My Favorite Underdogs

[As part of our weekly column by Mr. 1500 of – a fellow blogger who retired at 43!]


Since you’re here on Budgets Are Sexy (BAS), I know that you’re no dummy. You’re actually savvy and smart. There are millions of you that read BAS, so it’s a silly exercise to generalize, but I’m going to do it anyway. If I were to characterize the average BAS reader, I’d say that:

  • You’re interested in money and personal finance: At the core, BAS is about money. Duh. Maybe you’ve struggled financially and stumbled across BAS from a Google search. Or, you found BAS from a media mention. In any case, you’re here to learn and better your financial life. Good on you!
  • You have character: Most financial thought leaders look like this:

Did you ever think you’d be taking financial advice from someone who looks like J$? Me either.

  • You’re unconventional: I’ve always enjoyed BAS because it’s different. Money can be the most boring thing ever. Is talking about compound interest or savings accounts fun? Of course not. BAS makes money fun and interesting. Where else can you read about cults and rich garbage collectors?

I like unconventional. I also like underdogs, so let’s talk about some other sites that I enjoy that you may not have read yet.

Financial Underdogs & Resources

If you read BAS, you most likely read some of the other big blogs. If you’re a Financial Independence junkie, you read Mr. Money Mustache. If real estate is your game, you’re probably a member of BiggerPockets. If you’re old school, perhaps you’ve been reading Get Rich Slowly from the start. While those are all more than worthy, today I’d like to introduce you to others that I enjoy.

And I’ve always liked to root for the underdog. It’s just more fun. Maybe that’s why I’m a Chicago Bears fan instead of the New England Patriots? Or maybe I just enjoy pain. (Hey, stop laughing at me!)

Investing 101 (jlcollinsnh)

The number one question I get is this:

How do you invest in the markets?

The answer is simple:

Low-cost index funds.

Not so fast. This is one of those funny cases when the question is much more complicated than the answer. Are you confused yet? Jim Collins excellent Stock Series explains it all. If you prefer paper, pick up his book: The Simple Path to Wealth.

Financial Wizardry (Mad Fientist)

The second most frequent question that I get is this:

How do you retire early if all of your money is in pre-tax accounts like 401(k)s?

Luckily, this question has an easy answer too. The Mad Fientist explains it all in this post called How to Access Retirement Funds Early. And the Mad Fientist has lots of other great content including:

And I couldn’t talk about the Fientist without mentioning the Financial Independence Podcast. Listen to Mrs. 1500 and me here!

Podcast (ChooseFI)

ChooseFI is a newer podcast that I greatly enjoy. Despite being fresh on the scene, Brad and Jonathan sound like seasoned pros. Episode 21 (The Pillars of FI) and 36 (The Why of FI) are particularly good. And if you just can’t get enough of me, here I am again on Episode 14 discussing the Phases of FI.

Real Estate (Coach Carson)

I first met Chad (Coach) Carson at a blogger conference a couple of years ago and was immediately impressed. Chad is a smart guy (Rhodes Scholar finalist), real estate entrepreneur and a genuinely thoughtful person. Also, we both studied Biology, so I finally know someone who I can talk about the Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle with. Geek alert!

Chad’s passion in life is teaching and he offers a free course about getting started in real estate investing. I can’t think of a better resource if you’re interested in real estate. He also offers a paid course when you’re ready to dive into the weeds.

Entrepreneurship (PopUp Business School)

I read a comment on a recent post here that made me sad:

I think it’s real cute that you think living on $40K/year is frugal. Do you have any idea how that sounds to people living on less than $25K/year with no hope of employment?

I didn’t like the attitude behind this comment because I know that everyone has the potential to earn money and live a wonderful life. It isn’t always easy to discover what you were born to do, but when you find it, sometimes it’s hard not to make money.

I recently met an incredible person who helps people from all walks of life with their entrepreneurial dreams. His name is Alan Donegan and he’s one of the founders of the PopUp Business School. In his PopUp course, Alan and his team teach folks how to start businesses with little to no money.

