As much as I love depressing myself by reading how much Pat Flynn makes every month, what I really want to know is how much normal people make (and spend).
People are always trying to gauge what they should be spending on groceries, restaurants, housing, clothes, etc. It’s even more difficult to figure when you account for geography and family size. What if you have 2 kids? What if you live in Los Angeles? What if you’re a single income family?
That’s when I had the idea to create a means by which people could bare their budgets—to post their income, spending, and net worth for others to see.
Who would want to do that? Well, you might after you finish reading this.
Bare Budget Guy: Origins
It was about a year ago now when I started working with Amit, my friend in India, on designing a wordpress plugin that people could use to submit their budgets. Some design enhancements may be in store for the future, but is has been fully functioning for several months now.
I have not done much to promote this aspect of barebudgetguy.com. It took a few weeks until someone actually submitted a budget on my site for the first time. I remember exactly where I was when it happened–waiting on a couch in the lobby of a Chicago IKEA while my lovely wife was taking her time doing whatever people do at IKEA.
I was doing some web stuff on my tablet when I noticed that someone had submitted their budget! It was a great feeling to see my idea come to life, and it just reinforced to me that I love helping people with their finances.
On the blog, I enjoy writing about personal financial stories related to my friends and family. In addition to that, I love responding to real people who have real questions. I didn’t become a CPA to write articles like “10 ways to save money.” (Those are great articles, and you can find them all over the web, just not here.) I did it so I could help people individually and give them custom advice.
Using the excuse that I have a “real job” that keeps me busy during the day and 3 young kids that keep me busy at night, I haven’t promoted the tool as much as I would have liked to. But I am going to step it up, and that is soon going to change through the following.
Weekly budget profile posts
Of the different types of content on my site, the budget profile pages get the most search engine traffic by far. But since they are not front and center on my site, most of my blog readers don’t even know they exist.
This is why, my friends, I am going to start posting user-submitted budgets weekly on my blog. This will add some variety to my site and hopefully encourage others to post their budgets as well.
Personal Invitations: I am going to start being more proactive about contacting friends, family, bloggers, and random strangers to invite them to bare their budgets. So either start getting your budgets in order or formulating really good excuses for turning me down, because I am coming for you.
Featured bloggers: I’d also like to start featuring other bloggers. I haven’t tested the waters yet, but I am confident I can get some brave souls to share with us some of their financial details.
The Bare Your Budget tool
Here is a quick introduction to what information shows up in a budget profile after you bare your budget.
Personal and financial stats
- Your gravatar (if you have one): This will link back to your site if you include it with your submission. If you don’t want your gravatar to appear, just submit your budget using a different email address.
- Your screen name: You don’t have to use your real name if you choose not to.
- Your home state (city is optional): Your location gives crucial context for anyone looking at your profile.
- Age: You could always lie, but that is highly discouraged.
- Kids or dependents: Feel free to include pets here.
- Net Worth & Annual Income: This is the good stuff!
- Occupation: This is always helpful to give context.
Your monthly budget
You can choose whether you want to post a simple or detailed budget consisting of your income and expenses.
Your net worth
Your net worth is simply all of your liabilities subtracted from your assets, and it gives a lot of context to your financial habits. If someone shows a lower income and a higher net worth, he or she is probably a great saver (or is getting kickbacks from mom and dad).
You have the option to leave a question or a comment with your profile. While most leave a question, some do not and just post their budgets to satisfy our curiosity, which is great!
My favorite part of this site is analyzing your financial situations and responding to the questions you leave when you post your budgets!
Why you should bare your budget (or tell your friends to)
Free expert financial advice!
You can find free financial advice all over the web. It is more difficult, however, to find free custom financial advice from an expert. Whether by the SEC definition or the dictionary, a financial expert I am.
It’s as anonymous as you want
You don’t have to put your name or city. Just give me some real financial detail to work with.
It only takes a minute!
Most people have at least a rough idea of what they spend. Estimates will give a directional idea of where your money is going, which is all you need for this.
See how you rank
Once you post your budget profile, you can see where you fall with the rest in the summary at the bottom of the budget profiles page (see example below). You can sort all the posted budgets by income, net worth, age, etc. to see how you stack up.
$50 DOLLAR GIVEAWAY
All you have to do is Bare Your Budget.
That is all.
You could also always like barebudgetguy on facebook or subscribe below for good karma.
DC from Young Adult Money has accepted the weighty responsibilty of acting as a trusted 3rd party, using sophisticated randomizing technology to select a winner.
- $50 award will be in the form of an Amazon gift card
- Submissions are due by Thursday, July 9th at 11:59pm.
- Estimates are fine, fake numbers are not. Budgets will be reviewed to ensure their integrity. In other words, I was an auditor for 5 years, and if you make up the numbers, I will know.
- The winner will be announced on facebook, twiiter, & google+ on July 10th.
Good luck! Please let me know if you have any questions or general suggestions for the tool.
Update: This giveaway has ended.