Today is the 17th edition of our new periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 NEW questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions. (If you have already answered the first set of 10 questions, please feel free to answer these new ones.)
Today’s 10 questions participant is Dr. Penny Pincher of Penny Pincher Journal. Penny Pincher Journal is a blog loaded with FREE articles and advice to help you spend less money and enjoy life more.
Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
Do you wish you had more money? Penny Pincher Journal offers free advice on saving money and making money for people across the financial spectrum. No matter how much or how little you make, everyone can benefit from tuning up their penny pinching skills to cut unnecessary spending. Surprisingly, you will be happier and enjoy life more as you find ways to waste less money and focus more on things mater.
Penny Pincher Journal was started at a stressful moment in my financial life. We just bought a puppy for $1,000 at the pet store, and I was going over our expenses trying to figure out how to pay for this. I realized that I would quickly need to find ways to spend less money, and as I found good ways to save money I decided to write about spending less money on Penny Pincher Journal.
Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog.
There are a lot of people out there who could really benefit from improving money-saving skills. It is just so easy to get in the habit of spending money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need!
Wasteful spending is harmful in so many ways. Buying unnecessary things now limits what you can do in the future, and it wastes resources. If people take time to think about the things they are buying, and the real cost of these items, I think there is a big opportunity to help people improve their own lives and the world as a whole.
A lot has been written in the arena of personal finance, but Penny Pincher Journal has in-depth, practical advice on how to spend less money. You can even learn how to repair things with duct tape.
What goals do you have for your blog, short and long term?
My blog has no expenses at all. I have no domain hosting expenses. I have not purchased a domain name. I use free hosting on Blogger by Google. I still use my 8 year old laptop sporting Windows Vista. I started my blog using only free services because I didn’t know if it would be realistic to make money with a blog or not.
After blogging for a few months, I found out that you can make real money with a blog, but I still have not crossed into taking on expenses. That being said, I am interested in growing my readership and have just started sharing my blog with other bloggers. Just this month, I started using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to connect with my audience. I recently added an e-mail subscription feature to start accumulating my mailing list and I just this month sent out my first e-mail newsletter.
My long term goal for Penny Pincher Journal is to establish a platform to reach an audience interested in penny pinching. Hopefully, a very large audience… I also want to create a virtual library of resources on saving money that will be useful for decades to come.
Do you enjoy writing?
I am excited to be able to write and publish whatever I want, whenever I want. That is the best thing about running my own blog. I have also written articles about personal finance on HubPages. The first few times I published my writing on the internet, I was pretty anxious. Now, that anxiety has turned to anticipation of seeing how readers interact as the pageviews come in.
Looking back, I realize that I have been a writer for a long time. In high school, my English teacher made us turn in an essay every week and the essays were read to the class. The class then voted on their favorite. This was an awesome experience to have my writing “published” and then getting to see the audience reaction. In college, I was in Honors English even though I was majored in engineering. I didn’t do much creative writing for many years, although I wrote a number of technical publications. Finally, after the puppy incident, I came back to creative writing.
When you are 90 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?
For me, job 1 is raising my kids and taking care of them. They are off to a great start and I am proud of how they are turning out. It is important to me to properly appreciate my wife. She is wonderful, and we have so many fun memories together. I look forward to many more by the time I am 90. We’ll be touring the country in a big motorhome by then.
With respect to accomplishments, I have already accomplished some things that make me proud. I earned a Ph.D. in engineering, which was challenging in several ways. I published a book last year, which is something I have wanted to do since I was about 18 years old and I finally did it! I decided to offer my book for free, I didn’t think people interested in saving money would want to pay for a book.
I think a great accomplishment to look back on will be to have created something that will outlast me. Recording my stories and experiences on Penny Pincher Journal and in my books is creating something that could be around for a long time, and will be useful to people for a long time.
What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?
The most important money management tool is simply to make a list of your income, and then make a list of your expenses. Look at the difference between total income and total spending- are you headed in the right direction? Take a hard look at your expenses- which of these could be reduced or eliminated to help you meet your financial goals?
Another money management tool I have used lately is the money envelope system. We put cash in an envelope on payday and use only cash from the envelope for food expenses- both groceries and eating out. Using a money envelope helps us to be aware of how much we are spending on food and avoid going over budget.
I find it useful to put a lot of the bill paying and investing on “auto pilot”. Most of my bills are paid automatically using a bill payer system at my Credit Union. Investments come out automatically too. I invest in 401K plan at work, and make deposits in a Roth IRA and 529 college savings plan every month. Automating these payments helps me avoid any late payments and frees up my time for other things.
How do you handle people with different views on money, ie spendy people?
I relate well to people with all sorts of views on money. I think people should be able to do whatever they want with their money, so if someone wants to spend a lot of money it doesn’t bother me. I don’t try to keep up spending to fit in or impress other people. Sometimes when I am at a restaurant with friends, I just order water to save money. I have no problem wearing shoes with holes, or clothes that are 10 years old- or even 20 years old. People may think I am cheap, but I don’t care what other people think. I may think other people spend too much on clothes, but they probably don’t care what I think either!
Did you grow up with money? How did your money situation growing up influence you?
Growing up, my family had plenty of money- but we spent very little. I grew up on a small farm, and we raised a lot of our own food. Our lifestyle on the farm required very little money. Now that I am focusing on finding ways to save money, my experience growing up frugal is very useful. I know from experience that you can do a lot of things without spending a lot of money.
Did your parents teach you about money as a kid? How so?
My parents taught by example about being careful with money. I remember my parents having a mortgage loan to buy the farm, which they paid off in only a few years. That is a great example of what you can accomplish if you keep your spending to a minimum and focus on paying off debts.
My brother and I got allowance every week, and I watched my savings grow. I remember getting 50 cents per week and having piggy banks and jars full of the money I saved. Eventually I got a savings account when I ran out of room to keep money at home. This was an early lesson about what can happen if you save money. I later earned money working on the farm and detasseling corn- this work helped me realize that going to college would be a good idea!
What do you do for exercise?
I have been into cycling for a few years now. I ride a 1972 Schwinn Super Sport that my Dad gave me, which he got from his brother. One of my teenage sons rides with me on a Huffy Prairie mountain bike that I got at an auction 12 years ago for $7.50.
I go for walks on lunch break at work. One day while walking at lunch, I found a bike for sale on someone’s porch and bought it to keep at work so I could ride at lunchtime. The bike cost $28 and after riding it for 4 years, I sold it for $35. Finding cheap ways to exercise is sort of a hobby for me. Here are some thoughts on finding cheap exercise equipment.
Thanks, Dr. Penny Pincher, for taking the time to answer our questions. Catch up with him online at Penny Pincher Journal.
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