I started YourAverageDough.com at the end of February, so it has been just over 3 months that I have been blogging. I’m not going to lie, blogging is time-consuming and a lot of work, but it’s been great so far. While blogging is not my full-time job, it has still managed to change my life in some ways for the better. And being that I am only a few months in, I’m intrigued to see how many other changes will come over time as I continue to blog. Below I share with you 8 changes I have noticed in myself in the short time I have been blogging.
A Shift in My Priorities
I’m a little ashamed to say this has a personal finance blogger, but I like expensive things. I am a sucker for designer shoes and bags and even accessories. While I personally refuse to buy myself full-priced designer items, my husband (who knows this about me) tends to buy them for me as gifts. However, since blogging, I’ve noticed that I’m less tempted by these things. Sure, I still like them, but I don’t feel the overwhelming desire to have more and more of them. My priorities have shifted to focus on growing my blog, learning more about finances and/or blogging, investing and saving. I also prefer to spend my money more on experiences than things. I still enjoy things, but I prefer not to pay full price for them =P.
I never realized how inefficient I was at utilizing my time. For the past couple of years, I have been getting home from work between 1.5 to 3 hours before my husband (my hours start and end earlier than his and he works longer days, the joys of public accounting!) and, yet, I wasn’t accomplishing much in that time. I would walk and feed the dog and make dinner, but other than that, I didn’t have much to show for my time other than maybe a quick vacuum job or a load of laundry. I realized I was turning on the TV or staring aimlessly at social media on my phone, not even interacting with people on there most of the time. Now, I’m much more aware of my time. I still put the TV on, but it’s while I’m prepping dinner or if I’m on social media, it’s generally because I’m networking with fellow bloggers or promoting my blog posts. I also somehow find the time, whether before or after dinner or during a lunch break at work, to write two blog posts a week. I am using my time much more wisely, while still managing to relax and enjoy down time with my husband and dog!
I’ve started comparing myself to other less. It’s a horrible habit for anyone, anyway. I used to feel that tinge of jealousy when I’d see someone with a bigger house or a nicer car or a new Louis Vuitton, etc. Now, I see those things and think one of two things: that’s great for them OR I wonder if they are swimming in debt. I don’t find myself wishing I had these things the way I used to. Rather than comparing myself and my situation to others, I compare to myself. Am I achieving my goals? How can I better myself from last month? When I see other bloggers’ progress, rather than compare myself and feel jealous, I use it as motivation.
I am becoming more and more content and happy with my own life. My husband and I bought our house 4 years ago, when we were both 23 years-old. While it may not be the BEST house, it is a good house in a great neighborhood. We have neighbors who have turned into best friends and as the real estate market continues to be hot, hot, hot, we are seeing a lot more turnover in houses nearby to younger couples, which is great for us. We currently have 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths and very small closets, so that does still concern me for when we decide to grow our family; however, I feel more confident that it will work itself out. I went through a phase where I was extremely worried about how we could possibly have children in our house which led me to want to move, but now I am feeling a bit more comfortable and have been more easy-going about it. What’s meant to be will always find its way, right?
I have always been pretty good with money. Because I never really ran into issues with money (never carried a credit card balance, never overdrew my account, somehow always managed to afford the things I wanted, etc.) I felt that I didn’t need a budget. I didn’t like the idea of being confined to maximum thresholds on certain categories. If I had the money for something and I wanted it, why deny myself? This was clearly not the right mindset. The idea of a budget isn’t that you can NEVER exceed certain thresholds, but to serve as more of a guideline (at least that’s the way I see it). The budget number is essentially the ideal amount you should be willing to spend and in a perfect world, it’s the number you’ll be under. That excess money should go to savings, in whichever ways you save (online savings account, investments, whatever you choose). You should also make sure savings (401k, IRA and/or just plain old savings account) are built into your budget.
Since our wedding and creating a joint bank account, my husband and I have been very good about our budget. We have a very detailed process where once a month we sit down for about 45 minutes and input every single expense for the month into our excel template and then analyze our spending. We discuss where we did good/bad and why and ways to fix any overspending. Since blogging, I HATE when we are over budget in any category. I feel way stronger about keeping our expenses as low as possible, so it bothers me when we go over. Prior to this, I would be annoyed for a little bit, but then basically shrug my shoulders and move on. I now feel like it’s my mission to get these expenses down and in line with our budget.
I have learned an incredible amount since blogging. From concepts to tools to ideas to resources, it is crazy how much there is to learn in the personal finance world. What’s even crazier is that I’m only a few months in. I cannot imagine the wealth of knowledge I will have even a year from now as I continue on this blogging journey. Not to mention, having a blog forces you to learn at least a little bit about coding, which I am admittedly awful at. I absolutely love learning new things and sharing this knowledge with others, be it friends, family or even strangers.
Being a personal finance blogger, or any type of blogger for that reason, means you are forced to network with people. For me, I love networking and speaking to people. I find it fascinating to learn from others (see above) and get different perspectives on things. I also enjoy helping people and that’s really what this entire PF blogging community does. Rather than see each other as competition, we utilize each other to help each other grow. I think it’s truly an amazing thing. I’m creating connections with people from all around the world and how cool is that?
I mean this in the least greedy way possible, but since starting this blog I have a strong desire to continue to build my wealth. My husband and I have had a goal for a while now of having a net worth of $1 million by 30 (he’s a year older than me, so technically by the time he’s 30, but worst case scenario it will be by the time I’m 30). I used to not be that concerned about how much money we were saving or investing, but now I have decided that should be more of a priority for us. I would love to build our savings, so that we can afford the lifestyle we want and so that we can give our future kids the best life we possibly can. We want to be able to travel often and go out to eat when we’d like and spend time with friends and family as much as we can. We just want to be able to enjoy life and not worry about showing off a big house or fancy car because that stuff only leads to temporary happiness or, in the case of a large mortgage, financial stress.