I began niche blogging while reviewing for the bar exams way back in 2007. Back then, I needed a break from the daily grind of reading page after page of codals and commentaries, and so I decided to start a beauty blog and indulge my love/obsession with products.
And it seemed like I hit a goldmine because a few months into blogging, I was being wooed left and right by companies, with products for review being sent to my house on a daily basis. If I sold even a portion of what I received back then, I would have had enough to pay for a designer bag or two, or come up with my own sari-sari store. I kid you not.
But the thing with being a beauty blogger was that my world eventually revolved around products, makeup, services, fashion and their ilk. I devoured consumerism and also encouraged the active spending on the shiny and the new (sorry about that!). Fast forward to the day after I got married and realized that we, the hubby and I, were the proud owners of a huge amount of debt, zero savings, a car that needed to be paid monthly and a mounting sense of fear. What the heck have I gotten us into?!
Because Google is king, I typed "How to get out of debt" into the search box and was astounded to discover the world of personal finance. It was as if a new world had opened up for me, a place where status symbols were scoffed at and living way below your means was the norm.
My most important takeaway from that time was that I wasn't alone in wanting to get out of debt. There were literally thousands of blogs that chronicled their journey towards bringing their debt down to zero. I read those blogs from start to finish and learned about the importance of budgeting, accounting for the small expenses, not getting caught up in the rat race and so much more that really shook my "retail is the best form of therapy" self.
I am a good example that it is never too late to start being financially responsible. If I could do it at the ripe, old age of 30 (or was that 31?), so can you! All you really need is to block out the siren song of consumerism to get on the straight and narrow path of financial freedom. If you stumble once or even a dozen times, dust yourself and go on right ahead. I promise, the freedom from the shackles of debt and uncertainty is well worth the trouble.
Of the blogs that I read, these are what really helped change my point of view, guiding me through the smoke and mirrors of our consumer-driven world. I hope you find something worthwhile in them as well:
Mr. Money Moustache- The blogger is a mild-mannered computer geek who unleashes his debonair alter-ego Mr. Money Moustache to smack some sense into the stuff obsessed person. He managed to retire before he turned 30 years old, and now spends his days pursuing what he really loves (i.e. carpentry, encouraging others to similarly get out of debt) while making sure that he's there for his son (talk about a dream life!).
Blonde on a Budget- I started following Cait when she was just a few thousand dollars shy of decimating her debt. I gobbled up how she candidly she talked about her financial life, cheering her on for every success and admiring how she would get right back on the program, even after making a financial booboo.Her monthly budgets were the inspiration behind my attempts at publishing my own budget too. Unlike hers though, mine didn't work out as well. I'll talk about that more at length in a separate post.
Never Homemaker- This isn't officially a personal finance blog, but the way Ashley and Stephen chose to live on a single income household and their daily challenges at making that work, all while raising their daughter Ada, is so inspiring!
Get Rich Slowly- This is a group blog which tackles different levels of personal finance issues. I love how the authors are always so honest about their financial journey and the comments also deserve special mention, with the readers already forming a supportive community that pushes each other to do their very best.
Pinas for Good- I don't know her name, but I do know that she's a Pinay who works in the US and made her first million pesos when she was barely in her mid-twenties because of her frugality and no-nonsense approach towards investing. I also know that she intends to buck the trend and go back to the Philippines for good within the year (thus the name of her blog). If more and more of our youngsters looked up to her instead of the bloggers who pollute the internet with their latest sponsored OOTDs or celebrities whose primary claim to fame is that they look good, we'd be infinitely better off as a country. For realz.