Thursday, May 27, 2010

Introductions...J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy

In this (recently neglected) series of interviews, my plan is to introduce you to bloggers whose stories and/or advice I have enjoyed or found most helpful. Budgets Are Sexy is a fun, sometimes snarky, but always informative blog that so often feels like you are having a discussion over a cup of coffee with its author, J. Money, rather than reading a blog. The posts are full of information and real life-application type stuff while allowing you to feel as if you are not reading a textbook on finance (gag).

I finally got a chance to virtually "sit down" with J. Money (okay, so he doesn't really sit down a lot...he's not really content with being still it seems) via email and talk. This is the result:

Me: I really appreciate you talking with me about your blog. Please tell my readers a bit about yourself and what Budges Are Sexy is all about.
J.: Budgets Are Sexy is all about making finance un-boring :) There are a lot of great sites out there that dish knowledge and statistically correct ways to save here and cut debt there, but I learn a lot better when entertainment is mixed in more - and hopefully others do too!

Me: Honestly...that's one thing that locks me in as a subscriber. I can't handle the textbook type stuff; I need something readable and you've got it. What keeps you motivated to continue writing your blog?
J.: Oh man, I just think it's fun! It's like you build this entire site from scratch - all from your brain - and then people read and respond to it! Haha...Plus, it's yours to keep. It's really a product you're building out there. I think it's great that we're helping people too. I don't get any sense of accomplishment with my 9-5 job, so this blog really breathes some life into me. Now if only there's a way to go full time!

Me: I know what you mean by not feeling a sense of accomplishment at work. I envy those people who LOVE to go to work everyday. What do you think would bring that joy? Blogging full time?
Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure blogging & doing side projects related to blogging would help me be more excited as far as career goes. I've loved everything about it so far (the writing, the commenting, the networking, etc etc) and going full-time would be my first move shall anything ever happen with the current 9-5. I might even plan to try it out in the next 6 months either way ;)

Me: Looking at your budget, I see you are contributing 90% of your paycheck to your 401k. That's insane! What (other) financial moves have you made that people have thought you were crazy?
J.: Haha...well, the 401(k) one is definitely the biggest of the bunch. Other than that it's probably been the stories about the opposite of me saving ;) Like the time I spent $40 on a bottle of water, or the weekend I tried out the $100 Lottery Challenge (you'll have to click to see what that one was about...we learned a lot!)

Me: I read the Lottery Challenge. I'll have to check into that bottle of water post. What types of posts do you find elicit the most responses from readers?
J.: The ones that are PERSONAL. And personal in a way that gets you to say "Yeah, me too!" or "What the...? I do NOT agree and here's why ____ ." The thing with all these personal finance sites is that we all convene here to learn and be around like-minded individuals - particularly those who have the thirst to become financially free! Many blogs do an excellent job of throwing out facts and a lot of great in-depth research, but if you want good discussions going you really have to connect with your readers. And nothing does that better than emotions. Or giveaways ;)

Me: I can honestly say that is where I have dropped the ball in the past. What do you personally enjoy writing about most?
J.: Whatever has *JUST* occurred. I really don't enjoy writing at all to be honest with you, but I LOVE sharing my experiences and thoughts exactly as they are happening. When I jump on the computer ASAP I find the words just flow out and I can really put a lot of thought & energy into the posts. If I wait a few hours though (or a few days/weeks which is usually the case when I'm busy), it's not nearly as fun for me - even if the lesson learned or shared hits home. I like blogging because it's right here and NOW - not like magazines and the bunch.

Me: One of your pieces of advice is to get rid of all "bad" debt. What do you consider "good" or acceptable debt?
J.: That's a good question actually. The old me would have said "bad" debt was car loans and credit card debts. Now I think it's really anything you personally just can't stand. You can get into a lot of the numbers and say "well this debt's at 5% and the other's at 25% so such-and-such is the good one" but overtime I've come to realize that it's almost always a personal reflection. And that most debt is bad debt when it comes down to it ;) Except for maybe a loan on a Porsche. I think for a guy that really brings a lot more joy than the opposite.

Me: Awesome answer--money is such an emotional subject for everyone.'re known for your Million Dollar Club. Tell us about the it.
J.: Sure, the Million Dollar Club is pretty simple really - it's all about making a decision to get from point A (your current financial situation) to point B (a million dollars). Now, every person I know wants to be a millionaire, but unfortunately most people we know don't put a GAME PLAN into action to get there. So what the million dollar club does is basically just get you to spell out the methods you'll be taking to reach that glorious end. It might take 20 years or it might take 50, but the point is you've got a few steps in place now that you can start following.

Me: You know...that really simple...and BRILLIANT! Who doesn't want to be a millionaire. It has always seemed like just one of those unreachables, but it really is not when you think about it. So, once you've accumulated your wealth and are financially comfortable, what are your goals for enjoying the fruits of your labor?
J.: Oh that's an easy one! To do WHAT I want, when I WANT to do it ;) Every year my hobbies and passion change (I've got major A.D.H.D.), but the one thing I have always cherished is the ability to be free. Free to blog, go on walks, donate money, play poker, travel, even work if I really wanted to. The thing about money is that it gives you options to do whatever it is you're passionate about. So I'ma keep on working at it until I'm free as a bird, baby!

Me: I totally get it. I can't wait until we are no longer slaves to our debts and can feel free! Last question...what blogs are you reading?
J.: Favorite bloggers to read: Free Money Finance, Bargaineering, and Enemy of Debt. The passion those guys have is just amazing (and I'm close friends with one of them!)

I am sure that J. Money would love to have you join him over at Budgets Are Sexy. You can always just click over to read, but you'll find yourself there day after day, so you might as well just subscribe as I do, via RSS feed or sign up for his VIP newsletter. You can also follow him on Twitter--if you are into that kind of thing. Or you can hook up with him on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you do all of the above, I think you might need to join some type of addiction support group though, so pick a couple and go with it!

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