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7 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!! Free Prizes and a Walk Down Memory Lane!

blogiversary giveawayWow, 7 years??! Really?

When I started this site, I was newly married, living in Florida, and had $18,000 worth of debt.

Since then….

  • My wife and I paid off the debt,
  • we got divorced (which threw me back into debt),
  • I paid that off in 6 months and then paid off the house in another 12 (I was motivated…ie. angry ;)),
  • and then got re-married, had a child, and we now own several properties debt free.

Whew! Needless to say, a TON has transpired over those 7 years! I obviously wish some of it hadn’t, but there’s no reverse button in life so there’s really nothing to do but keep looking forward, right? I’m always dreaming, constantly improving, and doing my best to lift everyone up with me along the way.

7 Year Blogiversary! A Walk Down Memory Lane!

What about the site? How has that changed? Surely it’s had a few face-lifts over the years.

Yup, it definitely has. Let’s take a walk down memory lane…

2010 – the first few months…

Lol. This always makes me laugh. I officially started my site on August 28, 2010, and this is the best design I could come up with at the time…

It looks bad now, but honestly, it wasn’t all that terrible back then. The original plan then was to write 1/2 of my posts on my life experiences, and then the other 1/2 on helpful topics that people might often ask about – stuff like paying your house off early, selling your car, investing in a 401k…things like that. And, quite honestly, things haven’t changed a whole lot since then. I still write about my life and what I’m learning along the way, and I write posts in response to peoples’ questions, but I’ve also added a ton of helpful free tools that drive even more traffic to this website.

2011 – the attempted spruce-up…

Ha, this one’s a laugher as well. My ex designed it, and to be honest, the subject matter is actually dead-on. We traveled from Michigan to Florida (as designated by the map), I’m always happy (and occasionally give the very white-guy thumbs-up), and she had a shopping problem! Lol.

This header lasted about a year, and my traffic continued to take off. But then I decided to get a little too sophisticated….

2013 – It’s time to look like a business…

And here I am. Mr. Sophisticated with my straight-forward money header and my straight-laced graphics. It wasn’t terrible, but you know what? Money is boring enough without trying to bring sophistication into the mix. This header lasted for far too long (acchhhmmmmm, 4+ years).

I finally ditched it when I started having fun with life again. Now it’s a winding road through hill country to signify that life and finances are a journey! You’re not going to be perfect, we all make mistakes, but you just have to keep driving forward and do your best to stay on the road!


My site today is all about having fun and learning along the way. I’m not as crazed about money anymore since Liz and I make plenty to support our lifestyle, which honestly makes this whole thing that much more enjoyable. If you have a question about your finances, I’ll stop and answer it every time. I love my readers. You’re truly what makes this site great and I’ll do anything to keep you learning and growing right there along with me!

The Most Popular Posts in the Past 7 Years…

You know, it’s funny. I could spend 5 hours on a single post and it gets no attention whatsoever. Then, a week later I write something in 20 minutes off the top of my head and it suddenly gets picked up by a handful of major sites and gets tens of thousands of views. I don’t think I’ll ever figure it out… so I just keep writing great stuff and market it as best I can.

Based on the number of comments left on each post, here’s my Top 10 articles starting from Day 1 to today:

  1. How the Debt Snowball Really Works (127 comments)
  2. Should You Pay Off the Mortgage ASAP? (97 comments)
  3. Pay Off Your Debt Fast: A Personal Story (85 comments)
  4. 9 Things the Rich Do That the Poor Do Not (84 comments)
  5. Paying Off Our House in Less Than 4 Years (81 comments)
  6. Day Job or Full-Time Blogger? I Need Your Opinions (78 comments)
  7. Divorced and Back in Debt (74 comments)
  8. How Much Should You Spend on That? (74 comments)
  9. How I Paid Off My $54,500 Mortgage in Less Than 1 Year (73 comments)
  10. Our Recent Washer and Dryer Debate. We Need Your Opinion! (72 comments)

It’s crazy how many “popular” posts are just a result of me reaching out to the readers for their advice. There are so many people that want to give a voice to a financial issue, and I LOVE IT! I really need to reach out to you all more often.

Take your time and read through some of these posts. They really do a pretty good job of characterizing what this blog is all about. Life and finances.

blogiversary giveaway

Blogiversary Giveaway! Enter to Win $230 in Prizes!!

