Today 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!