7 Secrets About Personal Finance Bloggers

This post is inspired by Liz at Chief Mom Officer who tweeted about how she couldn’t wait to write about a financial development in her life as a personal finance blogger.

I could totally relate to her experience and wanted to expand that idea into a full-blown post.

I have been blogging about personal finance for 9.5 months and have seen how intertwined my personal life and my blog are on a daily basis.

The main purpose of this post is for me to discuss some of the characteristics I’ve noticed about personal finance bloggers (using myself as an example).

The seven features below do not necessarily apply to every blogger, but they can serve as reference points for some of us.

Without further ado, these are the seven secrets about personal finance bloggers you might not know about.

1. Despite being frustrated about a financial decision, you are excited to blog about it.

I have made multiple financial mistakes in my life.

Usually, I don’t want to think about them since it’s embarrassing and frustrating.

However, now that I blog, any financial misstep that I take, though painful, can serve as a great lesson for myself and others if I share it on my blog.

My hope is twofold. First, I will remember how I got myself into the predicament in order to avoid it in the future.

Second, I can share my thoughts with others to help them avoid making the same mistakes that I did.

When Mr. FAF and I were planning our trip to his graduation ceremony, Mr. FAF wanted to drive more than 20 hours in four days to save money instead of buying four flight tickets and renting a car for the whole family.

Although I was upset about Mr. FAF’s strategy to save money, I just couldn’t wait to get to my laptop and write a post about what we discussed.

I was conflicted as to whether my husband was a frugal man trying to take better financial care of the family or if he was being (ehem) cheap.

I wanted to put the story out there and get some feedback from the reader who might be more objective than I was in this matter.

2. You try to put a financial spin on the stories that you want to share on your blog.

I love writing about frugality and sharing money saving tips. Those are the most relevant topics for a personal finance blog.

However, sometimes I also want to write about other issues that I care deeply about, what other people ask me for advice on, or simply something that really bothers me in my daily life.

Whenever something catches my attention, I’d want to write about my thoughts and feelings about such issues.

When a topic is not directly relevant to personal finance, I need to approach the story from a financial angle to make it relevant to my readers’ interests.

Some of such posts are below:

How I Lost 36 Lbs With A Cheaper Diet

A Free Article That Helps Our Marriage

10 Free & Cheap Ways to Prevent Wrinkles

5 Reasons Why I Don’t Wear Makeup (Money Is Only One Reason)

3. You look at the income reports of more established personal finance bloggers and wonder if and when you can get to where they are.

If you are in the personal finance community, you might have heard of the following bloggers who have done extremely well with their blog income:

— Michelle Schroeder-Gardner at Making Sense of Cents: September 2017 blog income – $113,267.08

— Rosemarie Groner at BusyBudgeter: January 2017 blog income – $86,438.83

— Kristin Larsen at BelieveInABudget: September 2017 online income – $68,000

I love reading blog income reports because it gives me an insight into how some PF bloggers have grown their blog so successfully from a hobby to a great business.

One reason I started my blog was to turn it into a side business one day. I also love blogging since it provides an outlet for my thoughts and emotions. However, blogging takes up a lot of time and effort (25-30 hours/week for me).

In today’s society, somehow money is still seen as an indicator of someone’s success and a business’s viability. When it comes to blogging, most people won’t even believe it’s profitable unless they see the real numbers.

How nice it would be to show my husband and everyone else that blogging is not just a hobby. Blogging can be a legitimate business, and I am doing what I can to make it happen.

In those moments when I doubt the purpose of my blogging endeavor, I usually look at the blog income reports of more established bloggers for more inspiration and motivation.

If you have quit your job to blog part-time or full-time, the pressure to make an income to support yourself and your family is even more real.

4. You constantly refresh the Site Stats page on WordPress when you first started blogging. 

I will be the first one to admit that I used to be obsessed with my blog traffic. In my interview with Pete and Lily on the Do You Even Blog podcast, I mentioned that I wished bloggers weren’t so stressed out about traffic. It was something I have been trying to remind myself about.

Blog traffic is not the only indicator of success. Yet, there have been numerous occasions where I feel like my mood or passion for blogging on a certain day depends on how many pageviews I get.

Whenever I publish a new post, I will hit the refresh button of the stats site whenever I can, sometimes every half hour. When it’s lunch time, it could be every 10-15 minutes.

