debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!


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Migrate WordPress.com to Self Hosted – The Live Version

HELP-migrate-wordpress.com-to-self-hostedLive Blogging of what I have learned to Migrate WordPress.com to Self Hosted WordPress.org

This is an impromptu LIVE post, even though I do normally post Saturdays, but this week I did my Sat post early (like on Thursday night) because I was just dying to tell y’all about my experience moving from WordPress.com hosted site WordPress.org self-hosted.

I have a new issue that I think is worth blogging about, because I need your support to help me figure this out. Plus I think since I have this question, this may be helpful to others facing the same issue as well.

My permalink settings are now set at this.  I didn’t choose it because I had heard that it is important to have your post titles as close to the site title as possible.  I think my hosting company did this when they imported the site to correct all the errors.

wordpress-permalinks-migrate-wordpress.com-to-self-hosted

So for example, this post has url of:

http://debtdebs.com/2014/07/05/migration-to-self-hosted-follow-up

But I want it to have:

http://debtdebs.com/migration-to-self-hosted-follow-up

I want to change my links to have no date at all in them.  How do I do this without breaking the links to other sites?

I’ve been tweeting with some blog friends about this and they are giving me some tips!  Thanks @debtfreeoneday (Hayley) @Ugifter (Anne) @MoreThanJusMony (Kassandra) @indebtedmom (Kirsten)@FinDiffraction (Alicia) sent me this link which I’m researching because she said there is a plug-in for redirecting (Thanks!):

http://wordpress.org/plugins/quick-pagepost-redirect-plugin/

I am researching this now.  This is going to be a live post, where I make updates as I go about troubleshooting this problem.  When I am completely done, I will write POST COMPLETE or some obvious thing at the bottom.

I really appreciate my blogger friends who kindly offer suggestions and support on this.  If you have done this before or know someone who has, can you kindly point them in my direction?

I’ve also reached out to Justin @ BigScoots to see what they recommend.

@bigcajunman (Alan) sent me this http://urbangiraffe.com/plugins/redirection/ which I’m just researching as well.  Thank you!

@indebtedmom (Kirsten) sent me this http://www.rickbeckman.org/how-to-update-your-wordpress-permalinks-without-causing-link-rot/ Thanks!  [Note:  This actually is similar to what Yoast says below but the code is a little different and I don’t know why.  Here is the code he says but this article is from 2008. ]

RedirectMatch permanent ^/[0-9]{4}/[0-9]{2}/[0-9]{2}/([a-z0-9\-/]+) http://example.com/$1

@femmefrugality suggested another blogger who might be able to give advice @modestmoney (Jeremy)

UPDATE:  2:04 p.m. EST July 5

OK I found this and although it is over 2 years old it seemed like the best way to go.  How to Change WordPress Permalinks, brought to you by Yoast.

According to the code generator linked in the above post, it says I should do the following:

Create Redirects

Use this tool to generate redirects from your old permalink structure to the /%postname%/ permalink structure.

Your Redirects

Add the following redirect to the the top of your .htaccess file:

RedirectMatch 301 ^/([0-9]{4})/([0-9]{2})/([0-9]{2})/(.*)$ http://debtdebs.com/$4

So first I had to find the .htaccess file.  I found it in my cPanel > File Directory under public_html but I needed to “SHOW HIDDEN FILES”.
public_html

Note:  Some hosts may not let you modify the file so you may have to request them to do it.  I was able to modify but what I wasn’t clear about was where to put the code.  True enough, @YOAST said to put it directly at the top but since I didn’t really understand it, it didn’t seem logical.  Comments were closed on that post above, so while I was still googling and Youtubeing for my answer, I sent a Tweet to @YOAST (Joost de Valk).  Here’s what the code generator looks like from Yoast, BTW:

YOAST-permalink-code-generatorDidn’t hear back from him yet ;-) ha ha but in the meantime @SenseofCents (Michelle) responded to my tweet for help and she linked in @nutsandbolts (Andrea).  Andrea confirmed that was the best way to go (not use plug-in) that I do literally put that one line of code at the top of the .htaccess file AND that I should change my Settings>Permalinks setting to the desired setting first.  Here’s what the .htaccess file looked like after my update.  (Don’t forget to “Save Changes”!)

how-to-modify.htaccess-file-redirect

I did it and it all worked perfectly and was so overjoyed I tweeted:

Let me know if you see any issues with broken links. I’m not taking my construction guy down yet because I want to update you on Gotcha #8 from my last post so here is a placeholder for it.
 

Thanks again to Alicia, Anne, Hayley, Kassandra, Kirsten, Alan, FF, Michelle and Andrea!  You guys ROCK!

Gotcha#8 UPDATE – how to switch my Jetpack to my old WordPress.com account and then get my previous WordPress.com subscribers over here.  OPEN

Here are the open tickets I have on this point:

WordPress.com  http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/migration-of-followers-jetpack-blues?replies=3#post-1930285

wordpress.org http://wordpress.org/support/topic/activated-jetpack-with-wrong-username-on-self-hosted-site?replies=1#post-5754664

I have one with Jetpack also but they do not have a forum, so it’s just through email that I get a response.  I raised the ticket here.  http://jetpack.me/support/

OK, I got a little impatient and disconnected my Jetpack and reconnected.  It now seems to have brought my stats together but on two different views.  Is this normal?  Anyone?

migrate-wordpress.com-to-self-hosted

So continuing with my impatience, I managed to get my Jetpack connected okay with my old blog, but when I hit the migrate button on wordpress, nothing happens.  I do not get the confirmation pop-up as shown in this write-up.  http://jetpack.me/support/subscription-migration-tool/

migrating-followers-to-wordpress.org-migrate-wordpress.com-to-self-hosted

UPDATE:  1:39 p.m. EST July 7

Subscribers were migrated over manually as of 11:50 a.m. EST today, thanks to Rachel at WordPress.com.  Waving  “Hi, guys!  Did ya miss me?” ;-)

I’m taking the construction guys sign down now.   Whew, that feels good.  This LIVE blog post has now ENDED!

New Item – MALWARE

Hey, this is relevant to this post.  Eric from No Nonsense Landlord had commented and I hadn’t had time to visit him lately, with all that was going on over here so I went to his site and he had a shout out to me.   Not only that but he alerted to a problem he had when his blog was only a month old.  So I went to check out his post on malware and have installed Wordfence and it is scanning now.   Oh good.  No problems found.  Thanks, Eric!

On this topic, I was looking at my stats this morning and I saw the following referrer:

cdn.viglink.com/api/click?key=a7e…..

I clicked on it.  (Maybe I shouldn’t have) finding nothing I went about googling it to try to find out more.  Didn’t find anything I could readily understand so need to research some more.

Does anyone know what that is?  Sometimes I just feel so technically inept with this stuff.  Get one thing addressed and another pops up!

I think I saw cdn.viglink on another blog .  I need to investigate but I think it has something to do with advertising management, so hopefully not malware related.  :-)

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38 Comments

Moving Blog from WordPress.com to Self-Hosted WordPress.org

self-hosted-wordpressWell, in the grand scheme of things, moving my blog to self-hosted did not go too bad.

What I’d like to do is share with you my gotchas and lessons learned on what’s important.  Although I had done some investigation and reading before hand, there is a lot of information available but not one document that puts everything together in a linear but brief fashion.  I think this is important because some of my gotchas could have been avoided if I understood the end picture better.

Now I need to qualify that my gotchas actually had nothing to do with my hosting site.  My worst problems were caused by WordPress.com two-step authentication process and and issue I was having with accessing my blog’s gmail account.  I will go into these in more detail below, but as a result of these issues, I made decisions that I would later come to regret and if I knew the impact up front, I would have not done the actions I did.

So here’s a bunch of points I want to make which are following a sequential process and thought process about how I went about the migration.  I will summarize at the bottom the actual technical steps for easy reference, since some of the points below are not really actions but more decisions, I made.

Hosting Partner Choice

Big-ScootsI decided on BigScoots (non-affiliate link) after doing some research into the following hosting companies:  Blue Host, Host Gator, Dream Host, Liquid Web, Host Papa, Green Geeks, Go Daddy and Web Hosting Canada.  I wanted to get a Canadian firm, in all honesty, but I was unable to find one WordPress blogger who used a Canadian company host.  I also wanted inexpensive but not cheap.  Blogging takes enough time, without having it sucked away by technical issues and outages.

I also wanted a host company who was quite familiar with the WordPress application.  Upon a recommendation of another blogger, I decided on Big Scoots who are big but not too big and fairly inexpensive $24.95 USD for initial year.  Domain is additional (I think $10.95 USD), but my domain is paid up for another eight months, so even though it was tempting to sign with them now for convenience, my budget brain would not allow me to.  Hopefully I won’t regret this decision later when I need to renew my domain registration in early March.

Migration Support from Hosting Partner

self-hosted-wordpressA big shout out to Justin at Big Scoots who did some of the heavy lifting.  As soon as my account was opened he contacted me with a ticket, via email, offering support.  He was actually offering to do most of the migration, which I had not expected at all.   I specifically had decided not to pay WordPress.com $129 CAD to do it not only because of the cost but because I wanted to learn from the experience and so opted to do as much as I could on my own.  My feeling was that it would be helpful for me to support the blog if I did this work myself.

I opted to follow the steps in this article from WPBeginner How to Properly Move Your Blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org to conduct the migration.   (Note:  You will notice in this document that WordPress.org offers to do the migration for free but I think they work with Blue Host, though I’m not sure if they only exclusively with Blue Host.)

Minor Point #1

The cPanel is the control panel that gives you access to your files and all other programs that you can use to manage your site.  Think of it like the backbone or middleware and then WordPress is the application layer on top of this.  Of course, I had never seen a cPanel before, because in WordPress.com this is all behind the scenes, all I could see was the WordPress application layer.

