Over the course of the next eight Wednesdays, I am going to posting interviews with the other members of the M-Network so you can get to know them a little bit better. If you don’t already read these sites, you really should check them out! To be fair I am going in alphabetical order by site name, starting with Lynnae from Being Frugal.
So Lynnae, when did you start Being Frugal and why?
I started Being Frugal last May. My husband and I had received a small inheritance last year, and we put a big chunk of it towards our debt. For the first time it seemed like paying off our debt was a reachable goal. I made the decision to start Being Frugal as a way to document how difficult paying off debt is, so I’d never be tempted to get back into debt. I also wanted a way to hold myself accountable for making good financial decisions.
I had no idea that the same week I decided to start Being Frugal, my husband would lose his job for the first time last year, and the road to paying off debt would suddenly get much harder. Being Frugal has provided me with tons of accountability and encouragement from my readers when things started to get really tough.
How much time do you spend each week on your site?
That’s a really hard question to answer. I usually spend at least an hour in the evenings writing posts. The rest of my blogging tasks get taken care of at random points throughout the day. I’m a stay at home mom, so it’s easy for me to pop on the computer for 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there. That’s usually how I take care of responding to comments, social networking, and just generally making sure everything is running smoothly.
I probably spend a minimum of 10 hours a week on Being Frugal. Sometimes much more. But that’s just a guess.
For other people contemplating starting their own personal finance sites, what are a few tips you could offer them?
Just start. And then be consistent. When I started Being Frugal, I didn’t have any aspirations beyond it being a personal journal. I figured if I encouraged someone else along the way, that was a bonus. I had no idea that 8 months later, I’d have 800 subscribers. That just blows me away.
When I started, I had no idea what I was doing, so if I can blog, so can anybody else. Just start writing. Eventually you’ll find your voice. And as you get to know other bloggers, most of them will be open to giving you advice if you ask. And then keep at it, even when you don’t feel like writing. Eventually you’ll find your groove.
The other important thing is to be yourself. Your readers will figure out quickly if you’re trying to be someone else. If you don’t know everything, don’t be afraid to admit it. And when you make a mistake, again, don’t be afraid to admit it. I’ve found that my readers appreciate honesty and authenticity a lot. And that’s what I strive to be.
What are the most essential habits that you’ve formed to achieve your financial goals?
Delayed gratification, without a doubt. I used to think nothing of charging something on a credit card, because my husband was getting paid in three weeks, and we’d have the money to pay it off then. But then I’d forget about the charge and make other plans for his paycheck, and suddenly we’d be deeper into debt. Waiting until I have the money in hand to pay for something has helped immensely. If we don’t have the money, we just don’t buy it.
Spending less than we earn is another important habit. It’s the only way to get out of debt and eventually build up our savings and retirement. It’s a habit we’ve worked hard at over the last year, and it’s paid off. We’re a lot closer to paying off our debt than we were this time last year.
What achievement are you most proud of in the last 12 months?
I’m extremely proud that we didn’t go deeper into debt when my husband was out of work. It would have been so easy just to throw in the towel on our goal of being debt free when he lost his job. Instead we buckled down and did what we needed to do. Jim (my husband) worked two part time jobs, and I worked on cutting every expense we could possibly cut. Now that Jim is working full time again, it’s nice to be able to pick up right where we left off in paying off our debts.
What would you consider the single most important thing people can do for their finances?
Pay attention. Realize what you’re spending. I think too often we spend $5 here and $10 there, thinking it’s only 5 or 10 dollars. But we don’t realize that 5 to 10 dollars every other day is adding up to hundreds of dollars a year. By knowing exactly how much you spend and on what, it’s easier to make financial goals that are achievable. If you don’t know where you stand, your goals are just dreams.
If you had to pick three of your own posts to call your “favorites”, which would they be?
It’s hard to narrow it down to three. But since you’re making me pick only three, I’ll say Why the Minimalist Lifestyle Appeals to Me, My Best and Worst Financial Decisions: They Might Surprise You, and Of Pilgrims, Thankfulness, and a Worthy Goal.
From Lynnae: “Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me! I’m looking forward to reading all of the m-network interviews!”
And be sure to look for the interview with the newest member of the M-Network, Cash Money Life, next week!.