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Do Finance Blogs Make Money Even MORE Taboo?


I had three separate conversations over the weekend with personal finance bloggers who have secrets. Not the scandalous kind, like having illegitimate children or belonging to a cult. No, these bloggers are carrying the weight of a much larger burden – they have made financial decisions that they never mentioned on their blogs.

One blogger recently bought a new car. “I’ve never owned a new car in my life, and I just felt like it!” she said. “I shouldn’t have to defend my choice.”

Another blogger hasn’t been saving much lately. She told me, “I don’t want to hear what people think so I’m just not going to write about it.”

The third committed the worst offense of all – he used a credit card to pay for an impulse weekend trip. “I haven’t been out of town in almost a decade. It’s not like I’m asking someone else to pay the bill!”

Why All the Secrecy?

The three people above are my friends, and they’re all fantastic. They’re also responsible with money 95% of the time. They pay their bills and save for retirement and write about finance online in hopes of helping others. So why do they have to feel so guilty about making choices about what to do with the money that they earned? More importantly, why can’t they write about their real lives on their own blogs?

Because they’re worried about being judged. Because they don’t want to deal with the rude comments from “holier than thou” readers. Because other PF bloggers don’t talk about things like that.

I know that feeling all too well. I’m a little more open about my habits than a lot of bloggers, but I’ve paid a price for that honesty. I’ve been called names, from the run of the mill to the truly disgusting. I’ve received emails from people who tell me my blog is shit and I should delete it. I’ve been ignored by some of my fellow bloggers who think my blog is a disgrace to the personal finance community. I was also the recipient of a death threat back in the winter, complete with police reports. Why? Because I dare to tell the truth about what I earn and what I buy. *gasp*

Life is Too Short for This

When I discovered the PF blogosphere, I thought, Finally! A place where I can talk about money openly without being judged! Boy, was I wrong. No matter what I do, it seems that someone has a problem with it. I’m not frugal enough. I don’t use coupons. I’m not trying to be a minimalist or save a million dollars by the time I’m 35. And despite being part of a supposedly “diverse” blogging community, sometimes I feel like the only acceptable diversity is the brand of credit card I pay off every month or what brokerage I use for my Roth IRA.

I started blogging about money because I wanted to change my spending habits and become more responsible. I also thought that sharing my mistakes might benefit other people. When I was broke and couldn’t even buy groceries without help from my parents, I was terrified. I hated myself for spending too much and not saving enough. But I didn’t have anyone to talk to because we all know conversations about money are awkward. I wanted to build a community where those conversations were welcome.

I am not Personal Finance Jesus™. I’m never going to be perfect, I’m always going to own a smartphone and buy shoes (though in moderation now), and I’m not going to turn into a female Dave Ramsey. My mission here is not to lean down from my ivory tower and shout at people about what they should do. I just want to write about random things that occasionally relate to money.

Do the Thing You Fear Most

I think it’s pretty sad that bloggers can’t be upfront about all aspects of their financial lives – the good, the bad, and the ugly – without being afraid of losing face among their readers and fellow bloggers. But I see it every day and I bet you do too. As Daisy and Aloysa recently posted, the personal finance blogosphere has become an ocean of boring encyclopedia articles. How to [insert easy thing here]. Save money with [completely obvious method that even children know about]. And while there’s a place for those articles, I feel like the general public deserves a little more credit.

How awesome would it be if more bloggers were willing to write about their real financial situations, even occasionally? Not all this “do what I say because I’m an expert” crap, but “here’s what worked (or didn’t work) for me.” Writing posts that have value for real people instead of constant love letters to Google. Less judgment because they’re putting themselves out there as real people with real stories. More engagement from readers who feel they can contribute to the discussion instead of feeling woefully inadequate.

Yeah, I know. I’m hallucinating again.

As for me, I’m sick of tiptoeing around the real things going on in my financial life because I’m scared of what people will say. I’m tired of being bullied into treating money like the forbidden topic that it was when I was a kid. This blog is pointless and boring as hell if I can’t post what I want. And if that offends you, I apologize. But it’s time someone said it.

What do you think? Do PF blogs make you feel like you can share your experiences (as a blogger OR as a reader), or do you feel pressured to hide? Do you feel a connection with the blogs you read?

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web developer and mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!


  1. I am all for "do as you preach" but I also believe that people should not open up their whole life with all the details to the world with their blogs.

  2. mysti1031 says:

    Well…..I write about all of it….and I have been slammed for even THINKING about spending money. I have been slammed for not cutting out cable (and as a fellow ASD parent, you can see where that would be such a big hit in my house), and cell phones plans, and camp for the kids.

