This is the latest in a series of interviews with fellow personal finance bloggers. Today’s guest is Liz from Less Debt More Wine.
Who is Liz Stapleton?
Liz: I’m a recovering attorney and freelance writer focusing on personal finance, entrepreneurship, and issues facing lawyers. Since starting my personal finance blog, Less Debt More Wine in 2014, I have paid off all of my credit card debt (over $10k), raised my credit score from 640 to 800+, and paid off one of my many student loans.
Why did you start your blog?
Liz: I started my blog in 2014 as a way to help me stay accountable while paying off my debt. I started with my credit card debt, I paid it off in 5 months. It’s taking me considerably longer to pay off the rest of my debt which stands around $250k.
Since it will take a while to pay off my debt, my blog has evolved a bit to not only help me stay accountable but also to help others with extensive (think law school) student loan debt to destroy debt without giving up having a life.
What are your favorite Blogs?
Never Ending Footsteps (a great travel blog, full of mishaps)
When did you first become financially literate?
Liz: I started diving into personal finance in January 2014 after my sister suggested I should buy a condo or something rather then renting. It prompted me to look up my credit score for the first time and I realized I would not be buying any real estate any time soon.
I started reading everything I could get my hands on to become financially literate, seven months later I was starting my own personal finance blog.
What was the last item you regretted purchasing or did not any value to your life?
Liz: It’s kind of a small expense ($7) because I don’t shop much and I usually put a good deal of thought into my purchases, but a giant box of goldfish crackers. I’m addicted and ate the entire thing on my own in a weekend. It was wholly unnecessary for both my wallet and my pants.
If you died today, would your family be okay from a financial stand point?
Liz: Yes, I’m not married and don’t have kids. My federal student loans are in my name alone so they would get taken care of. I have enough in my 401k to cover my private debt, and enough life insurance to pay for the costs associated with burying me.
What are you teaching (or will you teach) your kids about money?
Liz: I don’t plan to have kids but I hope to help teach my niece and nephew how to hustle and to be weary of student loans. They aren’t necessarily a bad idea, but to be mindful of how much you are taking on.
What’s your dream job?
Liz: What I’m doing right now, though I’d like and need to earn more to pay off my debt. I got laid off at the end of 2016 and am now self-employed as a freelance writer and blogger helping others with their money. Though I’d like to see a bit more diversification with how much of my income comes from the different sources.
Are you perusing financial independence? (FIRE) If not, what’s your take on the FIRE concept?
Liz: I really like the idea of FIRE, but my first priority is my debt. I won’t focus on FIRE until I get closer to being debt free. But I imagine it will be something I dive into when I’m closer to debt freedom.
Your site is called Less Debt More Wine, do you really drink that much?
Liz: Haha, no. I definitely used to drink more, but not these days, usually just as a celebration. To be fair, I occasionally celebrate the end of a work day. But I max out at 1-2 drinks, my tolerance just isn’t what it used to be and I don’t like the feeling of being out of control or drunk. Plus I usually prefer to use my money on other things besides booze.
I like the name of the site because I sort of associate wine/drinking with spending time with friends and having a good time. Debt can suck but you can find a balance between being aggressive with your debt and still having a life you enjoy.