Phroogal: a community promoting financial literacy [REVIEW]


Policygenius Staff

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Published November 14, 2015|4 min read

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We’re reviewing the most popular personal finance blogs on the web to figure out what they do best, and who we think will get the most out of them. This week, it’s Phroogal, the personal finance blog that wants you to smile.

Phroogal was founded in 2013 by Jason Vitug and Max Martinez. While Phroogal does have a personal finance blog, Phroogal’s real raison d'être is its Quora-style Knowledge Base. On the Knowledge Base, anyone can ask a financial question or give an answer. On the flipside, the Phroogal blog is full of fun and positive personal finance articles that are both informative and entertaining.

Phroogalwww.phroogal.comOnline since: 2008Phroogal is a personal finance blog and a positive, nice community that aims to promote financial literacy.

Who will get the most out of Phroogal?

Phroogal is great for two types of people: those just getting started with their personal finance journey and those with specific financial questions.

Jason and Max started Phroogal because they knew that people get personal finance information from two main sources: Google and the people around them. People don’t learn financial literacy in schools, and they rarely visit a financial advisor. Instead, they piece their knowledge together from what their family and friends tell them and from various Google searches.

Phroogal attempts to replicate both of those sources. If you search Google for your personal finance question, there’s a good chance you’ll find a Phroogal blog article or one of their question & answer threads. Once you become a part of the Phroogal community, it can even replace your friends and family – at least when it comes to financial advice.

If your personal finance knowledge is a patchwork of Google searches and stuff your mom told you, Phroogal might just be the community and blog for you.

Popular posts from Phroogal

Is there a sense of community? How engaged is the blogger?

Community and Phroogal go together like peanut butter and jelly. Seriously – Phroogal would be nothing without its community. Who would ask all the questions and then answer those questions?

You’ll notice, however, that Phroogal has a different community vibe than other personal finance sites. A major part of that is there is no single expert that the site is based around. Yes, of course co-founder Jason Vitug is one of the most prolific writers on the blog side of Phroogal, but you’ll notice that the site is not called Jason Vitug dot com. Other personal finance sites often focus around a single writer or expert, who in turn create a kind of cult of personality around them and their advice.

This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing – it depends on what kind of community you prefer. Phroogal’s community is geared towards helping finance newbs take their first steps into financial literacy. Other communities are more focused on debating the merits of an individual expert’s advice.

That’s not to say that the bloggers and co-founders aren’t engaged with the community. Just take a look at Phroogal’s "Road to Financial Wellness" – an actual cross-country road trip that the folks behind Phroogal put together as a fun way to spread financial literacy.

Does it offer any tools?

You could make the argument that the Quora-style discussion board is a tool, but since we’ve already discussed that value of that section, let’s take a look at what else Phroogal offers.

Phroogal doesn’t really have any tools – no calculators, no interactive checklists, for example – but it does have three collections that some readers may find useful.

The first is Phroogal’s "Borrow" page, a collection of various lenders of personal loans, student loan consolidation, and mortgages. This page features some basic info about each of their partners, as well as links to apply and Phoogral’s reviews.

The second is the "Blog Roll" page, a list of Phroogal’s favorite personal finance blogs. It makes sense for Phroogal to send you off to other personal finance blogs for two big reasons:

  1. Phroogal is all about the basics, and they know you’ll want to eventually move on to more advanced topics.

  2. Once you do, you’ll probably come back to the community at Phroogal to help newcomers with knowledge from other sites.

The third collection is Phroogal Reviews, a big collection of all of Phroogal’s reviews of financial products. You’ll find reviews for personal lenders, student loan refinancers, credit score trackers, online banks, and more. You can quickly scan their best reviews (with stars!) on this main collection page.

Phroogal’s unique strengths

In case you haven’t been hit over the head enough with this, Phroogal’s Quora-style discussion board is the most unique part of the Phroogal experience. While it may not be the best for super specific financial questions, Phroogal’s discussion board is great for big questions like "What’s the difference between a grant and a scholarship?" or "Is it better to buy or rent my first home?"

And unlike a lot of online commenter communities, Phroogal’s community is actually nice.

What we’d like to see more of

We think the Phroogal blog has an opportunity to write more personal stories. What do we mean by that? Since Phroogal’s blog is geared towards financial newbs, it’d be great to read some stories about how Phroogal helped them become financially literate.

We don’t know if Phroogal has attracted any financial advisors or experts to their discussion board, but if they haven’t, we think it’d be smart to try to get some to answer questions on the platform. We also think it’d be cool if they got other personal finance bloggers to join and answer questions.

Image: Jeremy Poehler