5 Downsides of Personal Finance Blogging

Blogging about personal finance has opened a whole new world to me.

That’s the world I used to read about but never dared to be a part of until five months ago.

The wonders

I enjoy writing about all the frugal and not so frugal things that I do in my daily life and sharing them with the reader.

I have gotten encouraging feedback from big person finance bloggers such as Joe at Retire By 40, J. Money at Budgets Are Sexy, and Jim Wang at Wallet Hacks.

I am not dropping names to impress anyone. I just want to stress the pleasant surprises that blogging has brought to my life.

To me, their comments were like phone calls or even visits from big celebrities, something I had never even dreamed of.

If you are a music fan of Taylor Swift and suddenly get a text message from her complimenting you on your singing one day, you will know what I mean.

To them, it might be just another kind comment that they gave to encourage newbie bloggers.

But to me, those comments meant hours of smiles, optimism, and constant efforts to improve my blog.

I have interacted with many wonderful fellow bloggers such as Lily at The Frugal Gene and Mrs. Adventure Rich.

They helped me promote my blog posts and gave such encouraging feedback that made me smile.

Blogging has also helped me understand myself better as a frugal person, a wife, a mother, a friend, a colleague, and a wanna-be entrepreneur. I write about my inner thoughts and feelings often on my blog, which directly mirrors the person that I am and who I want to be.

Blogging has indeed brought me so many benefits I never expected.

The downsides

I am in awe of all the wonders blogging has brought to my life. However, it has also brought out my biggest insecurities, something I thought I had gotten over with a job that I like and a family that I love.

These thoughts and feelings started to surface after my second month of blogging. At first, I thought it was just some self-doubt that I would soon get over.

But the feelings were sometimes so overwhelming that I almost didn’t publish some of the posts that were actually well-received.

The questions of “Why would someone read this?” and “Why would someone be interested in this post?” have crept up on me more often than I would like. Sometimes it’s debilitating: I am doubting my ability to keep up with myself.

These emotions are not a direct consequence of blogging. It has more to do with my own insecurities, something I have been able to brush aside for the past four years.

When you write a blog, it should be fun and should set your mind free. After all, your blog is almost like your house, a place where you can just be yourself and don’t need to stress out about how you act or what you dress. Or is it?

1. My net worth

One thing I never thought much about was my net worth. To me, it was just a number. Mr. FAF and I were just two broke students not long ago, so we didn’t even bother to check how much we were worth. We never even discussed this topic until recently.

Many personal finance bloggers publish their monthly net worth reports. It is impressive to see how many of them have been able to accumulate such a massive amount of wealth which has enabled them to retire early.

Rockstar Finance has a net worth tracker where bloggers can publish their net worth. I decided to publish my net worth mainly because I wanted others to find me on a permanent list on Rockstar Finance. I was on the list of recently added blogs for only 7 days.

It wasn’t until then that I started calculating our net worth. When I realized we have a number attached to our names, it made me curious about the other numbers on the list. Many bloggers are worth millions of dollars.

While I’m happy they have been so successful, I also started thinking about how I am near the bottom of the list. I don’t think about this as often as before. But it was on my mind for quite some time in the third and fourth months.

2. My blog traffic

Prior to blogging, I never thought about reaching 5,572 views in the first month and 20,378 views in the fifth month. I wasn’t sure if anyone would even be interested in what I had to say.

When I saw the numbers coming in, I was ecstatic. But I did something I shouldn’t have done, which was reading other bloggers’ traffic reports and comparing myself to them.

Many have said that my traffic is good for a new blogger, which I am grateful for. But then I started explaining these numbers away. Below are the thoughts that often creep into my mind:

—  “The traffic won’t last.”

— “I will soon run out of interesting topics to write about and will fall behind.”

— “Maybe I’m just lucky in the beginning.”

— “Other bloggers will soon be able to take advantage of Pinterest and get much more traffic than I do.”

— “Other bloggers have done much better than I have.”

I started to worry about the present and the future of my blog. Sometimes I worry too much and for no reason.

3. What I write

During the first month, I just wrote blog posts nonstop in the evenings and on the weekends. I couldn’t sleep at night thinking about this new adventure. It was mostly exciting. I produced so much content that I didn’t even want to go back and edit it. I just wanted to keep writing.

