DH = Dear Husband
Be humble enough to keep on learning. Read books on personal finances. Follow bloggers who write about debt-reduction and financial freedom. Talk to people who have managed their money well. You don’t have to have it all figured out to get started in the right direction, but your path will be richer if you keep learning along the way.
For me, by far the most effective way to keep on learning has been through reading other blogs in the personal finance community. In honour of American Thanksgiving (we celebrate in October here in the Great White North), I’d like to give thanks to some of the bloggers who have helped me learn to manage money and life better. Each lesson seems small – but isn’t. Taken in combination, it is these bits of wisdom that work a transformation. They are the source of fuel for our journey to debt-freedom and financial freedom.
Thanks, Laurie from The Frugal Farmer! Laurie taught me that delicious food can be prepared without breaking the bank. See that photo up there? That’s the Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Bacon that I prepared after reading the recipe that Laurie shared on her site earlier this month. I made it with completely selfish motives, knowing that DH doesn’t like brussel sprouts. But guess who asked for seconds? And more the next day? You’ve made a convert of him, Laurie : )
Thanks, Travis from Enemy of Debt! Travis taught me that if you want to eat something amazing but you don’t want to make it from scratch, you don’t have to resort to take-out. In a post that he wrote earlier this fall, Travis shared a story about how he provided a special supper for his family by buying pre-prepared items at the store. When he put them together at home, it was just as good as the restaurant meal would have been – but only a third of the price. And because he didn’t cook from scratch, it still provided a break.
Thanks, Holly from Club Thrifty! Holly taught me that frugal groceries can make a big difference. She wrote a post early last year about how she kept her grocery bills low. In the post, she gave particular praise to beans, and I took the challenge and started to make them too. Holly’s post kicked off my frugal grocery efforts which continue to this day and which, by this point, have saved us thousands of dollars.
Thanks, Kay from The Barefoot Minimalist! Kay taught me that it’s worthwhile to de-clutter. Although she has stopped the blog, I want her to know that she influenced me through it. I tend to look at the clutter in my life with a sense of hopelessness. Kay’s (extreme) example of minimalism made me realize just how much I wanted to get rid of excess stuff. I did a significant de-clutter sweep this past summer, and I’m still enjoying the serenity that effort yielded to our still too cluttered home. I’ll keep working on it, Kay!
Thanks, J. Money from Budgets are Sexy! Jay taught me that it’s worthwhile to sell excess stuff. Just over a year ago, Jay wrote a post about his goal to sell one excess item per week via Craigslist. I started to put our excess aside (inspiration from Kay’s minimalism gave shots of adrenaline to this effort) and over the last few months, through a garage sale and several Kijiji listings, we’ve made close to $1,000.
Thanks, Tonya from Budget and the Beach! Tonya taught me the value of earning extra income through side-hustling. Tonya has written many posts about her various side-hustles, and this past week, she posted a video about them. Tonya’s enthusiasm for the side-hustle is infectious, and for me, it has translated into a yearly decision to take on, once again, my own side-hustle: summer school teaching. Over the years, this decision adds up to tens of thousands of additional dollars that we use to pay for big expenses upfront and to pay off debt.
Thanks to Hannah from Unplanned Finance! Hannah taught me the value of DIY savings. Reading Hannah’s post in September about the work she and her husband had done to install floors in their house (she used home improvement as a great metaphor for financial improvement) encouraged me in our decision to do the same. Like many people, DH and I face the time vs. money issue constantly, and it was tempting to consider hiring out, but by taking the DIY route, we saved about $2,000.
Thanks, Cat from Budget Blonde! Cat convinced me that hanging up clothes to dry is a worthwhile money-saver. In a post that she wrote over 2 years ago, Cat questioned whether or not she would continue to hang up clothes instead of using the dryer. While she concluded that she wouldn’t, she got me thinking . . . and I decided that hanging up clothes was something I would do to up my frugality quotient. It took a while for me to break the dryer habit, but at this point, I can say that I hardly ever use it. It’s a matter of pennies saved for each load of laundry . . . But two years later, the pennies have added up!
Thanks, Luke from Financially Fitz! Luke taught me to be more intentional with unexpected extra money. What he called “found money” in a post he wrote this past summer, is something that many people waste. With a little reflection, I realized that I did too. Since reading Luke’s post, I have been much more mindful with the little “extras” that come my way unexpectedly. They don’t evaporate as they used to. They are intentionally directed towards the achievement of our financial goals.
Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods from Frugalwoods! Mrs. Frugalwoods has taught me to celebrate the imperfections entailed in a frugal lifestyle. She wrote a post in praise of imperfection this past summer, and right at that time, our dishwasher stopped working. Instead of buying a new dishwasher, which DH was ready to do if I said, “Go for it,” we opted for an imperfect replacement part – which added a white control panel to our black dishwasher. A few hundred saved right there! And I’ve been mindful of other opportunities to embrace imperfections in the months since. Speaking of the Frugalwoods, Babywoods is due this weekend, people! Talk about Thanksgiving!
Thanks, Brian from Debt Discipline! Brian taught me to keep on keeping on with a humble and positive attitude. After having made huge strides in his own financial turn-around – paying off $109,000 in credit card debt over 4.5 years and then saving up a very healthy emergency fund – Brian lost his job this year. My heart sank when I learned of it – but Brian’s didn’t. He has chosen the proactive approach, and as he searches for a new career, he keeps his focus on positive goals. I think it’s telling that Brian’s most recent post is about how he is helping two other people, one out of work and one in debt. I know that many of us are in your cheering section, Brian, hoping that your future job is just around the corner.
I was going to write about 10 people for the 10th commandment, but I’ve gone over budget : ) The problem with this kind of a post is that I have to leave so many great bloggers out! As Thanksgiving approaches, take a moment to consider the writers of the PF community and how they have impacted your financial health for the better. Happy Thanksgiving, America!
I’d love it if you shared an example of a pf blogger who has made a positive difference for you. Your comments are welcome : )