Blogger Maria Nedeva from The Money Principle has been sharing insight on staying financially healthy since March 2011. Much has changed in the consumer financial world since the blog’s launch, but some things stay the same – read on for how Maria aims to educate and entertain while helping her readers keep healthy finances.
How did you get started with blogging about personal finance?
For most of my life, and I’m in my mid-50s, I ignored money. I should have expected therefore to get in financial trouble. Indeed, in late 2009 we realised that our consumer debt (excluding mortgage) had reached £100,000.
Did I panic? You bet I did. But once I dealt with the panic, despondency and anxiety that hit, I focused on our money. I learned, I experimented and I came up with different and novel ideas about how to make money, how to optimise our spending and how to make our money work for us.
It was a pity not to share with others in our situation. This is how The Money Principle was born in March 2011. Since then I have made it my creed to help as many people as I can reach to solve their money troubles and achieve ‘financial health’.
What’s your favourite thing to post about and why?
This is a good question and very hard for me to answer. You see, my ultimate aim has always been to reach ‘financial health’ – the way I see it, this is much more important, and sustainable, than merely aiming to build wealth. Hence, paying off debt is not a destination, but a stop on the way.
Put simply, I write about paying off debt, making money, investing and money management and I love all of it. There are times when some topics dominate, and that depends on what fascinates me and excites my curiosity at the time. I write posts that educate and entertain (or, this is what I believe).
How did you change your approach and content during lockdown?
I found that my writing shifted to ‘surviving’ rather than ‘thriving’. Also, counter intuitively for a personal finance blog, the message I aimed to get out is that the coronavirus pandemic is not the time to worry about debt – there is time enough, I hope, to be concerned with matters of money when we are sure we have survived.
(On a personal note, I made an effort to get my financial affairs in order, just in case. Things like, made lists of investment accounts with instructions for how to access them for our sons.)
Later on, during lockdown, I started writing about debt again (partially because I am working on a book on how to pay off debt fast and live debt-free).
What do you think the longer-term impacts of the pandemic and lockdown will be on people’s ability to save?
Initially things may look up – people already found that they have more money left at the end of the month because they don’t spend much on entertainment, clothes, etc. I believe, that after that initial advantage, it is likely that the growing un- and under-employment will start biting and the wealth inequality will increase.
Which is not good for the economy, and for our societies generally. It also means that most people won’t be able to save because they will hardly be making enough money to sustain a frugal lifestyle.
Still, it is very difficult to say anything with a level of conviction – there are so many variables that are exceedingly murky at the moment.
Which of your posts would you direct people who are struggling financially to first?
A good one. You know that there is a difference between the posts I think people should read and the ones they choose to read, right?
Instead of falling into the trap of recommending my favourites rather than what my readers find most useful at present, I checked my Google Analytics. Here are the four most read blog posts on The Money Principle in the last five months:
This is What to do When You Have no Money at All
52 Practical Frugal Living Tips You Can Implement Immediately, Save Money, Cut Waste and Still Have Fun
15 Ideas on How to Make £1000 a Month (enough to pay your monthly bills)
Nutmeg Review – is Nutmeg investing a good match for you?
This order lets me believe that in these troubled and uncertain times, most people are looking to get respite from a desperate money situation, slash their spending, increase their earning and invest for the long run. These may be different people, but the sequence looks intuitively appropriate.
What’s the best/worst thing you’ve ever spent money on?
I have to say that in the long run, the best has always been my education. (Okay, this was my father’s money, but my education was his best ever investment.) More recently, I bought a 27-inch iMac and it is an excellent purchase.
What is the worst thing on which I spent money? A Smart-for-Two car about which I later joked that it came from insecurity – I’m so intellectually insecure that my car had to say ‘smart’ on it. More seriously, this thing was useless – couldn’t take my son to his cello lesson for lack of space, cornered like an arthritic old lady and danced from side to side on the motorway. My worse purchase ever.
How do you collaborate with brands, and which kind of brands do you really like working with?
I collaborate with brands in one of the following ways: a) Write about them and publish on The Money Principle; b) Publish guest posts on The Money Principle; c) Very occasionally carry banners; or d) Speak on their events or host workshops for them. My preferred options are a and d.
I love working with online wealth managers, investing platforms and money management apps.
For PRs looking to work with you and your blog/website, how would you prefer they approach you and with what kind of content?
I prefer email; an open and honest email that doesn’t try to misrepresent the collaboration. When we agree on the type of collaboration, I accept only well written and presented posts that benefit my readers. Yes, I’m very strict with this one.
Which blogs do you regularly check out (whether finance-related or not)?
Naturally, I do check out the sites of other personal finance bloggers in the UK and the US – you know that blogging is a team sport, right? These are too many to mention but just like to say that I see this a key condition for running a successful blog – you must be part of a network and your only way to become better is to support your blogging colleagues to become better.