Category Archives: Uncategorized

State of the Blog


I wasn’t sure if I should just start posting as if there hadn’t been an over three month hiatus since I last posted. Do I owe my readers an explanation? I’m not even sure I really have regular readers for that matter! I started this blog in April 2013. The blog is four and half years old, which is ancient in blog years. Before I started this blog, I was an avid reader of personal finance blogs and would comment occasionally but didn’t really interact all too much with the personal finance blogging community.

One of the reasons I decided to start a blog of my own was because I was so passionate about the topic that I wanted to write, read and interact with others who blogged about it. However, I will be very honest and say that what really motivated me to actually learn how to start a blog and pay for the associated costs was when I read bloggers’ income reports. I was amazed that you could make money from blogging and thought it would be nice to earn a little side income doing something that I enjoyed. Most established bloggers said that many new bloggers don’t last more than six months because it is a lot of work and if your only motivation is money, you will likely burnout. Plus, you weren’t going to earn a decent income from blogging overnight. You’re playing the long game with blogging. That was fine by me as I spent most of my time on personal finance blogs anyway and wasn’t pursuing it purely for monetary reasons.

My first year blogging, I posted consistently three times a week. Even with the birth of my son, I continued at this pace for about a year. I started losing steam as I released all the pent up ideas stuck in my head. Then with work and family life getting busier as well as the birth of my second son, the blog started to take a back seat. I barely made much income from the blog, but I found the interaction with the personal finance community and the creative outlet writing on the blog to be more valuable and motivating.

This past summer, a few of the blogs I followed were sold. They cited time constraints. Brian from Debt Discipline reduced posting to once a week, preferring to help people offline which I respect. Not too long ago, J Money from Budgets are Sexy considered selling his blog. Two bloggers who had sold their blogs, eventually bought them back. Awhile back, I was approached by a blogger who noticed I rarely updated my blog, showed interested in buying it. My immediate reaction was “NO!” This blog is my baby, I wouldn’t sell it. But of course, a part of me wondered about the value of my blog which I had worked on for over four years. Of course, the price put on it would have to do with my traffic and income, so it probably didn’t hold much monetary value. Outside of sentimental value to myself, did it provide value to any readers. I’m not sure. Was it worth it to spend so much time working on the blog rather than a side hustle which would earn a better income?

While I love interacting with like-minded people, there is the Rockstar Finance forum, the Choose FI Facebook group and the Mr. Money Mustache forums which I can visit to talk to like-minded personal finance nerds. I can also continue reading and commenting on blogs. Another thing is that after blogging for a few years, it’s hard to find things to write about that I haven’t already written about. For example, when it comes to investing, I’m a proponent of index investing, but I’ve probably written as much as I can write about it. It’s not that complex. Plus, the Stock Series on JL Collins’ blog provides a much better information than I ever could.

So what does the future of Living Rich Cheaply hold? I honestly don’t know but I think I’ll be sticking around for a while longer. I still feel like I have some things that I haven’t said that I want to say on this blog. I will probably write about whatever is on my mind and whatever personal finance issues or even non-personal finance related issues I’m personally dealing with at the moment. Hopefully others will find it interesting and/or helpful.

For the other longtime bloggers out there, how do you keep consistently producing content? For the ones with a busy job, family, etc., how do you find time to blog? For readers, is there anything you’d enjoy reading about?

Frugal Find: Groupon Coupons

GrouponLogo

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Groupon, but the opinions expressed are my own.

I don’t always go shopping. But when I do, I always use shopping portals, discounted gift cards and coupon codes. I told a friend recently about a set of presidential blocks that was given as a gift to my son when he turned one. He found them online and said, “hey, that looks pretty cool, I’ll get that for my kid too.” He proceeded to add the item to his cart and was about to click “buy now,” when I practically jumped on top of the keyboard to prevent this from happening. “Hey man, you didn’t look for a coupon code!” I yelled.

I recently found out that Groupon now has a section called Groupon coupons. I’m a fan of Groupon as they made it okay to use coupons. Coupons were no longer reserved for an old granny clipping them from the Sunday papers. Even young millennials would use Groupon deals. I’ve used Groupon for discounted restaurant meals, spa visits, various entertainment activities and even discounted electronics and gifts (Groupon Goods). Groupon coupons offer a list of coupon codes that can be used online as well as coupons that can be printed out to be used at the store.

