Recently, we went about cleaning up old blog posts and found 5 separate posts that contained quotes from financial blogger stories. In 2016, we asked personal finance blogger friends to share their stories as part of the Road to Financial Wellness project. We received 46 submissions.
So many of the names you’ll see on this list have continued to do some really amazing things. And some blogs are no longer active. But their stories and knowledge live on.
I am so grateful to the 46 bloggers. Their stories are very compelling and powerful. The bloggers wrote with so much detail and emotion. I was compelled to challenge my very own beliefs. I learned a great deal from their stories and believe you can too.
Here are 46 financial blogger stories:
Jackie of Cheapsters wrote:
“When you freelance you get paid for the value you bring, not the time you put in. Conversely, you can see the clear exchange between your time and money. Oftentimes I consider whether it’s more valuable to me to get paid X amount of money to write an article or keep that time to myself, whether to go on a hike, spend time with my friends, work on my fiction, or just lollygag!”
Read more about her story of freelancing to freedom on Cheapsters.org.
Steven of Even Steven Money wrote:
“Financial Empowerment. When I first came across these 2 words, they didn’t really mean much to me. Over time they meant a little more. It all started with a budget and knowing where my money was going. That made me feel empowered. Then I sold my car and next paid off my credit cards, which made me feel in control.”
Lindsay of Notorious Debt wrote:
“This is what financial empowerment means to me. It means not giving up and resigning myself to a life of crappy apartments, TV, and Cheetos. It means taking an active role in changing how I spend money, instead of being a passive spender, subject to whatever whims my brain has when I wake up that day. It a way that makes it possible for me to afford the things I really want.”
Sarah of High Fiving Dollars wrote:
For me, that was the moment I realized that financial wellness doesn’t mean just having a lot of money in the bank. It means that the money is there as a tool so I can use it to further my happiness.
Melanie of Dear Debt wrote:
You know we talk a lot about our physical health and conversations around mental health are starting to take place. But many people still don’t talk about their financial health. Money is the last taboo. When things are out of balance with your finances, everything else is affected.
Read the 5 tips to get financial well.
Amanda from Dream Beyond Debt wrote:
Let me stop here to say this: I’m not great at asking for help. It took a lot of courage for me to even ask to borrow stuff. That in itself felt pretty triumphant. So did start the work alone. I didn’t want to borrow tools and have them collect dust in my garage. I wanted to get them back to their owners in a timely manner, which made me start ASAP. As of this post, I have half the patio site cleared. But, I have not bought one paver yet.
Mortimer from Mortimer’s Money Machine wrote:
About a year ago, I started learning about money. Not in the sense of how to get rich, or even the fastest way out of debt — although that interested me greatly — but what was the purpose of it? We exchange money every day. It’s how we buy apples, jeans, and a place to call home. But why are we working so hard to earn money, instead of, say, . . . happiness? The impetus for these thoughts was my recent law school diploma and a new job — the best job I could have hoped to get coming out of law school. And yet as I sat behind my desk and learned how to work with a secretary, a latent sinking feeling developed.
Gary from Super Savings Tips wrote:
Back then, my 25-year marriage had just ended, my divorce became final and I was at my low point in every part of my life from job to family and of course, my financial condition. After a divorce, the division of assets doesn’t leave two halves but rather a pretty big financial hole which means a lot less for everyone involved. You can do one of two things it seems. Either you can wallow in self-pity and think you’re destined to be in that mess forever or you can decide that you can do something about your problems and start to find ways that you can take control again of your financial well-being. It may not be simple and easy, but it can be done.
Read how a budget can help you pick up the pieces.
Heather from Simple Save wrote:
I started out 2015 by taking a risk. I took a pay cut and left a secure job in a good field to go after my dream job in an entirely different field. It was a calculated risk: I was almost debt-free and had a good amount of emergency savings. I did my research and was certain that this career was what I wanted.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Six months later, in the summer of 2015, I found myself unemployed.
Athena from Money Smart Latina wrote:
Since starting my financial journey, and blogging in some shape or form over the years, I’ve had highs and lows. I’ve had thousands stashed away and sometimes, I was living paycheck to paycheck. Although I think I have a grasp on things now, I feel like I never know what’s around the corner, and that is me being brutally honest with you. At any time, you could lose your job, get in a car crash or have a close family member die unexpectedly. And I can tell you these things happen because they have all happened to me and set me back financially, emotionally and physically.
Read on how you can prepare for life’s curveballs.
