About 4-5 years ago, I discovered the world of personal finance blogs, or PF blogs. I loved how they put a personal spin on the rather impersonal world of finance. I stopped reading traditional finance websites and spent hours reading blogs like The Simple Dollar, Boston Gal’s Open Wallet, Get Rich Slowly, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Fabulously Broke, and Blogging Away Debt. Many of these sites had not yet “monetized” and were more personal than they are now (some may be gone, I’m not sure..). I read and participated in some money “carnivals” which are basically a compilation of finance-related posts. You have to submit to the host blogger and get selected for inclusion. Reading and commenting on these blogs were a daily part of my weekday life. Then about 2 years ago, I decided to stop reading most PF blogs. I still read Money Saving Mom and a handful of 20-something PF bloggers but not on a daily basis.
Why? Was I such a financial guru that I had no need for the words, wisdom or support of pf-bloggers? Yes and no. I was getting more than enough information from traditional money websites and magazines. I had set up my saving accounts and investments (index, no-load, watch those fees) and could consider myself an intermediate investor. However, I could certainly still learn new things. For example, to this day, I still have little knowledge of ETFs, bonds or college savings accounts.
OR Did I make so much money that I no longer needed to look for ways to save and earn more? Definitely not! As I mentioned, I still read Money Saving Mom and occasionally other money-saving blogs. However, the frequency and participation is nearly zero.
OR Did I lose interest in the topic, period? That’s not quite true either. While I don’t like reading about pf blogs daily, I am still very interested in reading/learning about money, more so than most people I know.
So why did I stop reading? Here’s the longish answer. I once read about a study that reported wealthier people are often more selfish and less empathetic than those with lesser means. While I am certainly not wealthy, I realized that reading all those finance blogs made me think of money ALL THE TIME. With money on my mind, I worried more about finances. Was I saving enough? Did I get the absolute best deal on those batteries and toilet paper? Even worse, I felt somewhat superior to those who were/are less concerned with money. Since I thought about finance daily, I could not understand why many of my friends, co-workers and family members made ”wrong” choices in regards to spending and saving. Looking back, not all their choices were wrong, per se. They were simply making choices based more on emotions than financial security. In short, I lost my compassion and empathy.
It wasn’t actually easy to stop reading. First, I reduced my list of favorites to a handful of blogs. I also stopped trying to discover new pf-blogs. However, I still read finance carnivals during the work week, and this habit kept me in the same money-focused mindset. I realized that I had to go cold turkey. I deleted all pf-blogs from my favorites list and did not read any for weeks. It was relatively easy to stop reading but the hardest part was not finding out about sales and drugstore deals. Luckily the arrival of kids cut my free time and I am now happy if I get a good-enough deal on household staples and groceries.
As they say, eventually your new routine becomes your new habit. While I still occasionally visit a few finance blogs, I no longer read any of my old favorites on a regular basis. A few weeks ago, I stopped by “The Simple Dollar” and “Get Rich Slowly”. I skimmed a few posts and quickly moved on. I don’t have a new focus, or rather my new interests are all over the map. I like reading blogs by intelligent women on career/work and family. I read some design/lifestyle and cooking blogs. I get my money “fix” from finance websites or magazines. If I do come across a pf-blog, I may look up a specific topic but I no longer browse numerous personal finance stories.
Nowadays, I’m mostly satisfied with my financial knowledge and choices. I’m happier when I don’t think about money so often, even if I probably still think about it more than the average person!
Do you read personal finance blogs? If so, how often?