One thing I noticed as soon as I started snooping around cPanel, was that my home directory was set up as Home Directory /home/debtdeb instead of debtdebs with an ‘s’.  I was concerned it may have later repercussions so pointed it out to Justin in the ticket.  He said it was automatically named and shouldn’t be an issue but would change it none-the-less, which he did so expediently.  I had a little trouble logging into the cPanel after that (said login was invalid), which I thought might be related.  After a refresh, I was able to login.

Gotcha #1

There is nothing in this article about how to put your site in maintenance mode.  Justin @ BigScoots wanted me to install a plug-in to accomplish this.  But, one of the main drivers for moving away from WordPress.com is that you cannot use plug-ins, so that option wouldn’t work.

Deborah,You will want to put the site into maintenance mode, you can use a plugin like:

self-hosted-wordpresshttps://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-maintenance-mode/

This way they will hit a splash page that says its under maintenance and will not allow them to post, etc.

Regards,

– Justin

I did some research in WordPress.com Forums and found a suggestion to make a custom home page temporarily which I did.  The steps on how to do this are here -> Front Page.  I grabbed an under construction picture and posted it on the landing page.

I think that worked pretty well except that after I had exported my blog, E.M. @ Journey to Saving managed to sneak a comment in on my old site that would forever be lost in cyberspace except that I have captured it here :-) :

E.M.-Journey-to-Saving

Minor Point #2

So anyways, I did manage to export my blog to .xml file and added the software through the cPanel option (BigScoots uses Softaculous -there is a link in the WP Beginner article linked above that gives more info on all the different Apps Installers used for WP). I also increased the import size levels temporarily to allow the blog import.  They are set at 2 MB, so usually you need to increase, although my blog at 4 months old with lots of pictures was only 3.7MB.  These were the instructions I got from Justin on how to do this:

You can increase the import size by doing the following inside cPanel:Click on “Select PHP version”
Select a version other than native, default is 5.3.
cPanel-increase-import-size-limitClick “Set as current”
Click “Show PHP Settings”
Click the gray setting next to the following options:
“post_max_size”
and
“upload_max_filesize”

You need to change both of these to increase the file size limit.

So for some reason when I went in the default was 5.4 not 5.3 (notice now it is showing 5.5).  I don’t know why these are or the importance.  I opted for staying with 5.4 which Justin said was fine  Notice instead of saying “Show PHP Settings” it says “Switch to PHP Settings” which I figured out.  I changed the two settings which were at 2MB to 16 MB each (not shown).

Gotcha #2

Security-lockOriginally, Justin wanted to get into my WordPress.com site but I had trouble in figuring out how to do this because I had 2-step authentication turned on which although for security reasons is probably quite good, it is a PITA to work under.  I especially had a lot of problems with it (see  Gotcha #7  for consequences below), and have since turned it off on my WordPress.com site due to these difficulties.

Basically, once you put your password in, it asks for an authentication code and there is a button that you can click which sends the code to your phone, which you then enter.  But for some reason, and I’m not the only one, because I saw some Forum posts on WordPress.com on this topic, it gets into a loop where it keeps asking for your password and then authentication code and goes no where.  Eventually it locks you out for 30 minutes.  I had that happen to me twice.

Gotcha #3

DNS-propagationI was keeping the same blog name (domain name still to be hosted by WordPress.com) and just changing hosts.  Therefore I needed to update the name servers in my WordPress.com account from the WP.com name servers to the ones provided by BigScoots.  It wasn’t clear to me at what step that change should be made.  I didn’t know if doing it too early would cause me to not be able to get into my old blog.

It only briefly touches on the topic near the end of the WP Beginner article above.  Justin said it didn’t matter if it was done before or after.  Sometimes it takes a little while (up to 48 hours) for the new DNS to replicate around the world, and this includes your own ability to access your new blog (Gotcha #5).  Therefore, from what I know now, I would recommend changing them sooner than later.    Justin gave me a link to an article explaining more on DNS: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/05/25/introduction-to-dns-explaining-the-dreaded-dns-delay/.

Whenever I tried to access my new blog using debtdebs.com/wp-admin, it would take me back to my old WordPress.com site and application.

Gotcha #4

So since, I could not get into my WordPress application software on my new site to do the import, Justin did it for me.  I was able to attach my exported .xml file to the ticket.  He also had to load my YOKO theme and I sent him a link on where he could obtain that.   He downloaded the .zip of the actual theme and extracted it into the themes folder on the server.

He said there were some failures which took him maybe 30 minutes to correct, but I can’t give you any more details than that.  In the end, he never needed to access my old WordPress.com site.

Gotcha #5

Even once he was done, I could not get into my WordPress.org software because of the name server DNS changes not fully replicated.  Justin suggested to force the DNS to change by flushing what is cached on your computer.

cachedIf you open up command prompt type the following:

ipconfig /flushdns

and hit enter

then type

ping debtdebs.com
and hit enter

You should see the new IP address replying back, being 123.456.78.999

This worked, but then stopped working because “Your ISP’s DNS servers are going back and forth, if you want to force the IP address you do so by forcing your computer to see the correct IP using your computers HOSTS file.”  Here’s the instructions, Justin gave me:

http://helpdeskgeek.com/windows-7/windows-7-hosts-file/

Once inside your hosts file, add this line to the bottom and save.

123.456.78.999 debtdebs.com www.debtdebs.com

This worked well.  I was able to get in to my WordPress application and see what needed to be fixed, which is really par for the course, but I will summarize them on Gotcha #6.

Gotcha #6

The following things needed to be added / changed once I got into my new WordPress application:

  • Blog picture in header
  • Some widgets were missing and needed to be re-added:  Social Media icons and Status Bars (I needed to go back into my old site to copy the code for the html widgets), Recent comments (I eventually removed becaused the version available doesn’t have pictures with it) , Top Posts and Pages, Disclaimer, Buttons (Top Blogs, Yakezie)
  • Twitter and Facebook plugins (These couldn’t be added until I installed JetPack – see Gotcha #7)
  • Time Zone in General Settings (I didn’t notice this until I got Akismet plugin working)

Gotcha #7

Remember when I said that I was having trouble getting into my old blog due to the two-step authentication process?  Well, when I went to get an Akismet API I couldn’t get into my old site.  I was anxious about leaving my new blog without spam filter on, so I created a new email address and registered for an Akismet API through that account and email ID.  It worked fine.

So since I had this new email, I also installed Jetpack referring to my new WordPress account and email which was a mistake.  When I went to execute one of my last steps to migrate my existing WordPress.com subscribers over to my new blog (see Gotcha #8), I found out that you need Jetpack to be registered with your old WordPress account to be able to do this.  I have a ticket into Jetpack to find out if I should deactivate and redo, or if they can change something for me.  I don’t want to screw anything up further, so I am proceeding cautiously.  I’ve also left a ticket with WordPress.com Forum and the WordPress.org Forum and at the Jetpack Support site (though theres no public forum of my request, I just received and email back stating my request, but no response as yet.

Auntie-SPAMIn addition, once I realized this, I also realized that I probably shouldn’t have done the same thing for my Akismet registration either.  I launched a ticket for Akismet and they have advised:

You can login to https://akismet.com/account with your old credentials and select a subscription there.  Once you’ve done that, click the ‘disconnect this account’ link on the Akismet settings page, then reconnect.

This has worked fine, and actually all my previous spam history is now merged with my new spam history, so we’ve got all the WHAM BAM thank you SPAM together, MAAM.  (Awww… that calls for a picture of Auntie SPAM again).

Gotcha #8

Followers-SubscribersHere are the relevant links for Transferring Follower and Subscribers which I haven’t been able to do yet until I hear back from Jetpack.

Subscription Migration Tool.  Technically, this may not be a gotcha, but it just feels like it is because I’m delayed.  Hopefully once I have JetPack sorted out it will go smoothly.

I have around 50 WordPress.com followers and would hate to lose them.  :cry:

I’ve already turned on most of Jetpack’s settings.  I’ve come to learn that Jetpack is the standard stuff that is in WordPress.com native.  The only settings I have not activated are:

  • Jetpack Comments
  • Jetpack Single Sign On
  • VideoPress

I have installed commentluv (so happy to have that feature) so I wasn’t sure if I would need the first two.  If you think I should enable, please leave a comment, luv ;-)  (they facilitate WordPress.com blogs and Twitter / Facebook commenters).

Gotcha #9

jugglerOh ya, the other thing that wasted my time was my gmail accounts.  This has absolutely nothing to do with the migration itself, but since it slowed me down, I’m calling it out.

So I have my main personal gmail account and two other personal gmail accounts that I use for playing lexulous, on-line forums etc.  Then I have my blog gmail address which is debtdotdebsatgmaildotcom.  So, you know in gmail how you can have them all kinda linked and switched from one to the other?  Ya, well I use that …. a lot.  So I mentioned in Gotcha #7 about creating a new gmail for my new blog.  Well I don’t know if 5 is too many or because I was working in just one browser, but everytime I tried to log into my old blog email it would open one of my personal gmail accounts.  I could not get into my old blog email and I needed to see if WordPress.com was sending me emails about my password recovery for my site etc.  It was so frustrating.  Eventually, I opened a chrome browser, so I had Firefox, Chrome and Internet explorer browsers open and trying to do all kinds of stuff with the three.  I felt like a juggler.

I don’t know about you but with Google+ now and all the gmails I just get lost some days.

Gotcha #10

But the pièce de résistance that I was able to fix on my own, was this little baby that I mentioned in my previous posting on Two Key Blogging Tips to Help Your Brand and Exposure.   I was so freaked out about it because I thought I was not going to be able to get my beloved fraggle to show in my little browser tab.

