Getting advice from personal finance blogs

Finance words

Steve Chiotakis: There's a big financial bloggers' conference starting up in Chicago today, featuring representatives from websites that offer personal finance wisdom.

Our own personal finance wizard, Marketplace Money host Tess Vigeland, is headed to the Windy City to check the conference out, and she joins us now with a preview. Good morning Tess.

Tess Vigeland: Good morning, Steve.

Chiotakis: So financial blogs are pretty much everywhere now.

Vigeland: They are. And you know, what we're really talking about here specifically is personal finance blogs. There's a pretty wide range of what you'll find; you have lots of blogs dedicated to frugal tips, Wise Bread probably one of the most well-known. But there are hundreds, like Frugal Dad, Frugal Girl, Frugal Law Student, and it goes on and on.

Chiotakis: I'm sensing a trend there.

Vigeland: Yes. And then you also have the ones where people, who are usually anonymous, will open up their financial lives for everybody to see: what you spend, what you make, and hopefully that kind of keeps you on the straight-and-narrow. My Open Wallet is one of those.

Chiotakis: And all of these people are going to be in Chicago, meeting?

Vigeland: They are.

Chiotakis: Wow. What are these folks going to be talking about?

Vigeland: Well, I think for a lot of them, the sessions are about helping them make some money off their efforts. There are thousands of personal finance blogs out there -- you need to figure out to make yours stand out. One of the sessions is called "Getting to a million pageviews on a small budget." So it's really about helping them boost traffic.

Chiotakis: How do we know whether to trust some of these people? I mean, anyone can go on the web.

Vigeland: Yeah, that's for sure. And you know, at this point, a lot of them have been around long enough that they've got a track record, like most of the ones I've mentioned. But I did notice this week that Wise Bread put together a really great list of top personal finance blogs, so you can check that out. But yeah, lots of them are just basically telling their stories, there's no science to it, you need to be a smart consumer, figure out if a blog you've landed on is somehow scamming you. But for the most part, this is just folks saying, 'Here, this is what works for me.'

Chiotakis: Take with a grain of salt.

Vigeland: Always.

Chiotakis: All right. Well, enjoy the time in Chicago and we look to hear the program when you come back.

Vigeland: I'm looking forward to the Red Hots.

Chiotakis: Tess Vigeland, host of Marketplace Money. Tess, thanks.

Vigeland: Thanks Steve.

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