Living Rich Cheaply // Financial Literacy Chronicles, No. 2

brown wooden bookshelf with books in foreground

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Please welcome Andrew from Living Rich Cheaply as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles.  This is Day 2 of 30 in the Financial Literacy Month interview series here on Enwealthen.

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

My name is Andrew and I blog at Living Rich Cheaply. I’m in my mid-30’s, a husband, and a father of two little boys.  I live in one of the highest cost of living areas in the world: New York City (well I live in Queens and while many Manhattanites don’t consider the outer-boroughs to be a part of the city…it is!)

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will

I am a personal finance blog reading addict and started my blog because I didn’t find many bloggers who had a family AND lived in a high-cost area so I thought I would share my perspective.

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

It is hard to say that there was one impactful money memory that shaped my money mindset.  Rather than one moment which instantly changed my thoughts on money, my journey in life has shaped the way I deal with money.

Growing up, my immigrant parents were always frugal with their money.  We had all the necessities like food on the table and a place to live.

No, cable television and fancy clothes are not necessities!

I don’t remember a specific lesson or lecture my parents gave to teach me about financial literacy.  I think I just saw the way they valued money and I learned that spending money frivolously was not something that was to be done.

There is one childhood memory that encapsulates this frugal mindset though. My mom brought my sister and me to the mall to buy a birthday gift for a friend. I don’t remember how old I was but I was a pretty young child.

At the store, I saw a toy that I really wanted: a tool set. I told my mom that I wanted it, but she told me that we were just there to buy a gift and that I had toys at home. We left the store, and later on when it was time to go home, my mom looked at me, and said, “you never ask for anything, if you really want it, we can go back and get it.” I looked up at my mom and told her I didn’t want it that much, and that I did have toys at home I could play with.

Even at that young age, I could tell that she really wanted to buy me that toy even though money was tight, but I also understood that money was not to be wasted.

The toy wasn’t that important. Having a loving mother was enough.

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?

The most useful financial advice is to keep things simple.

Many people try to make personal finance complicated but it shouldn’t be that way.  Keep things simple by automating your savings.  You don’t see the money.  You won’t spend it.

Increase savings as you get raises.  You don’t see the increased money you made.  You won’t inflate your lifestyle.

And keeping with simplicity, investing in index funds is as simple as can be, yet it will beat active investing.

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?

The Millionaire Next Door: It shows you that most millionaires aren’t driving fancy cars and living in mansions.  The book made me realize that I could become a millionaire too, if I worked hard, saved and invested my money, rather than spending it on frivolous things.

The Boglehead’s Guide to Investing: I’m a big fan of index investing and this is the book I follow when investing.

The Automatic Millionaire: This was the first personal finance book I read after graduating college.  It had a big effect on me because it made investing simple.

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

I had a class in high school where we picked stocks and followed them to see how they did. We also pretended to make a budget based on our income.

It was good but we didn’t really go into much detail.

Being that so many Americans struggle with credit card debt, I think it’s imperative that schools teach students how getting into debt can wreck havoc on their finances.  They should also teach them the magic of compound interest if you save and invest your money.

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

Budgets are Sexy: J.Money is down to earth and makes personal finance cool.  He has also started a forum about personal finance as well as a community fund to give out $50 gift cards as a random act of kindness to those in our communities in need.

Never let your fears get in the way of your dreams

Debt Discipline: (interview) I love Brian’s story of overcoming debt.  He also teaches personal finance to those in his community and has taken action in helping implement financial literacy in schools.

Afford Anything: Paula has an awesome and inspiring blog about how she became financially independent.  Her blog and podcast offer a wealth of information and is a great resource for those who want to improve their finances.

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?

There are two inspiring quotes which are related that have been on my mind lately.

“Never let your fears get in the way of your dreams.”

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Often times I feel like I’m taking the safe and conventional route in life.  But we only have one life to live and we should live it to the fullest.  I look to these inspirational quotes to remind me not to me afraid to take that leap in life.

How will you teach your children to be financially literate?

My children are still very young and I haven’t yet formed a concrete plan.

I would like to teach them about managing their money by giving them an allowance and teaching them to save to short-term as well as long-term money goals.  I’d also like them to learn to be charitable with their money.  Teaching them about saving and investing in the stock market will also be a priority.

However, ultimately, I think the best way to teach your child is to model good money behavior.  I know someone who likes buying the latest gadgets and spends frivolously. When he lectures his daughter to be more thrifty with her allowance money, those lessons fall on deaf ears as he doesn’t practice what he preaches.

Thanks for contributing to Financial Literacy Month here on Enwealthen, Andrew!

Visit Living Rich Cheaply for more of Andrew’s advice on surviving and thriving in an expensive city.  You can also follow him on Twitter.

Readers, please share your thoughts on Andrew’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 share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Thanks!


  1. Thanks for the interview, Andrew. It seems like you as a child would have been every parent’s dream when it came to having to buy toys. And agreed on practicing what you preach. How does your friend expect his daughter to be more frugal if he’s throwing his money around like a drunken sailor?

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker
    ARB recently posted Is This A Form Of LEGAL Identity Theft?My Profile

  2. Thanks for including my blog Andrew!Thanks for sharing your insights. I’m sure your boys will learn a lot from a great role model. So important to start the money conversation early.

    • Absolutely! I think they did a study with little kids and candy. They told them that they could have a piece of candy, but if they were willing to be patient and wait…they would get 2 pieces of candy. Those who were able to delay gratification were more successful in life.

  3. Awesome, Andrew. Love, love, love the story about your mom and the toy – brought tears to my eyes!!! Keep up the great work; I love that you are showing others how to live richly without spending money – even in an expensive area!

  4. What a great kid you were! Your parents did a great job showing you how to respect money and no doubt you will do the same your own children. Have you heard of Brooklyn Bread? She’s a blogger mom in your area and I’m sure you two can relate! 🙂 Great interview!


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