Our Two-Year Anniversary: How Blogging Has Enriched My Life

thank you for readingLast week we passed the two-year anniversary of Evolving Personal Finance; our first post went up on November 21, 2011.  (It was so interesting for me to re-read that post and see how much and how little has changed in terms of my vision for this blog!)  I let the one-year anniversary pass without comment because it didn’t feel like that much of an accomplishment for me, but this year for whatever reason I am feeling like I’ve built something substantial here and the anniversary deserves mention!

 

As I’ve had my eye on this anniversary on my calendar, I realized that writing EPF and participating in the PF blogging community has truly enriched my life in a variety of ways.  As a PF blogger, increasing riches (net worth) is definitely something I care about and have my eye on, and yet the vast majority of the benefit I have received from writing EPF has been non-monetary.  I consider the great part of my current wealth to be non-monetary (relationships, health, and so forth), so it is natural for me to recognize the positive impact EPF has had on me aside from the bottom line.

 

Blogging Enriched Me Figuratively

 

Friends from the internet:  I have so many relationships now that I wouldn’t have without EPF!  There are a bunch of bloggers with whom I have reciprocal commenting relationships and I’ve also gotten to know many readers through their consistent comments here.  I wouldn’t say that I’ve transitioned any of these relationships into friendships similar to those I have IRL like some bloggers do – I don’t typically chat with them in real time, for instance – but I still find great joy and value in them.  I really appreciate how EPF has enabled me to “meet” people who are very different from me (and sometimes, literally meet them!).  Almost everyone I interact with regularly IRL is either a grad student/postdoc or a member of my church, so that doesn’t make for much diversity (particularly in age – 20s to early 30s).  The PF community online is so much more diverse that I’m gaining a lot of exposure to different walks of life and it’s very interesting.

 

Better friendships IRL: A small percentage of my IRL friends read EPF, but I love it so much when the ones that do comment or start a conversation with me after reading a post.  Personal finance is really an intimate topic – how we use our money truly reveals what we value in life.  My friends can get to know me better and probably around topics that won’t come up in everyday conversation, and if they let me I get to know them better, too!  We definitely get into deeper conversations because of my putting this content “out there.”

 

Learning a ton: For a non-professional, I really think that I have a good grasp on personal finance and I have seen the diversity of approaches to budgeting, investing, debt reduction, etc.  I wouldn’t have gained that knowledge without regularly reading so many PF blogs and doing research for my own posts.

 

Post archives: We now have 421 published posts, more than three-quarters of which are my weekday new-content posts.  I finally have that feeling that I’ve built something substantial here that can entertain, inform, and stimulate a reader.  I particularly love it when I hear from readers that they learned something new and helpful (or difficult to figure out) from one of my posts.  The post that I have gotten the most positive feedback on is my one clarifying what earned income is for a graduate student for the purposes of contributing to an IRA.  I love seeing search queries coming in that I know are leading readers to that post.

 

Connections to community: Through writing EPF and participating in the PF blogosphere, I have gained the confidence to sit on a personal finance committee at my university and to volunteer with the financial ministry at my church!

 

Helping people: I get so much satisfaction from helping people to do better with their personal finances, and I wouldn’t be doing any of it without EPF.  I’ve now formally coached a handful of friends and clients referred to me through my church.  I have also talked more informally about PF topics with people IRL and through email and comments, and I think that our conversations have been somewhat illuminating or practically useful for them.  This isn’t always about vague topics like budgeting or saving but can get down to the nitty-gritty, like friends who have thanked me for alerting them to our health insurance’s (now-discontinued) wellness program and the friend who just yesterday shook my hand to thank me for my recommendation of our latest perfect-for-a-low-spender rewards credit card.

 

Blogging Enriched Me Literally

 

Accountability:  I’d say that the biggest impact of writing EPF on our bottom line is from the accountability that the blog provides.  Primarily this benefit comes from our monthly spending reports.  I’d been transferring any budget leftovers to various savings accounts each month for some time, but when I started doing the spending reports it was like magic – nearly every single month we’ve had some budget leftovers, sometimes of quite a lot of money!  The accountability from the blog is above and beyond the accountability Kyle and I receive from one other.

