Subscriber Swap Saturday: Prime Time Money

by Kevin on April 18, 2009

This is the twentieth edition of Subscriber Swap Saturday.

For the uninitiated, every Saturday I do an interview with another blogger. That blogger also interviews me and posts that interview on their website.We then tell our readers — hey, I think this guy is interesting, you should subscribe to his blog for a week.

This week I’m interviewing Phil Turner from PT Money. I highly encourage all of my readers to subscribe to his blog and see if you like what you find! Read more about Subscriber Swap Saturday at the link above. His questions for me are up at his blog as well.

PT leads the daily discussions at Prime Time Money: a website dedicated to helping you save more money, get rid of debt, and live a frugal life. Free update options: [RSS][Email Updates].You can also connect with PT on Twitter @ptmoney.

Question (No Debt Plan): How did you pick the name Prime Time Money? Are you hoping to hit the prime time someday, or are you saying you’re in your prime and dealing with money, or … ?

Answer (PT Money): I’m glad you asked this, Kevin. I think the name of my blog, url, pen name often come across confusing. My real name is Phil Taylor. Growing up in the era of bad hip-hop, my friends used to call me PT, PT Money, and even Primetime (after Deion Sanders, who probably made the worst music video about money ever – “Must Be the Money”).

When I started the blog I knew I wanted to encorporate the name PT Money somehow. But I really liked the keyword rich blog names like Money Smart Life and Cash Money Life. I wanted to model myself after what they were trying to do, so that’s sort of how I settled into Prime Time Money vs. Primetime Money.

But when it came time to buy the domain name, primetimemoney.com was taken (still is actually…until January 2010, when I’ll snatch it up. shhh.). Therefore, the next logical step was to buy ptmoney.com and just call the site Prime Time Money.

As for the meaning, I tried at first to say that the blog was for people in their “prime.” But to about half the population, to be “in your prime” means to be in retirement. I’m definitely not a retirement blogger. So, I’ll just leave it up to the reader’s interpretation and say that I’m PT or PT Money, and I blog at Prime Time Money, which is located at the domain name ptmoney.com.

Q: How do you and your wife “do” your family finances? Joint accounts or separate? One person handles the budget, or constantly sharing budget changes?

A: We both plan on bringing in income throughout our marriage (although right now Mrs. PT is at home with our newborn baby girl AND back in school getting a graduate degree). We believe in sharing 100%, throwing everything in to one pot and handling it together. That includes our debts and investments prior to getting married. I couldn’t imagine being married to someone and doing it any different.

As for budgeting, we don’t really envelope it or budget every category. Every once in a while when expenses are getting out of hand, we’ll reel them in by setting limits on particular categories (i.e. dining out). What we do instead though is pay ourselves first. We make sure our retirement and short term savings contributions are made prior to spending any money. I’m a huge fan of automating savings and keeping that money in separate piles. That way, we’re free to spend the rest. It doesn’t mean we aren’t frugal though. We spend money in the areas that matter most to us, and slash costs in the other areas.

Q: You’ve somewhat recently become a father. How did you and your wife prepare for this life change, and has managing your finances changed since she arrived?

A: To prepare for our new girl we enlisted the help and advice from many of our friends and family members who’ve had babies in the last few years. Mrs. PT was able to get most of her maternity clothes for free through them. They also gave us some nice things for our baby girl, whether through a baby shower, or by way of hand-me-down.

As for our finances, we saved up as much short-term savings as possible. We also got rid of some high-interest auto loan debt. You can see more of our journey to save and prepare for our baby if you visit FNBO Direct’s Pay Yourself First Challenge, a video contest I entered and competed in for several months.

Since our girl has arrived, we’ve been investigating life insurance and 529 plans. As for spending, I think it’s been a wash. We spend less on dining out and entertainment, but we have to buy diapers. 🙂

Q: It gets mighty hot in your state of Texas. How do you deal with energy costs during especially hot months?

A: It does get hot. Luckily they make great air conditioners here. We bought a newly built townhome back in 2007 that is really energy efficient and has automatic thermostat controls. And Mrs. PT is always cold, so we never put the temperature gauge below 74 degrees, which helps, I think.

Q: As bloggers we get to see and hear from many different perspectives — other bloggers, our readers, etc. What’s the greatest thing you’ve learned from your readers thus far?

A: An enforcement of the idea that personal finance is “personal”. Everyone has a unique situation and perspective. That’s why I try to make my blog a place of conversation versus a pulpit. We can all learn from each others experiences and personal truths.

Q: Cash, debit, or credit?

A: Credit (Bank of America American Express card) for the major purchases to get the cash back points. Debit (ING DIRECT Electric Orange card) for everyday spending. Cash occassionally when we’re trying to curb spending.

Q: If you could go back in time to when you first started blogging, what lesson would you teach yourself that would have the greatest impact on your blog today?

A: That’s a tough one. I guess I would tell myself to be a more consistent blogger. I spent my first year of blogging wandering around doing things that didn’t matter, never finding my rythym. By consistent, I mean, write at least three quality finance articles a week and have a consistent presence in the personal finance blog-o-sphere by connecting with the other bloggers. I’m sure there are still lessons to be learned though.

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I had no idea behind the name of the blog. Very interesting. Thanks, Phil!

Bloggers — interested in being featured? Check out the schedule. I’ve got openings coming up in May and June.

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