Goodbye Blonde on a Budget, Hello Future

Goodbye Blonde on a Budget, Hello Future

Before you jump to conclusions, I am not deleting this blog! I’m simply changing the name. :)

On October 1st, 2010, I created a free blog: blondeonabudget.wordpress.com, to be exact. (Which, oddly enough, looks like someone setup again just a few weeks ago… huh. Anyway!) I setup the blog when I was 25 and had approx. $24,000 of debt. At the time, I thought I was ready to get serious about my finances. I thought I was going to start paying down my debt and get my life on track. I also thought I was going to quit drinking on January 1st, 2011. Neither of those things happened. Instead, I went down one more spiral in February, drank away all my savings in eight weeks and deleted the first version of the blog. I wasn’t ready to deal with my reality yet, and I certainly didn’t want readers to know what I was doing to myself and my finances. So, I hit delete and gave up on both goals.

Just a few months later, however, that spiral led me to be maxed out with $28,000 of debt. When you’re maxed out, you have no option but to get serious about your finances, so that’s what I set out to do. I relaunched the blog in June 2011 and announced my first debt repayment plan: I wanted to pay off $7,000 of debt in three months. It was an aggressive goal, and I didn’t quite meet it, but I did pay off $4,500 in that time. I paid off an additional $5,500 in the three months that followed, for a total of $10,000 in six months, and used the momentum (and the heavy weight that was lifted) as motivation to keep going. By the time I hit the one-year mark, I’d paid off a total of $17,000 of debt. And I made my final payment on May 21st, 2013 and have been debt-free ever since.

When I started this blog, I never meant for anyone to read it. The majority of my posts in the first six months were just weekly spending reports. I wrote them to stay accountable to myself, and the few readers that stopped by along the way. But the more I wrote, the more you stopped by. With each update, you came into my corner and cheered me on – even if it was just for those weekly spending reports! I can honestly say I don’t think I would’ve paid off my debt, if I didn’t have all of you to answer to – and that’s been true of many of the goals I’ve tackled since. You were with me when I started taking better care of myself and lost 30lbs. You supported me in my recovery from the accident and surgery. And your love has poured through every time I’ve written about sobriety.

The last five years have been full of personal growth and huge life changes. Sometimes, I look back at the posts I published in the first year and can hardly believe how different my life is today. Changing my relationship with spending, budgeting, saving, and investing has set me up for a much better future. Making my health a priority has surely added years to my life. And there is no doubt in my mind that embracing minimalism and giving up shopping for two years changed my values more than almost anything else (second only to sobriety, which will always be at the top of my priorities). But for as much as I have grown as a person, as a woman, as a worker and as a writer, one thing hasn’t grown up with me: the name of this blog.

I started growing tired of the words “blonde on a budget” last fall. It began to feel young. I started hearing more dumb blonde jokes, which didn’t help. And considering how many different topics I touch on now, it just didn’t feel like it fit with the new direction the blog seemed to be going in. It’s true that I will always be blonde (until I go grey) and I will always be on a budget, and this is the reasoning so many of my friends told me not to rebrand (not to mention the brand recognition BoaB has right now). But I noticed that I cringed whenever I told someone the name of my blog. You shouldn’t cringe when you talk about your favourite project – you should feel proud of it! I’m proud of the blog and I love the community we have here, but I’m done with the name. I just want to be me. :)

After humming and hawing about it for months, I made the decision on Friday and asked a friend to help me do it as soon as possible. My domain is now caitflanders.com. If you type in blondeonabudget.ca or .com, you’ll still get here! But you won’t see the words “blonde on a budget” anymore. Everything else, however, will stay the same. I’ll still write about personal finance, minimalism, travel, health, social media, etc. And something I’ve recently realized is that my overall message, these days, is about conscious consumption – from what we buy and trade our time for, to what we bring into our homes and even put into our bodies. The message is the same, the design is the same, the writer is the same. And my name will never change, so I’ll never have to do this again!