In the second month, I started to think more about marketing strategies and pay more attention to Twitter and Pinterest. I continued to write blog posts, but the writing wasn’t as intense as before. I slowed down and focused more on increasing traffic.

Starting in the third month, I eventually went back and proofread about 36 posts I had scheduled for the next three months. As I was reading them, I came up with all the reasons why someone wouldn’t want to read a particular post.

If it’s about losing weight, I’d think, ‘This is a personal finance blog. I shouldn’t talk about weight loss.’

If it’s about blogging, I’d think ‘The reader are either experienced bloggers who already know about blogging or non-bloggers who have no interest in blogging. Maybe I should just delete it.’

If it’s about Mr. FAF or Baby FAF, I’d think. ‘This is a bit personal. Why would someone be interested in reading about my husband or my baby?”

Even if it’s about frugality, I’d think “Why would someone care about our money saving tips? There are a ton of great tips on the internet.”

However, since I had already put in a lot of time, I decided to post them anyway. Some of the posts I initially didn’t want to publish were well received, which really surprised me. Below are some of them:

Why I Hold On To My Broken Laptop

How I Lost 36 Lbs In 7 Months

List of Asian Personal Finance Bloggers – Part 1

4. My technical skills

I am not an IT specialist. Although I am not bad at math, I am not great at it either. Chemistry and Physics are the two subjects that I just couldn’t fathom throughout my academic years.

In fact, I always wonder what’s so different about some people’s brains that make them so good at these subjects.

Not being able to solve technical problems related to the blog whether it’s coding or website design constantly reminds me of the fact that I’m not good at hard sciences.

I can pay an expert to take care of all the technical problems. But I’m pretty sure that expense is not in our budget at the moment (and I don’t want it to be). I had so many technical issues during the first three months of blogging that I was certain I couldn’t afford to seek professional help all the time.

5. Mr. FAF not blogging

Reading about other personal finance blogs made me realize that blogging is not always a one-person game. Many frugal couples build their blog together. They take turns writing and tackle problems together. I can imagine how it can help strengthen their relationship and their blogging business.

Mr. FAF has absolutely no interest in blogging. He doesn’t like writing. He also doesn’t read my blog. He probably gets an earful about what’s going on with it every day, so he doesn’t feel the need to read what happens in our lives. Yet, I can’t help but wonder what Frugal Asian Finance would look like if Mr. FAF actually joined me in blogging.

Although Mr. FAF studied Computer Science, he has never helped me fix any technical issues with my blog. He tried once without much success. His explanation is that coding is different from maintaining a website. I just nodded my head and tried on my own. Sometimes I just feel so alone.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking about blogging, don’t let the discussion above discourage you. Money by itself is not evil. It depends on how someone uses it. The same goes for blogging.

Blogging about money is not detrimental in any way. It is up to the blogger to decide how they want personal finance blogging to affect their lives and change the way they think.

I seem to have slipped down the path where insecurities have crept into my blogging passion and dampened it at many points. Those feelings are intangible and sometimes are so hard to get rid of.

But no one else except myself can change the way I feel about being a personal finance blogger and whether I want to let it lead my life.

 

Related:

6 Unexpected Benefits Of Personal Finance Blogging

Which Blogging Style Are You?

3 Ways To Prepare For A Personal Finance Blogs

How Blogging Has Affected My Marriage

 

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36 thoughts on “5 Downsides of Personal Finance Blogging”

  • Yes!! I am terrible at comparison. I get excited about the traffic I’ve gotten on my blog, then see how much someone else has and immediately get down. It’s a terrible cycle that I struggle with all the time.
    I also do the same before posting my posts. I question if they’re good or worth it. And I always feel like no one will want to read them. I think it’s because we put so much of ourselves into it, that when people don’t comment like crazy or get as excited about something as we do, we take it as an insult to ourselves and feel that we’re not good enough. Or at least that’s how I feel about it.
    These are all so true! You are not alone at all in these 😀

    • I saw your 1st month blog traffic. It was great! It is hard not to compare ourselves to others. I myself fall into that trap all the time. But we just need to move forward! ^^

  • One thing that I learned from a very young age is that I shouldn’t compare my own performance with others. Not because that I am not competitive. In fact, I am super competitive and I want to be the best at everything that I do.