How crazy is that, ay?  Well I was broken hearted when found out that the YOKO theme (which I love and am not nearly tired of yet since I’ve only been blogging four months) did not have a spot for me to load a favicon in the theme.

Thanks to this youtube video, How to Install a Favicon to Your Website, I was able to code the fix directly in css and I am such a SMARTY PANTS so PUMPED!
browser-tab-with-favicon

  1. Create a favicon.ico file here http://www.favicon.cc/
  2. Load favicon.ico file into my directory folder “images” at self-hosted site
  3. Insert this css code using editor in the header section under title part:

<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”http://debtdebs.com/wp-admin/images/favicon.ico” type=”image/x-icon” />

replacing your site information and hierarchy (may be a little different), of course.

I’ve left a note on the Elmastudio Theme Forum (creators of YOKO).  Now isn’t YOKO such a great theme for this site because it’s so much like YOLO?  ;-)

The Recipe

So although it seems like a lot of points above, it really went well.   I just like to have an exact recipe with everything the right order and everything clearly named and easy to find.
many-tasks-of-blog-migration

  1. Procure a domain hosting service and verify you can access their site.
  2. Put your existing site on maintenance mode using tips in Gotcha #1.
  3. Turn off 2 step authentication in WordPress.com if you have it activated.  You will need you printed codes to do this. (Gotcha #2)
  4. Change your name servers in your old WordPress.com site (assuming you are keeping your domain with your old host). Store>My Domains> Edit Domains>Name Servers (Gotcha #3).
  5. Export your blog to .xml (Tools>Export).
  6. Log into your hosting platform and create the WordPress application from the cPanel.
  7. Access your new application via yourblogname/wp-admin.  If it is taking you to your old site, wait a while or follow steps in Gotcha #5
  8. Import your blog from the .xml file.  You probably have to install your theme as well in the WP-Content>Themes folder.
  9. Correct any errors/failures with the assistance of your hosting company. (Gotcha #4)
  10. Adjust widgets / settings. (Gotcha #6)
  11. Install plugins (e.g. Akismet, Jetpack, Commentluv) and activate settings on Jetpack features desired. (Gotcha #7)
  12. Migrate your WordPress.com subscribers.  (Ref Gotcha #8)
  13. Set your WordPress.com site to private and / or Redirect visitors to your new site by procuring Site Redirect ($13 Cdn)

I have not done Step 13 yet.   I haven’t figured out if I need to do it because my link addresses are the same since my blog name didn’t change.  Here’s what they say about it in the WordPress.com Store:

Do you want to move away from WordPress.com to your own self-hosted WordPress installation without losing SEO ranking and breaking links? Have you recently changed your blog address and need to move traffic to the new address? This upgrade redirects your wordpress.com blog to your new blog by performing permanent (301) redirects for all of your content.

If anyone can help a homegirl out and tell me if I should do this for a year I would greatly appreciate it.

Any tips and tricks I have forgotten?  Does this make you more confident to move your blog, or less confident?

like-postCREDITS – we’ve got credits!

Images courtesy of / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Stuart Miles / man carrying boxes, coloured blocks, jigsaw fan
cooldesign / men with boxes
David Castillo Dominici
/ construction
sheelamohan
/ time and lock
renjith krishnan / Make Money Online. Internet Cable With Dollars
rajcreationzs / computer networks
Grant Cochrane
/ cartoon dog juggler
Master isolated images / like

 

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sciatica-x-ray


35 Comments

B-A-C-K-S (Break50.com, Anti-spam, CNAFinance MVP, Kisses & Kudos, Self-hosted)

Hi folks

I had a good Canada Day weekend, after a rough start, which is why I’ve entitled this post BACKS!  The Irishman tried to change the front brakes on the truck himself.  We had paid $754.76 parts and labour, earlier in the week to have the rear brakes done.  He decided to do the front himself because they are less complicated and he figured he could save the labour charge.  Parts alone were $395.27!  Yikes!  It’s been an expensive week.

sciatica-x-ray-self-hostedAnyhoo, he struggled to get the rotor off because there was rust and corrosion and then couldn’t get the brakes on because they gave him the wrong brakes!!  They gave him rear brakes!   So he rushed to take them back and get the right parts before we needed to babysit and then he didn’t have the right receipt.  So he dropped me off at my grandson’s, so my daughter could leave to go to a wedding and ran back home to find the receipt and get back to the dealership before the parts department closed.

He ended up having to finish the job on Sunday morning and it was a lot of work.  Consequently he is complaining that his back is sore which isn’t good since he had back surgery 7 years ago.   This is his x-ray before his surgery where they put two titanium rods in his back.  I have another photo post surgery of the incision but it’s too gross to show you.

I told him to go to physiotherapy.  I hope he listens and I don’t have to nag him.  Every time he complains about it I’m going to hold up a sign with PHYSIO on it.

Short post (sure you say! ;-) ) today, with various updates on some topics.  So I’ll get started real quick, continuing with the BACK theme.

Break50B – Break50.com Interview

Speaking of brakes (breaks), I was very pleased to be interviewed at Sov’s site, Break50.com,  The Personal Debt Wrangler – an interview with Debt Debs.   Discussions of net worth and Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (which I’m currently reading) over there.  Worth checking out as there’s information I have never yet disclosed on this blog.  A big thanks to Sov, for his hospitality.

Canada-anti-spam-legislation

flickr: janet galore

A – Anti-Spam Legislation

Canada launched new anti-spam legislation on Canada Day, July 1, 2014.  In order to comply, I believe I have to get express permission from people in Canada who subscribe to my blog via email.  I also need to remind them how to opt of receiving emails, at any time.  Since this is a fairly new blog, I don’t have  a lot of email subscribers, 9 to be exact (most subscribe via WordPress reader or blog reader tools (Bloglovin’ or feedly).  In addition, I don’t know if my email subscribers are Canadian or not.

But in order to be compliant, I did managed to send out an email using Google Forms to get their express permission to continue to receive my blog posts via email.  Google Forms was actually pretty easy to use, although I made a boo-boo with my first email out and forgot to ask the subscribers to identify themselves.  I was getting confirmations back that they still wanted to subscribe to my blog, but I had no way to know which of the 9 subscribers was responding.  So I sent out a second email.  Since then I have received responses back from 3 subscribers with their email (Thank you! :-D ) and another 4 affirmations but with no email indicated.  But I’m suspecting that the four are from the first mail out, so theoretically I have only received 3 out of 9 responses and I should be unsubscribing the other 6 from my blog (Boo Hoo! :-( )

I wanted to do a blog post about how to use Google Forms to do this.   I may still, or I may update this post afterwards, but basically, here is the content of my Google Form:

Anti-Spam Consent

I would like to send a very sincere thanks to all of you who have subscribed to my blog debtdebs.com.

Canada is launching a new anti-spam legislation on July 1, 2014 and to comply with this I would like to obtain consent from you individually by confirming that you agree to continue to receive messages from me whenever I post a new blog entry at debtdebs.com.

You may unsubscribe to receiving these messages at any time by selecting Unsubscribe at the bottom of any email you receive from debt debs or by contact me at debtdebs@gmail.com.

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Debs

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CNA-Finance-PF-MVP-Award-Vote-for-meC – CNA Finance Personal Finance MVP Award Nomination

As I mentioned last post, my blog has been nominated for the CNA Finance MVP Award.  I was quite tickled given the caliber of the other two nominees.  If you like what you are reading here, there is still time to vote until the end of the day Wednesday.  The votes will be counted Thursday morning.  You can vote by leaving a comment in the post or send an email to CNAFinanceHelp@gmail.com!  Thank you so much for all those who have voted so far!  It’s a long shot for me, but I really appreciate the sentiment, very truly.  :-)

self-hostedK – Kisses & Kudos

Since I’ve been away and not near the internet for a few days, I have a lot of catching up to do.  I see many have re-tweeted my post from Saturday and left some nice comments.  Thank you very much!  I’ll be around visiting blogs for the rest of the week.

S- Self-hosting (Moving Blog from WordPress.com to Self-hosted)

I’ve decided to move my blog from the awesome WordPress.com hosted site to a self-hosted site and that will be happening this week (all things going well, crossing fingers and toes!).  There’s a few reasons behind this, most pressing reasons listed first:

  1. I’ve been asked to participate in an event that will utilize Rafflecopter, and this plug-in cannot be deployed on WordPress.com hosted blogs.
  2. I found out when co-hosting a FinSavSat blog hop in May, that I couldn’t display the other blog posts that were participating in the usual nice format that shows the post and associated picture.  Instead I had to have this dumb little frog’s head, that readers would need to click on to see all other linked posts.  Since I would like to co-host that blog hop again and maybe others, I need to be able to install plug ins on my site.  Full stop.
  3. Initially I did not want to pay anything for my blog, since I felt I was being hypocritical, since our large outstanding debt was the primary catalyst for starting.  I finally got fed up with the annoying WordPress word in the blog url (debtdebs.wordpress.com) and bought my domain name for $26 after I realized I wanted to continue to devote my time and grow my blog.  Now that I realize how much work is involved and still want to continue, I need to set myself up for potentially monetizing my blog down the road.  My initial intention was to grow my readership first, and then decide.  Now I realize that delaying the move will only result in more work down the road.  So that, in addition to the above two factors makes me realize that I should do this now and not delay.  If I had known this before, I probably would have started out as self-hosted.

Happy-4th-July
I must admit, I’m a little nervous.  I’m not technically inept, and I like troubleshooting, but I would rather that things go smoothly because who needs the hassle?  I would rather devote my time to writing and reading other blogs.

So despite my good intentions above, if things seem a little quiet here and from me for the next few days, then you will know why.

Wishing all U.S. based readers and bloggers and very fine Independence Day!  Happy 4th of July!

