As J.D. Roth, of the Get Rich Slowly blog would say, “Nobody cares more about your money than you do.” A fair statement, and yet so often, many of us approach the task of monitoring our money and financial health as an afterthought. It’s that last thing on our “To do” list that we’ll get around to whenever we find the time.
Thankfully, across the blogosphere there are vast sources of free help and inspiration that can turn this chore into an enjoyable pursuit of financial freedom. These authors offer up their success stories and case studies on others who have been less successful to date.
Some document their road out of seemingly crushing debt. And they show us how to take baby steps and then giant leaps toward mending our own balance sheets. With each check-up we realize just how much closer we are to our financial dreams, whether that means a sizeable cushion for retirement, a college fund for our children, or maybe just enough for our next vacation getaway.
Roth’s blog is just one of my sources of inspiration, but there are hundreds of others making personal money matters much more interesting these days. Here are three of my favorites.
Mr. Money Mustache:
MMM, also known as Pete, has built a cult following with a writing style that is as funny as the blog title, but also as serious as the trouble that spending above your means can bring to your future self. Pete and his wife did what few among us consider possible. They retired early--in their thirties--and then had a child, all while their post-retirement income continue to grow and their expenses held steady at a about $25,000 a year.
If you’re writing this one off as ‘not for me’, I urge you try MMM, and to start from the beginning, when this former career engineer, explains the compounding harmful effects of all those little things we treat ourselves to over the course of a week or month without a thought and how much closer to retirement we could be if, say, we enjoyed those fresh cups of coffee at home, instead of at the coffee shop, or rode our bicycles to work or seriously considered a shorter commute for that quicker path to financial freedom. Here’s one of my favorites
about the true cost of commuting, and another
on how riches are built $10 at a time.
There’s something about Mr. Money Mustache and Mrs. Frugalwoods that stands out among the myriad bloggers dissecting early retirement and financial freedom themes. Of course they’re frugal, analytical and do-it-yourselfers--as are many personal finance bloggers. But it’s their sense of humor and genuine happiness and joy for life’s simple pleasures that shine through in their writing and keep readers coming back for more.
Mrs. Frugalwoods bares all with her readers, with monthly spending reports, a post on how she’s managed to go more than two years without buying any clothes and tips about frugal foods and food preparation. Be sure to check out her ode to the incredible, edible banana
for a true taste of her humor, common sense and, well, sheer brilliance.
Each post shows off her non-judgmental approach and appreciation for everything that comes her way--from Mr. Frugalwoods, Babywoods, Frugal hound and the new sprawling homestead her family worked so hard to achieve.
This is a new one for me, and what it lacks in humor is more than made up for in detailed strategies on how to save money, dig out of credit card debt, and make smarter decisions about everything from car buying to investing. When blogger Jacob makes a product recommendation of sorts, you can bet it has been carefully researched and all the details will be included in the post (like this review
of mobile phone service provider Republic Wireless, used by three members of his family).
A bonus that comes with each of these financial freedom blogs: the hundreds upon hundreds of loyal followers commenting in the threads, offering up still more ideas about smart money habits and reminding us that if we decide to take this journey, we’re in good company.