On Monday I got a series of congratulatory e-mails and tweets concerning my nomination for a Plutus Award. While I was aware that Flexo had created the Plutus Awards to spotlight the best personal finance blogs in various categories, I was unaware that Finance for a Freelance Life had been nominated and was one of the five finalists in the running for Best Personal Finance Blog for Generation Y or X.
I’m honored and excited, as one of my external goals for the blog is to help Gen Yers who are dealing with a unique set of challengers and goals. If you would like to vote for Finance for a Freelance Life, you can go here to cast your vote. If you came from the Plutus Awards & are trying to make up your mind before voting, here are blog highlights from the last 2.5 years:
Getting Out of Debt and Getting a Handle on Your Finances
I started this blog just a month after getting married in order to get a handle on our new combined finances and because my husband carried over $100k in student loans (you can read more on my About page). One of the primary focuses of the blog remains getting a handle on finances and getting out of debt—a problem faced by many young people leaving college or graduate school as well as GenXers looking towards retirement.
While we’re not staunch followers of Dave Ramsey, I’ve found his debt snowball method quite useful. We’ve also learned how to “snowflake” extra payments to increase the speed at which we pay off debt.
Since Micah is currently employed as a teacher and only paid during the school year, we’ve had to tackle the challenge of paying off debt with a teacher in the family. And for those who are pursuing similarly low-paying jobs with high student loans, I’ve written about an income-based student loan repayment program (though we’re not using it ourselves).
Financial and Other Resources
I enjoy creating resources, whether compiling information and creating how-tos or creating simple spreadsheets and documents.
If you’re looking for information about taxes, check out my Mammoth list of 2009 tax credits and deductions. Each section links to the appropriate details form the IRS so you can be sure of your information.
Would your spouse/partner or do your family members know how to handle your finances if something happened to you? I’ve created a resource sheet to help you save and store critical financial information for your family. Over two thousand people have already downloaded the spreadsheet.
Another set of free resources I created are budgeting, goals, and entrepreneurial sheets for 2010. Over 5000 people downloaded my 2009 budgeting worksheet—a simple and easy-to-expand tool. This year I added additional spreadsheets for financial and other goals and updated my sheets for freelancer and entrepreneurs.
Next year, I plan to go to grad school (but pay my own way rather than take out student loans). In November, I took the GREs and scored a 1580. After taking them, I wrote a series of posts on how to study for the GRE Writing, GRE Quantitative (Math), and GRE Verbal.
Budgeting, Working and Living Cheaply
If you’ve never budgeted before, check out my month-long series — “Where’s My Money Going Month?”, in which I follow-my money for a month and then write about creating a budget from those numbers. And if you’re budgeting on an irregular income of any kind, check out the companion post to debt-repayment with a teacher in the family: budgeting with a teacher in the family.
For young people, finding work in a recession isn’t always easy. I wrote about my experience using a temporary agency and how a placement agency should work. I also asked “what kind of work is beneath you?”, a question more and more people are facing now. And I calculated the real cost and real earnings of a part-time job I held in 2008.
The best way to make your money go farther is to continue living like a grad student. I shared my thoughts on how we live cheaply and why we’ll continue to do so while paying off the loans.
Freelancer Posts and Resources
Though the blog was nominated for the GenY finance side of its focus, not the freelance side, it is Finance for a Freelance Life. Here are a number of posts I’ve written for freelancer finances and other challenges they face:
I created a simple and free spreadsheet to help freelancers keep track of potential deductions. By filling this in throughout the year, you can be prepared when doing your taxes (specifically for bloggers).
Other challenges of freelancing I’ve addressed include setting a fair price for your work, pacing yourself to avoid overworking and emotional strain, handling clients who don’t pay (ugh), and setting your own schedule.
This blog is over 2.5 years old and I’ve written a lot in that time. Not all of it’s constructive, not all of it’s still useful, but I hope that everything I’ve presented in this post can still be used by its target audience. Finally, I wanted to include my favorite post, which is not related to finance or freelance in any way but is the post I think may offer the most value (and is certainly the most valuable to me) on this blog: why I’m glad I didn’t kill myself.
There are four other great blogs in the running for an award: Budgets Are Sexy, Well-Heeled, Bargaineering (a.k.a. Blueprint for Financial Prosperity), and GenXFinance. I know all of them—two I’ve even met in person and the other two I’d be happy to meet sometimes—and I think that each of them deserves the award for different reasons. I won’t mind if you decide that one of them does a better job for GenX &/or Y than I do, they’re excellent blogs.