It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at this blogging thing for two years already. When I first decided to start a blog about my path to FIRE it was very much a bit of a suck-it-and-see exercise; a post on another blog, Australian Dividend Investor (sadly no longer being published), about why you should have a blog and how to get started inspired me to decide that it was worth a go, even if it really just turned out to be a bit of a personal diary for me to help me keep track of how I was progressing and seeing what kind of shift in mindset I developed along the way. One or sometimes two posts per month is hardly prolific – I read a number of other bloggers who post far more frequently – but it’s enough for me.
For this post, I thought I’d take a look at my progress over the past two years.
When I started this blog, I had already been following the Barefoot Investor’s process for two years and I was about 16 months into a new permanent role at work that had lifted me out of survival-level income and into a position where I was actually able to save effectively – it brought me up to around the national average wage. At that stage I had managed to put aside an amount equivalent to three months worth of living expenses (I was really excited to hit that first “mojo” goal – I had quite literally never had that much money saved before) and had set some goals in relation to savings and paying off the mortgage, but I knew that I needed to further improve my financial position.
I’d never heard of FIRE before joining the Barefoot Blueprint, but it came up in the community forum via a link to an article (I think it might have been for Strong Money Australia or Aussie Firebug). That article led me to others, and before I knew it I’d discovered a whole new world of personal finance and realised that maybe I could do better financially than I’d previously considered possible. So, after what amounts to four years of working to get my financial act together, how far have I come?
Well, I use a budget and keep track of my spending. I’ve knocked 22.75% off the figure that was owing on my mortgage in March 2017. In terms of savings I’m very close to having a full year’s worth of post-tax income (although this does include money being saved for fun/travel spending, so technically speaking I’m about halfway between a full year’s living expenses only and a full year’s post-tax pay). My net worth has increased by 19.26% since the end of June 2019 (when I started measuring it). And at the end of March I finally had some money that could be diverted away from the mortgage offset so I invested in my first ETF (a small parcel of VAS).
In relation to the blog, here are some stats:
|Year||Posts||Views||Visitors||Avg Views per Visitor||Likes||Comments|
|First (Apr 19 – Mar 20)||25||6163||1562||4.08||45||28|
|Second (Apr 20 – Apr 21)||18||8373||2371||3.82||97||39|
I now have a total of 89 followers. I haven’t been tracking this, so I’m not sure how this has progressed over time. My most liked posts in the first year were my ‘savings rate challenge’ results posts for August and September 2019 (equal numbers), and in the second year was my ‘reducing the discretionary spend’ results post for September 2020 – I suspect prefacing the title with ‘I may have just joined a cult’ probably accounted for that spike! My most commented post in the first year was my Getting Started post and in the second year was my ‘reducing the discretionary spend’ results for November 2020. There’s been a definite increase in average views per day since I set up my Twitter account, and the half-yearly net worth posts seem to be quite popular too.
Traffic has picked up quite substantially this month as well – I’m showing my highest average number of views ever for April 2021, and we’re only just over half way through, so that’s exciting! I’m assuming that’s related to being referred to in the recent Money magazine article about early retirement in Australia – if you haven’t read it yet, go check it out; it has some of our ‘big names’ in it (e.g. Dave from Strong Money Australia, the FI Explorer, Pat from Life Long Shuffle, and Serina from The Joyful Frugalista).
For my money, though, it’s the ‘priceless’ aspects of working towards FIRE that provide the real value. I used to be an avid payslip watcher – I’d be hanging out for my payslip to generate in our HR system so that I could see what was going to be coming in each fortnight (particularly during those times when I was in the low-level job but doing regular higher duties). Nowadays, half the time I forget to even download it straight away for filing – I just no longer need to think about what’s coming in and how it needs to be distributed (ah, the joys of automation!). Having direct debits set up for all my bills and funnelling money fortnightly to those accounts keeps me ahead of these expenses so I never have to worry about them. The amount of weight that’s been lifted off my mind is my biggest driver to keep going – future me is going to be a happy woman!