This weeks guest is David Bakke, a staff writer from Money Crashers. If you aren’t familiar with the site, please go and pay them a visit, they have a huge list of resources including a very comprehensive list of top personal finance blogs. David has been kind enough to provide some very helpful answers to my questions, along with some additional reading from the Money Crashers site that is well worth a look.
Why do you blog and how long have you been doing it?
I have been blogging for about two years now. I do it to generate extra income in my daily life and also out of a sincere joy of helping others with their everyday financial issues.
Do you believe in budgets?
Yes and no. If your finances are out of control, then by all means, you need to get on a budget until you are financially sound. I used to be in significant debt, and I was lucky enough to get some great resources when it came to how to make a budget, which helped me slowly work my way out of debt. Once I reached that goal, I stopped using a budget. Rather than spending time on a monthly basis writing out a budget, I focus on ways to save money in every way that I can. The key thing I always try to do is separate my needs from my wants, which likely saves me hundreds of dollars every month. Once you have cut expenses in every area that you can, relying on a budget is unnecessary. You’ll always have money left over at the end of the month, which you can put towards saving and planning for retirement.
Who is your hero?
I have two heroes. Although it may sound cliché, one is my father. He worked hard his entire life to provide for his children, and he most certainly instilled the concept of right and wrong in me. He is the main reason why I have enjoyed the successes that I have in life. My second hero is my late cousin. He was a NY city firefighter who lost his life as a result of the events of 9/11. He gave up his life trying to save other people and that is truly an inspiration on an everyday basis.
What are some of your favorite wealth resources?
I’ve written for and read numerous sites, but given my past struggles with finances and the articles that have helped me the most, I truly do think that Money Crashers is one of the top personal finance blogs. They offer tips and advice for all things financial and really put things in simple-to-understand terms.
As for books, my favorite one are The Millionaire Next Door and Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, which provide some neat perspective on what it takes and what it truly means when it comes to how to become a millionaire.
What is the worst financial mistake you have ever made?
The worst financial mistake I ever made was getting mesmerized by the seemingly innocent perks of cash back credit cards at a young age before I knew how to handle them. It resulted in over $30,000 of credit card debt as I made purchases that I simply couldn’t afford, which took quite awhile to recover from. I was so down on myself and my luck, but with some fiscal responsibility and the difficult decision to sell my car to pay off debt, I was able to climb out from the depths of financial failure.
What is the best lifestyle decision you have ever made?
The best lifestyle decision I ever made was to become a vegetarian. I made the switch about three years ago, and I have never felt better in my life, especially considering I stick with the list of the best superfoods, which give me a ton of energy. Oh, and I save more on groceries now more than ever before.
What is the best piece of advice ever given to you?
The best piece of advice I ever received is that “there is an entrepreneur inside all of us.” It’s just a matter of identifying your talents and figuring out how to turn them into money-making opportunities. The other piece of advice that has saved me hundreds of dollars every month is when a friend opened my eyes to the world of couponing. I wouldn’t call myself an extreme couponing fanatic, but even practicing some of these strategies has changed my financial lifestyle for the better.
Something that people that currently read your blog may not know about you?
That the reason I became so knowledgeable in the world of personal finance is by graduating from the school of hard knocks. Rather than someone who studied finance in school, most of my knowledge has come from real-world life experiences and how I personally solved my financial issues, which even includes going through a difficult divorce as a single dad.
An article written by someone else that you think everyone should read?
Actually, it’s a book. Living Large In Lean Times by Clark Howard. The title speaks for itself and should resonate with most people out there.
An article written by you that you would like everyone to read?
We all now how important it is to budget and save money, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to enjoy life and still make those exciting purposes. One recent one that comes to mind is the Black Friday Shopping Deals & Sales piece that I put together. Yes, it might sound contradictory that I preach saving and getting out of debt, yet I shop a lot. The key is finding the best times to make your purchases, and implementing the best strategies to ensure that you’re getting a good deal. As an example, I got a 46 inch 1080P LCD TV for $250 over Black Friday weekend. Yes, I went three months without a TV as I waited for the best deal, but it was all worth it in the end!
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