My 10 *Favorite* Posts From 2017

Welcome to the last official business day of 2017!! That went fast, huh?

As promised, here’s a list of my all-time favorite posts from the year, to compliment the most popular posts we just featured on Wednesday.

You read all of these and not only will your wealth grow exponentially, but your standing here on BudgtsAreSexy will rise to the tippy top too! And there will be a quiz at the end of this – so make sure to pay attention and take notes!!! (Okay, no there won’t, but still smart to take notes :))

Here are my favorite posts from the year, sprinkled in with a few extras…

(Instead of taking a couple of hours to summarize them all like I did the last one, I’m just going to copy & paste my favorite clips from them here :) Why re-work the brilliant words that got these posts on this list in the first place?? Also, I’m lazy. #SorryNotSorry)

fire hater

#1. If You’re Smart Enough to Retire Early, You’re Smart Enough to Figure Out The Future — “Here’s the thing: if you’re smart enough to retire early, you’re smart enough to figure out how to live for the rest of your life. You’ve already done the hardest part! You hit your early retirement number! And we all know damn well that “retirement” really isn’t “retirement” for folks in our community anyways… What blogger, or early retiree, do you know who just lays around all day wasting away their lives? (Answer: no one) If you’ve figured out how to get – and keep! – millions of dollars for yourself, and certainly by your 20s/30s/40s, you’ve earned the right to do whatever the $hit you please in life. Whether that’s to keep working for more or just completely change your life.”

#2. The Ultimate List of What Belongs in Your Net Worth (And What Doesn’t) — “Do you include pensions in your net worth? How about art, insurance, homes, cats, baseball cards? These are some of the most popular questions I get asked, outside of “Is J. Money your real name?” (Yes) and “how did you get so damn sexy??” (I don’t know, it just comes natural! ;)) So today I thought I’d list out my personal feelings on it, and then everyone can chime in and let me know if they think I’m a big fat idiot or not. Although the reality is that we’d all be wrong, because: THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO TRACK IT!””

#3. A Different Way of Looking at Spending — “I’ve been trying something new lately where every time I have to spend money on something – whether a need or a want – I try to look at it as I’m “supporting” the place my money’s going to vs. “I’m spending my hard earned money” there. The effect to my wallet usually remains the same, but what I’ve noticed is that I’m starting to appreciate these transactions a lot more, and not only that – but in some cases even enjoying it!”

2 dollar baller

#4. Let’s Bring The $2.00 Bill Back!! — “When it comes to cash, I’m an equal opportunity owner. I have $10 bills, $5 bills, $20 bills, and of course many many $1.00 bills. But the one bill that I secretly admire more than any other, and also the one that gets the least respect, is the lonely $2. Not only has it been forgotten for the past handful of decades (yes, they still print them!), but some even think they’re fake and have literally gotten arrested for using them. #AlternativeFacts So today’s goal for this post is quite simple: to get you to start using the $2.00 bill! I don’t care if you use it just once or a thousand times. I want these puppies circulating so fast that McDonald’s comes out with a $2.00 Item Menu! ;) ”

#5. If You Can Afford to Spend It, You Can Afford to Save It. — “What I have been doing differently is that, if I decide I can afford it, and I don’t really need the items, I immediately transfer that amount into my savings account instead of spending it. Light bulb moment: if I can afford to spend it, I can afford to save it! WHOOOOA. This has revolutionized my savings life.”

#6. I’d Scoop up Poop if it Made Me Happy! — “Back when I quit got laid off of my job 7 years ago, I told the world I’d never go back to a 9-5 myself and thought I was pretty hot $hit for saying so.

“9-5? Those are for suckers! Blogging’s where it’s at, bitches!” – Said the guy who worked a 9-5 just days earlier…

But the truth is, I was a big fat idiot. And so are others who say they’ll “never” do something again. You may feel that way at the time, and maybe you never do end up going back to something again later, but I’ve since learned that the more limits you put on yourself the less opportunities you end up having later on in life. Why say “never” when “never” could actually make you happier one day?”

old birthday card to mom

#7. A Beautiful Way to Save Money on Cards? — “Among the old notes and doodles from school, apparently my mother thought it would be nice to store some of the old cards I made for her and my father too – particularly around the holidays. And rather than throw them all out which I was about to do, I thought – what if I can reuse them? Instead of buying another Hallmark card each holiday, what if I actually gave these hand-made cards BACK to my parents as if I were still that same 10 or 13 year old boy? And pretend no time has passed at all? Wouldn’t their hearts just explode with memories and be so much more meaningful? And bonus win: it wouldn’t cost a thing!”

