1. Happy bloggaversary!! Thoughtful and insightful as always PLUS a dig at Dave?! Great way to start my day. 🙂 I second you on the money vs community part of blogging. Making money from blogging was never an idea that drove me and the outcome clearly supports that, but the comments. The comments!! It’s amazing how one line in a long post (I still haven’t figured out how to be concise – as proven by this comment!) can spark something in someone. And you have had many!! Keep it up, guuuuuurl!!

    • SQUUUEEEEEE! A Miss Mazuma comment!

      Thank you so much for all of the support and encouragement you’ve given me over the years. You are just a WOW human being.

  2. Thanks for being your honest, wonderful you! You could be throwing in those four-figure freelancing months and bragging about how you make so much money from your blog (and how everyone else can too!) But you get that the freelancing is actually ANOTHER JOB – it’s not blogging! Your blog may bring you that job (which is a fine reason to have a blog) – but it isn’t the same thing. For all those new people – those income reports often don’t state that clearly. They just slip in hours and hours of writing for other people as blogging….

    You have an amazing place here in the blogging community and you are doing amazing things. SO proud to call you my friend!

  3. Happy Blog Birthday, Penny!!! Thank you for always being so encouraging to all of us, readers and bloggers alike. As you know, my blog *literally* would not exist without you pushing me to start it. And to continue writing.
    I’ve been noticing that it has become easier to write at my day job, lately. I wrote a couple articles for an eNewsletter that would have been a total chore even a year ago!

    • That is the most kickass thing I have ever heard, Josh. I am so thrilled to count you as one of my best blogging buddies. See you soon at FinCon, friend!

  4. The fact that you still don’t have google analytics after 3 years, is nothing short of amazing. And in my opinion that is so awesome for not getting sidetracked or discouraged by views. I’m publishing a post tomorrow that will touch on this…. I really loved this!

    I hope this comment also just made your life lol 😉

    • I am so happy that we connected this year, TJ. LIFE MADE!

      I used to check the dashboard religiously, and I realized that far too much of my blogging self worth was really tied to a vanity metric (that’s all numbers are unless you monetize, right?). So no Google Analytics for me! Not yet anyway…

  5. Happy 3 years, Penny!!! This post resonated so strongly with me. Comments are absolutely the best blog currency there is. And I’d argue that while my blog costs me more money than it makes (purposefully), it also SAVES me way more than it costs by being mindful and forcing myself to take a look at my spending head on every single month.

  6. “The story that is most worth telling is my own.” Thank you for being here and sharing your story, Penny!!! 🙂 I’m also so glad I randomly ended up at a wedding in basically your town and got to meet you in person!

    • You will always be my first real blogger buddy! In one coffee chat, I learned so much from you and your husband. Plus, it was great reassurance as to how amazing the larger PF community is!

    • I am so glad you appreciated the GIF. My biggest regret is that it did not include the “to the mall” retort that follows 🙂

      Thanks for being an inspiration!

  7. I remember reading a post from Steve over at Think Save Retire a while back about being careful what you wish for. He discussed the up and down side to becoming “successful” as a blogger. I remember thinking that it would not be worth it. I still totally feel that way. One of the things I like most about what you do and how you do it is that you are as much a “lifestyle” blog as you are a “money” blog. I think that is the way it should be. There’s a lot out there talking about the finer technical points relating to saving, automating, calculating the number, getting your funds out with no penalty and a myriad of other similar, and important, things related to becoming FI. But your approach is much more focused on getting the joy and happiness of your successes along the way. Not being so focused on the end that you lose sight of the great stuff passing you by.

    Congrats on the anniversary of a great blog. I can’t wait to see what you bring us over the next year. I’m sure it will be great.

    • Thank you, Oldster! And I have to keep reminding myself of that. My purpose (if you can call it that!) was never to be an expert. I was really looking for a way to write for me to bring clarity and joy to my life. I’m not sure there’s a metric for that…but I sure feel better for having this blog!

      And I cannot tell you how much your comments mean to me. We are lucky to have you as a writer AND a reader in this community.

  8. Girl, I know you could make a full-time living doing your editing/writing. 🙂 If it’s something you ever want to pursue, you should do it!

    (I’m jumping into freelancing full time by 2019 and am legit terrified, but doing it nonetheless!)

    Congrats on your blogiversary!

    • We might have to have a loooooong conversation soon.

      I can’t imagine leaving the classroom, but I really appreciate being able to side hustle while my little guy is sleeping instead of during the few hours that we have together after work!

  9. Happy Blog Birthday Penny! Before starting my blog I was a passive personal finance reader, now I’m a part of the community, which is the best part. And yes, it is not my way to get rich quick, but blogging is more than a hobby for me. Thanks for the great summary.

  10. 3 years! That is awesome! I’m so glad you are in this space. One of the best side benefits of blogging is just organizing my thoughts. The roll around in my head all day long and I just really need 60 minutes to line them all up. Plus once I write something true, I often reread it just for me.

    • Honestly, my writing so often turns out to be the things I need to say to myself. I agree that it is a great way to organize thoughts and take action (and also reflect!)

  11. Oh my YES, I needed to read this today. Don’t even really know where to start.

    I love that you own your *technical* prowess limitations, that you refuse to regurgitate something at second rate, and that you have such a strong sense of self as a writer.
    That’s important. That’s hard. That’s everything.

    Your comment about reaching the 17-year-old hit me right in the feelz. Doesn’t that just make all the head-to-keyboard-banging worth it?!? Amazing.

