What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I've been traveling for more than a month now. While much of this travel has been for pleasure — I spent three weeks in Turkey with my cousin — there's been plenty of work involved too. While I've been traveling, I've also been writing — and networking with other bloggers. Over the past month, I've attended two conferences, and spent three days meeting with folks in New York.

Note: Some of you have been craving more of my voice around Get Rich Slowly. That's not going to happen. But if you're really wanting to read what I write, check out More Than Money, where I'm writing about travel, blogging, and anything else that tickles my pickle.

FinCon 2012
In early September at FinCon 2012 (the financial blogger conference), I spoke about the future of financial blogging. While there, I reconnected with many of my colleagues, including Jim from Bargaineering, Flexo from Consumerism Commentary, Adam from Man vs. Debt, Ramit from I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Neal Frankle (the Wealth Pilgrim), and Kylie Ofiu (an Australian personal finance blogger).

At FinCon, I also met two new people who really impressed me.

First up was Pete, whom many of you know as Mr. Money Mustache. He has a hot early retirement blog, and for good reason. He offers solid advice in a strong personal voice. I loved his presentation at FinCon; his blogging philosophy and mine are closely aligned.

Mr. Money Mustache gives a presentation at FINCON 2012
Mr. Money Mustache gives his presentation at FinCon 2012

Second was Paula Pant, who writes at Afford Anything. Paula is remarkable for two reasons. First, she's one of only a few female bloggers in a niche dominated by men. Second, Paula focuses almost exclusively on making money instead of saving it. Her blog is about building wealth, with a particular focus on rental properties. She's sharp, and she now has me as a subscriber.

New York
After FinCon, I flew to Turkey to spend three weeks touring the country with my cousin. On my way home, I stopped in New York for business. I met with several colleagues, a few GRS readers, and my editor at Moneyland.

Also in New York, I practiced what I preach regarding conscious spending. You see, I'm a huge fan of musical theater. But good tickets to good shows on Broadway can be expensive. Very expensive. In order to be able to indulge my passion, I cut back in other areas.

For instance, I rented a cheap ($70/night) apartment on Airbnb and then walked everywhere in Manhattan. This saved me about $200 a day, money that I put into theater tickets. On Sunday, I joined Flexo (from Consumerism Commentary) and Ramit (from I Will Teach You to Be Rich) for a performance of The Book of Mormon, which was hilarious. I also saw Chicago (completely disappointing) and the achingly beautiful Once.

Sure, I had to stay in a tiny, tiny room (with barely room for a bed), but who cares? All I did was sleep there. With the money I saved, I had a great time in one of my favorite cities.

Note: On my last night, I had a beer with my hostess, a precocious young (26?) woman who's found a clever way to reduce her cost of living. Rose's apartment has three rooms. She lives in one and rents the other two out on Airbnb. “Are you able to keep the rooms rented?” I asked. She smiled and said, “My rent here is $3,600/month. Airbnb pays the rent for me.” Rock on!

Savvy Blogging Summit 2012
FinCon was fun, but I have to admit: My favorite blogging conference is always the Savvy Blogging Summit. Mostly, it's attended by a group of remarkable women: stay-at-home moms who, in their spare time, blog about coupons, shopping, and other domestic concerns. They call themselves “dealbloggers”.

This topic may sound mundane, but more than any group I know, these savvy bloggers live the ideals I espouse everyday at Get Rich Slowly. Meeting these women is like seeing the Get Rich Slowly philosophy in action.

  • They actively work to keep their household expenses low.
  • They've found creative ways to boost their income. Most make money — sometimes a lot of money — from blogging. But I also talked to folks who earn income as spokeswomen, radio broadcasters, brand representatives, graphic designers, mobile app creators, and more.

And they do this all while raising families. In some cases, large families. These are stay-at-home moms who do a whole lot more. They aren't just savvy bloggers; they're also savvy entrepreneurs. (They're also a hell of a lot of fun. They taught me to dance Gangnam Style this year!)

Andrea leads Gangnam Style at Savvy Blogging Summit 2012
Andrea from Savings Lifestyle leads the ladies in “Gangnam Style”

Early in the conference, I met John Saddington, an Atlanta-based blogger and entrepreneur. I'd never heard of him before Savvy Blogging Summit, but he and I had a chance to chat about business and blogging. I was intrigued by his vision, so I recruited him to help me present the “Blogging Exit Strategies” panel, which worked out well. I think the attendees got some great advice about building and selling a business.