 

Blog income:  We haven’t yet made a major effort to earn any income from the blog, but there has been a few dollars here and there. So far this year we’re not in the black but I expect to be soon, which is exciting!  I know a lot more about generating income from blogging now, and it’s just a matter of choosing which avenues we want to pursue and building traffic.

 

Republic Wireless credits:  Kyle heard about RW nearly two years ago from his tech-y type blogs and I signed up for their beta wave right away.  I think we were the first personal finance blog to review Republic Wireless (at least, I don’t know of any earlier) – we actually put up the review the day before they announced their referral program.  As such, we were able to alert people to the service early on and capture some of the search traffic, even though the bloggers RW recruited to review the service are much bigger than EPF.  So far we’ve had 16 completed signups through our referral link, which gives us and the signer-upper a $20 account credit.  Now that RW has released an up-to-date phone, the Moto X, I’m hoping to see another round of signups.  I don’t count this as blog income because it’s not properly income, but it has been super nice not to pay for my phone service for the last 6 months!

 

Altered to new opportunities:  I have received a lot of valuable tips from our commenters – the great part about baring your own financial habits and desires is that you are auto-crowdsourcing for the answers.  I’ve also learned a ton from just keeping up in the PF blogosphere.  The most lucrative aspect is probably learning about churning credit cards, which we don’t really do right now but might when our spending increases.  The best one so far was the 45+% return on the minimum spend on the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard – No Annual Fee Card, which we signed up for twice – we expect to net at least $800 in statement credits on that deal between Kyle and me.

 

I am so grateful to all of you who read and comment on our posts.  Thank you for enriching my life in the last two years.  I’d love to hear from some of you lurkers if you are willing to jump in for one post – please comment, email me, or talk to me in person to say hi!  And for those of you who are bloggers, thank you for your commitment to blogging as well, because I am learning so much from you!

 

How has your life been enriched, literally or figuratively, by writing or reading blogs?  Do you consider some of your friends from the internet to be on par with your IRL friends?

 

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27 Responses to "Our Two-Year Anniversary: How Blogging Has Enriched My Life"

  1. Happy two-year blogiversary!

    We have benefited for the same reasons you have- friendships, networking, accountability, etc. Plus, it’s fun!
    [email protected] recently posted..How to Earn $800 for Doing Nothing

    1. Emily says:

      This is fun! I’m surprised that didn’t make my list.

  2. Congratulations on the blogging anniversary! That’s really exciting. And so great to be able to look back and see all the positive benefits of your time blogging. Building new relationships with people AND starting to make some side income are both wonderful to have accomplished!
    Laura @ RichmondSavers.com recently posted..Free $10: Register for Amex Small Business Saturday

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you! I couldn’t have anticipated all of these benefits when I started.

  3. Yay, congrats Emily! That is a big milestone and you should be so proud for reaching it. I love how much you’ve learned, earned, and experienced in your time as a blogger – you inspire me to keep going so I can have my own list like this someday, too!
    Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial recently posted..Bonuses and Other Windfalls: What to Do with Extra Income

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you! I think it’s worth it to take time to reflect every so often on why I’m putting so much into this endeavor.

  4. Michelle says:

    Blogging has completely changed my life. If I wouldn’t have started my blog, I definitely wouldn’t have started my business. I never would have tried for any of my side hustles, and I’d have a whole lot of student loans!
    Michelle recently posted..Ways To Make Money During The Holidays

    1. Emily says:

      It’s hard to imagine how blogging could have impacted your life any more than it already has!

  5. Congratulations on the anniversary, Emily! Yours was one of the first blogs I started commenting on regularly, and it’s a great feeling to know another PF blogger who is dealing with PhD issues, transitioning from student life to work life, and all that.

    Congrats again, and here’s to another year.
    Done by Forty recently posted..We Give Airbnb and Tiny House Living a Try

    1. Emily says:

      That’s cool, I didn’t know you cut your commenting teeth here. 🙂 I really enjoy talking and hearing about grad school issues, like those covered by PhD Comics and whatshouldwecallgradschool – our experiences are surprisingly universal, though sometimes muffled by shame.

