From budget travelers to coupon clippers, there are compelling personal finance writers in every conceivable niche, save for maybe the ultra-rich (though it would be funny to read a serious blog about how to find an affordable personal chef, or where to find the cheapest fuel to fill up your private jet).
Nowadays, I like to follow my favorite writers on social media so it’s easier to keep up with their new posts. Like most people, I probably use social media more than I should — but it’s easier to justify this habit when I can legitimately say I’m learning new ways to save and invest my money.
Here are some personal finance folks you can follow on Twitter and Instagram who are just plain good at social media. When used well, their posts can inspire, teach, and make you laugh.
Mr. Money Mustache (@mrmoneymustache) is famous for promoting bike riding, encouraging sustainability, and threatening to punch you in the face if you pay for cable but you’re still in debt. I like his humorous style and willingness to stand up for what he believes in, even when it’s controversial.
JD Roth (@jdroth) is a godfather of personal finance blogging. He does a good job of not using his feed entirely for self promotion. In fact, his account is best used as a launching-off point to read about interesting money content from all over. I use it the way I used to use Google Reader to aggregate RSS feeds. He asks provocative questions and dispenses wisdom, but also shines a light on other deserving writers producing interesting content.
The Mad Fientist (@madfientist) is the go-to guy if you want to learn about technical strategies for maximizing your savings. His content can get a bit math-y, but he balances those tweets out with fascinating posts about his personal life. He does a good job of mixing the technical with the fun.
As someone still fighting the good fight against student debt, it’s nice to check in with Melanie Lockert (@DearDebtBlog) on Twitter to get inspiration and tips on climbing out of the debt hole. She not only links to quality resources, but does so with her fun and relatable personality.
The Simple Dollar has repeatedly extolled the virtues of investing in index funds as a low-cost, efficient, and proven way to grow your wealth. That said, more than one road leads to Rome. Investing in high-quality, dividend-paying stocks can also be part of a solid investing strategy. For those looking to explore this world, there’s no better follow than the Dividend Growth Investor (@DividendGrowth), who tweets about dividend investing and articulates well-reasoned arguments for putting your money into certain stocks.
Cait Flanders (@caitflanders) is a personal finance blogger known for her series of posts about undertaking a two-year shopping ban. She’s a great follow because she is brutally honest. Unlike many people on social media, she’ll freely share her mistakes and regrets. I also feel that she does a great job of spreading a message of female empowerment. She often links to other women who are doing amazing things, and this helps me to get out of my male-centric bubble.
Crystal Paine, aka Money-Saving Mom (@MoneySavingMom), is all about saving money when shopping. Not everyone needs to be notified every time their local market has a sale, but I like Paine’s commitment to presenting coupons and other money-saving opportunities. While you’ll never buy your way to happiness, we all have to spend money at some point — why not be informed when you can find something you really need at the best available price?
The Physician on Fire (@PhysicianOnFIRE) is a doctor documenting his financial journey. He’s the rare combo of a doctor being witty, good-hearted, and smart with money. My brother is a doctor, so this account definitely resonates with me. His feed has a lot to offer, even for people outside the medical profession. Also, if you want to feel better about your debt situation just read some comments by students who are swimming in $300,000+ of medical school loans. Yikes. For medical professionals, he is a must-follow.
While Twitter is great for finding new content, quotes, and general advice, photo-based Instagram excels in the realm of motivation — with some caveats. Many people in my generation find Instagram to be de-motivating, because of its superficial nature: Everything looks perfect. All your friends appear better-looking, richer, and healthier than you, so what’s the point in trying to compete with that? I’ve been there.
But, if you follow the right people, those same images can make you want to get off the couch and do something awesome. When you follow someone who is documenting a journey toward financial independence, or showing how you can live frugally while still travelling the world, it’s inspiring. And while Instagram isn’t the preferred medium for most finance folks, there are still some gems to be found.
Here are some people to follow if you’re sick of seeing pictures of babies and brunches.
The #VanLife movement, in which people document themselves living the good life out of remodeled vans, has been gaining steam in recent years. No one does a better job at emphasizing the money-saving aspects of living on four wheels than Travis of My Wild Dreams (@my_wild_dreams_), who retired at age 34. His Instagram feed has the beautiful landscape shots you’d expect from someone traveling the country after retirement. But, Travis also does a good job of explaining why he’s doing what he’s doing, and points out how you could do the same. He sprinkles in financial wisdom and inspiration while he details his thrilling adventures.
Mrs. Frugalwoods (@frugalwoods) has become a mainstay in the online financial independence community due to her engaging style, commitment to frugality, and adorable dog. Her Instagram account makes you really feel what it would be like to semi-retire to a rural area. The tips and inspiration she doles out perfectly compliment the beautiful scenery.
Katy Bowman (@nutritiousmovement) is a biomechanist and movement specialist by trade, but her Instagram account has a distinctly frugal bent. She shares tips on working from home, how to transport large items without using a car, how to save money on vacations, and much more. The account is chalked full of awesome pictures that detail how she’s able to maintain a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle while raising two kids and keeping her expenses at a bare minimum.
Nomadic Matt (@nomadicmatt) is great for travel-hacking junkies. Best-selling author Matt Kepnes’ Instagram feed is part travelogue and part frugal inspiration. He has a knack for a good photo and isn’t afraid to be goofy, which I enjoy. While it’s light on actual advice, the pictures and good vibes are worth sticking around for.
Ramit Sethi (@ramit) is a giant in the personal finance world and he doesn’t need any more promotion, but his Instagram account still deserves a shout out. He sets himself apart by sharing heartfelt notes from his readers. Call me corny, but I love seeing letters of gratitude from people who were able to revamp their financial lives in spite of tremendous obstacles.
Farnoosh Torabi (@farnooshtorabi) is a personal finance coach who deserves a lot of credit for maintaining her huge social media presence while rocking a baby bump. If that’s not inspiration, I don’t know what is. She makes great use of Instagram’s video function, which is a rarity. Her solid advice and down-to-earth style shines through in her posts, such as when she uploads a video from her son’s bedroom.
If you want general financial news and advice, there are plenty of well-known brands that do a great job at that. The social media accounts of Money, Fortune, and Forbes (not to mention The Simple Dollar) all present generally solid savings tips alongside money news. But if you want to get a look inside the minds of normal people who have figured out how to live deeply satisfying lives while staying under budget, try following a few of the users mentioned above.
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What are some of your favorite social media accounts for frugal tips and inspiration?