Some of the other people I spent time with during this conference included:

  • Amy Gross from Vinesleuth, who has a free ebook called Dinner and Wine for $20 or Less.
  • Amber Bustanoby from Coupon Connections. Amber's not just a coupon blogger; she can also bust a move on the dance floor.
  • Jennie Sanford from Bargain Blessings. I'd seen Jennie at three previous conferences but never talked with her before now, which is a shame. I want to chat with her more in the future.
  • Kimberlee, The Peaceful Mom, who taught me about Pinterest. (Sometimes I'm slow on the uptake.)
  • And on the plane from Atlanta to San Francisco, I spent five hours talking with Melissa Earl from Living a Frugal Life.

As always, I learned a lot at Savvy Blogging Summit, and did my best to impart some of my knowledge to others. I've already committed to speaking at SBS IV, which will be held next June in Cincinnati. I wouldn't miss it.

Note: While in Atlanta, I reconnected with Paula from Afford Anything. I'd met her at FinCon at the start of the trip, and she was generous enough to offer me a ride. After picking me up from the airport, she showed me around Piedmont Park and told me all about her adventures in real estate. As I say, she's sharp. If you're interested in rental properties, you should read her blog.

Now I'm in San Francisco. Today, I'll meet with the owners of GRS, have lunch at Twitter HQ, and stop by to meet the folks at Lending Club. Tomorrow, I get to meet my girlfriend's family and friends.

I'm nearing the end of this marathon month-long trip, and thank goodness. I'm too old for all this travel!

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Rya @ bulgarian money blog
Rya @ bulgarian money blog
7 years ago

You were in Turkey? That’s so close to Bulgaria! I would have loved to come down and meet you.

Oh well, maybe next time.

PS: I read at your blog that you loved the Muslim call to prayer. You are so not a typical Westerner 🙂

PPS: I also saw your airbnb place. Wow, really IS small, but love the pink covers :))

Pauline
Pauline
7 years ago

That was really a marathon holiday! I love Airbnb too, as a way to meet new people and enjoy central locations for a fair price. Thanks for the recommended reading, I see a few I don’t know yet!

Tom
Tom
7 years ago

Nice writeup and unique insight into the industry that is blogging. And thanks for some new blogs to check out – Already found MMM (he never struck me as a Pete, hm) and love his style and most of his output.

I’m glad that even after selling the blog and delegating the daily updates to a dedicated staff of writers, personal finance and blog-running is still a passion of yours. It shows through the continued quality of this site.

Adam Hathaway
Adam Hathaway
7 years ago

Sounds like you have been busy JD. Thanks for the blog recommendations and thanks filling my RSS feed up with even more great bloggers.

William @ Drop Dead Money
William @ Drop Dead Money
7 years ago

Places to go, things to do, people to meet. That’s awesome! That very last sentence, though, sums up one of life’s cruelties: by the time we CAN do it, we’re too old to get the full enjoyment out of it. My wife and I saw that early and intentionally made travel a high priority for 30 years, sacrificing other things like fancy clothes, toys and cars. As a result, we’ve seen pretty much the entire USA (our travel destination of choice), as well as a few other international destinations. You can have what you want in life if you articulate… Read more »

Amy @ VineSleuth Uncorked
Amy @ VineSleuth Uncorked
7 years ago

I had a blast reconnecting with you this year at the Savvy Summit. Thanks for all the laughs and great ideas you shared with me and the rest of us there.

I’m looking forward to reading more from you and your insight and adventures at More Than Money. And, of course, I’m looking forward to seeing you next year at Savvy, if not before then. 🙂

Mike Damazo
Mike Damazo
7 years ago

JD thank you for the amazing post. Reading GRS actively in the last 3 weeks has done a lot for me. It revived my passion for blogging and look forward to beginning writing again.

dbobs
dbobs
7 years ago

GRS was a great blog because I found it so relatable. Now this article reminds me of the tech startup world I work in: full of networking egos. Yes, you do meet super cool people (and presumably super terrible people you aren’t writing about), but when you start blurting out “and then I met so-and-so and she is so awesome and then I met him and he’s the coolest dude ever and then….” Nobody really cares except the people who were there (note the preceding comments). The most interesting part of this article is the girl who covers her Manhattan… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
7 years ago
Reply to  dbobs

I’ve written articles like this since day one. These events are an important part of my life, as are the people I meet — none of whom have EVER been terrible, I’m happy to say. I don’t get much chance to share great sites with GRS readers anymore, though I did so often in the olden days. You may not receive any direct benefit from this piece, but I’ll bet hundreds of other readers will find a new gem today.

KSR
KSR
7 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Thanks J.D. I’ve been expecting your inevitable exit. A good friend once told me that I only left “good” in my wake. I didn’t agree, still don’t. But her far more poetic delivery and sentiment is best adhered to you. You only leave good in your wake, as you have done here with this post. Now, I wish for you to never agree with it– and always have the capacity to fill your life with people who know it. Good luck!