For all you bloggers out there, you can imagine this change will come with some implications. We setup 301 redirects for the old site, so anyone who visits old links should end up at the same page/post but with the new domain. However, I’ll still lose some search traffic for a few months, and it’ll take Google time to go through caitflanders.com and rank me for any search terms. Fortunately, I’ve never written for SEO or setup AdWords campaigns to make money, so I don’t really care about that. And traffic always dips a little in the summer anyway, so it seemed like the perfect time to make the switch. There are still a bunch of things I need to change on the site, like content in the sidebar and static pages. (I did this fast, give me a break!) But the change is done and I am happy.

From a financial/legal perspective, Blonde on a Budget is still the name of my business, I own the trademark and it’ll still be at the top of all my invoices to clients. It’ll probably always be part of my life, and I’m ok with that. Entering those four words into WordPress in 2010 was the first step into a world I never could’ve imagined. This blog helped me get my first freelance writing job, my first full-time editing job, my first paid public speaking gig and a literary agent. It also helped me connect with hundreds of incredible personal finance and simple living bloggers, podcasters and reporters, as well as all of you. I’ve shed tears writing some of the most personal posts I never imagined sharing, and smiled reading your comments. This blog has truly changed my life.

So “blonde on a budget” may be gone, but I am here to stay. :)

  • Oh wow, this is so amazing! I’ve not been following you long, but really enjoy your post and it’s exciting to see you have this new fresh element to your blog for you to enjoy!
    This blog post offers a really interesting overview of your blogging journey as well, which is inspiring to read.

    Best wishes!

    • Thanks, Nicky! New element is a great phrase for it. I still love everything about this blog, just needed a fresh start. :)

  • Congrats on the rebrand Cait! You’ve been through so much and have come out the other side triumphant. I know you’ll keep on inspiring others. I hear you on getting tired of a blog name, I’m going through a rebrand as well but picking the name has been challenging. Happy for you and the next part of your journey :)

  • Your name change makes perfect sense to me. the old name did seem to cover only one dimension of your blogging subject matter, and not the most important one at that. Congradulations on all that you have accomplished since 2010. I know from personal experience how challenging sobreity, debt repayment and minimalism can be!

  • One of the first to comment on a new blog!! LOL BRAVO Ms. Flanders! It was nice to sit down with a cup of coffee and read your blog this morning. You have certainly shared so much in the time since I found you on Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s website. We all need change every now and then. We all grow and expand our horizons. From where I sit, you have no worries about your loyal (and new) followers continuing on with you. You have so much wisdom to share with young people out there. And sound advice for all us older than you folks. LOL I, for one, look forward to your posts every week and will continue to do so. I hope that one day in the future I will have such loyal followers as you. Bravo, Cait Flanders. Bravo. :)

    • What kind words to wake up to, Shelly! I can’t thank you enough for all your support over the years. (And your pictures are beautiful, btw!) We will definitely talk more soon :)

  • “I am here to stay”

    (whew!!!)

    Wow! How to “gently” wake me up on a Monday morning, Cait, when I first read that blog posting title (“Goodbye Blonde on a Budget”). Sure glad I read the entire story! :-)
    At least I didn’t spill my coffee…

    This blog may have changed “your” life but I dare say that it has also changed countless other readers’ lives over the years, many of which you will never be aware of.

    • Haha yes, at least you didn’t spill your coffee. Thanks for all your kind words and continued support, Rob. Appreciate you!

  • Awesome!

    I came to your site this morning before this post when live and discovered the change :)

    Have a great Monday!!
    Dayle

  • It’s great to see your personal and professional development reflected in the name-change!

  • Congrats on the new name! Change is always scary but generally worth it, I think! And chasing up those last little details is the worst part of a revamp!

