Hey New Orleans? I’m Baaaaaaaack!

Good mornin’ my money hustlers! What’s shakin’? Where you be at? Where your money be at?

I’m coming to you straight outta NOLA this morning, and in case you couldn’t tell I have an extra hop in my skip :) I’m attending our 4th annual personal finance blogger conference (FINCON) and I’m finally surrounded by people who not only *enjoy* talking about blog stuff 24/7, but who actually PAID to be surrounded by it all weekend! Haha… It’s quite the ordeal, let me tell you…

And it’s quite the opposite reason I’m in New Orleans since the last time I visited here too – which was for a boy’s weekend over 5 years ago. And how do I remember this after all those brain cells I killed? Oh, because I blogged about it. Another fun perk to documenting your life – you can always go back and reminisce about the “good ol’ days” anytime you want!

And a lot can happen in your life after 5 solid years too. Such as…

  • Becoming self-employed
  • Becoming a daddy of two beautiful boys!
  • Buying and selling 10+ finance sites
  • Getting a Masters and (almost) PHD (the wife, not me – I’m not that smart)
  • Launching your very own charity
  • Moving to a new state
  • And one of my favorites – growing your net worth from $62,535.77 to $458,924.81!

Pretty wild stuff when you stop to think about it. If you’re bored today/right now, take a few seconds to write down some of the milestones you’ve crossed in the past 5 years yourself. Not only does it help waste some time a work (you’re welcome), but it’s also good for remembering how AWESOME you are and that no one can ever take that stuff away from you. No matter what happens in your life going forward. Powerful stuff.

While I’m traveling down memory lane this morning myself, I thought it would be fun to compare the old J. Money with the new J. Money – in terms of how I’ll be spending my time and money this time in New Orleans vs. the last. Am I still the splurger I once was, or have I adapted over time? Let’s find out…

Here’s what I said I was going to splurge on 5 years ago, along with how I’ll be spending on this trip:

  1. Checked baggage – Yup, I’ll be paying to check on 1 piece of baggage! I’m too much of a metro to keep everything in one carry on, as I like having all kinds of outfits to change into depending on my mood. That, and I’m deathly afraid of running out of hairspray so I like taking my entire bottle instead of the size-appropriate one for carry ons. If you’ve ever seen a mohawk not spiked up, you’ll know why – it’s not pretty. (Think: mullet)
  2. Airport food & coffee – Double yup! I love airport coffee and snacks regardless of price – it’s my weakness (also – it’ damn convenient!)
  3. Taxis – Triple check. I’ll probably use Uber or Lyft instead of those yellow dinosaurs, though. I try to not get my panties in a bunch with transportation while out on vacation. I save those panties for my every day life instead ;)
  4. Group Dinners – Nope! Everything will be paid for that I attend/eat at the conference. Thanks to the generous sponsors and financial companies that will be in attendance to woo us bloggers over the weekend. And that includes gobs of alcohol too – woo!
  5. Souvenirs – Nope! The new me is much more minimalistic than the old me… The thought of bringing home a tchotchke is almost as nauseating as having paid for it to begin with. bleh. I’m so glad to be over that stage…

And these were the 3 areas I said I’d be *saving* while in NOLA last time. Let’s see if it differs:

  1. Alcohol – Yep! We’ll be saving again due to all that generosity I mentioned above!
  2. Hotel Room – Yep! Although instead of cramming 10 dudes in a room, I’ll only be shacking up with one. My ratio of savings vs comfort has slightly altered over the years ;)
  3. Daytime Adventures – Yep! Anything I do during the day will be a part of the conference, so whether that’s attending talks, seminars, lunches, or scheduled touristy things – it’ll all be pretty much covered. I plan on networking my ass off during the whole thing anyways, so I prob won’t venture off until it’s party time at night… Which will most def. be the same as when I was with my boys all those years ago!

That’s right. Us bloggers like to party too – don’t doubt! And, apparently also rap:

{Can you spot me in this sea of awesomeness?}

Here’s something else that has remained constant over the years: Not playing Credit Card Roulette! Haha… Both the financial, and risky, side of me just can’t stomach it at all – even if the odds are in your favor.

Here’s the gist of it in case you ever want to play :)

Credit Card Roulette: A game to see who’s going to pay the bill. You take everyone’s credit cards, put ‘em under a napkin, and then mix them all up so you can’t tell whose is whose. Then, someone (usually the waiter) randomly selects one of them and pulls it out to declare the “winner.” Except in this case, you do NOT want to win, because the “winner” is the chosen one to pay the entire bill!

Pretty crazy, right? The more people at your table the better the odds of you not paying, but if you’re deemed the lucky “winner” that’s one whopper of a bill you’ll end up with at the end of the night… I’m happy to pay my fair share of food/drinks any time, thank you very much.

So overall I’m pretty much the same me as I was 5 years ago, minus the penchant for souvenirs… and I’ll be able to write off a lot of this vacation’s expenses, errrr… I mean “business trip’s” expenses, too – making this return visit even sweeter! Woo! And this time around my wife didn’t force me to sign that non-nudity clause either, haha… J/K. I had to sign that bad boy for life ;)

Anyways, I’m going to have a blast over the weekend. And for the first time in 5 months I’ll actually get a full night’s sleep too – woo!! No baby duty! (Sorry/thanks Mrs BudgetsAreSexy!) I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss those two boys though :( This will be the first time in two years I’m leaving any of them alone and I’m trying not to think about it… Daddy’s gotta leave the nest at some point, right? It’ll just make us appreciate each other that much more?

