Frugal Rules was founded in 2012 with the goal of teaching people how to make smart money decisions to help them create a life of financial freedom.
Today, the site has grown into an online community where a symphony of talented staff writers lend their voices to the topics of Attacking Debt, Investing, Frugality, Financial Products and Tools, Financial Literacy, and much more. Here is the team that makes it all happen!
John Schmoll, MBA – Founder
John graduated from Kansas State University with a B.A. in History and later obtained his MBA in Finance from Bellevue University. Both his education and personal experience profoundly impacted John’s view of finance and money matters.
After struggling through a series of poor decisions, John changed his money mindset and successfully paid off over $50,000 in debt.
A desire to help others gain financial independence and learn to manage their money wisely led John to pursue work as a banker, mutual fund accountant and later, stockbroker with his Series 7 and 63 licenses.
Ultimately, those experiences fell short of providing genuine opportunities to help others, so in 2012, John started Frugal Rules, as a community focused on helping people take control of their financial futures through attacking debt, investing, living frugally, financial products and tools, and much more.
As a finance writer, John’s work has been featured on numerous sites beyond Frugal Rules, including Fortune, Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, U.S. News & World Report MSN Money and more.
Together with his wife, Nicole, he helps run an advertising agency focused on providing copywriting that delivers results to businesses and publications in every sector.
John’s learned that money is a powerful tool that, when managed appropriately, can help you accomplish your goals and provide for the people you care about. John his journey by exploring the site today.
Nicole Schmoll, Co-Founder
For as long as she can remember, Nicole has enjoyed two things – discovering people’s stories and writing. A seasoned copywriter and content strategist, Nicole brings nearly 20 years of experience crafting articles, blog posts, social copy and much more for businesses and publications in every industry.
Nicole holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Communication and regularly writes for advertising agencies, insurance and financial firms, tech companies and a variety of industry publications as a freelance writer for the company she founded, Ink Harmony.
When she’s not writing, reading or chasing down one of her three children, she enjoys running, reading, watching football, debating politics with John, craft beer, and growing sunflowers.
Kayla Sloan, Operations Manager
Kayla Sloan is a coach for virtual assistants and a business systems consultant, working with successful six and seven-figure entrepreneurs since 2014.
Kayla is the founder of Six-Figure Systems, the consulting program that helps business owners scale with systems and build a virtual team. She’s also the founder of $10K VA®, her flagship program where she teaches virtual assistants how to earn up to $10,000 per month working online!
Kayla has been featured in the Huffington Post, Time Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Glamour, CNBC, and more. She’s been interviewed on a variety of podcasts including Liz on Biz, InnovaBuzz, 12 Minute Convos, The Money Peach Podcast, Jumble Think, and more.
Kayla lives with her husband, Tim, and their herd of two weiner dogs and a cat in Lincoln, Nebraska. When she’s not working with clients, she’s playing yard games with her husband in the sunshine.
Kayla is a 2012 graduate of Kansas State University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Agricultural Communications.
Josh Patoka, Featured Writer
Josh graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Political Science. With diploma in hand, Josh finished college with $50,000 student loan balance in the onset of the Great Recession.
He quickly learned the importance of saving money and paying off debt to achieve his long-term financial goals. Josh has successfully paid off $130,000 in consumer debt. Their only current debt is a rental duplex they purchased in 2019.
After seven years as an operations supervisor for a Fortune 500 company (i.e., working many nights and weekends), Josh became debt-free, started a family, and changed careers.
His love for writing began as a side hustle and turned into a full-time income stream. You can also find Josh writing at sites including Wallet Hacks, Well Kept Wallet, Debt Roundup, and Johnny Jet.
Today, Josh spends uses his experience to help others save money, make money and reach their financial goals. He spends his free time chasing his three young children, blogging at Money Buffalo about living on a small income, and reading non-fiction.
Tom Blake, Featured Writer
Tom graduated from the University of Guelph in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Marketing. After working as a digital marketing specialist out of school, he decided to chase his passion for finance, quitting his job to begin full-time freelance writing and blogging.
