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Bargaineering with Jim Wang

Posted on 08 January 2010 by Tim

Money, investing, credit card rates, and other personal finance related topics are covered by one of the top personal finance bloggers on the web – Jim Wang of Bargaineering.com.

Over the years, Jim has appeared in Smart Money, PC Mag, Business Week and other mainstream media outlets. I remember reading his blog before the first media mention and now he’s a professional blogger, working full-time from home. For being so well known, Jim is very approachable and was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about personal finance and blogging. Be sure to check out Bargaineering.com or follow Jim on Twitter – @bargainr.

Personal Finances at Bargaineering.com

When you first started really examining your personal finances, what was the hardest thing to change?

I was fortunate to have a pretty strong financial foundation, no credit card debt, no expensive habits, so there wasn’t anything bad I needed to change. I did find it difficult to begin investing in the stock market. With the bank, I know I get a small percentage interest each month but my principal is protected. That protection is important to me, the stock market is very unpredictable.

From being involved in the personal finance community, what are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned over the years?

One important lesson in life is that your personal relationships with other people are very important, it’s even more important online when you have very few shared experiences with other bloggers. You may write about the same or similar topics but you don’t spend free time with one another.

Another important lesson is that it’s not a competition. So many bloggers feel like they have to remain insular and keep their secrets, when in reality the competition isn’t against one another. I’ve learned far more by sharing with others than I ever did just sitting alone.

The philosophy behind Bargaineering and my personal philosophy is that life is about enjoying the things you love doing and spending time with the people you love spending time with. [About Bargaineering]

In addition to your blogging, you’re very involved in the personal finance arena. Tell us about your involvement in the Money Tips Network, Personal Finance Hour and Tip’d.

The Money Tips Network was something the guys at Wise Bread created, my involved in that is very limited other than being a member. The Personal Finance Hour is something I created and now co-host with JD of Get Rich Slowly. It’s a weekly BlogTalkRadio show where we tackle financial topics for an hour and take listener questions. Lots of bloggers listen in, call in, and hang out in the chat room. Finally, Tip’d is a social media news site and I’m responsible for blogger outreach.

What 3-5 posts would you consider “must-read” for new visitors?

Rent Forever Don’t Buy A Home – This post, which is part of the Devil’s Advocate series, raises the argument that renting is better than buying, which goes against conventional wisdom. The whole DA series tackles issues like this one and I’ve enjoyed writing all of them.

How To Budget – Learning to budget can be daunting but this Foundation series article outlines some simple steps you can take to start budgeting. The Foundation series is a series of articles that cover basic personal finance topics.

40 Money Tips for College Students – Forty tips that every college student should try to follow if they want a leg up financially when they graduate.

ProBlogging at Bargaineering.com

What do you like most about blogging full-time? Was turning the blog into a business your goal?

I enjoy building onto something that is mine and that I created from scratch. It’s fun being in charge but it’s also a challenge, I alone have to make decisions about the future and while I do appreciate the benefits, I also have to deal with the consequences of those decisions. Turning the blog into a business was never a goal until several years after it started, it began as just a journal for me to write my thoughts in.

What kind of reaction do you get from people when they find out you’re a professional blogger?

No reaction really, they just seem to chuckle and tell me I’m lucky to be able to work from home. It’s not a glamorous job but I enjoy it all the same.

Thanks for your time Jim!

Bargaineering.com Videocast #14: Jim Wang talks about how he calculates net worth, the value in tracking this information, and why your number isn’t as important as some other things.

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