    • Well, and the technical stuff seemed way more serious than the fact that the words “Blonde on a Budget” might exist on the site, you know? I can fix that stuff easily all week. The big (scary) change was the domain name! Glad it’s done :)

  • I’m glad that you are here to stay. Started the Mindful budgeting book last week, and am looking forward to purchasing the 2017 edition. Your site has changed forever the way I look at spending and living my life. Thank you for all that you do. God Bless!

    • Thanks, friend! It also gives me more freedom to write about the outdoors, which I’m excited about :)

  • Great change. Such a good move. I’m excited you’ve chosen to move in this direction. I’m looking forward to seeing you flourish under this new banner.

    BTW: You can register a new business name associated with your current business. It’s like an alias, but less creepy. My main business operates under two additional names. It’s pretty painless to set it up both with the government and at the bank.

    • Yea, I know I can do a new name… but I don’t think I can change the name on my GST account, haha. My accountant warned me about this!

  • “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Or as my dad used to say: “Call me anything you want but don’t call me late for dinner.” ;-)

  • Very exciting, Cait! I have been following you for awhile and had wondered when you would make a change. Thank you for all the inspiration!

    • Ahhh, interesting! You’re not the first person to say that. Why didn’t you guys tell me to do this sooner!? Haha ;)

  • I was briefly worried you weren’t going to have time to blog anymore. My journey has been slow, more “3 steps forward, 2 steps back,” but I love reading your blogs for inspiration and a reminder – it’s possible! So happy for you that you’re found your peace and a lifestyle that seems to be working for you. Cheers Cait!

  • YAY!!! Big congrats, and (whew!). I read the subject line (saw this first in my email) at first & was bummed but kept reading & breathing a big sigh of relief ;-)

    So excited for you & so grateful to be along for the ride!

  • Congratulations! I found your site a few months back and have really enjoyed reading your approach to money, to “things,” and to life. I also recommended your site to both my children (ages 23 and 20) as they venture out into the world. You are making a life from what you love; everyone should be so fortunate!

    Best of luck for the future.

    • Thank you so much, Paula! For all the kind words and for sharing the site with your daughters. Reminds me of all the articles my dad has shared with me over the years :)

  • Good for you. It’s a lot of work to change but worth it. I had to do a rebrand last year thanks to the three Canadian accounting bodies merging. Had to completely change corporate name, identity etc. Still haven’t had time to update the website, but maybe now that tax season is mostly done I will have time.

    • Oh man, that would be tough for sure. I don’t think this will be *too* difficult to deal with. And having BoaB as my business + GST account names will just be a fun reminder of where it started. But using my name might’ve been the smarter move, lol. Good luck with the site!

  • I absolutely love your blog, whatever the name will be! You’re an excellent writer and a great inspiration. I’ve shared your site with the ladies of my book club. My husband and I are currently 5 months complete of our clothing shopping ban and I realize now how easy it is. I particularly loved your blog where you posted pictures of your closet. Thank you so much for everything!

    • Wow, that’s incredible, Vicki! How long do you plan to do your ban for? What’s been the toughest part? And the best part? :)

  • Great name change, Cait, and good job on switching everything over so quickly! Hope the transition was as smooth as possible, WordPress-wise (it never is completely, in my experience lol). I’m sure the hard work will be well worth it, though, and I wouldn’t worry too much about your SERPs rankings. Google’s pretty smart about indexing new content and getting everything squared away on redirects.

    P.S. No matter what you call your blog, I’ll still keep reading. :)

    • I think the backend stuff was done perfectly! Every single link I’ve ever included in a post has even been changed… it’s amazing! But I need to update all the content pages, haha. All in good time! I’m not super worried about Google either, just heard I could lose an avg. of 15% of my traffic for 2-3 months, and that’s ok with me. Appreciate you easing my fears of it all!

