Welcome back to friends and finances my featured blogger series that introduces you to some amazing bloggers. The biggest reason I decided to start this new series, is because I believe in getting different perspectives on handling your finances. I also believe that the bloggers featured here each week have a lot to offer the world and deserve recognition. Some of the blogs featured will be other personal finance related blogs and others will not be. The reason I chose to include some other blogs that are not related to finance is simple, we all have a financial story no matter who we are. I believe money is not the only focus we should have when traveling our road to financial freedom, and I think discovering some fun blogs that share something different can be a welcomed break from over focusing on money. So today I welcome Melody from herdesignedlife.org
1. What is the goal of your blog?
The goal of Herdesignedlife.org is to provide an supportive community for women looking to change their life through paying off debt, increasing earning potential, and balancing family and faith. My hope is that through my articles, women from all walks of life will be able to approach a realistic way to manage their life and reach their financial dreams
How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging for about 6 months, however I’ve created several blogs over the last several years ranging from a variety of topics like bath and body products, children’s activities, and DIY projects.
2.What has been your biggest money mistake?
I’m actually really embarrassed to tell you my biggest money mistake! But all kidding aside, I think I learned a valuable lesson once I came to grips with how stupid I had been with my money in the past. During my college years, I had very little money to work with since I took on a part time job while going to school full-time. I went to a private university and it was very expensive. My junior year, I actually was fortunate to have received an excess of federal loans of about $2,000! I was so excited that I didn’t think too much about spending it. Before I knew it, I had blown the entire excess. It had been less than a month and I had very little expenses besides food and clothing.
3. What is your best advice for recovering from or preventing this money mistake?
Looking back at my time in college, I would have probably sent the money back! Even if I didn’t send the money back, I could have looked into my finances a little more cautiously and determined how I was going to pay the money back. Most of my college time was spent determining how I could “survive” instead of focusing on how I would thrive in the future. I had no idea that finding a job post-college would have been so hard.
4. Favorite quote or money advice and who was the author?
One of my favorite quotes is by Dave Ramsey, “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.” This quote really helped me to think about the choices I’ve made over the years. Some of the tough choices I’ve made have been that I moved from California to Michigan and changed careers several times to pay off my debt faster!
5. Favorite money or budgeting related book and author?
I would probably say that Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” book really helped me to consider how I was going to pay off my student loans. By using Dave’s debt snowball, I was able to pay off over $65k in student loans and in total have paid off over $72k of overall debt.
6. Favorite money saving website?
There are several money saving blogs besides savingjoyfully.com that I love, these include montanamoneyadventures.com, asunnysideuplife.com, dianaonadime.com, moneynerds.com and frugalforluxury.
7. Favorite money making app or website
The money making websites I have actually made money from are https://join.2020panel.com/. This website pays people to do surveys based on products or services and are 100 percent legitimate. I made $170 on my last survey to provide my opinion on toilet paper! Hostgator is another favorite affiliate I love. I host my website on hostgator and by becoming an affiliate you can receive funds if you recommend others use them. I made $50 from one post and really do think they provide an affordable alternative when starting up a blog. I’ve also made minor smaller transactions by becoming an affiliate of shareasale.com. This website allows you to apply to become an affiliate of brands you love and are familiar with. I’ve been approved for several sites, but I always only apply for brands that I believe in and can stand behind.
8. Do you have an emergency fund or savings account?
I do have an emergency and next goal savings account for my upcoming adoption and tuition costs for grad school! I’m very grateful for the hardship and difficult my husband and I faced. Without the challenges of those darn student loans, we wouldn’t have grown as much as we did.
9. What is your most successful strategy for saving money?
My most successful strategy for saving money is to have a routine. Checking in with your finances once a month ( or week if you are just starting ) really helps you become more in-tune with where your money is going and where it’s disappearing. So many times I thought I was doing well with our savings, but when I calculated the transfers, we really weren’t saving as much as we thought. If you have more than one account ( savings and checking), it’s important to keep your savings separate from your goal accounts. If you have to pay for a large purchase such as a surgery, vacation, or major car/home expense, try to put the funds in a goal account and then pay it off. This way, you’ll be able to see how you are saving and where the additional money is going rather than robbing yourself!
About the author
Melody Johnson is a Certified Financial Educator Instructor by the National Financial Educator’s Council. Melody is a certified Finance Coach through Womanly Wealth Academy. As a coach she assists people in paying off debt and reaching their financial dreams. She also currently works full time as an Instructional Designer in Metro Detroit, Michigan. Her husband Peter and Cocker Spaniel Layla live together happily while they wait to begin their international adoption!
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