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Personal Finance Blogging Pet Peeves #2 (or #X tips that will save you $Y)

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If you've read a lot of finance blogs, you'll see articles that give you 30 ways to save $3,000 or 25 ways to save $2,000. Often times each of the ways are legit. Occasionally they are stretched a little bit. For instance, you'll often read about the $5 cup of coffee that can be made at home for a few cents. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but Energi Girl is. The last time I was at Starbucks, her drink didn't come to more than $3. I think it might have been $2.65.

The real kicker is that after you've read one of these and made some adjustments, reading future versions of these don't help. The second time I read that I can save by eliminating coffee, it's not helpful. The last 25 or so of these articles that I've read have led to zero applicable savings for me. Yet the articles almost always assume that all savings can be applied. This is the real crux of the pet peeve - the part that says, "Now that you've saved $2500..." Occasionally that will be followed up with my #1 Pet Peeve and that $2500 will be compounded for 30 years at 10% interest to $43,500 per year.

I'm sure I'm not the target audience for these kinds articles. However, it seems like most of the time personal finance bloggers are preaching to other personal finance bloggers. In the end I think I'm sour to go through the entire article and come up empty.

Last updated on June 29, 2008.

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4 Responses to “Personal Finance Blogging Pet Peeves #2 (or #X tips that will save you $Y)”

  1. Leroy Brown says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head, when you said that you’re not the target audience for those lists. The average Joe who throws away lots of money on useless crap is. Now, does Joe read those lists? I’m not sure.. but he is the target, for what it’s worth.

  2. Trent says:

    Whenever I post a list like this, I try to find something I haven’t seen anywhere else, so that experienced folks will get something out of the article. What’s the point of just recycling content you find everywhere else?

  3. I agree! I often (though not always) also find that bloggers tend to skip the cost of the alternate behavior they’re suggesting when calculating savings. So instead of “If you make a cup of coffee with steamed milk for $0.60 instead of getting Starbucks for $3, you save $2.40,” there’s a tendency to say, “Skip that $3 Starbucks! You can make your own coffee. Savings: $3”

    Can I vote that the next pet peeve is comparisons of saving money to dieting? Because that’s real annoying.

  4. […] The Carnival of Personal Finance is up at Young and Broke.  I just spent an hour reading most of the posts, which inspired me to keep chipping away at my own financial goals.  I agree with Lazy Man when he talks about how so many personal finance articles have the same stuff – once you’ve eliminated the lattes and cable tv, that tip doesn’t help anymore.  When I started reading pf books, magazines, and blogs about three years ago, I was already pretty frugal, and pretty broke.  It didn’t help to tell me to eliminate lattes and pack my lunch, because I was already doing that out of necessity.  These days, we have our investments and savings automated, we pay extra on our mortgage every month, we pay our credit card in full every month, and the only debt we have besides our mortgage is $2800 on a 0% interest credit card.  So most of the advice and tips I read aren’t ideas that I can implement.  […]

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