Category Archives: Money + Finances

Does money make you crazy? The Money Toolbox: leave debt behind, build your savings, and grow your wealth.

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Money advice often boils down to some basic tenets: spend less than you make, or conversely, make more than you spend. Increase your earnings, then maximize your returns.

Sounds simple—in theory. But the difficulty lies in the application. How do you actually do it so that it changes? What do you do when change is so incremental that it seems barely noticeable? Is the snowball effect worth it?

Enter, stage left: J.D. Roth

JD Roth 2

I met JD Roth at the inaugural World Domination Summit. He was the popular blogger of Get Rich Slowly, although, to be honest, I didn't know that at the time.

Instead, I danced with Adam Baker's lovely daughter on a concrete barrier, did cartwheels with a goofy lady named Laura, and laughed with J.D. about how inordinately excited we were to be in Portland at this new conference series. At some point we eventually got to talking about our professions and careers, and once we did, we geeked out over books like Ramit's I Will Teach You To Be Rich, The Millionaire Next Door, and ways to be frugal, savvy, and more importantly—happy.

Over the years, we became good friends, sharing tips on savings, wondering whether or not I should sell my car and go car-free (ps, J.D., I don't know if I told you, but I sold it! And I used the cash to help start my own business). We've crashed in each other's houses (because when you want to be a millionaire, who springs for a hotel?), and giggled about how we each own jackets that are more than 10 years old.

J.D. has been both a friend and a mentor, and when he told me he was working on a master series called the "Money Toolbox," I knew it would be full of good stuff.

The Money Toolbox: leave debt behind + grow rich.

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"By following a few guidelines and completing one small step each week, you can master your money and build wealth for the future." —J.D. Roth

J.D.'s story is familiar to many: a decade ago, he had more than $35,000 in consumer debt—credit-card balances, personal loans, car payments—and was living paycheck to paycheck. In a world where we're taught that debt is fine, J.D. wondered: what processes actually work to make change with regards to money? And how can I become rich?

Today, he's debt-free and has more than a million dollars in the bank.

My own story is similar—minus the million dollars part, at least at the moment—I started my twenties with piles of student-loan debt and promptly did the next smart thing all 20-somethings do: I bought a car, because someone told me it was an "investment." Instead, my car loan was barely approved because I had already acquired so much debt. I began my first job nearly $100,000 in the red with a job that barely paid my rent—let alone the massive student loan payments that were due. I worked nights and weekends as a tutor and swim coach to bring in enough money to afford to buy groceries (My food budget was directly linked to whether or not I taught that week—some weeks were rice and beans).

And yet by the time I turned 30, I was in the black—and it wasn't because of a miraculous scheme or a magical job. It was through small habits and the power of time.

Just like J.D., I didn't turn straw into gold, and the process of changing my life didn't happen right away.

Get the guide and toolkit, here: The Master Your Money Toolkit.

In his guide, J.D. documents the time-tested principles of putting his money to work.

What he learned surprised him: getting out of debt and building wealth wasn't just about pinching pennies. He focused on reducing expenses and increasing income. For the first time in his life, he began to accumulate savings and invest wisely.

"Getting out of debt and building wealth isn't just about pinching pennies—wise strategies for spending, saving, earning and investing can add up over time."

Over the past eight years, J.D. spent much of his time writing and sharing these lessons on, a popular blog he initially founded to share his own quest for self-improvement. With over three thousand articles and more than a million words, this work still exists as a public archive.

From the mastermind behind the blog Get Rich Slowly comes his latest project: Get Rich Slowly: the year-long course, a money-makeover toolbox designed to help people leave debt behind, master their money, and achieve financial independence. Featuring a "Money Mondays," email series, 18 audio interviews with money experts, and a comprehensive "Be Your Own CFO" guidebook, this course collects wisdom from financial gurus Ramit Sethi, Pam Slim, Adam Baker, and more.

With a 52-lesson guide to help people master their money, he created a road map to financial freedom, developed for anyone seeking to 'master their money' by getting out of debt and building independent wealth.

The Master Your Money Toolkit.

What's your money story?

As important as J.D’s story is, the new Get Rich Slowly guide isn’t really about him. It’s about you. It’s a road map for your financial freedom, and it includes a 120-page “Be Your Own CFO” guide, 18 interviews with experts who offer specific advice on important topics, and plenty of additional resources. To ensure you don’t get overwhelmed (as I sometimes do!), you’ll also receive a different lesson with simple actions every week for an entire year. I’ve just started reading my own CFO guide, and I think the “Money Monday” emails are brilliant.

If you want a copy, JD is —naturally— offering budget-friendly options, and the three different scales of the program are all discounted for the launch (meaning you can get a copy without breaking your own bank)—because what good is a money guide that sets you back even further?

Get your copy here: Get Rich Slowly: The Money Toolbox.

Congrats, J.D.

Are you letting the numbers deflate you?

The thing about numbers is, we give them far too much power to make us feel bad. “Only” have 100 people reading your blog? That’s like speaking to a jam-packed coffee shop or on stage at a live speaking event. Alexandra Franzen reframes the expectations we have around blogging (and online writing) and I thinkContinue Reading

Making money as a creative entrepreneur: how I make money, where I spend my time, and what I’ve learned from launching my own ventures.

When I was four weeks old, my mother and father took our then-family-of-four from Germany to Idaho Falls, little baby and tiny toddler in tow. We were standing around in the living room, as my mother recalls (to be be fair, I can’t recall and I certainly wasn’t standing—more likely drooling), talking about the insaneContinue Reading

A Little Bit Is A Lot.

Feels like I just touched down in San Francisco and turned around and took off again! After getting back in town after last week’s working vacation, I’m off again to Dallas and then Austin, Texas for work, conferences and a weekend in Austin. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of new and familiar facesContinue Reading

Business Is Not A Dirty Word: And 15 Other Important Definitions

The words “business,” “sales,” and “marketing” sometimes get a bad reputation. All of a sudden it seems off-putting if you look for sales or you talk about strategy. Sometimes I just say the word “strategy” and people’s eyes glaze over – like it’s boring. The common response goes something like this: Blogging should be about yourContinue Reading

$10 for a Financial Wizard – Buy this book. (And Other Money Lessons From Ramit Sethi)

I get a lot of questions for people about money, finance, spending, saving, etc. I occasionally write posts on ways to save money, what it means to save for retirement, financing a car (for which I went through my own blunders) and setting up emergency savings plans. I write these from experience – and IContinue Reading

The Pitfalls and Costs of Car Ownership (And I Need Your Advice!) Should I Sell My Car?

Car-free or car-stuck? I have an important question that I’d love people to weigh in on: Should I sell my car? Logically, the question seems to have a very simple answer: yes. I keep writing lists and outlining the reasons why I should sell my car (and why I shouldn’t) and the balance seems toContinue Reading

Saving for retirement is sexy.

Do you speak retirement? Most people don’t. Personally, I like to sit around a campfire and talk about compound interest and exchange rates, but I sometimes get distracted by the chocolatey-smores and marshmallows – Oh wait. Perhaps that’s just me? Retirement is something you probably don’t want to think about or talk about. It’s kindContinue Reading

Budget sense: how much money does food cost me?

So you’ve graduated from college and you’re (hopefully) not living at your parents house anymore.  You have a job, and even though it’s not THE job that you eventually want, you’re on track to start making your way up the ladder and working towards the career you want to have. Your days have changed aContinue Reading