Because of personal finance blogs we’ve read and personal finance bloggers we’ve connected with, we paid off our debt and we’re making progress on the journey to financial independence/early retirement. I can’t emphasize enough how much I appreciate the personal finance community.
Throughout the month of December, I’m sharing with you personal finance stories from bloggers themselves who I hope will inspire and encourage you to keep making progress on along your own journey. Please follow these bloggers on social media to stay in touch!
From Amanda Page…
1. Who are you and what’s your blog all about?
I’m Amanda Page, and when I started blogging, my site was all about paying off student loan debt. I paid off $48,000 in 14 months and wrote about that journey on Dream Beyond Debt. Once the debt was paid off, I moved over to a site that bears my name. Now, I write about my ongoing financial adventures and the pursuit of dreams once you’ve paid off debt.
2. When did your personal finance journey begin?
I started my blog in January, 2015, but I would say my personal finance journey began a decade prior. I can remember sitting on the floor of my apartment with bills spread out around me and crying because I had no idea what to do. I had so much debt and no career plan. I went to the bookstore and started reading about personal finance then, but didn’t really implement much until I had the accountability of the blog.
3. What are your favorite personal finance resources?
Personal finance blogs! I love to hear the personal stories of money mess ups and how people made it right. I love Mint.com and use the app on my phone, more to see my savings balance and practice daily gratitude for it than to track expenses, but I like that it does that, too.
4. What has been your greatest success?
It would be easy to say, “Paying off my debt!” But, really, I think it was allowing myself to be seen. I started blogging anonymously, and after six months, decided to reveal my name and face. I’m shy, and I have a tendency to hide, so putting myself out there like that was terrifying. It did help me become closer to other bloggers, though. I have appreciated those relationships.
5. What has been your greatest struggle and how did you overcome that?
My greatest struggle has always been one of self-worth and self-esteem, which created a failure of imagination, in a sense. I could not imagine more for myself. I could not believe I should be earning more. Some of that has to do with where I’m from and some of it has to do with what I was taught. Some of it has to do with the slowness in which I learned to overcome my underearning and imagine a better life for myself.
6. What keeps you motivated along your personal finance journey?
I stay motivated by reminding myself that I am the director of my own life and finances. If I have a handle on my finances, then I can fund the life I want to lead. I really employ the practice of values-based spending. I can either spend $350 on takeout in a month, or I can buy airfare to see friends in California. The decision is mine to make.
7. When will you know you’ve achieved your goal? What does that look like?
When I achieved my goal of paying off my student loan debt as soon as possible, I knew I achieved it when I saw the $0.00 on the bill. I stared at that bill for hours throughout that day. Now, I’m still searching, really, for the next adventure or goal. I believe the goal is to write a book. So, I think that achieving that goal will look like a completed manuscript.
8. What is your best advice for those who are just starting out?
Trust the experiment! When I started my blog, I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t have a hard line date and I had NO idea of how I would achieve the goal. I approached it as an experiment, and the question I wanted to answer was, “What if I could pay off my student loan debt in a year?” I kept the question in mind instead of constantly saying, “I’m paying off X by X.” I think we can get too caught up in the outcome. We get too attached to it, and then we don’t leave room for surprises along the way. In the end, I didn’t pay off the debt in one year. It took fourteen months. I didn’t mind, though, because I could have paid it off in one year if I didn’t take a couple of bucket list trips. I left room for possibility, and those trips were made possible.
9. What is one takeaway you’d like readers to have regarding personal finance?
What you focus on grows. For a long time, I was focused on having the debt, but I didn’t make bigger or extra payments toward it. When I shifted focus to making extra payments, those payments got bigger and more ways to make extra money to add to those payments came my way. It’s a small thing, but a tiny shift in perspective like that can change the whole game.