Since yesterday was the one year anniversary of my first post on this blog (in its initial incarnation, anyway), I’ve decided to take a few days this week to post about things that have happened over the past year.
Reading other PF blogs and writing my own has been a very educational experience. Even though my net worth might not reflect all I’ve learned, thanks to the recent fun in the stock market, but I feel much more confident about my money management than I did a year ago.
I’m using a budget, with great success. I’ve got a nice little cushion in my day to day account. I’m planning ahead for expenses, so I’m not so worried about the months when the insurance bill shows up. As part of this, I’m also tracking my expenses and seeing some surprising trends that I didn’t realize existed. I’m already making plans for next year’s budget so that I can continue to improve my money management.
Thanks in part to the budget, I’m saving a lot more than I was. My savings account has grown by leaps and bounds. Okay, so they’re small leaps and bounds, but it’s growing.
I have also opened a number of sub accounts in ING Direct to help me reach my savings goals. That was something that I learned entirely from the PF blogosphere, and it has been a big help. Along those lines, I’ve put money from some of those accounts into various CD ladders. Might as well make my money work for me as much as it can, right?
I have experimented with a number of different budgeting resources, from my old standby, Microsoft Money, to online programs like Mint, and ended up finding YNAB and realizing that I’m an old school spreadsheet girl at heart. I have also learned that budgeting is not a one size fits all sort of thing, so it’s great that there are so many options out there. You just have to be patient and experiment until you find one that you like.
I moved my blog from a free site to my own host, and have even earned money by blogging! Okay, so it’s not much, and the blog is almost, but not quite paying for itself, but it sure felt like a milestone. I’ve also been able to give a bit more to charity thanks to the blog income (again, not much, but every penny helps).
Perhaps most importantly, I have met a number of amazing people online, through other blogs and comments here. I’ve learned so much from all of you, and I hope you’ve gotten something out of this blog as I stumble through the world of personal finance. It’s nice to know that we’re not all going it alone out there.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.