And Alan provides this course for free. There is no up-sell on a future course. Alan funds his school through grants and corporate sponsors.

While PopUp is mostly in the U.K., he’ll be running his first PopUp School Business School in the United States this month in Colorado (sorry, all filled up) and there will be more to follow.  To learn more about Alan and PopUp Business School, listen to his interviews on Mad Fientist and ChooseFI.

High Earners (Physician on FIRE and Biglaw Investor)

The Physician on FIRE is an anesthesiologist ($$$$$), but lives a modest life in Midwestern America. I’ve met him a couple times and he’s just a regular guy who happens to be a doctor. Oh, and he’s a gifted writer and philanthropist.

Physician on FIRE’s boring, frugalmobile

I also recently met the BigLaw Investor in NYC. Biglaw is an interesting guy who writes about personal finance from the viewpoint of an attorney. Just like the rest of us, lawyers make financial mistakes too. Also, did you know that lawyers make up just 8% of the millionaires in the United States?

I enjoy Physician on FIRE and Biglaw Investor because they show what money management looks like from a perspective that most don’t normally see.

Book (Set for Life by Scott Trench)

I met Scott Trench a couple years ago and was immediately impressed. One of the first questions he asked me was this:

What books have you read recently?

Anyone who likes to read is a friend of mine.

[FYI: If you haven’t checked out Rockstar Finance’s new Book Directory they just put together, take a look when you’re done reading this: Personal Finance Book Directory. They just released a full report on it as well, which you can find here that’s powered by 200 bloggers in the space.]

After I rattled off some of my recent reads, I asked Scott the same question. He mentioned a bunch of brainy books which I added to my list.

And that’s not all. At 27, Scott is Vice-President at BiggerPockets, the real estate investing social network that I mentioned at the beginning of the post.

Scott’s own Set for Life is one of the great books that I’ve read recently.  Scott’s book is a blueprint for millennials that want to achieve financial freedom. Every college graduate I know is getting this book as a graduation present.
set for life book

Killer Writing and Amazing Insights (Morgan Housel)

I have no idea how I started reading Morgan Housel, but I’m thankful that I did. Morgan is smart, creative and one of the most gifted writers who I’ve had the good fortune to read. Want a hilarious take on the financial media? Read his Honest Business News Update. Here is why time to think is so critically important (Charlie Munger, one of the greatest investors and thinkers of our time, agrees):

I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think.

Here is a listing of Morgan’s recent posts.

Update! (Forgive my stupid male Neanderthal brain)

More than a couple folks have pointed out that this list is comprised of males. Males only. Like a bad fraternity or the audience of a Jim Carrey movie. Doh!

I didn’t mean it. Blame deep biases and my Neanderthal brain. Here are some excellent female bloggers that deserve no less attention than any of the folks already in this list:

  • Frugalwoods: I was going to include the Frugalwoods in this post; I haven’t found a better writer than Mrs. Frugalwoods. Plus, her husband hooked me up with some really good beer. I left the Frugalwoods out of the original version because their blog is already massive. Plus, I didn’t want to offend Frugal Hound by calling her an underdog.
  • Broke Millennial: I’ve know Erin from almost the start of my blogging career (2013!). While most blogs fizzle out after a couple months, Erin’s career has grown. It’s surreal to see your friends on TV. And, she just wrote an excellent book.
  • Our Next Life: Mrs. ONL produces amazing content. Enough said.


It may not be right to call any of these folks underdogs. The Mad Fientist produces one of the top financial independence podcasts. Morgan Housel was a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. However, these creators are so good that I can’t help but mention them. They’ve all improved my life in one way or another.

How about you? Do you have any favorites that you feel deserve more recognition? Let us know in the comments so everyone can see!

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  1. Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle September 6, 2017 at 6:24 AM

    My husband introduced me to the FIRE concept from Mr. Money Moustache years ago and is still a get rich slowly reader. So I know those big guys.

