Blogger Confessions #1: Chris from Cash Dad
Happy weekend! Today is the very first of the 'Blogger Confessions' interview series on the blog, and I'm thrilled to start things off with a bang. I have Chris from Cash Dad in the house to talk about blogging and how he's managed to keep everything straight as a personal finance blogger.
Chris, take it away.
Hi! I’m the Cash Dad. Otherwise known as “daddy”, “da-da”, or Chris. I’m a mechanical engineer by trade. And while I have my own way of thinking, my wife and I work together when it comes to our finances. We have 3 children, and we are working hard towards a debt-free life and the financial freedom that brings.
We’re almost there. We only have our mortgage to go.
Blogger Confessions with Cash Dad
1: In at least 100 words, describe the target audience of your blog.
The Cash Dad is written for the 30-something, over-worked, underpaid, financially struggling adult. In other words, older millennials that would love some inspiration and encouragement in their journey towards a debt free life.
Living the debt-free lifestyle certainly bucks our current consumerism culture (alliteration’s always awesome). With the majority of our neighbors and friends buried in debt, I’m aspiring to be the beacon of hope to the financially desperate and struggling.
Life can be hard, but money doesn’t have to be. Simplifying money, and teaching behavior that leads to financial successes is my goal. I use my personal experience to illustrate personal finance fundamentals.
2: What makes your blog different from other blogs in the PF blogosphere?
There are many great blogs out there.
Differentiating one from the other can be difficult at times. But, the one main thing that makes the Cash Dad unique in my estimation is the hard-line stance I take regarding debt and credit cards in particular.
There are other debt-free blogs, though I’ve seen that they usually compromise in some aspect or another.
Debt is always bad. Sure, there are “better” debts than others. Mortgages, for example, are almost always “better” than car loans or credit card debt.
But in the end, debt is still debt. And debt robs your future to pay for your present. Credit cards are a no-no. Borrowing money at 0% for a month is still borrowing. Which is exactly what you’re doing when you pay your credit card bill off each month.
And while this is certainly not as egregious as carrying a balance, it’s not a practice that I can condone or recommend. I haven’t read a PF blog that agrees with me . . . yet. Maybe I just don’t get out much?
3: What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most since starting your blog?
Initially, writing quality articles was difficult, though I’d like to think that I’ve improved in that area.
Though my readers should really be the judge of that.
I’ve also struggled with the balance of writing content that my audience likes versus writing posts about what I think they need to hear.
For instance, debt is at an all-time high, and yet the average guy on the street doesn’t seem to care. Most people don’t like bad news or being told they are wrong. So how do you show them that there is a way out of debt without being pushy or the “bad guy”?
I’m not sure if figured this out yet.
4: Do you publish your net worth on your blog? Why or why not?
I do not currently publish my net worth. My identity is all over the Cash Dad, and I don’t currently want the scrutiny that would bring.
And while I understand the credibility it could lend (higher net worth means you did something right), I just don’t want the numbers to ruin any real-life relationships that I have.
If you know someone’s net worth, I think that their view towards you may change. Especially if your net worth is much higher than theirs.
5: Have you monetized your blog (ads, affiliate marketing, etc)? Why or why not?
I have not yet monetized this blog. I’ve been waiting until my traffic reaches a higher level.
I previously tried to monetize a different blog with little traffic and predictably the money only trickled in. I’m not sure what exactly this “higher” traffic level needs to be. I just know that I’m at the same traffic level now that I was with a previous (no longer active) blog.
So, I’m working to raise my traffic before attempting to monetize.
I also struggle with the seeming contradiction of “save money, save money, pay down debt! Oh, buy this product so I can make money”. I’m not against affiliate marketing by any means, I just haven’t found a great product that I would love to sell.
6: Would you rather be loved, hated or controversial? Explain, please!
I would much rather be loved than either of the other options.
I’ve tried to make the tone of my articles more compassionate than condescending to that end. My wife will attest to the fact that I don’t take criticism or “hate” very well. It tends to eat at me.
I once replied to a tweet not realizing who it was I was replying to. My tweet was not received well, and all (at least it seemed like all) of the followers of this person replied to me.
They were saying things like, “I’m going to come to your house and take your stuff.” They also said that I must be mean and without any love in my life. They wondered how anyone could possibly love me.
And there were hundreds of replies!!
Needless to say, I would much rather be on the side of love versus hate.
7: Who would you be horrified to know read your blog?
There isn’t a person that I would want to not read my blog. I’m not anonymous, and I stand by everything I’ve written, even the not-so-good posts, as you’ll see below.
I do get a little nervous though when someone I know mentions that they’ve read a few articles. But that’s usually because of the love, hate thing. I don’t want them to hate it of course. But I also don’t want them to ask me any hard questions, haha.
8: What’s your most favorite, least favorite and most embarrassing post on your blog?
I’ll start with my favorite post: “Dealing with Payment Syndrome”
This was one of those posts that just seemed to flow. The topic came to me on a Saturday afternoon, and in a few short hours, it was completed. After reading it through the first time for editing, I knew I had a good one.
My least favorite post is: “Can a Blog Post Change Your Life?”
Though the title isn’t too bad, this one just seems forced to me. You can read it, and judge for yourself. Just don’t be too hard on me.
My most embarrassing post would have to be: “An Attitude of Learning is the Key to Success”
It just didn’t have the desired effect. In other words, no one read it. Either I didn’t market it very well (entirely possible), or it was too boring to bother with.
9: Explain your writing process
Usually, I’ll be driving to or from work, or sometimes in the shower, when inspiration will strike. Of course, I can’t blog at any of those times. So, I’ll usually try to remember the general idea.
And sometimes just a great title or topic will come to me.
I usually have around 12-14 drafts that only have a title or a few sentences. I’ll pick one, and work on it through the weekend until its complete with pictures and text.
Because I publish only once a week, this is usually all I’ll do. This usually takes a few hours. I currently have 5 posts scheduled ahead.
Over the weekend, I’ll also re-read the post that is scheduled to be published next. Sometimes, I’ll make a few edits to clear up a few sentences or thoughts. I also will read the next scheduled post as well. So, by the time an article actually gets published, it will have been edited at least three times.
10: What is your favorite blog in the PF blogosphere (other than your own!)?
My favorite personal finance blog without a doubt is Mr. Money Mustache.
I love his writing style. Though I could never pull it off, his snarkiness and wit is entertaining.
I also enjoyed reading his take on early retirement and clown cars. I find myself passing big Ford F-250s and Dodge Rams on the highway and thinking about how wasteful it is to ask that giant hunk of metal to simply transport your body from point A to point B.
My little Civic does the same thing for far less financial cost.
Being a giant in the personal finance blogging world, I’m sure he’s a favorite of many.
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