Interview Series – Budgets Are Sexy

October 4, 2011

J. Money is the pen name for the guy behind the site Budgets are Sexy and the focus of today’s interview series. There’s a lot about J. Money that’s totally different than me – he has a big mohawk poking out of his head, he doesn’t have a “day job”, and he’s really good about connecting with people online.

What Makes J. Money Tick?

As I sat and chatted with J. Money at the Financial Bloggers conference this weekend I learned there’s also lot we do have in common.  One of the big things is that we both grew up as army brats.  Growing up as a military kid gives you a good sampling from the buffet of life.  You meet people from all walks of life, live in all different places, learn to adapt to your surroundings, become more accepting of ideas and other people, and are willing to try more new things. 

Giving Back

Love Drop and Phil's Friends

I think many of these qualities are some of the reasons that after J. Money lost his day job just under a year ago, he was able to partner with a friend and start a really cool charity project called Love Drop.   I was fortunate enough to join over everyone in the picture above last weekend (thanks pffirewall) in the latest Love Drop project, donating our time and money to partner with Phil’s friends and help people struggling to beat cancer. (See if you can find me in the picture).

I’m really proud of what J. Money and the Love Drop team have been able to do for others, I think it’s a great example of how anyone can find a way to give back and I think it’s very noble of them to pour their heart into it they way they do. 

On the Move

One of the many thigns that J. Money likes about Love Drop is that it lets him stay a “ramblin man”.  His roots as a kid in military life mean he’s accustomed to traveling and Love Drop helps him scratch that travel itch.

In fact, he’s been moving and traveling so much his whole life, it led him to try something a little more permanent.  In an attempt to put down some roots, he and his wife bought a house a few years back which is the subject of his second interview question.  Check out  below how J. Money’s been pushed around financially in the past and how he decided to deal with it.  

1) Describe a time that a person or company tried to take advantage of you financially and what you did to stop them.
Funny you should ask that, I literally just got taken advantage of by United Airlines! They charged my credit card $75 for nothing.  And then couldn’t tell me what it was for after 2 hours on the phone with people. So I called American Express and they happily disputed it for me 🙂 

I haven’t heard back on it yet, but I know for 100% certainty that it was not deserving and will get credited.  It just amazes me how large corporations can just charge you for something without an ounce of an explanation.  And then makes you go through hoops to resolve it

(I was advised to email United by one of their reps, which I did and then received back a note that it could take a couple of business weeks to get an answer back.  And that’s just the explanation – God forbid if I have to start debating an email robot!)

2) Describe a time you were bullied into a financial decision (by a person or a company).  How did it end up impacting you and if you could go back in time how would you handle it differently?

Hmm… I don’t think I’ve ever been “bullied” per se, at least in my grown up years, but I know I rushed into buying our house when I shouldn’t have!  (Can America bully you?  Cuz if so, that’s what it did – haha…). 

I bought into the “American Dream” of owning a home when I was not the right candidate for a variety of reasons (mainly, I don’t like to be “settled”).   It’s what got me to start blogging about money to begin with, but here we are 4 years later with $60k+ underwater and me trying to figure out how to unload it. 

The current plan is to just start going hardcore with mortgage payments for the next few years and REALLY knock it down enough to at least break even, and then we’ll probably sell it or maybe rent it out.  Financially speaking, I’d go back in time and just never have bought it, but Life speaking – I wouldn’t change a thing. 

I’ve learned an incredible amount since that fateful day, and my new career/lifestyle/friends/everything that’s “me” right now came out of that decision.  Buying a house when we shouldn’t have led me to the online world of blogs and knowledge, and I wouldn’t have changed it for a thing.

Thanks to J. Money for sharing his stories and for giving so generously of himself in life, if you want to learn more about his charity projects, check out Love Drop.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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4 Responses to Interview Series – Budgets Are Sexy

  • Brad Chaffee

    J Money — the “American Dream” will get you every time won’t it? LOL Glad to finally be rid of our American Dream and to have replaced it with our very own dream of becoming completely debt free. That’s the kind of dream I’m talking about baby!!!

    Ben — Hey man, it was really nice chatting with you on Saturday night (at like 4am)!! LOL I hope we get to do it again and perhaps we can find a way to collaborate before fincon12. 😀


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