. I’ll select one from each category:
I write about earning more money. A great way to do that is with a graduate degree. I wrote a post about is an MBA worth it?
The next major area I talk about is budgeting. I have hit on this from several different angles but did write a post on the different types of budgets.
Lastly, I try to write periodically on mindset/motivation and how it can be beneficial. With that in mind, I wrote a piece on how your actions should match your ambition.

For someone looking to improve their financial situation, what’s your best advice?

In the short term, you should focus on tracking and understanding your expenses.
This will allow you to ensure your spending aligns with your priorities. For instance, if cars don’t matter to you a whole lot but you have a $400 car payment that may be something to rethink. Doing this in the short term will allow you to make fairly quick gains.
In the medium term, I’d start reading books, blogs and listening to podcasts associated with personal finance.
This education is the single most important factor for your long term success.
In the long term, I’d focus on optimizing your income.
Are you being the best employee you can? Would getting a certification or degree give your income a jump? This will take extreme patience but can have huge dividends on your long term success.

What’s an area of your life which has benefited from improving your personal finances? Have there been any areas of your life which have suffered?

Over time I’d say every area of my life has improved because I continue to get a stronger financial foundation under me. Frankly, just not having the stress of living paycheck to paycheck and knowing we can handle the unknowns that will pop up is key.
I’m very numbers & plan based while my wife is not. Early in our marriage we had several disagreements (still do occasionally) about why we need to watch our spending so closely. While having a partner that is the opposite of you is great in several regards, when it comes to budgeting it gets a little trickier.

In your opinion, what should you do first? Pay down debt, or invest?

I believe its very situation dependent. To me the most important metric is what percentage of your take home pay is going towards debt payments. I myself haven’t paid off all my student loans because its a very small percentage of my income and I’d rather have the cash in the bank.

In your opinion, what’s better? Focusing on increasing your income, or focusing on decreasing your expenses?

In the short term, I believe decreasing expenses via tracking every expense is the way to go. You can see immediate gains in the gap between income and expenses.
On the other hand, its very hard to pinch pennies on your way to a high net worth. After you have your spending under control you need to focus on raising your income WHILE NOT raising your lifestyle to match these raises.
While the level of your incomes and expenses is important the most important metric to track is the gap between the two. It needs to keep growing over time!

If you received a $5,000,000 windfall tomorrow, what would you do with the money?

The first thing I would do is let it sit in the bank for 6 months while I put together a plan. While that may not be the most optimized solution in the short term, I’d rather optimize for the longer term (if you haven’t picked up on it yet this is how I live my life: long term thinking and optimization).

I’d imagine some of my first actions after the plan is put together would be:

  1. Paying off all my debt
  2. Giving some of it away/setting up a non-profit
  3. Maxing out all possible retirement accounts
I think the final big step would be to take a significant chunk of it and put it into index funds at a relatively conservative allocation. Those monies would be for future generations most likely in the form of a specific sum of money to either start a business or go to college.

Why do you believe learning about money and caring about personal finance is important?

The only reason that matters is because money gives you freedom. The more discipline you have in any area of life (physical, financial, or emotional fitness), the more freedom you have.
I know people that live paycheck to paycheck delay getting much needed healthcare and aren’t saving adequately for their future because they haven’t learned about personal finance and put together a plan.
Your happiness, the happiness of your partner and your family will all go up as you put together a financial foundation.

How You Can Contact EAT Money for More Information

You can learn more about EAT Money at http://www.eat.money/ and follow them on Twitter at @eatmoneyblog.

Thank you for reading this interview, and thank you, EAT Money, for providing us with some great personal finance tips!

About the Know Your Blogger Series

Each week, Personal Finance Blogs features a personal finance blogger for you to learn more about who is behind the different blogs in the personal finance space.

These interviews also provide different viewpoints and tips for improving your financial situation. Check out a couple other recent interviews below, or see them all of the past blogger features here.

Have Your Dollars Make Sense
Come read about the great personal finance blog, Have Your Dollars Make Sense.
Financial Freedom Countdown
Come read about the great personal finance blog, Financial Freedom Countdown.

