At the end of each year, I’ve gotten into the habit of recapping how my year went by sharing posts that stood out or were significant to me in some way.
You can check those out here:
- My Favorite Posts of 2018
- 10 Posts That I Loved This Year (2017)
- 10 Posts That Changed My Life This Year (2015)
My list this year is a little more ambitious then it’s been in the past. What can I say, it’s been an interesting and different year for me! I also “met” a lot of new bloggers who all have interesting and unique perspectives on things that are absolutely worth sharing.
Without further ado, here are my favorite 19 posts (and numerous honorable mentions) from 2019, in no particular order:
“I just don’t feel like I have the pedigree to be a Real Personal Finance Blogger. In many ways, I’m completely out of my league. People talk about their five-figure bonuses and six-figure (or more) net worths; meanwhile, I’m over here with my five-figure student loan and a net worth that’s going to be in the red for the foreseeable future.”
The Personal Finance community has absolutely changed my life. But it’s not without flaws. Sometimes, a lot of flaws. And criticism, and judgement, and shaming. I wrote a similar article myself a few years back when I too felt like an outsider. It’s important to remember that most of us in this community are here to help, support and encourage you! Don’t let a few negative people or comments deter you.
by Todd Kunsman of Invested Wallet
“One topic within personal finances that doesn’t get discussed often is how spending money is perfectly okay. Gasp! […] “Cut all your expenses,” “Stop buying that daily coffee,” etc. You really start to feel attacked or shameful about your purchases. But, you shouldn’t feel guilty about spending money if it improves the ROI of your life and you have a spending plan.”
How I feel about spending money has been negatively affected after years of living paycheck to paycheck. Even when it’s something I need and can afford, I can’t shake that guilty feeling. But as Todd says, it is okay to spend money – as long as you think these purchases through.
by Penny of She Picks Up Pennies
“But if you never spend money on yourself – or if you hardly do and you’re positively wrecked by it when it does come to parting with your coins – I have news for you. You’re not saving your money; you’re depriving yourself. And that actually isn’t making you any better with money.”
There it is. Penny pinpointed exactly what I’ve been doing and why I feel guilty spending money on myself. And while depriving myself isn’t great, identifying it will hopefully make it easier to overcome. We all deserve to treat ourselves at least once and a while, right?
by Elyssa Kirkham of Brave Saver
“This is a big one, my friends. I need you to hear what I wish I had been able to hear and believe back then: you need to take care of yourself if you expect to improve at all. You cannot do better if you’re already unwell. You cannot build healthy finances or a healthy career from a place of ill health and deficit.”
Self-care is a very popular buzz word that is, unfortunately, often used as an excuse to spend money. And while it is perfectly okay to spend money on yourself and your needs, bubble bath and aromatherapy candles aren’t going to magically fix everything. You need to be able to manage yourself, your mental health, and your behaviors. We all know that this is no easy task! But this is a good place to start.
“So when I say to be selfish, I mean that you drown out this outside noise. Stop listening to what everyone is telling you to do, and tell YOURSELF what is best for you.”
Or you could be selfish – in a healthy way. You can’t take care of other people or other things if you’re not caring for yourself first. There’s a lot in the article that I needed to hear.
by Daniella of I Like to Dabble
“I am recovering. It’s a constant process to make sure I keep up with my positive coping mechanisms, habits that help me and make sure I realize when signs of burnout might be creeping up. I still make mistakes though, thinking I can cheat the system. Don’t we all?”
A big part of self-care and self-management is recognizing what your body is telling you you need – physically, mentally and emotionally. You can’t get better if you don’t get to the root of the problem first. And that problem may very well be that you are burnt out. We juggle a lot in our daily lives between our work, side hustles, family, and social life. Finding the right balance is tricky, but important.
Related Honorable Mention: I Quit My Job And We’re Going To Be OK by Sam of How to FIRE
by Sarah of Smile and Conquer
“Asking for raises, applying for promotions, starting a side hustle, etc. all require confidence. And a lack of confidence can have a serious negative impact on your income. That’s a big deal! I’m right there with you. I hate pushing for something I might not get. I am not at all a go-getter when it comes to these things, but maybe that’s just my bias speaking.”