    I will never be gazelle intense…if that is what you are looking for, I am not it. But if you are looking for real life….ups and downs….great ideas and pitiful mistakes….pull up a chair.

  3. Andrea, please don't ever change! One of the things I love about your blog is the reality you put out there, warts and all. It helps me looks at my situation and think, OK, other people make some less than perfect decisions too, and there are ways to figure it out.

    As for the "How To" pieces… yes, how many times do I have to read how to save money (When I'm already doing half of them, and the other half will NEVER fly in my house?)

  4. The Girl Next Door says:

    Very true! There are a lot of decisions/purchases I don't feel comfortable posting about for fear of rude comments.

  5. I also write about everything, and it's hard. I made a post the other day about buying a new car and tons of people called me stupid. Oh well! I know I'm not stupid… 🙂

  6. jpkittie says:

    LOVE this post! I write about what is up in my world… pretty boring stuff though 😉 I have gotten some pretty nasty comments about what I spend on my dd for christmas or her birthday – that stuff sucks… I honestly makes you not want to put anything in there about it… I have considered making a read only blog b/c of crappy people… Like you – I would love to just keep track & move forward… maybe watching my mistakes here & there people will make better choices with their money?

    thanks for a great post 🙂

  7. This post resonates with me very closely. I wish that instead trying to be perfect and righteous and preaching, we, bloggers, would be honest with our readers. We are humans and we are not perfect, why not to show it on your blog? Bloggers are a fearfu bunch. We are afraid to show that we make mistakes, that we have wants and not just needs.
    I love your blog for all the reasons others slammed you. People should stop being hypocrites. .

  8. I love this blog because you're so realistic about money and you're so easy to relate to. The amazing/fun/terrifying thing about life is that it's completely unpredictable, which makes handling money a bumpy road sometimes. It can't be easy to be honest and talk about all of your financial decisions, but I applaud you for doing so. Just know that there are those of us out here that appreciate your realism and straightforward approach about money. For those that don't, I suggest finding a blog that better suits what you're looking for!

  9. I write about me and what happens in my life. I am extremely lucky that I have not gone through any super rough times but if I did I would write about it. I realize PF is not one size fits all and everyone has their down days, months or even years. Shit happens. Do your best to get back on track and things normally turn out OK. Haters gonna hate and I know that I am doing what is best for me. Ignore the idiots and share what makes this blog personal… you!

  10. The problem about PF bloggers is that most have at one time or another judged others, or other non-optimal financial behaviour. On their blogs, in comments, Twitter, about their family, friends, other bloggers, strangers in news. I know, I do it too.

    It seems to me that most readers of PF blogs are PF bloggers themselves, so the community only has itself to blame for its judgmental culture.

    The secrecy appears to stem from PF bloggers not being able to take the same judgement that we dish out to others.

  11. I always write about how I'm not a penny pincher and that I love to spend money. I also wrote about how I bought a NEW car (not used!). No one's slammed for it yet. I even wrote about how we spent a lot on 4th of July fireworks, and how I love eating out. I don't put in hard numbers, though, and I'm not one of those that shares my net worth regularly. But I think that there are plenty of people out there who think differently, and are diverse, even in the PF blogosphere. I think it's possible, even in our little world, to have even SMALLER subsets and get caught up in our bubbles.

  12. I never felt like I couldn't say or write about what I spent money on, but I did think about what people would think when I was spending my money. I did make better choices. But that makes for a boring blog too.

    I had a good time getting out of debt, I was surely gazelle intense, but once it was over what else was I suppose to talk about….? "Yay I put a thousand dollars in our retirement account this month." It felt like bragging. Especially since a lot of my readers were still in debt.

  13. I don't list everything in detail because it's too easy for my students to find my blog by just googling my name… but I think it's pretty obvious from what I write that I have a love affair with credit cards, can't build an emergency fund to save my life, and frequently choose buying more beer than making another student loan payment.

    C'est la vie!

    I'm lucky that I haven't received super harsh judgement except for he occasional comment. Some bloggers have readers that are really hostile, and I'm glad I don't have to deal with that.

  14. queenlbee says:

    I JUST put my up my week three no-spend challenge report and I couldn't detail every line item I spent on (Like I usually do) because I was embarassed and afraid to be judged. I didn't want people to know that I was on a no-spend challenge and paid 50 dollars to get my dog a haircut.

  15. You're right about 90% of the PF blogosphere being sterile and boring. I hope you keep blogging because reading about real life experiences and being able to relate to them is inspiring. Judgemental people are everywhere and it's their job to poop the party. But rest asured that most people reading your blog come here because you help them by being honest and real.