Oh! And almost forgot – THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH for helping my other site, Rockstar Finance, become a finalist in two blogger award categories this year! “Best New Personal Finance Blog” and “Best Microblog!” (For our twitter handle @RockstarFinance). You guys rock. It’s awesome making it that far whether we end up taking them home or not (the winners will be announced on Saturday, hopefully a la red carpet, haha…) and I’ll let you know if we win.

So that’s what I’ll be getting into over the weekend – how about you? Anyone else heading out of town on an adventure? Anyone else gonna be near me and partying down in NOLA??? If you see me roaming around the conference halls/bars, please do stop me and say hi. I should be the only one rocking a ‘hawk – provided the hairspray doesn’t get lost in transit (!!!).

Happy weekend, everyone!

PS: Here’s an interview I did on what’s so awesome about FINCON if you want to learn more… Don’t waste your time though if you’re not a blogger – click this instead or you’ll be bored to tears.

[Awesome New Orleans pic up top by Falkue via Wikipedia]

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  1. Mrs. Frugalwoods September 19, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    I’m with you on the no souvenirs clause–they are both dumb and expensive. But, airport coffee? Not sure about that action. Have fun at FinCon and I hope you’ll regale us with your tales!

  2. Brian @ Debt Discipline September 19, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    Have a great time J$! To think in the last 5 year we paid off $109K in debt!

    1. J. Money September 24, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      You are a debt machine!!!

  3. Dee @ Color Me Frugal September 19, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    I’ve also had to leave my little baby girl for the first time to come to FinCon! Her daddy is awesome and I know he’s taking great care of her, but I am trying really hard not to think about how much I miss them!

  4. Shannon @ Financially Blonde September 19, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    You forgot to mention awesome bloggers buying you drinks too! :-) This is my first FinCon and so far I love it. It’s such a great place to network and get your blog and brand out there. My only issue is that the city of New Orleans is so awesome as well that it could easily distract you from conference fun too. See you around FinCon! :-)

    1. J. Money September 24, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      What a hustler you are! Reading and commenting while AT fincon? Haha… So awesome seeing you (and drinking your free beers). You’re even cooler in person :)

  5. Even Steven September 19, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Thanks for mentioning the interview, I can feel the extra swag in your step already. Your net worth increase for the 5 years is amazing, just having a blog and keeping track of getting your money right has done wonders, congrats sir!

  6. Will September 19, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    It’s so important for me to write down what I’ve done. What counts – what I’ve actually done at the end of the day, not what I’ve just talked about doing.

    Talk is cheap, ya know?

    Have fun in NOLA! See you at FINCON ’15!

    1. J. Money September 24, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      (You better come out next year!)

  7. Carol in Mpls September 19, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    The book club gals are heading up to Duluth for the weekend. One makes the very, very best guac & salsa, and I get to be the sous chef, as I sprained my ankle yesterday. No walking to the balloon fest for me :(

    We’ve been doing this for 25 years now, heading somewhere semi-close-by every fall, watching the leaves turn pretty colors, eat, drink lots of wine, catch up, and sometimes we even read books, too. I always buy a few postcards. Still have to pick up my wine…

    1. J. Money September 24, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      Oh man sooooo beautiful sounding! Fall is my all-time favorite season – perfect weather and perfect scenery to get you feeling good before all the fun holidays :) Hope your ankle feels better!

  8. Darrell September 19, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Credit Card Roulette is more fun when the person who’s card is drawn LAST has to pay. It adds to the drama. We’ve also let people opt out of roulette before, too. They can just pay there portion and everyone else plays for the rest of the bill. If you have a large group, it’s better to draw cards at the table because servers have better things to do than draw through a dozen cards.

    I knew a guy that went to super expensive restaurants two weekends in a row and lost both times…ended up costing him $800 bucks!

    1. Brian September 19, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      That’s the way we always do it…. It makes people sweat bullets. The last time we played it cost the guy close to $700… and that was all alcohol no food. I guess that’s what happens when most of your friends are Irish and you are celebrating a weekend of playing Irish sports.

    2. J. Money September 24, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Ahhhh yes – def. a better way to go for the drama. I’m still too much of a p*ssy to play though, even if my friends let me off the hook :) (Which would only happen if they were sober – if we were all drinking no way I’d wiggle off! Haha…)

  9. Tai September 19, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    Loving my first FinCon! So great to meet my blogging idols in person lol!

    1. J. Money September 24, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      Was great connecting and having breakfast with you :) Looking forward to helping your blog grow! (Got your latest email, just haven’t replied yet)

  10. Mortgage Free Mike September 20, 2014 at 6:37 AM

    Enjoy your trip. I’m sure you will have a blast and inspire many people.

  11. Kalen September 21, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Glad you had a great time at FinCon! I’ll see you there next year!

  12. Jeremy September 21, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    I’m sure you’ll have a great time and excited on your FinCon. Great photos. Enjoy your trip to New Orleans. I had fun reading your article. Thanks for sharing it.

  13. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich September 21, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    Airport food is awesome. It’s because it’s seasoned with adventure.

    1. J. Money September 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      YES!!! Perfectly put!!!

  14. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank September 24, 2014 at 4:45 AM

    I not only missed the FinCon but also the New Orleans. I’ll surely attend the next one. See you all there!

  15. connieK September 24, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    Missed you J$ !!!!!!! Note: YOU have got to the only PERSON who actually got sleep in NOLA :) …………. love that town, but you can’t stay more than a wknd or else you gain 10 lbs and get alcohol poisoning… God love NOLA! :)

    1. J. Money September 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Haha…. true that. Though at the end I screwed up all my sleep:

      Thursday night: 6 hours
      Friday night: 6 hours
      Saturday night: 1 1/2 hours (!)