One year ago today, I began a bold new adventure. An adventure along the lines of Sam and Frodo's journey to destroy the ring, or The Illiad.
Yep. I equated blogging to Lord of the Rings, and I regret nothing.
Because, it actually has been a journey. I look back at everything I've written and am filled with a curious mixture of embarrassment and pride. The very first articles I wrote were a little rough, but that's to be expected.
I'm proud of what I've done so far. Normally, I start something and then tend to not do too much with it in the future (aka most of my hobbies), so I'm especially pleased I've made it a whole year!
I thought I'd celebrate my blog-versary (blogday?) with a list of some of my most popular articles and categories. Thanks for following along with my journey and may we have many more years to follow!
It's no surprise (to me) that my top two articles are on my Ecuadorian adventures at the Chautauqua last fall. My first article was on the overall trip, and then I followed it up with an article on everything I learned and was inspired to start!
Chautauqua 2015: where the wild cows roam, tepid hot tubs abound, and friendships grow! All under an exotic cloudforest environment on the Equator.
Lessons from the Chautauqua: Where I ruminate on all the incredibly important lessons I learned, from the best underwear to buy, that I can actually eat a whole fried fish, to finding the courage to start my adventure in real estate!
Lots of people appreciated my thoughts on Google's Project FI plan. 5 months in and I still recommend it just as much as the first day I got it, if not more!
Then we delve into my Monthly Spending Reports. The most recent ones seem to be most popular (up until about December) which I would guess is due to the blog picking up more readers. All you voyeurs who would like to see all the details of my spending for the past year can view them here: Monthly Spending Reports.
The next popular group is on my house saga. For those of you who don't know, I'm currently in the midst of buying a multi-family property. I plan on living in one side and renting out the other for a year or so, and then moving out to increase my passive income stream. However, I can't do that until I close on the house, which was supposed to be April 1st and is now a big fat question mark due to a zoning issue. The staffers in the town zoning office will NOT be getting a Christmas card from me this year.
If you'd like to get a more indepth description of the house trial and tribulation, check them out here: Real Estate
After those two clear-cut categories, the page views get more jumbled, so I'm just going to list some of my favorite articles (maybe even give a brief update!).
I did a few articles on the basics of budgeting, which I still do to this day. I know there are some people out there who don't budget and that's a-ok. However, if you'd like to know how I set up my budgets, check them out with Part 1 and Part 2!
I have a lovely category of all the Rants and Raves I have. I'm pretttty passionate about everything related to personal finances, budgeting and Financial Independence (I don't know if you've noticed that at all), so when something comes up I tend to have a pretty strong reaction to it. Either I go on this huge long rant, or I tend to go on and on and rave about something great. In fact, I might have a rant coming up where I talk about my neighbors. And peskily persistent financial advisors.
To see all of my past Rant and Raves, check them out here!
I really enjoyed writing the article on why I didn't (and still don't) want a new car. Looking back over the article, I'm so glad I did all that research ahead of time. I recently got my new plates for my car, and it only cost me $89! That was plate AND sticker fee for a whole year! My last state was a LOT more than that. I was also talking to a friend of mine who got a new car in the last month. Her yearly sticker fee is over $200!! It's little things like that, that make the difference in savings rates between budget and spending conscious people and everyone else.
I wrote a post on my plan for the next 10 years. In it, I detailed everything I think will happen for the next 10 years.
“But Gwen” you say, “How can you plan for the next 10 years of your life? You're so young! You could get married, have kids, move away, buy a house…. how can you plan for all that!?”
I really can't. But, what I can do is create a projection for the next decade based off what information I have available. In the 10 odd months since I wrote the article, things have already changed. And that's ok. This plan isn't set in concrete. I'm not going to dissolve into hysterics when things change. For instance, I thought I'd still be renting for this stage of my life and here I am trying to buy a house. My anticipated net worth at the end of 2016 was estimated to be $103k. Based on some math I did yesterday, I think my net worth will hit almost $115k. (Assuming the market doesn't plunge any further and I max out all my accounts). If I keep this up, I won't need the entire 10 years!
In Small Steps to Savings, I equate doing the dishes to saving for retirement. Do the dishes right away and they're no problem. Wait and it turns into a huge chore. It's the same thing with saving for retirement. Start out putting as much as you can into your accounts and it's no big deal. Wait and it's way more difficult to see your paycheck go down. I've finally bumped up my retirement savings to max out my 401k and Roth IRA. It took me almost a year to get up to the correct % and each adjustment was painful. Much easier to do it starting off than waiting a bit! Oh, and by the way, I still have trouble doing my dishes right after I dirty them. I've reached the rinse everything thoroughly and put it in the dishwasher stage for dishes, and the rinse everything and leave it in a giant stack until I don't have any more Tupperware containers to take lunch to work stage for all the hand dishes. Slow and steady progress!
So there you have it. My first year blogging in a very brief nutshell. Thanks for hanging out with me and reading all my articles!