Whenever I purchase almost anything, I will look for a coupon. It only takes a few seconds to save some money. I used to just Google whatever store I planned to shop at and the word “coupon” or “discount” to find a coupon code or a coupon to print out. It worked with varying levels of success and sometimes some coupon codes just didn’t work. With Groupon, at least it is an established company so Groupon Coupons will be the first stop I make when looking for a discount.

There are many merchants available that offer coupons and discounts such as Amazon, eBay, Home Depot, Hotwire, Kohls, and many more.

Do you use coupons at stores or coupon codes when you shop online?

Guest Post on The Frugal Farmer

credit: freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles

credit: freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles

I have a guest post featured on The Frugal Farmer today which talks about how to invest in real estate. Here is an excerpt of the post, please click on over to read the full post!

There is an allure to making it rich investing in real estate. There are late night infomercials telling you they can teach you to build a real estate empire. There are shows about making big bucks flipping houses. Real estate investing is NOT a get rich quick scheme, but it is a great way to build wealth. If done right, investing in real estate has many benefits including having monthly cash flow, tax benefits, having your tenants’ rent check pay the mortgage, leverage and appreciation. There are many ways to invest in real estate but for purposes of this post, I am going to focus on buy and hold real estate investing.

Click over to read the rest!

Baby #2 Has Arrived!

Baby #2
I’m happy to announce that Baby#2 has arrived in the Living Rich Cheaply family. Older brother has been very helpful with helping out with his little bro. And to long-time readers of this blog, unlike last time when we had an unintended home-birth because the doctors kept telling us it was not time yet, they didn’t dare send us home this time around.

I’ve really been struggling to post consistently and I’m sure having two little ones needing attention will make it doubly tough. How do you bloggers with kids and a full-time job juggle all of this?? I will definitely try to get back into the blogging groove though. When I originally started this blog about three years ago, it was because I didn’t find many personal finance bloggers who were trying to raise a family in the NYC area, which can be challenging because of its high costs of living. At the time, my wife was also planning on staying home with our first child so we would be living on one-income, making it even more challenging. Although opportunity knocked and she decided to accept a job opportunity that came unexpectedly. Now with two little ones, we started having conversations again of having one parent stay home with the kids at some point. We’ve also talked about whether we would move to a bigger place or a different neighborhood with more affordable housing (still in the NYC metro area though so the term “affordable” is relative). So let me leave you with some relevant posts that I’ve written about living in NYC with a family:

Is it Possible to Raise a Family in NYC?
This post goes over some of the pros and cons I find with living in NYC with a family. It’s something that is constantly on my mind. Part of me daydreams of living in a lower cost of living area, but it’s tough to leave a place I’ve known my entire life and where pretty much all our family and friends live. Plus, it’s an awesome city! Just expensive…

Is NYC Really that Expensive?
Yes, living in NYC is expensive, but it’s mainly because of the high cost of housing. Other than that, there are ways around keeping your costs relatively low living here.

Why Do You Live Where You Live?
This post goes over the reasons why people choose to live where they live. NYC is ranked the #2 most stressed city, so why am I still living here?

Small Baby, Small Apartment, Small Budget
Surprisingly, this is one of my most popular posts. I write about what baby stuff we use to conserve space since space is limited. We have since moved to a slightly bigger apartment, but conserving space is still a priority. And now with two kids, space is even more limited.

Are Millennials Sweating Student Loan Debt?

This is a guest post and infographic. Check out my comments at the end and leave a comment of your own.

Education costs are already climbing near record setting levels, but according to a new review by Credit Sesame, millennials aren’t going to be searching for other options, demonstrating the reward down the line is worth the cost.

While the price of university has long been going through the roof, the millennials, who were born between 1981 and 2004, are still looking towards going to college and believe it produces more value than in the past, an opinion that the Gen X did not agree with back in the day. The key distinction between the millennials and Gen X is how carefully the new undergrads are picking their degree to study and exactly how much it will help them establish a secure career future.

The outcomes in summary are down below on what we discovered after the survey:

• Earnings: We found out that over 10 per. of millennial parents made over $150k a year, while only 3% of Generation-X parents met that very same bracket. Next up, over 25 per. of millennial families earned $110k annually while only 4 per. of Generation-X met that bracket. On the other spectrum you’ll find merely 16 per. of millennial families within the $32k per segment or less, whereas one-third of Generation-X parents produced that income.

