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Blogger Showdown #3: Lazy Man vs. Silicon Valley Blogger

by J. Money on Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lazy Man vs. The Digerati Life
It’s time for PF Blogger Showdown #3: Lazy Man vs. Silicon Valley Blogger! So far we’ve had some best of the best action, some girl on girl action (ow ow!), and now we bring you some anonymous on anonymous action ;) I’ve only just recently been chatting with SVB these past few weeks (very cool girl), and I finally “met” Lazy Man last week, so I’m excited to see both of these long-time bloggers in action!

And as always, I’ve mixed up the questions a bit to squeeze out the juiciest stuff I could find. Enjoy!

Lazy ManLazy Man
3,786 Readers
Lazy Man And Money
@lazymanandmoney
Silicon Valley BloggerSilicon Valley Blogger (aka SVB)
4,820 Readers
The Digerati Life
@thedigeratilife
How long have you been blogging for?
I’m from Boston, so I’m going to give you the Cliff Clavin answer. It’s a little known fact… but I was a blogger for a Boston sports blog dating as far back as 2002 or 2003… (continues below) I’ve been blogging for around 3 years now. Started something in earnest in October of 2006 when I finally decided to join the PF crowd.
Do you recall the first post you wrote? Did it suck?
I don’t remember my first blog post, but I have a most memorable post from that time. It was 2004 and the Red Sox just fell ten games back of the Yankees. Our defense was horrible that year. A popular song around that summer was Dashboard Confessionals’ Vindicated. Something about the lyrics of “Defense is paper thin… So let me slip away… My hope dangles on a string…” inspired me to write a post about how hard it is to be a Red Sox fan without a championship in 86 years. Within a few days the Red Sox make a hugely controversial trade involving one of their most popular players – got better defensively and turned that hope on a string into one of the best comeback title runs of any sport. And at the end I wrote another post titled “Vindicated” with another mention of lyrics, “Swear I knew it all along…” Definitely. It’s still around and it continues to embarrass me, thank you very much for asking! It was one short paragraph that now has nothing to do with what my blog is about. Haha!
If Obama wanted to guest post on your blog, would you let him?
Yes. “Obama, mi blogo es su blogo.” I only wish I have enough advance notice to prepare for the traffic rush. Sure why not! If it’s about monetary policy and he writes well, I have no qualms. Quality content remember? If you can meet those guidelines, I have no issues. But I reserve the right to review and edit his guest post. ;)
Word on the street is that you know each other in “real” life. How’d that come about?
Well, SVB stands for Silicon Valley Blogger, and I moved to silicon valley 3 years ago when my wife got a better job. We lived next to each other for a long time keeping our anonymity until MoneyStrands invited a bunch of bloggers to San Francisco for what may be best described as a focus group. We decided it would be good to go to meet other huge personal finance bloggers like Flexo, Jim, and J.D. So we carpooled in together. As I learned more about SVB personally, we realized that our families are fairly similar. In a weird twist of fate, I often feel like I have more in common with her husband and my wife has more in common with her. Nice. Thanks for asking! I have been a fan of Lazy Man’s from day one. Many bloggers who started in 2006 got to know each other through link exchanges, commenting, carnivals, that sort of thing. Don’t remember quite how I stumbled on to Lazy, but I found out he was local. Well, he’s really from Boston but he’s a transplant here in Silicon Valley. He has the same exact professional profile as my spouse and I have. We all have a background in Java software engineering and development. Then I found out he lives in the same enclave I used to reside in. We met sometime early last year in person and we’ve been buddies since and hang out socially on occasion :) . By the way, he’s nowhere near lazy, and is at least as cool as his blog ;) .
Who would win in a game of Spending Less?
It’s a tough call in the game of Spending Less. In my experience, SVB can be very competitive in games (play her in Settlers of Catan and you’ll know what I mean). I’m going to go with me, because I think I could relocate to a trailer park while her family kind of keeps her grounded. Oh gosh. Lazy Man definitely. Great question! Nobody could beat me in this game pre-kids. With kids, all bets are off! I try to be as frugal as I can given our circumstances.
What are your all-time 3 favorite sites/blogs (besides your own)?