Ashley from College Prep Ready wrote:
“By the mere fact that college tuition was expensive when I was preparing for college (and still is!), I knew that I couldn’t go into this financial decision lightly. Throughout the process of making this financial decision, I learned five key lessons that allowed me to make the right choice in college selection and funding my college education.”
Liz from Less Debt More Wine wrote:
“My emergency fund is the cornerstone of financial empowerment to me. It doesn’t just help me sleep better knowing I could afford the deductible for my car insurance. It allows me to know that if something were to come up, I could be there for my friends and family without a second thought on the cost.”
Read how financial planning can help you when losing a loved one.
Michelle from Michelle is Money Hungry wrote:
“In order to begin feeling empowered financially, you have to believe that you can take control of your financial situation and “own your finances” vs. letting your finances own you. For my entire adult life I have dealt with various levels of financial distress. And, it’s painful to admit this but I believe that I’ve allowed these negative financial situations to go one for as long as they have because I didn’t believe with 100% of my being that I could turn things around.”
Read how Michelle’s belief is helping her achieve financial goals.
David and John from Debt Free Guys wrote:
“To us, financial wellness means having the freedom of time and experiences. It gives us the flexibility to do what we want when we want with whomever we want. We’re not tied to someone else’s schedule or expectations because of debt or maintaining a lifestyle we cannot afford. It gives us chances to spend time with our loved ones, travels the world and experiences new things without someone else’s approval or constraints.”
Read how John and David got rid of $51,000 in debt.
Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff wrote:
“I’d love to say that the story from there has been simple – we just kept doing online work and making tons of money. But, no. I had a couple of amazing years of $100,000+ made solely online. Then a huge shift away from direct ad sales in 2012-2013 changed cause my online income to drop from $10,000+ to $4000+. By early 2014, it was obvious we needed another significant income stream.”
Kayla from KaylaSloan.com wrote:
“My low point was when I was unable to sleep through the night because of how much I was worried about the state of my bank account and whether or not it would be negative when I got up in the morning. I was earning more than I had ever earned before and I was still spending it faster than it was coming in. This is when I turn to Google to help me figure out how to make my money last longer and pay off debt so I could stop worrying so much about money.”
Brian from Debt Discipline wrote:
“It was two years into our debt-free journey that I started to blog. I was at the point where I wanted everyone to know what I knew about personal finance. For years I had overlooked the common sense approach of having a plan for your money, living below your means, paying yourself first, sharing our story might just help someone else in a similar situation.”
Bola from Clever Girl Finance wrote:
“That, in summary, is how I was able to save over $100,000 in a little over 3 years. Yes, I made a few money mistakes here and there that took me off track but I managed to recover – crossing the $100,000 mark with my savings was a big motivator for me.”
Amanda from Our Debt Free Family wrote:
“I imagined how freeing it would feel to not owe anyone anything. I thought about how quickly we could save for our kids’ college funds if we weren’t paying thousands of dollars toward debt every month. I realized that we could travel and spend money on whatever we wanted guilt-free once the debt was gone!”
Shannon from Financially Blond wrote:
“The first step to achieving financial goals is the desire to achieve them to begin with. I say this all the time, but many of us are essentially driving around without financial road maps and then we wonder why we’re lost when it comes to money. If you don’t have a desire or a destination in mind, then how can you ever expect to get anywhere?”
Toni from Debt Free Divas wrote:
“Empowerment is a wonderful thing. Often that power is bestowed at the behest of another. Hillary needed a few million votes to step into her position. Children either are or are not given latitude by parents. The constitution and, the mostly, good sense of our founding fathers fosters an environment where Americans have the opportunity to rise to their potential. These people, situations, or actions contribute to the power we enjoy. Financial empowerment is a gift that we can give ourselves. Admit it or not, the lack of power over our finances is often power we give away – willingly.”
Robert from The College Investor wrote:
Let me take a second to share with you my journey to financial empowerment. I graduated from college with $44,000 in student loan debt. I paid off my student loans within 2 years of graduation. I worked since I was 16 (really younger, but “legally” since then), and full time since I was 18. My first post-college job paid me $47,000 per year. But I side-hustled and focused on earning more money every year. I saved, invested, and became a millionaire this year at 31.
Read Robert’s tips on how to achieve financial empowerment.
Christina from Adventures in Frugal wrote:
“When I find myself among a group of fellow New Yorkers talking about money, the conversation invariably gets to how expensive the city is, with everyone in the circle agreeing that they can’t imagine living in this city earning less than they do — whether that number is $60K or $150K.”
