Now, Max is back as part of our Beginner to Blogger interview series. Each interview features personal finance bloggers who share how they started their personal finance journey, what financial obstacles they’ve overcome, and how they’re still progressing on their journey toward financial independence.
My name is Max and I started the blog Tried and True Mom Jobs in February 2018. Tried and True Mom Jobs is a personal finance blog about ways to make money, save, and invest.
I am a wife and mother of two and was inspired to start blogging when I became pregnant with my second child as a way to bring in an extra income. My background is in Marketing, and I recently quit my corporate job as a Marketing Communications Manager to blog full-time.
What prompted you to start focusing on your personal finances?
As the baby of the family, I grew up watching my siblings and have always learned from their mistakes. They did not make the best financial decisions and I learned at an early age the importance of saving and making money.
What was the greatest financial obstacle you faced or mistake you made during the “early days” of your personal finances? How did you improve the situation
The greatest financial obstacle I faced was trying to figure out how to pay for college.
My parents were not in a situation where they could really help financially and I did not want to take out too many student loans.
This inspired me to take advantage of scholarships… After all, it is free money.
After attending a scholarship seminar, the speaker said the main reason students don’t get scholarships is because they are lazy. Many scholarships require writing essays and are time-consuming, so kids just don’t do them.
I used this as motivation and applied for any and EVERY scholarship I qualified for and received over $40,000 in scholarships. I still had to take out some student loans but it would have been a lot worse had I not applied myself.
What is one area of personal finance that you still struggle with?
I struggle with budgeting for food. If I could get my grocery bill lower each week and not impulse shop, that would save me a lot of money.
What does financial independence mean to you?
Financial independence means freedom to do what I want when I want.
Since making your personal finances a priority, how has your quality of life changed (happiness, relationships, career, hobbies)? What’s improved that you may not have expected, or what unexpected challenges may have surprised you?
Making my personal finances a priority has made a huge impact on my quality of life.
When I quit my job to stay home with the kids and blog full-time, I had the confidence to make this big move because we saved for this.
If something unexpected happens like our car breaks down, or the furnace goes out we don’t have to worry because we have a savings and an emergency fund.
If we did not make our personal finances a priority early in our marriage we would not be able to do the things we can do today. I know it has helped our marriage, we are both on the same page for living a frugal lifestyle.
What advice (money or career-related) would you give to a recent college graduate just starting their first full-time job?
Find a mentor within that company, someone who is high up. Don’t be afraid to ask. This shows initiative and that you want to learn and grow. Most people love to help young go-getters these relationships are invaluable.
What is a common misconception or belief about money you’d like to warn beginners about?
Money does not make you happy. It can temporarily but relationships, family, and being connected to a community is what really matters.
In the last three years, what is one new behavior or decision that has most improved your financial situation?
Using one credit card on everything.
We have the Chase Freedom cash back credit card and we use it on everything. The more money you spend the more you earn, that’s why we have one credit card.
We have over $600 in cash back rewards just this year. This is FREE MONEY as long as you pay your statement off in full each month.
We will spend this on Christmas and a mini vacation – just for spending money on things we would have purchased anyway.
What is one item you like to splurge on?
Food. I love to eat (thank God for a good metabolism). This is why I need to lower my grocery bill.
If you could give a personal finance book to everyone just starting their financial journey, what book would you give them?
I’m a big fan of Total Makeover by Dave Ramsey.
What led to your decision to start a blog, and what has your experience been like so far?
When I became pregnant with my daughter, I knew I wanted to stay home with her and my son who had recently turned two.
We were not at a point where we could live on one income so I needed to find a way to supplement my income if I wanted to quit my job.
I searched night and day for legitimate stay at home mom jobs, and I couldn’t find any.
I knew there were moms that were making a nice income from home while raising kids so I reached out to some and interviewed them.
I knew there were other moms in my same situation and wanted to share what I had found, and from that birthed my blog Tried and True Mom Jobs.
The money is also what led me to blogging and its flexibility, I would read how bloggers were making $1,000-$50,000 a month.
I thought, why can’t I do that?
So I did.
The experience has been great. I earned $500 from one affiliate sale during my third of month blogging and that was when I realized I could really make money from this.
If you had to delete all of your blog posts except for one, which post would you keep and why?
My cornerstone post is 20+ of the Best Stay at Home Mom Jobs that Pay Well.
It’s the reason I started this blog: to share tried and true ways to make money from home from Moms themselves.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Blogging takes a LOT of work but if you know what you are doing it can pay off for years and years to come.
Thanks for sharing your story, Max!