When I publish a post and don’t see a lot of views or feedback for it, I will start doubting myself and ask questions such as:

— What’s wrong with that post?

— Is it that boring?

— Why aren’t many people interested in reading it?

— Should I not have written it in the first place?

Sometimes I do believe my happiness on a certain day is closely linked to how my blog does that day in terms of traffic. I know it’s not healthy, and I should stop being so obsessed with pageviews.

But I can’t seem to stop my obsessive-compulsive behavior: constantly refreshing the Stats site and hoping for a miracle to happen (i.e. going viral on Pinterest or Reddit, Rockstar Finance feature).

To an extent, I have subconsciously associated my blog traffic with my likability and capability as a blogger, which is totally not true.

I think the root cause of this issue is that I have been so obsessed with getting good grades for most of my life. I needed good grades to validate myself to my teachers, my parents, my friends, and my future employers.

Now that I’m no longer in school, I need blog traffic to validate my ability to blog. It is not about the money. It is about my desire to get accepted and liked by the reader and fellow bloggers. This is a misconception on my part I am fully aware of and still try to work hard to change.

I think this is particularly true for new bloggers. I know because I am one.

Given the fact that there are thousands of established blogs out there, I wonder if I can find my own audience and my voice in the already crowded personal finance blogger community.

Related: Blog Traffic Reports

5. You have a blogger burnout most likely after 6 months of blogging.

Somewhere in your 6th or 7th month of blogging, you get burned out from churning out content all the time.

You start to doubt whether you want to continue blogging and whether this whole endeavor is worth all the time and effort you’ve put in.

You start to reassess your priorities in life. You decide to either take it up a notch or slow down altogether. Sometimes giving up is the only option you think is reasonable.

Trying not to care so much about blog traffic has become easier after I got burned out from blogging in my 7th month. Now I still care about traffic, but my mood doesn’t depend on it anymore. And I’m happy about that.

Related: How To Get Over A Personal Finance Blogger Burnout

6. You have heard of or want to go to FinCon.

You know that FinCon is a conference where thousands of personal finance bloggers come together for three days and meet up. In 2017, it took place in Dallas, Texas on Oct 25-28.

You probably follow many personal finance blogs and wonder what your favorite bloggers look like in real life. Are they friendly? What is it like to talk to them in person instead of only reading about them on their blogs?

You start to picture what you will wear to the conference and what you will say to the bloggers you love when you meet them.

In the weeks leading up to FinCon, you will see it mentioned on Twitter, Facebook, and blog posts. You wonder if you should go or wait until your blog generates more income to justify the costs.

When FinCon is ongoing and after it’s over, you try to find blog posts that review the whole conference and tell yourself you will need to go one day.

In a nutshell, if you are a personal finance blogger, chances are you will want to go to FinCon.

7. You know that the Rockstar Finance forum is where personal finance bloggers hang out.

If you are a personal finance blogger, you know the Rockstar Finance forum, spearheaded by J. Money at Budgets Are Sexy and now by John at ESI Money is a place where other bloggers come together and talk about various personal finance topics.

This is where you can introduce yourself to the blogger community, ask questions and get honest answers, share your frustration about blogging (i.e. troll comments), get involved in blog initiatives (i.e. sharing your thoughts), and contribute to the community in the most direct and interactive way.

I didn’t know about the forum until Lily at The Frugal Gene encouraged me to join two months after I started blogging. I wish I had joined the forum sooner and had a chance to get more involved with the community.

Conclusion

Besides my interest in writing about money, frugality, and investment, there are many other characteristics of a personal finance blogger I have noticed about myself.

From talking with and reading about other fellow personal finance bloggers, I realized that they also share the same concerns and interests, many of which are discussed above.

After blogging long enough, I might no longer care about my blog traffic or how much income other bloggers make. I might not be able to go to FinCon or be active in the Rockstar Finance forums.

However, as long as I know there’s a desire to blog about personal finance and if I keep at it, I will know for sure that I am indeed a personal finance blogger as many of us are.

Related:

5 Things I Stopped Doing Thanks To My Personal Finance Blog

How To Get Over A (Personal Finance) Blogger Burnout

3 Frugal Bloggers Turned Millionaires Overnight

5 Downsides of Personal Finance Blogging

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22 thoughts on “7 Secrets About Personal Finance Bloggers”

  • Are you describing me right now? 😉 haha, I definitely think “oh shoot, that was a silly financial move. I guess I’ll write about it” or “oh wow, I had no idea that had a financial impact, I’ll write about it!”

