December 8, 2013 | Posted in:Early Retirement

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welcome fishSince January of this year I’ve been sitting down at my computer a couple times a week and jamming my thoughts into my WordPress dashboard. For reasons I won’t claim to understand, more and more people find their way onto the blog every month to read what I have published.

Recently, the site has seen a huge uptick in traffic from Lifehacker and the AARP blog (due to a nice article by personal finance legend Jean Chatzky). These articles led to an overnight doubling of subscriptions, and brought many of you here.

Since there are a bunch of new readers trying to figure out what’s going on here, I think it’s a good idea to welcome everyone and reintroduce myself and the purpose of this site.

Should you be reading this site?

There are over 500 personal finance blogs on the Internet. I know this, because there were at least 500 blogs represented this year at FinCon (the conference for finance bloggers). Is Johnny Moneyseed the right blog for you? Are you better suited for one of the other 499+ blogs that aren’t this one?

I’m not going to claim to appeal to everyone. My goal is to encourage, and help individuals or families fund an early self-retirement through saving, investing and creating passive income streams. If you’re looking for a coupon site, or for a place to find “10 ways to save money at the grocery store” this is not that place.

However, if you’re looking for a way to figure out exactly how many years you’ll have to rot inside a cubicle, while learning how to reduce your overall working career, then this IS the place to be.

If you’re interested in leaving the Middle Class behind, with all of their Starbucks-fueled weekend shopping binges, and are interested in becoming a self-declared member of the First Class, this IS the blog for you.

“But what if I have debt?”

When I was younger I was pretty terrible with my finances. I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, and carried an enormous debt-load. After reading pretty much every finance book on Earth, my wife and I created a Debt-Attack Plan that helped us eliminate $60k of debt in 18 months.

We haven’t had any consumer debt in years, which is why I hardly ever write about it.

This site is dedicated to the pursuit of Financial Independence. With that, I will assume that most readers are either debt-free, or are preparing themselves for when they become debt-free.

What is this blog all about?

The primary goal of this site is to teach you to think differently about your finances. Forget EVERYTHING you’ve ever been told about money, unless one of these bloggers happened to say it.

You may think that eating gourmet food is expensive. You may feel like it’s necessary to be in constant competition with your neighbors. You may think that it’s important to get larger, more extravagent houses, as you make more and more money.  You may even think that you have the ability to save money when you’re buying stuff. This is all silly Middle Class thinking.

Over the past year I’ve made a lot of changes to my financial lifestyle. I saved myself almost $600/year by cancelling cable TV. I started selling stuff around our house that we had no use for. I reduced the cost of my daily commute by moving within a few miles of work. I decided that my children would be paying for their own college. And I started experimenting with new investment options. I even switched to a $10/month no contract cell phone plan.

You can start making changes in your own life by treating everyday like a recession is right around the corner. You can realign your values, and understand that there are alternatives to  40-hour workweeks. Eventually you’ll be able to save over half of your take home pay — especially if you can entertain the crazy idea of trying to earn more money.

Keep in mind that there are literally thousands of people who are interested in Early Retirement. This is one of the places that they come together, and provide an amazing, empowering support system to help people do things that most people wouldn’t believe is possible.

I can honestly say that even though my wife and I save around 70% of our post-tax income, we don’t ever feel like we’re suffering, or living a lower quality of life than anyone else. If anything, we are living a higher quality lifestyle by avoiding unnecessary expenses. We’ll be able to leave standard employment in less than 7 years. We’ll be in our mid-30s and living so efficiently there will never be a need to work ever again.

Welcome to the site. If you still think we can be friends then make yourself a nice cup of coffee, get comfortable, and enjoy!

Start your own Kick-Ass blog in less than 10 minutes.

I will help you via email for the first month of your blog’s existence, free of charge. You can bounce ideas off of me, ask me for tips on building up a following on social media, among other things. Whatever you need help with, I’m here for you.

How to create a Kick-Ass Blog in 10 Minutes

31 Comments

  1. jlcollinsnh
    December 8, 2013

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    Hey Johnny…

    Congrats on the Jean Chatzky bump.

    Well deserved and it shows a discriminating eye on her part!

    Oh, and thanks for including me as “one of these bloggers.” :)

  2. Dee @ Color Me Frugal
    December 9, 2013

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    Congrats on the recent mentions and traffic increase! I enjoy reading your posts and hope my blog can get to such a level some day.

  3. Chris
    December 9, 2013

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    Love this stuff. You guys are a few years ahead of my wife and I on the ER time frame, but it’s good to know that you’re able to successfully work towards a similar goal! Hopefully we can mimic your actions and live a much more relaxing, enjoyable, and fulfilling lifestyle because of it.

    Similar to you, I started selling on eBay by just grabbing stuff around the house. Now I’ve been re-selling purchases from thrift stores and garage sales to help increase some side income, and would LOVE to fully fund my Roth IRA only through my eBay sales next year. Was only able to hit a % of it this year, but next year should be much better!