#8. The Real Reason We Buy Stuff — “Have you ever met anyone who buys stuff they hate? Who willingly goes out of their way to blow money just because they see someone else doing it? I haven’t, yet we’re always talking about these “Joneses” who we’re supposedly keeping up with as if we were robots without any capability to think for ourselves! We are influenced by them, but the real reason we buy stuff isn’t just to be like other people. No. IT’S BECAUSE WE LIKE $HIT!… Everything we’ve ever bought or spent money on (outside of bills and boring adult stuff) we’ve done so because we LIKED what we got in return for it at the time… There were no Joneses holding up guns to our heads.”

#9. “It’s Strange Going From Saving Money Your Whole Life to Spending it!” — “How do you get okay with spending money after decades of saving and skimping by? How do you break a habit that’s 20, 30 or in my father’s case – almost 50 years old in the making? It sounds like the opposite of everything we’ve been trained to do, right? I still haven’t come to terms with it if I’m being honest, but two years later I’m proud to report that my father has finally overcome it and officially had his last day of work just last week :) At 60-something years old he has stopped hustling for that almighty dollar, and is now on a mission to soak up what he hopes is an even almightier life of leisure.”

minimalist graph

#10. “Maybe The Life You’ve Always Wanted is Buried Under Everything You Own” — “Similar to the book, Essentialism, I raved about the other month, this is another one [“The More of Less“] that helps get your mind right and back focused on finding your MORE out of life by saying no/less to everything else that doesn’t match our priorities. Namely, our stuff… And if you’re fan of Joshua’s popular blog, Becoming Minimalist, you’ll enjoy his book even more – especially if you don’t know the story behind his epiphany which led him down this “less is more” track. You never know where inspiration will hit you!”

The beauty of minimalism isn’t in what it takes away, it’s in what it gives. – Joshua Becker

And that’s the Top 10 list!

Here are the runner-ups… mainly because I’ve already talked about half of these ad nauseum lately ;)

And here are some posts that just attack you with one tip after another after another… Good for when you’ve drunk massive amounts of coffee and are ready to speed-read!

Lastly, here are a bunch of crazy and fascinating (and crazy fascinating!) stories from our recently created “Financial Confessional” series. Great for feeling better about your own “boring” lives.

So there you have it. 25 more articles to read when you’re in the mood to stalk the blog ;)

Who knows what will come out next? Or how many of us will go on to become millionaires in the new year??? Only time will tell, but if I’m doing my job right, you’ll grow that wealth faster and faster with each passing year… and hopefully not get put to sleep in the process.

Have a happy happy new year, everybody!! If any of these posts resonated with you above, please let me know in the comments so I can sleep knowing I won’t get fired! ;)

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  1. Sean @ FrugalMoneyMan December 29, 2017 at 5:40 AM

    Thanks for another set of reading material J. Money! I will be divng into them today at my 9 – 5 while I am “working.”

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 7:05 AM

      I got your back ;)

  2. Jason@WinningPersonalFinance December 29, 2017 at 7:10 AM

    Some really great stuff here. Loved the confessional stories. They were nuts. The Smart enough one was great too. I can’t believe these did not end up on the top 10 list. I also learned this year that my favorite posts don’t always end up being my most popular. In my first year though I’m just glad that somebody read
    my stuff. I do appreciate you stopping by a few times! Keep the great content coming in 2018!

    1. Mike @ Balanced Dividends December 29, 2017 at 8:37 AM

      Agreed with Jason – the “Financial Confessional” were very interesting (in addition to many others).

      Just started reading about 1/2 through the year, so this is a real treat to see the “best of” items that might have been missed. I have a few more hours of reading to do this week :).

      Thanks again.