Be back later.  :cool:

B – Do you ever do your own brake jobs?
A – Any Canadian bloggers done anything similar for the Anti-Spam legislation?
C – Can you vote for me?
K – What are your plans for Independence Day?

S –  Share any words of advice for moving from WordPress.com to self hosted?

advice


53 Comments

Debt Debs Super Duper Advice

debt-debs-adviceDid you see the great post compiled by Mark @ MoneySavingDude which compiles 50+ Money Saving Tips From Some of The Best Personal Finance Bloggers Today?

There’s a great variety of ideas from lots of great experiences all collected in one spot.  Mark did a great job on compiling that post.  I was so impressed that I took him up on his offer to promote myself add my own.  #growingmyfangirls&homeboys

This got me thinking about all the things I have learned over the last 2+ years of our debt recovery journey.  We’ve made so many mistakes, that I could do a Do’s and Don’ts, but I wanted to keep this positive.   So with the World Cup Fever upon us, let’s just call this the FIFA List (Finance Is Freakin’ Awesome).  So here’s my list of things I wish my former self knew already:
FIFA

  1. Track your spending!  Yes, I know you think it’s boring but once you make it a habit, it is not.  Just start.  Make a plan of what you can afford to spend against your income (a budget) and stay within it.  If you blow some categories one month, just pick yourself up and do better next month.  You can cut back (eat your pantry) on groceries next month or reallocate from a category you are under budget on.   Use a piece of paper, excel, MINT, YNAB… whatever… just do it!
  2. Stop buying stuff! It’s just crap! More stuff to dust, giveaway, throw away later. Live a minimalist lifestyle and put value where it belongs on activities and experiences and people!
  3. Use credit cards for rewards only if they are for things you need and are lucrative.  i.e. Cash in the hand for cash back cards are the best.  Travel can be good if you can work it so that you are saving a lot for planned travel.  Anything else that causes you to buy things you don’t need, or travel a particular way you normally wouldn’t are not what you are looking for.  Look for cards that give you 4% on ‘needs’ purchases – gas and groceries.
  4. Always pay off your credit cards monthly, the only exception being in step 5 below.
  5. Use low rate balance transfer cards with discretion and manage very carefully. Use them to your advantage to pay off a higher interest debt but don’t get caught with your pants on the ground! I can’t stress this enough!  So here are the conditions:
    1. Under no circumstances let anything else be charged to this card while you have an open balance. This happened to us for an annual renewal that we forgot about and we have paid $20 more interest as a result. Hey, you don’t think that’s much? I’ll take $20 any day!
    2. Don’t pay a balance transfer fee. Usually they are at about 1% but sometimes more. Negotiate for a 0% balance transfer or wait for that deal to come along. We were constantly being solicited to do one of these transfers and we said only if they would waive the transfer fee, which they did, and the interest reate is only 0.99%.
  6. Pay off your home in 15 years. How to do this and why?
    1. How?: Take out your mortgage for 20 or 25 years but ensure you have prepayment privileges so you can pay extra throughout the year and with a high enough maximum so that it will be gone within 15.
    2. Why?:

i.      You want to have cushion in your amortization period so that if worst case happens, job loss or illness, you have some buffer and don’t get stressed about it, as you might if you only had an amortization period of 15 years.

ii.      It’s better to be able to pay extra through out the year. Otherwise you need to be very disciplined to save the extra $3K to make the prepayment before your annual anniversary.

iii.      Most people buy their homes when they are starting out and before kids start coming. By the time your oldest is preteen, there’s other expenses to worry about like sports and activities (hey kids are expensive!) and having your mortgage gone gives you greater flexibility and more opportunity to save for university costs and extra for retirement*.

iv.      I don’t advocate skipping your retirement savings during this period of mortgage repayment. You should be doing both simultaneously. Your budget should be tight, but it should be doable. If you can’t, then maybe you should consider that you bought too much house.

Guess which one is featured on 50+ Money Saving Ideas?

Pay-off-Mortgage-in-15

So on the topic of Lessons Learned, although I’m still learning the ropes on blogging, and I might have already shared a thing or two on that too, I like to include stuff as I go along this new journey of PF blogging.
(PF = Personal Finance or Pretty Freakin’, your choice ;-) ).

blogger-carnivalI recently signed up for some blogger carnivals and learned a couple of things I’d like to share:

  1. It is the host’s discretion which posts to feature for that week.  Some hosts seem to cover all posts submitted.  Others just pick up the top ten.
  2. If your host is not picked up, you can try to submit again in the next week.  General rule of thumb is that the post should be less than two weeks old, but I’m not sure how ‘official’ or enforced that is.  I’m still learning, but I’m thinking that you could submit something up to a month old, possibly.  That’s what I’m going to try to do and we’ll see how it goes.  Let’s face it, if you don’t get picked up one week, it’s pretty hard to only submit posts that are less than two weeks old.  That’s why I’m thinking there may be some leniency there but we’ll see.
  3. Some carnivals are not posting regularly per the schedule.  I tried contacting the hosts to see what’s up with that, but have not had much success.  You can contact me directly if you have any questions in this regard.
  4. Keep a record in an excel file or something of what posts you submitted to what carnival.  You don’t get an email once your submission is received and it’s easy to lose track if you are submitting a few at a time.  If it doesn’t get picked up, the situation gets even more confusing a few days down the road.
  5. If you’re post is picked up, then you should receive a ping back.  What I did not know, but Harry Campbell from Your Personal Finance Pro helped clarify, is you are supposed to include a link to the carnival on your site.  Duh!  Makes sense right?  It doesn’t have to be a separate post.  You can just tag it on one of your posts or include in a weekly roundup if you normally have these.

So here are the carnivals that I have had posts featured on:

The link above is for PF blogger carnivals but I’d also like to point out Mel @ BrokeGIRLRich did a really great post on blog parties called Personal Finance Blog Hops and Link Ups.  Again, these are PF related, but these are common in the blogging community on many niche areas it seems.

keep-calmLastly, while I’m at it, I would like to shout out to these folks who have featured my posts in the last month.  Okay I’ve never done this before and honestly did not know this was blogger etiquette.  Duh! Again!  Now I understand why people cover this in their weekly highlight posts!!  I won’t be tardy in my backlink love in the future.  Live and Learn …

Can A Marriage Survive a Debt Crisis? – Thank you Brian, John, Shannon and Hayley who featured this post on Debt Discipline – Week End Roundup #33, Frugal Rules -Thank You for Serving!, Financially Blonde -Weekly Roundup and A Disease Called Debt – New Blog Design Soon – Hayley’s had her new blog out for a few weeks and it looks fabulous!
Curve Balls – When You Are Hit With Unexpected Financial Events was in Young Adult Money’s The Weekly Quick Hits Roundup – Thanks DC!

Couple’s Money Conversations to Avoid was link loved in Everybody Loves Your Money -Link Love – 6/6/14

Two Key Blogging Tips to Help Your Brand and Exposure was helpful to The Write Budget – Weekly Wrap Up #18 – Back to the Beach.  Lauren was able to fix her favicon so that it showed up on the browser tab instead of the little navy blue Bluehost squares.  I was really happy that the tips were helpful!

Debt Games – was a guest post I did at Kayla’s site Shoeaholic No More when we did a blog swap and she wrote Debt and the Single Girl here.  Tonya @ Budget and the Beach enjoyed that post as well and featured it in her Feeling Guilty/Link Love.

Father’s Frugal Finances – was liked by Debby aka Little Miss Money aka Ginger on a Mission in Day 246 – Public Transportation: a Comparison.  She’s over in Belgium right now training for her new job and had something to say about New York City versus Belgium transportation systems.  Jason aka Dividend Mantra was long :-) on love in his Weekend Reading – June 21, 2014.

Whew!  I just realized this is a combo post, personal finance advice and new blogger advice all rolled into one.  Something for everyone.  ;-)   Actually, not really, but once I start doing my investment portfolio updates – watch out!  In the meantime, I hope that you found something useful!

“Advice” Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Funfairs Carnivals” Image courtesy of Nathan Greenwood / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Smile House” Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

debtdebs-Fergus


61 Comments

Top Ten Reasons You Need to Manage Your Finances

Big big post for you here today folks.  It’s time for another Top Ten Reasons à la David Letterman style. This time I’ve brought my good blogger friends to back up my points.  You know, just so you don’t think I make this stuff up and all.

Last time I did the Top Ten I kinda screwed it up. I forget that Dave goes in reverse. What can I say? I was a Leno fan.

Speaking of the Tonight Show, who’s enjoying it with Fallon as the host? I love the opening music (don’t ask why, but if I turn the channel too late after watching the news and miss the opening music I’m bummed up.  Hey hey hey hey….Hey hey hey hey… Hey hey hey hey… hey hey hey hey)

It’s definitely different than Leno. I like the musical numbers he does.  Plus he does a good Vladimir Putin.  I miss headlines, and jaywalking though. Did anyone see it the other night when they had the zoo animals on?  No?  Okay well you’re in luck because I have it for you below.

At about 3 minutes in the trainer pretended the little albino alligator snapped at Jimmy and he ended up in the corner because he got so scared.   Then they brought the big mama albino alligator out and he looked like he was going to run out of the studio. Meanwhile his female guest, Rosario Dawson, was handling the little white baby like a pro.

You can view the video directly on YouTube by clicking here

Also see the follow-on video with Roxie the big big elephant here.  I’m a little reluctant to share these videos because I’m not a big fan of animals in captivity.  Share your thoughts in the comments, if you like.

Anyways, I digress, so back to the Top Ten.