  16. travispizel says:

    Kind along the same lines of what moneyaftergrad said, sometimes I don't write about things (although they'd make really great posts) because I'm afraid that the people the posts are about would find it. I have a really great post written, but if the people that are referenced in the post ever read it….well, it may cause some problems – so I've never posted it. I always at least try to push myself to do so, though…as I think the more open and honest a blogger, the more beneficial their content can be for their readers.

  17. addvodka says:

    Oh, the PF community is super judgmental. There are some that sit there with their pathetic lives and try to think of ways to insult or make other bloggers feel badly, and some that are just occasionally judgmental. the boy & I bought a couch on a whim last weekend without shopping around. Didn't post about it because I didn't want to hear it. I think travelling is worth the money, even with debt. Once again. I leave that off my blog because of pieces of shit blogs like the one that tore me and my blogging friends apart for having degrees.

    It's just silly.

  18. I totally agree. That's why I honestly don't care what the PF community or other people think of my blog or my financial situation. It took me a while to reach that point of course, but it's so much easier for me to just tune them out. I try to be as transparent as possible on my blog – I post how much I make, how much I spend (or in some cases splurge) and all that goes with it. I've talked about how I needed motivation to stay the course while getting out of debt and that I was struggling with everything.

    I too noticed the PF world, for the most part, has become very dry and boring. I refuse to let my blog evolve into that. So I recently made the decision to go into EVEN MORE detail about my finances, career and everything that comes with it. For now, that decision is paying off and I've gotten some great feedback. I know it won't always be good (or nice) feedback, but I've grown up being in the spotlight (because of my dad). I've learned first hand that human beings are cruel, and there will always be people who judge me.

  19. There are trolls in the 'net, hon, and sometimes they get hostile and obnoxious. Sometimes they come in the form of people who think they have the right to judge your life.

    Only you can decide how much you're comfortable sharing, but imho, you should not let the trolls silence you. The worst they can do is shoot their jibes from behind the anonymity of the internet… and in doing so, they reveal their own weakness. They're not strong enough to come out and stand before their peers in the full sun and express an honest, well-thought-out opinion. They're not brave enough to stand in the light and show others their mistakes. They're nothing compared to you. They're just pathetic people with nothing better to do with their lives.

    I say, if you want to write about it, write about it. From what I've read of your comments, you have people following you who think you're pretty awesome. I know you've helped me stay focused on my finances when life is so chaotic I don't know whether I'm coming or going. For what it's worth, you are helping people. Maybe it's not herding unicorns, but it seems like a pretty decent use of time to me. And you don't even need to clip any coupons. 😉

    • Michelle says:

      Just wanted to let you know…"herding unicorns" is one of the most awesome phrases I've read in a long time. 🙂

  20. I totally agree that people are super judgemental!!! Some financial bloggers seem to be know-it-alls…and think that their way is the only way!

  21. I don't read a ton of personal finance blogs because, as you said, they come off as judgy and unrealistic, or boring and full of obvious advice — and they all assume I'm spending $50/week at Starbucks, which is insulting. Since I decided to clean up my financial act, I've made a decent dent in my debt and saved a *lot* more than I thought I could, in part due to advice from PF blogs. But… I spent $160 on Lord of the Rings Legos in the last 2 weeks. Just because I think they're really, really cool. I do what works for me, and I freely admit I don't do it perfectly. Reading this blog and others at least keeps my finances at the front of my mind, and I'm encouraged by hearing that others are also imperfect — it makes me feel like it's more about being on the right track than spending every penny perfectly.

  22. laurenwhitehead says:

    I wish PF bloggers would be more honest. I would be much more likely to discuss and be open about this stuff if I knew other people made different choices, bad decisions, etc, but bounced back or whatever. Otherwise it always seems like unattainable perfection. But I seem to be a person interested in gray areas rather than black and white, and I know the blogosphere is not always tolerant of that kind of thing.

  23. Maybe we're not reading the same blogs, but when I see PF bloggers write about spending money on a whim or contemplating a big spending decision the comments are usually "go for it!" or "you deserve it!" Maybe I keep away from the we're-in-debt blogs and read more of the we're-building-wealth blogs?

    I write about ALL our spending in a once-a-month review post. If it wasn't budgeted for, I write MORE about it to explain how it will be covered with cash. But we don't have a high enough income to be free to make large impulse purchases, so maybe that will change when our income increases and we loosen the reigns a bit.

