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I never pass up an opportunity to meet someone with a spiked mohawk. Yeah, I like living on the edge like that.

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So when I saw this guy sporting one at the Finance Bloggers Conference in Chicago this past October, I had to introduce myself. To my delight, it turned out to be “J. Money” – a pen name, natch – of Budgets Are Sexy.

I’d read his blog a little bit and liked it because it was so different. Okay, I admit that the blog’s name drew me in at first. So of course, when I talked to J. on the phone about his blog, my first question was where he got the idea for the name when he started the blog four years ago.

He and his wife had recently bought a house so budgeting was on his mind. “Justin Timberlake’s song, Bringing Sexy Back, was popular at the time so I started thinking about words like budgets and saving and mixing them with sexy. I wanted a name that was fun and hip,” says J.


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Well, mission accomplished. Something like “Bringing Budgets Back” would not sound nearly as intriguing. But this blog is much more than a catchy name. So let’s talk about what this blog has to offer you.

The blog’s personality

We’re all busy and when you decide to become part of a blog community, you want to make sure it’s a good fit. On Budgets Are Sexy, the content is a mix of personal finance and fun stuff, which keeps readers engaged. It’s geared toward a younger, hip crowd, but no matter what age you are, you’ll get some insight from this enjoyable blog.

There are lots of comments on the posts and J. interacts with everyone. To me, the comment section is a big test when I look at a blog. Is the blogger responding to comments? Is the blogger encouraging the readers to interact with and help each other? To get a feel for this, I spent time going through many of the posts on Budgets Are Sexy and reading the comments. I came away feeling that J. does a great job of building and maintaining a supportive community here.

He writes a post every weekday, which is pretty impressive. How does he come up with so many topics? “I put a lot of myself in the blog. There’s always something to write about,” he says.

What’s the “take away” for readers?

Okay, it’s great to have a few laughs and get to know people. But really, when we take the time to read a blog we want to get something back from it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I guard my reading time fiercely and you should, too.

Here’s how J. sums up what he wants for readers: “I hope it motivates people to pay attention to their money. And I also hope they start thinking about it differently. It doesn’t have to be boring,” says J.

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Part of the way J. motivates people to stay in tune with their money, is through sharing his own finances and his goals. On his blog, you can take a look at not only his net worth, but all the details included in that number. “This is my favorite part of the site. I hope it helps others to set and meet goals, but it also holds me accountable for managing my own money,” says J.

So there’s transparency regarding his own money and this appeals to people. But this transparency also has the advantage of showing you how a real person is doing it. It’s a nuts-and-bolts approach and that helps a lot of people figure out how they can make this happen for themselves.

As for other topics, he covers a slew of general finance subjects, including, as you’d expect, budgeting. You can even get some cool Excel spreadsheets on his budget templates page.

When J. says he wants to get people to think about money in a different way, he’s not kidding. On Fridays, he does a series of posts called How much did your outfit today cost? You get the scoop about what he’s wearing all the way down to his $5 Old Navy boxers. He makes a point of saying that there are no right or wrong answers, so right off the bat, you don’t have to fear being judged.

Yeah, on the surface, this type of content appears to be a bit fluffy. But I’ll bet right now you’re doing a mental inventory of what you’re wearing and thinking about the cost. Am I right? And that makes you think about how you spend your money, doesn’t it?

I took this exercise–as did many in the comments section on the blog–all the way to my makeup and hair products. I spend a lot more on makeup and hair stuff than I do on clothes. But that’s a personal choice. I’ve been a girlie-girl since I was a three-year-old and stole my mom’s red lipstick (gory details may be divulged in a future blog, but no promises). So the way I look today reflects who I am and I feel good about my money choices. The point is, though, that it’s a good idea to reassess how you choose to spend your money now and then.

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This is just one example, but what you get on Budgets Are Sexy isn’t a knock-you-over-the-head plea for fiscal sanity. It’s a laid-back blog that breaks down money in a way that relates to your everyday life. Your “take away” is a more conscious approach to spending, saving and budgeting. The best part: You don’t have to read anything painfully dull to get something back from this blog.

My take on this blog

After spending many hours on Budgets Are Sexy, I came away feeling pretty inspired by the energy and the positive attitude toward money management. In today’s economy, that’s a valuable contribution to the world.  And if you like your personal finance a little on the wild side, you’ll also have fun on this blog.

You can visit daily to read new posts or subscribe here via email or an RSS feed. On this page, he also gives links so you can “stalk” him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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  • Beverly Harzog

    Hey J$! Thanks for taking the time to share your insights with me. You’ve created an outstanding blog. Hope to see you at the conference, too!

  • http://budgetsaresexy.com J$

    It was a pleasure talking with you Beverly! Hope to run into you again at the next Financial Blogger Conference! 🙂

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