    I recognized or read many of the others. But I am really really interested in the Pop Up Business guy. That sounds like a really cool idea he’s got going! I am hoping his plans include the Southeast at some point, bc I’d love to check him out in person.

    You’ve been in the FI blog-o-sphere much longer than me, but I loved the underdogs here. Thanks for giving me a few more to read!

  2. Mrs. Adventure Rich September 6, 2017 at 7:00 AM

    Awesome list of “underdogs” here :) I also like the Frugalwoods as an example of how joyful and life changing frugality can be!

    1. Mr. 1500 September 6, 2017 at 8:11 AM

      The Frugalwoods are fantastic and I came thisclose to including them, but their blog is massive. Plus, Frugal Hound would have taken offense to being called an “underdog.”

      1. J. Money September 6, 2017 at 10:01 AM

        HAH! I see what you did there!!!

  3. Mr. Freaky Frugal September 6, 2017 at 7:11 AM

    My favorites are Mr. Money Mustache and the now somewhat defunct Early Retirement Extreme. Both of these blogs helped me FIRE early.

    I would also add Financial Samurai for the great depth of analysis of all things financial.

    1. J. Money September 6, 2017 at 9:56 AM

      Yup! Sam is great too – one of my personal favorites as well :)

  4. Peter September 6, 2017 at 7:33 AM

    Good ones Mr. 1500. Another vote from me to Sam from And I would also suggest the Dude from, he has some great insights and an entertaining writing style.

  5. Leo T. Ly September 6, 2017 at 7:45 AM

    This is a great breakdown of the different flavours of personal finance blogs that the average reader can indulge and feed their money appetite.

    I think that you’re right about money being boring and it’s difficult to get people to think about it. Especially on increasing savings and controlling your own spending. Hence, the more options people have, there has got to be one money blog that’ll motivate them to take care of their finances.

  6. Apathy Ends September 6, 2017 at 7:46 AM

    I just found the ChooseFI podcast and have been binge-listening for 2 weeks – great content and great interviews

    1. Mr. 1500 September 6, 2017 at 8:12 AM

      I’m glad that you enjoy ChooseFI! Brad and Jonathan do a great job!

  7. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance September 6, 2017 at 7:58 AM

    This is such a great list. Thank you so much for sharing! I have listened to the BiggerPockets podcast and the Mad Fiendtist podcast. Both of them are great!

    I’m glad to see that we have more new FIRE podcast being produced. It’s always great to hear the voice of other fellow bloggers and PF experts! I have been thinking about producing a podcast myself. ^.^

    1. J. Money September 6, 2017 at 10:04 AM

      You should do it!! We need as much help as we can get in this world spreading around the message! :)

  8. Jeff @ MaximumCents September 6, 2017 at 7:59 AM

    Thanks for the compilation of bloggers to read based on category. Most I read but Coach Carson was a new one. I also appreciate the book recommendation!

  9. Matt@ Distilled Dollar September 6, 2017 at 8:22 AM

    Incredible list. MadFi and MMM really showed me what’s possible with early retirement.

    I’ll echo another commenter and mention Financial Samurai, as he does a great job as well, especially on macro trends and the income side of the equation.

  10. Laurie@ThreeYear September 6, 2017 at 8:52 AM

    Hey Mr. 1500,
    Is the definition of underdog male? You only listed male bloggers here! These guys are all great, admittedly, but there’s not one female listed! What gives?? :)

    1. Mr. 1500 September 6, 2017 at 11:06 AM

      Ha ha, you’re completely right. Did you see that picture of the bull’s ass at the start of the post? That’s me! :)

      Anyway, I just added three that are top notch. Thanks for calling me out!

      1. Laurie@ThreeYear September 6, 2017 at 1:00 PM

        Haha! Thanks for updating the list! I love to hear about FI from gents and ladies!!

