What I Learned in 2015 By Writing My Blog
As the year comes to a close, I see so many of us already moving on to 2016 with new year’s resolutions and money goals for the year ahead. It’s easy to get caught up and look ahead, I know I have done the same thing in the last month. I think it’s important to reflect on the past year and learn from our victories, failures, and mistakes.
As George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
As I look back into 2015 I realized a lot has happened, I would consider this a banner year. I want to look back at my old blog posts and see what I really learned and what came from it all. I hope by looking back at things I can build on a great 2015.
Have You Ever Been Excited to Fail?
Early in 2015 I was ready to attack all of my hopes and dreams, just like many of us will be doing in 2016 as we make our new year’s resolutions, money plans, weight loss, etc. I reached out to fellow blogger, one that I have a great respect for and offered to help out with anything they needed, to my surprise this person let me know there was an opportunity to help with something and that opportunity could mean a gig. Can you even Imagine!!!! I mean I was pumped. You know when you get that Christmas present you had been waiting for all year, you open it and see what it is, then promptly run around the room 14 times yelling words of joy…..that was me.
The person let me know there would be a little competition for the potential gig. No problem I went into it with a full head of steam, putting my best out there. As you may have guessed, I lost out to the competition or I failed as the headline reads. The thing was I was still excited, I was able to work with a fellow blogger who I respected, all by simply reaching out to help with anything they needed.
What I learned. Be bold and ask to help someone. You never know when someone will say Yes! It might not lead to something today, but it very well could in the future.
What I missed. I was so excited to have an opportunity to work with this person that I forgot to ask what exactly they wanted. Instead I looked at what had been done and did my best to emulate what was previously done. Towards the end and after the potential gig, I started to ask questions about what they were looking for in more detail. I started out asking a general question and if I would have asked more specifics I would have had a better shot.
Share Your World and Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
In February of last year I did a whole week of #MoneySavingWeek and I loved it. I think when I initially put it together I had dollar signs in my head. I shared Uber, Comcast, Spothero, Digit, and then finally asked all you what is your best money saving tool. Even to this day I use Uber, Comcast (evil empire), and Spothero. I have Digit on hold right now, I felt like I was doing really well saving and had a minor run in with Digit and my bank account that I didn’t love. For me #MoneySavingWeek was a success, not really monetarily as a few people used the links, but I was able to put together and share some of things I use to save money.
What I learned. I’m not Mr. Money Mustache and when I post something, the recommendation alone that causes a mass hysteria and everyone buys or uses the item is probably not going to happen. I know of the mass hysteria because he is the main reason I switched to Republic Wireless. The great news is because of #MoneySavingWeek just this past November was my best month every for the blog producing any income. Kind of crazy to think that something I wrote about in February caused a mass hysteria and made a couple dollars.
What I missed. I was actually kind of salty that people were not signing up by the truck loads from my blog posts. Now that I look back I realize that it can’t be about the money if you really want to enjoy something. It can be apart of it, but it can’t be everything.
Focus, Focus, Focus
This last year has taught me a valuable lesson about myself. It’s one that I plan to remember in 2016. As I was working towards my goal of paying off my student loans in 2015, I found myself wanting to spend money on vacation, a new bike, or big sporting events. I realized that the only way I was going to defeat my student loans was to 100% focus, lion chasing a zebra for food and nothing else matters type focus. It worked! I took every extra dollar that I could come up with and paid off my student loans in June 2015. I graduated in 2005 and my debt had a strangle on my life since then. I’m so happy to be done with debt.
What I learned. If I set my focus to something, I can accomplish big things. I struggled for years to pay off my student loans and over the last 2 years I took student loans and my focus to pay them off seriously, to the amount of $46,500.
What I missed. The longer you wait to focus, the longer it will take to get results. For some people 10 years is the normal payment plan for student loans, however when you use your grace period, defer by going back to school, go into forbearance, make minimum payments, change your payment plan, or anything else that you can think of to avoid paying off your student loans, 10 years is warp speed. I had around $55,000 when I graduated from college, 8 years later I had close to $50,000. I missed my focus, I’m glad I found it though.
Try New Things
Over the past year I have done things that honestly I don’t think I ever would have done if I had not started this blog. Here is a just a few this year:
- Ride my bike to work for an entire week(100 miles)
- DIY Fix my own washing machine
- Go to Mr. Money Mustache Meetup
- Go to a nerdy personal finance conference…..FINCON
What I learned. When I went to a meetup or rode my bike to work, each time I felt amazing. That’s something I need to do more of in 2016.
What I missed. I need to go out and try nerdy stuff more often. I wasn’t able to go to the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, but this year I think I’m driving out and sleeping in the SUV for a night or two. I mean why not right?!?!
In 2015 I have learned so many things about myself and who I am as a blogger, a person, and a financial expert*. As I come into 2016 I plan on building off of my experiences and sharing my continued financial journey with a great community of people. As I wrap up 2015, I want to thank each and every one of you for being apart of my 2015. I hope to see you, read about you, meet you in person or online, or exchange a comment right here on Even Steven Money. Until then Happy New Year!
*I am not a financial expert, but it feels amazing to see your name in lights like that!