Alright, I’ve been holding out on the best part of this post – the PRIZES!!

Here’s the prizes that I’ve got for you – what you could potentially win from this blogiversary giveaway:

  • GRAND PRIZE: Financial Peace University – worth $130
    • This is a 9-week Dave Ramsey course that walks you though how to get out of debt and become wealthy. It’s what started my journey way back when and I’m still so grateful for the person that gifted it to me. This could just change your life.
  • SECOND PRIZE: A Personal Finance Review by ME! – worth $50
    • Win this and I’ll personally go over your latest transactions and help you understand where you’re overspending and how you can improve your finances!
  • THIRD PRIZE: A Walmart Gift Card – worth $25
  • FOURTH PRIZE: The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey – worth $25

How to Earn the Prizes:

Dang, those are some pretty nice prizes, right??

So how can you win these glorious products and services? It’s pretty simple really. Earn as many points as possible and let me know about them!

  1. Become a new subscriber to this site (it’s free – click here to get started) – 5 points
  2. Follow me on Pinterest (click here) – 5 points
  3. Like my Facebook Page (click here) – 2 points
  4. Like my Twitter Page (click here) – 2 points
  5. Share this post via Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest (5 points for each!)
  6. Tell me all that you did to earn points AND tell me what you’d like to see more of on my site in the future (3 points).

And that’s it! That’s a possible 32 points!

This giveaway will end on October 28th, 2017. I’ll read all the comments, tally up the points, and then I’ll choose the winners soon after with a random number generator tool! I can’t wait to see all the entries and announce the winners!

Again, be sure to comment about all the ways you earned points, AND tell me what you’d like to see on the site coming up.

It’s time to enter for the prizes! Be sure to tell me how you earned your points in the comments below!!



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I look forward to reading your posts! You have really good information, and some awesome prizes too! I already like your fb and Pinterest page and I have been a subscriber for a while. I shared this on fb and Pinterest. I would like to see more articles on ways families can save money( budget family vacations, ways to find free family activities etc) and how to get started in low fee index funds. Thank you!

    • Thanks Katie! Thanks for the recommendation: more articles on ways families can save money. Check!

  2. I have been a subscriber for several years. I liked you Facebook page and follow you on Twitter. I like reading your blog and especially your rental fix ups.

    • Spoiler alert… Shhhhh. There may be some more fix-up stories coming! 🙂

  3. Hi! Thanks for the great articles! I was already a Facebook follower but am also now subscribed to your email (thanks for the free ebook btw) and am following you on Pinterest. I don’t use twitter. I’d love to see more about living well and continuing to pay down debt with a kid in college. Thanks for the give away!

    • Yeah – that’s a tough one! Paying down debt while helping your kids in college. That sounds like a FANTASTIC article that a ton of people can relate to. Be on the look-out for that one! 🙂

  4. Subscribed by email, liked your fb and pinterest accounts. I am always curious to hear more about keeping motivation with paying off the mortgage. That’s our only debt and has been for several years. We were burned out on debt snowball when we finished paying off consumer debt and never got back to the snowball (outside of the few hundred on top of regular payment). We need more motivation!

    • Thanks for subscribing and following on FB and Pinterest!

      Keeping the motivation to pay off the mortgage – that’s a good one, because it can often take 6-7 years, even if you drive hard at it. Sounds like some more good material for me to write! Thanks!

  5. Become a new subscriber to this site – 5 points DONE
    Follow me on Pinterest (click here) – 5 points DONE (Coupon)
    Like my Facebook Page (click here) – 2 points DONE
    Like my Twitter Page (click here) – 2 points DONE (@couponsmith2)
    Share this post via Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest (5 points for each!) DONE ALL 3
    Tell me all that you did to earn points AND tell me what you’d like to see more of on my site in the future (3 points). – More posts for single income families

    • Whoa! Looks like you’re pretty serious about winning these prizes!! Consider yourself entered!

      More posts for single-income families. Good one. Juggling work, daycare, events, and trying to pay down debt and save money. That sounds TOUGH, and sounds like an article that needs to be written. Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. Happy blogiversary! I’m a current subscriber. I shared on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. I follow on Pinterest and Twitter and like on Facebook. I learn so much from your posts and especially enjoy the ones about establishing solid financial habits.