    Keep up the awesome work with the blog.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      December 11, 2013

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      Fully funding a Roth IRA just by selling stuff would be extremely impressive. Please let me know how you do with that goal.

  4. Brad @ RichmondSavers.com
    December 9, 2013

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    Great summary of the site, and congrats on the bump in traffic! I’ve always visited your site, but I plan to make it a regular thing as I agree completely with your mentality.

    I know you have good taste after seeing your blogroll too — those are the handful of sites (1500 Days, MMM, Mad Fientist, jlollinsnh and Rockstar Finance) that I would consider the best around. Now I need to check out the few from the list that I haven’t regularly visited…

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      December 11, 2013

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      Thanks Brad. I love my blogroll. I have a pretty significant history with all of the people/sites on it.

      You’re located pretty close to us (relatively close anyway). Maybe you could come to one of our monthly blogger happy hours. It’s a bit of a drive from Richmond to Alexandria. I’m coming from Baltimore, so I understand the pain.

      • Brad @ RichmondSavers.com
        December 15, 2013

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        Yeah, that would really be great! I’m assuming this is the same one that J. Money is involved with? I was emailing with him last week about it actually.

        Mr. 1500 and I were also talking about something similar for a 2014 get together, and I know he looped you into that as well…

        If you get a minute, shoot me an email — I’d love to catch up

  5. kyle
    December 9, 2013

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    Very nice, JM. Falling into a middle class, consumerism lifestyle is very, very easy and extremely common. Swimming upstream against this trend will raise many eyebrows among family and friends, but this has to come from within. When you wake up one day and ask yourself, “why am I buying so much shit, i? It’s not making me any happier!” then you realize there is a bigger picture, and that includes your eventual retirement/FI and following your life dreams beyond typically employment. There are a lot of comforts money can buy, but they cannot buy happiness. When you look at the big picture of what really makes one happy, it’s typically family/friends/relationships and life experiences. These cost next to nothing, which means you can save your hard earned dollars and let those money makers work for you for years to come.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      December 11, 2013

      Leave a Reply

      Kyle — It’s pretty crazy to think but buying stuff DOES make you happier. Not like you would think though. It’s kind of like nicotine for a smoker, you get a nice high and you feel satisfied for a while, but you don’t keep that feeling of elation unless you continue to buy more stuff. It’s a horrible cycle.

      I really think that although money can’t buy happiness, it can save a LOT of discomfort. It can make the bad times not so bad, and it can help you avoid the stress that typically comes along with big payments or Debt.

  6. Dave @ The New York Budget
    December 9, 2013

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    Congrats on the bump! You can definitely count me among the folks that this blog is right for! Even in a place like NYC the “First Class” life is possible!

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      December 11, 2013

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      Totally true, and thanks Dave. I hate the mentality of “Well I live in NYC, you don’t understand how expensive it is!” That’s complete BS if you ask me. Your cost of living is only impacted by your personal habits, by your wants and “needs” (I’ll use that term loosely here). It doesn’t matter if you’re in NYC or the rural Midwest, there are always ways to reduce or eliminate the costs of many things in your life.

  7. The Warrior
    December 9, 2013

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    Hey Johnny –

    I’m a fairly new reader (2 months or so) and have really enjoyed reading your thoughts beyond the typical 10-ways-to-save-money-on-toothpaste personal finance blog sites.

    Thanks for linking to some past articles. I have some reading to do now. ;)

    Keep it up. Love reading your stuff

  8. Steven @FinandFit
    December 9, 2013

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    I can honestly say this is my favorite financial blog site out there. It helps that I have many of the same goals with early retirement and can use Johnnymoneyseed as a sounding board on whether my plan or idea is on the right track. So thanks and you still owe me a response on the YOU Can Save More Than HALF of Your Income. Trust me.

    Good luck and lots of great blog entries that I can read and strategize my evil plan to take over the world….Pinky and the Brain.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      December 11, 2013

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      Thanks Steven. I’ll check out that comment, sometimes they get lost in the mix.

  9. Micro
    December 9, 2013

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    Over 500 personal finance bloggers at Fincon huh? Clearly my feedly subscription is severly lacking in information. Actually, I don’t think even someone who is financially independent could read over 500 sites of information every day. Although it is amazing how quickly you can expand your pf blogger list just by checking out the comments section. That was how I came across your blog and have been enjoying the articles since.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      December 11, 2013

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      I’m not going to say that any of those 500 sites are shitty, but I will say that a lot of them aren’t really my cup of tea. As far as finance blogs go I usually try to stay inside the Financial Independence lines.

  10. Mr. 1500
    December 9, 2013

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    Right on brotha! Keep up the fine work and your 7 years will be compressed drastically. I’m happy and honored that I’m in any way associated with the Moneyseeds.

