Published on November 13th, 2013 | by Pete2
The Money Principle Interview
There are many excellent personal finance blogs out there. We, here at Money Superstar would love to believe that we are the only ones doing a good job, but that would be a fib. And we don’t like to fib, especially to you. So, we instead decided that we would have a chinwag with the talented bloggers who share their money saving tips, and the latest interview is with the delightful Maria, from The Money Principle. Here is what she had to say:
1. What made you start blogging about personal finance?
Four years ago my husband and I were having a glass of wine in after work. ‘Darling’ – he said – ‘we have a bit of debt.’ This turned out to be about $160,000; all of it consumer debt and I was in my late 40s. Not good!
First, I did what anyone would do: I panicked and thought my life has ended. Soon after I made a New Year’s resolution: to turn around our family finances. See, no fancy SMART goals, no gimmicks – just learning and doing. Over the eighteen months that followed I had learned a lot, acted with resolve and more than paid off more than half of our debt.
So I decided to tell others what I’ve worked out and enable them to ‘stuff hedonism and take charge’ of their money. Starting a blog was the ‘logical thing to do’ and there was only one problem: I didn’t know what is a blog.
I learned again; and The Money Principle was started. Oh, and we paid off all this consumer debt in three years :).
2. What is your favourite money saving tip?
May I have two, please?
One is: don’t stop doing things, learn to do them differently. This is all about what I call ‘frugality as an art form’. If you love to travel don’t stop: learn travel hacks; if you love to see your friends don’t stop: start a system where each of you takes turns to host a dinner and home and make it fun.
The other one is: check your rubbish bin regularly. If it fills quickly you are generating loads of waste. This is not good for your wallet or for the environment. Start managing your shopping, cooking and eating better.
3. What is your proudest achievement since you’ve started blogging?
Paying off the debt will have to come first. However, if we are talking about blogging proud moments it was probably when in the summer of 2012 I ended up a finalist in the GoBankingRates PF Olympics. It was only because of my writing and The Money Principle was the only blog from outside North America; it was also probably the smallest.
4. What’s the best deal you’ve found recently?
This is easy: we recently changed our roof and put solar panels on and we managed to get this all done for less than the lower of the original quotes for the roof only. This was something!
How we did it? By finding someone who is really good and is affiliated with a builder we’ve been using for several years now. The job was recalculated and the quote came as half of what it was originally (we were also lucky that we didn’t need to buy new tiles).
5. What advice would you give to others who want to start blogging about personal finance?
Start with an open mind. Many will tell you to focus from the outset, to identify your audience, to find your voice etc. Yes, this is all very important. But blogs are like children: when you set out you’ve just given birth to a baby. It needs nurturing, warmth and love to grow. There is time for discipline and learning the rules later.
Some excellent pearls of wisdom there, I’m sure you’ll agree. Thanks again to Maria for taking the time to talk to us, and you can find her excellent blog here: The Money Principle.