I haven't done a random life update in awhile, so I figured this was as good time as any. I've been blogging for about 15 months now and it's crazy to think about how many changes my blog has gone through.
When I started this blog, it was mostly to document my adventures in side hustling and to get out of debt. Since then, I've paid off my credit card debt, quit my day job, moved across the country and started my own business. That's a lot of changes!
Here are some random things happening!
Happy 12 year home anniversary to me
Can you believe I bought my first home when I was 22?! I can't either. Looking back, I was such a baby! But I was super responsible, had great guidance, found a good starter home under budget and loved it. Instead of selling it, I've been renting it out for a while. It's been the best way to pay off my mortgage and then some.
I'm not a vegan but…
I decided to give up meat and seafood this year. I caved once (darn you Chik Fil A), but have otherwise been in the clear. I also gave up milk, but still eat cheese. I seriously don't know how to give up cheese.
I don't know if this will be indefinite (or if I can maintain it), but I'm exploring what this lifestyle is all about.
From a savings perspective, I'm not saving any money at all off my grocery bill. Instead, I am using the difference to buy more organic and higher quality ingredients.
I might be moving…again
Yeah, I'm crazy. I spent almost 2 years in Seattle, and six months ago I relocated from Seattle to Nashville.
But the closer I get to home (I'm from Florida), the more I get the itch to go back to my old life. It was a crazy experience leaving the South for the PNW, but I miss friends, family and everything familiar. Nashville is beyond amazing though and I would be sad to leave. Ugh, decisions!
A few financial reasons I want to move home
My car is dying a slow death
My car was a college graduation present and is turning twelve this year. While she is certainly not ancient, she's had some issues. In the past year I've spent over $3,000 on things and now the transmission is a little wonky. My goal was to get her to 200,000 miles and we are hovering around 180,000. I totally understand car expenses, but I'm annoyed.
Sadly, I no longer trust her on any more long distance road trips for safety reasons. At what point do you say enough is enough, and make the decision to get a new (or new to me) car? If I moved, I could use some of my savings towards a new car.
Finish paying off my medical debt
Last year I got really sick and ended up in the ICU. Even with insurance, I owed nearly $10,000. Right now I have a payment plan that is 0% interest, pay $150 a month and it is not visible on my credit score. This is great, but I feel like I will be paying this off for the rest of my life.
Trust me, this debt is 100% worth it and I'm grateful to be alive. But I also really hate having this debt, even though it's not affecting my credit score. I want to pay it off and be debt free. If I moved back home, I could pay this off more aggressively.
My living expenses
If you read my blog from the very beginning, I used to write a monthly expense report. This included what I paid in rent, living expenses, groceries, etc. I stopped doing this report several months ago, but I thought I'd do an update.
After moving from Seattle to Nashville, my expenses definitely dropped. Can you believe I used to spend over $1,500 a month for a tiny, 530 square foot studio apartment? And over $400 a month in parking? Yeah, me neither. Since moving, my rent in Nashville has gone down to $900ish each month, my place is twice as big and my savings are amazing.
Of course, if I moved back into my house in Florida, my mortgage would be around $300ish a month (I have a really low mortgage payment with an awesome rate). That's a lot of savings! Remind me again why I left home?
FinCon is gonna be awesome
I am so excited to go to my first blogging conference ever this year! FinCon is this amazing personal finance blogging conference I have been reading about for a couple years and so many people go each year. I really want to meet everyone in person and totally love the PF community.
I've been self employed for 5 months
Can you believe this? I (carefully planned) quit my job in October and have been on my own for over 5 months. I don't know if I like the word freelancer though. It sounds so sporadic. I've managed to create my own Pinterest management business with my blog and it's been a crazy ride.
I also freelance for a start up company on the West Coast, but don't really mention it much on this blog since it's unrelated.
At the end of the day, I am 100% on my own, so call it freelancing or what you want!
Health insurance sucks
By far, having to get my own health insurance plan has been the toughest part about being self employed. If anything, it's been a battle. In just five months, I'm on my third insurance plan. My first plan was discontinued after a month, the second plan was bait-and-switch, so now I'm on my third plan.
Even though I pay a ridiculous amount each month, it sucks. I can't find any doctors who will accept my insurance in my area (my plan is through healthcare.gov). My monthly medication went from $80 to $530 and I had a total breakdown at the Target pharmacy when I learned of my new payment. I seriously don't know what to do. How can I pay so much and get so little?
Nashville is awesome
Growing up, everyone who graduated college knew if they wanted to move to a “big city” in the South, it was Atlanta. How has Nashville never been on the radar?
This city is amazing and I love it here. I have some family here and there is no other place in the US that has genuinely nicer people. Whether or not you are into country music, this city has something for everyone.
I wrote a book…and a course!
So much excitement has happened in the past six months. My blog has been a launching pad to help me grow.
I wrote a book about all the side hustles I have done to earn extra money. Each side hustle is legit and I love being able to share how I make money!
In a totally unrelated category, I went from 1,000 monthly page views to 160,000 page views thanks to Pinterest. I have had so many inquiries about how other bloggers and businesses can duplicate this that I started offering services and consultations. Because I can't help everyone – and a lot of people want tips – I created a Pinterest course.
Without this blog, these opportunities never would have been available.
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What are you up to? What goals are you working on?