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It’s Time to Get Serious About Your Finances

I’m an avid follower of personal finance blogs, but I’ve never been brave enough to launch one of my own. The idea of sharing my monthly expenses, income, even net worth, publicly for everyone to see makes me shudder in fear of judging eyes. This is why I have so much respect for bloggers who put it all out there for the world to see and learn from.

I think it’s important to talk about money — but society still tends to shy away from this discussion. In efforts to contribute to the conversation, I’m going to try to make money a recurring topic at Web of Words. After all, though entrepreneurs will say they do it for the passion, we all need to pay the bills. Many of us have dreams of early retirement, even if we plan to continue working longer than we “need” to. Financial freedom is one of my ultimate goals in life, and I realize it will take a lot of planning, hard work and smart choices to get there.

I’ve found one of the most effective ways for me to learn about ways to improve my financial situation is through writing about it. I have the opportunity to interview experts in the field, seek their advice (for free), and translate it into a language I can understand (and hopefully my readers can too).

I also read a lot on personal finances. There is such an abundance of information out there, and although it can be overwhelming at times, I make it a priority to follow and refer to sources I trust for financial tips on a regular basis.

Of course, business finances go a step beyond personal. And when you’re self-employed, you have a lot to manage already. But money needs to be at the top of the list. I am still a newbie when it comes to optimizing my business finances, but I plan to share my journey with you here, in hopes you’ll be inspired to use it to advance your own financial situation, and share your mistakes and successes along the way. So stay tuned for more on that. Now, onto my weekly reflections…

Highlights This Week

What I’m Writing:

Speaking of writing about money, I had the opportunity to interview a mortgage expert and share tips for millennials who may be looking to buy a home — whether it be now, or in the distant future. You can read the full story in The Reply.

What I’m Reading:

My favourite read this week was this post on turning 30 by Christopher Rogers on The Reply. Just go read it, you won’t regret it.

I also really enjoyed this post by Go Girl Finance on ways to diversify your income. “It took me a few years — and launching my own business — to realize that I do have control over my income. I have the power to change it if I’m willing to try new things and, of course, work extremely hard,” writes PF blogger Kali Hawlk. At the end of the day, there are two key ways to improve your financial situation: make more money, and/or spend less. Kali gives some great tips for the former.

What I’ve Learned:

I actually feel indebted to blogger J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy for the six hours he spent creating this Early Retirement Spreadsheet and writing about it on his blog. (I know it took that long because he told me in a tweet). It sucked up a large chunk of my “lunch hour” plugging in all of our numbers, but the productivity loss was beyond worth it to have this perspective of what our financial future could look like.

It was just the motivation I needed to keep up the hustle and continue cutting down our spending (especially with added challenges like retail and restaurant bans — which have been a great success so far). I know our financial situation will fluctuate a lot in terms of what we’re spending (and hopefully investing) over the coming years, but it’s still really helpful to have the insight.

What I’ve experimented with:

Chris and I have been working on streamlining the article submission process for guest contributors at The Reply, and this week we finalized our style guide, guidelines and terms, and online submission form. We’re so pleased with the contributions we’ve had so far, and I think this will make it even easier for us to share more meaningful commentary with our readers. So if you’ve been thinking of submitting, be sure to check out those links!

This weekend I plan to do some last-minute running around as the husband and I prepare for our upcoming vacation. I can’t wait to get away from these freezing Canadian temperatures and enjoy a week of relaxation and adventure in the Caribbean! Beware of beach photos coming to a social media feed near you. 😉

How has your week been? Any exciting plans for the weekend ahead?


Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is the founder of Web of Words. She helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Her work has been published in Maclean's, Canadian Business, Zoomer, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and fur-babe. To learn more, check out her portfolio at charlotteottaway.com and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.

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