  24. Nothing like a good read with my Monday coffee. I'm sorry you've been called names (other than awesome) and I think that your friends would be better served to ignore the haters. This community is typically so nice that when I get a troll, their comments don't see the light of day. It's too bad people don't post those other stories because that's what's really interesting. Not the guilt or the justification, but hey, I went on vacation and here's how much interest I'll spend and dang it that's worth it to me!

  25. therandompath says:

    I follow a lot of PF blogs. PF blogs have helped change the way I view finances and I like to hear honest stories about how people are climbing out of debt. Good decisions, bad decisions, it all needs to be said.

    I like your honesty Andrea, and you shouldn't change your writing style or content because someone doesn't agree.

  26. PKamp3 @ DQYDJ says:

    I do like articles like this one – meta-blogging is a genre I can sometimes get into. I'm a bit different in taste, though – personal spending journals turn me off. In my experience, my situation is so different than others in the PF world that I seek out the theory and math based sites instead of the 'internal dialogue' blogs. However, write whatever you want – your audience will find you. If that audience is a bunch of Google searches? You can have that too, eventually!

    Oh, and I like yours because you write like you can actually recall your English classes.

  27. I enjoy reading a blog more if it is personal. I love the finance side of things, but thats not all I want to hear about. I think the PF community for the most part isn't that judgemental, there are the occasional few, and I had one troll myself that was extremely judgemental about me having a camper loan while I am still in debt. I try to be honest and put everything out there. I'm not that worried about having to explain myself to anyone, if they don't like what I have to say or do they know where the door is.

  28. Budget & the Beach says:

    Wow this is something that I think is blogging's dirty little secret. I've been lucky at least with my PF blog that I haven't come across that yet…but maybe because "my" community so far has been pretty small and supportive. I think that happens more when you get random commenters who aren't invested in your personally who just think they can say whatever they want without thinking about how that makes the writer feel. But on the other hand, as a write, you are putting yourself out there, and have to be willing to take whatever comes back at you. In a perfect world, we would never had criticism in our life…or at least harsh criticism. I think thats just the reality of the world we live in now (death threats aside…because that is just awful and no one should have to put up with that).

    I think the key is to believe in yourself as much as possible. Know who you are at the core, so that when you do get criticized, you have a healthy dose of self-esteem to deal with it.

    On the flip side of all of this, is when you see a blogger make mistake after mistake…and you gently try to offer some advice or constructive feedback, and they rip off your neck and shit down your throat. In some regard you have to be open to feedback.

    Wow I could say so much more but this is going on forever. It's a great topic to discuss for sure!

  29. seedebtrun says:

    You're right of course, Andrea. We are only human. I bet if you hold them under the microscope, Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman occasionally make questionable financial decisions as well. I have seen the way that Suze dresses on TV, and those blazers are not cheap, for example.

    Your blog is one of my favorites because you are real, and you are raw. It's a great quality, and it oozes out of everything you write. Nowhere on your page does it say "I know more than you, so you should listen to my advice", so if folks think that is your angle, then they are applying that themselves.


  30. I really enjoyed reading this post and the truth behind it.I think it depends on the blog itself. Some bloggers and their writing styles and topics I really enjoy reading and can totally relate to their stories. Whereas others are more informative or I can’t relate, but that’s ok. There are so many different sides to personal finance and its not fair to be so judgemental. We’re human.

  31. I've never been one to share too much personal information on my site, mainly because it's my site and I've just decided that I'll share what I feel like sharing. Not because I'm afraid of what people will say (I've gotten my share of nasty comments in 4.5 years, and I've got thick skin in general), but mainly because I just don't care to be 100% transparent about everything. I don't see why I need to.

    On the other hand I also think the blogosphere is a big place and there is definitely a place for all sorts of personal finance blogs -from the purely informational ones, to the more relational ones – and the ones that reveal everything. I think I tend to come down on the more informational side of the spectrum with less revealed, but I know that I've helped a lot of people with those types of posts as well.

  32. Yeah, I've definitely got a post in my queue about a dirty little financial secret I've got, and I'm debating on whether to even publish it – or maybe just on one of my other sites that doesn't get as much traffic 🙂 The writing is cathartic – the scathing reactions are not.

  33. adahat1 says:

    I am with you on this one! By the way, the love note to Google comment was classic! I might steal that one if you dont have it copyrighted 🙂

  34. You're so right Andrea! So right! I try to be as honest as possible, but I definitely don't write about how I dropped whatever amount on a new dress because I liked it for fear of being a bit judged, which is silly really. As Nene Leakes from the Real Housewives of Atlanta once said, let your haters be your motivators!

