I just wrapped up a pretty cool blogging interview that you’ll see below, but I wanted to highlight that second Q&A there because I REALLY think it makes a big difference. Taking on tasks when you’re *in the mood.* (I also give y’all mad love in it too, so be sure to read the rest! :))
I know I’ve written about it before, but I think I’m gonna continue doing so as the years go on here because it gets proved to me every single day when working. Like, even right now when I’m hyped up on coffee and ready to pound out some words before my motivation wears off! Haha… Seriously, once 1 or 2pm hits, my writing creativity goes down the drain and if I don’t do it then, I’m screwed. It’s like my brain just does a 180 and wants to work on anything BUT writing at that point. So the trick is to know yourself well enough to work around yourself ;)
There are some other good tips in the interview too, I think – which is the reason I’m sharing it all so it hopefully helps! – but the main takeaway for the day is to learn how your mind works, and do you best to maximize efficiency. Whether it’s paying your bills, hustling on the side, balancing your checkbook (do people still do that??), or maybe de-cluttering your closets. I did that yesterday for 3 hours the second I was in “power mode.” The first time in 6 months, so I jumped on it! Haha… and got a half dozen trash bags worth of donating to do now too ;) Yeah tax write offs!
Anyways, here’s clips of the interview – I hope it helps! If you’d like to read it all in Spanish, go over to Finanzas Personales Para Todos where my boy translates it for his audience, haha… awesome. (Actually, I think he broke it down into two parts, but still – pretty cool to read it in another language :))
Give us your 30 second story about Budgets are Sexy. How and why did you start? Why did you keep on going? Where is the blog now and where is it going?
I actually started the blog off a fluke – I was searching around for ways to budget better since I had just bought a house (Another fluke — I went apartment shopping for rentals, only to come away BUYING a place 3 days later – yikes!) and kept stumbling across all these personal stories about managing money. I had no idea what a blog was, or any interest in even jumping into one myself, but the more I read, the more I got engaged and really kept learning day in and day out. Then one day while bored at work I decided to just start one, figuring I had a bunch of crazy stories I could tell too. And as someone w/ massive A.D.D., and no experience writing whatsoever, I figured it would either crash and burn or take off and give me something fun to do every day. I had no idea it would become my life 4 years later or that I’d meet thousands and thousands of new online friends :) And that’s really what keeps me going, to be honest with you. The community we’ve all helped build over time. Our audience in the PF niche is just incredible, and every blog out there helped to form it. I love it!
What have you learned about the way you handle your own finances? What significant changes have you brought to your own money management as a result of this experience?
I learned that I get really hardcore about stuff, really fast, and to just run with it for however long I’m in the mood :) Which I know isn’t the right way to do things, but I’ve come to terms with it and I’ve managed to apply it to many different aspects of my life – esp. money. When I save, I save a LOT and I do everything in my power to make it happen like it was some sort of challenge. And then it fades away, and maybe I switch to paying off debt, or to earning MORE money, or whatever the case may be. But as long as I’m taking advantage of the times I’m super focused and eager to get something done, it’s worked out for me pretty well. And I highly recommend it. Not being so extreme one way or the other (that’s never really good), but noticing the way your brain works, and tweaking our habits to move along with it accordingly. The same can be said about doing your laundry, or writing that paper you’ve been putting off, or whatever. The second you’re in the mood to do it, jump on it and ride it through! You’ll get a TON more accomplished, and in a shorter amount of time. It really is efficient.
What can you conclude – from your interaction with readers and followers – is the biggest problem people experience with money?
I think there’s two answers to that: 1) People usually want the FAST way of doing things, and tune out when you don’t give them any sexy way to do that (because let’s face it, there isn’t one). So the biggest hurdle I find is keeping people MOTIVATED to continue to want to do better, and get them into the habit of applying the “money concept” in small ways every single day. Even if they realize they’re doing it or not. Which brings us to #2) People are lazy. Everyone wants a lot of money and the perfect job or vacation/etc, but it takes ACTION to get to that point. There’s a lot of talkers in this world, and unfortunately not as many do-ers. So if you can get in the habit of walking the walk, I think you’ll get a lot more out of your life both financially, and mentally. You just have to START.
If you could reset people’s minds with regards to ONE financial matter, which would it be and why?
That managing your finances is hard. It really isn’t, it just takes motivation and some time to get a good game plan down. It’s funny because it all boils down to a pretty simple rule – spend less than you make – but society gives us SOOOOO many chances to screw it up, or go around it somehow, and no one seems to notice until it’s “too late” (and I put that in quotations because I think it’s never too late to turn your ship around). That’s the problem to this whole thing – everyone is doing it! Everyone is buying homes and cars and big fancy electronics when it’s truly not a good fit in their budget. I’m all for a lot of those things, but it has to make financial sense and land pretty high on the priority list. There’s no problem splurging on the stuff that makes you happy, but if you’re gonna do it, you better cut the things out that land lower on that list of yours or you’re heavily skewed. The second you overindulge, that entire “spend less thank you make” mantra goes out of the window. And credit cards and loans don’t help w/ that either (even though I’m a huge fan of them when used correctly).
So really, I just urge people to PAY ATTENTION more to their finances, and learn what works, and doesn’t, so you can get back to your life and enjoy the stuff that’s important without being weighed down so much with the stress. Everyone has a chance of financial freedom, but you gotta take that first step in changing your habits.
What has given you the most satisfaction during your personal finance blogging experience?
I think the overall change in mindset it gave me. That you can really build something from scratch, all by yourself, and turn it into something that literally changes your life in all different kinds of direction. The blogging part itself is pretty fun, but ALLLLLL the stuff that comes out of it is even more so. Like the friendships you make over time, the connections to your readers or other blog friends, and even career-speaking all the new *opportunities* that come up on a regular basis. The blog is kinda that first foot in the door to be able to do a number of other things that may, or may not, interest you down the road. And I think if you’re open to accepting new opportunities like that here and there, it really opens up the world to you and what’s possible. I never knew I had that entrepreneurial spirit, and I attribute 100% of that directly to starting the blog :) I don’t think I could ever go back to a 9-5 anymore knowing what I do now.
If you had to motivate a person with troubled finances and had only 1 sentence to do it, what would you say?
Take action. I don’t care if it’s saving 1 penny a day or working around the clock to cut down your debt, just take that first step to progress and do your best to continue pushing forward.
(Photo by EvelynGiggles – haha, GREAT name!)
Bonus tip: Find a good "balance transfer" offer to help pay off debt faster!
If you’ve been making payment after payment (on time) and still haven't been able to get your debt under control, snatching up a good balance transfer credit card offer may be the ticket to try. That’s where in order to gain your business - credit card companies will let you transfer your existing debt to a new card and let you pay ZERO PERCENT interest on it. Saving you tons every month!
What's the catch? Usually balance transfer cards charge a fee (around 3% of your debt balance) to let you transfer your balance to their 0% interest offer. But we've found a great credit card that will let you do a balance transfer absolutely free. Click here to learn more and see if you qualify!
PS: If you don't trust yourself with another credit card, ignore this! This strategy is to help you get out of debt quicker, not risk adding more to it.