Mario from Debt Blag wrote:
Sure, flailing out of a plane is a great you-only-live-once adventure for the few minutes it takes, but so is taking a vacation for a few weeks, having the spare time to train for a marathon for several months, or the biggest, longest adventure of them all — all the things one can do with an early retirement. Knowing that I only get to live once motivates me to live responsibly and to otherwise avoid going deeper into debt. In this one lifetime, I’m glad that I’m more able to make important life decisions centered on my dreams as opposed to limiting myself to choices based on a need to forever pay off debt.
Candice from Young Yet Wise wrote:
“Don’t just say I want to pay off my credit card debt. You need to be more specific. I want to pay off my credit card debt by April 15, 2016. I will pay $300 a month towards my credit card debt. It’s important to give yourself a debt date. So you’ll be encouraged to stick to your goal. It’s also very important to pay more than the minimum amount on your debt.”
Read Candice’s 7 steps to take when you’re serious about money.
Candice from Get Your Money Back wrote:
The thing is that in this great country of ours most people don’t plan for the long-term. 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. 33% believe in college for their children but don’t save for it. Heck, lots of people don’t budget when they can use a credit card to cover expenses (just dig a deeper hole). If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it on credit. But I’m not here to judge, only to offer whatever help I can.
J.D and D.M.D from Red Two Green wrote:
“I try not to work too late. I try to spend time every second I can soaking up my two favorite guys. I try to work out and eat right– all that good stuff. But to be empowered financially– to really be strong, ideally, I would have passive income that would allow me to still continue to work hard but only by choice. The rest of my time I would spend with my family, traveling, reading/writing for fun, playing piano/guitar, working on my Mandarin, that kind of thing.”
Eva from Teens Got Cents wrote:
“That’s a tricky subject when you are a teenager. Chances are that you don’t feel particularly empowered. It’s likely that someone tells you what clothes you can wear, where you have to go to school when you can go out, who you can be friends with and what time you have to be home at night. Don’t even start to think about the financial decisions that aren’t yours to make.”
Read Eva’s journey to financial wellness and how she’s empowering teens.
Miranda from Planting Money Seeds wrote:
“When trying to give my money a purpose, I started with my values and my goals. I was really disappointed the day I realized that my house was full of clutter that I didn’t really care about. In fact, if I had saved that money, instead of buying things of dubious interest to me, I could have taken a luxury vacation to just about anywhere in the world. That’s when I decided to rethink how I used my money.”
Read how Miranda clarified her values to do more of the things she loves.
Alaya from Hope & Cents wrote:
“A two-year journey began that started with us living within our means for the first time in our lives and concluded with every single penny of the $74,000 being paid off. In hindsight, I should thank my husband’s employer at the time, for cutting his hours (no, not really), because it woke us up from our slumber. It forced us to admit that we weren’t okay.”
Read Alaya’s take on being “fine” that keeps you complacent.
Jen from Frugal Millennial wrote:
“When I finished grad school, I was in for a rude awakening. Finding a job was really, really hard. I hadn’t anticipated the “over-educated, under-experienced” problem – no one wanted to hire me because I had too much education (translation: employers saw me as “too expensive”) and too little work experience. Eventually, I settled for a job that paid $30,000 per year. 50% of my income was going toward my student loan payments. I was essentially living on minimum wage.”
Read more of Jen’s financial “aha” moment.
Latoya from Life & a Budget wrote:
“If you want to retire, you won’t get there while spending all of your money and neglecting to pay yourself. If you want to invest, you can’t finance cars and furniture at interest rates that are so high it will negate any potential earnings. If you wake up one morning and decide you’re ready to tell your boss to shove his ridicule and senseless demands, you can’t be out there depending on one paycheck or income stream to maintain your standard of living.”
Read Latoya’s journey from a credit mindset to a savings master.
Kara from Frugal to Free wrote:
“Two years ago, becoming financially literate to me meant figuring out how to deal with my pile of student loan debt. One year ago, it means figuring out how to open retirement accounts and start investing. Today it means figuring out how to make money work as a freelancer. While the issues may change, the fact remains that staying financially literate is a key part of life.”
Read Kara’s point on why financial literacy always matter.
Kate from Cashville Skyline wrote:
“I don’t accept work below a minimum price, and I only agree to side gigs that propel me closer to my long-term goals. Plus, I’m actively working on building additional streams of revenue, especially passive ones. Our time is a precious resource. Because the more hours we’ve lived, the more valuable our remaining hours become.”
FI Family from FI Big Sky wrote:
“Being financially stable allows for growth in ways you can’t even imagine, making a-ha moments (both good and bad) something to learn from and welcome instead of something to dread or ignore. How money works is still a mystery to many and those who don’t understand how money can work for them often just assume they’ll never understand.”