  6. S. B. says:

    I’m not sure how you write 421 posts in two years while finishing a PhD on the side, but more power to you. 🙂 Writing of all kinds has a certain internal power, as it forces one to clearly articulate their own thoughts, thereby ultimately teaching the writer more than the reader.
    S. B. recently posted..Which Country Is Most Like Warren Buffett?

    1. Emily says:

      I’m not sure how I wrote over 300 posts on the side of my PhD, either! I totally agree about the act of writing being a wonderful teacher.

  7. woah congrats on such a long journey with blogging, you should be proud of yourself that you’ve kept on truckin and stuck with it for this entire time. It can be very rewarding.
    Stu @ Poor Student recently posted..Why You Should Graduate ASAP

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks! It has been rewarding.

  8. Matt Becker says:

    Congrats on making it to 2 years! Like you, I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned by being part of this community. I set out to teach but so far I feel more like a student. I’m incredibly grateful for it.
    Matt Becker recently posted..What is Rebalancing and Why is it Important?

    1. Emily says:

      I think I set out to discuss and I’ve gotten a lot of that alongside lots of learning and some teaching/guiding.

  9. Cash Rebel says:

    Baring my financial habits is such a dofficult thing to do, but it’s so valuable. There were so many times I thought the readers would whole heartedly agree with me, but instead I learned something new.

    I think it’s safe to say that we never would have met irl had you not started this blog, so keep doing it! How many years do you think you’ll keep going?
    Cash Rebel recently posted..The future will be here sooner than you think

    1. Emily says:

      I’ve had that experience, too, and also the converse.

      In my first post I said that I want the blog to help us navigate financial transitions without succumbing to lifestyle inflation. In two years, we haven’t had any transitions, unless you count local moves! I definitely want to get through 1 transition (Kyle’s graduation/new job) and I aspire for 3-4 (my graduation/new job, moving, reproducing). I hate to think about ending EPF, but realistically I won’t be able to keep up anything close to this schedule with a real job and a baby. So maybe a few more years until I have to stop or hire staff writers? Ugh, I don’t even want to say it.

  10. Congrats on your two year blogiversary!
    Its certainly a great learning opportunity and a chance to interact with awesome people all around.
    Here’s to a bigger, better constantly evolving pf blog. Cheerz 🙂
    Simon @ Modest Money recently posted..Is Camping For Black Friday A Good Investment

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks, Simon! I love the people who participate in the PF blogosphere.

  11. Happy anniversary! I have been reading blogs for 7 years but blogging was a whole different experience, much more fun to be part of it.
    Pauline @RFIndependence recently posted..How to Create a College Student’s Monthly Budget

    1. Emily says:

      I’ve been blogging a lot longer than reading blogs, actually… But in the PF blogosphere I started out reading first. It’s much more fun to have lots of people commenting on something I’ve written!

  12. Hi Emily,
    Congratulations on your two year anniversary. Long time lurker so I wanted to drop a comment. I enjoyed your savings post despite living on a grad school income.
    [email protected] recently posted..What I Learned From Growing Up In Government Housing

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks for popping in! Yes, we love the percentage-based budgeting – scalable with income. 🙂

  13. […] to use the Yoast plugin (at least rudimentarily)!  Now I have to go back and add a million (well, 400-some) meta descriptions.  We went to an appreciation dinner for the FPU leaders that was very nice […]

  14. […] this last month we celebrate the 2-year anniversary of EPF’s launch!  I wrote a post about how blogging has enriched my life, both figuratively and literally.  We also received a check that puts us in the black for the blog this year – our income […]

  15. […] Kyle mostly listened and then responded wonderfully with the simple observations that 1) I love blogging, so I would find a way to continue it if I wanted to, and 2) we still enjoy playing tennis together even though we have no plans (or ability) to become professional tennis players. In short, there’s nothing wrong with having a hobby that enriches your life. […]

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