Yakezie Member Post: First Gen American Thumbnail

Hi. This is Sandy L from First Gen American. I want to start by saying how excited I am to become an official member of Yakezie.   Although I’ve on only been blogging since July of 2010, I have been commenting on blogs for quite a long time.  I have a soft spot for personal finance blogs, so finding such a great group of bloggers through Yakezie was like hitting the jackpot.

About First Gen

In case you’re wondering about my background, here’s a very brief bio. I have a BS in Chemical Engineering and I’m currently working full time as a technical sales rep for a large global chemical company. Over the last 15 years, I’ve done a variety of roles in Product Management, Manufacturing, Purchasing, Marketing, Technology and Supply Chain for a Fortune 100 company.  As a result, I can be pretty opinionated about a variety of topics.

With regards to my personal life, I am 37 and married with two children (ages 5 and 2). We live in the Berkshires in MA. My husband also works full time as an engineer.  He’s great and I don’t know how we’d be able to juggle 2 careers and a family if he wasn’t so hands on, fun loving and hard working.  I’m a serial learner and I always have some side project going at all times. Currently that project is blogging. In the past most of my side interests have been practical in nature such as home improvement, gardening, cooking, etc.

So what is First Gen American All About?

Just about all of my personal finance tendencies can be traced back to my immigrant upbringing, hence the name First Gen American.  One of the lead characters of my blog is Babci (it that means  grandma in Polish and is  pronounced Bahbchee. She’s my mom but took on the permanent role of Babci after my boys were born).  She falls into the extreme frugal camp and always is coming up with crazy ideas for trash.  She’s had a pretty hard life and I’m always inspired by her ability to maintain such a great attitude despite the hardships she’s gone through.

Babci came to America when she was 36 and within 10 years, she bought an apartment building with cash. She provides a lot of inspiration for those who want to know how to live on a bare bones budget.  I’m not nearly as frugal as she is but I do think her story helps those who think they can’t cut any more out of their limited budgets.  I’m definitely more mainstream with the way I save and spent, so I feel I provide a  good buffer to the articles.  For example, although my mom has never had a credit card, I do.  I also believe both ways can be effective ways of saving and spending. I really don’t think there is only one right way of managing one’s finances.

Another reason I started the blog is because I have a horrible memory. Blogging allows me to document my experiences with my mother before they are lost and forgotten.  In fact, when I was asking my friends what I should write about, quite a few of them voted for stories about my mom.  For those of you who’ve read some of the stories, you know that Babci could care less about social convention and she can be a little out there at times. It was always a bad sign when a person meets her and can’t see beyond her eccentric quirks.  As a teenager, the things she said and did were often extremely embarrassing. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve found that if someone likes her, it’s a pretty good barometer that they’re a good person too. That’s why I adore my readers.  Not only do they get her, but they can’t get enough of her.

I also blog about all kinds of other random topics. Some days I’ll write about a business topic, and on other days it could be about personal development or child rearing.  I never can quite tell where inspiration will strike next. Writing for fun has been a fascinating experience. It is so different from problem solving and engineering.

My favorite things about blogging:


So I think I should end by talking about my favorite parts of this blogging adventure so far.

  1. Meeting like minded people  – I love  the community that has formed by supporting one another’s blogging efforts.  I’ll admit that many of my friends are engineers. It has truly enriched my life networking with people who have similar life goals, but have different careers and life paths getting there.
  2. Diversity – I enjoy reading opinions from people with completely different backgrounds.  Everyone has their own perspective on Personal Finance and it’s so fascinating.
  3. Learning how to improve my writing/communication skills.  I believe these skills can always be improved no matter what level you’re at.
  4. Documenting my mom’s story.  Quite a few people have told me I need to write a book about Babci.  I’ve heard this for years and never did anything about it.  At least with blogging, the story is being written one post at a time.
  5. Being able to dispense advice to those who need it.  As we get older, it almost becomes a natural tendency to want to share your wisdom with others.  A blog provides an outlet for that information without annoying your family and friends with an endless stream of unsolicited advice.
  6. Learning to respect the power of the internet. It’s a big deal publishing information that can be out there indefinitely and read by anyone.  It could be your boss, the dude you wrote a bad review about, a potential employer, a publisher, a big time media outlet, etc.  I’m still intimidated by this at times, but I think that’s a good thing.
  7. There is potential to make a little side income. I haven’t focused on this at all yet, but hope to develop this a little more in the coming year.


Although I feel close to many of the Yakezie members, I want to give special thanks to Kris at Everyday Tips for being the one that kicked me in the pants and encouraged me to take the plunge and graduate from commenter to blogger. I also want to thank Crystal at Budgeting the Fun Stuff and Kevin at Invest it Wisely for their constant positive reinforcement. Last but not least I want to thank Sam and all the other members of Yakezie that have provided the moral support to keep on writing.