What I’ve Learned in a Year of Blogging

blogiversary1Today is my one-year blogiversary! In that time, as most of you know, I’ve gone from negative to positive net worth, from indebted to (more or less) debt-free, and from zero retirement savings to, uh, well, less than zero retirement savings. I’ve also turned 36, gone to my PhD graduation, made an interstate move for work, attended my brother’s wedding, and assorted other milestones.

I may not have learned how to gain a million followers or use Pinterest effectively, but I can definitely say that I’ve figured some stuff out with a year’s experience.

You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep going.

Conveniently, this applies both to blogging and to one’s financial life! I think the greatest benefit I’ve gotten out of this year is that, by closely tracking my income and expenses, I’ve seen that I don’t have to make progress every day in order to make progress every month, and I don’t have to have my best month every month in order to make progress overall. At the same time, when I do fall off the horse, it’s important not to make that my new normal — keep going! Keep going! Blogging-wise, same thing; I’ve had patches (like the last few weeks) where I’ve been a less steady poster and visitor of others’ blogs, but the overall pattern has been to keep pushing on, and I’m very happy with that.

Investing is critical

Ooh, look at that, another one that applies to both! I’ve invested a lot of time in this blog — writing posts, but also commenting elsewhere — as well as a small amount of money (for hosting) and without that, I’d be stuck. When I look at my first few months of posts, which netted either zero or tiny amounts of conversation, I realize how likely I’d have been to quit if I’d just kept writing for basically myself and two other people. I’m so glad I put the time in to reach out to others. And as we all know — in terms of money, you’ve got to do that too. I’m happy with my current investing strategy, although I hope it will have to change in the next few years (because that would mean I had more money.)

It’s the journey, not the destination

I’m trying to provide for my financial far-future (retirement) while also enjoying my life, including the process of blogging about it. With the blogging, I don’t make any money off this (well, I might in like three years when I reach the adsense payout threshold, I guess) and most people never do either. Nor do we achieve worldwide fame. It’s good to have goals, but I think it’s more important to enjoy the process; it turns out I really like blogging about money, since I don’t have anyone IRL to talk in this much detail about my financial life with. If I someday make some $$, great, but that’s more of a side effect, I guess? I really just like talking to y’all.

I like challenges

Whether it’s the Moneystepper Savings Challenge or my self-imposed Zero Food Waste Challenge, I find that “gamifying” my life helps me stick to goals I want to reach. How ingenious can I be in saving a few cents or in preserving food? It’s fun to pit myself against, not others, but my own creativity. While I haven’t taken on any blogging-related challenges specifically, I think that participating in those other challenges does help me — my Wednesday food posts are much more interesting to write and I hope more interesting to read since I started organizing them around the food waste challenge.

Celebrate, then move on to the next thing

I loved getting out of debt, but I turned right around and started saving (okkkkkkk, except for a few detours into fabulous boots and unplanned travel). And with the blog…yeah baby, on to year 2!

32 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned in a Year of Blogging

  1. Happy 1 year! You’ve had quite the year! Congrats. There are so many great things about blogging. The biggest one for me is finding other money nerds to talk money with. It spares the rest of the people in my life (read: Hubs) from all my money chats.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      You know, it has been quite a year — much more eventful than I thought it would be. I agree about the money nerds; I don’t really mind being open with people IRL so much as I feel like they’d be super bored by my OCD-ness regarding spreadsheets.

  2. Happy blog-birthday : ) You’ve made incredible strides in one year! All the best as you keep growing this side of zero. For a year two goal, how about opening up more IRL? You’ve got the language and the understanding. How about busting that taboo against money talk? (Actually, you never asked for suggestions regarding a year two goal, so just ignore that last bit if you like : )

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks! And that’s an interesting goal — I actually have been opening up more with people IRL, but what I meant was more I don’t want to bore my friends with monthly budget spreadsheets. I like saving that kind of thing for the internet 🙂

  3. Brooke says:

    Congratulations on Year 1! I am so glad you are sharing your journey with us!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks! I’m glad you’re sharing yours too 🙂

  4. Kristin says:

    Congrats on reaching 1 year! I love reading these kinds of posts! Can’t wait to see how well you do in year 2!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks! I enjoy reading them too — and I’m also curious how the next year goes!

  5. ARBM says:

    Happy Blogiversary!
    I have had a good time following along with you this year! Good luck on the next! 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you! I love following yours as well!

  6. Congrats! Sticking with it AND getting debt free are both big accomplishments!

    I love your comment about “gamifying” your life goals. I too, do much better when I make it a quantifiable goal (my debt “thermometer” has been key!).

    Keep it up!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you! And I love debt thermometers. Now I have savings thermometers instead, but still 🙂

  7. Kirsten says:

    I’ve enjoyed sharing this journey with you! Thanks for putting your life out there, for the world to follow along.

    I also really enjoy making challenges out of things. I am going to roll one out (I hope) on the blog tomorrow (or at least, the next time I get around to posting). It makes things a little more fun and also keeps me more accountable.I gotta think it’s more fun for readers, too, rather than reading a dull status update on the same thing, they are on the edge of their seats, waiting to hear how you stacked up.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you’re around again 🙂 And I agree, challenges create excitement both for us and our readers.

  8. Congratulations on your anniversary, and on all that you’ve accomplished. I love reading your posts and “conversing” with you. 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you for the congratulations, and the compliment! I’m so glad your family is on your way to more fiscal stability.

  9. Jason says:

    Congrats on your 1 year blogoversary. I do love coming here every week and seeing another academic dealing with similar issues. Keep it up. You are doing great and good things will be coming. Woohoo.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you!

  10. What a great feeling to be able to look back and to already see some of the fruits of your hard work. Glad to hear you are heading with lots of energy into year 2!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you so much! I love your blog, thanks for commenting over here.

  11. Congrats on one year! Your blog certainly has grown in such a short amount of time, and as a reader & commenter I appreciate your thoughtful posts and comments. It’s also fun to read about someone in a similar stage of life, and hopefully we’ll be debt free sooner rather than later as well 😉

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I vote for sooner rather than later for you, too 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting — I’m glad to have “met” you!

  12. Happy blogiversary! And awww, thanks, I take that personally, I like talking to you, too! 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you 🙂 I’m looking forward to work calming down so I have a little more time to chat!

  13. DebtFreeJD says:

    Hurray, hurray! Your blog is a toddler!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Well, it’s stumbling along, anyway 🙂 I’m so glad you’re blogging again!

  14. Happy Cake Day!

    Sticking with it for a year is a huge accomplishment, congrats.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you!

  15. Happy, happy blogiversary, C. 🙂 So glad you joined the blogging scene. 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:


  16. Liz says:

    Happy First Blogiversary! “You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep going” I love this! Sounds like you have had a great year and I’m sure it will only continue to get better!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you! I really hope things do keep getting better from here on out 🙂

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