Keeping Your Finances Simple: Blogger Interview with Frugal Portland

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Want to take a vacation but don’t think that you can afford it? Want to buy that furniture you’ve been eyeing but don’t think that you can save the money? Well, have no fear – Kathleen from Frugal Portland is here to help you learn to live on a budget, pay off debt, and save money.

Kathleen started blogging at Frugal Portland  in 2011 because she had credit card debt and thought that blogging would help her become debt free.  Kathleen didn’t like the idea of being in her 30’s and having debt, so she decided to blog her way to becoming debt free because it would hold her accountable. 

Saving is easy – you just have to take the first step

Now Kathleen is debt free and lives on half of her pay check so that she can save the other half – that’s what we like to hear. So how does she manage to live on half of her income? It’s easy…automatic transfers with every pay check.

“I have my paychecks split. Half my paycheck goes to my checking account, and half goes to a savings account at a different institution. I can transfer money back, but it’s enough of an extra step that it makes it pretty easy to end up with 50% of my income saved!”

It doesn’t matter how you got into debt – all that matters is how you get out of it

Kathleen hasn’t always been a great saver.  She admits that not too long ago she found herself with $25,000 in credit card debt, $15,000 in student loans and a new car that she financed.  The debt didn’t bother Kathleen for a few years, but then one day she woke up and decided to stop accumulating more debt and start paying it off.

So what did she do? Kathleen paid off her debt with guidelines straight from the debt free rule book. She increased her income and starting paying off her most expensive debt first. “I paid off (the) credit cards first, then my student loan and then my car loan.  I will not finance anything anymore.”

Frugal Portland’s word of advice

Kathleen is a big believer in learning from our mistakes.  If she could go back in time and give her 21 year-old-self a word of advice, it would be to spend wisely and avoid using credit cards at all costs. The conversation with herself would go a little like this: “Hi, 21-year-old self, I know you’re thinking about cutting your hair very short so that it’s easier to straighten. Honey, don’t. Also, those checks? You know the ones that come in your credit card statement? They’re not for spending. FOR REAL.”

Blogging helped Kathleen meet some great people.  If you are in the Portland area and want to grab a drink, visit Frugal Portland and send her an email – she likes coffee.

If you need some motivation to start paying off your debt and start saving more money on a regular basis just like Kathleen, join SaveUp to earn prizes and cash for your responsible financial choices. You can read about Kathleen’s SaveUp experience here.

Profile PicThis post was written by Tahnya Kristina, a Certified Financial Planner and professional financial writer. She enjoys helping people manage their daily finances and become debt free. You can follow her on Twitter @TahnyaKristina.