Ask Femme Anything: #FrugalFINCONFiesta

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fiesta   I’m not going to Fin Con.  Obviously. For those of you who have no idea what the heck that is, it’s a conference for people who write about finances.  A ton of great bloggers are going, but there are a ton who aren’t, too.  I’m joining up with some of the best who stayed home for an unprecedented event, created by Debt Debs.

It’s a live blogging event for all those staying home.  What that means is that I’ll be updating this post between now and tomorrow night to answer ANY question you may have for me.  Just leave it in the comments, and I’ll answer!  (And let me ask that we keep things PG-13.)

I’ll start off with an example to get things rolling.

Femme, why aren’t you going to FinCon this year?  Or any year past? I’d love to go.  I hope to go in the future.  But it kind of falls at a bad time of year for me and the day job.  Even if I could swing it, I’ve got young kids at home, and the husband has a pretty demanding schedule in the fall, too, so we’d need baby-sitters galore in order to make it work.  Plus, travel is expensive.  This year it’s in New Orleans, and we’ve already busted our travel budget with our pseudo-lavish honeymoon and a family trip in 2014.  Anything beyond a car trip is out of the question, and I’m saving my rewards points for other purposes.  Add to that the actual ticket prices.  Around $500.  Too much money.

I’m sure the benefits you get out of going are worth it.  But if I went, I’d also miss out on this Fiesta, and that would be pretty lame. NOTE TO FINCON PLANNERS: Pittsburgh is an amazing city!  The President thought it was cool enough to have the G20 here.  If you need more selling on why you should host it here in 2015, I’m your girl.

Kirsten asks: What is the hardest thing about blogging for you? What is the easiest?

The hardest part lately is finding the time. I’ve started dropping tasks that don’t produce anything of value, and outsourcing some things is probably in the near future. Also, coding.

The easiest is content. I love writing, and have post drafts and ideas waiting. Sometimes they get pushed back a lot because there is so much that needs to be said immediately. Like the Pittsburgh airport post. It was scheduled for May, but I don’t think it actually went live till August.

Brian asks: How will you teach your kids about money?

I plan to give them a lot of responsibility, and let them make mistakes at home where it is easier to learn lessons.  They’ll get an allowance once they’re old enough, and I’ll encourage savings while leaving the final decision of allocation to them.  I love visual methods, like this one.

As they get even older, I’ll start explaining to them what the heck I’m doing about things like saving for retirement, saving for their college, and paying off any loans we may or may not have.  As college approaches, we’ll get real about what mom and dad can pay, and I’ll teach them how to apply for grants and scholarships as they start making those major decisions, encouraging them to stay as far away from student loans as possible.

Brandy asks: I’ve never been to Pittsburgh. What is your favorite thing to do there?

This is such a hard question.  Over the course of my life, there have been different favorite things about the city.  When I was a high school student, I loved hanging out at North Park or the Point (where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join to form the Ohio; it’s downtown, and the former home to Fort Pitt which was pretty important back in revolutionary times.  Now it’s a gorgeous park with a gorgeous fountain.)  Summer break brought festivals of all kinds, and I’d head downtown with my friends for every one of them.

As an adult with a slightly larger budget, I love going to baseball games at PNC Park. (Of course, there’s the Steelers and Penguins, too, but those guys are out of my budget.)  I also can’t get enough of the Cultural District, where we have the most Broadway shows in the world, second only to NYC (obvs.) I love our museums galore with discounts galore. I love living so close to Mt. Washington with one of the best city views in the world.  I love that although you are more dependent on a college degree than in most locations, we have an overall affordable economy.

Ultimately, my decision to come back “home” for keeps was the fact that Pittsburgh has a lot of culture with an extremely high level of safety for a city of its size.

Tre asks: What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?

The first answer is both obligatory and sincere:  my children.

If I were to limit my answer to only blogging, I’d say it’s being able to connect with people who my writing has helped.  Whether they’ve found out about inaccuracies on their credit report, or found the best marriage license for their ideals/budget, it’s kind of amazing to hear that they figured these things out because of something they’ve read here on the blog.

Jean asks:  What one book or site has been the biggest help for your blogging?

I really can’t say it was one book or site.  It really has been a conglomeration of great bloggers willing to reach out a hand and help along the way.  Reading stuff is great, and has helped me a lot, but it’s the people that have helped answer my questions and grow behind the scenes that have really given me the biggest boost.  I’d list them all, but I’m pretty sure it would include at least half of the PF blogosphere.  Know we have a great community.  Be willing to reach out for help when you need it.

May asks: Why personal finance?

I was pretty broke when I started? Haha.  I’ve always been obsessed with maintaining good finances, but sometimes life gets in the way.  Circumstances had me in a weird spot with my money, and I was forced to get really creative.  I started blabbing all these amazing, creative ways to my friends, most of whom didn’t care at all.  So I started blogging hoping I could at least help somebody out there.

Deb asks: Why do you blog anonymously and who of your family and friends know about your blog?

