Today I’m kicking off my personal finance blogger interviews – and I’m beginning with the fantastic Karen Bryan from Help Me to Save. Thanks Karen for kindly answering our questions about finance blogging and saving money online!
What got you started as a financial blogger?
I’ve always been fascinated by finance and have been the money manager in our family. I wanted to diversify from travel blogging. I also thought it’d be great to start a new site from scratch, where I could apply all the knowledge I’d built up over 9 years of running a travel site.
How long have you been blogging for?
I started Help Me To Save in August 2011, originally having established the Europe a la Carte travel site/blog in 2002.
What is the best thing that’s happened to you as a result of your blog?
Organising the Write on Finance Blog Up in Leeds, which runs 22-23 September 2012, so that UK based personal finance bloggers/writers and people working in the industry can get together to network, learn from each other and look at ways of working together to mutual benefit.
Have you followed your own advice?
Yes, I do follow my own advice to a point, as Help Me To Save is a personal illustration of how you can save money while still leading a rich life. I’m not claiming everything I do is the best option, but I think that a blog based on someone’s personal experience can highlight some of the money related issues that face us all.
What has been your most popular blog post, and why do you think it was so popular?
The most popular post is the Advantages & Disadvantages of Self Employment. I try to paint a realistic picture because there seems to be too much hype about quitting the cubicle to be your own boss. Self employment isn’t a magical solution to making money while doing something that you
How long did it take for you to start noticing – a. regular readers, b. a following?
I got a bit of a head start with Help Me To Save, because some of my established travel blog readers, Twitter followers and Facebook friends took an interest in the new site.
What would be your biggest piece of advice to anybody who wants to save money?
Set a realistic budget and stick to it.
What is the most valuable freebie you’ve ever received?
After taking part in the Morrisons M Saver Challenge and being given the ingredients to prepare a budget recipe, the Morrisons site linked to my recipe which has brought a lot of traffic to Help Me To Save.
How often do you use voucher and discount sites?
I check them out whenever I’m buying something online.
Which ones do you frequent the most?
My favourite is Top Cashback and I’ve earned cashback on hotel stays, airport parking, car insurance and mobile broadband.
Finally, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt since becoming a personal finance blogger?
It’s hard to hit the right note in some personal finance articles. If you make the articles very simple, some readers may think you are being patronising, if you assume a certain amount of prior knowledge, some readers won’t know what you’re talking about.
So there we go. Some fantastic answers there – hopefully I’ll be attending the Write on Finance in Leeds in September as it looks like a great event for all involved.
If you’re a personal finance blogger and want to be considered for our next interview, please email us.