  35. vero1321 says:

    Thank you for speaking up! I will admit that I was 'judgy' when I first read your blog. However, you sucked me in and reminded me that responsibility is a learned behavior and acting like a money miser is no way to live life. I'm saving to take a year off to go to school. I won't have any financial aide and we'll be a one income household. Our savings will include a fun fund to keep from dipping into savings when we want to, I don't know, buy a latte. haha It's tricky to balance real life with all its (human) imperfections. Thanks for being real.

  36. bogofdebt says:

    I try to be honest–because after all, it is my personal finance journey and if I feel like spending xx on something, I'm going to. I saved up for it usually so why not? I'm also really thick sometimes so if I am insulted, I probably wouldn't notice it. But I also know that a lot of my dirty little secrets that I've confess was rather hard to do–like the not having a retirement fund even though I'm 28 (okay 27 at the time but guess what? I still haven't set it up). I love reading the stories and not the how to's (okay some of them I do) because I love getting to know the writer. I told you that before though I'm pretty sure.

  37. TeacHer says:

    This is very timely, because I have a post going up tomorrow about a financial action I took recently that A LOT of people will (correctly) disagree with. It was right for me, but I debated even writing it because I just knew how people would respond. I had to deal with enough shitty comments when I opened the interest-free credit card to pay for my cat's vet bills.

    I think a lot of this judgement/backlash comes from PF bloggers being sort of out-of-touch with the rest of the world, financially speaking. Like the buying a new car thing….people in the "real world" buy new cars ALL THE TIME and they would never think that a friend or coworker would give them crap about it. But we PF bloggers spend so much time writing and thinking about money that I think we start to lose touch with how all the "regular" people make "regular" financial choices all the time.

  38. Haha, awesome timing on this post. I just posted my first “budget confessions” post, and there will definitely be more coming up. I think it’s really important that we, as PF bloggers” don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. And when we go against our own advice, admit it. No one is perfect all the time, especially with finances, but just tell us. I think it’s good to know “why” you went against your own advice, and heck, if you start realizing you don’t believe what you are saying online, feel free to change your opinion.

    I have a way of spelling out budgeting, for instance, but if someone convinces me of a better way, or I learn better methods for budgeting, I will not hesitate to update my posts and realize that maybe I didn’t know what’s up. I think that pride-swallowing is a rarity online, especially by “experts” in a particular field. I think you will connect with more readers and you are instantly relatable when you admit mistakes on a regular basis.

    Good post, thanks!

  39. 34 comments agreeing? Time to even things up a little.

    How would you feel if your doctor smoked a pack a day? How would you feel if your personal trainer had a bigger spare tire than you? How would you feel if your dentist had a British smile? Chances are you wouldn't be very happy about it, and you might even seek out a new professional for your needs. Perception is very important, especially when somebody is coming from a position of authority.

    So then we have PF bloggers, who HAVE BLOGS ABOUT MONEY, yet insist that they're not authorities on the subject. What the huh? In one breath they'll say they want to share their wisdom about the subject, and then the next breath they'll insist they know nothing. So many PF bloggers want to have it both ways. They want to be taken seriously when they give advice, yet forgiven for being an amateur when they screw up. And then you get mad when readers have a problem with that?

    Should bloggers be held to a higher standard? I think they should be. Look, everyone makes financial mistakes. But when you think about money often enough to maintain a blog about it, those mistakes should be minimal. I don't think anyone demands perfection, but I think they have the right to demand better than Joe from Elm Street. Sadly, most bloggers are no better at money than their audience.

    And then, when they get the chance, they're more than happy to be interviewed by a traditional media outlet as an "expert." I can't be the only one who sees the hypocrisy here.

    • I don't really care if my doctor smokes, and I can't comprehend the part about personal trainers because I don't exercise. So there's one confession: I'm totally unhealthy. My doctor got drunk and shot her husband (he didn't die) and spent a weekend in jail, but that really has nothing to do with whether she can write me a prescription when I have a sinus infection or something.

      I think there's an error in assuming that ALL people come to blogs for authoritative advice. If I want real financial info, I talk to my accountant. If I want to be amused and entertained, I read PF blogs. And dammit, they just aren't amusing enough lately. (Though yours is sometimes.)

      I agree that it's pointless when people are making the same mistakes over and over. A few bloggers come to mind who have been around for years but are doing the same crap. What's the value in that? But I disagree that there's zero value when someone says, "Look, here's what I used to do. I don't do that anymore."

