Subscriber Swap Saturday: Free From Broke

by Kevin on May 16, 2009

This is the twenty-third 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 Free From Broke. 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.

Free From Broke is a personal finance blog for regular folks.  FFB lives in NYC with his wife and two kids (another on the way), all on one income.  A one-time victim of his own spending habits (he used to be thousands in credit card debt) he now lives a mostly debt free (car and student loans plus current credit charges), modest lifestyle making sure to save and secure his family’s future. You can subscribe to his blog updates via RSS or e-mail.

Question (No Debt Plan): You recently changed themes and are now running Thesis. Any specific reason that made you want to switch to Thesis?

Answer (Free From Broke): I had wanted to change my theme around for a while but didn’t like the idea of having to hack my code every time I wanted to change it.  With Thesis you work with hooks and the custom files without changing the core files.  When there’s an upgrade I don’t want to have to start from scratch with figuring out my changes.  I also liked the way it looked out of the box as well as the fact that there’s a large community that you can get answers from.

Q: I see a lot of messages from you on Twitter. As a blogger, what is the most significant benefit you get from Twitter?

A: Right off it’s contact with other bloggers and readers.  Twitter truly represents the word “social.”  It’s one place where you can write a note to someone like Suze Orman and get an immediate response.  It also allows you contact with well-established bloggers as well as major corporations.  You don’t get access like that anywhere else.  There’s also so much information that gets spread quickly.  I found out about free-scoop day a few days ago on Twitter.  That was a nice way to end the workday!  I even wrote a guide to Twitter!

Q: You and your wife made the decision to live off of one income — in New York City no less. How have you managed to pull it off so far?

A: Budgeting and watching our spending!  Honestly we expected to be dipping into our savings by now (we saved up quite a bit before hand) but we’ve surprised ourselves by pulling it off.  We don’t eat out as often as we used to and we watch our spending like hawks.  But we still live well.  It just means we don’t live as indiscriminately as we used to.

Q: You started blogging in October 2007. Was there any particular life changing even that made you want to blog, or did you start on a whim?

A: I had been reading a lot on personal finance.  Then I came upon Zen Habits which I thought was great.  It was my first exposure to blogs.  I read something there that pointed me to Get Rich Slowly.  There I found a blog on a subject I had been learning a lot about.  I kept hearing about blogging and how so many were doing it and I thought I’d give it a shot.  Of course I quickly discovered it wasn’t as easy to do as I thought but it was also a lot more fulfilling than I thought it would be.

Q: How do you and your wife handle finances? Joint accounts or separate? Who settles the budget?

A: We work together on the finances.  Some bills she takes care of and some bills I take care of.  We share our checking and savings accounts.  We combined them soon after we got married.  We’re always vocal with our purchases and touch base with each other if one of us wants to make a big expense.  I’m lucky my wife understands a budget and we work well together with our money.  We balance each other out!

Q: What’s your favorite frugal thing to do in New York City?

A: My new favorite thing is to go to a nearby park that has a lake with the kids.  We save up bread ends and bring them with us to feed the ducks and geese.  The kids get a real kick out of it.  Then we walk around and make little adventures.  It’s a lot of fun and real tranquil too!

Q: Name the last three things you splurged on as a family.

A: Big items – Our Disney vacation a couple of years ago, our minivan, and my Macbook.  Smaller, more recent things – Dinner and gifts for Mother’s Day, we bought a new bedspread, and eating out in general.  Only the minivan incurred any debt and that we can pay off if we wanted but our loan is cheaper than our savings account rate (though it’s getting close these days!).

Q: Where is blogging taking you? Is it simply side income, or do you hope to write full-time one day?

A: Right now it’s a fun side income.  I’d love to see it get bigger and I have some ideas for a couple of other sites (another reason for going to Thesis).  I’ve been trying to get my wife involved too!  I’m learning more every day so we’ll see where this goes!

Thanks so much for the interview and the chance to share my site with your readers!

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Bloggers — interested in being featured? Check out the schedule. I’ve got openings starting in June. (And for those that have already e-mailed me — I am way behind on e-mail and I will get back with you!)

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