    Also, hi, fellow long-time lurker. Officially ready to say hello 🙂 here’s to the next 3!

    • Oooooh! You made my day with this comment. Thank you so much.

      There is an unbelievable amount of head-to-keyboard time in blogging. Comments make it all worthwhile!

  12. So many things to point out, but let’s start with the funny money … early cryptocurrency adopters like yourself will very soon rule the world!

    My blogs have made money over the years and that’s awesome, but they’ve also made me friends. Like real life, legit friends that I never would have met without my blog. I’ve had dinner with many of them, phone calls with others and lots of email and Twitter conversations with a whole lot more.

    Lastly, financially speaking, the things I’ve learned by blogging about personal finance have helped me shave years off of my required working career. I’m not sure how to put a price tag on that, but reclaiming years of my life feels so good.

    When you write about something, you become more knowledgeable on that topic, and for that reason alone I encourage people to start their own blogs. Getting nominated as a Sunshine Blogger is just icing on the cake!

    • Don’t forget my Campfire Features! Woohoo!

      It’s so true. There really is no way to measure how much blogging has improved my life, financially and otherwise. It definitely tests me, but it does that in the best way.

      (And it’s going to be hard to take over the world with crypto when I’m down to my/your last dollar.)

  13. Love so many of these points!! You’ve definitely inspired me to lead a more frugal life, and I so appreciate the tips and tricks you’ve shared (and that led to Money Wins!) to emulate. Lots of applause for making it three years in, and more claps for many more years to come!


    • Thanks so much, Laura. I’m so happy that our paths crossed in the virtual world. It was a joy to have you share your money win! Wishing you the best blogging as well!

  14. Happy blog-iversary!! 3 years, that’s a solid time for a blog. Great perspective and insight on writing a blog. After almost 4 years I feel the same about just being yourself and not trying to be the next Dave, MMM, or anyone else you’re not.

    Thanks for the great articles and looking forward to another year of reading!

  15. kim

    I too blog for happiness and peace. Well also for a great place to exchange ideas about getting out of debt and saving money. It is a check in process where no one chrcks up on you.

  16. Happy Blogiversary! I just discovered you this year, so was unaware of the ups and downs in the past. But that’s what family (and community) is all about – you take the bad with the good and learn as you go.

    I enjoy reading your blog, especially the Money Wins – it gives me hope! Keep up the great work; I’ll be reading…

    • What would I do without you, amazing friend? I honestly remember when you first followed me on Twitter. One of my blogging idols! ::squeals::

  17. Woo happy belated blogiversary, Penny! While I’m glad you’re no longer with Bluehost (I was also one of those statistics on someone’s blog income report ?), I am extremely glad you clicked that link. You’re definitely one of my favorite writers in this community!

  18. Happy blogiversary Penny!! I was a number on someone’s Bluehost income report too, but I can’t remember who it was! Happy 3 year and loved this post! Here’s to many more!

    • Totes done with Bluehost. I left them at the start of summer, and I got a year refunded to me. In the time it took them to do an online chat and tell me that they didn’t have an answer, I was able to start and complete a chat with another host to answer all my questions and initiate the switch.

      TLDR; I was dumb for waiting so long.

  19. My favorite thing about blogs is that they motivate me to stay on track. I may not be exactly like the people I am reading about, but everyday, I get a little nugget from someone’s blog. Those awesome little nuggets may take me off on googling adventure trying to learn more or they may get filed away in my brain. A month will go by and a situation will occur that will make it pop to the surface and I will make a better decision.

  20. I can’t tell you how much I love this post.
    My perspective on blogging is a little different to most in the FI sphere. My FI/RE blog has been going for less than a year, but I’ve had a personal blog on the go since 2007, mainly dealing with travel, permaculture, knitting, quilting, kids, dogs and whatever-else-interests-me areas.

    I was VERY bemused when I started reading personal finance blogs to see how many of them were a money grab. In 11 years of blogging I’d NEVER seen this before. Ever.

    It makes the warm, cosy, supportive blogosphere I was used to seem a little harsher and colder. Seriously, if I see one more popup wanting me to subscribe to someone’s site to get their insights into how to get out of debt, I won’t be answerable for the consequences!!

  21. Trippe

    How long did you blog before you got traffic or comments? You write so lively. I write like the government bureaucrat I was but am getting better.

    I am 67 and retired 3 years ago after someone ran into me and nearly killed me. i just started a blog 4 months ago (took a wordpress course). I also started learned podcasting and make videos on youtube. Yes I jumped into it ALL at once. Until then I was NEVER on ANY social media (still had a flip phone).

    Anyway glad you are getting the success you deserve!

    • Nice to meet ya, Trippe! I’ll swing by your site later 🙂

      Hmmm. I got comments (one or two) pretty early on but it was mostly from other bloggers who were starting around the same time as me. I would say that my audience was mostly blogger readers for a while. Now, though, it’s shifted to more reader readers. I love and appreciate both.

      Best of luck to you!

  22. I understand why you would feel the need to compare yourself with anyone else because I sometimes do it even after years or trying not to. I’m just happy I can often force myself not to do it and instead compare my today self with my yesterday self. If I feel that I’m growing as a human being then I’m happy and if not, then I try to figure out how to improve.

    It’s refreshing to see someone like you who is just trying to stay true to herself. I applaud you for this! Don’t ever change. There isn’t anyone like you in this world and the world sure needs more people who aren’t afraid of just being themselves.

  23. I’m super late to the party but I brought prosecco.

    I’m so glad to discover your blog and read your words. You’re fresh and funny and real and really wise. 🙂

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