    I realized that I should not measure myself against others because resentment and insecurity will surface if your own performance didn’t measure well. What I tend to do is to use other people’s performance as a guide and motivation to help me set my own standard to achieve. Instead of thinking these people are doing way better than me, I would think that, “wow, these are great achievements, it’s possible to reach it. Now, I am motivated to do more with what I have.”

    Oh yeah, don’t try to worry about things that you can’t control. Just concentrate on what you can control. Focus on the positives. These are not just advice for you. It’s also a reminder for myself and others too. 😀

    • I think that’s a great attitude towards success. And yes, I need to stop trying to control everything because it is just impossible >_<

  • I’m going to pick these apart in an effort to cheer you up? 🙂

    1. Net worth – Your net worth existed and is what it is regardless of what anyone else’s is, and regardless of if you figured it out or not. All that changed was your visibility to and understanding of your net worth 🙂 And as long as you’re making progress at a pace you’re comfortable with that’s what matters!

    2. Traffic – I can relate. I look at your blog and think the same thing you think when you see others. It’s okay, we all go at our own pace. 🙂 The big thing for me is: am I HAPPY doing what I’m doing, regardless of my traffic? Of course, more readers is always awesome, but I am not writing specifically to get more readers: I am writing because I like to write.

    I do find, though, that when I spend time on social media promoting the blog and such, when I don’t get the results I’d hoped for (sometimes NO results) that can get discouraging for sure.

    3. What you write about – The joy of a blog is that it’s YOUR blog. Not the reader’s. Yes, we all come here for a bit of personal finance info, but we come here for YOUR STORY specifically. That’s why we read blogs. I think it was J who said something along the lines of: if all you cared about was the mechanics of personal finance, you’d read a text book.

    I don’t read other blogs because I think I’ll learn some new financial thing in a dry manner. I read it because I like relating to people’s stories, and seeing how their journey differs from mine. I read it because I find inspiration in the things they do and have done, and the things they’ve messed up on serve as good things to watch out for in my own life.

    You have an interesting story and a good way of speaking about it, and that’s what people connect to. This may be a personal finance blog, but it’s about you and your journey with money and health and life and many other things.

    4. Technical skills – I can appreciate this one, too. I am in IT and started a web site when I was 12 (18 years ago, omg). I ran a hugely successful Call of Duty fan site with hundreds of thousands of visitors. But even some things escape me. 🙂 It can be tough but if you’re resourceful and willing to put in the time, you can figure out anything! Except Pinterest – I can’t figure that out at all, hahahah.

    5. My wife went to school for English and wanted to be a technical writer. I’ve pitched several post ideas to her so far that I’d love her to write, but she just has no interest in it. I know how that goes, and I need to remind myself that while she may enjoy reading what I write, she doesn’t necessarily love the same things I do. Part of it is that she hasn’t written since college so she feels I’m a much better writer, and is a bit intimidated by that. Trying to get over it, but honestly if she doesn’t want to, that’s fine.

    Alright that’s my pep talk. Keep at it, you’re doing a great job and while there are definitely days where it can be discouraging, I think you’ll find that with any endeavor. If you love it, continue. If you don’t, then don’t be afraid or ashamed or feel guilty about throwing in the towel. You need to do whatever is right for you. I selfishly hope that’s continue to blog though 🙂

    • Wow thank you so much for taking the time to write such an amazing response, Dave! You comment made me smile.

      I’m with your on reading personal finance blogs. There are just so many commercial PF blogs on the internet talking about similar topics. I follow other bloggers’ journeys because I want to hear their stories and what I can learn from them. I didn’t know you had such a successful blog. Way to go! 🙂

  • Wow, you are not alone in this Ms.FAF. I think many bloggers do feel this way too. You are doing great, and you inspire me (you really really do)

    The point about other bloggers taking advantage of Pinterest and doing well more than you made me laugh. I have taken Melyssa and Lauren’s course on Pinterest and I’ll be more than happy to share with you some of the main highlight of the course if you ever feel people are tapping into Pinterest and making waves more than you. 😊 I am taking a promoted pin course now

    I enjoy reading your blog, I check it everyday and I’m sure people do too.