June 15th Features

 

 

 

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June 12th Features

 

 

 

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June 11th Features

 

 

 

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June 10th Features

 

 

 

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June 9th Features

 

 

 

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Partners in Fire – Know Your Blogger Series

Know Your Blogger Series

Partners in Fire

Read about how the blog Partners in Fire is helping you reach financial independence so that you can live the life you want.
Each week at Personal Finance Blogs, we publish interviews from amazing bloggers from the personal finance space. This week, we are featuring the blog, Partners in Fire.
During these weekly features, we are hoping to provide a way for you to interact and learn more about different blogs in the personal finance space.
Below, you can read more about the story behind Partners in Fire, learn about the author, and learn personal finance tips from Partners in Fire to help you improve your financial situation.
A big thanks for Partners in Fire for this interview! Now, we will turn it over to the author for this interview.

Tell us about Partners in Fire

I started Partners in Fire back in 2017. My mission is to help others reach financial independence, along with us (we aren’t there yet!), with finance tips and by promoting the type of lifestyle that being financially free can buy (RV life, travel, security, etc.).
I chose the name Partners in Fire because, in my opinion, we are all on this journey together, and I want readers to know that they have a partner and some support on their own quest for financial independence.

What makes you and your blog unique?

There are two things that makes Partners in Fire unique among finance blogs. First, and most importantly, is that I don’t shy away from discussing big picture societal problems. I’ve written about poverty traps, the unfair banking system, our healthcare system, wage stagnation, and a host of other issues that, in my opinion, prevent so many other people from even being able to consider financial independence.
Partners in Fire isn’t just about the upper middle class who has the same options that we do. It’s about all of society – and I want even the poorest among us to be able to achieve financial independence. That’s nearly impossible in our current economic system, and I use my platform to call it out.
The other thing that makes the blog unique is that I talk about so much more than finance.
Financial Independence isn’t just about the money. It’s about the lifestyle that having money can afford. It’s about being able to follow your dreams and do whatever you want, whether that be stream video games, travel, or adopt a ton of cats. While I don’t shy away from financial topics like investing, real estate, taxes, etc., it’s not the blog’s main focus.

What does “being good with your personal finances” mean to you?

Being good with your money means that you know where it is going – and it’s going where you want it to go.
I don’t think life and finance is all about building wealth. It’s about living the lifestyle that you want. If you’re spending all of your money on travel, but your life goal is traveling the world, are you doing it wrong? I don’t think so. I think you’re putting your money where your priority is.
That being said, I do think it’s smart to have a financial cushion and a back-up plan. Those who are really good with finances will have both.

What are some habits you practice to keep your personal finances in order?

I’m really good at not buying stuff. I make budget every two weeks, and I write down exactly where all my money is going to go for that period.
Bills, savings, and investments all get taken into consideration first, but then I also decide whether I need anything from Amazon, I think about what my grocery and gas budget for the period will be, and I decide if I’m going to do anything like go out to dinner or have a special event. I decide all of this before anything happens – and I stick to it!
Obviously sometimes things come up last minute, but having a plan in place to guide most of your spending on a weekly basis is extremely helpful.

What are your three articles people should read to get to know you and your message better on your site?

The about me page is a great place to start!
If you want to know more about me and what I think of the FIRE movement, check out: Passion Fire
If you want to know more about the societal issues that I like to write about, check out my post on what family values should mean. This post gets a little political, but it’s the first time I ever wrote about policy and structural issues that prevent people from achieving freedom. I have more posts of this nature on my blog now.

For someone looking to improve their financial situation, what’s your best advice?

In the short term, you should really start tracking your spending and budgeting. Stop letting your money decide where it goes, and start making it a conscious decision of where you want it to go.
The medium term is all about improving yourself. Find ways to increase your income, whether that means going for a promotion, changing jobs, or picking up a side hustle. Most of these things take time and investment into yourself.
And for the long term – you need to be investing. I don’t care if you have debt or no emergency fund, you need to put something – anything – into an investment account. Time in the market beats everything, every time (historically), and if you aren’t investing for your future self now, you are losing out.

What are your favorite personal blogs and bloggers you have been inspired by?