Confidence is something I’ve always struggled with. Getting fired for the first time last year didn’t help. Even though things turned out alright, this year was the first time I’ve ever felt and really understood imposter syndrome. It’s not a good feeling! And it’s not something I thought impacted my money as much as it probably does.
Related Honorable Mention: 6 Reasons Getting Fired Was Actually Amazing by Bob Haegele of the Frugal Fellow
by Steve Adcock
“The truth of the matter is simple: there is very little luck in this world. Everyone living in the United States (or, quite frankly, any first-world nation) carries with them a hell of a lot more control over their lives than they may think – or even want. People’s lives are a direct result of what they put into them.”
When life isn’t going the way you wanted or expected it to, it’s easy to think it’s just bad luck. Maybe it is. But it’s more likely a result of the choices you make and how you look at life. I know it may sound cliche, but changing your attitude can change everything! It certainly doesn’t hurt to try.
Related Honorable Mention: Your Negative Mindset Could Be Your Biggest Expense by Nathan Clarke of Millionaire Dojo
by Moriah Joy of Our Table For Two
“At the end of it all, my loans are a constant reminder that I did not push enough, try enough. That I could have been better, could have been more. So I hate them. I gave it my all, and still, my all wasn’t enough. I hate their reminder that there was more I should have done, that I was pushed to do more and be more, and yet, I’m still paying them off. To me, they scream failure.”
First, I want to thank Moriah for being so open and honest in this post. I could relate to so much of what she says! I look back at my history with my student loan and it too just screams failure. The personal finance world is full of “how we paid off $50,000 of debt in only 2 years” posts. And here I am, 10 years later with $30,000 of my student loan still to go. It’s overwhelming, depressing, and exhausting.
I’m being intentionally cryptic here, but there are currently things in motion that will allow me to write my very own “how we paid off $50,000 of debt in only 2 years” post. I’ll be sharing those details in the new year.
Related Honorable Mention: Why I’m Putting Aggressive Debt Paydown on Hold by Liz of Rose Colored Water
by Fred Leamnson of The Money Mix
“If our drive for money is to help us to achieve the lifestyle we want, we’ll have a much better chance of success. When you know your why, your efforts point toward something of value. […]
A valueless pursuit of money does just the opposite. Our savings habits will suffer. If not backed by the “why,” our success will be elusive. We will always be restless. There will still be something else to chase.”
I’ll give you a (cryptic) hint about my last (cryptic) comment. We figured out what our “why” is, and made some hard choices about how we are going to get there. We are finally aligning our money with our values so that we will eventually find financial freedom instead of just hoping it will one day happen. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it!
Related Honorable Mention: Debt Payoff Update: Be Careful What You Wish For by Robin Rose of Mastering the Side Jam
by Ryan Luke of Arrest Your Debt
“I frequently find myself stuck in current situations because of the decisions I made when I was younger. Think about it; the current career you have is because of a choice you made in the past. Just like your current financial situation is due to the decisions you made yesterday, or even 10 years ago.”
Part of moving forward involves letting go of the past. I’ve wasted far too much time dwelling on the poor decisions I’ve made in the past, particularly regarding my career and my money. There is nothing I can do to change them. But I can change how I feel about them now.
Related Honorable Mention: 14 Personal Finance Tips to Create a Better Tomorrow by Kevin of Just Start Investing
“I used to think saving money was deeply unsexy. That it was for the overly cautious types, the boring fuddy duddies. Anyone who I admired, who was doing anything interesting with their lives, certainly was not saving money. Or so I thought.
Saving money felt like a negative concept that was always rooted in fear. Every time someone talked about it, it seemed their only motivation to save was because they were scared of something happening to them. Or of something being taken away.”
For most of my life, I’ve been one of those boring fuddy duddies. I would rather save my money then spend it, even when spending is truly a need. After reading this article, I realized that I save out of fear. After being laid off and unable to find full-time work for 2.5 years, I don’t think anyone would blame me. But the idea that “we should save money because we want to do amazing things”? Wow! I’ve been looking at this completely backwards all along.
by Abigail Perry of I Pick Up Pennies
“But I didn’t get new ones because I felt I didn’t need new, nicer shoes. The money I spent on new shoes could be put into savings — and what was more important than that? Certainly not a small hole or an isolated incident of knee pain!
And yes, that’s just silly. But the problem with being frugal is that it can lead to tunnel vision, where all you can see is the savings you could get if only you skimp on something.