      I can't respond to the whole interviews and "expert" thing because I don't know anyone who has done that. The only thing I'm an expert on is stopping overspending (my business cards say "Blogger, Recovering Spendaholic"), so that's what I choose to blog about. People who want something else can go read GRS.

      • The three people in your example above are actively making financial mistakes. There's no "used to" there.

        • Okay, I can agree with that. But what are those people supposed to do? Commit suicide because they did one thing wrong among the zillion things they did right? Shut down their blogs? Ask someone to kick their asses? I don't understand why it's not okay to put it out there and move on.

  40. If there's a loss of faith in personal finance bloggers, it's in the ones who should really call themselves "Mired in Debt, and LOVIN IT!!" It's irresponsible to call yourself a "personal finance" blogger when you're doing nothing to fix a problem. Do fashion bloggers give advice on how to look ugly, and pass it off as good style advice? Bragging about stupidity does nobody any favours.

    Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity, right? Well why, if you're in debt, would you continue to make the same stupid choices and then get angry when others encourage you to change?

    There is a clear difference between a mea culpa:

    "I went out and bought a new car, even though I have a new-ish car, plunging myself thousands further into debt, even though I'm already in 5 figure consumer debt. That was dumb!"

    And a cognitive dissonance-laden, immature defense of a stupid decision:

    "I went out and bought a new car, even though I have a new-ish car, plunging myself thousands further into debt, even though I'm already in 5 figure consumer debt. It was smart. I don't just need a $3,000 car for transportation. I DESERVE a $30,000 Jeep, thus proving I've failed to learn anything about personal finance."

    Two weeks ago, a contributor on my site wrote about her "Worst Financial Decision". People thanked her. Why? She was honest, she knew what she did wrong and she talked about what she did to correct it. Nobody submitted venomous comments (I wouldn't have approved them anyway). One big lesson in life is to LEARN from mistakes. Not make them repeatedly. I've lost money on stocks. I don't say it was SMART to speculate when it was clearly stupid. I LEARNED from my mistake. As a result of learning from that mistake, I've made far more money from dividends. That's what I write about — improving your financial life.

    The reason most "Mired-in-Debt and LOVIN IT" bloggers are so angered about criticism is: 1) their poor spending habits are tied up intricately with their egos so if somebody wants to debate about the wisdom of travelling while in debt, they feel personally attacked because they have a deep addiction (and probably complex underlying emotional issues, abandonment complexes, attention deficits, etc.) and 2) they can't defend their foolishness with logic. Thus they turn to underhanded tactics like attacking the intelligent critic, blocking their IP, saying a blog post "ATTACKED" their friends etc.

    It's the internet. Get over it.

    • This COMMENT was a little DIFFICULT to read. I can tell this issue must have fired you up a little.

      I'm not sure if the "you" in your comment is directed toward me or "general you," but I do agree that there's a difference between "here's the mistake I made and why" and "here's the mistake and now I expect everyone to hug me!"

      The thing about money is that no situation is black and white. People don't have to be in debt to do dumb things, and people in debt can make good decisions sometimes. I've still got a year or so left on my car loan, and I don't even want to talk about my student loans, but I haven't carried a credit card balance in over a year. For someone who once had well over $30k in credit card debt, I feel like that's a positive change.

      I also think it's fine to disagree if people can do it in a respectful way. I let this comment through because you disagreed like an adult – a lot of commenters don't seem to know how to do that. I can respect your opinions much more when they don't involve name-calling. Much better than last time, I'd say! 😉

  41. I'm just starting out but I hope i can be honest with my readers because as teenagers we need more role models to show us how to go to college without debt!

  42. As a long time reader I felt i just had to comment.
    I am one of those who read PF blogs almost purely for thier enertainment value. Yes, I do put some financial advice and ideas into practice, but the blogs I enjoy the most are the 'real life' ones. There are only so many times one can read about setting up a roth IRA without your brain curling up in boredom.

  43. colette130 says:

    Well, let me start by saying I'm not a PF blogger, but I do read several of them on a regular basis.

    There are some who seem to blog because they want sympathy, and who obsess about costs they have little influence over (e.g. price of gas) while spending money on unnecessary things (buying a new car when they already have one that runs, to steal someone else's example). I might find those entertaining, but there's nothing I can learn there, because I don't spend large sums of money frivolously. (As should be obviously, I don't leave nasty comments – my browser has a back button, and it's not like bloggers like that want to hear anything but how hard they have it.

    On the other hand, there are blogs (like yours, for example) that acknowledge why they make the choices they make. There's nothing wrong with spending money on things that make life worth while, as long as it's not at the expense of your important goals. Everyone makes mistakes, but there's a difference between "I dropped a glass on the screen of my netbook and now I have to decide whether to buy a new one or wait" and "I dropped a glass on the screen of my netbook, so I had to buy a new top of the line computer".