Top Ten Reasons You Need to Manage Your Finances

goats-kids#10.  Your kids – Read this heartfelt story from Vanessa of the Cash Cow Couple who wrote at The Heavy Purse

The Surprising Consequences of Keeping Your Kids in the Dark about Your Finances

Vanessa explains how important it is to explain any ways you are managing money in an open and practical manner, focusing on the positive with your children.  You do not want to create fear in your child which can develop into unhealthy money and spending habits that take years to overcome.  As a mother, I wonder if I’ve made these mistakes, even if meaning well.  All I can do is look forward and help educate other parents about this as well.

Top Ninth Reason You Need to Manage Your Finances

fast-food-not-frugal#9.  You may end up having to go on a cash diet – Grayson Bell at Frugal Rules is putting himself on one because he says he’s spending too much on fast food.

It is Time to go on a Cash Diet

There’s no shame if you have to go this route, it’s better than letting a problem perpetuate and maybe become an even harder habit to break.  I’ve decided I may need to put The Irishman on a cash grocery diet if the poker chips don’t work.  What is it with men and grocery stores?  Is it just mine?  OK, then, carry on.

Top Eighth Reason You Need to Manage Your Finances

duck-bill#8.  You may be paying for stuff you don’t know about – Dee at Color Me Frugal found out the hard way when she was suddenly billed for something that apparently was in the contract but they weren’t aware.

Why It’s Important to Check in With Your Billers Regularly

At least through some whining negotiating she was able to cut her losses in half, but if she hadn’t checked her bill closely she would have been none the wiser for that time and going forward.  BTW, the duck named Bill totally agrees with me.

Top Seventh Reason You Need to Manage Your Finances

Bread#7.  You’re paying for a lot more than the food you order when you eat out according to Karen at Suburban Finance.

Hidden Costs in Restaurants

She reminds us of the extra costs of sides and add-ons as well as the variability across geographies.  What get’s me the most is how these options are always presented in such a way as to make you think they are doing you a big favour, bringing you bread or asking if you like something extra, with no hint that there’s extra cost involved and they’re just trying to up-sell and increase they’re profit margin.  Good marketing for them… bad for you and your pocketbook!  Besides who wants to pay extra for bread that looks like worms?

Top Sixth Reason You Need to Manage Your Finances

gas-prices#6.  You may be missing out on better opportunities if you don’t do the math and calculate your costs that support your income earning potential or even just your costs to support your family.  How many times have you driven across town to hit a sale but basically blew most of your savings on gas?  Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff discusses how this has impacted her in:

Opportunity Costs at Work

Now with the price of gas these days is through the roof.  I use GasBuddy.com to find the best prices in my vicinity.  $139.8/litre last reported 50 minutes ago at my favourite nearby station (which in US gas terms is $4.915/gal  using these handy dandy Bank of Canada daily currency converter and gas converter tools!)

Top Fifth Reason You Need to Manage Your Finances

Germany#5. What if a great opportunity came along, something you always wanted to do but then you couldn’t because you didn’t have the financial means necessary to support the endeavor?  So like, let’s just say that Erin of Broke Millennial had this chance (she doesn’t) to move to Germany (she’s not) but didn’t have the funds to pay her way over until she could get reimbursed by her new employer?  Ya, that would suck ay?  Well Erin explores all things about why she should move to Germany in … drum roll…

Perhaps I Should Move to Germany?

Basically she proves that she would never be caught with her pants on the ground and not ready to move to Germany or anywhere if the right opportunity came up because she rocks managing her money!!   Besides, who wouldn’t want to move to Germany on a moment’s notice with cool looking architecture like this?

flickr-John-Morgan-manage-your-financesTop Fourth Reason You Need to Manage Your Finances

#4.  If you manage your finances then you have extra money to buy important stuff like dividend paying stocks which is a nice form of passive income.  I don’t have any extra money these days so I just drool when I read posts like this from Dividend Mantra.

Recent Buy

So I just follow a long like I’m using play monopoly money so I can learn the ropes and look forward to the day when I have some extra cash and I can write a post call Recent Buy except I will call it Decent Recent Buy, because my name is Debt Debs and I have to get at least one D and some rhyme in there because that’s how I roll.

Top Third Reason You Need to Manage Your Finances

Dollar-Store-shopping#3.  Wow, I can’t believe I’m already at #3.  For this one I need to say categorically you need to manage your finances so that you can shop at the dollar store.  Huh?  Yes, you need to shop at the dollar store for two reasons.  #1 you can get some okay things at the dollar store and there is no reason to go buy some overpriced thing when the dollar store version is just fine.  Girl Meets Debt knows about some of these things and also some that you should not buy at the dollar store.

5 Things to Buy (and Avoid) at the Dollar Store

I’d like to add pens to her list of things to buy at the dollar store.  But what’s the #2 reason you need to shop at the dollar store?  You need to remember what it was like when you shopped at the dollar store to get your shopping fix because you didn’t have any money and spending just $10 on some dish cloths, some plastic hangers, a couple of cards and a candle was enough to make you realize, you didn’t need to shop anymore to feel good.  Stay humble…. and never be a collector of needless stuff again.

Top Second Reason You Need to Manage Your Finances

standard-poodle#2.  If something is really important to you and you need money for it, it’s not fun when you don’t have the money for it.  Our beloved standard poodle passed away January 2013, and though I still grieve for him, I think I will soon be ready to get another Standard Poodle, this time from a rescue organization like SPIN or SPRO.  It just sucks that we don’t have the money in our budget because pets can be expensive.  But I bawled my eyes out yesterday when I read about LBee & the Money Tree having a really rough week losing her beloved dog, Murray.

For Murray

Her love for that pooch was so apparent in her words and the wonderful pictures she shared.  It reminded me how much we loved and miss Fergus, and know that one day, we will share our love again with a standard poodle rescue.  It’s not a matter of if, it’s when.  And if I had been a better money manager, it would be tomorrow that I would get another dog.

The #1 Top Reason You Need to Manage Your Finances

happy-piggybank-manage-your-finances#1.  And the #1 reason why you need to manage your finances is an oldie but goodie found on Rockstar Finance from Will at First Quarter Finance.  You may find out that you actually enjoy saving money!

How to Enjoy Saving Money!

Now there’s a novel concept, and one, I myself, can vouch for!  Go figure…

Images courtesy of morguefile except where noted
Monopoly Money / John Morgan / flickr
Dollarama / Michael_Swan / flickr

Happy #FinSavSat folks!  Enjoy your weekend!

Debt Discipline
Multitasking


42 Comments

The New Multitasking – Fragmentasking

MultitaskingDoes the word multitasking make you feel energized and alive?

Not the first thing you think of?  It used to be such a cool word when it was the new black.  Kinda like twerking got popular this year (although that word wants to make be barf).  How about selfie?  It’s sorta cute in a narcissistic kind of way!

My form of multitasking is so fragmented, that I wanna coin a new term fragmentasking.  It basically means flipping around from this to that until the time allotted runs out or you go to bed.  Whichever comes first. Fragmentasking sounds like frugal and fraggles so I’m all over that.  Do you fangirls and bros think your tweeps can relate to that?

So on that topic, here’s what my fabulous and frugal days have me fragmentasking about lately, in no particular order, I give you…

THE FRAGMENTASKING LIST

UHF/VHF/FM/HDTV Compact Outdoor Antenna

Home Hardware: UHF/VHF/FM/HDTV Compact Outdoor Antenna – $134.99

Digiwave Digital TV Antenna ANT7286

WALMART: Digiwave Digital TV Antenna ANT7286 – $89.97

1.  Two weeks ago I let you know we were joining the cable cutting club even though, we actually starting discussing this back in March and I even reached out to fellow blogger Kay at Green Money Stream inquiring about what type of digital antenna they got.  The Irishman has been researching Walmart, The Source, Staples and Home Hardware but we still are antennaless, and alas not cableless … yet.  Enough already.  I still don’t know how I’m gonna watch THE LITTLE COUPLE yet (man I love that show! eeek… I forgot to watch it last night!!!  Oh, man, I guess I won’t miss it that much), so that’s on my fragmentasking list to research.

2.  I had a killer week last week – a project Go Live and there was a last minute glitch identified Tuesday that had to be addressed by Thursday so we could run all the batch jobs over the weekend.  Some configurations had to be updated that had not been detected during testing (grrr…) so three twelve hour days later all the work was completed.  I had to really ignore my fragmentasking during this time because I suck at it and apparently Stefanie from the Broke and Beautiful Life does too.  So I followed the advice I gave Stefanie and said “Hold all calls” (in my head, gee I’ve always wanted to say that), until the work was done.  A little bit of fallout this week that I’m dealing with, unrelated to the initial issue, but hey, that’s life my job.

3.  After a nice Father’s Day brunch at one of my daughter’s, The Irishman, my youngest and I actually spent Sunday afternoon working on stage 2 of garage cleanup.  It was easier with three of us doing it together and I was really pleased that my OCD daughter was able to put herself out there and brave the dirty disgusting garage.   We sorted through a bunch of stuff and The Irishman took a load of donations to Value Village.  Weather was great and we were tired and sore by 5 p.m.  A bunch of garbage got picked up today on trash day.  Good riddance!  Stage 3 fragmentask and possibly 4 will be needed, but they should get easier, now that we’ve cleared up a lot of room.  Not the funnest day to spend Father’s Day but he seemed pleased with the progress and I was a happy mama!  Here’s a before picture but you can’t see final until it’s all done!

garage-before-cleaning4.  So needless to say, with Father’s Day and garage cleaning, I haven’t made any progress yet on my stock portfolio tracking to get comfortable with making the big move to a self-managed retirement portfolio.   I’m very meticulous and very nervous so this will take me some time, but I’m committed to do this.  Is anyone else hearing about a stock market correction?  I keep hearing one is coming, but the quick glance at the daily emails I get, so far so good.

chip-system-grocery-saving5.  Another fragment on my plate is dealing with how to reduce our grocery bill which for us is $800/month but it includes pet food, paper products, toiletries – basically anything we buy at Costco, any grocery stores and Shopper’s Drug Mart.  I use MINT so it’s just easier to have all those stores go to our grocery budget line.   We’ve  been eating our pantry right now so that’s all we’ve done in the short term, but still need to delve in it more.  One idea I’ve had (since The Irishman seems to love going to grocery stores ug and we like to use credit cards to get the cash back rewards), is to use a copycat cash system.  I would get 30 poker chips and two baskets – one spent and unspent.  Every time one of us spends $20 of this grocery budget, we move a chip over to the spent basket.  This way there is a visual of how much money is left and we need to figure out how to make it last until the end of the month.

