Sorry for missing October’s update! I was in over my head through the fall: big project at work early October; a niece’s wedding the next week; first debt-reduction public speaking engagement early November; and ongoing developments for the children’s book I’ll soon be self-publishing.
Where our debt now stands
For each month – October and November – we paid $3,000 off of our mortgage. That means that our June 2012 original debt of $257,400 has now been reduced by a total of $164,700.
- Our $21,400 consumer debt is gone.
- Our $80,800 business debt is gone.
- Our emergency fund is saved.
- Our mortgage, which in June 2012 was $155, 200, now sits at $92, 700.
Here’s a fact: As our mortgage gets lower and lower, the temptation to quit our intensive focus on debt-reduction increases. At this point, our debt and our debt-to-income ratio are significantly lower than most people’s – including those in our age group (50s). I know a few people who hover around $50,000-$100,000 in mortgage debt who stay there for a long time. It’s not a debt load to get anxious about, and it’s often casually extended by a trip or renovations.
DH and I are feeling a growing sense of, “Is it really worth it to make such a fuss about getting to zero? Nobody else seems to think so.” In fact, without my blog reading and writing, there’s a good chance we would have taken our eyes off the prize by now. Fortunately, I am still reading and writing about debt reduction, and despite the temptations to change focus, we’re still committed to reaching zero.
Where this blog now stands
I’ve been on a bit of a blog journey for the past couple of years. When I started Prudence Debtfree in May of 2012, I wrote once per week. In the last half of 2014, I gave the idea of biweekly writing a try – including mid-week guest posts. That ended up feeling like a stress though, so I stopped it.
I was unsettled. I had a nagging sense that after more that 2 years of blog writing, it was was high time for me to find a way to make it a source of income – as so many other bloggers had. And although I sought out and got advice to make this happen, I never developed much of a clue about it. In part, my problem was limited time, but at least in equal part, my problem was that ever-present tech-phobia which made each little step towards writing-for-income seem too daunting a task.
In March of 2015, I joined Laurie from The Frugal Farmer in creating Fruclassity. I felt SO fortunate to be working with someone like Laurie. We were two debt-bloggers with different life experience and in different situations, but we also shared a lot in common, and we were on the same page when it came to our outlook on personal finances. Laurie was better connected, more widely read, and in command of better business sense than I was, and unbalanced as the partnership was, I was determined to give it my best.
Writing a weekly post at Fruclassity and another one at Prudence Debtfree proved to be too much for me. It’s been a messy transition, but I’m satisfied that I’ve found a new normal: I write at Fruclassity once per week, and I give a monthly update at Prudence Debtfree.
Writing goal #3
You might remember that in August, I wrote about goals for writing that I’d had for my summer off work. “I had three writing goals. And I’ve met each one. They’ll all take a bit of time to come to fruition . . .”
- Goal #1 was to step out of my comfort zone in writing and to give a public presentation about debt-reduction – which I did in November.
- Goal #2 was to self-publish a children’s book. The book is on it’s way. I’m waiting for the illustrator to finish her work so that it will be ready early in the new year.
- Goal #3 was finally to break into paid blog writing. And it’s happened!
Early in the summer, I received an email message from a magazine editor who asked if I would be willing to allow the publication of a post I’d written a few months before – for a small payment! I was thrilled! It will be another 7 months before it’s published, so I’ll give more details later. The point is, my very fist paid blog writing fell into my lap.
My next few were the result of Laurie’s connections and business savvy as well as both of our work. Fruclassity has hosted and written its first few paid posts.
It’s a modest beginning, but it IS a beginning – one that was a L-O-N-G time in coming. I’ve earned my first few hundred dollars from blog writing!
Thanks to mentors
Again, I can’t emphasize enough how absolutely clueless I was to start with, and how slow I’ve been to begin catching on. I’d like to thank a few mentors who have helped me to navigate my way to this goal.
- Thank you, Travis Pizel from Enemy of Debt. Your mentorship got me into the online personal finance community and gave me an understanding of social networking. I was essentially in my own bubble of blogging until you extended yourself out to me.
- Thank you, Melanie from Dear Debt Blog. Besides letting me write a Dear Debt letter (which I really loved doing!), you confronted me about an obstacle I didn’t even know I was imposing against my writing goal. I felt guilty about my desire to earn an income from writing. I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but it was you who brought that false guilt to light.
- Thank you, Catherine from Budget Blonde. Your mentorship to this technically-challenged learner was one of great patience. I was a slow student, but I did learn. I remember you emphasizing the range of writing niches in the personal finance community and the importance of finding the right fit. I believe I’m getting there : )
- Thank you, Laurie from The Frugal Farmer. It is an honour to run Fruclassity with you! You’re the one who brings the savvy to our site, and I’ve been a beneficiary of your know-how. I believe that we’re getting somewhere with our mission to offer hope and a safe place for those stressed by debt and poor financial health. There is supportive community between the two of us, and that’s a great foundation for a broader community of people who need support.
Do you think we should keep our focus on zero? or should we let up a bit? Does guilt play into your relationship with money? Your comments are welcome.
Image courtesy of Pexels.