So I was digging around my comment spam box to see if Akismet had misfiled anything and, lo and behold, I had a pingback from Control Your Cash. Apparently, I’m this month’s debt-blogging Financial Retard of the Month – I’m sure you can guess how that went. After reading up on Greg’s thoughts on my blog, my life choices, and my weight, it got me thinking.
Not about Greg’s rapier wit or ability to stay on point. After all, what’s more relevant to my financial standing than his keen observation that “fat girls are more fun”?
It got me thinking about debt bloggers. Greg’s palpable disdain of debt bloggers is a recurring theme in his posts. He pens his poisonous diatribes about our problematic accumulation of student loan debt; our years of thoughtless credit card use; and our over-indulgent spending on weddings. So, is he right?
Are we the scourge of the personal finance community? Are we merely a symptom of today’s credit-bloated, consumerist society? Are we the under-paid and over-educated, using our post-secondary powers to vomit our spoiled, entitled viewpoints all over the internet?
While Greg can’t seem to stop talking about this, ad infinitum, on his blog – he might have a point.
Sometimes. But only once in a blue moon sometimes.
Every once in a while, I’ll come across a blogger that’s a truly cringe-worthy example of what he’s talking about. They continue amassing vast amounts of debt buying bigger houses, boats, and vehicles and post regularly about how they saved ten dollars by clipping grocery store coupons. Then these same people post semi-hysterical, persecuted comments about how they’re being “judged” when a reader disagrees with something they’re saying.
Honestly, I’ve only come across one or two of these bloggers in my six months of reading half a dozen posts a day, every day. I haven’t been blogging all that long but my sample size of blogs I’ve read is large enough. These people are the exception to the “debt blogger” rule.
And more importantly, who gives a shit what these people post? If I don’t like it, I don’t read it. If I think there’s something I’ve learned from these people’s mistakes, I’ll pass it on to my readers. Semi-tastefully. Usually.
Greg shares his view of debt bloggers with his usual flair for metaphor:
There are hundreds of them [debt bloggers], and they’re as indistinguishable as blades of grass. Blades of languid, underachieving grass. Every last one carries student loan debt, student loan debt that went to finance a humanities degree. We can guarantee there’ll be credit card debt too.
I know the company I keep when I say I’m a debt blogger. I’m honoured to share this label with some of the smart, successful ladies and gentlemen I’ve met along the way. Observe:
Debt Bloggers: Success Stories
Michelle from Making Sense of Cents: This “languid and underachieving” blade of grass made over $1300 in extra income in a week – while on effing vacation. She’s paid off her debt and continues building her rockstar side-hustle income to a point where she could support herself and a small African nation without batting an eyelash.
Cait from Blonde on a Budget started out with $30,000 in student loan debt and an uncertain idea about what she wanted her blog to be. She stuck with it and her blog grew in popularity; led her to new job opportunities, and helped her live a more meaningful life. She has paid off her debt and is moving on to bigger and better things.
Crystal from Give Me Back My Five Bucks paid off her $20,000 in student loan and credit card debt in a year. While doing this, she also developed a successful career as a freelance writer and blogger with a presence everywhere from newspapers, magazines, radio, to television appearances. She hustles every day and takes care of business.
Grayson at Debt Roundup settled up $50,000 in debt in four years and established a successful blog in a year that helps thousands of people learn about managing their finances. He does this all while having a family and maintaining full-time employment.
Debt Bloggers: Success Stories in the Making
Wendy from Girl Meets Debt describes herself as a “recovering spendaholic”. She proves you don’t have to be a frugal-Nazi to get it done every month. Wendy has paid over $10,000 towards her debt and shows us we don’t have to weave dryer lint into a blanket to save money while doing it. Thanks for keeping it real, lady.
Tonya joins us from Budget & the Beach and is a fun and friendly gal who shares her inspiring journey with us as a Freelance Video Editor who’s paying off debt. She lives in LA and supplements her income by running a successful blog and freelance writing gigs. I don’t have her numbers but she works hard and makes progress.
Have I mentioned that she looks like a million bucks in a bikini? How’s that for staying relevant? Either way, I would totally go gay for her. But not at all in a creepy way. I hope “not at all in a creepy way” is an option. 😉
Have you spit your coffee all over your screen yet? Hehehe.
Anyway, my point is if I have to be a blade of grass in Greg’s sluggish lawn of indolent debt bloggers – I think I will accept that. I’ve never met a group of smarter, more resourceful, harder-working individuals in my entire life.
Another one of Greg’s biggest complaints is that there are so many of us – saying the same thing over and over again.
Do you people realize how tiresome this gets, this general first-person declaration that you borrowed far more money than you could afford (to achieve an empty goal, no less) and now think that your broke posterior is qualified to write a single word about money?
But there are a lot of other non-debt blog sites out there that talk about personal finances. Many of them he references every week in his Carnival of Wealth.
Don’t Quite Your Day Job @ dqydj.net
Hull Financial Planning @ hullfinancialplanning.com
Make Money Your Way @ makemoneyyourway.com
Mom & Dad Money @ momanddadmoney.com
Spring Personal Finance @ springpersonalfinance.com
All Things Finance @ allthingsfinance.com
I could go on but the takeaway message is there are plenty of people in the personal finance community that don’t fall into the “debt blogger” category. Despite Greg’s lamentations about the number of us, there are lots of personal finance sites out there that meet his standards of fine upstanding financial citizens that he could read about. For some reason, he keeps slumming it with us debt bloggers. Maybe it’s his version of rubbernecking at a car accident.
But I digress.
As a debt blogger, I don’t think I’m “coddling” my readers by supressing a violent urge to verbally abuse and harangue some one’s every bad financial decision. I also don’t think I’m “spoiling” my readers by side-stepping a desire to call someone’s life story a fecal stain.
But hey, each to their own. Different strokes for different folks? Or something.
The reality is….
Debt bloggers attract thousands of people every day to dozens and dozens of sites across the interweb. Why? Because we share our experiences and they are relatable. Because some people can connect with “I screwed up” a lot easier than ” if there’s a worse preparation for adulthood than being a single teenage mom and then proceeding to incur $45,000 in debt while attending college for a useless degree, we don’t know what it might be.” I guess there an audience for everything though.
We offer support and accountability and vulnerability and stupidity and success. We offer inspiration and insecurity and knowledge and experience and reflection and failure. We offer an opportunity to lead an intentional life. We offer a way to cultivate meaning beyond the next big purchase. We offer a chance to redefine relationships with friends and family beyond ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.
There’s a reason why we’re here. Not everyone is going to like it but we’re here to stay.
To correct or clarify some of Greg’s assumptions:
– We made a profit on the wedding in gifts and contributions
– Work is paying for my education and it will increase my salary by 30% (to start out with).
Here are my final thoughts to our intrepid hero over at Control Your Cash.