When I was paying off my debt five years ago, I made myself listen to Dave Ramsey every day on the way home from work to stay motivated. His voice coached me through $20,000 worth of payments. If you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, as old-timey coach Jim Rohn said, you probably need to spend some more time with financially brilliant people.
The landscape of bloggers and podcasts trying to help you with money has only grown since I paid off my debt, offering an array of voices to get you help where and when you need it. Now that I’ve slid back in debt (just a little, I swear), I’m going to subscribe, follow, and listen more often.
The FinCon conference, for people at the intersection of money and media, recently hosted 2,000 people trying to help you help yourself with your finances, including people you’ve probably already heard of, like Mr. Money Mustache, who became famous for helping to spark the retire early movement. But do we need all these financial folk? After I thought about all the people trying to get our money away from us, all the commercials we hear and all the billboards we see, I think we do. While marketing bursts into our lives uninvited, telling us why we need this or that now, I think we’d all be better financially if we invited in some fiscally wise friends to help us beat back the messages of spend, spend, spend.
You might get lost in the exactly one million bloggers out there trying to tell you what to do with your money. Luckily, the Plutus Awards, the financial media’s Grammy’s, given out at FinCon, did us the happy favor of telling us who we should listen to. Here are 10 of our favorites:
Bitches Get Riches
Since they graduated from college in 2009, “Piggy” and “Kitty” have paid off their student loans, purchased houses, and are facing the concept of retirement with f-bombs and hilarity. They dish out relevant life advice on their blog on everything from how to shop for groceries “like a boss” to what to taking pride in being a cheap date. Here’s some truth from a sample post of theirs on procrastination:
“You know what procrastination really is? Besides a completely average and not-humiliating dysfunction, that is? It’s a waste of money.”
Rich & Regular
Julien and Kiersten are a married couple living in the Atlanta suburbs who wiped out $200,000 in debt in five years and now save 70 percent of their take-home pay, despite the challenges of being new parents. Instead of lecturing you on what you shouldn’t do, their blog—which won the award for best new personal finance blog—focuses on how they are getting ahead. The aim is to inspire others in posts like “how we learned to fight fair about money” and one on Mr. Rich & Regular’s decision to leave his job.
Erin Lowry, general Boss, and author of Broke Millennial, the book child of the blog of the same name, wants you to get your financial life together. Her free 3-Minute Guide video series doles out advice on everything from dealing with your emotional money baggage to paying off debt, with recent episodes on “How to Travel Abroad on a Serious Budget” and “7 Things I Wish I Did Differently at 22.” She also dishes out fun, relatable advice on Instagram and Twitter:
An analyst with a finance degree, Chris Browning believes “understanding your finances should be as simple as making a bag of popcorn.” Recent episodes of his weekly podcast, which won the best new personal finance podcast award, cover how to recover from a financial fail and tips for earning freelance income. Browning’s friendly, relatable tone makes him fun to listen to and he often brings in guests to mix things up.
Debt Free Guys
For five years, the Debt Free Guys blog and the Queer Money podcast have been helping queer people live fabulously, not fabulously broke. They found that despite appearing marvelous in media and winning marriage equality, many in the LGBTQ community struggle with financial insecurity and, depending on their LGBTQ status, risk being denied housing, employment and services in up to 30 states. They work to help their community thrive in debt-free lives. When I asked them what they’re message is to their readers, they said, “We were the gay cliche of living fabulously but fabulously broke. We changed that. So can you."
Side Hustle Nation
Blogger and podcaster Nick Loper helps people earn money outside of their day job, deconstructing the tactics behind building businesses and creating extra income streams. In one of his most popular episodes, he discusses how to make a living flipping stuff on Craigslist, hopefully without getting murdered. Every week, you can find part-time business ideas and marketing strategies, as well as advice on freelancing, blogging, e-commerce, investing, and dozens of other creative ways people are making extra money on the side.
While Tiffany Aliche, better known as the Budgetnista, dishes out smart financial advice on her personal Instagram and Facebook pages, the real action is on her Dream Catchers Facebook group, which has about 350,000 members and a thriving community. Dream Catchers agree to take the Budgetnista’s free Live Richer Challenge, where she breaks her advice down into easy financial tasks, with the first being: “Identify, write down, and share your goals.”
She Picks Up Pennies
Lots of blogs focus on making more money, but that’s not an option for everyone, like teachers. This is the perspective of “Penny,” who lives frugally to make her set salary work. Her blog, which won the best frugality award, is one teacher’s awkward journey to destroy debt and enjoy life with her family. “When we make people feel bad about their spending, especially if it is spending they can afford, we erase what progress the personal finance community has made," she writes.
Jonathan Mendonsa and Brad Barrett started ChooseFI in January 2017 with a mission of exploring the world of financial independence, with an aim toward retiring early. Recent episodes of their biweekly podcast have covered various paths to reaching financial independence and to avoiding losing your focus. In addition to their podcast, they have a network of local groups across the globe that anyone can join for help with achieving financial independence.
You can afford anything, but not everything — that’s Paula Pant’s main message. After quitting her low-paying job as a reporter in 2008, Pant has lived the dream, traveling for years, getting paid while she sleeps through passive income from real estate investing. Her blog and podcast (which won podcast of the year) teach listeners and readers how to do the same.
Follow Paulette Perhach on Twitter.