    • Thank you, Anne! You always leave such sweet comments. ^.^

      You should keep those Pinterest secrets to yourself since you paid for the courses. I didn’t. I just need to either pay for one myself or try to figure it our by reading free articles. It’d be great to know if you found those courses helpful though. There are just sooo many Pinterest courses out there, and I just don’t know which one is really helpful.

  • You are doing so good! I try not to worry about all those things…I haven’t even told my girlfriend about my blog. I don’t want her to read it!!! It would be too stressful! As far as topics…it depends what you want from the blog! For me, my blog is just a chance to write about what I want to. I was frustrated because all of the FIRE bloggers (other than frugalwoods…I guess I just mean the two most popular mmm and ere) seem like they never think about women (even though they have wives) and hate fat people…which is just a perspective I hate. I really started it as a fashion blog with related finance thrown in, because that is one of my interests and something I love to read. But I’ve noticed hardly anyone coming from fashion blogs like un-fancy to my website likes it, reads more than one article or subscribes. But people coming from frugalwoods really like it and read a lot of posts even though it’s not all about finance!

    In the end…my biggest inspiration is lackingambition. Never got super popular but it’s very relatable to my interests and way of thinking. He just put his blog up…just to keep track of his own thoughts…and some people like to read it.

    As far as web design, I really like my free wordpress theme even though it doesn’t look like a modern website. I would like it better if I could alter the column length without paying wordpress. I like something very plain and don’t want to screw around with how it looks or pay for a website.

    Just my take! Your goals are very different from mine. I don’t want to monetize…or help people find my blog…or get a bunch of people who I might not even like to read it. I just want to throw another voice out there…maybe some people will see it and get a little disturbance in their mind about how they thought things were and see a new perspective. That’s my only goal.

  • I love reading your blog! You come across so open and likeable! You are in my top three favorites. Now don’t start wondering which of the three you are because I like all 3 equally well!

  • Mr. FAF is like my Mr. Hippo sometimes. He tries to write and it takes him 7 hours to do 3 paragraphs. He turned to me red eyed and sad “I’m just not creative” and I read his thing and it’s astounding it took him 7 hours. There writing was very vanilla as well so I put 1-2 hours editing it.

    I just tell hubby to not worry about it but there are some things he know a lot about like DIYs, Amazon, investing and retirement. I just tell him to tell me so I can write it. I feel like it’s the way our men are wired. I feel like math is my worst subject and they think creative writing is their worst subject.

    Mr. FAF is correct though, my hubby deals with the technical stuff for me with the help of Google and no prior knowledge. I’m very thankful he wants to help but it’s not because of blogging. It’s because he wants me to “succeed at it and be happy” which is sooooooooo SWEET. I freaking cried when he said that to me and he laughed at me. If Mr. Faf knew that blogging is tied to so much of you (confidence, freedom, creative spirit) then he’ll be more supportive – it just takes engineers a while to get realize emotions.

    • Your comment reminds me of the post where I interviewed Mr. FAF. I must have spent more than 5 fours formatting and editing that interview. @_@ I think it’s great Jared is trying to help though. I liked his home repair posts. He definitely put in a lot of thoughts to make them flow so well.

      I once talked to Mr. FAF about these downsides. He said he’d support me blogging if it makes me happy. On a side note, he did help me switch from http to https yesterday lol

  • Ah, comparison is the thief of joy! It’s one of the reasons why I don’t put together monthly income and net worth reports. 1) I don’t want to compare to other people. I just want to focus on doing what’s right for me and my family b/c there is an ENDLESS amount of money to make, 2) I don’t want to make anybody feel bad.

    I’ll have to share some figures here and there in posts b/c they are real and for my own recording when I’m old and can’t remember, but I try not to be too in your face. But the reality is, some folks will take it that way.

    Gotta bust out the WHIP and get the Mr. to at least what you’re writing! A good tip is to have him read everything before publishing for quick editing purposes. 🙂

    Sam

    • Thanks for the tip, Sam! Mr. is not very interested in reading PF blogs. I think I might switch my posting schedule to once every 6 months if I asked him to proofread my posts @_@ I usually have to edit his writing for him.

