Q&A with Paul Vachon of Frugal Toad

Paul Vachon created TheFrugalToad.com in 2011. Based out of Phoenix, Arizona, he has a degree in Accounting and MIS, and has worked in corporate finance for Westinghouse. He is currently teaching Middle School Science and has taught personal finance as well.

Why did you start the blog? 

I created Frugal Toad as a way to share with readers my passion for personal finance and some of the knowledge I gained from my accounting degree and the coursework that will allow me to sit for the CFP Exam.

What is the area of finance that your blog is particularly strong on (a particular demographic you focus on, etc) and how does your personal finance blog differ from others in the space?

A headshot of Paul Vachon

As the name of the blog indicates, the focus of The Frugal Toad is primarily about saving money but I also enjoy writing about other personal finance topics such as retirement, budgeting, financial planning, and financing college. Frugal Toad tries to offer our readers tips and advice on personal finance and saving money in a straightforward and practical way. We try to stay away from storytelling and focus on what steps readers can take now to save money today. We want our readers to come away with information they can use to take immediate action to improve their financial lives.

How do you generate ideas and choose what you want to write about on a daily basis/what helps you generate materials on a consistent basis?

Many of the articles I write originate from personal experiences I have had or questions readers have asked in response to an article they may have read on Frugal Toad. Some topics generate great discussion on Social Media as well and that may give me some ideas for covering a topic in more detail. Having a finance background gives me plenty of opportunity to share some of the knowledge I have obtained over the years with my readers.

What are the biggest struggles you have and what is your personal financial goal (both short term and long term)?

Being a public school teacher, I have the most awesome responsibility of providing my students the best educational experience I can provide. I truly love what I am doing! Along with this comes the challenge of making the most of my limited income, something I share with my readers from time to time. A short-term goal is to purchase a used car that is economical without taking on any debt. A long term financial goal is to continue to increase savings for retirement while also setting aside funds for my daughter’s college education.

What do you see as the biggest impediment to most people achieving their personal finance goals?

Not having a financial plan that clearly defines both personal and financial goals and following a budget that was created to meet those goals.

What are some steps that readers can take tomorrow to begin improving their financial situation?

I would have to say the first step is to get a better understanding of how you make saving and purchasing decisions. Understanding what influences your decision to spend or save determines in large part whether you will. The next step is to set both short-term and long-term goals and create a realistic budget for meeting those goals. Tackle any non-mortgage debt aggressively as this will severely limit your ability to reach your savings goals.

What tools or resources do you rely on to keep your own personal finances in order?

I use Quicken and Mint to manage my personal finances.

Do you think there is an area of personal finance that there aren't enough resources on?

There is a wealth of information about personal finance out there, the trick is to find the right information that pertains to your particular circumstance.

What other websites or blogs do you read regularly?

I always enjoy reading Kiplinger, Wisebread, and US News Money.

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