Shane Ede, of BeatingBroke.com, started his first blog in 2005. He found himself writing a lot about money on that site, and later started his dedicated personal finance blog a few months later. BeatingBroke.com was subsequently begun in 2008 and has been dishing out great advice and content ever since!
Professionally, I was in IT for a little over 10 years, but have recently started a new adventure as a high school teacher. I currently live in the great state of North Dakota.
Why did you start BeatingBroke.com?
I started blogging about personal finance because it was something that I was learning a lot about at the time. I needed the information as badly as most of the people I was writing for.
What is the area of finance that your blog is particularly strong on (a particular demographic you focus on, etc) and how does your personal finance blog differ from others in the space?
I still focus the site on debt elimination, debt reduction, and general frugality. I think any blog develops its own voice over time. Beating Broke has had almost 7 years to do that and I think that voice helps separate it from the rest of the personal finance blogs. You know if you're coming to BB to read a post, you're going to get a certain viewpoint, and a certain manner in which the information is delivered.
Once you decided to change your situation and educate yourself, how long before you started to see a real difference in your finances? What do you think (generally speaking) is a good time frame for someone to expect to see improvements in their as well if they take similar actions?
The fun thing about making some wholesale changes in how you handle your money is that there are some immediate effects. Anyone can see some minor improvements in just a few weeks. The big changes are harder to get to, and will take a lot longer. Unless you get pretty lucky and find a whole lot of money, paying off your debt is going to take years, not months. But, if you're being realistic, there are still a whole lot of little milestones and effects that you can see along the way.
I still struggle with some of my financial demons. I'm a binge spender sometimes, and have to constantly remind myself of what my goals are for my finances so that I don't go outside my budget with spending. It's what got me in the mess I was in before, and only the knowledge and habits that I've gained since starting the blog have kept me from going right back there.
There are numerous impediments that people like to blame their lack of achieving on, but when it really comes down to it, the majority of people who aren't achieving their personal finance goals are not achieving them because they're causing themselves to fail. I don't always achieve my goals. Sometimes my spending gets in the way, or my lack of planning. Ultimately, I think we can live the lives we want if we'd just get out of our own way.
What are some steps that readers can take tomorrow to begin improving their financial situation?
If you want to improve your finances, the single best step you can make is to really get to know your money. How are you spending your money? Track every penny you spend and see if you can spot the weak spots in your spending. Yes, you have them. Now, just figure out how to fix them!
I'm an old fashioned computer guy. I still like using the more traditional tools rather than the new-fangled apps and programs. I've tried plenty of the new stuff, but I keep coming back to the good old programs that do things the way I like them to be done. Currently, I'm using Quicken Pro to track my finances. It's got a nice mix of the traditional tracking software with some nice elements like an iPad app that I can use when I'm away from my computer.
Do you think there is an area of personal finance that there aren't enough resources on?
If there's an area of personal finance that you want information on, you can find it online. It's just a matter of being able to filter through and find the truly honest, informative articles that help you out. There are some fringe areas that don't get a lot of coverage on blogs like mine, but that's usually because they're things best avoided. There might be a post or two on my site warning people away from those areas, but I don't think it's all that valuable to write a post explaining how something works only to follow it up with a "seriously, don't use this service". As a reader, I would come away from an article like that feeling like my time was wasted.
What other websites or blogs do you read regularly?
I don't have a whole lot of time to read other websites and blogs. I do read a lot of books, but between work, family, and down time, I don't have a lot of time to spend in a non-productive manner if I'm online. I have a few friends in the personal finance arena that I try and keep up with, but that's about it.