  • Love seeing this outpouring of support for your new direction! Congrats, Cait. I think this new change sounds fantastic and feels like it embraces your full self, instead of holding onto the place where your journey started. I’ve always read your blog for your honesty, stories, and wisdom, not for the budget stuff. So your new name (your name!) feels like the right move. xo

    • Thanks, friend! I’m so lucky to have such a supportive group of people behind me. :)

  • Hi Cait,
    I love your blog. I love how you write, and what you write. Yes, you scared me when I read the title of this post so therefore decided I better say something before the chance is taken away. I just wanted to thank you. You inspire me.

    I am in my mid-50’s and so my time to reap investment rewards have to be fast tracked. Luckily, I figured out in my early 30’s that my favorite words in the whole world is compound interest and dollar cost avaraging!

    Like Joel Osteen says, live your best life now. Ans as you have tsught me, live it with intention, purposeful and with gratitude.

    Best to you always. My cousin recently visited Victoria, and I totally thought of you :)

    ♡maria

    • Now if only those could’ve been our favourite words in our 20s! Hehe. That’s incredible, Maria! Thank you for taking the time to comment. And I hope your cousin had a lovely time here! We’ve had surprisingly great weather (some cloud, but not much rain) the past month or two. :)

  • Congratulations on the change. I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed following along with your blog the last few years. You definitely had a huge part in inspiring me to start my own blog. Especially because you are a local coastal BC girl. Glad you aren’t going anywhere. Keep up the amazing work!

    • Definitely not going anywhere! And if we’re ever in the same city, I’d say it’s about time we had coffee and talked finance in person. :)

  • Thank you so much for your blogging and inspiration. I’m going through a very similar situation with debt and have started my own shopping ban and facebook page (eventually a blog I hope if I get over being too nervous to publish more detailed info) to help myself stay accountable and keep in line with my goals. You’ve helped me see an eventual way out from under my own mess. And congratulations on your rebrand! Can’t wait to read more from you :)

    • I totally understand not wanting to be too open with information online. That’s why I blogged anonymously for the first year or so! But if you ever do decide to start a blog, do let us know :) and thanks for all the kind words, Dianna!

  • Good choice. I wanted to feature your blog on my Sunday Best, but I wasn’t sure how many of my readers would identify with a “blonde on a budget.” I went with it yesterday, but was happy to update to your more professional, grown-up blog name today.

    It looks like I sent about 50 people to BoaB so far, but they will now be directed to caitflanders.com

    Best,
    -PoF

    • Yes, I saw that! Thank you so much – you certainly did send over some new readers. :)

  • I like the new domain name– I think it encompasses everything that is you instead of your appearance and the budget. I should add, you have no idea how many years after high school graduation I was “the blonde valedictorian,” as if it were an oxymoron. :)

  • I have received a quite a lot of stares at work during lunch hours reading Blonde On a Budget. African guy reading BoaB and all haha. Remarks like, hey dude are you trying to go blonde? Good luck and I will still support you. Great job. Love from Chicago!

    • Haha! Oh my gosh, thanks for the laugh, Muchandida. That’s too funny. Now you can just say “it’s my friend Cait’s blog”. :)

      • Wow! Did we just became friends? Haha. Thanks for reading my comment and responding. Made my day.

  • I’ve been thinking changing my blog name for similar reasons. Only thing stopping me is difficulty coming up with a new name. I’m just glad you’re still writing!

    • I feel you! A couple people suggested I come up with a new name and that just felt impossible. My only advice: trust your first instinct on each name you think of. :)

  • Great post and likely a smart move. I’m a new reader but I will keep coming back for sure. I wish there were blogs like this around when I was making all my biggest money mistakes in my 20’s.

    • I wish there had been for you too! I attribute so much of what I’ve achieved with my finances to all the great personal finance blogs I read back in the day. The more we talk about it, the better we can all do! :)

  • Hey, that’s awesome that you decided you needed a change and just went ahead and made it happen. I wish I had discovered your blog earlier so I could have followed more of these changes in real time, but better late than never!