6.  On the topic of savings, Money Ahoy’s Derek is preaching to my choir when he said Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night.  I don’t believe you need to leave the outside lights on when you go to bed or even later in the evening.  The Irishman likes to leave the back deck light on for security reasons but I think it’s redundant.  We had front yard lights on a few weeks ago when he left his truck unlocked and someone went in and stole his GPS.  Grrrr… laughs on them though because they didn’t take the charger and the dang thing never holds a charge anymore.

7.  I tried been trying to keep up with my blog reading and it’s not that easy.  Wave your hand if you also have that problem.  I can get caught up one day and then fall right back behind the next.  I’m a little anal and hate to miss a cool post so I pretty much scan them all or at a minimum read the title and see if it ‘speaks to me’.  That, coupled with finding new blogs to read and going back to read replies to comments I’ve left leaves me in a big taskfragging heap and we’ll just leave it at that.  :-D

8.  In my blog blitz catchup earlier this week I came across The Addiction of Momentary Pleasure and Seeking the Peak from Trent @ The Simple Dollar and I’ve been giving it some thought as I soak in the tub (fragmentasking at it’s best!).   I guess it’s really all about the law of diminishing returns and finding that sweet spot where pleasure is maximized and more doesn’t lead to minimize it.  Confused?  Go read Trent’s post.  It’s kinda cool.

9.   Speaking of momentary pleasures, for a fleeting moment I got to dream about my future after reading Mr. CBB’s Can you picture yourself living the retired life?  It doesn’t mean I’ll be fragmentasking any less, but on my own terms, you betcha!

The Addiction of Momentary Pleasure and Seeking the Peak – See more at: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-addiction-of-momentary-pleasure-and-seeking-the-peak/#sthash.KiE86Cf7.dpuf
The Addiction of Momentary Pleasure and Seeking the Peak – See more at: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-addiction-of-momentary-pleasure-and-seeking-the-peak/#sthash.KiE86Cf7.dpuf

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Prakairoj / Business Man And Post Memo Around Body
Salvatore Vuono / Casino Chips


54 Comments

Curve Balls – When You Are Hit With Unexpected Financial Events

baseball-curve-ballsSpring is here, B-B-Q’s have been lit up and summer’s just around the corner.  Kids are starting their summer activities, whether it be swimming, soccer, football or some form of baseball.  I’ve been thinking about the latter as I review the series of financial events that delivered us to this point in our season.  There were a number of ups and downs that I consider curve balls that we needed to ‘deal’ with and not lose our drive.  So it made sense for me to use baseball terms to relay to you how my winter – spring financial season went.

The Home Team

T-ballMy husband’s income is variable, based on the demand.  He is a real estate appraiser, so swings are inevitable based on the time of year and the market.  Normally, he does receive enough bread and butter engagements to meet a minimum – moderate level of income and that is what I base our debt repayment plans on.  The idea being that it should feel like we’re playing T-ball.  The figure I use for this is $2,400 per month, which gets paid in two installments, the 15th and last day of the month.  He gets paid one month in arrears, meaning he gets paid next month for the work he did this month.  Therefore I know now, what his income will be for June, as an example.

Basically, as part of the battery, all of his income and some of mine goes to debt.  Anything he makes above that budget amount is a bonus baby which we also apply to debt to help us meet our goals even sooner than our five year plan.   Usually, we are able to stick with this as I have all foreseen expenses budgeted (including car repairs, etc.).  However, I don’t move unspent budgeted money that may be needed later into a separate cash account.  Maybe I should, because it can get messy and feels like we have a dead arm, when all of a sudden we do have a big bill, but I’ve already skimmed off the money and applied to debt.

Opening Season

good-baseball-pitcher-curve-ballsSo looking back to the beginning of the year, January was a tough month, because he had not one engagement last December – a strikeout.  So there was no money coming from him for January.  That was our first curve ball.  Debt repayment goal could not be met, or at least not fully.  I scrimped together $1,000 from some actual and anticipated expense savings whilst declaring a bean soup and scrambled eggs on toast menu plan would get us through the lean winter months.  That $1,000 payment felt like damage control.  As the umpire, I had to watch the game closely, even if hoping the home team could steal a base to regain control of the game.

Then I got small hit on a curve ball, when he told me he could give me $2,000 he was saving in his business account which was for an upcoming annual business insurance premium of $3,100 due soon.  We decided we could put the insurance on the credit card giving us one extra month to pay and gaining cash back points, and hopefully business would pick up and we’d be in for a bit of slow pitch now that the Christmas season was over.  He never could explain what happened in December.  Normally it does slow down, but it has never come to a shutout like it did for him in 2013.   He did, however, land a large contract for the city which we could count on down the road because it wouldn’t pay out for a few months.

Regular Season Begins

baseball-player-in-the-airWell that softball turned into hardball pretty quick when we saw that January was not looking very good either.  He ended $1,100 short from our minimum goal.  With two away and two down, I was starting to get kind of panicky.  I had slowed our debt repayment, but we were committed on a low rate cash transfer credit card that needs to be fully paid by August of this year.  We had put a $24,700 lump sum against our 2.89% mortgage debt last Sept, planning to pay the 0.99% credit card off at $2,250 for 11 months.  Yes, I know this is just swapping debt for debt, but was at a lower interest rate and with no transfer fee. It seemed like a good idea since we were planning to make prepayments of more than that amount monthly.  Of course, we had no foresight of the earnings slump that was to come.

We were window shopping for strike 3 near the end of February when it looked like his income for that month to be paid in March was going to fall $700 short from our @2,400 target.  Not only that, but now we had an over $5K Visa payment due in early March (remember the $3,100 insurance above) plus $2,700 of first installment of property taxes due in March.  Normally I put $450/month in my Emergency Fund each month to build up enough to cover property taxes.  Well, with robbing Peter to pay Paul, that didn’t happen, and things were getting very precarious, indeed!

The Losing Streak

empty-baseball-fieldAt this point we are $4,200 negative on budgeted earnings plus I needed to find an additional $1,100 to make up the insurance payment for which he had only $2K for ($3,100 – $2,000).

What did I do?  Bring in a pinch hitter? I scoured the internet looking for part-time job possibilities and while I was doing that I turned into a blogger.  Overnight.  Magically.  Just like that.

I had no knowledge of the term side hustle.  I didn’t think I had the stamina to work 2 shifts per week at Shoppers Drug Mart after a brain draining workday.  I also decided early on that making money at blogging would, for me, be undoubtedly very difficult.  And yet, I was incredibly stressed and needed somewhere to unload.  So a blogger I became.

I dug-out our Emergency Fund.  I know JMoney says No Touchy! but we were dealing with a job loss of sorts (hey, where did all the fans go?).  That is what your E-fund is for.  Unforeseen events that you have no control over.  Okay, broken washing machines and vehicles kind of are too, I’ll give you that.  But hypothetically we are supposed to have a separate maintenance/stuff breaks fund to deal with that.   Some of us do not, but choose to keep our E-fund nice and high to cover that as well.   [Future post coming during the championships about how I plan to increase my Emergency Fund and why.]

Regular Season Ends

Batter-upThen we hit two home runs in a row.  The first was a due to a change-up with a family member and it was an out-of-the-park HR.  My husband is a licensed realtor and acted as agent for my sis and BIL to buy a new home and sell their existing home.  He had not intended on charging them any commission and in turn, return to them the fee he received from the purchase of their new home.  They insisted that we keep his earned commission from the purchase and in return for not taking a commission on the sale of their home they wanted to take us on a cruise (which we gratefully declined).

So that $4,000 yacker saved our home game and I started to relax a bit. Our second inside-the-park home run was that my husband’s March income exceeded our target by $1,600.  This was because of the completion of the large contract that he had been working on for a couple of months.  The regular small housing jobs were coming in, but at a rate lower than last year.  It was hard to say if business would increase to the same levels as before.  I might need to revisit my @2,400 / month projection if this continues.

I still kept blogging, as I soon realized I still had a lot to learn and I also had a story to tell as part of the Hot Stove League.   Maybe, just maybe, I could help others and maybe, just maybe, I could develop my blog into a retirement side hustle of my own.

Post Season

slide-into-baseAs we enter the seventh-inning stretch I see that I need to examine my slugging averages more closely because although the actual income has finally caught up with planned income, my Emergency fund is still $2,100 lower than it should be.  I can account for $1,100 of that being the passed ball shortfall in the insurance premium that I had not budgeted for plus $450 of missing tax savings that I did not fund one month when I was doing a suicide squeeze.

If I can continue to play ball, the plan is to pay $2K per month to the low rate credit card to have it knocked out of the park before the interest rate goes up ($6K – 3 more payments to go).  I’m not sure if I will deploy this strategy again, as it certainly has been a nail-biter.  I may just decide to become a patient hitter and just pay any excess towards debt as it comes so I don’t stress myself out so much.

