The Sunshine Blogger Award

Steve Cummings

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Today I am excited to announce that the Frugal Expat was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! It is pretty exciting! The award does not come with any cash prizes, but I would enjoy sharing with you some

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is not an ordinary award. There are no Pulitzer prizes, money gains, or even that big of a trophy. It is a recognition of bloggers creatively and how they have been effective in inspiring the community. 

This is an award given from bloggers to other bloggers. To be nominated for this award is just an honor. I am deeply honored. 

Here is how the award works..

Sunshine Blogger Award Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you. Add back links to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions they posed to you.
  3. Nominate another 11 new bloggers and give them 11 new questions.
  4. Include these rules in your post and use the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.

Who nominated me?

I was nominated by Baby Boomer Super Saver. Thank you for this wonderful award. 

Baby Boomer Super Saver is a finance blog written by Kathy, a boomer. It is not an ordinary finance blog. Kathy writes about how boomers can save for their retirement even if they are starting late.

She started late, and has made it her mission to help those around her through sharing of tips of saving, living a frugal lifestyle, investing, and using side hustles to create a bigger nest egg. 

Here is an interview Kathy did with a Mrs. Elizabeth Wallace, author of Free College.

Baby Boomer Super Saver Asked me these questions: (all finance related)

1. What is your earliest memory about money?

My earliest memory of money was getting rewarded for reading books. Reading, for me, was not as good as it should have when I was in the 2nd and 3rd grade. My father decided to entice me to read books by giving me a quarter and reciting a summary for every book I read. It was awesome being able to get paid money, and all I had to do was read some books.

2. How much money do you feel you need to have in an emergency fund for yourself or your family? Three, six, or twelve months worth of expenses?

Personally, I think six months is the goal for my family. We have enough in cash reserves for 8-10 months. Right now, it is just my wife and I, but hopefully in the near future we can start a family. Since we are spending around $1,200 per month, we would need around $7,200 for our emergency fund.

3. What is your saving rate (amount saved per year divided by your gross income)?

For 2020, our net savings rate will be around 65%. It may be higher depending on how November and December go, but that is my estimation. We have been saving anywhere between 60-80% of our income in 2020. It is hard, but my wife and I are quite frugal and try our best to save money.

4. Which is better for getting out of debt – the debt snowball or debt avalanche?

Personally, I advocate for the debt avalanche. Debt snowball gives that great psychological push to keep paying off debt, but the debt avalanche will shorten the time and the amount in interest you pay. That is why I advocate it. 

For my student loans, I used debt snowball for one loan, which felt liberating, and it pushed me to get rid of all the other loans through the debt avalanche method.

5. If money was no object, how would you spend your time?

Spending time traveling. Traveling is something I cannot give enough out of. Currently, I live in Taiwan, and have been to 6 out of 7 continents. Due to the pandemic, my wife and I could not visit Europe, which would be my 7th continent. 

Traveling gives me life in seeing new and interesting things. It has broadened my perspective on other cultures, landscapes, and the tasting delicious food all over the world. The pictures remind us of the places we have gone, but the memories are something you cannot take away.

6. Out of the money books, blogs or podcasts you’ve consumed this year, which was your favorite and why?

My favorite was Quit like a Millionaire. Reading this book inspired me to think about how I can plan to get from A to Z. Kristy Shen’s story going from dirt poor in China to retiring at like 31 is an inspiration.

It also puts things in perspective showing how her and her husband delayed gratification and consistently invested until their goals were met. It pushes me to do more to achieve my financial goals.

7. Has your financial situation gotten better or worse since COVID-19 began?

It has not gotten worse. There was the possibility Mrs. FE and I would lose our jobs, but alas we are back working and teaching. Overall, Covid-19 has given us a break to think harder about our finances. We have started to track our Net Worth, and every month is a testament to how saving and investing can get you closer to financial independence.

8. What financial changes would you like to see 12 months from now?

I would like to see myself create some side hustles that would generate some extra income. That would be a step in the right direction for my finances. A little bit extra can go a long way especially with compound interest.

9. Imagine your future self in retirement – what would you say to your younger self about money?

Keep living like you are a poor college student. Invest early, get out of debt, and save as much as you can. Go out and travel. It is cheaper than you may think.

10. Why did you start blogging and what is your blog about?

I started the Frugal Expat to help my friends and family with finances. In passing, I share my ideas and discuss with many people about finances, but oftentimes they need more information. I thought having a blog would give a good platform for sharing more information to friends and family about finances. It really excites me to see people being successful. 

As a teacher, I have a drive to help educate and guide people. My blog is a platform to help teach others about personal finance. Through my example, I can also show how I have done things. 

Frugality is a key to how my wife and I save. We use these savings to create a nest egg through simple investing through index funds. It will be great to show my friends and family that investing can be simple and easy.

11. As a blogger, which one of your posts do you feel we should all read?

I would say it is The Importance of a Savings Rate. Reading Mr. Money Mustache inspired me to think about my savings rate as one of the most important things to hit financial independence.

Sometimes it can be harder to increase your incomes, but you can always decrease your spendings. This is where savings rates can really help build your nest egg faster than you can imagine. 

In 2019, my wife and I had a savings rate of 55%. 2020, we are looking at closer to 65-67%. It takes just one step. Look at your budget, see what you can live without and see how much you can live on.

My Nominees for the Next Sunshine Blogger Award:

A lot of these bloggers are finance bloggers, and some are even lifestyle bloggers. Take a look at their sites. They are great bloggers willing to help their readers.

Finally some questions for my nominees.

1. What is thought about renting vs. buying a house? What would you do and why?

2. What is one book that you suggest for people to read and why?

3. Who was a big influence in your life in regards to money?

4. How do you track your finances? Is it through an app or excel sheet? 

5. If money was no object, where would you like to travel to next once the pandemic is over?

6. What is one savings tip that you would like to share?

7. Why did you start your blog, and what is it about?

8. What is one side hustle that you would recommend for people to try out?

9. When you hit financial independence what would you do afterwards? Would you still work, travel, or do something else?

10. Each and everyday is a new day, what is one thing that you do everyday to keep you motivated for your goals?

11. As a blogger, what is one post of yours that you believe people should read?

Some Closing thoughts:

Once again, I would like Kathy from Baby Boomer Super Saver for this nomination for the Sunshine Blogger Award. It has truly been an honor, and I hope that these new nominees will also be able to share some wisdom as well.

For readers of this blog, feel free to answer one of these questions I posed to the nominees as well. It would be great to some other people's insights as well.

” Spend less than you make, stay out of debt, and invest the rest”

2 thoughts on “The Sunshine Blogger Award”

  1. Glad you enjoyed this, Steve! It was fun to read your answers to the money questions. I love it that your father instilled both an interest in reading and in money through his clever plan, haha. Congratulations on the high saving rate you & your wife have achieved!

    • Thanks Kathy!! My wife keep trying to save to meet our goals. My dad was quite clever. Who would have thought that paying someone to read would allow them to love it. Thank you for nominating me as well.


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