This week I’m featuring guest posts from some of my best blogging friends while I take a small blogcation. Don’t run away – these are awesome posts from talented bloggers! Today’s post comes from Vanessa, who blogs about personal finance (among other interesting topics) at Random Thoughts and Acronyms. Check out her blog to see more of her writing!!
My first introduction to the PF community was waaaay back in 2008 when I found Poorer Than You. I immediately started a blog and gushed about how great her idea of a debt snowball was and she commented! I was ecstatic! An internet stranger thanked me for stopping by her blog – I must be special.
Slowly I collected more and more PF blogs in my Google Reader. In true Vanessa fashion, I was hung up on the logistics of “What should my first real post be?” and I never blogged on that blog again. I did clear $6,000 of debt in 3 months though.
After clearing my debt, I looked at my salary – a whopping $411 a week after taxes – decided that it would be enough to live off of, and stopped working overtime and tracking my money. Only recently, say, tax time 2011, did I sit down and calculate how much income I’ve earned since I’ve started working and how much I had left.
Actual net worth: Not $100,000, not even half.
What had I done wrong!? I always felt (and continue to feel) as though I’m living the life of a pauper. I didn’t have a car, I lived in the most ghetto apartments imaginable and I didn’t buy clothes or makeup. Where was all my money going?!
The answer, I soon discovered, was that it was going toward the sheer amount of fast food that I was consuming. 2011 was my renewed year of blogging and I started to blog (albeit unseriously) in June. Today, after almost a year of meticulously tracking my expenses and finding the holes where my money leaks out, I’ve increased my net worth by almost $2,500, while paying for my university tuition in cash and travelling to Cuba, Europe and the Dominican Republic.
The first step toward financial independence and achieving your goals (to travel, in my case), is to track your spending and identify where your money is going. Your money is essentially being wasted unless it’s being used to fulfill your dreams.