What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I've been traveling for more than a month now. While much of this travel has been for pleasure — I spent three weeks in Turkey with my cousin — there's been plenty of work involved too. While I've been traveling, I've also been writing — and networking with other bloggers. Over the past month, I've attended two conferences, and spent three days meeting with folks in New York.

Note: Some of you have been craving more of my voice around Get Rich Slowly. That's not going to happen. But if you're really wanting to read what I write, check out More Than Money, where I'm writing about travel, blogging, and anything else that tickles my pickle.


FinCon 2012

In early September at FinCon (the financial blogger conference), I spoke about the future of financial blogging. While there, I reconnected with many of my colleagues, including Jim from Bargaineering, Flexo from Consumerism Commentary, Adam from Man vs. Debt, Ramit from I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Neal Frankle (the Wealth Pilgrim), and Kylie Ofiu (an Australian personal finance blogger).

At FinCon, I also met two new people who really impressed me.

First up was Pete, whom many of you know as Mr. Money Mustache. He has a hot early retirement blog, and for good reason. He offers solid advice in a strong personal voice. I loved his presentation at FinCon; his blogging philosophy and mine are closely aligned.

Second was Paula Pant, who writes at Afford Anything. Paula is remarkable for two reasons. First, she's one of only a few female bloggers in a niche dominated by men. Second, Paula focuses almost exclusively on making money instead of saving it. Her blog is about building wealth, with a particular focus on rental properties. She's sharp, and she now has me as a subscriber.

New York

After FinCon, I flew to Turkey to spend three weeks touring the country with my cousin. On my way home, I stopped in New York for business. I met with several colleagues, a few GRS readers, and my editor at Moneyland.

Also in New York, I practiced what I preach regarding conscious spending. You see, I'm a huge fan of musical theater. But good tickets to good shows on Broadway can be expensive. Very expensive. In order to be able to indulge my passion, I cut back in other areas.

For instance, I rented a cheap ($70/night) apartment on Airbnb and then walked everywhere in Manhattan. This saved me about $200 a day, money that I put into theater tickets. On Sunday, I joined Flexo (from Consumerism Commentary) and Ramit (from I Will Teach You to Be Rich) for a performance of The Book of Mormon, which was hilarious. I also saw Chicago (completely disappointing) and the achingly beautiful Once.

Sure, I had to stay in a tiny, tiny room (with barely room for a bed), but who cares? All I did was sleep there. With the money I saved, I had a great time in one of my favorite cities.

Note: On my last night, I had a beer with my hostess, a precocious young (26?) woman who's found a clever way to reduce her cost of living. Rose's apartment has three rooms. She lives in one and rents the other two out on Airbnb. “Are you able to keep the rooms rented?” I asked. She smiled and said, “My rent here is $3,600/month. Airbnb pays the rent for me.” Rock on!

Savvy Blogging Summit 2012

FinCon was fun, but I have to admit: My favorite blogging conference is always the Savvy Blogging Summit. Mostly, it's attended by a group of remarkable women: stay-at-home moms who, in their spare time, blog about coupons, shopping, and other domestic concerns. They call themselves “dealbloggers”.

This topic may sound mundane, but more than any group I know, these savvy bloggers live the ideals I espouse everyday at Get Rich Slowly. Meeting these women is like seeing the Get Rich Slowly philosophy in action.

  • They actively work to keep their household expenses low.
  • They've found creative ways to boost their income. Most make money — sometimes a lot of money — from blogging. But I also talked to folks who earn income as spokeswomen, radio broadcasters, brand representatives, graphic designers, mobile app creators, and more.

And they do this all while raising families. In some cases, large families. These are stay-at-home moms who do a whole lot more. They aren't just savvy bloggers; they're also savvy entrepreneurs. (They're also a hell of a lot of fun. They taught me to dance Gangnam Style this year!)

Early in the conference, I met John Saddington, an Atlanta-based blogger and entrepreneur. I'd never heard of him before Savvy Blogging Summit, but he and I had a chance to chat about business and blogging. I was intrigued by his vision, so I recruited him to help me present the “Blogging Exit Strategies” panel, which worked out well. I think the attendees got some great advice about building and selling a business.

Some of the other people I spent time with during this conference included:

  • Amy Gross from Vinesleuth, who has a free ebook called Dinner and Wine for $20 or Less.
  • Amber Bustanoby from Coupon Connections. Amber's not just a coupon blogger; she can also bust a move on the dance floor.
  • Jennie Sanford from Bargain Blessings. I'd seen Jennie at three previous conferences but never talked with her before now, which is a shame. I want to chat with her more in the future.
  • Kimberlee, The Peaceful Mom, who taught me about Pinterest. (Sometimes I'm slow on the uptake.)
  • And on the plane from Atlanta to San Francisco, I spent five hours talking with Melissa Earl from Living a Frugal Life.

As always, I learned a lot at Savvy Blogging Summit, and did my best to impart some of my knowledge to others. I've already committed to speaking at SBS IV, which will be held next June in Cincinnati. I wouldn't miss it.

Note: While in Atlanta, I reconnected with Paula from Afford Anything. I'd met her at FinCon at the start of the trip, and she was generous enough to offer me a ride. After picking me up from the airport, she showed me around Piedmont Park and told me all about her adventures in real estate. As I say, she's sharp. If you're interested in rental properties, you should read her blog.

Now I'm in San Francisco. Today, I'll meet with the owners of GRS, have lunch at Twitter HQ, and stop by to meet the folks at Lending Club. Tomorrow, I get to meet my girlfriend's family and friends.

I'm nearing the end of this marathon month-long trip, and thank goodness. I'm too old for all this travel!

More about...Travel

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