HAPPY New Year’s Eve, peeps!
Y’all got big party plans tonight? Or are you the crash early type? I’m proud to say I’ve made it to midnight the past couple of NYEs (barely)… and hope to do so again tonight. It was my birthday yesterday (woot woot, life level 37!!) so it’s a double reason for me to stay up and party. 🥳
What an awesome 2021 it has been. THANK YOU to everyone who has continued reading Budgets Are Sexy over the past 12 months – this was my first full calendar year running the blog since taking over from J. Money.
We’ve published 104 articles this year, been featured in more than 50 round-ups and new publications, and even earned a spot in the All-Star Money Hall of Fame!
One of J$’s annual traditions was sharing the top 10 most popular finance articles written on the blog each year … I’ve pulled a list for 2021 to share below, based on unique pageviews. If you missed one of these, check it out below. Or if you’re a new reader, this is a preview of the type of stuff we like to blog about here.
Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts From 2021
Dear Wife, Here’s How to FIRE If I Die Early – This was the saddest but probably most helpful post I’ve ever written. I got soooo many responses from readers who were either a) very unprepared and had no estate plan or b) suffered from the loss of a loved one in the past and had to clean up a big financial mess afterwards. In this post, I write a high-level letter to my wife with some steps to take if I pass away early. 😢
My Parents Retired at 42: What I Learned Growing Up in a FIRE Family 🔥🔥🔥 – This is an awesome guest post written by my friend Mike, who also co-hosts the Friends on FIRE podcast. Mike’s parents both retired in their early 40s, so he talks about life from the children’s perspective when parents retire early.
Michael and his family
The 6 Stages of Financial Freedom – Where You At!? – More than just explaining the various phases we all go through on the FIRE path, this post also talks about the freedoms that are available to us along the way. (Spoiler alert: Many of life’s freedoms are available to you earlier than you think. And waaay before you actually reach Financial Independence. 😉)
7 Side Hustles Perfect for Couples – What’s better than making more money in your spare time? Doing it with your life partner! (or close friend or family member). This article goes through side hustle options for couples and the pros and cons of them all.
Flashback to when my wife and I were charging Bird scooters in our garage
Lowering My Emergency Fund… to…. $0.00? – Many people disagree with my view on this, and that’s OK! I’ve always had a HUGE emergency fund to cover 6 months of living expenses (sometimes much more). But now my stance on emergency funds has completely changed – I don’t believe in them anymore. This article explains why having cash on hand isn’t really necessary → rather, having *access to cash* is. Since writing this post I’ve put about $20k of cash into the stock market and will continue to lower my cash balance until it’s near ZERO.
Why I’m Transitioning Away From Rental Properties – I grew up thinking that real estate was the only way to get wealthy, so I began building a rental empire right out of high school. Then in my early 30s, I started studying personal finance more and getting familiar with other investment vehicles. This made me rethink my entire portfolio. In this post I talk about why I’m selling off rentals (and we’ve already sold 3 properties since writing this back in January!).
How Your Neighbors Spend Their Money (aka the Average Household Budget) – “Other people’s money is none of your business, and thus inherently interesting!!” In this awesome guest post written by MoneyLemma, we break down the average U.S. household’s income and expenses using fun charts and graphs. Super interesting facts in here!
Money Is Alive! And He Launched a New Curation Site… – The man, the myth, the legend… J.Money returns to the blog to answer some Q&A as well as tell us about his new project, All-Star Money. If you haven’t checked out the site yet, do so here: All-Star Money. And sign up for the daily newsletter (or weekly digest) which showcases 3 fresh and favorite personal finance blogs each day.
30 Mini-Challenges for September to Improve Your Life and Money – Rather than trying a “no spend” month, this list of money challenges are all different and random – to keep things FUN! (I realize September has come and gone, but these challenges can really be done during any month of the year. I’ll make sure to spice things up again this year and do another monthly challenge of sorts in 2022.)
Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, and How I’m Adjusting My Life Accordingly – A while back I read a book about what most people regret when they are on their deathbed. I’m determined not to have the same regrets in life, so this article talks about life changes I’m making to avoid these common regrets. Here are the top regrets, in case you are wondering…
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
And here are some runners-up that didn’t make it into our top 10 … but I think they are just as awesome…
- Retired at 43: “No Gambling, No Lotteries, No Bitcoin”
- Is It a Mistake to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?
- I Could Have Been FI by Now …
OK, that’s a wrap for 2021!
Have a wicked time tonight, whatever you get up to! Please be safe and don’t do any streaking (without inviting me!). I love a good new years nudie run. 🤫 Shhhh.
Killer resources and apps:
- Best Budget Templates & Spreadsheets (FREE)— The best free budget templates from around the community! Including the ones I use :)
- Personal Capital* (FREE) — A great app to track your investments and net worth. You can see an in-depth review we did here from a millionaire who checks it daily 😂
- You Need a Budget (YNAB)* (FREE TRIAL, then $14.99/mo or $98.99/year) — One of the BEST budgeting methods in the space, with new users saving $600 on avg their first two months, and more than $6,000 over their first year! Check out my friend Vic’s review of YNAB here that went on to completely change his finances 💪
- Digit (FREE 6 mo. Trial, then $5/mo) — This is one of my favorite apps for automatically saving money, and I even came on board as an advisor I believed in them so much! You can see my full review on Digit here.
- Acorns* ($3-$5/mo) – Similar to Digit, this app helps you automatically INVEST money by rounding up all your transactions to the nearest dollar and then investing it right away for you. My full review of Acorns can be found here.
- Honey (FREE) — By far my favorite coupon service out there! Click the Honey button any time you're about to buy something online, and BOOM - any discounts it finds will be automatically applied at checkout. You can see my write up on them here.
- Credit Karma* (FREE) — An easy way to check and monitor your credit score AND report! See my full review of these guys here.
- My Favorite Blogs + Books < -- Click here to see all my other recommendations!