No, this isn’t a post about how to make thousands from advertisements or pay-per-posts on your blog. In fact, I haven’t made a single dollar directly from my blog. However, my blog has been the essential factor in my debt-repayment success. This Friday, with my paycheck, I’ll be able to pay off the last $961 of my $8,771 in credit-card debt. Along with that, I also completely paid for our wedding. All told, I came up with a total of $13,306 dollars in seven months and will pay off my credit cards six months ahead of schedule. How?
Since I got my first credit card at the age of twenty-one, I have always carried a balance. For most of my twenties, I was cavalier in the use of credit, seeing it as a way to enjoy fun clothes, dinners out, theater tickets, and travel. I would charge cards up, send in big payments, and charge a little more. In spite of all my plans to pay off the cards, I always ended up with a balance that slowly got higher and higher. It is only with the advent of my blog that I’ve been able to conquer that debt and significantly change my habits. Why was the blog the key to my success?
My use of credit was a bad habit in my life. It wasn’t essential to survival, and I didn’t go into debt from a job loss, health scare, or other life emergency. All in all, I’ve been very lucky. For me, debt was like junk food. Instead of pounds, I was packing on extra dollars to make myself feel better. To really change, I had to find a way to change my mental attitude toward money and alter mindless habits, like my pick-me-up trips to Target.
By day, I teach freshman composition and literature at a small university. I constantly tell my students that they have to take all these writing courses, not to become better proofreaders, but to become better thinkers. The act of writing takes you deeper into a topic, forcing you to organize your thoughts, dwell on the complexities, and come to a conclusion. Of course, I didn’t always practice what I preached. What has surprised me most about the blog is how writing has forced me to organize my thoughts about my money habits, dwell on how I got here, and come to conclusions about how to change.
Once your start getting an audience for your blog, it becomes a lot more fun! You look forward to posting and start looking for content. For me, I needed to figure out ways to pay off my credit cards so that I’d have something to post. I called my credit card companies to ask for a lower interest rate , even though I was terrified, because I knew it would be a great post. That call saved me over $1,000, and is something I never would have done without the blog. I looked for ways to sell things, earn extra money, and save money in my budget, all for posts. While I was having fun doing it and trying to inspire others, I was also consistently paying down my cards.
Especially in the beginning, keeping a blog really forced me to change my habits. I had made the commitment to reveal all that I spent, so I felt cheating would let my readers down, even just the few friends who were my first readers. Early in the blog, there’s a whole series of posts about avoiding spending money in the airport, one of my serious money pits. While the posts seem sort of silly now, I also see that I was starting to realize the ways that I would overspend to compensate for anxiety. By blogging, I’ve also become part of a great support network where fellow bloggers inspire and encourage each other.
If you’re looking for a way to really get control of your finances, jump in with a blog! They’re easy to set up, and you can get started for free or for very little money. Don’t think you’ll make lots of easy cash quickly with a blog, but do realize that committing to one can help you reach your financial goals. If you don’t have the time and inclination, just commit to reading and commenting regularly. You’ll be surprised how much this network of PF bloggers can help you!
Photo by MCL Abigail.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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