      1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 9:38 AM

        Cool cool, thanks guys!! Glad you’re enjoying them and yes – at the end of the day we’re all just lucky to have people come and stop by our blogs haha… Without readers there would be no point to it all! :)

  3. OMGF December 29, 2017 at 7:19 AM

    I have a three hour bus ride ahead of my later this morning and I’m pulling up all of these for good reading. Thank you for putting out so much great content this year. If you did all of this with your attention divided between multiple online gigs, I can’t imagine what you’ll do with all the time you now have on your hands.

    Happy New Year!

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 9:40 AM

      Thanks friend :) One of these days I’m going to compile them all into ebooks or even a physical book that way anyone can take them on their trips with or without internet! And also so I can preserve the thoughts more to be passed down through the generations of my family too… if the internet ever exploded it would all be lost!

  4. Accidental FIRE December 29, 2017 at 7:27 AM

    I like #10 since I loved “Essentialism”. But I haven’t read that Joshua Becker book so that now goes on my list.

    That’s a lot of great writing J, looking forward to what you have in store next year!

  5. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance December 29, 2017 at 7:28 AM

    What a great list! I’ve only read a handful of them. I will need to check out the rest.

    2017 went by so fast. Our son is turning 3. I was literally thinking this morning “Where did time go?”

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 9:57 AM

      Oh yeah! Speeds right the hell up with kids! Good and bad haha…

  6. Amy @ Life Zemplified December 29, 2017 at 7:52 AM

    Some great gems here J! Partial to #10 and #7 :) Happy New Year!

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 10:00 AM

      Thanks Amy :) A blessed new year to you and your fam too! Going to be a good one – I can feel it!

  7. Apathy Ends December 29, 2017 at 8:01 AM

    Really like #3 on the list and it makes our adventures out to smaller local restaurants even better – support the places you love!

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 10:07 AM

      You know it :)

  8. fin$avvy panda @ December 29, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    Hey J $! This list is awesome. I just clicked and read a few of them. The scooping up poop title caught my attention haha! Very nice article there… it’s so true that nothing is ever permanent so never say never because you never know if that “never” could make you happy… and we shouldn’t limit ourselves from “never” bc they may be opportunities too.

    I also read your post about cards… “if I don’t know how to read/write, I would kill myself..”? Lol, I didn’t know those thoughts would cross a kid’s head haha… well, you’re a blogger now so there’s no way in hell you’d do that now!

    Thnx for putting this list together! I’ll be reading more later.

    Btw, I was surprised your spavings post didn’t make it here especially when you mentioned you were obsessed w/ the term haha! I enjoyed that one too.

    Happy new year!

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 10:13 AM

      Haha thanks man! Glad you found them entertaining :)

      I REALLY REALLY wanted to put Spavings on there, but been talking about it a lot so didn’t want to take up a slot for some of the other less-known ones that I liked.

      But you know what, I did create that “runner up” list there, so maybe i’ll just go and throw it in there too because it is one of my favorites… DONE!

      thanks for the encouragement :)

  9. Dave @ Married with Money December 29, 2017 at 9:35 AM

    #1 is definitely something I keep in mind all the time. Whenever people hear I want to retire a bit early and they’re worried about such a long timeline (not even THAT long compared to some), I always say – I’ll figure it out. It’s unrealistic to think we’ve got all the answers.

    But what early retirees DO have is an obvious drive to figure it out. Loved that one.

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 10:14 AM

      Hell yeah man – us FIRE people are a whole other breed! Of course we’re not just going to give up on the spot and go back to a 9-5, haha…. although we always could if we wanted to, just like any regular person as well :)

  10. Lily | The Frugal Gene December 29, 2017 at 9:56 AM

    I always liked the ones where you got input from readers with various finanical questions. Always a good laugh with those!

    I think the $2 bill should be a thing too. I didn’t how they still print them. I guess my collection of $2 bills is probably worth…just $2?

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 10:16 AM

      Yup, pretty much :) Unless you have REALLY old ones and/or special serial #’s and or stars on them next to the serial numbers. There’s a huge collector base that look for rare/fun/cool #’s on notes, but outside of that most bills are worth exactly that: just $2.00 :)

  11. Chris @ Duke of Dollars December 29, 2017 at 10:24 AM

    Thanks for pulling these together for us J Money!!

    Who would have thought we’d be on the list too :D.

    Happy new year!