      I think I’ve seen those figures in some of your posts. It’s very considerate of you to not want to make other feel bad. I’ve noticed that a lot of podcast hosts have asked you about your blog income, but you always declined to go into detail. I think that’s really smart. No one needs to know your blog revenue if you don’t want them to. 😉

  • Your blog receives great traffic because people like what you write 🙂
    These downsides are soooo relatable, but like everyone else has commented so far, you really don’t need to worry about them! I did find your third bullet most relatable though. It’s similar to what I’ve been struggling with. However, I was told though recently that for my blog, I can write whatever I want, and that applies to everyone. Your weight loss story? That was a GREAT post. I read it first quite a while back and I still remember it distinctly. If the things you write are true and important to you, that’ll come through in your posts.
    You did more in one month than I did in a year blogging; there’s no reason to feel insecure because you are straight up killing it in the blogosphere.

    • Thank you for being so supportive, Jane! I really liked your post about dating on a budget in NY too. It was really helpful although I have never dated anyone in NY hehe. I’ve loved all the changes you’ve made to your blog (i.e. logo, banner). I think it’s a great direction to take! ^.^

  • If people are reading and commenting on your personal posts, I wouldn’t worry about it. Most people go off topic in some way or another anyway!

    Mr. FAF’s lack of involvement bums me out. I feel really privileged to have a husband who’s super excited and proud of me, and willing to help me out however he can. He’s also an excellent writer and loves coming up with ideas for his own posts! He also checks my blog for new comments and everything. It’s really sweet. So yeah, I’m incredibly lucky to have him be supportive, because blogging is already hard enough. But yeah, he makes me feel bad because he can whip up something perfect in a few hours. Meanwhile it takes me three times as long to even get a first draft going…

  • I can certainly relate here! I am in constant need of the reminder that my blog is just that… it is my blog. It doesn’t need to follow a formula, a set of rules, a strict set of topics, etc. That realization has helped me to feel more free to write about what I am passionate about, but I still struggle with finding the correct voice/topic focus at times.

    Thank you for your honesty and candor on your blog 🙂 I really enjoy reading it and often find inspiration from you.

    And thank you for the mention and for your help when I reach out for blogging tips and tricks!

  • I definitely can relate with a lot of these. Blogging has been a constant comparison game for me, as well. I look at frugal bloggers and give myself anxiety that I’m spending too much or not saving enough, even though my husband and I are completely comfortable financially. I compare our net worth to others and feel as if we need to do better. I look at other bloggers’ traffic and feel inadequate. It’s tough to push through those thoughts, but I try to bring myself back to why I started and it had nothing to do with any of these things. So what if someone has more money, page views or posts? If I’m happy with where I am and serving my purpose that’s all that matters 🙂

  • You hit the nail on the head, I feel exactly the same way in the points you mentioned above. I think the harder part for me is that I had a successful blog (in Canada’s standards hahah) and then sold it a few years ago. Starting a fresh new blog again, it’s hard to gain the momentum back up again and disheartening to see the low traffic numbers, but I guess I’ll just keep plugging away!

    Awe, don’t feel bad about the lack of Mr. FAF’s support. When I started my first blog in 2009 with my then ex-boyfriend he said I “wouldn’t succeed”. He actually said those words. Then he said I was spending too much time on my blog (which was true I suppose). Glad he’s an ex now!!

    With my husband he is supportive but doesn’t read my posts either, sometimes I share with him some posts to read. He’s still supportive though in his own way with words of encouragement and suggestions for ideas. He’s certainly no “Teddy Luxband” (lol) who writes amazing posts for his wife’s blog!!

    You’re doing amazing for a few months out, just keep going, your husband will soon see how great you’re doing, and maybe you’ll be able to quite your job and just blog full time like all the other successful bloggers and Mr. FAF will definitely take note then!! 🙂

  • I love this post! We all have our journeys – and I have found that sometimes my journey is much slower than those of other financial bloggers! However, the key is to never, ever, compare your journey to anyone else’s – you are exactly where you need to be at any given moment!

  • It’s definitely challenging to run a blog. In a previous post you mentioned that you spend over 30 hours per week on your site. This is a lot of time to work on a side project while you are also working full time. keep up the good work!