  11. Mrs. Picky Pincher September 6, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    Great list, guys! I gotta say that many of my favorite blogs fall into the frugality space. In particular I really like the Non-Consumer Advocate and Frugal Girl.

  12. Physician on FIRE September 6, 2017 at 10:06 AM

    Humbled to be on the list, Mr. 1500. I’ve met a couple of you in person, and look forward to meeting most of the others in person at FinCon next month. Morgan Housel is the one name I’m not familiar with, but I’ll follow those links and get familiar.

    And I’ve grown quite fond of my boring Chevy. It’s two-toned. How many two-toned HHRs have you seen out on the road? It’s almost… what’s the word I’m looking for… sexy. Yeah, that’s it. Sexy.


    1. Mr. 1500 September 6, 2017 at 11:09 AM

      Dude, Morgan Housel kicks ass!

      And your HHR is ummmm… I wouldn’t say sexy. Maybe you’re on to something though. is available. Do it.

      1. J. Money September 6, 2017 at 5:24 PM


        I agree on the Morgan selection too. If I were single and a chick I’d totally go after him.

        Will be nice to link up in real life, PoF! Can I take a picture in front of your car if you drive there??? :)

        1. Physician on FIRE September 6, 2017 at 9:38 PM

          Yes. But no. I’m flying. If we happen to take a two-toned Uber, we can pose in front of that, but it’s not bloody likely.


  13. ZJ Thorne September 6, 2017 at 10:31 AM

    I definitely love Jim Collins. His explanations are clear. Financial Samurai gets me dreaming bigger. Our Next Life focuses on the why and the heart of things. Definitely great reads.

  14. PaulM September 6, 2017 at 10:33 AM

    I’m familiar with several of the bloggers you listed but not all. Are all of them included in the Rockstar Directory? I often refer to that site and the posts that J$ updates throughout the day and it would be nice if they’re all included for “one stop shopping”.

    1. J. Money September 6, 2017 at 5:25 PM


      I believe they’re all on there, and regularly featured in our daily curation too… Although it’s been seeming lately that a lot of the “big guys” are posting less and less so therefore don’t show up as often as they used to be.

      A lot of them are on our “best list” too in the Directory:

  15. Deanna September 6, 2017 at 11:39 AM

    I’m always happy to check out a new blog or two! What makes me sad, however, was the response to “What’s someone to do on >$25k a year?” A link to an event that I’d have to pay at least travel expenses to get to? I have to admit, I was turned off by one of the blogs listed because they said they were aimed at frugality for people who make over $100,000. And here I thought between myself and my husband, we made a good living, but not that good! There’s gotta be advice out there from people I can resonate with – I know J. Money is one of them!

    1. Mr. 1500 September 6, 2017 at 4:27 PM

      “A link to an event that I’d have to pay at least travel expenses to get to?”

      Hmmm, you’re thinking about it the wrong way. I’m at the event now and the instructor showed a room full of people how to build a quality website for free in about 60 minutes. Then, the class was cut loose and everyone stood up their own site. The knowledge that these guys are passing on is incredible. And the whole 9 days are completely free. All for the price of travel expenses…

      But, you don’t even have to travel:

    2. J. Money September 6, 2017 at 5:30 PM

      Thanks for the kind words, Deanna :) You might want to check out my other site,, if you’re not already as we’re ALWAYS finding new and good blogs to feature. I scan over 200 articles a day and then pluck out my favorite 3 to feature every day on the site. You’ll def. find more sites to follow there :) (we have a newsletter you can sign up to as well to get them emailed if you don’t like the sold school way of checking out the homepage on the daily – hah)

  16. Millennial Boss September 6, 2017 at 11:42 AM

    I would consider some of these bloggers as having made it and not underdogs. Also glad you added some women to the list!

  17. Mr. SSC September 6, 2017 at 11:56 AM

    Man, I guess I read only under-under dogs, lol. Some more I like to read are Bayalis is the Answer, The Green Swan, Northern Expenditure, She Picks Up Pennies, and the Frugal Farmer. All great content, good reading, and varied topics across the board.