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 4:26 PM

      I woulda thought it because IT WAS A KILLER POST!!!

      Anytime someone opens up and gets so raw like that I’m reminded of the beauty of blogging… how lucky are we to have a platform where you can discuss such things in the open like that? Before the internet all these stories/ideas/thoughts would have been lost forever more or less… Freaky to think about :(

  12. Chris @ Mindful Explorer December 29, 2017 at 12:12 PM

    I think your personal list of top 10 will be better than the most popular top 10. I trust you over what the internet decides is the best, anything can go viral these days lol. Happy New Year J , 2018 is going to pretty rad following along with the rejuvenated B.A.S. .

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 4:26 PM

      Haha… I’d like to think that, anyways :)

  13. PaulM December 29, 2017 at 12:50 PM

    Great list and I love your idea of an e or physical book to collect the best for perpetuity. Much of it is great advice that will stand the test of time. Happy new year to you and your family!

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 4:27 PM

      Thanks Paul – you too!

      (And I’ll sign you up for the very 1st copy to purchase ;))

  14. Crispy Doc December 29, 2017 at 1:58 PM


    Enjoyed the roundup of great posts. A belated congrats on selling the Forum wisely to a good steward, and on choosing the dad crazy schedule over the mad crazy schedule. I’m spending more time at home and less at work during these sweet years in the window where the kids want to spend time with me, and my only regret has been not having pulled the trigger sooner.

    Enjoy the gift of being present,


    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 4:28 PM

      Sounds like we’re both lucky parents then :) I dread the day we’re no longer cool enough to hang out with (!!!)

  15. Billy B @wealth well done December 29, 2017 at 3:13 PM

    Hey my writing made the favorite list!!!!! :)~ And between us, I was on the phone for 75 minutes yesterday with an award-winning national journalist interviewing me about the guest-post I wrote for you: “How I Survived Prison and Accidentally Found My Way to Wealth.” My adventure is just getting warmed up in the crazy/fascinating category. Thanks for the jump-start and spark-plug homie! Party on, friend!

    1. J. Money December 29, 2017 at 4:32 PM

      Oooooh very cool!!!

      You better tell me on the side more about who this person/outlet/project is!! I never know what the hell happens with these guest posts unless someone tells me later :) But that’s always the mission – to get these beautiful stories passed far and wide!!! So congrats man! You overcame an unfathomable thing and are now sitting pretty! You’ve earned it!

  16. Steve December 29, 2017 at 4:22 PM

    Weekend reading Thanks J !

  17. ZJ Thorne December 29, 2017 at 8:38 PM

    A great curation! Who knows what you’ll learn about your values next year?!

    1. J. Money January 1, 2018 at 9:17 AM

      For all of us! :)

  18. Albert Fang December 31, 2017 at 12:40 AM

    I loved your #1 post! Those hater comments are hilarious, especially the one says 1.9 million isn’t even that much. I totally agree with your sentiment if you managed to get that far in your life, you can totally overcome any ups and downs that comes around.

    1. J. Money January 1, 2018 at 9:18 AM

      Glad you enjoyed :) I was feeling pretty feisty that day!

  19. Doc G December 31, 2017 at 9:13 AM

    Thanks for the great year of content! I especially like the Net Worth Post. Look forward to more in 2018!

    1. J. Money January 1, 2018 at 9:19 AM

      Thanks Doc, a very happy new year to you and yours too!

  20. Tonya December 31, 2017 at 4:07 PM

    I’ve already read most of these but it was fun to go back and reread and reflect. Since tonight is New Year’s Eve, my husband and I are getting ready to reflect on 2017 and plan for 2018. After we put our 4 year-old to bed, we break open a bottle of champagne, reflect on financial goals from 2017, celebrate goals met, and set new financial goals for 2018. We ring in 2018 with one more glass then head off to bed. What can I say, we really know how to party! We wake up tomorrow with new financial goals ready to go (and Friday, January 5th is payday so we can get a quick jump on it). 2018 and 2019 will be all about getting out of debt except our mortgage. That’s right, we’re the cool kids on the block ;)

    1. J. Money January 1, 2018 at 9:21 AM

      Heyo!! Gotta love that! Much better than waking up with a financial hangover ;)