Finding Financial Deodorant – An Interview with Daniel of Sweating the Big Stuff

by Ryan

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff,” but what about the big stuff? If you follow the personal finance 101 advice from Daniel, you just might not even have to sweat at all. Daniel is a recent college grad and personal finance blogger who writes over at Sweatingthebigstuff.com where he talks about an array of personal finance topics. Keep reading to find out more about his perspective on personal finance, blogging, and of course, shark diving!

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What initially sparked your interest in blogging? Walk me through how you started Sweating the Big Stuff.
For the past few years, I’ve been reading more and more about personal finance. It started with Yahoo! Finance, then I added Kiplinger and The Motley Fool, and suddenly it snowballed into me reading 50+ personal finance blogs a day. When I started my full time job this summer, I realized that I had more time on my hands than I knew what to do with. When I got home, there was no homework and I wanted to avoid playing video games and watching TV all day.

What makes your site different than others in the PF arena?
I love use my experiences as teachable lessons. Whether it’s slashing the phone bill in half with a few phone calls or having to pay out-of-pocket for a mistake I made 11 years ago, I try to translate my experiences into personal finance lessons that everyone can learn from. I try not to focus on saving a few pennies here and there because that just stresses me out.

Tell me a bit about your current situation, where are you now, where do you want to be in 5 years?
I graduated from school in May and started my first full-time job as a Systems Analyst for an insurance company soon afterward. I know that saving now will benefit me in the future, so I live with 3 roommates, two of whom live in closets (we had to remove shelves and the doors don’t fully open because the beds are in the way). It’s a crazy situation, but I think I’ll be thanking myself later.

Down the road, I hope to not sit in a cube for 8 hours a day. It doesn’t need to be laying out on the beach, but I’d hope to have more of an impact on people’s lives. I hope I can convince myself that putting 3 years of hard work is worth it to have some more autonomy and do something I truly find enjoyable. CFP anyone?


What is the biggest thing you’ve sweated thus far?

Haha! Maybe I need to change the site to “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” I don’t worry about the little things that make me happy, but I do focus on saving on recurring charges. The biggest one is the $100/month savings on the family cell phone plan, and the savings that makes me most proud is the $5/haircut savings I get because I had to do the negotiating face to face and it worked out for both parties.

What’s your favorite personal finance book?
I absolutely love Herb Cohen, so it’s a toss up between You Can Negotiate Anything and Negotiate This!: By Caring, But Not T-H-A-T Much. I love the idea of actively saving money as opposed to losing quality in return for a lower price. The powers of bargaining and negotiating are amazing and I want to build the confidence he has so that I can care, but not T-H-A-T much.

If you could sum up the best financial advice in one sentence what would it be?
Pay yourself first.

If I gave you $1 million post tax cash right now, what would you do with it?
Pay off the student loan debt, get an apartment with a window in my bedroom, and then put 90% of what’s left in savings. I’d offer to work for free for someone who has the job that I want, then I’d work my butt of and eventually earn a salary. I have no idea where my life will take me, but I know that I want to do something I love. That will happen, even if it means a lower salary.

What’s your favorite blog post thus far?
Tried and Tested: Pay Yourself First. That one really puts things in perspective for me and when i started reading, it got me motivated to save now so that I wouldn’t have to worry as much later.

Would you ever scuba dive with sharks?
Sharks? No. Sea turtles I would consider. I went snorkeling in the Bay Islands of Honduras this summer and the fish were gorgeous. Had I stayed an extra week I would have seriously considered getting scuba lessons and getting to see some really cool stuff.

Thanks again to Daniel for providing his insight into personal finance and his experiences blogging. Check out his blog at SweatingTheBigStuff.com.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Financial Samurai March 9, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Good stuff guys! Insightful interview on one of our honorable Yakezie members.
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Mental To Physical Connection For A Healthier Lifestyle =-.

Peter March 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Great , very interesting interview ! Daniel , I think that you have large potential.The best question was about sharks :)

Greetings from Europe :)
Peter

Evolution Of Wealth March 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Gotting love the Yakezie. I haven’t read either of your favorite books. I guess I’ll have to put them on the list.
.-= Evolution Of Wealth´s last blog ..7 Disability Insurance Add-on Features =-.

Boris March 10, 2010 at 2:54 am

Hi, Ryan,
Great interview. I totally agree on these wisdom pearls from Daniel:
“actively saving money as opposed to losing quality in return for a lower price.”
“I know that I want to do something I love. That will happen, even if it means a lower salary”
All the best!
Boris
.-= Boris´s last blog ..Your mission, should you decide to accept it… =-.

Moon Hussain March 10, 2010 at 4:43 am

Ryan,

I’m not familiar with Daniel’s blog so I’ll have to check it out. His living situation sounds crazy, but more power to him for being frugal. Smart answer about the sea turtles too πŸ˜‰
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..My Three Pronged Approach To Creating My First Niche Website =-.

Kiesha @ WeBlogBetter March 10, 2010 at 9:46 am

These titles you come up with are hilarious! I could use a bit of financial deodorant myself because my money is always kinda funky. Anyway, it’s great to read this interview about the man who has a guest post currently featured on my site :)
By the way, using your own personal experiences as teachable lessons is always an awesome way to stand out from the crowd.
.-= Kiesha @ WeBlogBetter´s last blog ..What a local blogger group can do for your blog =-.

Daniel March 10, 2010 at 11:24 am

Tanks for having me Ryan, it’s been a lot of fun. And great job hosting, I know it’s a ton of work πŸ˜‰
.-= Daniel´s last blog ..Interview Series: Monevator =-.

Search Engine Viking March 10, 2010 at 11:27 am

The Beavis and Butthead in me saw this:

“I live with 3 roommates, two of whom live in closets”

and laughed for a good five minutes. I know it’s not a metaphor (at least I don’t think it is), but it nearly made me spit out my Diet Mountain Dew :)

All random verbiage aside – another excellent interview. Thanks Ryan!
.-= Search Engine Viking´s last blog ..Alexa 3,598,486 And Counting =-.

Little House March 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Oh, roommates! I remember that period in my life where rent was cheaper than a car payment. Good for him…I just hope all of this roommates are really clean freaks! πŸ˜‰
.-= Little House´s last blog ..Amazing Home Makeovers =-.

myfinancialobjectives March 11, 2010 at 3:55 am

Great interview! I remember when we squeezed extra roommates in. Those were some fun times, with low rent! I love reading these interviews, its always motivational to see someone in a similar circumstance to myself achieving success in this format.
.-= myfinancialobjectives´s last blog ..The Ultimate Motivator: Compounding Interest =-.

Forest March 11, 2010 at 4:00 am

Awesome stuff… we share a lot of beliefs. I am working so one day I can volunteer with my time for people I want to work for…. In the mean time I am working on passive income.
.-= Forest´s last blog ..Now Insanity – Continuing The Workout At Home Trend =-.

Monevator March 11, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I love your answer to the question about having a $1 million Daniel. Pretty unusual – most people say “put it in a bank and live off it”, which is clearly not a good move for most over 40 years. (And in reality of course most spend it).

Your answer could take you somewhere great! Now to get that million, eh? πŸ˜‰

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