Today we’re bringing you another round of He Said/She Said. These posts are really your chance as readers to hear how discussions (and sometimes disagreements) play out when managing our lives with each other. For a look at some of the past He Said/She Said discussions – check ‘em out here.
The Background on Today’s Conversation
It was just over 1 year ago that we started blogging about our finances here at Planting Our Pennies. Somewhat appropriately, our very first post was a mid-May Balance Sheet, so let’s look at a quick balance sheet comparison from then to now.
|May 18, 2012||May 18, 2013|
|Real Estate Loans||$197.0||$152.5|
That’s a boat load of financial progress in the last 12 months, and boy does it feel good. But the thing is, we’re not sure we really would have done it had we not started this project here on the blog. Who knows what our “Money, Happiness, and Kittens” situation would have looked like if we hadn’t started down this road?
- Would we have been so gosh-darned determined to hit financial goals?
- Would we be looking for ways to continue to increase our happiness and enjoyment in life?
- Would Kitty PoP be as adorable as ever? (Okay, I think that one’s a no-brainer.)
Blogging together as a couple has served several purposes in our lives over the past 12 months, and we’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. Here are just a few of them…
Mrs. PoP and I learned early on that we work best as a couple when we are working together on something. In years past that has been projects at our University, buying and rehabbing our house and rental properties, or trying to purchase a small business. For the past year our project has been this blog, and it may have been one of our best yet.
We should start by saying that the money we make on PoP covers our hosting expenses and nothing more (we’re talking about $15 /month), so as an income stream this thing is a dud. That’s not to say that having this site, and being a part of the personal finance community, hasn’t had a positive effect on us personally, and added significantly to our bottom line.
Before we started blogging we were already pretty frugal, but still quarreled sometimes over spending, and didn’t really have a goal in mind. If you had asked us what our net worth was, we had a general idea, but we had no idea how much we needed to be financially independent. By keeping track of our balance sheet and income statements, and most importantly opensourcing the information to our readers, we have been able to build our wealth much more quickly than otherwise, and we are much more on the same page when it comes to money.
The results speak for themselves, below are some highlights from the past year:
- 65% (over $200K!) increase in net worth
- $55.8K (23%) of liabilities paid off, with another $50K due to be killed on August 1
- 13% YOY increase in market value for our real estate holdings
- Between Mr Market’s crazy ride up the mountain and continued deposits into our 401Ks and Roth IRAs, stock accounts are up another 60% as well
Mr. PoP made the suggestion of starting a personal finance blog to me via a text message while we were vacationing about 13 months ago. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I agreed to it initially with the assumption that we would quickly grow tired of it and at least the low barrier to entry of a blog meant we wouldn’t be wasting a whole lot of money on the endeavor when we quit after a few months.
But it’s worked out surprisingly well, and I think there are a few reasons behind that.
1. It gives us each an outlet that’s different from our day jobs. I spend most of my days staring at numbers and writing code, and Mr. PoP is on the phone with clients. In blogging together, we’ve found that I’m the one who enjoys the bulk of the writing and “reader facing” duties, and Mr. PoP enjoys the behind the scenes site maintenance, SEO, and fiddling with wordpress.
2. It’s changed the dynamic of our conversations on our finances. Prior to blogging, we scheduled regular discussions on our spending and savings habits, but they were scheduled. And though not adversarial, because they felt a little more formal and forced, we probably each came to those discussions each with our own agendas. Now, we don’t really have to schedule discussions because it’s turned into an ongoing conversation. We’re really on the same page more than ever and that’s such a great feeling.
3. It’s changed the topics of our conversations on our finances. More than ever, we’re focused on maximizing the amount of happiness we can squeeze out of life. Not in a crazy YOLO way, but in maximizing our happiness over the long haul. And that’s a pretty awesome feeling.
I’m not a fortune teller, so have no way of telling if the next year of blogging is going to show quite the same dramatic results in our lives and in our finances (up $200K in a year… as my cousin would say, that’s cray-cray!), but I’m more than willing to keep blogging to try and find out.
Is there anything more you’d like to see from PoP as we continue forward into our next year of blogging? For readers that are bloggers, how have your experiences blogging matched up with ours?