Personal finance is tricky business. The pursuit of financial independence is not a quick one. It’s a goal requiring time, endless amounts of patience in managing personal finances and determination with very minimal rewards in the process.
Sure, there are certain milestones you can reach: Hitting a goal number in savings only to pick the next goal number in a certain time frame. Paying off your car and opening up more income to apply to investments or other loans. Finishing out a month or pay period under budget or attempting to tighten the budget only to realize you can actually spend less than what you thought you could.
Exciting stuff, right?
Ok, I do find these accomplishments and milestones exciting but how do you sustain the excitement when the next goal might be weeks, months or years away? How do you stay motivated when you’re turning down instant gratification left and right in order to continue on in the pursuit of debt free living and financial independence?
I’ve only been seriously budgeting since September 2018, and I’ve had some impressive fuckups along the way. I’ve also had some substantial wins as well– paying off my car several years early, sticking to my budget, taking a two-week trip to Italy and paying for it in cash.
Those are exciting wins to me!
But now as I start thinking about my future and what I want to do and what kind of life I want to have, becoming financially independent, meaning having enough money saved or invested so that I don’t have to work, is a goal 15-20 years in the distance. It requires a lifetime of frugality, living off half my income or more, and a willingness to function outside of what is considered normal in our consumerist society.
It’s not easy an easy goal. Pursuing financial independence is a bit abnormal in our culture today.
But it excites me. It makes me hopeful. And living with less so that I can live more resonates with me. It’s what I want more than blowing money on things that actually bring me little to no real value and actually hinder my potential happiness.
Staying Motivated: Financial Independence, Money Matters, and Budgeting Podcasts and Blogs
Now, how do I stay motivated when I feel the urge to blow money on eating out, fancy cocktails, home decor and quick weekend getaways? One of the best ways I’ve found to stay motivated is by listening to podcasts and reading blog posts from people who are doing what I want to be doing.
There’s a big community of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) experimenters and advocates that are sharing their journey with the world. Reading or listening to their experiences inspires me to keep going when I feel like “oh who gives a fuck, I’ll just be like everyone else and spend every penny I make and then some on this eight dollar latte that has gold shavings and charcoal in it.”
No offense to those who like golden charcoal lattes.
But I don’t want to do that. I want the option to never have to worry about money.
ANYWAY. Enough of that side tangent.
I wanted to share what I’ve been binge reading, listening to and watching in order to stay motivated on the financial independence and debt free journey.
Budgeting and Personal Finance Podcasts
1. How to Money
I love “How to Money”.
Joel and Matt, two best friends (that I want to be best friends) with, talk about all the ways they cut costs and save money. They bring guests from all different backgrounds to come talk about their finances and they tell stories that are authentic, purposeful, and thoughtful.
I love it because they cover such a wide-breadth of topics from reducing your energy bill to why Warehouse memberships are and aren’t a good deal.
Some of my favorite “How to Money” episodes include:
- Elevating the Everyday and Paying Off 200k
- The Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche Approach to Paying Down Debt
- Overcoming Poverty, Achieving Financial Independence, and Intentional Living with Jillian Johnsrud
They are lovely and adorable and an easy listen. If you like beer, they also drink a new craft beer during each episode and go over what they like/dislike about it. I know they also have a blog, but it’s not as nearly prolific as their podcast. Highly recommend their podcast if you’re looking for all the ways you can be better with your money.
2. Choose FI
Again, apparently Choose FI also has a blog/website with tons of resources, but I love the podcast and haven’t delved deep into their site yet. They also cover a WIDE range of topics and are a great resource, especially for those interested in financial independence.
Unlike “How to Money”, “Choose FI” focuses less on everyday tips to save money and cut costs, and focus more on how people have achieved financial independence and retired early.
I really like them because they bring people like Mr. Money Mustache, one of the OG FIRE bloggers, but they also cover things like breaking the glass ceiling, expanding your awareness, and how to get a job.
They interview a lot of the same people that How To Money does, but I like that. When I find a blogger/person/advocate etc that I really connect with, I enjoy diving into everything they’ve got out on the market. What I’ve found is even if they’ve done the same interview on different shows, you learn more and more because podcasts never stick to a script. I like listening to stories from multiple different perspectives even if it’s the same person telling it.
Some of my favorite Choose FI episodes:
I also like that Choose FI has local chapters, even here in Chicago. There’s a Facebook Group called Choose FI Chicago where people put on events and group outings for people who are on the path to financial independence. I haven’t been to an event yet, but am excited to in the future.
Bigger Pockets is an awesome education site that offers a ton of free content and tools to understand real-estate investing.
I love the Bigger Pockets podcast because not only does covers how people are investing in real-estate all over the country, but it also does deep dives into productivity, financial freedom, focus, and other topics that are incredibly necessary when exploring a side-hustle or passion project or new business.
Bigger Pockets has several different podcasts including Bigger Pockets Business, Bigger Pockets Real Estate, and Bigger Pockets Money. I like ALL of them, but the one I’ve listened to the most is the Bigger Pockets Real Estate podcast.
