Here’s this week’s instalment of Blogger Behind the Blog where I interview a blogger all about their reasons for blogging and what it means to them. This week I’m joined by David from Thinking Thrifty.
Here’s David with more about his blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
Funny story behind this one. When I first started blogging, although I wanted it to be about money saving primarily, I also wanted to have a lifestyle aspect to it too. On that basis I came up with this fantastic name… The Blog Spot. Yeah, that’s how green I was to the whole blogging thing. Obviously, once I came to realise Blog Spot was a well established monster of a blogging platform I was forced into a rethink. As I was attempting to transform myself from a wasteful spendthrift to nifty thrifty ninja, I knew I needed to start thinking thrifty, and the blog name was born!
When did you start your blog and why?
I launched Thinking Thrifty on December 23, 2015. At the time it was to keep me accountable for my spending which would enable me to save for a mortgage deposit and nothing else. I had no idea blogging could turn into a lucrative career, I was rubbish in those early days but soon found my voice when I stopped trying to be Martin Lewis light and allowed my own personality to shine through, which people immediately started to react to.
What did you do before you blogged?
Oh gosh what haven’t I done?! I started employment as a butcher and after a year moved into door to door sales. Realised I could do that for myself so set up my own one man band energy switching service. I got itchy feet and decided I’d like to live abroad one Sunday, by the following Thursday I had sold all my belongings and moved to Lanzarote. I worked as a cleaner, waiter, barman and eventually general manager of a bar until I returned to the UK 4 years later. Went straight back into sales, this time over the phone.Hated that so worked my socks off until I was running the operation. Other sales manager roles followed in advertising. At this point I decided I wanted to work for myself again and promptly trained to be a barber and pursued that until a bad shoulder and neck injury forced me back into an office in a sales manager role selling a multitude of different products. It was at this point I started to write blogs for the company I worked for and they encouraged me to take up a role in marketing. This is when I launched Thinking Thrifty with their permission from my desk, sold to them on the basis that I was better experimenting on my own site rather than theirs! I went self employed three months ago with the aim of making a living from blogging and freelance writing, within ten days of finishing my day job I’d bought a cafe – go figure!
What was your first post?
Coming from a background in energy, I’m extremely passionate about switching and fixing down your energy bills. It really is the easiest way to cut a few hundred pounds from your outgoings, especially if you’ve never done it before. What’s more, there isn’t a single ounce of customer loyalty between all the energy suppliers, and you should be treating them exactly the same, hence my first post “Loyalty doesn’t pay where energy firms are concerned”.
What inspires you to blog?
I have a huge passion for writing and, as my mum and teachers confirmed many moons ago, have far too much to say for myself. Now I have transformed myself from careless spendthrift into a super nifty thrifty ninja, I love passing on the knowledge to help others.
What post has had the best response, which post are you most proud of and which post did you enjoy writing the most?
The biggest response I’ve had from a single blog was the “How people are selling their new five pound note for much more”. It was a massive lesson in newsjacking and I’m only behind the BBC on google for several search terms. I estimate that blog took me no longer than twenty minutes to write and it is still getting a good amount of views every day to this day. The blog I’m most proud of was about my issues with OCD – Living with OCD, it’s not all about cleaning. It is something I have rarely talked about with anyone over the years, I struggle to open up about it and tend to try and deal with it all myself. Writing it down was almost like therapy for me and I would highly recommend it to anyone who struggles with mental health related issues. I had top mental health professors / doctors from all over the world message me privately about that blog, it was a very proud moment. The most enjoyable blog I wrote was a tribute to my mum, “9 thank yous for my mum on Mother’s Day”, she sacrificed everything for her children and never gave up in the battle with an angry teenage David who had gone completely off the rails!
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
A few really, but that’s all part of the blogging experience I suppose. Then again, there have been huge responses to blogs I didn’t expect much from so it swings in roundabouts.
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
Now I’ve taken over a cafe I’d expect there to be many tales about my journey as a small business owner, especially considering the current political climate. I’d like to think it would be earning more money and reaching a lot more people too.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
Having an awful lot to say, it gives me the platform to do so. I love writing, always have, and now I have a huge passion for saving and making money, it is a marriage made in heaven.
…and your least favourite?
I don’t enjoy the techy side of blogging much, it sort of sends my brain into meltdown mode. I’m a creative thinker, not much of a lateral one!
What’s the best blog post you have ever read?
There are two blogs that have really stood out for me since I started being an avid blog reader. The first one was from Francesca Mason who blogs over at From Pennies to Pounds titled “Dear debt, it’s time we broke up, it’s you not me”. Wow, I shed some bloody tears over that article, straight from the heart and honest as the day is long. The second was a blog from one of my favourite bloggers Lynn from Mrs Mummy Penny titled “My confessions of a personal finance blogger”. Again, straight from the heart and a really honest account of where Lynn is with her finances, more importantly how she plans to tackle her debt. Anyone can give generic financial advise, it takes guts to open up about your own situation in my humble opinion!
What blog do you love to read and why?
I read many regularly, but there is one I go to if I need cheering up and a bit of a giggle, and that is Virtual Wombat. I love his grasp of the English language and his quick wit. He has a lovely way with words and his posts are very well thought out and prepared (far more preparation than I have ever put in!)
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
Yes I take a notebook absolutely everywhere. I text myself a lot when I’m drunk, as this is when some of my most creative ideas spring to mind. My laptop is never too far away from my person!
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
No definitely not! I assumed I’d be out doing this alone without any support. What I found instead was many blogger communities full of likeminded, lovely people willing to offer help and advise. Some have gone on to be great friends.
What’s been your favourite blog collaboration to date?
My favourite collaboration has to be with the Children’s Society working as a blog ambassador on their Debt Trap campaign. It was a subject VERY close to my heart as our house was repossessed as children, causing me to suffer mental health issues I wasn’t aware were even there until I had reached adulthood.
Are there any brands you would love to work with, why?
Anything involving Lord Sugar, a bit of a hero of mine!
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
None to report of so far, hopefully I haven’t just cursed myself!
What is your biggest blogging hope, dream or ambition?
My goal is to be semi-retired in the sun by 50, blogging from the beach. The longer I thought about it, the less I wanted to buy in the UK. I’m just not willing to saddle myself with so much debt at 35 (almost 36) having never had any in my life before. I’m working hard to make sure I can buy outright, which is why I recently bought a cafe to fund it!
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
Right now there isn’t enough hours in the day after running the cafe all day and blogging and freelance writing in the evening to do anything really. Hopefully, when the cafe is ticking over nicely and doesn’t need me around as much I can get some of my life back. Before the recent changes I enjoyed football and walking into the middle of nowhere, getting lost and having to find my way back – with my notebook obvs!
and lastly, tell us all a random fact about yourself
The first time I played the Thunderball on the National Lottery I picked out every number for the main Lotto. That decision cost me £7m!