It’s official– it’s been two years since I started this blog to share my personal money journey, get out of debt, and have a personal hobby during my difficult first year of teaching. I went back to read last year’s post, and was struck by how much I had accomplished in that first year: I earned a scholarship to the biggest personal finance conference in the world, grew a large following on my blog, met some of my favorite women in personal finance, and hit all of my money goals.
Things have slowed down a lot this year, to say the least. I haven’t been surpassing goals, increasing my savings rate, or really even growing my platforms at an impressive pace. It feels strange to go from seeing such tangible progress to a place that sometimes feels like maintenance, and it definitely doesn’t feel like something that would be celebrated in our culture.
But I find myself pushing back against that, because I have so much to be proud of. Showing up for my readers, followers, and subscribers and consistently putting myself out there is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. For one, I have a lot of anxiety surrounding what others think about me, so every single blog post, IG photo, and YouTube video can feel like an uphill battle against my nasty inner voice. Because of this, I know that even just remaining consistent with my content is something to celebrate. So I’m here to celebrate showing up and doing the work.
While it’s not all about outcomes, the thing about setting up systems and doing the work is that outcomes follow naturally. Here are some of my big wins since starting Teachers Talk Money– once called wrachelwrites 🙂
Since I began this blog, I have…
- Paid off $13,500 of student loan debt — After I graduated, I spent a year making big and small sacrifices in the name of not owing anyone money. While I wouldn’t recommend my exact course of action anymore, I have no regrets, and am so glad I documented my whole journey here on the blog.
- Fully funded my Emergency Fund and saved up for when I need to replace my car — These two savings goals hung over my head like a rain cloud for so long. I absolutely don’t want anyone to feel that way about their money, but that’s genuinely what my experience was like. Not knowing if my car would break down or I’d need to go further into debt for another emergency always left me feeling vulnerable. But this year, when the pandemic hit and my income was a bit of a question mark, I felt secure knowing I had everything I needed. I want all my readers, followers, and subscribers to know what that feels like.
- Experienced bunch of amazing, unfrugal travel by using my travel fund — From Iceland to Virginia to Vermont (where I’m writing this post from, btw) and more, I have been grateful for my travel fund every step along the way. I love that is allows me to make decisions about my trips without having to make sacrifices.
- Increased my net worth by about $40,000+ — It still boggles my mind to write out numbers like this, ones that look so ridiculously huge to me. But it’s such a clear reminder that it doesn’t take a huge income or a legacy of financial privilege to build wealth.
- Increased my income by $9,095 through taking on a club sponsor and coaching position and working my way up the salary steps — Through taking on these positions that I genuinely LOVE doing, I’ve been able to boost my financial progress. Plus, I’m consistently getting closer and closer to earning my Master’s degree and changing lanes. None of these things happened over night, but as always, showing up and doing the work means progress becomes inevitable at some point
- Started an Instagram page and YouTube channel — During my first year teaching, blogging alone was enough to add to my plate. Like I said, I have a lot of fear about what other people think, so starting an IG and especially a YouTube channel were HUGE steps out of my comfort zone. And let’s not forget how much hard work and time these commitments require. But I’ve never been more proud of myself for doing it anyway. My life accomplishments have always been predictable, tied to academic success and accolades. Now that no one’s making the rules except me, it takes a lot more independence to start a new challenge and follow through. It also means a whole lot more.
- Learned how to feel good about my money — This is the big one. My old blog posts are so riddled with struggle and anxiety about money. Don’t get me wrong, I still face these things in other areas of my life, but I don’t have money insecurity like I did growing up, or even when I started this journey. I can’t pinpoint the moment when my mindset shifted, because it has been a multi-year journey of setbacks, accomplishments, mistakes, and more. But emergencies or changes in my financial plan no longer send me spiraling. In fact, I feel good about my money– which is something I kind of never thought I would say.
So yeah, it’s been 2 years. I still love making this content for you guys, sharing my journey, lending advice, and I love seeing how much the community has grown. Thank you for reading along, reaching out, and making Teachers Talk Money exactly what it has become.