    Um, not that I've ever dropped a glass on the screen of my netbook.

    P.S. Don't try that at home.

  44. eemusings says:

    I've fallen off the financial bandwagon lately, I admit. I did just post about all the financial hits I've taken recently, but it's probably time I take proper stock, especially as I have a new financial goal to announce soon.

  45. Teinegurl says:

    The reason i come to your blog is because i like that you keep it "real" so to say. Your a single mom and I am to and i relate to that. I like your openess to share your life because in my eyes your "secrets" so to say of how you do things and make money can help me do the same as a single mom. As someone who needs every dollar she can get i respect that. I think a lot of PF bloggers try to take the personal aspect out of it thus those generic "do what i say im an expert " or "this is how i ____money" articles. That gets old after a while.

    I also don't see why people complain or judge because every PF site i've read has a disclaimer on it saying it is only giving advice but in no way an expert. It's up to you to decide if you want to follow that advice or not. Nobody is forcing you to do something just because someone on a blog told you do it. AND if you don't like it click off . I don't understand internet trolls !

  46. Yours is one of the few PF blogs I still read, because you are REAL. Don't change, or I will have to unsubscribe to you too.

  47. cestarr says:

    I think we are most helpful when we share our weaknesses- or simply our choices about the way we spend our money. We all have different priorities that are shown through our spending. Who are we to judge those choices? The more honest and vulnerable we are, the more we can help others be honest about their financial strengths and weaknesses. I'm glad you are encouraging your friends to be as real as they dare!

  48. Doing the things that are good for you is usually not as easy as doing what feels good. It is easier to eat junk food, not go for a jog, and spend lots of money on your credit card than it is to do what's right. That's why the majority of people don't eat right, don't exercise regularly, and have a mountain of credit card debt.

    When they can find fault in someone telling them the right thing to do, they feel vindicated in doing the wrong things. The fact is, even if you find a diet guru eating a gallon of ice cream, it it stilol good to follow their advice. Just because the messenger has faults doesn't mean there's fault in the message.

  49. Catseye says:

    You got a death threat because of something you blogged? HOLY SH@T! Clearly, some disturbed people read your blog. Please be careful, Andrea. I'd use more profanity, but don't want to get flamed. ;o)

  50. Gotta admit, it's fun to spice things up, which is why I write from differing view points on a semi regular basis.

    Maybe I'm masochistic, but I also enjoy getting torn to shreds by angry commenters. It makes me happy!

    Any chance you feel the same way? Anybody?

  51. This is wonderful post! I am guilty of sending constant love letters to Google. Earlier I used to write about personal situation now it has reduced a lot. I'll treat this post as an awakening.

  52. I'm never going to write a post where I feel obligated to lie or mislead my readers. If you can't walk the walk, then don't talk the talk. Write about safer topics or write about what's really going on in your life, but by all means tell the truth.

  53. affordanything says:

    I absolutely love this post, and I know exactly what you mean. I get anxious before announcing anything on my blog because I know there's a strong likelihood that some reader will slam me for the decision.

    In PF bloggers' defense, though, my decisions don't normally don't get attacked by other bloggers. I get attacked by random members of the general public.

    I've come to accept that this is a natural part of living a "public" life — if you put yourself out there, you open yourself to criticism. I liken it to being a politician or a celebrity. We're quick to cast judgment on a politician or celebrity for doing something "immoral" like adultery or shoplifting, even though plenty of the people who are casting that judgment have done the same thing (or worse!) themselves.

    I think this is because we hold "public figures" to a higher moral standard — they're supposed to be the role models. So every time someone criticizes me, I try to take it as a sign that I'm becoming a public role model, and that's why they lash out.

  54. americandebtproject says:

    I always write about my mistakes because that was the whole reason I started my blog. I did forget to mention that part where I joined a cult but I thought that was a minor detail…but in general, I haven't had anyone call me a financial loser except for me calling that to myself. I actually would like someone to come call me out on some things, but no one seems to care yet 🙂 Maybe I need to start writing more "get the masses riled up!" posts.

  55. I wonder if PF bloggers started being honest, if people would realize that no one is perfect with money. We all buy things we don't "need" and make decisions other PF experts would criticize. But no one should be shamed into hiding those things. I actually feel better when I read about those mistakes because then I feel like I'm not a constant financial disappointment.