A few years ago I working part-time minimum wage jobs because that’s all I could find. At the time, my winter boots were literally falling apart. Although it was winter and I live in northern Canada, I glued them together several times instead of replacing them. Why? Because I too had frugal tunnel vision (amongst other things). I over-thought the word “need” to the point where nothing was a need anymore. Even when it was.
Related Honorable Mention: Scarcity vs Abundance Mindset – Which Do You Have? by Dr. Jeff Anzalone of Debt Free Doctor
by Jeff Wiener of The Kickass Entrepreneur
“I’m not going to give you the top 10 things you need to do in order for you to stop living beyond your means, and master the art of self-discipline. I’ve only got one! Let me ask you a question. Which Would You Take? $100 now or $200 in one year?”
How self-disciplined do you think you are? How self-disciplined are you really? When I think back to those years I spent under-employed, I thought I was doing everything I could to avoid going further into debt. But in hindsight, I was so focused on surviving in the immediate short-term that I ignored the long-term bigger picture. (Such as the $16,700+ we’ve paid in interest on this debt…)
Related Honorable Mention: How to Plan Ahead for Unexpected Expenses by Michael Dinich of Your Money Geek
by Brian Brandow of Debt Discipline
“We all make mistakes with money. There’s no one size fits all situation when it comes to handling your finances. […] At some point, to be successful with your cash, you need to stop perpetuating the herd mentality about the state of your finances. We need to take control, educate ourselves, and stop believing in these money lies, which will only continue to hold us back.”
This post is short and sweet, but effective! I’ve been guilty of believing pretty much everything Brian mentions, and have let the herd mentality influence my spending and relationship with money much more than I should have.
Guest post by A Purple Life on Tread Lightly Retire Early
“Our society is a strange place. Many people in it seem to mindlessly encourage and expect you to follow a standard life script straight out of a 1950s sitcom: get married, buy a house, have kids (yes – multiple) and work until you die – despite the fact it’s 2019 and there are so many examples of other life choices.”
Only weeks ago, my sister had her second child and I became an aunt again! On my side of the family, I now have 2 nephews, in addition to the 3 nephews and 2 nieces I have on my husbands side. Like many others, my husband and I do not plan to have kids of our own. (#CatsNotKids) Choosing to have children or not is a very personal decision. There are lots of reasons for and against it – including how it impacts our planet.
Related Honorable Mention: Your ‘Something Borrowed’ Shouldn’t be Your Wedding Funds by Jessica Bishop of The Budget Savvy Bride
by Jana Lynch
“The number of financial abuse victims is staggering. What’s worse, it’s the least discussed – and most misunderstood – form of domestic violence. It’s also the form of domestic violence that’s most difficult to recognize (since the signs are often subtle and easily hid) and one that’s extremely difficult to escape.”
Financial abuse isn’t new, but it is finally being talked about more. A lot of that is thanks to Jana, who is doing an excellent job of educating and providing informing and advice on the topic. Since I started working in an employment center, I have helped several people – men and women, young and old – who are trying to find a job so that they can break out of their financially abusive relationship.
Related Honorable Mention: Sexual Terror and How it Costs Women by Amanda Holden of the Dumpster Dog Blog
by Andrew of Wealthy Nickle
“If you really think about it, your most important asset is YOU – and more specifically your health.”
I’d quote more from this article, but I think this is enough to capture its valuable message. It was really significant to me this year in particular. Back in March, I got a phone call at work from my husband, and immediately rushed to get him to the emergency room. He is thankfully doing well now, but he was off work for a few months to recover. Everything about this was scary, and put a lot into perspective.
“Time is all we have and having it wasted by doing things that don’t matter or that I don’t enjoy grates on me. Thinking about death helps me understand what I want out of life. I don’t want my life to be a blur of email pings, conference calls and mindlessly throwing money at problems to make me reliant on those pings and calls.”
I couldn’t resist sharing a second post from A Purple Life. What can I say, I’m a big fan! And this post is a lot different than the last. Death is not something people like to think about, but maybe we should be. After the scare with my husband’s health, I sure gave it a lot more thought this year. We can become so focused on saving for our futures and saving for retirement – but what about enjoying today?
What is your favorite post from 2019? If you’re a writer/blogger, what post of your own are you most proud of? Please feel free to share the love in the comments!
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