Since I’ve already mentioned before in other interviews, I’m going to list SVB‘s as one. As for other ones, I’d go with PreCentral.net (because I love my Palm Pre) and Mike Reiss’ ESPNBoston.com‘s blog. He’s a writer for the Patriots and just nails every word he writes about football. I don’t like to surround myself with just financial blogs all the time. Diversity is a good thing, right? That’s tough, putting me on the spot like that! There are so many great ones to point out. Hmmmm… Lazy Man‘s is definitely a favorite and I even tell him that! I also enjoy yours. But if you want me to tell you two more of my favorites — these are Money, Matter and More Musings and Punny Money. They’re not as active as many other bloggers, but they’ve written a lot of gems. I really like Punny Money’s twisted sense of humor.
What’s one of the biggest things you’ve learned about finance so far?
Watch spending on big purchases, subscription services, and impulse buys. Invest money to take advantage of compound interest. Also look into having one or more alternative income streams. You never know when your current job might disappear through no fault of your own. That I need to fill a lot of gaps in some areas of finance that I didn’t realize I had! I started writing about personal finance thinking I knew quite a bit, but participating in this space, I’ve become quite humbled over the amount of knowledge and information that I know little about and would love to learn more about. Also, I’ve learned to relax my views and preconceived notions about finance over time and figure that there’s more than “one answer” to the questions; the most suitable answers for you are based on your personal situation.
Do you believe in budgeting?
Budgets are not sexy. I went as far as saying this in a recent blog post. I’d like to go back to the first sentence in the last answer… just watch your spending in those three areas (big purchases, subscription services, and impulse buys) and you’ll be fine. Loose budgeting, yes. But I’m not a big budgeter in the sense that I track every cent I make or spend. Here’s why — I have a good idea about what my household’s basic budget is for each spending category that we have. Over time, I’ve realized that my family hardly strays beyond certain ranges of spending in these categories, so I’m fairly comfortable that our big picture budget — rough as it is — will be on target each year. Also, we have a large emergency fund for unexpected expenses: around a couple of years’ worth. So even with sudden, unplanned expenses, we’re covered. For the most part, we’ve cut down our expenses by 30% or so compared to a few years ago, mainly because both my husband and I are now self-employed and are surviving on less income than we used to.
Do you know why people always spend more than they earn?
I wouldn’t say people always spend more than they earn. However, for some people spending money is a pleasurable experience. It would be my guess that it triggers some endorphins in their brain. I’d say it’s the “keeping up with the Joneses” affliction. Also, many people are not disciplined about their money and don’t really want to think about how they’re spending. We’re also a society that’s highly dependent on credit and plastic in order to function. Plus it’s hard for people to delay their gratification — we all want what we want now. It’s all in the mind and psyche — if people can use their will power to readjust their thinking about their finances, they’ll end up spending less than they earn. Or they’ll at least try to earn more than they spend, maybe by trying to make more money to support their lifestyle.
What’s the one thing you can’t help spending money on – your #1 vice?
This is the toughest question of them all. I’d say that when I’m out with friends, I spend more money on any and every activity than I normally would. Other than that, I’d say that our vice is spending money on wine when we go to tastings. We can buy a bottle of a decent wine for less than $2 here in California. We do take advantage of that sometimes, but we also like to drive up to Napa, which usually results in us coming back with a pile of wine costing significantly more than $2 a bottle. Anything to do with the house. I love making my personal space as comfortable and as pretty as possible. Back when I wasn’t so busy, I’d fuss around with the interior design of our home and work on (and enjoy) our garden more. In another life, I would be a residential architect or interior designer.
*BONUS* Gun to your head: Harry Potter or Twilight?
Hmmm, I don’t like reading books – so I have to go with movie versions. The books are both big favorites of my wife. Can’t I just say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is much, much better than both put together? I guess not since you have the gun. Hmmm, Emma Watson vs. Kristen Stewart doesn’t make my decision any easier. I’m going to go with Harry Potter. I’ve only seen one Twilight movie and when you involve vampires you have to reach Buffy or True Blood levels – the first movie wasn’t close. Criminal Minds?
Lazy Man vs. Silicon Valley Blogger Poll
Who wins showdown #3? Submit your vote now and let us know! Base it on whatever you’d like: the better answers, the better blog, the most inspiring, the funnier, whatever. Either way, I appreciate them both for stopping by and letting us get to know them a little better. Who knew some of these bloggers were so tight?

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