Happy Anniversary! Whether you’ve been reading for the whole three years or you’re just joining the community now, it’s time to celebrate in our achievements! Yes, “our” achievements — I may write this thing, but it’s you, reader, that makes it special. Otherwise, I’d just be airing my financial baggage in an echo chamber, and I’d have no one to call me out when I’m wrong (yeah, like that ever happens!)
We’ve grown! This blog has grown, I’ve grown emotionally, but thankfully not physically — I’m still a shorty at 5 foot 10 inches. So let’s take a quick look back at what’s happened over three zany, incredible, wacky years of Poorer Than You…
By The Numbers
-$7,993 — amount my net worth has dropped by. Entirely student loan based!
$2,440 — amount of credit card debt and overdue school bills paid off in year one
$1,363 — savings in the bank now
3,469 — approved comments on Poorer Than You
1,496 — peak number of Poorer Than You RSS subscribers (December 16, 2009)
401 — individual posts on Poorer Than You (402, including this)
1 — number of college degrees achieved since the start of this site
The numbers don’t tell you everything. They don’t tell you about how I started this blog because I’d run out of money and dropped out of college. I gained quick attention for being the film school dropout with a money blog, and landed a mention on the front page of the New York Times. The site moved from Blogspot to its current home at PoorerThanYou.com after I won the domain name in a contest (for realsies!). I launched an epic battle against the concept of a No Gas Day, and I like to think I won! (No, I didn’t. It’ll come back again, you just watch.) Then, I decided to go back to school.
I bought a laptop, moved house, then moved to California for the summer (yes, in that order.) I did my first Identity Theft Week then switched from aggressive debt reduction to building an emergency fund (and got yelled at in the comments for it!). I went back to school (finally!) and was interviewed by my college magazine. I made a spreadsheet of all the purchases that I was paying off from my credit card, which turned into my biggest motivator for paying the thing off. I turned 21.
I contemplated whether film school was worth all the debt, and then eventually changed my major. I was nominated for a blogging scholarship, made it as far as finalist and got $100. I put the blog on strike, and went silent for two months.
I came back. I railed against the FAFSA while my friends weighed the costs of grad school. A few months into year two, I confessed that I still didn’t have a budget. I made a video about how expensive and wasteful bottled water is. I did a series for my friends who were graduating. I didn’t graduate, because I still had to make up for the time I had dropped out. I achieved about half of my summertime goals. I paid off my credit card debt. I went without shampoo for four months. Now it’s been a year and a half without shampoo.
HP gave me a laptop to give away on my birthday. I looked back on the past year to see if I’d saved money by commuting and living at home with my parents. I started dedicating Fridays to money tips specifically for college students. I paid off my student loan interest without all the facts and missed out on a tax deduction (that I now think never would have mattered any whicha-way.) I found out I would have health insurance after graduation. (Huge relief!)
I started playing with Lending Club using their bonus money. I graduated, but suddenly there was this recession thing and I wasn’t finding a job. I talked about delicious lickable textbooks. I shared something that money can’t buy. I started paying off my student loans… come back in 25 years, and I’ll be done with that! Credit card reform was passed that was mostly good, except it coddles college students. I packed up to move from Rochester to the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area.
HP gave me two more laptops to give away. I moved everything I owned in my car, which stalled 160 miles into my trip. I turned 23. Poorer Than You grew to include forums. I did a second Identity Theft Week (cause it’s just that important). I got a few “big girl” jobs down here in the big city. We don’t have cable, or really even a TV, in our apartment.
Poorer Than You turned 3.
But I guess those are just the highlights… the events. In between, there’s been so much. So many thoughts and articles and lists and ideas. And I can’t take all of the credit. Because I’ve just been living my life and smashing my fingers on the keyboard while doing it. You guys are the real treasure here. You make everything worth doing, and most certainly you’re the ones who make it worth writing about.
So you just keep reading, commenting, and bothering me on Twitter. I’ll keep moving forward, paying down my debts, building up my savings, and sharing it all. Together, we’ll push through and instead of waiting to find out what the future holds, we’ll build it. You and me.