Zina from Debt Free After Three wrote:
“Financial wellness is about not only paying your bills but having money for what really matters to you. It’s about being able to afford your dream vacation without putting it on credit cards or borrowing money to have an awesome Christmas. It’s about being able to afford new tires when yours wear out or a new necklace that you really love.”
Read Zina’s 20 questions on financial wellness.
Laurie from The Frugal Farmer wrote:
“I speak from personal experience when I say that this kind of flippant attitude about money, debt and savings is a big part of what causes large scale economic crises and is what caused my family’s own personal spiral into tens of thousands of dollars of consumer debt – debt that we are currently working our way out of.”
Read Laurie’s story on the importance of saving money no matter what
Crystal from Sophisticated Spender wrote:
“What is Financial Wellness? It’s different for everyone. Do you have to ask yourself What are your goals? What kind of life do you want to live in? What do you value (travel or having a huge house? You need to plan the details!”
Read Crystal’s lessons learned on the Capital Pit Stop.
Tyler from I Am The Future Me wrote:
“We don’t all have to be Olympic runners with our finances. As long as we are able to pay our bills, and live comfortably WITHOUT debt then we can be “average” financially. So going along with the same thoughts of physical wellness. Someone who is “average” would be debt-free, have some money in the bank, certainly enough not to worry about any emergencies. They may have a mortgage or a car payment but they are reasonable and manageable.”
Chonce from My Debt Epiphany wrote:
“I created my first budget a few years ago, started spending less, paid off five figures of debt so far, and most important, I feel sooo much more stable. I don’t have to wonder how my bills will get paid, what will happen if I spend $20 extra on groceries and what I would do if I suddenly needed car repairs because I now have a reliable cash flow, a strong handle on my situation, and plenty of money in the bank.”
Read Chonce’s inspirational story from her beginning to working on living her dreams.
Aja from Principles of Increase wrote:
“As a 16-year-old, I was pretty certain I’d be a high-powered CEO at the helm of a Fortune 500 company making a few million dollars a year. Then, life happened. I went to college, nearly drowned myself in student loans, got married and had kids. At the outset of our marriage, we were in over $60,000 in debt. We were so smart that we went on to add another $60,000. Thankfully, we rebounded and paid everything off in 2013, but the road was not easy.”
Read how Aja’s definition of success has changed.
Jason from The Butler Journal wrote:
“I graduated from college in 2008, which was right at the beginning of the recession. My mindset was much different back then. I didn’t look for a full-time job until the summer after my graduation. For one, I was just happy to graduate. I had a couple of trips lined up, so I was ready to celebrate. I also had a part-time job where I was making decent money. I also figured that the $50,000 job would be easy to find. Boy, was I wrong.”
Read Jason’s plan to payoff his student loan debt.
Kalie from Pretend to Be Poor wrote:
“I’m a saver by nature, but I didn’t receive the most thorough financial education, nor did I come from a “Rich Dad” household. I never realized that just about anyone can “get to a million” using time, compounding interest, and basic earning and saving disciplines.”
Read how Kalie’s 4-year old son taught her about investing.
Med School Financial wrote:
“Access to information allows us to think, act and execute differently. Personally, this blog has served as a great platform and resource for my accessing as well as sharing the information that I continually implement and use to make progress in my financial growth.”
Taylor from The Freedom From Money wrote:
“The entire pre-determined structure of our lives (9-5 until 65) pushes us towards consumption and waste because we have no spare time. Regardless of our salaries, we are poor when it comes to time. By the end of an eight-hour day in the office, we are so emotionally and physically tired that we are happy to spend money to ease our pain.”
Pia from Mama Hustle wrote:
“Here’s what I’ve figured out: I want to be a weirdo. I tend to be in the baller dollars camp, rather than the homemade deodorant camp, but there’s room for everyone at this party. It’s no secret that half of Americans would struggle to cover a $400 emergency. With stats like that, I don’t want to be normal anymore, especially if normal comes with a suffocating load of debt and worry.”
During my 2016 road trip, I spent 108 days on the road. It was a grueling period but we accomplished our goal. Not only did we meet thousands of people but reached thousands more with the help of my friends who shared their financial blogger stories.
In my talks and writing, I have shared why I believe storytelling is important in financial education. It’s through stories we become compelled to make changes in our lives. Sure facts are helpful but they don’t motivate us into action.
Stories give us HOPE. Again, if you’ve read through previous posts, I reiterate that HOPE stands for Hearing Other People’s Experiences. It’s through sharing these experiences we can effect change.
What’s your financial story? Comment below. I’d be interested in reading them.