• The Payout: When we arrived at paying for school the results revealed that nearly 25% of millennials were required to pay out a minimum of $25k, however only 6% of Gen X happened to be paying a similar price. Alternatively we get 50% of Gen X spending $10k or less, while on the millennials side it happened to be 27%.

• The Pay for Knowledge: Our data even showed the value of income when it came to choosing which major to join, and it was substantially different for the pair of generations. When it came to millennials an astounding 33% said that their income had a large impact on their selection, however only 14% of Gen-X agreed that income was a primary decider.

• How Do You Really Feel About That?: When questioned if university is really worth the price tag, 76 percent of millennials agreed it does, although only 68 percent of Gen X agreed.
Edvisors recently published that the graduating class of 2015 racked up by far the most debt in US history. But, millennials will continue to hold a college degree in high regard and its ability to give you a better future financially. The data submitted by the Labor Department in 2013 confirms, showing that people in the US with a college degree on average earn 98% more per hour compared to those who didn’t complete college. But, this doesn’t change the fact that rapidly rising price of university has been out of hand and paying off school loans has been harder and harder each year.
The great news is student loans do not need to control your life. Here are some of the ways you could take control over your current student loan debt:

• Direction – Handling your student loans is a great approach to ensure that you are structured and capable to make a change in places you get the possibility. There are plenty of short-term choices you could make that could have sustaining impact on your long-term financial situation, for one you can start by getting a part-time job, sell some of your old things around the room that you no longer use, or study extra hard to earn yearly scholarships for excellent performance

• Ask Specialists – Creating an assessment on your credit rating and getting custom repayment opportunities can be achieved with companies such as Credit Sesame

• Alert: Interest Rates Ahead – This could sound obvious, but trying to pay back more than your per month bare minimum is the best technique to reduce the financial debt that you have to pay over the long haul. Not surprisingly, not many take the initiative to do so, usually choosing to spend their own extra cash elsewhere

• Consult Your Lender – If you are having troubles repaying those student loans then one of the best options would be to consult with your loan company to find out whether you can either defer some of the installments or even minimizing them if it is possible

We will need to understand that the 4 year degree brought much less appeal to Gen X, the cost mirrored that importance by being substantially more affordable previously. Now millennials prefer degrees that will produce higher earnings and also are usually in demand from employers, not only in present time, but in the longer term as well. Despite the fact that for many students loans are incredibly widespread and departing college with a huge amount of debt is a lot more common, that doesn’t mean that it will continue to be so for a long time. There are many solutions available that can guide you on a tailored plan to begin paying back that debt within a much shorter period.
TL;DR
Student Debt Attitudes: Millennials vs. Gen X Provided by CreditSesame.com

My comments:

Millennials have the most student loans of any other generation. Having the financial burden of student loan debt affects millennials’ ability to buy a house and to start a family. It is one of the biggest problems facing, not only millennials, but the economy. Nevertheless, this study by Credit Sesame finds that millennials are undeterred and still feel like a college degree is worth the cost. College degrees are pretty much a requirement in today’s job market. A college degree is an equivalent of a high school degree a generation ago. So while I do agree that a college degree is worth it, I wouldn’t go deep into debt getting one. I don’t think that a more expensive school will always give you better job prospects upon graduation.

Another interesting finding in the study was that millennials are more pragmatic in choosing majors which will have higher salaries. When it comes to this topic, there are two camps. One camp argues that you should major in what you are passionate about because you will excel at it, thereby enhancing your career options. The other camp argues that you have to be practical and find a STEM major because that’s where you find the jobs and the higher salaries. As with many topics, I think there is a middle ground. I don’t think someone should be compelled to pursue a STEM major solely to find a high-paying job. If I forced to major in engineering or physics, there is a possibility I wouldn’t have graduated college or would have had a very rough time, plus low GPA. I also wouldn’t be naive and think I could major in English literature or Art History and expect to have no problems finding a job and paying student loan debt. As for me, I majored in Business Management partly because I was interested in it, but also because it was a major that was more likely to get me a job. I minored, but eventually double majored in Political Science because I found it interesting. I think minoring in a topic you are interested in is a great option. Plus, there are always electives to choose for courses that you are more passionate about.

Do you think what major you choose matters? Did you go the pragmatic route or did you choose your passion? Is a college degree worth it no matter the cost?