Over the last few years, his writing and personal finance tips have been shared on The Penny Hoarder, Bankrate, Money Crashers, Yahoo Finance, and numerous other media outlets. He is also the founder of This Online World, a personal finance blog that teaches young adults how to make and save more money. More recently, Tom has also expanded toYouTube, and now helps educate other young adults on proper financial management.
Tonya Stumphauzer, Video Editor
Tonya is a freelancer video writer, producer, and editor originally from Detroit. She graduated with a degree in Television from Ferris State University and since then has worked in various facets of the industry, including corporate, broadcast, and film, as an editor and producer.
Tonya has been living in Los Angeles for 17 years. She has also been writing about life and personal finance in her own blog, Budget and the Beach since 2012.
Aside from storytelling, Tonya’s biggest passion in life is playing beach volleyball. Check out her professional website at Tonya-Stumphauzer.com.
Ashley Jacobs, Content Editor
Ashley graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2010 with a degree in Communication as well as a minor in Education and Applied Psychology. After graduation, she jumped into a career in personal finance.
Over the past ten years, Ashley’s work has appeared on Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo News, MONEY, and more. She’s presented at FinCon, hosted The Plutus Awards, and is known for creating tweetchats to improve financial literacy.
In addition to her work in personal finance, Ashley is an entrepreneur. She is the CEO and founder of Sitting for a Cause, a pet sitting website that donates 50% of their website profits to animal rescues and shelters. She also runs Whole Sum, LLC, where she works with small businesses to improve their marketing and editorial strategies.
In her free time, Ashley enjoys spending time with her two dogs, volunteering for animal welfare organizations, and kayaking.
Tim Lamb, Graphic Designer
Tim is a graphic designer and project manager who graduated from Doane University in 2016. After working in retail, inventory management, and business aviation, he wanted to do something more creative. While completing his Bachelor’s degree, Tim started working as a graphic designer with a local printer, then graduated and moved to a leadership role with a promotional product supplier as their art director.
Today, Tim is working together with his wife Kayla to manage Kayla Sloan, LLC as well as creating graphics and videos for blogs, digital courses, and social media. Areas of expertise include photo editing and creation, layouts for print and digital media, and video editing.
Tim has a passion for being creative and living life with Kayla to the fullest. They both enjoy walks with their two dogs, and cooking new recipes together. You can see Tim’s portfolio here.
Jeanne Sloan, Virtual Assistant
Jeanne attended her local community college as well as Kansas State University for a year each before obtaining her Associate of Arts Degree in Accounting. She spent a few years working as a bookkeeper in the private sector before moving on to work over fourteen years in two different Kansas hospitals.
Needing a change of pace from working in hospital management, Jeanne became an assistant high school debate and forensics coach while also working part-time at a local quilt shop. After a few years she was introduced to freelance writing and virtual assistant work by her daughter.
Within a year this new side hustle grew enough Jeanne quit her full-time job and never look back. In the more than four years since, Jeanne has been a regular contributor to YourPFPro.com as well as ghost writing for several other sites and guest posting for EverythingFinanceBlog.com.
At the present, she works as a virtual assistant doing affiliate marketing, email management, and social media management among many other tasks.
Jeanne and her husband have two grown children and enjoy managing and living on their 75+ year-old family farm. Her hobbies include sewing, traveling, decorating, reading, and anything that challenges her to learn new things.
SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LC, Contributing Writer
SaVanna Shoemaker is a registered dietitian, freelance health writer, and recipe developer. She’s a regular contributor for Healthline and Greatist, and her work has also appeared on Livestrong.com, iHerb, and Toggl.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics from Louisiana Tech University in 2012, and earned her Master of Science in human nutrition from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2014. She worked in a variety of roles in dietetics before becoming a full time writer—including research, public health, dialysis, and hospital settings.
Her own lifelong struggles with weight inspired her to become a dietitian, and she’s passionate about low carb cooking. At her website SaVannaShoemaker.com, she blogs about low carb, family friendly meals that are tasty and won’t bust your budget. And although she’s no finance pro, her family is working towards financial independence.
SaVanna lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with her husband, two kids, and three dogs. In her free time she’s cooking, reading (usually about food), or planning their next travel-hacked family vacation.
Choncé Maddox, Contributing Writer
Choncé is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI), personal finance freelance writer, and blogger who focuses on helping others manage their money better in order to live a life with more possibilities and fewer limitations.
She graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in journalism and communications. She started learning more about personal finance while trying to pay off her student loans. Choncé has personally paid off more than $50,000 of debt in just a few years.
She lives with her husband, son, and their pets in the Midwest. When she’s not writing, she is spending time trying out new recipes in the kitchen, being active outside, and looking for new Netflix shows to get into.
Kim Suazo, Featured Writer
Kim Suazo has been a freelance writer and business owner for over four years. She started her journey by writing for her first personal finance blog, Life & My Finances (where she still writes today!).
When she’s not writing for Frugal Rules, you can find her on other publications like Chime, Discovery, and Due. She also owns her own websites The Entrepremomer and Part-Time Profit, where she teaches overworked moms how to streamline their new businesses so they can scale without a team.
She launched The Entrepremomer in 2016, helping moms learn to automate their businesses, create products for passive income, and use tools to grow their business without a team. She even believes that you can work part-time and grow a business, like she did, so she launched Part-Time Profit in 2020, a membership that offers accountability, resources, and support for moms who are tired of doing it all but want to be successful.
When she’s not working, you’ll find her spending time with her family, traveling, and binge-watching her favorite Netflix shows (because she’s so frugal that she doesn’t have cable!).
Shanah Bell, Contributing Writer
Shanah grew up in an entrepreneurial family, which drives her to think outside the box. As someone who hasn’t stopped moving since her feet first hit the ground, she’s not about to stop now. She is constantly on the hunt to learn new things and figure out how to attribute this new knowledge into her daily life.
This deep thirst for knowledge has directly affected her career path, which she goes into great depth about in her book The Art of Being a PITA that was released in 2019.
She has a Master’s of Nutrition degree, which she uses to help people learn how to heal themselves through dietary adaptation. She was one of the featured speakers on a webinar with Inceptia.org about food insecurity in college students. Shanah not only takes on personal clients, but shares her knowledge widely on her website Adaptive Nourishment.
She and her spouse have five children in a blended family, which can get a little bit crazy at times. But they love it and do everything they can to teach their children how to think outside the box, as well.
One of her big goals as a parent is to teach her children to be more financially literate than she was. When she became a single mother of 2 children, she found herself in a financially destitute position and never wants her kids to end up in the same place. You can hear more about her financial journey in appearances like the Martinis and Your Money podcast. She specializes in teaching personal finance to children and helping children teach other children about finances.
Her goal in life is not only to live her best life, but to also help everyone around her live theirs.
Laurie Blank, Contributing Writer
Laurie Blank is a blogger, freelance writer, and mother of four. She’s psyched about teaching others how to manage their money in a way that aligns with their values and has been quoted in Bankrate. She’s also been quoted in other news publications featuring real estate and personal finance articles.
Laurie is a licensed Realtor with Edina Realty in Minneapolis, Minnesota (also licensed in Wisconsin too) and has been freelance writing for over six years. Laurie has overcome several personal and financial hurdles that have taught her a great deal about personal finance management as well as entrepreneurship.
When she found herself unexpectedly divorced (and raising four kids on her own) after nearly 22 years of marriage, she made a plan to side hustle her way out of over $50k of divorce-related debt and into several thriving businesses within a two-year period. Today, Laurie and her kids are in the process of building their dream home–a hobby farm on 14 acres in northern central Minnesota.
Laurie believes that anyone can overcome financial struggles and change their financial situation. All it takes is having the right tools (like you’ll find on Frugal Rules), a willingness to work hard and a commitment to perseverance.
She shares powerful insights on her blog, Cents and Order, where you’ll learn how you can earn more money, save more money, and pay off debt. Her hobbies include spending time with loved ones, hiking, watching movies, cooking, and in general, simply enjoying life.
Lance Cothern, Contributing Writer
Lance Cothern, CPA graduated from James Madison University as the valedictorian of the College of Business with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He spent several years in public and corporate accounting before becoming a personal finance freelance writer.
Lance runs Money Manifesto, a personal finance blog, and is a well-respected personal finance and credit expert.
He has written for websites such as Credit Karma, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, and many more. He currently lives in Indiana with his wife and two children.