Mike and I live in a non English speaking country. While I'm able to manage just fine on a day to day basis here, my grasp of the language when it comes to writing and reading leaves much to be desired. My grammar is atrocious and I use words in all the wrong contexts, which is forgivable somewhat when you talk to me in person and hear my thick American accent... but writing is certainly less forgiving; it's much harder to live down your glaring mistakes once they're in print.
I live in a community of people that are not well to do in a region of the country that is generally not well off. On a regular basis, I am constantly meeting people who tell me about their financial woes. (People are a little less private about their finances here than they are in the US. Its not considered rude here to ask someone how much they're making each month or other personal financial questions.) When they hear that my vocation is writing about frugality, they start peppering me with questions about how to improve their finances and ask me for the link to my blog so they can read up more. People often get so dismayed when they hear that my blog is in English, because quite a large percentage of those people who are in need of financial advice don't read English well enough to be able to read and process the information they need from my blog.
Many people have asked me to please start a blog in the local language so that they too can benefit from the information I have to offer, but until now, I've refused, as I simply cannot write the local language at a semi decent level.
This afternoon, however, Mike approached me and asked me "How do you make a new blog?" I explained the process to him, and he said "Ok, great, because I think we should make a new blog, pretty much a translation of PennilessParenting.com into the local language." "I can't do that... I don't know how to write!" "But I can!" was his reply.
Mike grew up here in an English speaking home, and while he speaks English and the local language approximately on the same level (aside for having a more advanced vocabulary in the local language), he's able to write and read the local language on a pretty decent level. (I can't tell you how high exactly, because all I know is that it's a million times better than what I could do.)
He's constantly listening to his friends describe their financial woes to him, and he's wanted to recommend my blog to them, but he hasn't because of the language issue. He also hears people talk about the general financial troubles in the region on the radio, and he feels that its a pity that the locals can't benefit from my blog, and he wants to make my thoughts, ideas, and suggestions available to the wider population here.
Mike and I spent the past few hours buying a domain name and building a blog in the local language. (Total cost? 10 dollars.) Don't worry, you won't be missing much- what will go on there is translations of the best of the Penniless Parenting blog posts that I give Mike to translate.
Hopefully, this new blog will take off, and maybe I can become famous here, get interviewed on the radio or television or whatever. And hopefully, I'll be able to make some money from this new blog, in addition to helping out all the people who've asked me to make a money saving site in the local language.
In case you were interested, here's the intro post I wrote for the new blog (pre translation from Mike):
Many people in [this country] are struggling to make it through the month. People are in overdraft and the banks are getting rich off of our interest. I meet people who tell me "Penny, I don't understand it. How are we supposed to actually survive financially? We don't spend excessively, and yet we still don't have enough money to cover the basics."
They look at me and expect me to give them a magic solution, because my husband and I manage to live off of our slightly above minimum wage salary and even put money into savings each month. They assume we must know some special secret that they don't that allows us to manage on our tiny income, while they're going more and more into debt each month, even though they're often making twice or three times our income.
The truth is that there is no magic cure. Everything in life is a trade off. If it will save you money, it'll usually either be a compromise in quality, or take time or physical effort (or a combination). People who think they'll be able to continue living the same exact life they have until now, buying the same exact things, eating the same exact things, and doing everything as they have until now, but expect their finances to take a sharp turn for the better are living in a dream world. To actually improve your finances, you have to be willing to make a change and put in an effort.
I did, and it's been well worth it. For the beginning of our married life, we were just going more and more into debt each month, and we were incredibly stressed out about our finances. Once we decided to make a change in how we were doing things and make some sacrifices, we finally managed to start making it through the month, and even started building up a savings. We've found that the changes we implemented not only didn't ruin our life, they've even managed to improve our quality of life. Our life now is practically free from financial stress, something we never would have imagined would have been possible.
Dave Ramsey, the American financial guru has a famous quote "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." If you're willing to step outside societal norms and do things that others may consider odd, one day, when everyone else is struggling financially, you'll be able to have financial stability and have extra money to spend on the things you truly enjoy. That's my motto in how I live, and I think its good advice for everyone.
If you, too, are willing to step outside your comfort zone and make some changes in your life, you too can improve your finances.
Come with me on this journey of a lifetime, the journey to financial stability. It's one you won't regret.
Oh wait- what is that you say? You say you're already frugal, there isn't much more you can do to cut back?
I've got some tricks up my sleeves that I'll be you haven't heard of before.
If you're determined to stay in control of your finances instead of your finances controlling you, you're pretty much guaranteed to see improvement in your finances!
Good luck, and welcome aboard."
What do you think of my introductory post?
Do you think I'm crazy to take on such a project, or do you think its a good idea? (Mind you, the vast majority of the work will be going on Mike's shoulders, not mine.)
Wish me luck! :-D I'm really psyched out, and I hope it takes off!