I don’t usually write about my blog. I use my blog to write about the journey out of debt that my husband and I have trekked for the last 5 years. But every once in awhile, a shift happens for the blog itself, and I think it’s a good idea to explain it.
When I started writing as Prudence Debtfree in June 2012, I had three motivations:
- I love to write.
- I believed that writing about our debt-reduction would keep me accountable.
- I knew that debt-stress, although not talked about by anyone, was something many people faced, so I believed it was significant to share our experiences in overcoming it.
For the first couple of months, I wrote once per week essentially as a diary. I was completely unaware of the personal finance community. A radio interview with CBC Ottawa Morning in October of 2012 (no longer accessible) meant more readers, the occasional comment, and my growing awareness that there were other people writing about debt and finances in general.
Feeling pressured to monetize the blog
As I started to read and comment on other bloggers’ posts, I learned that some people were actually making money off of their blogs. I remember once reading this about blog-writing, “It doesn’t make sense if you’re not making cents.” I wasn’t sure how to go about it, but a seed was planted, and I allowed myself to feel a pressure to monetize.
As part of an effort to grow (and eventually monetize), in 2014 I started to include guest posts once per week. I learned that I loved to interview people! And I came to realize that everyone has a financial story to tell. The subjects of my guest posts were very often people I happened to know – colleagues from work in particular. A great side-benefit of this effort was that the people in my life started to open up to me more and more about their finances – and they continue to do so. One colleague sent me a message after the New Year saying, “… we paid off $10K of debt this year, so thank you for making that socially acceptable to talk about.” Yes!
Running up against my limited bandwidth
I couldn’t keep up with the twice-weekly posting schedule. I was burning out from it.
I’m no superwoman, and as I pursued the goal to monetize, I ran into three significant roadblocks:
- I work as a high school teacher and I have a family. Writing once per week was what I could manage happily. When I tried to do more – more writing, more learning about monetizing – I became stressed out.
- My tech-phobia and lack of business sense stressed me out even more.
- One of the ways bloggers monetize is through advertising, but since I’m writing about debt-reduction, there’s a conflict. There are very few products that I would feel right about advertising. (The Visa Debit card and books on debt-reduction are two things I would gladly advertise, but I don’t have a big enough audience to do that.)
In July of 2014, I wrote “MMM’s Subculture of ‘Badassity’: Is It For Me?”. The answer to the question was “No.” Much as I admired extreme frugality advocates, I didn’t want to be one myself. I loved it when I could pull off a badass move, but “… ultimately,” I wrote, “I have to conclude that I’m a mere visitor in the land of Badassity.”
The post proved to be significant because of a comment left by Laurie of The Frugal Farmer:
“Ok, LOVE this!!!!!! We live the same way, and I think we should figure out our own name for it. 🙂”
To which I responded:
“Thank you, Laurie. OK, so our subculture won’t have a swear word in it. Agreed? How about Fruclassity – for frugal yet classy?”
8 months later, in March of 2015, Fruclassity launched. I can’t adequately convey the “dream-come-true” rush I felt when Laurie and I started that site. It meant SO much to me.
- First of all, it was an honour for me to partner with someone of Laurie’s stature on this new blog site.
- Secondly, the core values that Laurie and I hashed out before launching were EXACTLY in line with everything I had come to believe about debt-reduction, financial health, individual differences, and the need to create safe spaces for people feeling vulnerable about their finances.
- Laurie and I often expanded upon each other’s posts. There was good synergy happening.
- A small but steady readership visited the blog. The comments section was rich with discussion.
- Thanks to Laurie’s business know-how, it even made a bit of money.
But only a bit. Not enough for someone actually relying upon blog-income to make ends meet and pay off debt. I have a full-time job that has nothing to do with blogging. Laurie’s job is blogging.
This past week, we sold Fruclassity. “Congratulations!” some people commented. For me, it’s not a matter of congratulations. It’s a matter of practicality. And it’s not one that I like.
Back to Prudence Debtfree
So I’m in a bit of a state of mourning right now. Although I am completely convinced that it was the right and even necessary thing to do, it’s still a real loss for me.
While I was writing for Fruclassity, I found I couldn’t keep up a weekly post at Prudence Debtfree. I tried, but that limited bandwidth issue became apparent before too long, and I scaled back to monthly updates here. As of now, I’ll be posting once per week again.
So, the numbers for July:
Quick recap. In June of 2012, we had:
- $21,400 in consumer debt
- $80,800 in business debt
- $155,000 in mortgage debt
- Emergency fund – non-existant
- Investments (besides my pension) – not happening
In July of 2017, we were down to:
- NO consumer debt
- NO business debt
- $72,000 in mortgage debt
- Emergency fund – full
- Investments (besides my pension) – happening
Looking ahead …
I remember reading this blog advice once:”Nobody likes a negative Nancy.” I don’t mean to sound negative here! I’m just telling it like it is. In many ways, I’m back to where I started – writing once per week about our journey out of debt – on my non-monetized blog.
But it’s not really where I started. We’ve trekked over 2/3 of the way to debt-freedom, and we’re nearing the home stretch. I hope you’ll join me to the finish line.
Your comments are welcome. (In fact, they are particularly welcome this time.)
*Image courtesy of Pexels