  11. Rezdent
    December 11, 2013

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    Congrats on the bumps! It was just a matter of time til people started figuring out that your blog is really good. I’ve been lurking here a while. I’m not interested in coupons so I’m in the right place :)

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      December 11, 2013

      Leave a Reply

      Rezdent — Coming from someone who tried the whole coupon thing, it isn’t worth it at all. There isn’t one thing in the grocery store that I purchase in a typical week that they make coupons for. Maybe if they start making them for meat, vegetables and dairy products I’d be interested.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • Collin @ Window in the Ivory Tower
        December 13, 2013

        Leave a Reply

        I can confirm this too. After obsessively keeping track of expenses for years, only ~10% of all the money we’ve spent since 2006 has gone to food, and that includes eating out! Better to concentrate on cutting luxuries than food. I’m glad to see that thrift is popular again.

        By the way, I would love to see a post about the economics of home upgrades such as attic insulation, new windows, etc., considering that you own two properties now.

        • Johnny Moneyseed
          December 13, 2013

          Leave a Reply

          I may write an article about just that. Our second house needs a fair amount of work. A lot of the features haven’t been upgraded EVER. So the insulation sucks. The electrical wiring sucks. The windows are old and drafty. The list goes on and on.

          There are countless inefficiencies and we plan on fixing them one at a time. Most of the upgrades we do should have an impact on our utility usage.

  12. Ryan @ Impersonal Finance
    December 19, 2013

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    I’m one of those new people, but I definitely dig what I’ve seen on here so far man.

  13. Alex
    December 29, 2013

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    There are many viable strategies to determine if the area you’re trying to save money on is worth your time. You can use what I’m about to post and apply it to your own situation. I make $40/hour if I work overtime at my job. For something to be worth it for me in terms of saving, I would have to determine if the time/effort it takes me to achieve that is worth more than $40 or would I be better off working overtime at work and paying someone to do it.

    For example, if I’m trying to paint my house and the painter charges $30/hr. it wouldn’t make sense for me to try to do it myself. I could just work overtime at my job (which is also much less physical work then painting) and actually come out ahead then if I tried to do it myself!

    As for the coupon strategy,I’m not a fan of it either. It will actually make me LOSE money based on the above. But I disagree with saving on food not being profitable. I think you can maximize your earning by cutting back on almost any aspect of life IF you do it correctly. So I will give you an example with regards to the food using myself. The average individual spends approximately $292 for food:

    http://www.loweryourspending.com/average-grocery-bill-for-family-of-4.html

    I spend less than half that, about $120-$130/month. I eat very healthy food and get everything my body needs without any compromise (I’m a fitness nut so I don’t compromise on healthy food I have to have). So I save approximately $155 over the average person when it comes to food a month. This takes zero effort as far as time is concerned. All I had to do was learn about nutrition, fitness and what are the cheap/healthy foods at the store. This is something everyone should do regardless of whether they want to save money. After you learn these things, you spend exactly the same amount of time and effort in this area as anyone else in the USA; which is the time it takes to go food shopping.

    Take that money from when your 25 to when your 65 and put it in an index fund like the vanguard S&P 500. They charge only .18% fee and your average rate of return is mathematically guaranteed to be AT LEAST 8% over that length of time. I have done the math on this in the past and have the links to back it up but I don’t feel like taking the time to post it now. If anyone is interested on full details contact me. So let’s say your real rate of return is about 5%/yr. after accounting for inflation, here’s the extra amount of money you will have for retirement just by making a minor adjustment in your life:

    $231,000! That’s assuming the worst possible return rate that fund can give. And you literally put in 0 effort to achieve this without any compromise to your lifestyle!

  14. Meadow Lark
    January 31, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    Enjoying your blog. Is it wrong that after you mentioned Starbucks my first reaction was, “Mmm, I have a gift card to Starbucks… That would be good right now…”?

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      January 31, 2014

      Leave a Reply

      Haha! Nothing wrong with that. Just remember that moderation is key :)

  15. Flannel Guy ROI
    February 4, 2014

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    Great intro article, and I have to say DAMN! Truly impressed with the 70% after tax savings rate. We fell way short of that this year, but it is year one. Props to you both!

    -Your brother from the other 499+ (there has to be some sort of play on occupy’s 99% here, right??)

  16. Garry Burgess
    February 9, 2014

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    I’m a start late finish rich sort of guy, but both my wife and I have great pensions. I just want to save up some more “fun money” for travel and unexpected bad financial “stuff”. 70% after tax savings is nice, but I’m not quite there yet, although I now consider my wife and I superstar savers.

  17. j1
    March 1, 2014

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    Your writing style is too MMM like. I wish you had something unique of your own.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      March 1, 2014

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      I’ve never heard anyone say that. I feel like we write in completely different styles and I try not to ever write the about the same subject matter as him. Look around our sites a bit more, I think you’ll see some differences.

  18. Michael Keel
    April 1, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    Love the site,
    I’d like to read about you automation of your finances.
    Is there a post? Did I miss it?

    Thanks
    Mike

  1. 10 Questions with Johnny Moneyseed | 1500 Days to Freedom1500 Days to Freedom - […] 10 Questions features Johnny Moneyseed (JM). JM was one of the first bloggers I connected with and turns out, …

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