I have so many favorites! But I’m going to try to narrow it down.
Angela @ Tread Lightly, Retire Early is an inspiration. She spearheaded the movement to show how many women actually are involved in personal finance, and her weekly roundups celebrating the women in finance are spectacular. I love the spirit of her blog (making environmentally friendly choices while on the path to financial independence) and her commitment to lifting up fellow lady bloggers.
Ryan @ Arrest your Debt is one of my best blogger friends. We started around the same time (though I think he started a few months after me) and it’s been amazing to see his growth. He takes blogging seriously, and it shows in all of the content he puts out.
Andrea @ Saving Joyfully is probably the nicest blogger I’ve ever come into contact with. She always seems to have a positive attitude and is always there to help someone else out. I love her positivity.
Purple @ A Purple Life is just all around fantastic. She has such great energy and won’t fail to remind you to do whatever it is that you need to do. Her blog is awesome, and she seems like just an overall great person.

In your opinion, what should you do first? Pay down debt, or invest?

I’m probably an outlier on this – but my answer is both! If you wait to invest until all your debt is paid, you may never get started – or you won’t start until your mid-to-late thirties. Study after study has shown that time in the market is the most important thing, and the sooner you start the better off you will be.
So you can’t wait until your debt is gone to invest.
But you also can’t ignore your debt for the sake of investing. Debt keeps us trapped, and the only way to achieve true freedom is to dig out of it. Having an enormous amount of debt also impacts our credit scores and our abilities to do normal life things – even renting a home requires a credit score!
So you need to do both. How much you should put to each is dependent on your priorities and how much debt/extra money you have, but you should absolutely put something into both pots.

What is your favorite investment class and why? (stocks, private business, bonds, real estate, crypto, precious metals, etc.)

I love stocks, but not individual stocks. Index funds are the best. You get to buy a variety of stocks in one bundle and most of them reinvest dividends for even more growth. Also, index funds tend to have lower expense ratios than other funds, so it’s not costing you much to manage it.
Real estate is okay – it can be incredibly valuable, but it generally has higher start-up costs and definitely isn’t as passive as you’d like (unless you chose an REIT – which in my open is basically an index fund for real estate).
I don’t have a lot of experience with the other classes – I have a small portfolio of precious metals as a hedge against a recession and I don’t like the volatility of crypto, so I stay away from it.

Do you have any financial mistakes you’d like to share, and how have you grown from these mistakes to improve your personal finances?

My biggest financial mistake is taking care of other people. I’ve gotten myself into so much debt and have had so much hardship because I can’t tell people no.
I cosigned a mortgage for my brother which continues to negatively affect my credit. I’ve been stolen from and lied to by ex-boyfriends, who have promised to pay me back and never have. I’ve cosigned cars for exes who can’t pay for them.
I learned these lessons the hard way. Never cosign for anyone. Choose your partner wisely, and cut them loose at the first sign that they might be taking advantage of you. I spent too much time, money, and emotional energy on people who were only out to use me, and that has pushed my plans back by a few years.
Don’t ignore red flags folks!

What’s a non-money related interest you have and what do you love about it?

My favorite thing is travel.
I love travel because I love history, culture, food, and people, and I’d much rather experience those things for myself than read about them. Reading about the Coliseum and the Temple of Delphi isn’t nearly as exhilarating as seeing it in person. It gives you such an amazing feel for the history of these places and the cultures that built them.
Seeing the world is my number one passion – one that I indulge in as often as possible. I’ve already visited over 20 countries on 4 continents, and have no plans to stop. In fact, my first attempt at blogging was with a travel blog!
Unfortunately, with my full time job, 4 cats and 2 dogs, I don’t have as much time to travel as I’d like, so that’s been put on the back burner for now. But it’s one of my top passion fire goals! 🙂

How You Can

How You Can Contact Partners in Fire for More Information

You can learn more about Partners in Fire at https://partnersinfire.com/ and follow them on Twitter at @partnersinfire.

Thank you for reading this interview, and thank you, Partners in Fire, for providing us with some great personal finance tips!

About the Know Your Blogger Series

Each week, Personal Finance Blogs features a personal finance blogger for you to learn more about who is behind the different blogs in the personal finance space.

These interviews also provide different viewpoints and tips for improving your financial situation. Check out a couple other recent interviews below, or see them all of the past blogger features here.

Have Your Dollars Make Sense
Come read about the great personal finance blog, Have Your Dollars Make Sense.
Financial Freedom Countdown
Come read about the great personal finance blog, Financial Freedom Countdown.