We select one blogger per month as ReadyForZero’s Blogger of the Month. Because our Better Know a Blogger series was enjoyed by a lot of readers, we decided to continue introducing you to some of our favorite bloggers and personal finance experts.
For the month of December our Blogger(s) of the Month are the anonymous husband and wife team at PlantingOurPennies.com. We like their approach to tackling financial goals as a couple. In their own words they say, “three years ago we had some big changes; we got married, got a cat, and bought a house, and really started working as a financial team.” Below is our interview with Mrs. PoP:
Your About page talks about how personal finance is about more than “dollars and cents” – can you explain that philosophy?
Sure. Basically we mean that personal finance is just that, very personal. For the person living through their own financial situation, personal finance is about so much more than just the final number on a balance sheet.
We all come to the table with different values and priorities that affect how we spend our money. For example, somebody who doesn’t put charitable giving high on their priority list might see that as one of the first places to cut when paying down debt, whereas there are other people for whom tithing is even a higher priority than paying taxes!
How has your own background and experience with finances shaped your own approach to financial decisions and your writing?
Mr. PoP and I actually come from very different financial backgrounds, which I think helps us work better as a team. He came from a very stable home financially, while my family dealt with more financial instability.
Because of these experiences, I tend to be a driving force in living well within our means and watching the budget since I’ve seen the stress that financial instability can cause a family, and Mr. PoP’s stable upbringing has made him more open to taking calculated risks with our investments while we’re young. I don’t think we would have done quite so well with real estate over the last few years were it not for his confidence that we could learn a LOT about home improvement as we went along!
As for our writing, I think our writing is at its best when we’re writing about something that we’ve actually experienced (like the decision process we used to self-insure our pool area or our recent ridiculous experience meeting our “personal banker”). We’re just being real and being ourselves – and there’s no way to separate our background and experiences from the people we’ve become.
Given your philosophy of personal finance, what advice would you give to people working to pay off debt (as many of our readers are)?
If you’ve got debt – you are not alone. We are in the thick of it, too! As of June we had almost $200K in debt – and we are striving to pay off about $100K of that in the next two years. Our advice is to make a plan, and then measure your progress against it at scheduled intervals. If you’re comfortable with it, share your progress with family and close friends, especially if they are in the same boat. Share it with us anonymously on our site if you feel like you can’t talk with people “in real life” about it. Just like people who are trying to lose weight have more success when they have a support network, shedding debt is easier when you are checking in with others and are held accountable on a regular basis.
When it comes to improving one’s financial situation, do you recommend focusing more on saving money or making extra money?
There’s no one right answer here. Frugality can only get you so far if your wages are barely enough to cover rent on an awful apartment. But on the other hand, making more money doesn’t do a heck of a lot of good if you’ve got a lifestyle inflation problem and spend it as fast as you earn it. We’re striving to maintain our (relatively) frugal nature by keeping expenses steady – but at the same time increasing our earnings. If we earn more, but keep our expenses the same, our savings (or for now, debt payment) rate will keep growing!
Your blog is fairly new – has the experience been what you expected so far? Who are some of your blogging inspirations?
So far blogging hasn’t been quite what we expected. We went into this as a team, expecting to split the behind the scenes and writing responsibilities pretty evenly. Instead, I’ve become the primary writer so far as it’s been a great creative outlet and Mr. PoP is enjoying nerding out by playing around with WordPress plug-ins and trying to improve the look and feel of our site!
Who are our blogging inspirations? Mr. PoP might have a man-crush on Mr. Money Mustache and Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme, whereas I think I tend to be more inspired by Brittany over at Windtraveler.net – she’s not a personal finance blogger, but their lifestyle is definitely one I aspire to!
Thanks very much for taking the time to talk with me.
Thank you for including us – it’s been a pleasure!
If you liked this post, check out our previous Blogger of the Month profile.