Q&A: Blogging & Personal Finance

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Just some bloggie questions from a reader and my answers, just in case you’d like to read. :)

Can you please post some tips on how you find such amazing topics to write about?

Honestly the only regular posts I have are my monthly budget recaps and the rest I just post on the fly. When something (like an article or blog post) comes up that I find interesting, or if I buy something and I’m excited to post about it, I just do it. Sometimes I have writers block and I can’t find anything to blog about… I wish it was more structured than this but this is how I do it! I don’t consider myself to be a “professional” blogger… I just try to post when I can and it comes out organically :) I have a lot of blogs I follow on my Google Reader (fashion/decor/makeup/personal finance) so sometimes that’s where I get my inspiration from… interesting topics, products, etc. I also just started using Pinterest (see my boards here) to archive my favorite images from blogs and that’s a good way of finding something to write about too.

Also, how many hours a day do you dedicate to blogging?

Maybe only an hour a day if that? (With the exception of picture heavy posts like my Japan posts) The most time consuming thing about blogging in my own experiences is taking pictures or collecting images to post. Uploading, watermarking, adjusting contrast/color balance. I use Picasa to make it quicker and easier.

Any tips on how [to be independent, own my own house, decorate my room and buy some nice things for myself?]

That’s so awesome that you’re thinking about your financial future! :) I find that as young women its important to find a balance between shopping for the moment and anticipating PF (personal finance) needs later on in life.

1. Start budgeting

Track what you spend for a few months and see where your money goes. This will be your baseline. Use tools like Mint.com (If you’re in the US/Canada) or a simple Excel/Google Docs spreadsheet. Or use Learnvest’s Budgeting Calclator.

I know this is tedious and difficult to get used to if you haven’t done so already, but once you set a baseline it’ll get easier to track out of habit.

2. Prioritize what you want to spend your money on

Once you know where your money is going, you can cut back on certain categories to spend more on what is important to you. Ex: Cut back on eating out by cooking at home instead, and that money you’ve saved will go towards your emergency fund, or future house fund, or a special expensive item you’ve got your eye on.

Basically, cut back ruthlessly on things you don’t find as important, and spend on what you love. So adjust your budget accordingly to find the maximum amount you’d like to spend per category.

(I also like to use Pinterest here to figure out my “holy grail” wardrobe and decor. I like to review my collection of images to remind myself of what I’m aiming for. If something piques your interest but doesn’t align with your goals, then try to convince yourself not to buy it.)

Sidenote: And speaking of shopping and decor, I like to buy second hand via Craigslist or thrift stores, get cash back via Ebates/Mr. Rebates if I buy online, or trade in for consignment. I’m a big proponent of second hand… if you don’t mind the prospect of laundering, cleaning, altering, painting, then I say go for it. It’s a big money saver.

3. Stick to it! Try your best to think of the future

Now the hard part. I struggle with this every day. I have a budget, I know what my future goals are and I know whats important to me. (Save up for travelling with my BF, cook more and find awesome recipes, boost up my emergency fund, and save up for nice furniture/accessories for my condo, build a quality wardrobe)

BUT I still feel the urge to shop. It’s hard to be tempted and not indulge. We can get so caught up with life and little shopping boosts make life more interesting. So I’m trying my best to think of my goals first, or at least plan big purchases in advance.

I try to tell myself that this isn’t a kind of shopping ban or material deprivation. (I’m not good at shopping bans.) I deserve the best in future and getting a cheap alternative won’t satisfy me. I guess you could say it’s delayed satisfaction?

I’m only human and I try my best to do this, but I still have many “relapses.” All you can do is try your best :)

Does keeping a blog help you organize your life and priorities?

Yes! It absolutely does. I can look back on past blog posts about my experiences or past purchases and see how my life/priorities have changed. If I’m looking to upgrade an item that I own I can search my blog posts to find out when I bought it, how much I bought it for, and where I got it. You can also ask for feedback from blogger friends if you’re unsure of something or need advice. If you decide to post about personal finance, it keeps you accountable!

Thanks for reading! :) I’m no expert in any of these things but I’m happy to get anybody thinking about their own PF! 😀

♥ E&I