    Keep it up guys, actually only one of them is a guy. See, three more names to add to the Female Under Dog Addendum, lol.

    1. J. Money September 6, 2017 at 5:31 PM

      I agree with your assessment :)

  18. Mr. Tako September 6, 2017 at 12:08 PM

    One of my favorite blogs has to be this guy named Mr. 1500, who’s a bit obsessed with beer and dinosaurs. He’s kind of hilarious, and always different. :)

    1. Mr. 1500 September 6, 2017 at 4:28 PM

      Awwwe, thanks Mr. Tako! The payment is on the way.

  19. Josh September 6, 2017 at 3:02 PM

    Oh man! What a great list of resources. Thanks for bringing these to our attention. But I’m kind of blown away that you brought up real estate without mentioning the always insightful Paula Pant of The blog isn’t as active as it used to be, but she keeps up a great podcast.

    1. Mr. 1500 September 6, 2017 at 4:30 PM

      Agreed that Paula Pant is a superb resource. Perhaps I need a Part 2? But again, I’m trying to get out the word for folks who you may not have heard of and Chad Carson is the real deal.

      1. J. Money September 6, 2017 at 5:35 PM

        Yeah I’ll agree – Paula is more “popular” online for sure, so Chad is def. the underdog but one who is steadily rising as we all catch on! Met him a couple years ago myself and was just blown away by now *nice* he was! The killer blog and skills were just icing on the cake, haha…

        actually, he even did a blog post here a while back, let me go dig it up – I remember it being a good one… Here we are:

      2. Josh September 7, 2017 at 9:57 PM

        Yeah, I remembered the “under dog” aspect of this immediately after posting this. Sorry ’bout that. :p

  20. PedalsforPennies September 6, 2017 at 9:35 PM

    I can’t wait to check out some of these! Thanks for putting the list together.

  21. Dads Dollars Debts September 7, 2017 at 12:10 AM

    What a round up man. Nice work J Money…these writers could give anyone a PhD in finance if they take the time to read and digest.

  22. Financial Samurai September 7, 2017 at 10:41 AM

    Great you went back and edited the post to add more women. While you’re at it, maybe you can add some sites with minorities?

    One of the things that became very apparent over the years is that we tend to live in an echo chamber where we tend to only interact with people who look and talk like us.

    I think it would be great if we could diversify our circles, expand our topics, and help more folks get ahead.



  23. Syed September 7, 2017 at 10:46 AM

    Nice roundup of some great websites. To add to the big money guys my fav is White Coat Investor. He has a great book as well which should be required reading for any type of health professional.

    One thing I’m sure of is you’ll probably never see any of these bloggers on CNBC since they speak the simple truth about money.

    1. J. Money September 8, 2017 at 5:46 AM

      Hah! The FIRE bloggers will get on there, but you then have to be willing to be pummeled with every single person doubting you haha…

      (and I agree with White Coat Investor – he helped initiate a whole ‘nother movement for physicians!)

  24. Dave September 7, 2017 at 12:51 PM

    Great list. I am a fan off everyone you mentioned. I have spent hours reading the blogs or listening to the podcasts you listed. I have found that there is something to learn from most financial bloggers. Even if our life circumstances are different, the principles for reaching success are the same.

  25. Michael September 7, 2017 at 4:06 PM

    Great list of resources, I am curious about the attorney’s perspective on PF and am going to check it out.

  26. Solitary Diner September 9, 2017 at 11:59 AM

    Thanks for the list of resources and for adding some female bloggers to the list. We women always seem to be underrepresented in the FIRE community (not to mention in life in general).

    I would also add Bitches Get Riches ( and She Picks Up Pennies ( to the list of great female financial bloggers.

    1. Mr. 1500 September 9, 2017 at 4:29 PM

      Hi SD! Thanks for introducing me to some new XX bloggers!