Getting to Know the “Person” Behind the Personal Finance Blog

February 22, 2013
Toronto Star Interview

Another quiet week on the blog, I’m afraid, but a busy one in real life. On Monday, I finished piecing together my next blog. After I write all of the pages and move, it’ll be ready to launch… and I’m so excited to make it public! Also that day, my interview with the Toronto Star finally made it’s way into the paper (along with a picture of a Starbucks cup, go figure), so I picked up a couple copies for the fam.

While it was a short work week, it was still a busy one. It’s crazy to think I’m only in the office for 4.5 more weeks before moving and starting to work remotely… eek! Finally, for the last two days I’ve been suffering from the craziest spat of vertigo. Have any of you ever experienced it!? Simply sitting and feeling like the room is spinning around you is totally bizarre. I’m heading to the clinic this morning, to see if anything can be done to make it go away quickly, but I’ve been told not to get my hopes up.

Anyway, I’m sorry I haven’t updated the blog all week – there just hasn’t been much to say. But I thought I’d finish the week with a fun little questionnaire. Last week, Tonya filled it out on her blog, and she was prompted by a couple other girls who did it before her. So, since she so kindly referenced Blonde on a Budget as one of the blogs that inspired her to start writing, I thought I’d respond by answering the same questions for all of you.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

1) How did you come up with your blog name?

To be honest, I can’t remember. I could say that I was simply stating the obvious but I think I just thought it sounded catchy and, fortunately, no other bloggers were using the name already.

2) Which bloggers inspired you when you first started writing?

The first personal finance blog I ever came across ended up being anonymously written by a friend of mine from college (and from a program that only accepted 27 students each year – talk about a small world). I’ll never forget going through her blog and recognizing that the picture the author used was the same one my friend had on her Facebook profile. “Krystal, is this your blog!?” I had outed her. Aside from Krystal’s debt repayment story, the two bloggers who inspired me the most were Katie for her incredible commitment to staying frugal while paying down debt and Money Maus for her ability to save tens of thousands of dollars. Today, I am honoured to call these women my friends.

3) Why write about finance?

I hate answering a question with a question but… why not write about finance!? Debt repayment has been the #1 priority in my life since June 2011. Writing about this journey not only helped me stay accountable for my actions, it also gave me a support network and lit a passion inside of me that I never knew existed.

4a) What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I’ve been blogging in some form, for as long as I can remember. While some communicators are excellent speakers, I think writing is the best tool I have, when it comes to presenting myself and my ideas. I love brainstorming new blog post topics, writing, rewriting and moving all of my words around. That might sound painful to some people but writing and editing a post so it tells a story from beginning to end is totally satisfying. (Seriously, I will re-read posts 20x to make sure it feels “complete”.)

4b) What do you enjoy least about blogging?

I guess I shouldn’t say “nothing” but, to be honest, there isn’t any part of blogging that I don’t enjoy. Sure, I’ve lost hours of sleep to get posts up, or to reply to comments and emails, but writing is something I love to do. I guess the only part I don’t like is when I don’t know what to write about but I feel obligated to post something. I think I’m slowly starting to get over that though…

5) What’s the most helpful piece of advice you have learned from reading other PF blogs?

That’s a tough question to answer, because there is a lot of great advice out there. I’m going to go back to the three women who have inspired me most and say the biggest lessons I’ve learned are: do whatever it takes to pay off your debt, build up an Emergency Fund when you’re done, and aggressively save for your retirement after that.

6) In terms of finance, what is your main focus at the moment?

Obviously, paying off the remainder of my debt. (As of next week, I’ll be in the $4,000’s!)

7) If you could give your younger self financial advice, what would it be?

A credit card is not a second bank account. Plain and simple.

8) Who in your real life knows about your blog?

Everyone! I “came out” and told my family and friends about my blog in April 2012. Telling my parents (especially my dad) was absolutely terrifying… but writing anonymously was so freaking stressful! It’s incredible being able to share my life and my story with anyone I know who may want to read about it.

9) Does your real job have anything to do with finance or money?