Now I’ve got some good news about breaking balls and some bad news bears to share as we head into the wild-card playoff.  What d’ya want first?  Okay, the bad news it is – as in a grouch Uncle Charlie of My Three Sons curve ball when I received something in the mail yesterday.  I saw the word Justice on the envelope thinking it was a call to Jury Duty as I quickly tore it open only to find a RED LIGHT CAMERA SYSTEM OFFENCE NOTICE for my car which I was not driving on a particular day in a certain area to the tune of $325.  Ya, sucks the big ball$.

So that somebody, who shall remain nameless, worked his a$$ off this month (as luck would have it) and will bring in ticket sales of $3,200 next month which is $800 greater than minimum plan.  So two things we learned here folks – housing market is moving again in Canada and don’t run red lights when you’re debt wrangling or playing a perfect inning.

To mop up this post, I must confess that I knew little about baseball.  Just like me, you can learn how to manage your finances better too!  You just need to get in the game, define your level playing field and don’t stop short when things don’t go your way and you’re down and outHome plate will still be there, even if you need to round the bases a few times.  It’s practice and green lights that will get you the Commissioner’s Trophy and make you a champion of the series in your world.
Home-Game-Baseball

Images courtesy of flickr.com
Baseball glove / Andrei Niemimäki
T-ball / Chris Harrison
Baseball pitcher / Ralph Arveson
First base / Jonathon Assink
Baseball field / JACoxwell
Baseball batter / Eric Ward
Slide into base / Sherri Abendroth
Home field / Sherri B


102 Comments

Two Key Blogging Tips to Help Your Brand and Exposure

blogger-identity-brand-perception-blogging-tips

Your BRAND deserves R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Hey there everyone ~ I’ve been blogging for a little over two months now and constantly learning the hard way.  But the cool thing about being a newbie is that when you don’t know anything, you can ask the ‘dumb’ questions and get away with it.  :D

However, in my trials and tribulations, I’ve come across 2 things that I think every beginner blogger should know.  Wait there’s more – in fact these are two things that even seasoned bloggers could benefit from.

They’re BASIC, they’re bold and they all revolve around your brand.  I mean your brand is the figurehead of your blog and therefore a key recognizable identity to you as a writer.  Once people get to know and appreciate your writing style and featured content in your posts, it helps to remind your readership who you are and keeps them coming back.  This, in turn, is a stepping stone to be able to further interact with the blogging community, get inspired, write more great posts, grow your readership and retire early have a jolly good time.

#1 Who Tweets Your Stuff

The Process

I like to tweet out people’s posts that I have read or particularly like.  I don’t always comment* (see more on this subject in BONUS section below), if I have nothing to add to the conversation, but if I like the post, I try to remember to tweet it.  When you select the Tweet button below the post a nice summary is formulated that you can add to or tweet as is.  Here’s a sample of what I mean for a twitter share generated from my blog:
Tweet-format-from-WordPress

The Problem

However, in many cases (I estimate 40- 50% of bloggers) your own twitter handle is not added to the tweet.  Note above that the @DEBtDEBs was added automatically by the WordPress application software, but you have to configure it.

Note to self:  Wait a minute, Debt Debs.  You can just throw that figure of 40%-50% out there like that without any substantiation.

Right, fair enough, but I tweet out enough posts that I have a fairly good feel for it.  When the twitter id is not coming up automatically, I go to Twitter, search for the twitter name, copy it, and then paste it in the Tweet.  It’s a lot of hassle.  Sometimes, by the time I’ve done that, I forget to add my usual witty commentary at the intro.  #vain  Then I’m kinda miffed because what’s the point of just tweeting out a robotic tweet without some snarky comment added colour at the front of it – totally endorsing your post and showing that I actually read it.

The Evidence

Right, ahem.  So in fairness, in case I tend to exaggerate, while reading some blogs Monday night (Happy Belated Memorial Day to y’all BTW – you wrote some awesome tributes!), I decided to do a scientific and terrific test of the actual number of occurrences of this phenomenon.  (WoW, I’m getting all fancy wordy now that I’m a lowly application tester).

So within a one hour period from 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. EDT, I read a total of 7 posts (OK, maybe I’m a slow reader) and then tweeted them all (they were wonderful!) and here are the results:

Twitter-Wordpress-Button-Test

3 out of 7 tweets had their Twitter ID – 4 did not :-(

So my 40%-50% estimate is pretty accurate or understated, because out of the 7 tweets I sent, for 4 (57%) of them I needed to look-up of your twitter ID’s and manually add to the tweet before I sent them.  Like I said, I thought I had a pretty good feel for it.

Now maybe you don’t want to know who tweets your posts out, but if you’re a new blogger like me, trying to build your traffic and brand, it’s awesome to know when someone tweets your stuff!  Usually you like to thank them, although it is not necessary if you are a high traffic blog, in my humble opinion.

Since I appreciate this and knowing that my twitter handle comes up automatically, I went to investigate why this does not occur with all blogs.  I’m on a WordPress.com hosted site, so I wasn’t sure that if I would be able to troubleshoot on my own for those who use self-hosted WordPress.org themes.  So I enlisted the help of three bloggers, whom I’ve come to know in this world of Personal Finance blogs, to help me:

@Shoeaholicnomor from shoeaholicnomore.com – ‘Shoe’ has just recently moved her blog over from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress and I was trying to help her with these logistics.

@SavvyJames from retirementsavvy.net – James and I have conversed on-line a number of times and his blog is already on a self-hosted WordPress site.

@SaverSpender from www.savespendsplurge.com – helped Shoe and me out when we had a question and James was not available.

The Solution

WordPress.com blogs

My blog is hosted by WordPress.com and uses the WordPress application software.

In order to have my Twitter handle @debtdebs show up whenever someone re-tweets one of my posts, I had to configure the following two steps:

1. Go to Dashboard > Settings > Sharing

Sharing-Settings-for-Twitter

WordPress-Twitter-Linking

2. Scroll down on that same page and fill out this section

Sharing-Settings-for-Twitter-WordPress.com
This will yield the above tweet result when someone opts to tweet your post like this:

Twitter-share-buttonOnce the new window is opened with your tweet, you can modify before you send.

WordPress.org blogs – self hosted blogs

Many blogs are self-hosted as this allows them flexibility in terms of advertising options that they use on their site.  This involves hiring a server hosting company (e.g. Host Gator, Blue Host) to manage their site’s data as well as a company that licenses their domain name on an annual basis (e.g. Go Daddy).   A majority seem to use WordPress application software, utilizing either a free or paid for theme, or a specifically developed theme for their site from a WordPress developer.

To link your twitter account to your blog and set your Twitter handle like above, the steps are similar but it looks a bit different.

Step 1 – actually this step looks identical from what I can see

Twitter-Settings-WordPress.orgStep 2 – similar but the description field is slightly different.  It may depend on the template used for the blog site.

Twitter-handle-settingPrevious to making the Step 2 change for Shoeaholicnomor’s blog, this is what the Tweets looked like.  Note the addition of @jetpack at the end of the tweet:

@JetPack-in-TweetAfter the step 2 was completed, here is the result.  @jetpack is replaced by @shoeaholicnomor:

Twitter-handle-now-showing

Here is further information from the support forum question and answer for WordPress.org that shows you how to modify your script so that your twitter handle shows on your tweeted posts, if the above options are not available in your blog.

#2 Your unique Avatar showing on browser tab

The Process

Okay, call me a nerd or call me a word that rhymes with banal but drop the ‘b’, but I like to see the your little avatar showing on the tabs across the top of my browser.

Actually, it’s pretty practical to be able to quickly scan your tabs and find the one your are looking for by zoning in on the picture.  I don’t know about you, but I often have 20 – 40 tabs open (more than what will fit on my screen).  So if I’m trying to find one, it’s nice when it stands out easily by the special picture you have selected to go with your blog brand.

Here’s a picture to illustrate exactly what I mean:

Browser-tabs-showing-avatar

The Problem

Well what I discovered was that the avatar showing for Shoeaholic’s blog was the Host Gator (blog hosting provider) picture.

With @Saverspender’s help, we identified that Shoe was looking for something called a favicon in her blog settings:

Favicon

The Solution

Shoe found the spot and uploaded her .png (or .jpg) file as follows:

How-to-configure-favicon-in-WordPress-blogging-tipsViolà, we have Shoe’s pretty little shoes showing up on the tab (even if small, you still ‘get the picture’):

favicon-avatar-tabsBonus Point on Commenting

*Note:  I would be remiss in telling you that Joshua @ CNA Finance had a great post last week on commenting on other blogs.  Contrary to what I said above about only commenting where I think I add value to the thread, Josh maintains you should comment on every ‘authority’ blog in your niche.  Here’s what he has to say on this:

Step #1: Find Authorities In Your Niche - Authorities in any niche get a ton of comments. You should be leaving one on every article as well! There are also benefits to knowing who the authorities in your niche are when it comes to running a successful blog commenting campaign. One of the biggest is the fact that chances are, there are tons of other influential bloggers commenting in the same place. So, you’ll never fall short of articles to read and comment on.

So what I interpret what Josh is saying is, although it may be difficult to comment on every blog post in your niche that you read, you should make a specific point to always comment on every blog post from a Personal Finance (PF) Authority Blog. 

Now we all have our favourites and ones who we see are the authorities in PF blogging (Josh mentions a few of my personal favourite authorities in his post), but the list of authorities in PF blogging is getting pretty long as well.  So try to comment when you can, but especially on sites that you see as the authorities in your domain, whether it be Personal Finance or something else.

The most important thing when leaving a comment is that it is sincere and shows you’ve read the post, which Josh also mentions in his write-up.  I’ve had very few comments that did not seem sincere and maybe once or twice the comment looked a bit like the person might have skimmed the post only.

Josh has other good tips in his post and future planned posts on blogging topics so be sure to go read the whole thing through the link above and add his site to your feedly or bloglovin. **

** Incidentally, it looks like feedly has fixed the problem I was having with my site showing up in Android readers so I’ve amended the above linked post.

