I’m super excited to announce an exciting change – Debt Free After Three is now Conscious Coins! The new name represents my new journey through blogging, an attempt to share how I’m being more mindful with my money (or trying to).
The content will remain somewhat similar, but I’m also expanding my coaching services. Now, you can easily schedule a 1-on-1 coaching call with me if you want specific advice on tackling your money problems.
But moving on, why did I feel the need to change my blog name?
My Blogging Journey
I started blogging in 2011 when I was a newspaper reporter in northwest Indiana. The blog was connected to the newspaper, and within weeks of starting the blog I realized I was spending more time writing blog posts instead of my real assignments. When I left the paper, I started blogging on my own (shoutout to all my original Tumblr followers).
A couple years later, I moved the blog to DebtFreeAfterThree.com and in November 2014, I paid off my student loans – three years after my first payment.
It’s been almost four years since that time and if you’ve been reading, you’ve noticed a shift in tone. I don’t write as much about paying off debt and living frugally. I’ve learned how to invest, a skill I never thought I’d have. I’ve become more conscious of how I spend my time, which affects how I spend my money. Since I’ve self-employed, my husband and I outsource more tasks as we attempt to be more efficient in our work.
I still care about paying off debt and I encourage people to do so, but I also want people to start investing now while they’re young. I worry that focusing too much on student loans hides the larger issue of saving for retirement.
Why Conscious Coins?
During the past year, I’ve started meditating every day. I have a huge problem with anxiety and focus and meditating regularly has helped me deal with my feelings better. I’m still not great at keeping my thoughts clear, but I think I’ve gotten better.
Meditating has also helped me understand my emotions around money. I naturally veer towards retail therapy and when I’m bored, sad or lonely, I automatically head to Nordstrom Rack or if it’s late at night, Poshmark.com, to relieve my feelings.
Being more mindful has helped me understand when I’m shopping because I truly want or need something and when I want to feel whole.
It’s this new attitude that helped me tackle investing for the first time. I’ve been saving for retirement for a few years, but I always had my dad pick my investments. I was too scared to invest and I told myself I wasn’t smart enough to do it.
Over the past year, I’ve been teaching myself more about the stock market and how to create a balanced portfolio. I’m still not a qualified expert, but I feel comfortable picking my own funds. I’m still kicking myself for not doing this earlier. I spend years being too scared to invest and not trying to conquer my fear.
I firmly believe that our emotions have a huge impact on how we handle money – or how we avoid handling it.
Case in point: my first budgeting disaster. I first tried budgeting my senior year of college. I was only a few months away from graduation and I felt like I needed to start being responsible.
I set up an account on Mint.com and gave myself a basic budget, part of which included an $80 line item for eating out. That was enough for a weekly indulgence like Chinese food or pizza.
A couple weeks in, Mint sent me a notification that I was already overbudget on eating out. I called my mom confused about how I could’ve failed so spectacularly.
“How have I already spent $80 when I’m only two weeks in?” I asked her. She asked me what I had bought and I recounted the purchases. “Well, I got a salad on Tuesday and then I ordered pizza on Friday and the week after I bought pad Thai.”
When I did the math, it didn’t make sense. I knew the numbers added up to $80, but I didn’t feel like I had gotten $80 worth of stuff. I wasn’t thinking about those meals consciously so they snuck up on me.
That’s what this blog is about – how to spend money consciously. It’s about investing in a way that makes sense for your life, buying things that you truly want or need and saving money on the stuff you don’t care about.
I’m not here to tell you not to buy $100 jeans or $4 coffees – but you should be mindful about it. Last year, I bought $70 denim shorts because I’d spent weeks trying to find shorts that fit. I felt a little guilty splurging on shorts, but I’ve worn them more than a dozen times since. It was a conscious choice and I’ve never regretted it.
That’s how you should feel after every purchase – no regrets.
It’s ok to have a few slip-ups. There are plenty of times when I buy something I regret 20 minutes later (usually it’s something I can’t return). Remember, I spent years of my life listening to someone else’s investing advice because I didn’t think I was smart enough to handle it.
This blog isn’t going to be me talking down to you and showing how perfect I am with money. It’s about us going on this journey together. I’m still learning and figuring out how to be more mindful with my money every day.