Oh, it certainly does! The only reason I have my job is because my boss read Blonde on a Budget. Now I’m the managing editor of one (soon to be two) websites that help Canadians understand the home buying (and mortgage-getting) process in the simplest terms possible. (And you won’t believe how much the new site has to do with personal finance… will explain more, when it launches!)

10) What’s the first thing you would do if you won a million dollars?

Pay off my debt. Second, I’d pay off the last of my parents’ mortgage. Third, I’d put a little bit in two separate savings accounts for Baby Bro and Baby Sis. Finally, I’d pay for a house with cash. (Can you imagine!?)

  • Rob February 22, 2013 at 8:51 am

    “Finally, I’d pay for a house with cash.”

    Maybe so, Cait, but I figure that even after that you’d still have $$$ left over.

    Besides paying off debts and setting up savings accounts, methinks that you would then start up a different tack of financial planning – investigating the world of investments, something that you will need to do anyway once your debts are paid off this year. From my personal experience, the only way to really get ahead financially is to not only eliminate debt but also to make your money earn money, as effectively (and hopefully at minimal risk) as you possibly can. That in itself can be a subject for an entirely different blog.

    • Catherine February 22, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Not if she’s buying in BC!!

      • Cait February 22, 2013 at 9:34 am

        Exactly. Giving Baby Bro and Sis money for a down payment and then buying something for myself is more important to me than anything else. After that, my paycheques would leave me with lots of money to invest.

  • Budget & the Beach February 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Great to know how things got started for you, and how much this blog has lead to such great career options for you. As far as vertigo, I’ve had that happen. I think it was allergies/sinus for me, and possibly stress. Mine went away without doing anything. Other than that make sure you’re hydrated, which can also cause dizziness.

    • Cait February 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      I’m definitely hydrated but thanks for that suggestion! The doc thinks it’s because my nose has been stuffed up so long that (warning: gross) mucus has gone into my middle ear. Sexy, right? She gave me a prescription that’ll hopefully help clear it up.

  • Sue February 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Hey Cait, I have also had problems with vertigo. The Epley Manoeuvre worked for me. It’s basically a series of head movements that make vertigo go away. Super easy to do yourself, or have a doctor help you work through. Check out info on the Epley Manoeuvre and the condition BPPV. Here is a good article from NPR on the topic:

    • Cait February 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      The doc actually mentioned this to me! She did it once to me but it made me so dizzy that I almost threw up, haha. Not to say I wouldn’t try it again though… thanks, Sue!

  • KC @ genxfinance February 24, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Nice interview. I’d do the same if I won a million dollars. Those and then travel.

    • Cait February 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Oh yea, travel would be next on my list! Good one, KC.

  • Judith Cane February 25, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Best quote ever! “A credit card is not a second bank account”. I love it!

    • Cait February 25, 2013 at 8:43 pm


  • #Tag: Getting to Know the “Person” Behind the Personal Finance Blog | Making Sense Of Cents February 26, 2013 at 5:16 am

    […] Debt made a fun questionnaire so that everyone could get to know each other a little better. Cait, Tonya, and Krystal all took part and now of course I want to take […]

  • Savvy Scot February 28, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Love these mini-interviews! Congrats on your feature! :)

    • Cait March 3, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks, Scot!

  • American Debt Project February 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I just think it’s so cool we started blogging at the exact same time with the same mission. I started with a little higher debt and still have a little longer than you to go, but geez, it’s so close! The end is in sight! The crazy part is I want to be as focused as I was to tackle debt with my next big goal, but I haven’t committed to what that is yet :0)

    • Cait March 3, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Any ideas for what it might be? I’m going to save $5K in an Emergency Fund then start saving for a down payment.

      • American Debt Project March 4, 2013 at 11:44 pm

        Going straight to the down payment myself. I won’t have much in any other liquid savings, but I am giddy about the thought of going from $40K in debt to positive net worth and homeowner in a 2-3 year time period!

  • #Tag: Getting to Know the “Person” Behind the Personal Finance Blog - Caviar and Quarters | Caviar and Quarters March 5, 2013 at 9:23 am

    […] tag has been floating around the pf blogger community on other people’s sites so I thought I would chime in as […]

  • Katie C. April 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Awww! :) Thank you for the shout out, friend. You inspire me as well, and I’m so thankful to have you as a friend.