    I love too that you didn’t necessarily expect anyone to read the blog when you started it. That’s a very refreshing concept in the context of today’s blogger world. :)

    • Haha, well and I like to think I’ve maintained that mentality, to some degree. I’ve certainly never used the blog to make money in the traditional ways (ads, affiliates, etc.). A little extra from products has been awesome, but this blog is still just a place I come to write. :)

  • Congratulations Cait. I think this is a move that provides a great message for your readers – especially any young women out there following in your footsteps. This change is a message of empowerment that you don’t need to have a label, you aren’t a product you are a person. Best of luck with transitioning the rest of the site over!

    • Wow, I hadn’t thought of it like that… thank you for inspiring ME, this morning, Scott! :)

  • Congratulations Cait! I totaly understand your reasons, love the new blog name – it seems like such a natural progression. I’m impressed that you followed your heart and didn’t let readership statistics stop you from going ahead with this. Bravo! You did give me a good fright, though.

    • Well, the numbers really don’t matter. At the end of the day, I’d rather have fewer people who are really engaged than lots of people who just stop by. :)

  • Great job on the renaming Cait! It’s great to see this evolution taking place in your sites development. Thanks for the insight on trafic taking a dip in summer. Going into my first summer as a blogger so it’s a good thing to know before I start to wonder what’s going on! Keep up the great work!

    • Yea, it’s kind of like the holidays in December… people are out living their lives more! As they should be :)

  • Congrats Cait on the change, it’s awesome that you’re able to have your blog grow along side your own personal growth. It’s a perfect progression, more power to you. Best of luck with the new name!

  • Cool! Good for you! Change is a good thing :-)

    I want to rename my blog as well. I actually haven’t liked my title for a long time now but I thought it would just be too much of a headache to rename. This post has inspired me – I’m going to start brainstorming my blog makeover now! Luckily, being one of the little guys with like no followers means I don’t have to worry as much about brand awareness and losing readership – so I better do it now while it’s still easy!! :-)

    • I’d tell people with any size of following to do it whenever the time feels right! It’s taken a huge weight off my shoulders that I didn’t even realize was there. Good luck! :)

  • Maybe you needed to change your name, but I must to say you thanks because every single post I’ve read about your shopping ban, budget & co offered me great tips and I’m sure I will receive more…Congratulations for every single goals you achieved!!!

  • Just discovered your blog, and I am happy to see that you are continuing to write about your life story. You are a true inspiration and I admire you perseverance in your quest to beat your addiction and get out of debt. Congrats! – Mrs. FE

  • Congratulation on the name change. Life is always about changes and sometimes you need to adapt!

    I admit, that I’ve only just stumbled onto your blog a few months ago and have literally followed your blog from beginning to end and can see the transformation and can certainly understand the name change.

    Congrats and good luck!

    • Oh man, the posts from the early years are so different, aren’t they? I looked through a bunch last week and it always blows me away. Thanks for the congrats! :)

  • Congratulations on the upgrade :) You continue to be inspirational, and I wish you continued success.

  • Congrats on the name change! Your story is so inspiring so I’m glad you have just changed and not deleted! We are currently chipping away at 550k of debt and I LOVE reading about other people who have been successful at tackling their debt! Keep up the good work!

    • Wow, I’ll have to pop over and see how you guys are doing, Amber! Thanks for the positive feedback :)

  • As a relative newcomer on the PF blogging scene, I am glad to read that you aren’t going anywhere after a rather scary headline. I am looking forward to reading how you feel you benefit from the rebranding in the months ahead!

