Are you on the path to Financial Independence or FIRE? Do you feel the desire to save a large percentage of your income or stop yourself from wasteful spending? Have you read other personal finance blogs and listened intently for money-saving tips in podcasts? Are you excited to start on your adventure but not quite sure where to start?
When I started writing this blog, I didn’t know anything about financial independence or the quest for early retirement. In fact, in 2005, this blog had little to nothing to do with money. It began as an online journal, where I wrote about my life in general. The story of who I was, the medical crisis I was undergoing, what I did day-to-day, and not a whole lot more.
Then one day, I noticed a general theme arising from my posts. So many of them focused on the topic of personal finance. A few months after starting this blog, I changed the name to One Frugal Girl and dove into exploring my relationship with money.
The more I wrote about money, the more I thought about it. It’s like buying a new car. Let’s say you buy a white SUV. You’ve never noticed white cars on the road before, but the minute you drive off the lot, you will see white SUVs everywhere.
The same thing happened with money. As soon as I started writing about personal finance, I couldn’t spend a day not thinking about it. It’s amazing how often we earn, spend, save, and interact with money each day.
After starting this blog, I began to have more conversations with my spouse, friends, and family members about all sorts of financial matters. I write anonymously for a number of reasons (so very few people know I own this site), but I did confide in a few friends. An investigative coworker also discovered my identity.
Before starting this blog, I didn’t track all of my expenses. I wasn’t mindful of the way I spent. While I always paid off my credit card, I still bought crap I didn’t need. I didn’t consider whether purchases brought me joy, and I certainly didn’t have a long term financial plan.
After starting this blog, everything changed. Every time I reached for my wallet, received a bank statement, deposited a check, paid a bill, or stepped inside a store, I stopped and gave pause.
The simple act of writing brought a deep awareness to my actions. Every time I stood in line or checked my bank accounts, I thought, “I’ll write about this.”
I chose the name One Frugal Girl, and by golly, my actions mimicked the persona of a young, frugal woman. From that point forward, I acted carefully, consciously, and consistently with my money.
As time went on, I became hyperaware of our wealth. I can tell you without batting an eye how much we pay for our mortgage each month. I can rattle off our top ten expenses and provide a detailed depiction of our overall net worth.
I’ve reflected on financial decisions that go all the way back to my childhood. I know which financial decisions succeeded and those situations in which I could have done better. Over the years, this blog has refocused my attention on personal finance time and time again.
You don’t need to write a personal finance blog to become a financial success, but I wholeheartedly believe that this blog helped my husband and I reach our goals.
As I mentioned before, I didn’t start this blog with a grand plan to save a million dollars. I simply sat down and starting writing about my relationship with money. I explored my early memories involving money; the lessons I learned from my parents and grandmother.
In 2006 I viewed this blog as an online journal. It was a place where I could dump out my thoughts about income and expenses. I wrote because I enjoy writing. I just wanted a place to tell my story.
But this lonely, tiny little blog connected me to a big, wide world full of other people. Along the way, I found other men and women who wanted to save, buck the system, live as minimalists, and not work for decades.
While the world was shouting at me to buy more, live in bigger spaces, or take extravagant vacations, this blog helped me find others who wanted to save more and dampen the noise of needless spending. I fell in love with personal finance blogs like Get Rich Slowly, Little Miss Moneybags, Newlyweds on a Budget, and Budgets are Sexy.
As my readership grew (back in the day before I took a blogging hiatus), I felt accountable to those who left comments. I wanted my story to be truthful and real. So I practiced what I preached. I searched for ways to earn more, spend less, and find happiness along the way.
I could never have imagined the impact this blog would have on my finances. Sometimes I wonder, did I become a millionaire by writing One Frugal Girl? Certainly not through ad revenue or sponsored posts. Yet writing and thinking about personal finance has most definitely impacted my net worth.
My husband and I would have found financial success with or without this blog, but perhaps we wouldn’t have reached FI in such a timely manner. In reading, researching, and writing about the topic, I have met amazing people, learned so much, and improved my relationship with money.
When I sat down to write that first post, I never could have imagined all that I would gain from this tiny, little blog. I am so happy I decided to tell my story starting way back in 2006. Thanks to the power of focus and compounding, my husband and I have reached financial independence!