    • I think I need to write another post on how to become an automatic millionaire – mainly because I need to remind myself that we’re on track! Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. Hi Derek,

    I don’t have social media so I can’t share anything on facebook or twitter, however, I did subscribe via email!
    You and I have spoken a few times via email and you were extremely helpful.

    My recommendation would be to have interviews some of your followers! You ask some questions, and they answer. They ask some questions, and then you answer. It would provide great motivation and allow some of your followers to see that they are not alone!


    • Hi Mike! Always glad to help!

      I really like the idea of the two-way interview. Very interesting! Thanks!

  8. Hey Derek.

    I didn’t realize it but we both started blogging at virtually the same time. Amazing how fast the time goes by. It’s great looking back at how your site used to look. I’ll have to take a walk down memory lane for my site too.

    Keep up the great work!

    • I didn’t know that either! Pretty cool! Don’t forget to spread the word and earn some points for the giveaway!

  9. Congrats on the SEVEN years. That’s awesome! I just started my second year blogging. It’s crazy to think how much has changed since you started blogging, including your own finances.

    You’re right about how the posts you expect the readers will view the least end up being some of the most popular at times. Sharing this post so more people can benefit from your wisdom

    • Yeah, true. I’m in a WAY different spot financially than I was 7 years ago, where most would probably still be in student loan debt, have some car debt, and think nothing of it. Let me know what you shared so I can give you your points!!

  10. Congrats on 7 years! I love seeing how your site has evolved. I follow you and subscribe, plus I shared all over. 🙂 Once we’re debt free my hubby will want to invest, so maybe some more stuff for beginning investors?

    • Thanks Jamie! Haha, how many point should I give you for “shared all over”? 15? 🙂

      Thanks for the 2 cents on what you’d like to read. Investing sounds like a good one!

  11. Im gonna “say” I captured all the points but I want you to give them to the most deserving person you find. A pay if forward thing….

    Long time, almost a decade. A lot can happen as you have shown. Congrats on the 7 years. Interviewing your followers could be a cool thing.

    You keep posting, Ill keep commenting… 😉

    • Sounds great, whiskey – all of it! 🙂

    • Great. Thanks!!

  12. Hey there I subscribed ([email protected]), looks like informative information I could use! Thanks also for the chance to win this prize!

    • Great! I’ll mark down your points. Welcome to!!!

  13. already a subscriber!! (it’s free – click here to get started) – 5 points
    I Follow on Pinterest (click here) – 5 points
    I Like your Twitter Page (click here) – 2 points

    total: 12 points

    • Hi Steve! Thanks for subscribing, following on Pinterest, and following me on Twitter! Love it! Consider yourself entered into the giveaway!

  14. I follow on Twitter, and I’d like to see frugal gift ideas!

    • Yeah, Christmas is coming up huh?? I’ll put this together soon! Thanks!

  15. Followed you on your social media accounts 🙂 i’ve already been a subscriber since March 🙂 Good luck all and thanks Derek.

    • Great!! Thanks!

  16. Email subscriber, Thank you for the chance..Id like to see your opinions on Investing..

    • Thanks for subscribing Amity J! You’re now entered into the contest. I’ll have some more investing pieces coming. Did you sign up for your Wealthsimple account yet? You get $50 free when you invest $100! Here’s the link.

  17. Congrats on your 7th-year bloggiversary! My site turns 5 next year. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your income reports. I can’t wait to see you reach your $2000 monthly goal.

    I followed you on Pinterest & FB. We’re already Twitter friends. I also shared the post on Twitter & Pinterest.

    • Thanks Jason! Yeah, I figured your site has been around a while – it seemed like it anyway.

      As for the income reports – I feel like I’m getting better at marketing the great products that I’ve got on my site. As long as I keep that up and I keep gaining the trust of my readers, I should get up to that $2,000 income goal soon!!

  18. Become a new subscriber to this site (it’s free – click here to get started) – 5 points…been a member for a few years now.
    Follow me on Pinterest (click here) – 5 points…done
    Like my Facebook Page (click here) – 2 points….done
    Like my Twitter Page (click here) – 2 points…..done
    Share this post via Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest (5 points for each!)…done on all three
    Tell me all that you did to earn points AND tell me what you’d like to see more of on my site in the future (3 points)…..more home renovations and rentals are inspiring me. I am hoping to be out of debt in the next two to three years and would like to start doing the same. I would also like to see more on investing options, tax benefits on those different options, etc. I think this will help a lot of readers see how it can help them pay less in taxes while helping their retirement position.

