Sunday, December 2, 2018

This Financial Update Comes With A Free Blogging Rant


It's been a couple of weeks since I've posted here, and even longer than that since I've offered an update on the $76K Project's financial progress. The delay is due in part to end-of-year busy-ness: work, everyday chores and tasks, appointments, and getting ready for the holidays are taking up a lot of time. (Also napping. And arguing with people on Twitter. You know how it goes.)

But it has more to do with my conflicting feelings about this blog.

Wherein I go off on a tangent about blogging


I see so many personal finance bloggers on my feed absolutely killing it. Some of them are creating snazzy fresh websites and/or re-shaping their brands. Others are broadening their content by delving into new realms of commentary and advice. Several of my PF blogging friends have even invested in courses through Pete McPherson's BloggerU*, and they're seeing results. They're growing their audiences. Which is awesome.

*Please note that this is not an affiliate link. Pete McPherson has no idea who I am. I'm not even sure I spelled his name right.

Me?

Clearly I'm not doing any of that. If I were anywhere near serious about growing, I'd at least have the decency to move to Wordpress. Instead, I haven't even found the motivation to figure out how you can comment without having to identify every single car or crosswalk in the picture and if you don't do it right the first time, you're done, goodbye.

It's not that I don't want to blog. I do. I enjoy it: the writing, the interaction with readers, the creating of a detailed record of our financial journey. I like knowing that some readers might relate to our goals, challenges, setbacks, and wins.

But do I want to do all the things you're supposed to do in order to be a successful blogger?

Well. No.

For the past few weeks, I've been feeling stuck on the things I feel I *should* be doing with this blog. And the more I try to convince myself that I need to do and write about what other, more successful writers are doing and writing about, the less I want to do anything at all.

I don't want to feel like I'm writing things just to be noticed by Rockstar Finance (I'm not saying anyone else is doing it; I'm saying I found myself feeling this way). I don't want to create an email subscription thing. I don't want to learn SEO. I don't want to make my blog look better, even though I am very much aware that the current design is very 2002.

I don't want to write about things like: 

...how to invest (no idea; I just stick everything into index funds)

...how to travel hack (I'm convinced I'd just end up in credit card debt again)

...how to negotiate your salary (though I know people who can help you with that)

...how to find a better job (hell if I know)

...how to make frugal Christmas crafts (though I would like to *make* frugal Christmas crafts)

...FIRE (so not my wheelhouse...)

(If YOU are writing about any of these things, know that I think YOU are doing a tremendous job.)

Really, I don't want to tell you how to do anything. You should not be here for advice. That is not my strong suit. I mean, I know I've offered some advice in the past, and maybe some of it is a little helpful, but there are other people who are saying the same things in a better way. And okay, I've also written some how-to posts, like how to make a budget and how to find cheap shoes on eBay, but I don't always enjoy writing those types of pieces and don't want to feel like I have to.

Instead, I'll keep doing what I'm good at doing and want to do, which is shamelessly talk about myself. And if there's something in here that you can relate to, or find encouragement in, then that's awesome.

Anyhoo, here's a financial update


So here's what happened in November.

We did all the things we said we were going to do. We made a budget and mostly stuck to it. We went on a mini-vacation over the Thanksgiving holiday and had a pretty good time, except that I ended up with food poisoning on the last day and now feel that I deserve a complete vacation do-over.

We went out to eat less. We tried some new recipes and drank less wine.

The emphasis going into this month was on saving, not paying down debt, and so we initally put money into savings, as planned, and paid just the minimum on our student loans. 

But a few weeks ago, Fortysomething shared with me that he's really sick of the student loans. Like, vomitously sick of them. We've been dragging them around for over a decade (I know, I know) and he's getting older and it's just ridiculous to have them and BLURGH.

We've both wanted to have these loans gone, but he's never made such a passionate case for getting rid of them ASAP. I think he brought it up because he was worried I'd up and quit my job, and then we'd be looking at several more years of paying off the damn things.

In that moment, we decided: we're going to stick to the original plan and obliterate the loans as fast as we possibly can given the constraints of our income and budget. 

This means that for now, I need to stick with my job (either my current one or a new one, if a viable new one comes along) even if I'm not thrilled with it. Fine. Paying off the loans in full will take about 1.5 years if we go all-out; I can last that long (I think). 

Can we do it?

YES!

Will it be fun?

NO!

Will I complain along the way? 

ABSOLUTELY!

To seal the deal, we took some of the extra money we'd put into savings and threw another $1600 at my student loan.

And it felt good:


Total debt as of today: $43,802.

Keep in mind that in January of this year, our debt total stood at $65,934.

If I have any lesson to offer, it's that you can make progress if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You can even complain while doing it, like I do.

Anyway, that's where we're at. I'll post the nuts and bolts of our December debt totals in the link at the top of the page, so check it out if you're interested. 

23 comments:

  1. Please keep writing what you want to write! I'm taking BloggerU but still have no idea if/when I'll monetize. I tell ppl how awesome the course is but I'm too lazy to get off my ass and even find my aff link, so you can see how much I'm killing it at the aff marketing 😂

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    1. I'm excited for you and everyone enrolled in BloggerU. Seems like Pete is offering something with a lot of value.

