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Please welcome Josh from Money Buffalo as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles interview here on Enwealthen.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your blog.

My name is Josh and I’m in my early 30s and I am married and have two small children. I started the blog Money Buffalo in September 2015 after I changed careers to help other working families see the multiple possibilities by living a debt-free lifestyle.

Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow

Previously, I was an operations supervisor in the transportation industry which was a good job for a single person. Now, I teach and also freelance write. It’s a long story that I have broken down on my blog, but, I also took an adult gap year to build our house and establish my new lines of work.

Can you share your most impactful money memory from your childhood?

Possibly the biggest thing I remember is my parents telling me to pay the bills on-time each month. To expound on that memory, they also said if you ever had to borrow money, to get a loan with no prepayment penalty. My parents saved for large purchases and I remember them walking the grocery store aisles with a calculator to make sure they didn’t go over their grocery budget or overdraft their bank account.

About halfway through each month, my wife and I review our spending and income to make sure there are no “surprises.” At the end of the month, we do a final review to make sure we set aside enough money to pay the monthly bills before doing any extra purchases for the new month. So far, neither of us has missed a bill in our adult lives because we couldn’t afford the payment.

We all receive financial advice from people in our lives.  What’s the most interesting or useful financial advice you’ve received from your community?

I don’t have a single source to credit for this nugget of advice, but, I have heard some people say to take every $1 bill or loose change that you get from a cashier and put it in a jar or piggy bank. If you keep it in your wallet, you will be tempted to spend that money on coffee or other items that only costs a few bucks.

At the end of the year or when the money jar fills up, take the money to the bank and deposit it into your account. It’s a small fortune that might be enough to pay for a mini vacation. You can call this a different approach to the “latte factor” that many of us bloggers have written about.

I have several personal finance books I regularly give to friends and family.  What are your 3 favorite fundamental personal finance books you often gift to others?

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

This is one of the first personal finance books I read as a teenager and it got me into the mindset of making passive income. I’m not saying this is a perfect book, but, I definitely think I can become a millionaire when I read it.

The MoneySmart Family System by Steve and Annette Economides

As the parent of a toddler and an infant, my wife and I are constantly thinking about how we will teach our own children to manage money. The Economides family write about how they successfully raised their five children to manage money. And, they raised them for 77% less than the USDA predicted cost of raising children.

The MoneySmart family system is full of sensible parenting ideas for children of all ages. Even better, they won’t break the bank and are fun.

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by Jack Bogle

I’m a huge fan of investing in index mutual funds and they are the primary portion of my investment portfolio. In fact, when my dad started my investment account as a child, he invested those first dollars in an index fund. This book does a great job of explaining why everybody should at least consider investing in index funds.

What financial literacy education did you receive in school?  If you had a magic wand, what would you change to improve that?

I didn’t receive any financial literacy education in school, although they did have a “home ec” elective to learn how to balance a checkbook and basic money 101. My high school now provides a mandatory program.

I think it’s great that more schools are teaching basic money management to every student since not every family is learning it at home. The challenge is applying that learning before graduation.

My magic wand would be some sort of application exercise like running a micro business or investing and they could keep a portion of the profit.

There are so many blogs on the internet, what are 3 of your favorite blogs that instill financial literacy, either by word or action?

Very hard choices here as there are many great blogs.

Mustard Seed Money: There are many topics that Rob talks about that are full of facts, application, and also get the wheels in my mind turning.

The Frugal Farmer: There is a lot of great content ranging from getting out of debt, living frugally, and preparing for the future. You never quite know (in a good way) what Laurie will write about. And, every article is very engaging.

Pretend to be Poor: Do you “burbstead,” want to live frugally, and put others above self? If so, you will probably like Pretend to be Poor. Kalie also has lots of great articles and it’s also refreshing to hear from others that are parents of younger children as well.

I like to keep inspirational quotes around the house to remind me of what’s important.  Do you have a favorite money quote you use to inspire your financial life?

“Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”  — Proverbs 13:11

Morality makes life easier and more stable. While some people are blessed with being able to quickly accumulate wealth with integrity, it takes most of us time.

What financial advice would you give to today’s high school and college graduates?

First off, I graduated college with $50,000 in student loans. My advice to them is to live as cheaply as possible in those early years (before starting a family) and use that extra money to get out of debt or save for large purchases like a car or house down payment.

Getting out of debt and being able to build up a sizable emergency fund allowed my wife and I to change careers and pay cash for half of our home construction project. It took several years to get to this point and working long hours. If we spent that money primarily on lavish vacations or “buying stuff” because that’s what our consumer-driven lifestyle tells us to do, instead of saving for the future, I would still be working in my old job with long unpredictable hours.

Thanks for contributing to the Financial Literacy Chronicles here on Enwealthen, Josh!

Josh blogs at Money Buffalo. Through hard work and saving every possible dollar, Josh was able to repay $77,000 of debt in five years and changed careers to pursue a family-friendly lifestyle. He also took a year off work to build a house and writes about his journey and how you can transform your own financial lifestyle to begin living your dreams.

Readers, please share your thoughts on Josh’s experiences, any additional questions you have, and suggestions for who else you’d like to see interviewed in the comments below.  And please do spread the financial literacy and share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Thanks!

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