How Blogging is Helping Me

You might wonder how blogging is helping me when I have no debt (until I close on the condo and take out a mortgage) and never have and I make really good money for being in my twenties.

I’ve learned over the last few years that I have this need to externalize EVERYTHING. Maybe I’m not introverted like I thought I was and I was just shy and not confident, but I’ve definitely always needed to externalize everything (I just had no good way to do so).

I also over-analyze everything. I spend a ridiculous amount of my free time playing around with my savings, income, and spending projections to see what I can fiddle with and how much more money I will save if my company’s stock price shoots up (since then I get more in cash when my stocks vest every quarter).

Last spring, actually around the time that I started this blog, I also started keeping a small notebook by my bed. I write in this book every night and I’m not allowed to stop writing in it until I stop over-analyzing. If I start over-analyzing something after I put the book away and turn the light out, I turn the light back on and write some more in the book. Some days, I write mostly about feelings, sometimes about the events of the day, sometimes about finances. This book (I don’t like calling it a journal or a diary) has been so amazing to my mental sanity.

I would compare what the notebook on my bedside table has done to my mental sanity to what this blog has done. Sure, I have always been a saver, but I have also always been a terrible spender. Externalizing my thoughts on money is far, far healthier than keeping them all bottled up inside, which is what I was doing before.

So, yes, I am pretty good with money, but I still think about it A LOT, to the point that it’s unhealthy. Remember how some of my goals for 2011 were around financial anxiety? That has gone way down with keeping this blog. I do still check on my checking account every day to make sure that there are no suspicious transactions, but I don’t get anxious about it, nor do I check anything else in an obsessive manner anymore.

Thank you to all of my readers for helping me to develop a healthier relationship with money!! :) You are all awesome. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to stop blogging. This has helped me way too much to do that.) Here’s a call-out to my most faithful commenters:

And thank you to all of the readers who don’t comment, but are still producing visitor statistics that make me believe that other people are reading along :)

16 thoughts on “How Blogging is Helping Me

  1. I love your notebook idea, I may have to try that.

    Our finances have always been in fairly good order. However, I feel like they have gotten so much better since I started my blog.

    • I started the notebook after a break-up because I realized that I hadn’t been noticing the problems very well and I’ve kept it up. It’s definitely helping me a lot. I don’t generally write in it when I’m out of town as much, but when I’m at home, it’s great.

      I think I’ve finally found the perfect notebook for me: on Amazon, it’s called “Moleskine Ruled Notebook Soft Cover Pocket” on Amazon. It’s actually quite thick and I like the piece that keeps it closed. And because it’s thicker, I use the same one for much longer and I find it easier to write in (versus thinner ones I’ve used before).

  2. Interesting to hear how your blogging has helped you. I just started after keeping a traditional journal last year. You now have me thinking about what impact my blogging experience will have in the coming months.

    Just found your blog and really enjoying it!

  3. Thanks for the link-up!

    I used to spend a lot more time with our money… but then I got to a point where we’re comfortable (big emergency fund, end of long-term goals in sight, saving 40-60% of income), and time has gotten a lot more valuable.

    We’re looking at a potential drop in income (or, alternatively, a big increase in living expenses) and it’s annoying. It puts us right at the point where we have to think a little bit about finances (which we don’t really have to do right now so long as we’re not extravagant), but don’t have to cut back on everything. And having to think about finances again after not having to is so unappealing. It almost seems like we ought to go from spending what we want (which, admittedly is a lot less than many people spend) to spending as little as possible, just because that would require less thinking about it and less optimization– fewer active decisions about what to sacrifice for what. I think that wouldn’t be a big deal if we had more time to think about such things, but life is so busy I’d rather not have to.

    Moleskine has some pretty awesome products!

    • I used to think “$10 for a tiny notebook? That’s a rip-off!” But I’ve been working through this one notebook for about 4 months now and that $10 is nothing, especially over that timeframe for the sanity improvements I’ve gotten out of it.

      Time is definitely getting more and more valuable to me. With the condo falling through and trying to decide when to start looking again, I’m continually re-running the numbers like I hadn’t been for awhile. It’ll be interesting to see how things change when I do actually buy a condo since I’m not really sure what my next long-term goal will be. Maybe a wedding or a house? But I’m not even seeing anyone right now. I definitely don’t worry about my day-to-day spending (even though I check the numbers against my forecasting/planning once or twice a month), but I do still extrapolate my savings.

      Good luck with the potential drop in income or big increase in living expenses – sounds like 2012 will be interesting for you and your family between that and the baby. You do at least have a year’s notice, right?

      • I’d go straight for financial independence. ;) How much would you need saved for the dividends to equal your living expenses (or alternatively, your current paycheck)?

        Even if you don’t meet that goal, it gains you a ton of freedom later when life gives you options you’d never dreamed of.

  4. It is always a good idea to jot down your thoughts when you are trying to sleep. That clears your head and allows you to sleep in peace. Otherwise, your brain will keep trying to remember them which means you don’t sleep as well. I have my cell phone by my bed and I do the same if a thought occurs to me at night.

    • Agreed – that’s definitely the problem I’ve had for the last decade or so. I tried my cell phone as well and it helped sometimes, but I’ve found a notebook is better since it isn’t the same glare as a computer, so it helps me become sleepy.

      • BTW I also use (RTM) to keep track of a TODO list. If I remember something like “Pickup milk on the way back from work tomorrow”, I just send myself an email to my RTM account so that I will be reminded of my errand the next day at the appropriate time. Writing this in a notebook means I’d then have to remember to transfer that to an alarm/calendar system. By sending email to my RTM account I accomplish both tasks at once (offload thought from my brain and be able to get reminded at the appropriate time).

        Thought I’d mention this in case you or your readers find this useful. Of course, don’t go putting confidential info in the RTM TODO list just in case your account gets hacked. For general every day stuff like picking up groceries, returning books, paying bills and stuff it works great.

        • I *LOVE* Remember the Milk. It is so great for my chores and groceries lists. I have the app on my phone, which I carry around the grocery store in my hand. I don’t put transfer amounts in the list, but I will set reminders like “Transfer savings from checking to online account” or something like that. I started using it while I was in college and it was amazing for keeping track of all the deadlines for the different courses I was taking.

          I also get the daily email, which is helpful sometimes (and not so much when I just have a humongous to do list like lately…)

  5. I’ve been writing as long as I remember – stories since I could hold a pen, so maybe 5-6, then diaries in primary school and high school, songs and the beginnings of novels in high school, and blogging since university (plus of course writing professionally for years).

    I’m always intrigued to hear from other people who think they might be introverted (and I think blogging definitely is overrepresented by introverts – it comes with all the introspection and analysis). For me, I’m both shy and introverted, so they go together. But getting things out of my head and putting them down in words is as natural as breathing.

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