Show Me the Money: Personal Finance Blogs I Like

When I blogged before, I had a personal finance blog. I blogged under a pseudonym, because I was talking about really personal stuff. In fact, it got so personal, I stopped.

I had a hard time navigating the line between “honest” and “harsh”. It was one thing to poke fun at my sister’s occasional scrapbooking expenses (I used to laugh at Michael’s, until I realized: Michael’s is laughing all the way to the bank…), it was another to judge my friend’s poor car stereo decision.

There’s a reason people don’t talk about money: it’s emotional, and you never know what someone else has or is going through. I know my own situation, but I have no idea what yours is. I could sit here and share what I do and what’s worked for me, but as a blogger, I struggled: how dare I judge a car stereo purchase publicly, when I didn’t know the entire situation?

And it’s not like I’m always super-responsible, or that I haven’t made (many) mistakes. It’s not like I never treat m’self, either – and I think you should. (Some personal finance blogs have made this point, for example: a pet is a splurge.)

Best Splurge Ever – who is the cutest one? you. yes you are. Handsome!

I worried I was arrogant.

You know what writing the posts was like? It was like committing a faux pas and then enshrining it on the internet, and not ever taking it down.

Basically, in coded language, I wrote long, reflective posts where I (with the few flawed perceptions I had) judged my friends… and then put it on the internet to serve as a teaching tool. Presumptuous!

Which would have been one thing if no one read it, but then it got picked up by the Globe and Mail Personal Finance reporter (that Rob Carrick, so good!), and I was in deep.

I took the “personal” in “personal finance” a little too seriously, and also still had to pass Friendship 101. Whoops.

But I still like to read Personal Finance blogs. Most of the bloggers are better at it than I was (read: have inspiration other than – “Ugh, Friend X so shouldn’t have bought that new car. I should write a post about why you should only buy used.”), and I’m always inspired. When I spend a little too much, or I have an almost-irresistible urge to go shopping for things I don’t need, I turn to these Personal Finance blogs to keep me in-check:

  1. Gail Vaz-Oxlade: she’s the best. I’ve read a couple of her books, too – and you can sometimes stream her shows on The success stories on her website make me so happy.
  2. Squawkfox:  Kerry Taylor doesn’t post as much as she used to, but she does write for the Globe now, so I get my fix.
  3. Money After Graduation: I was so impressed with Bridget’s post last week. Not all of the posts apply to me, but some of them, particularly about setting goals and going for them, are super-motivating!
  4. Mr. Money Moustache is HARSH, but also good for an ass-kicking. He, and I, love the details. For example – why not to be too clean (watch your energy bills!), where to spend less on your car (don’t drive at all!). Sometimes, he’s overly clinical – for example, his post on: “Great News: You’re Allowed to Have Only One Kid” breaks down how many kids to have into a chart. I love spreadsheets, really I do – but I think having kids is more, err, a biological imperative than a logical choice, though he’s the type who would disagree. (He was recently profiled in the New Yorker.) Also, as much as I like his empowering take-charge-and-retire-soon approach, I don’t always agree with it. I like to save, but also: I like working. I’d like to work, even if I’m able to retire.
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