  • Haha, I can relate to all of these, good bad or otherwise!

    #4 I still do admittedly! But I stopped really caring about the flops. I have some posts I really like, hit publish, and get 0 or just a handful of comments. It’s discouraging, but NOT getting feedback is a great way for me to see – does this click with my audience? If no, write about it less frequently or not at all. If yes, continue to write similar things.

    The only time I’d stress is if I publish a post and then immediately get unsubscribes on my (small) email list. Then I’d actually really take some time to try to understand why. Is it because I wrote something offensive? Was it Mrs FAF who I hope still reads, but doesn’t want to get emailed because she now knows my schedule?! 🙂 🙂

    #6 I took the leap and bought tickets…nervous but really excited.

    • You are going to FinCon this year! Ahh that’s so exciting! I think I’ll miss the conference this year. I have also stopped publishing a certain series (i.e food and blog traffic reports) because the engagement was low. 😀

  • For me one important mission that personal finance bloggers have is that they help to change the mindset of millions of readers. Many people are now starting an online business, blog or increasing the savings rate, thanks to other examples that they read.

    And that my friend, is priceless.

  • Nice post and very helpful! I especially enjoyed coming across your first blog traffic report from April 2017 that I’m going to devour this weekend 🙂

    The third item here, “You look at the income reports of more established personal finance bloggers and wonder if and when you can get to where they are,” definitely resonates with me – it’s hard to remember that it takes time.

    Also on the stats, I still check my Google Analytics app and WordPress app multiple times a day for visitors. I need to stop doing this, but I can’t help it at the moment. I’m also approaching my third month since ramping up my efforts, so trying not to get hit by burnout.

    Thanks for the post – Mike

  • I feel like I try to write about what is happening in my life as it happens. If something is happening to me at 27 I am sure there is someone else out there going through something similar.

    Mostly I just try to be genuine and enjoy this “side hustle”.

  • “You have heard of or want to go to FinCon.”

    Oh yes, absolutely. So I don’t live in the US and I may or may not have checked flights the other day for FinCon 2018…and then just kind of stared at the screen for a while trying to justify the $800 tickets/22 hours of flying each way. While I didn’t buy the tickets (yet), the internal fight about this is far from over!

  • Hey Ms FAF!

    Thanks for sharing this post! It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one feeling this way… especially #4. I’ve had so many doubts about my own posts (and I still have so many doubts) + I’m pretty self-conscious, but I TRY not to think about it too much. I’ve even had times where I just wanted to un-publish something because I was embarrassed of what I wrote. *sigh*

    As for the income reports, I’ve read a few but I avoid looking at them because they are too overwhelming and stressful for me to look at. I remind myself that I started blogging for fun as a hobby. I don’t want to feel discouraged by all those stories. For now, I will enjoy, be myself, and carry on…

    again, thanks for sharing this awesome post!! 🙂

  • I’m not one for fin con as I’m not so fond of big gatherings and socializing haha. I do have a problem with checking stats though haha but I think I am getting better. The WordPress app on the phone is good because you can check stats on the go easily.

  • These points are right on the money. Especially #3. You can either let the income reports of successful bloggers discourage you or use it as motivation. I mean — if NO ONE was making a good living as a personal finance blogger, that would be waayyyyyy worse.

    For as much time as I spend on Rockstar Finance checking out other PF articles, I feel like an idiot for not once even going to the forums. Perhaps it’s time!

  • Mrs. Groovy: I don’t know. Do you really want to build a house?

    Me: Yes.

    Mrs. Groovy: But won’t that be a lot of work and stress. Wouldn’t it be easier to buy a turn-key house that meets 90% of our needs?

    Me: Of course. But we got to build a house.

    Mrs. Groovy: Why?

    Me: Because I need fodder for our blog!

    Haha! The tortured existence of a financial blogger. Needless to say, I can relate to all seven of your secrets, Mrs. FAF. Great freakin’ post.

  • Thank you for the great tips! I was not aware of Rockstar Finance forum, but now I am. Btw. you have great blog. If you are interested my personal finance blog you can find it attached. Regards, Matt

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