If you’ve ever visited here before, you’re well aware that I’m not really a personal finance blogger. In fact, I rebranded the site last summer to reflect the fact that I pretty much fail when it comes to writing about money all the time – I just like to write about random things that sometimes happen to include finance. No matter how hard I try, I can’t bring myself to write (or read) boring stuff like “how to save on groceries” or “how to fill out a deposit slip.”
Even when I did focus on my finances more, I never really fit in with most of the people in the PF blogging community. A lot of people think “debt bloggers” are useless or that personal blogs aren’t worth reading. It was very discouraging to think that I was automatically excluded just because I wrote about my experiences with impulse buying and overspending – I almost quit blogging altogether, but ended up stepping back from the PF world to kind of do my own thing.
Anyway, around 6 months ago I received an email from a reader struggling with credit card debt, a bit of a shopping addiction, and a lot of frustration about her financial situation. She wanted to know how I managed to change my behavior without giving up or running out of motivation – at that point, her attempts to regain control hadn’t gone too well. My response to her detailed my process of taking little tiny steps instead of trying to impose a bunch of strict rules; that’s what I had to do in my own life to get my spending under control.
The reason I remembered this is because she emailed again this week. I hope she won’t mind me sharing part of her message:
When I was searching for answers it seemed like the people I knew in real life and many of the PF blogs I read talked about a level of discipline that I didn’t think I could ever achieve. It felt like whatever I tried just wasn’t good enough. It never occured to me that there was more than one way to go about improving my relationship with money. After hearing how you were successful I started making smaller more short term goals. After having a series of positive experiences I was more enthusiastic and optimistic about changing our money habits.
This reader and her husband have managed to work together, pay off a ton of debt, and (most importantly) find ways to do the things they want without taking on new debt. Which is exactly what I set out to do when I started this blog over 2 years ago. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to know that my story was helpful to another person who is now making amazing progress in her own journey.
Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget that some people do come here looking for help with debt, spending, and other problems that the average PF blog either ignores or covers from a “holier than thou” point of view. I catch myself thinking no one would be interested in my finances now that things are more stable in my life. And now I think that might be a mistake on my part.
Whether or not some people want to admit it, there is power in shared experiences. Whether it’s a financial issue or a parenting problem or a life situation, most of us need to know that we aren’t alone, that someone understands where we are and what we’re going through.
Maybe it’s time I stopped caring about my place in the PF community and started finding my financial writing groove again? I don’t know. I just know that receiving that email was the highlight of my week, and it reminded me why I used to enjoy writing about money. Well, sometimes anyway. This stream of consciousness to be continued once I ponder some more…