“Tickles my pickle”—come…on. Ha!

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  KSR

I laughed. Thumbs up. I mean, I like how KRS writes.

Lincoln
Lincoln
7 years ago
Reply to  KSR

The evolution of GRS has been interesting, and I agree that J.D. has left good in his wake. When I first started reading the site, it was about finding personal finance tips and advice. The last couple of years, it’s been much more about expanding my own PF philosophy and coming up with my own long-term ideas. One thing I like to do now is go back through the old book recommendations/book reviews from J.D., since they go into specific topics in greater detail, and then branching out even further when I find a topic I really like. For me,… Read more »

Brenton
Brenton
7 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I certainly dont mind being given links to other good blogs, whether related to PF or not.

I read MMM for good while today and found it interesting, even if I disagreed with some of the philosophy(specifically the part about not leaving your immediate neighborhood unless you plan it out months in advance… seriously, WTH?).

Bella
Bella
7 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Yea, I kinda miss the Spare Change web round ups.

SweetCoffee
SweetCoffee
7 years ago
Reply to  dbobs

I love hearing about JD’s adventures and especially learning about the blogs he’s vetted and is kindly sharing. I did, though, get a start when JD said, “Some of you have been craving more of my voice around Get Rich Slowly. That’s not going to happen.” I’m not sure why those sentences got me bummed. I don’t think it was about the fact that JD’s not writing here much anymore. Actually, I think it didn’t come off as appreciative that readers want more from him. I’ve been reading this blog for a while and clearly J.D. is an appreciative guy.… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa
7 years ago
Reply to  dbobs

I found several of the blogs I follow today through links or references on this site, or through the blogroll on JD’s personal site. I appreciate the links and a glimpse into a preofessional blogger’s networking life. Having been a hardcore lurker (not much of a poster) since shortly after Get rich Slowly was born, I’ve also watched the blog’s evolution with a twinge of sentimental sadness. But it would be unrealistic if JD remained the sole voice of the blog and it never ever changed. That would mean that JD had never grown at all. Would I respect or… Read more »

lhamo
lhamo
7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

I agree with this for the most part, but yet I am also sad. A big part of the enjoyment I used to get from ready GRS was the feeling of being a kind of virtual cheerleader for JD as he was working his way out of debt and toward the life he really wanted. He had a strong point of view, a compelling story, and a good voice. Those things and the fit with my personal values/goals made this a great place to spend part of my time for a long time. I’m glad he has made positive steps… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa
7 years ago
Reply to  lhamo

“He had a strong point of view, a compelling story, and a good voice. Those things and the fit with my personal values/goals made this a great place to spend part of my time for a long time.” I couldn’t agree more, LHAMO. I also miss JD’s voice here. That’s one of the reason’s I’m so happy he’s blogging more on his personal site. But even though he’s writing about his life on his personal site, there are still storylines I’d really like him to carry on here. For example, JD has referenced (over the years) his longing for a… Read more »

guinness416
guinness416
7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

I’ve been here since day one too but though it often doesn’t seem it that’s a LONG time. My finances and goals have definitely changed over this period, I have subscribed and unsubscribed and resubscribed to a zillion blogs in this and other niches since that point, and it would be bizarre if the site owner’s interests didn’t change too. GRS is a good site and Mr.Roth is a class act but there’s lots of good reading out there!

Andrea @ Savings Lifestyle
Andrea @ Savings Lifestyle
7 years ago

It is always a blast catching up with you!! Thank you for always being so willing to share with our community. You may never know the magnitude that you are helping other small business owners!

Cannot wait to see you at next year’s event, or even sooner!

Cortney
Cortney
7 years ago

Hope you have a great time in San Francisco! It’s a wonderful time to be here. If you have time, I highly recommend Mitchell’s ice cream and then a walk in Lincoln Park (no, unfortunately, they’re not really near each other).

John S @ Frugal Rules
John S @ Frugal Rules
7 years ago

Wow, it does sound like a busy month! I’ve always wanted to go to Turkey. My brother was there this Spring and absolutely loved it. Thanks as well for providing some new reading sources, I see a few I know, some I don’t.

Sam
Sam
7 years ago

While I have always enjoyed JD’s writing and his perspective, I am (as a long time GRS reader) enjoying many of the new writers. For me it is great to read about personal finance, which means something different depending on circumstances, where one is in the journey, etc., from many different views. Even though I am past the killing the debt phase, I find reading about others approaches and struggles with debt and budgeting to be interesting, inspiring and motivating (no way would I go back to credit cards on a day to day basis, etc.). In my opinion, JD… Read more »

Kathleen @ Frugal Portland
Kathleen @ Frugal Portland
7 years ago

This made me feel warm and fuzzy — I’m positive her friends and family will just adore you!

sh
sh
7 years ago

I appreciate the links to new blogs I can follow! Since you advocated for Airbnb while traveling, I just thought you should know that while renting through Airbnb is common in many places around the world, it’s actually basically illegal in New York City, unless you’re renting a hosted apartment where the owner is staying there with you (like the girl you met), or if you’re renting for longer than a month. Building rules and local laws are written so that short term renting isn’t ok. Short term rentals cause rents for residents to rise even higher than they already… Read more »

that girl
that girl
7 years ago

Thanks for mentioning the bloggers you like. Now I have more to read!