      Bahahahaha - I have an affiliate link, too, but hell if I know where it is.

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  2. Confession: I usually stop following blogs once they become seriously monetized. Personally, they lose their appeal for me - I like to follow people whose stories resonate. I suppose there are blogs out there that can seamlessly monetize and still feel authentic, but I haven't really seen them.

    Keep posting what you want! I enjoy reading and cheering you on.

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    1. 100% agree with Deborah! You can often tell when blogs are just in it for the money, and it's immediately a turnoff for me. What resonates most for me, when I read blogs, is hearing the blogger's personal story shine through. You keep on doing you.

      Sincerely,
      Another blogger who doesn't monetize or do SEO or blogger courses or any of those other "shoulds"

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    2. Agree 100%. THe more authentic it is and less like it is trying to be top of a search, the more I enjoy it! Keep up what you want to do!

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    3. Thank you, Deborah! I always appreciate your support and encouragement.

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    4. Thank you so much, Liz and JP! I agree... I tend to shy away from overly monetized blogs.

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  3. I totally understand where you're coming from. Write what you want to write. Don't worry about the rest. We read for the person anyway. :-)
    Congrats on being 1.5 years away from no student loans. :-)

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    1. Thank you so much! It seems so close now. Originally we figured the process would take 5-6 years. If we can bust out these next 18 months, it'll be more like 3 years and some change.

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  4. Well just a randoom person here, but I like your blog. The key to success is consistency, writing on a regular schedule and keeping with it over a longish period of time, without being repetitive. I think too many people think that they will make a sizeable living blogging and be able to fund themselves. That in most cases is not going to happen. There are thousands of blogs now, and most of the money seems to be made by getting people to sign up with wordpress for their own blog. Most probably earn only a very very small amount. So, if you are doing it to engage with readers and find support, please keep doing it! Good luck!

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, I'm definitely not here to make money - at least, not on the blog. I have a little seed of a dream that this blog will provide fodder for a self-published book, but I'm not really into SEO or ads or anything like that.

      You have very good advice. I doubt I will ever be able to make myself write on a regular schedule but I do try to publish at least four posts a month, which I think keeps enough wind in this blog's sails to maintain its existence.

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  5. Your blog is great the way it is, there are no shoulds. If your purpose of the blog was to make money that would be another story, but it's not. Part of the reason I haven't really blogged is that I also don't want to do many of the shoulds, and my focus is all over the map, including frugal Christmas crafts.

    I'm thankful that you share your journey from that 76k debt point onward. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you so much for that encouragement! Virtual hug coming your way.

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  6. I'm just glad someone other than me is happy using Blogger/Blogspot, isn't interested in parroting the same posts we see everyone else in the PF blogosphere writing about and is not in a huge hurry to modernize/monetize their blog. I just want to talk about my successes/failures - and I'm happy to give some advice from my personal (I've had lots of successes and failures with money) and professional (I write about financial advice and investing for a living) experience at the same time. I think making these topics personal and giving real life examples of HOW to address personal financial issues is usually more helpful than a long, technical post.

    Also, I read way too many psychological/emotional/behavioral cheerleading posts on FIRE/PF blogs these days - there's too little actual information going around.

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    1. I hadn't seen Robbins' NestEgg before! Nice! Your posts are so well written. I will certainly read and share.

      Thank you for the encouragement and affirmation.

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  7. Please keep blogging! It's encouraging to read your from-the-heart posts which include all the human emotions I'm feeling, too. Your posts feel real and are much appreciated.

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  8. The grass is def not greener on the other side. Stay on blogger!

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    1. Your blog looks A.MAZ.ING. Super impressive!

      Thank you for the encouragement and support.

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  9. While I did eventually decide to very lightly monetize (I barely cover my hosting costs and this year may not even do that) I think there are fundamentally two kinds of bloggers: those doing it primarily for emotional support and those doing it for money. All the "should" posts are directed at the latter and you can just ignore them. :)

    I am really glad your husband expressed his frustration and that you've decided to go all-out on the remaining student loans. I think it's the right decision. Taking a month off every now and then seems fine, but I think it will be worth it to just pay them. Life possibilities really open up once you no longer have large debt payments to make every month. You'll have the smaller one paid off pretty soon and should refinance the other one -- that'll help you feel like the goal is achievable!

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    1. Thank youuuuuu, Single Dollar! I knew you'd like this update. LOL. I think we both see the light at the end of the tunnel now. It's still a ways off, but it's there. And once we get my loan done, we can make rapid progress on the second one.

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  10. You know, this is your blog. F**k what everyone else is doing. You blog what you want to blog. We all come here for a reason, your blog is interesting. If you were the same as everyone else we would get bored and stop coming here, yet here we all are. Keep doing what you're doing. We love you.

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    1. Awwwwww Glitter Girl! *squee* Thank you so much. I want to give you a great big hug right now.

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