    • It’s been 48 hours and, so far, I’m really happy with it! Everyone’s supportive feedback has made it even better :) but it was a change I made for myself, so even if I lose traffic or it somehow messes up my blog, I’m not going to worry about it. Life is too short to worry about the numbers! Gotta do what makes you happy :)

  • Congratulations to you! Life is always changing and us with it. I’ve only followed your site for a short time now but I know where you are coming from. With my own domain I had thought about a different URL until I realized my brand is really ME. So I stayed with my first name, last name .com … It is hard to say which ultimately is a better choice. I think with your name as the domain you can incorporate many other topics now too. Should be interesting to see the development over the next years to come. Looking forward to more. Cheers

    • You were so smart to use your name from the start, Irene! I’ve since read countless posts that always suggest people should do that, but I wrote anonymously at first, so the thought didn’t even cross my mind. Ahh well, the growth and decision-making is also a cool part of the process. Onward!

  • Congrats on the change Cait!! I nearly had a heart attack when I clicked over to your blog and saw the headline the other day, glad you included that first sentence line in bold ;)
    Looking forward to continuing to follow your journey. I’ve been loving seeing what you get up to on your travels through instagram as well :)

    • Thanks, Caitlin! Yes, there should be lots more pics from the road this summer :) still mapping out plans and details, but I’m looking forward to whatever is next!

  • Well done Cait, youve outgrown the name so its nice that you feel comfortable enough to move forward. Onwards and upwards. Looking forward to the next 5 years :o)

    • You know, now that I’m writing under my name, I can actually see myself still blogging here in another 5 years now too. Feels good :)

  • Congratulations! I don’t think people understand the power of having a support group behind you, even if it’s just those whom you’ve met over the internet. Look forward to keeping up with your posts under your new domain!

  • *sniff* I teared up a little reading this Cait. Your journey is so inspiring, I’m happy I found you and will continue to follow your journey <3

  • Congratulations on all of your accomplishments! You and your writing are so inspiring. I did the same thing with my blog in 2009–changed the name to reflect more of what I do. It was one of the best things I ever did. Keep on keeping on!

    • Oh that’s great to hear, Jeanne! And good feedback for me too. Thanks for the congrats :)

  • Congratulations! I’ve noticed a few other bloggers making the re-branding step this year. It’s great! I know personally I chose the name “Millennial Boss” because I’m still anonymous and also because my name means nothing in the PF blogosphere but maybe eventually I’ll get to the point that I can rebrand as myself (and without fear of anyone finding out in my day job!)

    • You might! But it’s ok if you keep your blog name too. If it ever makes sense to change it, though, my suggestion is to just go for it. Do what feels right :)

  • It’s been quite a ride from those early days….I remember when you used to blog anonymously. I remember when you thought about revealing yourself and gave hints like “My last name is used on a very popular TV show” (The Simpsons). Then came the name, and the face……….and now your name is your domain. Can’t wait to see what’s next. :)

    • Wow, you remember everything, friend! It’s easy to forget about all the little transitions you make, because of what they lead to. You’re right, maybe this is just another small transition into whatever is next :)

  • Cait, I’ve followed your blog since the beginning and it’s wonderful to see how you have grown both personally and professionally. You are carving out a life that meets your needs and speaks to your wants and dreams – a goal that we should all aspire to acheive. I’m looking forward to reading your future posts and that you’re continuing to help others, one word at a time. Congratulations!

  • I’ve just discovered your blog and your podcast with Carrie and I must say that the name never felt like it was a true representation of you. Congrats on taking a leap. I’m sure it will lead only to good things. Ps. Really love listening to the Podcast down here in New Zealand x

  • Congrats on the name change and rebranding of your blog! Change can definitely be scary, but sometimes we must go through that scariness to reach greater heights. I’m confident that will continue to happen with your blog. Looking forward to following along with your journey!

  • Great choice! I think the change is going to be awesome for you. I just recently found your blog and I enjoy your style of writing and your stories. Looking forward to seeing where this goes!

  • Go Cait! I’ve just set up a blog and called it my name, after toying with a few names I couldn’t decide on! Love the blog, keep up the good work

  • Congrats on the re-brand!! For a second there I thought you were leaving us… I had to do a double take there..lol.
    I have been reading your blog for a while now and its great to see your posts and community evolve during that time. Looking forward to your new site and what it has to offer

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