Patrick
Patrick
7 years ago

I can’t help but see that Get Rich Slowly has become more and more of a place for bloggers to plug one anothers’ blogs. It’s kind of disheartening to see the closed-loop philosophy of, “The way to become financially secure is to go into personal finance blogging.”

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
7 years ago
Reply to  Patrick

When has anyone at Get Rich Slowly, least of all me, ever written anything remotely close to “The way to become financially secure is to go into personal finance blogging.”? The answer is never. And though I do plug other blogs I think are good, that’s happened much less frequently than in the past.

Actually, it’s sadly pleading that we’ve reached the point where the audience does not appreciate these posts. It means I’ve done my job and have sufficiently removed myself from the blog!

Lincoln
Lincoln
7 years ago
Reply to  Patrick

I think it’s fair to note that some financial bloggers have perhaps made more money blogging than they have by cutting coupons or working a conventional day job. In that sense, repeating their strategies (but without developing your own successful blog or capital investment) may not take you as far as it took them. To me it’s more of a reminder to find opportunities before everyone else is trying to replicate them. Also, if blogging is not my ticket to financial security, then I need figure out what my ticket is going to be.

Brenton
Brenton
7 years ago
Reply to  Lincoln

Alot of the time you just need to understand than adhering to good PF practices will allow you to be able to pursue your entrepneurial enterprises, since you wont be “stuck” in that job(or jobs) you hate.

Clipping coupons, etc… might not make you rich right now, but its not “Get Rich Quickly”. Over time that savings will add up and give you the courage to take a chance at something. And if it fails, you are still OK.

That has always been my main take away from GRS and other PF blogs.

thethriftyspendthrift
thethriftyspendthrift
7 years ago

I guess there wasn’t enough time to wait on the tkts line for cheaper Broadway tickets. (Though anyone who wants to should know the Times Square location has the longest line—try the other tkts locations.)

Thanks for some other links to check out.

Christa
Christa
7 years ago

Glad you had a good time! I have to check out the bloggers you mentioned from the Savvy Blogging Conference now. That seems to be right up my alley!

PB
PB
7 years ago

Hi, J.D. — I too am glad that you had a good time, but hope that you will still contribute as your life changes and finances impact that. We have all become quite fond of you! That being said, I do like the different voices that we are hearing now and the different points of view on responsibility and personal finance. I find that what I miss is the story arc. You had a very definite one, from spendthrift to independence. I would like to see more of that, instead of one-shot articles on financial topics. That was what made… Read more »

Meliisa Earl
Meliisa Earl
7 years ago

J.D it was a pleasure getting to know you. I am so grateful for people like you that are always willing to help others and give them the morale boost they need to make more of themselves.

Good luck with all you do and I m excited to keep hearing of your great adventures on More then money!

Thomas
Thomas
7 years ago

The ladies in the Gangnam Style photo all have zombie eyes!!!

Lisa
Lisa
7 years ago
Reply to  Thomas

AMC’s next series – The Dancing Dead?

Stephen
Stephen
7 years ago

Have to say I’ll miss reading your posts here. Already found myself skipping over certain writers based on their name alone. Perhaps its just that I’ve moved on to a different stage in the financial journey. There is something about your style of writing that is so readable. I was already subscribed to your personal site before it was renamed 🙂 An aside, one of the greatest things about NYC *is* the subway. The ability to hop on and off just about anywhere in the city is great and helps on days when you just want to go out and… Read more »

Kelly@Financial-Lessons
7 years ago

Very cool! I’ve never been to Turkey but I’ve heard its beautiful and rich with unique culture. It must have been awesome to explore it for three weeks with someone who knows their way around. And then traveling from conference to conference listening to incredibly intelligent people speak about something you’re really interested in? I’m quite jealous!

Amber - The Dancing Queen
Amber - The Dancing Queen
7 years ago

JD-

You are one that leaves an impression on people. I feel blessed to have talked to you, and look forward to more in the future. Out of all the sessions, yours was my favorite by a long shot. You know business and you also know how to have fun.

Oh and we rent rooms out too!

The parents will certainly like you – what’s not to like??!

Amber

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