As a member of the personal finance community, I’m amazed at how many people are a part of it. Unfortunately that often means that I can’t always keep up with everyone. It’s a shame because there are some wonderful bloggers with their stories and advice on handling finances responsibly and with fun.
To counteract that and get the word out on other bloggers, I’ve started the Sunday Blogger series. It’s my hope that you’ll discover some new voices in the series.
Why did you start What Mommy Does?
I’ve been a personal writer and blogger for over 4 years, but only recently decided to branch out with my own websites. I started with a personal portfolio site and added a tax blog, but quickly found myself wishing I had a place to write about everyday things like running a household, working from home, and being a stay-at-home mom.
What Mommy Does is my way to reach out to other moms like myself who try to do their best keeping their children and homes in check while balancing everything else in their lives.
How long have you’ve been involved with finance and blogging?
For many years, I was the Personal Budgeting & Finance Feature Writer for Suite101.com. Since 2007, I’ve contributed over 400 articles on a variety of topics with an emphasis on personal finance, taxes, and consumer education. I still contribute occasionally to Suite101, but mainly focus on my own blogs.
How do you handle your own finances? What system do you employ with budgets, investing, and career?
I use Quicken to keep track of spending categories, and I use a plain old Excel spreadsheet to make our monthly budget. I’m much better at telling others how to keep their budgets in check than I am at actually maintaining my own budgeting routine, though! I will stay on top of the incoming transactions in Quicken and comparing budget vs. actual expenditures in Excel for a few months, then I will lapse and fall behind in this area.
Luckily, I make up for this lackadaisical approach to budgeting by employing a constantly frugal mindset. I am allergic to paying full price for anything – I constantly have to reign in my crazy couponing tendencies, and I shop second-hand whenever possible. I’m a big fan of making saving fun, so I use ImpulseSave for the way it makes saving into a game. I’ve also been known to save for a purchase by squirreling away money in a shoebox $10 at a time whenever I can get my hands on my husband’s cash.
I’m not a huge fan of the annual fees that come with mutual funds. I like investing on my own and do so through Scottrade.
When it comes to career, my husband holds the main job in our household, and I work to supplement that income. We live as if he is the only one who makes money, so anything I earn can be used 100% for whatever goal we have at the time – right now we’re focused on funding our 2012 retirement accounts and college funds.
After those have been knocked out, we plan on putting away money for our next vehicle. Our current family car has nearly 200,000 miles on it, so it’s time to consider the inevitable.
What’s the biggest financial mistake you’ve ever made? What did you learn from it?
The mistake that’s cost me the most $$ is when I left my last job and took my sweet time lining up a new insurance policy. Because of my procrastination, we were left uninsured for 24 hours (seriously) between policies. Wouldn’t you know that 4 hours before our new policy kicked in (at midnight), my daughter had an accident and we had to go to the emergency room! That mistake cost me nearly $1,500!! You better believe I won’t let that happen again!
What are your goals this year and beyond with What Mommy Does?
My main goal for this year and early next is to establish a regular posting schedule. I had my third child earlier this year and am still trying to figure out our new “normal.” Beyond that, I would like to grow my readership and monetize the site more effectively so I can make it a real source of income for my family. We need a way to pay for lots of college tuition!
Thanks again Lena for signing up for the series! If you’re interesting in being interviewed as part of the Sunday Blogger series, please email me.