    • Consider yourself entered, Spencer! I love your suggestions for articles. Taking notes and will write these up over the next few months!!

  19. I followed you on Pinterest and liked you on Facebook; I’m already a subscriber.
    My husband and I are older; a serious illness and a poor financial decision really hurt us. I would like to see an article or two about rebuilding financially late in life. I know that a lot of older people find themselves struggling. Some ideas for solutions would be great.
    I do enjoy your newsletter; I always learn something new.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your struggles, Cynthia. That’s a great suggestion for some future posts. I’ll do my best to put something together!

  20. Hi there. I really enjoy reading your blog and it gives me some great ideas. I’m trying to pay off debt to buy a house this year and the side hustles are great. I followed you on Pinterest.

    • I should really get some more side-hustle posts up, huh? I’ll put that in my notes and get something published soon!

  21. Yay!! Congratulations to you:).

    I liked your FB page, followed you on Twitter (though I’ve been following you there for years), and followed you on Pinterest.

    Good luck to you.

    • Thanks Amanda! We’re some of the original PF bloggers that are still going strong! 😉 Thanks for entering.

  22. Congratulations! I have been a subscriber for years (enjoy your blog), just followed you on Pinterest, and liked your Facebook page. Thanks for the great chance at the prizes!

    • Thanks!! I always love hearing from my readers. Consider yourself entered!

  23. Hi Derek, Really enjoy reading your posts. Old time subscriber, following on Pinterest, Facebook & Twitter. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • Hi Karen. Great! I’ll enter you into the giveaway!

  24. Follow on Pinterest.

    • Great, thanks!

  25. congrats. i am an email subscriber and a pinterest follower – susansmoaks.

    • Awesome. Thanks!

  26. Just subscribed and enjoying your articles especially the one on paying off your $50,000 mortgage in a year!

    • Great, thanks!

  27. Follow yo on Pinterest-

  28. Like you on Facebook Rosanne Morrison

  29. In the future was wondering if you have any tips on student loan debt. I have one daughter in law with $90,000 in debt from her Masters degree and another son’s girlfriend with $50,000 from her undergraduate degree.

  30. Hi Derek! Congratulations on your success and determination to make life better for yourself and your family. I shared you on my Pinterest and Facebook, and I am already on your email list, which I enjoy. I Managed Rental properties for 25 yrs, and enjoyed your post on Rental Investments. Don’t believe in “regrets”, but do I ever wish I hada’ bought some properties along the way, HA! I simply cannot now. May have missed it if you have written on this; but I’m really interested in your opinion on vehicles, buy new, used (a little), or lease? Thanks and blessings to you in the future.

    • Ooooo, I specialize in vehicle purchasing! I’ll definitely note this for a future article.

  31. Hello Derek!

    I already subscribe. I now follow you on Pinterest & Twitter and shared your post on both. Plus I liked you on facebook and shared the post too.

    I like reading your blog. I enjoy reading every post because I’m fascinated with finance & money. I am trying to pay off my debt as fast as I can.

  32. I’ve been an email subscriber to your newsletter for a while. I like the tips you give and comments from other people who have tried to get their finances in better order.

    • Got it. Thanks!

  33. Hi 🙂

    I’ve subscribed to your site, followed on pinterest, facebook and twitter 🙂

    • Great, thanks!! Good luck winning these awesome prizes!!

      • Thank you! 😀

        • Sure! Let me know how you entered the giveaway though, otherwise I can’t count your entries!

  34. I became a new subscriber to your site and followed you on Twitter!

    • Awesome, thanks! Consider yourself entered into the contest!

  35. I subscribe via email.

  36. I follow you via Pinterest – Hippoman

  37. I like you on FB – Robin Trexel

  38. I follow you via Twitter – @Imawinnertoday

  39. I am subscribed to your emails.

  40. Following on pinterest as trishrmckee

  41. I subscribed,followed you on Twitter, and shared this on twitter. I would enjoy tips on things that can save me money.

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