Yakezie Member Post – Free From Broke Thumbnail

Hi.  I’m Craig and I’m a husband, father, and the publisher of Free From Broke. Let me tell you a bit about myself and my personal finance blog…

Some years ago I realized that my finances were not anywhere that they needed to be. I was in credit card debt and renting a tiny apartment.  At the time I had very little in savings and basically nothing set aside for retirement.  I needed to change.  I started doing research online.  One of the first sites I found was the Motley Fool.  At the time they were full of so many great articles that I’d sit there reading one after the other.  I was starting to see that I could take control of my finances and slowly I was learning how to do it.

I was also reading what I could. One of the early books I heard about was Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  People love and hate Kiyosaki (Rich Dad’s author) but I’ll tell you this – that book opened my eyes to my finances and I realized I needed to think about money differently if ever I was going to achieve any wealth.

I started making changes. I got more serious at work which, in turn, led to promotions.  I reigned in my spending so I could at least put something into my savings (I knew I needed an emergency fund).  Heck, I got over internet trust issues and opened up an online savings account.  Most importantly I started paying more towards my credit card debt.  I was slowly learning why, even though I paid every month, my debt kept going up.  Well no more!  Slowly my credit card debt was going down.  And I started contributing to my 401(k) as well.  Things were changing, albeit slowly.

Then an interesting thing happened. I lost my apartment!  Ughh, it was terrible.  What was I going to do?  Moving would be expensive and for sure I’d be paying more in rent.  All the work I was doing to pay down debt would stop.

What did I do?

It was a tough decision but I sucked up my pride and moved back with my folks after years of being on my own.  It was not easy eating that humble pie, let me tell you!  But you know what?  Living with the ‘rents meant that I wasn’t paying as much in rent and utilities.  For the first time in a long time I had extra cash.  I mean a lot of extra cash (I was still being real frugal).  I quickly put what I could towards my credit card debt and had it paid off in no time.  I even upped my 401(k) contributions to above the company match.  My savings were growing and I was able to say for the first time in many years that I had a positive net worth!

Fast forward a little bit.

I’m online, jumping from site to site, bored.  I found a place called Zen Habits.  Whoa, this was good stuff!  See I wasn’t just changing my financial lifestyle, I was changing my whole lifestyle and Zen Habits really spoke to me (still does).  From there I discovered Get Rich Slowly.  Bingo!  I was reading through the site like a man in the desert drinks water.  I found a bunch of other personal finance blogs after that (like Consumerism Commentary).  Actually, that was when I first realized what a blog was.  I had heard of them but never really paid attention.

It occurred to me – I’m already doing lots of research into personal finance and I managed to get myself out of a ton of credit card debt.  Maybe I could pass along what I’ve learned?  That was it, I was starting a blog of my own.

I played with a few names and came up with Free From Broke.  Don’t remember if that was the best name but it was the best that was available on Blogspot ( I started on Blogspot then moved to Worpress).  I was writing articles.  And it was fun.  Here I was creating my own site and perhaps even my own small business.  It was awesome (and still is by the way).  It knocked my socks off that anyone else actually read my articles.  Not a lot of people mind you, but still it was exciting that someone wanted to read what I had to say.  Oh, by the way, this was in 2007.

So that is the story of how Free From Broke came into being. Kinda brings a tear to your eye doesn’t it?

Nowadays I put a lot more time and effort into the site.  See, you could say I’m a problogger.  No, I’m not making so much that I can do this full-time (hardly).  Fact is, I’m a stay-at-home-dad.  My wife and I switched roles about a year ago and she went back to work and I stayed home to watch the kids (we have three ages 10, 3, and 1).  Now more than ever, it’s important for us to stay on top of our finances.  By being in control of our money, rather than out money controlling us, we’ve been able to make some lifestyle changes that allows me to raise the kids.  Now if I said blogging was fun, being home to raise the kids is AWESOME!

It took my wife and I a lot to get where we are now (she had debt as well when I met her).  But the work has paid off.  Know what?  The adventure is just beginning!

Hey, I should talk about Yakezie too!

Months ago (feels like yesterday) I heard about some challenge with Alexa.  I heard it involved Financial Samurai, whom I knew of from comments he left on my site, so I went over to check it out.  Sounded interesting, all of us working together to selflessly promote each other.  I wanted in.  The group started blossoming quickly.  People’s Alexa ratings were moving up (or rather moving down since a smaller number is better).  But best of all I was reading a ton of new sites I didn’t realize were out there!  And I was meeting some great people too!  See, part of the big fun of blogging, for me, is interacting with people.  The Yakezie was becoming this great big social interaction full of energy and information.

And now we’re here with me giving you a long-winded story (if you’ve read this far – Thanks!).  I’m really looking forward to seeing what becomes of the Yakezie.  There’s so much energy here it really makes you think anything is possible.  Thank you all for letting me be a part of this group and getting to know you.  If there’s ever anything I can do to help you, either as a blogger or a reader, let me know!