There are four or five reasons I blog anonymously. The one I’m most comfortable sharing is that I’m painfully self-critical. Having everyone I know read what I write would probably paralyze me to the point I wouldn’t write anymore.

That being said, my husband blabs about my blog to everyone he knows. Most people just say, “What? She makes money doing that? That’s cool.” And never ask about the URL or anything. Still make me blush. My immediate family all know. My sibling has written a review for me. My mom loaned me the money to go self-hosted because she believes in me more than I believe in myself. The blog earned enough to pay her back in the first two weeks. And I have a few friends that have been reading since I first started and shared some posts on Facebook. I hadn’t yet decided on my anonymity at that point.

KK asks: What has been your biggest financial “mistake” and what did you learn from it? 

I get flack every time I say this, but having a joint account with my first husband was probably my biggest mistake. From it I learned that you can love and trust, but you’ve got to be practical and protect yourself, too.

Also, my first lesson in personal finance left a pretty huge impression.

Tennille asks: How do you plan to celebrate once you become debt free?

I actually am debt free. My husband is carrying a small amount of consumer debt that we’re chunking away at, but not too worried about as it’s on a 0% interest credit card at the moment. It’ll be paid off long before the promotional rate expires. He also has a car loan, but it’s not something we stress about. We’d much rather pay a small car payment than have a beater that needed to go in for repairs every month. The only debt I’ve ever had is a car loan, and I paid that off about 18 months ago. We live within our means, so we don’t really have too much to worry about as far as debt. We would like to increase our income, and I guess that will be something to celebrate. But mostly in full bank accounts, not so much in epic partying.

Melissa asks if we will stay in Pittsburgh after our kids are grown?

We’ve actually talked about this, too, Melissa! The only thing that could make me say no is the winters. They’re not even usually that dramatic, but the city does not plow its roads. The suburbs do. And last year was a bit better under our new mayor. But overall, if I’m not skiing, I’m not a big fan of the cold.

The first beach we ever went to together was Virginia Beach. The husband said he wanted to set up a beach shop there when we retired. And live by the sea. In reality, all of his family lives here, as does my immediate. I think that’s enough to stop him from pursuing that dream.

Another factor is where our kids end up. If they stay here (I’m finding out through genealogy that parts of his family have been here since at least 1800,) we will stay here, too.

I think what will end up happening is we will become snowbirds. Have a home here to rent out to the plentiful grad students in the winter, and make for sunny shores when the weather starts to get colder. Only after we retire, though. I had kids pseudo young, and want to stay at my company till I retire. There will be a few years in between.

We will see, though. We still have a lot of time and many other goals to reach before that happens.

Frankly Frugal asks: What would you do if you lost your wedding ring?

File an insurance claim!  This actually happened to me once in my previous marriage.  I got really torn up about it.  Now I realize a ring is just a ring.  While the thing it symbolizes is important to me, the ring itself can be replaced.

Here’s some wisdom from experience, though: if the economy ever tanks, go get your ring appraised as the price of precious metals probably just shot through the roof.  I didn’t, so I got reimbursed for the price my ex bought it at when the economy was still booming rather than what it was actually worth.  Lost almost $800.

Questions are closed!  Thanks for making this such a fun party!  Feel free to ask in the comments below, but I will not be adding anymore to this post.

Also, check out all the other cool peeps participating in the fiesta below Deb’s rules!

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23 thoughts on “Ask Femme Anything: #FrugalFINCONFiesta

  1. debt debs

    Great Q&A! Thanks for participating in FFF FF! Okay, you know I was dying to say that!!

    Why do you blog anonymously and who of your family and friends know about your blog?

      1. femmefrugality Post author

        Ha! Even better! I commonly go by FF or Femme or sometimes even the whole shebang of Femme Frugality. Probably why it tiled of the tongue… Sure I’ve signed off on some of our emails as FF. Great question, btw. Will get to it in a few hours.

  2. studentdebtsurvivor

    Very fun! What’s the biggest financial “mistake” you’ve ever made and what did you learn from it? Mine was definitely taking out so much student loan debt and not saving until I had enough to pay for school without all the debt.

  3. Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver

    Do you think you will stay in Pittsburgh once the kids are grown and out of the house, or do you have plans to move around/travel/relocate? I know it’s a long time away maybe, but I’m a long term planner, and you may be too! 🙂

  4. Mel

    Holy cow! I’m kind of sad I missed Frugal FinCon Fiesta! What an awesome group you guys gathered! And for the record, I’d be all for a Pittsburgh FinCon15 too.

  5. Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver

    Awww, I had to ask you who your insurance company is! 🙂 I LOVE the snowbird idea though, particularly about renting your home out to grad students. Living in AZ, where a lot of snowbirds spend their winters, I know a lot about snowbirds, and it seems like an excellent way to live. Never have to traverse through snow, and never have to suffer through hot Phoenix summers (or hot Miami, SoCal, etc. summers).

  6. Pingback: Frugal FinCon Fiesta Update & Blogger Awards - debt debs

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