I was talking to a friend about my ventures into the personal finance sphere recently, and she said something like, “Oh, I never read that stuff. None of it ever applies to me, anyway.”
While I was a bit taken aback, I realize that I’ve also compared my situation to the situation of some of my favorite bloggers. It’s kind of hard not to, particularly when you find someone whose income or debt load approximately matches your own.
For example, I love Six Figures Under, Dream Beyond Debt, and Dear Debt, but their situations are all vastly different from mine.
All three focus primarily on student loan debt.
Stephanie at Six Figures Under is a mom, but she works from home. Her family has lived in their in-laws basement for several years to make their monster debt payments.
Amanda at Dream Beyond Debt is a single college professor who recently finished paying off more than $48,000 in student loans in just over a year. She’s single, drives a paid for car, and lives with a roommate.
Melanie at Dear Debt just finished paying off $81k in student loans (very similar to my own number). Over the course of her blog, you watch her income grow and learn about the variety of side hustles she’s pursued.
It would be easy for me to dismiss any of these writers for a plethora of reasons – none of them had credit card debt, two of them are single and OMG, how much easier would it be to pay off debt if I didn’t have kids and a husband, and on, and on.
But I haven’t. I love reading their posts. Each brings a unique voice and perspective to the larger realm of fighting debt and learning about personal finance. While my budget and situation look very different, I’ve learned something from each of these women.
Dream Beyond Debt is what inspired me to set my big goal of paying off our major credit card this year. There aren’t any excuses – she was able to pay off way more than my big goal on less income. She wrote about struggles and sacrifices she made along the way, which I can relate to even though they’re different from mine.
Dear Debt taught me about tradeoffs and the importance of following your own path. You’re not living on anyone else’s budget, so why should you feel the urge to use your money the same way?
That post was particularly important to me as I had just judged a financial decision a friend made that was different than what I would have done in that situation – a reminder that different values warrant different decisions (and a swift kick in the ass for judging a friend).
Six Figures Under shows what you can do with persistence – not just in debt repayment, but also with your income.
So what am I saying?
Find your personal finance spirit animal, then go do what works for you.
Learn from the folks who are different from you. Use what works for your situation and leave the rest.