  • I agree with you on all of these points. I enjoy blogging, but what started out as a fun little side gig that I never thought anyone would ever read has now turned into something that consumes a lot more of my time. It’s so much more than just posts! It’s staying active on social media, trying to drive traffic, keeping up with other blogs you love and trying to learn the marketing side of things.
    I still love it, but I can understand why so many people start blogs and quit soon after!

  • I feel the exact same way! Or sometimes I write something I think everyone will read and no one reads it! Then that’s when I begin to doubt. I can be a bit of a perfectionist so it’s hard to post something when you have so many doubts, but I think that’s the challenging part! I know I’m getting better with every post I’m writing. 🙂

    My boyfriend is still working on his blog, but he’s really lost steam, and I feel like now I’m the single one really into blogging. He’s very supportive but definitely hasn’t helped with it nor does he read every post (he already hears me talk about every post for 3 hours before I even hit “Publish”!). It’d be great if he helped with the blog, but at the same time, working on it myself and knowing every bit of growth, no matter how little, is all because of ME is a really powerful thing 🙂

  • OMG! I TOTALLY could have written this myself. It really was like you peeked inside my head. I’m in my 5th month and have found myself in a “eh. I’ll blog when I feel like it” mode. However, that comes with its own level of guilt. “Do they miss me? Do they even care?” Thank GOD I found this community (its helped me SO much) but I also suffer from feeling both insecure and financially inferior. I’m nowhere near most’s net worth and I skew much older as well. It’s great to hear all the millennial success stories but there aren’t too many old and broke ladies for me to commiserate with. I don’t know where I thought I’d find this group of people but…well, I haven’t found them yet. But overall, I LOVE writing and the blogging has done exactly what I needed it to; hold myself accountable for my financial journey and give me a vehicle in which to track my success. AMAZING ARTICLE. Thanks.

  • I believe almost L personal finance bloggers could relate to this post.

    People don’t realize being a personal finance blogger could have some minor disadvantages. This is mostly from overthinking different things.

    However, there’s so much joy in blogging it’s easy to overlook those minor details.

  • Ms. FAF, these are such great points! I just started my blog and I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, but it’s so hard seeing all of these bloggers who are successful and have a following and I am struggling to get 10-15 page views a day.

    I never though I was particularly technology challenged but WordPress has been a learning experience. I’ve spent so much time just trying to figure out what I’m doing that it leaves little time for actually writing content. It’s disheartening but I know I just need to push forward.

    It’s so great to see how far you have come in just a few short months. Thank you for all of the valuable content you provide!

  • Ms. FAF,

    You’re doing just fine. I don’t want to compare my blog to yours! I’m simply amazed at how much content you have pushed out and how you have three months worth? I don’t have any reserve posts. Period. What you see when I post is what you get.

    One thing I’ve realized after my first month was that I didn’t want my blog to take quality time away from my family and it started to do that. Additionally, I want to take a slightly different route than your typical PF blog so there’s more in the works….

  • I think part of it is due to expectations. When you put lots of work into it, it is very natural to expect it to have certain outcome and fear for not achieving them. Maybe it would be helpful to be reminded of the original heart that drives you to start the blog: if it is for a passion and a hobby, then traffic/readership is just byproduct (which btw, you are doing so great); if it is for a business that generates income, then it’s probably not a good idea to invest to much emotion and better to treat it as a business. I find it hard when you are trying to do both as you will be constantly battling in the middle.

  • When I was a new blogger, I used to compare myself to other bloggers all the time. I eventually realized that that wasn’t good. Everyone’s situation is different. I focused on telling my story and blogging for my audience.

  • I’m a little late with my comment, but like others have said, I struggle with comparison all of the time. It’s a weird feeling to be excited for someone else’s success while also getting down about your own. I have to remind myself that everyone starts from a different place. We all have our own unique perspectives, successes, and failures and this makes comparison a pointless game.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • You are totally not the only solo blogger out there! Mr. FG has no interest in blogging either, and even though he’s in IT, he’s pretty out of the loop when it comes to wordpress and blog management. So, I’ve pretty much been on my own there too (which is fine! No one can be good at everything.)

    It’d be cool if we were both interested in the same things, but he’s just not ever going to be a writerly type, just like I won’t ever NOT be a writerly type. 🙂

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