Somehow, I’ve been a blogger for six years. In so many ways, it feels like I blinked and got here. But in other ways, if I look back, it seems like an actual lifetime is laid out on these virtual posts and pages.
To celebrate, I thought I’d pull back the curtain a bit to share what blogging affords me. Spoiler: It’s not a six figure income!
I don’t monetize this blog. It’s absolutely for lack of trying, not for lack of desire to do so. I don’t have qualms about people getting paid for their time, effort, or knowledge. I’m just not at a moment in time where I can really do what needs doing to make this site a bit more professional. (Translation: It looks like another year of that bonkers She Picks Up Pennies title that changes on every device I view my own blog on. Apologies in advance for the sometimes-Comic Sans!)
Maybe I’ll get there one day.
Or maybe I’ll wait so long that there’s absolutely no value in written content because we just beam ideas into each other’s minds. Who knows!
But while I don’t earn a direct income from this blog, I certainly do make money indirectly. This blog connected me to opportunities in ghostwriting, freelancing, copy editing, and curriculum writing. I don’t earn enough to replace my full time income, though I’m close to overtaking my paychecks when I’m really able to churn out content.
Nope, I haven’t reached financial independence. (We are CoastFI, though, I guess. More on that someday!)
But blogging is actually probably the one thing that kept me going when the wheels came off teaching during the pandemic. I never had to leave my classroom, but there were definitely days and weeks and months where I thought I might be looking for a new career. Thanks to this blog and the personal finance community, I’ve long learned the value of putting on my own parachute. Or having FU money, if you will.
In addition to going into the pandemic with a plump emergency fund that could sustain a job loss for both of us, I also walked in with multiple streams of income. All of them took a hit, but none of them disappeared. And in a time of absolute uncertainty, knowing that I could say no was absolute freedom.
While I have gotten progressively worse at replying to blog comments (I’m working on it!), I still delight in them. Whenever people suggest I turn the commenting option off, I wince. There is nothing I love more than a kind word or a witty quip from someone I don’t know but who feels like a friend or even family member anyway.
Truthfully, the community I gained from blogging extends far beyond this teeny slice of cyberspace on my blog. Social media connected me to so many like-minded people. I remember being skeptical thinking that there was no way that Internet buddies were the same as in-the-flesh friends. And it’s true that they are different, but in so many ways, my online friends know me even better.
The support, encouragement, and opportunities I’ve been given are simply overwhelmingly wonderful.
Teaching is a true passion of mine. It feels like a calling, an identity, and a true joy. But I’ve monetized that (duh!), making it a complicated and messy passion. Otherwise known as a J-O-B.
I also feel that passion for writing (I teach English after all!). This blog allows me to write for me. Though the advice that’s commonly doled out is to write for an avatar, I’ve always written this blog for me, myself, and I. It holds me accountable and helps me grow. But it also allows me to dabble and play, thinking through ideas, testing out writing styles, doing what I love without any pressure.
It’s true that sometimes I have to walk away from my writing here to tend to commitments and the chaos of everyday life, but it’s always a welcome reprieve when I return.
I’m fairly certain if I never found the personal finance/intentional spending world, I would be living in a giant pile of shoes wondering why my savings account never budged.
Because that’s basically how I always lived. I spent my money as fast as I made it. Even when we combined our finances, my savings never grew. And investing? What was that? (I seriously thought you could end up owing the stock market money like a bookie or something!)
By learning to spend more intentionally, I also learned to let go of my crippling shopping habit. While I’m a work in decluttering progress, I can proudly say that even with four people living in our house, we have less stuff now than when I first started this blog as a pair of DINKs.
It’s pretty easy to criticize the personal finance community by saying it’s an echo chamber. After all, there are only so many synonyms for budgets and side hustles. So, yeah, a lot of times, we are saying the same thing. At least on the surface.
But when you get to know bloggers and content creators beyond the headline or the tweet, you see that there’s so much nuance and depth. I can’t count how many times I’m talked to someone or even typed out my own thoughts only to realize how much my perspective was expanding or shifting.
Quite simply, my finances are not the same as they were six years ago…and neither am I.
Thanks for joining me on this ride! In addition to trying to be better at commenting, I’m going to work to give away at least one book a month this year. It’s my way of supporting content creator friends and a very teeny way to say thanks to the people who read my content. Onto the next year!
Happy birthday to one of my absolute favorite blogs!!!
Penny!!! I love your writing! And am now somewhat fond of your sometimes comic sans sometimes cursive blog title! Posts like these are why I love your blog. It’s so wonderful getting to know you and read such generous thoughts about writing and passion and careers! ?
Thank you so much, Gov Worker <3 So happy we connected in the PF space!
Kristen | The Frugal Girl
I resonate with so much of what you wrote! Congrats on six years!
revanche @ a gai shan life
Happy blog birthday! I’m so happy you’ve hit six and are still going strong ❣️
This is the same as my core reasons for still blogging: the community and friendships have been deeply fulfilling through some of the hardest times in my life in a way my offline friends simply cannot be. The asynchronous nature of blogging and tweeting actually works better, somehow, for being present and supportive on your own terms. I love it!
Our community is so much better with you in it 🙂
Congratulations. And thank you for blogging.
A thought on your comment about personal finance blogs being an echo chamber: I’m a single, 50+ woman with no children. I know FI first hand from this perspective. But thanks to blogs like yours and others, I get a glimpse of what FI is like for, in your case, a married mom with two small children. Over the last five years of reading personal finance blogs I’ve had the opportunity to see FI from the perspective of, among others, a fight attendant, a person of colour, a recovering drug addict, an ex-convict, a disabled person, someone living below the poverty line, someone half my age etc etc. It’s a fascinating read and I hope that it’s helping to shift my perspective as well.
Done by Forty
Six years! That’s awesome, Penny. I have some of the same reasons for writing as you do. The community is at its core, but I also just write for me, & to try to find some meaning in the things I write.
Here’s to another six years, friend.
Your post inspired me to write my first blog post in months, friend. Thanks for always making it fun!
David @ Filled With Money
I like the community that the personal finance blogging space has. It’s like everyone knows everyone and we’re all eager to help each other out.