As The Great Blog Off enters its final week, I just wanted to give you some insight into who I am, and how I got to be blogging about personal finance on the interwebs. Its not like I woke up one day thinking to myself, "gee, I wonder where I can find the best interest rate in a savings account?"
I believe it all started back in college. At the time, having no income forced me to live in such a way that I could save as much money as possible. I spent four years sharing a one bedroom apartment with at least two other guys, eating a lot of Kraft Dinner, and washing my laundry only when absolutely necessary. Post graduation, I moved to one of the most expensive places in British Columbia - North Vancouver. Along with a 3x increase in monthly rent (while still sharing a one bedroom apartment with a roommate), I also got the highest paying job of my life. I was soon living a much less frugal life, with regular pizza and beer nights, a high definition TV, and a trip to Hawaii. I was making more money in two weeks than I had made the entire year working part time at college.
Six months after it began, it was all over - literally. I was unemployed, and quite broke. All the money that I made was now gone, to video games and a full freezer. Thankfully, I hadn't gotten myself into anymore debt, but suddenly student loans needed repaying, and a wedding was on the horizon.
My television was still getting its regular use, however, and my unemployment was spent watching far too much TLC. One show managed to catch my attention, and I started to watch it on a regular basis. It was called, "Til Debt Do Us Part", and it featured Gail Vaz-Oxlade telling couples who got themselves into a lot of debt how to save their money and their marriage. It intrigued me deeply, and I started getting more and more interested in my own finances. I knew that I was in student loan debt, but I was otherwise okay, as I wasn't racking up credit card or any sort of consumer debt. I wasn't spending more than I was making. However, at the end of every month I would have always spent all of my money, and I didn't know where it was going.
So after I got a new job and started working full time again, I started tracking my spending. Soon I found out that I was spending way more money on things that I shouldn 't be (mostly toys and food), and decided to cut it out. At the same time, I wasn't making as much money I used to be, but I was used to spending a lot more money. I was forced to live more frugally, so I started cutting things out, but I still felt financially stressed.
So I started reading lots of personal finance blogs, learning about how I can save more money. I started enacting some of the things that I was reading about, like setting up an emergency fund, calling my service providers and getting them to reduce my expenses, and automating all my finances. I have started to see a difference, perhaps not in my bank account, but in my attitude. I have found a joy in saving money, and I feel in control. I'm making less money than I was before, and when I get my paycheck I still get worried about all the bills and how I'm going to save for a wedding, but I feel as though I'm headed in the right direction.
I'm excited for the future, because I can see a day where I won't feel financial strain or stress. I can see a day where I can afford to live how I want to live, and feel financial freedom. That day is coming, and I hope that you can come with me as I learn by living.