Here are a few of my favorite Bigger Pockets episodes:
- How to Ditch Distractions and Get WAY More Done
- 10 Deals on a $20k Waitress Salary with Ashley Hamilton
- Financial Freedom Before 30 Through Just 10 Deals with Felipe Mejia
THIS BLOG. I binge read it for approximately four hours the first day that I found it, and I’m obsessed.
It has single handedly convinced me that I don’t actually want to purchase a house (yet), but I’ll explain more on that later since my last Budgeting Bare post announced my desire to purchase property.
Whoops. Things change.
But anyway, this blog is written by a Canadian couple that was able to retire in their early thirties by living off 50% or less of their income, investing like mother-fuckers, and cutting back on frivolous spending.
Now they travel the world, write children’s books, and live their best lives. Enviable to say the least but inspiring on all fronts.
Some of my favorite Millennial Revolution posts:
- Disowned for Being a Millionaire: Why I Still Won’t Buy a House
- How We Got Here, Part 1: God, We Were Spendy Back Then
- Why Most People Lose Money in the Stock Market
What makes this blog even better is the writing style. Millennial Revolution is brutally honest, sassy as hell, and contains no bullshit. It’s hilarious and informative and I love it a lot. Plus for my fellow binge-readers, it’s got TONS of content which makes it prime binge reading material.
2. Ms ZiYou
If you go to Ms. ZiYou’s blog, and start reading, I think it will become very apparent very quickly why I like her blog.
She’s a massive feminist.
Trying to become financially independent on her own.
I love her. And have a feeling if you like the Bare, you’ll love her too.
Some of my favorite Ms ZiYou posts:
- Resisting the Beauty Tax of Patriarchal Capitalism
- Dating While Pursuing FI– and Who Pays for Dates?
- Dating as a Feminist– or How to Eliminate 80% of the Dating Pool
Rich and Regular I actually heard about on “How to Money”!
Another win for HTM!
This blog is about a family in Atlanta that decided to stop spending crap tons of money keeping up with the Joneses and instead decided to handle their business.
Mrs. R&R started off by climbing the corporate ladder (and continues to), working hard and working her way up but still spending enough to land her $200k in credit card debt, even though she was making well into the six figures.
“Elevate the everyday”
Future Mr. R&R helped her to realize how frivolous her spending was and together they turned their personal finances around. Eventually Mr. R&R was able to quit his day job while Mrs. R&R continues to climb the ladder. They are both frugal but spend money where it matters– like experiences that “elevate the everyday” by having a nice bottle of wine once a week or brewing their favorite coffee so that they don’t feel the pressure to creep up their lifestyle in order to “live better.”
They both write posts and I love posts by both of them. What I find most appealing about this blog is their unapologetic decision to live outside the norm in order to live far beyond the norm. They talk about the difficulties in not conforming, and talking about the hard stuff? That’s something I relate to deeply.
Here are some of my favorite Rich and Regular posts:
- The Easiest Way To Get a Raise is to Give Yourself One
- 6 Signs Leaving my Job Was the Right Decision
- The Downside to Moving on Up
- Women and Money: Why I Decided to Lean Into the Math, Instead of My Career
Mr. Money Mustache is one of the FIRE OG’s. He has developed a cult following after years of writing on his blog. I just recently discovered him after hearing his name on a few podcasts and finally decided to start diving into his content.
And I was not disappointed. His blog is like an interesting text book that will guide you step by step on the journey to becoming financially independent.
It’s FULL of content, personal finance resources, and a HUGE community that makes me feel less alone while wandering along the journey of frugality and savings.
Mr. Money Mustache is extreme, but incredibly enjoyable to read. He is sarcastic and firey and from what I’ve read, I really enjoy it.
My Favorite Mr. Money Mustache Blog Posts:
- Getting Rich: From Zero to Hero in One Blog Post
- The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement
- The 4% Rule:The Easy Answer to How Much do I Need for Retirement
Cait Flanders’ personal finance blog is one that I found after reading her book “The Year of Less.”
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a product link and make a purchase, the Bare will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As always, I NEVER advocate for anything that is 1. Not worth spending money on or 2. Something I actually use.
She’s the first personal finance blog I ever read, and she’s what inspired my budgeting bare posts. The early parts of her blog mostly consist of spending reports and analyzing where her money went and tracking what she spent on debt. It’s so simple, yet so effective.
I definitely binge read her blog in about one evening, and I recommend her blog to people just starting out in the personal finance world. The book is fantastic as well.
In truth, I think I like her because we are close in age, with similar bad money habits (eating out too much, spending too much on entertainment, buying “big girl stuff”). It’s nice to connect to people who feel familiar in the struggle for money management, and reading her book made me feel like I was reading my own story.
Some of my favorite Cait Flanders posts:
- How I Paid Off $30,000 of Debt in Two Years
- You Weren’t Born to Pay Off Debt and Die
- The Year I Embraced Minimalism and Completed a Yearlong Shopping Ban
- I Got Sober at 27 (And I Didn’t Quit to Save Money)
These are some of my personal finance blog and podcast favorites, although I’m finding more and more blogs that I love all the time the deeper I get into the topic. What are some of your personal finance and budgeting favorites? Share them in the links below!