The Wrap

Now I’m not a technical expert, but as a blog reader and user, I am thankful to have figured out how to offer the above tips as a way to finesse your social networking  and blog branding strategy.  In the article, The Tweeting Dead: 5 Ways Brands Can Avoid Being Muted the importance of keeping your social networking content unique and utilizing automated social media strategies are discussed.  Doing it right and finding the right balance are key to ensuring you writing is not passed over as being overly flouted or too self-serving.

If you have other technical suggestions or aspects I have not covered above, please feel free to respond in the comments.  Of course any other best practice suggestions regarding use of Twitter, Avatars/Favicons and Comments are most welcome too.

I’d like to sincerely thank @Shoeaholicnomor, @SavvyJames and @SaverSpender for their support and information provided to trouble-shoot the ‘mystery’ settings to make the above two features function properly.

Did you know about these settings?  Are you going to make changes to your blog configuration now?

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Found-Money


41 Comments

Found money

LOST-FOUNDDo you ever find money where you weren’t expecting to find it?

Whether it be on an inside pocket a small clutch purse from your last fancy gala, a $20 bill tucked in your sock drawer or glove compartment or some birthday money tucked in a card that you could have sworn you already spent.

Those small amounts are not windfalls, but enough for you to say, ‘Hey, cool’, and then get on with your day.  Unless you decide to fret about how you almost threw out said birthday card and that $30 would have been gone and you never would have even known about it.

Anyways, it’s nice when that happens, right?

What’s that you say?  It rarely happens to you anymore because you’ve got your money sewn up so tight that you know where every dollar is designated in your so-called debt life.

Ya, it doesn’t happen to me anymore either.

Until yesterday.

There were two of these in the mail.

Found-Money

2 x 100 dollas!  {insert Gail Vaz-Oxlade voice here}  One made out to yours truly and one made out to the Irishman.

How.sweet.that.was.  … of Prince$$ Cruise Line to send back the deposits we left for our next cruise when we were on our last one in 2010 and obviously giddy with the sea air.

I’ve thought about this money.  But I never even considered asking for the money back.  I thought it was lost money.

So what’s the lesson learned here folks?

Ask for your money back.  Or don’t, and maybe you will get a nice surprise in the mail one day.

That’s going right on our big fat debt, baby.  How.sweet.it.is.

In other news, I was featured on Brian at Debt Discipline’s blog this week.  You can see the Debt Debs interview here.  Be sure to let Brian know if you’d like to divulge all your embarrassing secrets share your story too.

A big thank you to A Disease Called Debt, Frugal Rules , Debt Discipline and Financially Blonde for linking to my post Worth it Wednesday – Can a Marriage Survive a Debt Crisis?  I think they know how much it took me to write this and other posts I’ve done recently, and I sincerely appreciate their support as I continue to dig deep.  I’ll be back to some funny and quasi-techy stuff soon.  I’m beginning to feel these writing jags go in cycles.  I can only be deep for a short period of time and then I need to come up for air and be my usual quirky, snarky and crazy self.

Thanks to The Pursuit of Riches for mentioning my interview, but you should check her out cause she’s got the best new news since I’ve been following her blog (which is basically from the beginning).

So I need to get crackin’ and help The Irishman clean out the garage.  I am inspired to do this from Holly at Club Thrifty.  Get a look at how clean her garage is!  This is something we’ve been putting off.   I hear him out there throwing things around now.  I better run out and get a before picture….

…. but first, since I love hearing this woman’s voice and her no-nonsense talk, I leave you with a little dialogue with Canada’s version of Dave Ramsey, Gail Vaz-Oxlade:

*To view this video on YouTube Click here

Lost/Found sign Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Worth-IT-Wednesday


12 Comments

feedly vs Bloglovin on Worth IT Wednesday!

feedly vs bloglovinSome of these Worth it Wednesday posts are becoming a little bit techy, hence I capitalize the IT in the title on these sorts of posts!

This post will be a little face off between feedly vs Bloglovin with a few other personal updates thrown in at the bottom.

feedly vs Bloglovin

feedly icon (looks familiar)

feedly vs Bloglovin

Bloglovin icon (who knew?)

Last Wednesday I asked for some help on choosing a good blog reader that would work on an Android tablet and I got 5 responses (I think 3 of them I entered on behalf of those that responded in the comments – note to self:  they’re not a big fan of polls in the personal finance community :D ).

So the consensus was 60% Bloglovin’ and 40% feedly as the tools of choice.  Being that the vote was somewhat arbitrary (translation:  lame  not many responses), I decided to try out both applications on my new Yoga Lenovo B8000-F tablet that I got for Mother’s Day to see which one I liked better.

I installed both straight way and tried feedly (aka feebly, BTW their brand is with lower case “f”, kinda like my “d’s” ;-) ) first.  Some of the comments below pertain also to the non-tablet version as well.  I’ve tried to highlight only the features that I see as different between the two apps.

If you think I’ve missed something, or I’ve mistakenly noted something that is incorrect, only because I don’t know how to use the tool yet ….which is entirely possible…. please let me know.

feedly on Android Tablet

Pros ~

  1. Ability to group your feeds into different categories i.e. Debt Blogs, Investment Blogs, Blog Blogs, Dog Blogs, God Blogs, Funny Blogs, Oh My Blogs.  These topic lists can also help to prioritize your blog reading, as in PF Favs, New, etc.
  2. Ability to mark items as “Save for Later” if you want to read later, or comment later, or send to Pinterest etc. later.
  3. You can go back to recently read, if you swipe away a page and then realize you want to go back to it.
  4. You can sort the posts so that oldest shows first.  (Good for anal people like me who don’t want to miss anything)
  5. You can mark specific blogs as “Must Reads” and select those for fast and easy priority reading.
  6. There is an ability to link it up to Evernote, but I must admit I don’t know what the advantage is with this or how to do it.  Evernote looks like a cool app though.  Anyone use it?

Cons ~

  1. Not very intuitive to know how to add blogs (but that could just be me as I’m still learning how to use the tablet)
  2. When leaving comments, often my screen would disappear and I would lose my comment.  This could be user error on my part, but it happened enough and I can’t tell what sequence of events prompted it, to say that it’s a bit finicky.   I also noticed that it stays in a feedly screen as opposed to launching the website in your browser.   This may have something to do with it.

Bloglovin’ on Android Tablet

 Pros ~

  1. You have the ability to like posts which I think can be used similarly as the “Save for Later” above in feedly.  I know I said I would only talk about the differences between the e-readers; I just point this out because it is a little different.  In addition, you can see how many “Likes” have been marked by all Bloglovin readers for a particular post.
  2. Posts are marked as unread until you mark them read.  They do not disappear, but any blogs with all read posts, will move down your reader list, so that only blogs with unread posts show at the top (I didn’t notice this at first).
  3. When you select “View original post”, it opens it in your preferred browser which is preferable and may avoid the commenting problems I noted above on Feedly.

Cons ~

  1. No ability to group your feeds under different topic lists.  For me this is a big missing feature.
  2. Posts sort in following order:  Unread first (good), most recent first (not alterable).  This may not be a bad thing for people who are trying to be more efficient and effective, because likely they will want to read and comment on the most recent post, and skim the others for something that spikes their interest.

So what am I doing now?  Oh.my.blog, I wanted a reader application to help me do damage control on my email.  Now I’ve got two readers going on top of my email.  LOL  They are a nice way to track the blogs you follow, no doubt about it.

So the conclusion is – there is no clear favourite, for me anyways.  I’m leaning a little more to feedly if I can get the commenting thing sorted out.

I need to figure out if I’m going to drop one or use each for different purposes or different blog lists. Dunno.  I promise I won’t do another post on it, because this is boring the death out of me, so I can just imagine what it is doing to anyone reading this!!

P.S.  You may notice I added the two follow buttons at the top right of my blog.  Of course, email, facebook and wordpress are still other good options and buttons are up there too!  Gotta keep those options open!  Can anyone help me with that RSS button?  I still don’t know what that is and where it’s going.  HAAALP.

Post editorial add:  Holy crap, I may take away my endorsement of feedly because I just tried to look at my own blog in there and when I click on the link to “Visit website”, once you start scrolling down the page turns to just my page background and you can’t get back to the post.  Not nice.  Don’t go there.

Update 26 May 2014:  Well I never heard back from feedly after submitting 2 tickets but it appears that the display of my blog is fixed on the Android.   Yay!

OK, on to other news!

FinSavSatI am co-hosting the Financially Savvy Saturdays blog hop with creator Femme Frugality this week.  Check out last week’s edition which was co-hosted by Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt for more info. Plan to join in starting on Saturday with a recent non-sponsored/giveaway post from this week.  A new post will be here early Saturday (including this weeks html code to add to your post) for you to link up to.  A great way for people to highlight their favourite posts plus it’s fun and easy peasy!  #FinSavSat

Things are a little crazy around here on a number of fronts. I’ll point out the $finance impacts, because these points are obviously personal.

DoodleWe have a guest for the next four days while my sis and her husband take a short trip.  He will be back again for a week later in May when they go on their cruise without us.  Yes, I am very happy about that spending decision, even though they offered to pay.  Never mind the hidden financial impacts, it just feels right too.  Plus I get to spend four fabulous days with this awesome pooch!  We are doggy owners again!  For four days!  Count our blessings!!  $no dog for us right now due to no money in the budget$

My daughter and her family are closing on their new home today; they start moving some breakable stuff today and the movers are coming tomorrow.  They will be about 13 minutes closer to our home which means 7 minutes only to see my grandson!  Heeee!!  $less gas$ $can ride my bike in about 20 minutes$

Okay, that’s a wrap.  This post has been written with only 11 revisions.  Holy cow.  What have I forgotten to do?