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!
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.