Welcome to the newest installment of the Yakezie interview series. Today, we have questions answered by Jason at Live Real Now. Jason has been making major strides cutting his debt and has chronicled the journey at his site.
How did you get started in personal finance blogging? What was your inspiration?
In April 2009, my wife and I were on the verge of bankruptcy. We weren't behind on anything, but we were in over our heads. While researching bankruptcy attorneys, I discovered Dave Ramsey and decided to give that a shot, first. For the next 6 months, I wouldn't shut up about money and decided I should share my journey with the world and stop annoying my friends and family with it.
What changed in your financial life after you were married and had kids that was a surprise? If you could instill one financial value in your children, what would it be and why?
I was shocked by how much nickel and dime crap there was to pay for with our house. Everything from getting the sewer main snaked to replacing the screen in the window to buying gas for the snowblower to having to own a snowblower. It all costs money and adds up, but nobody ever thinks about that before they get a house. The one financial value I am trying to drill into my kids is a pure loathing for debt, specifically interest payments. Kids, don't carry debt. If you can't control yourself, don't get credit cards!
On your site, you mentioned that you are trying to change your lifestyle. You are trying to get in shape and downsize your stuff. Have those efforts made a financial impact in your life? If you could start those efforts again today, what would you do differently?
I managed to cut my finances down pretty severely before I picked up my other projects, so I don't think weight loss or downsizing has had much of an impact financially. The one thing I would do differently is to remind myself not to cheat. I can't cheat just a little. Guaranteed, if I eat one cookie, there will be 3 more following it. I need to follow a strict set of rules, or I will definitely fail.
What is the biggest personal finance lesson you learned the hard way?
This one's tough. I've always had a compulsion to learn every possible lesson the hard way. The biggest? Get your husband/wife/partner/lover/
Outside of blogging, what has been the biggest change you made to your financial life that made a difference? (i.e. making more money, frugal changes, budgeting, investing)
Credit. Rather the shunning of. Over the past 27 months, we've paid down $40,000 of debt. We couldn't have done that if we were still charging our lives away. This spring, we got surprise with a $4000 bill for my son's vision therapy and managed to pay it off without paying a cent of interest on it. That would have been impossible with our old spending habits. Our money is doing what we want it to do now, instead of demanding it be spent on garbage like a new TV we didn't need and couldn't afford 3 years ago.