  56. Andrea, I had a melt down today because of a very expensive sewer problem that has put me back an entire year on debt repayment, boy you should see some of the scathing comments. This has never happened to me before. But I was completely honest about how I felt emotionally about a very frustrating aspect of my life that directly affects me financially. Woo, Hoo! be careful some people only want to hear from Pollyanna.

    • I'm so sorry, Kim! Both about the sewer and about the haters. It's amazing how little people are able to empathize.

  57. I thought your blog was your blog and you could say what you wanted to say. I read a lot of these blogs and I do find a lot of them say the same thing a hundred different ways. I enjoy the ones that give personal experiences more than the ones that just spout facts we all already know.

  58. Broke By Choice says:

    I have shared some weaknesses but not all. I have gone back and forth about what my blog will be about. Sometimes I wanted to be a blog that alot of people read so I wanted to give advice, but then I felt pressure to write certain things when really I only wanted it to reflect my true journey.

  59. SavvyFinancialLatina says:

    I just write about what happens in my life. That's where I get my inspiration. I have realized that I don't just write about personal finance. I write about life. point blank. And I want to read about people's life. That's how I learn.
    I have been pretty open with my money. I don't write spending updates every week, partly because I find it too much work right now LOL. I need to increase my use of MINT!

  60. I will admit I vacillated about talking about my vacation. In part because it seemed hypocritical to say that I was spending hundreds of dollars traveling when I talk about how I'm focused on paying down debt and don't like to travel. The other part was because I was going to Vegas and gambling with $100. In the end, I did mention the trip in an off-hand way but didn't say where I was going and rationalized it as being wary of getting de-ranked by Google.

  61. afistfulodollars says:

    There are some things that I just plain don't want to write about because justifying them in my head is super easy, but once I get to writing it out in a post all of a sudden I feel like I'm justifying it to people who READ the blog, not the one who lives it (me!). Also I found that the more I spent the less I wanted to put a spending report up, for the same reason. People are just so fucking nuts sometimes that I think if they're sending you hate mail or death threats it says way more about them than your financial choices (I really don't mean to diminish your death threat experience because clearly that is a safety issue). Hearing about things like that really makes me lose faith in not only the PF community, but humanity at large. Ugh.

  62. nellterry says:

    I saw this post a little late, but wow, I hit every one of your criteria. Make x dollars by 35. Check. Love letter to Google. Check (seriously, I wrote an actual love letter). How-to articles. Check.

    My blog is a hybrid. I'm like "PF lite with a dash of WAH mommy, a smidge of freelance writing advice, and a touch of Internet marketing." I try to keep everything very real, although I'm warming up to add stuff about my personal life. I did, however, do a painful "open letter to the pf community" about my real financial situation. That was REALLY hard.

    I thought about lying on my income reports because I was disappointed I didn't meet my lofty goals the past few months (nor in July). But I didn't. I posted what I really made. It sucks and I feel like sh*t about not making what I'd projected. Public accountability sucks, but it helps motivate me too.

    Now I'm rambling.

  63. As a reader I always looking people that use their own advice, are open about their spending and take critism with a grain of salt. Someone who can tell me they went on a spending spree because they can, but also have a healthy savings account or someone who is trying to get there. It makes it more interesting, because if I wanted advice on coupons I would google it. I want the real behind the reason to go frugal or the failure behind it, because that is what makes life real and would actually help people like me.

  64. moteviolence says:

    Oh, good lord, you are HUMAN! It doesn't make you perfect. The PF blogs I choose to read are by people who do make it real and, sometimes, that means not achieving goals, having slip-ups, or choosing to purchase something that they want and they shouldn't have to justify it to anyone. Their money, their decision! I have been working very part time this year, averaging 15 hours a week. Yet I've still managed to save over $8,000 for a trip to Antarctica in 2014 and just decided this week that I'm also going to try and do a volunteer vacation to Machu Picchu in November, 2013. What did I do last night? Bought a rain jacket and a down vest online with coupons I managed to find. Neither of these items are NEEDS, by any means, but I feel like there are people who would get uppity because I'm doing as much side-hustle jobs as I can to make these trips happen, but then to go and buy adventure gear? Because I haven't been buying crap all year I don't feel bad about spending my money on two well-made items that will get lots of use. I think it's really easy when you're not saving money to point fingers and say, "Oh, look! You slipped up!" but it's your money and you can do what you want.

    Okay, rant over. ;o) Keep doing what you're doing!! You have a great blog!

  65. Honey Smith says:

    Amen! I just started as a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly and if you wanna see a good old-fashioned lambasting, check out my tryout post (or, for that matter, any of my other posts):

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