Interview with Maria Nedeva of The Money Principle

Written by Karen Bryan

Maria Nedeva of The Money Principle, one of the panelists at the Write on Finance Blog Up in Leeds 22 – 23 September 2012, tells us about her site and her attitude to life and money.

Introduce yourself and aims for your blog/site

My name is Maria, a university lecturer in philosophy and sociology of science by day and a personal finance blogger the rest of the time. My blog, The Money Principle, builds on the belief that ‘financial health’ is more important than ‘financial independence’ and that it is a matter of balance between: how much we earn and how much we spend; how much we have and how much we want; how much we consume and how much we let go; and how do we live and how we would like to live. It aim to be informative, educational and entertaining – but most of all, to make people think about, and figure out, their situation.

A friend of mine says that The Money Principle makes her head hurt and her purse sing’.

Why did you set up your blog/site?

You know, if I told you that ‘when I was a little girl I dreamt of being a blogger’ I’d be deceiving you shamelessly. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a public intellectual. This is why I am an academic. Being to the left on the political spectrum and an academic is fun but money was not part of my world view. In fact, two and a half years ago I didn’t know how much I earned, how much I brought home after tax, how much we spent and the price of a pint of milk was complete mystery.

You guessed it! Living like this spells trouble; having a family business that failed around 2008 meant financial ruin. At the end of 2009 what I vaguely suspected turned out to be true – we had a rather large consumer debt.

After going through a range of emotions I decided that I’d learn all there was to know about money; and act on that knowledge. As a result we are months away from paying off that consumer debt. More importantly, we are much more financially healthy (well, still in recovery but the treatment is working).

I started The Money Principle because I realised that there are many people like me: pretty decent, thinking people who are so dumb with their finances that they are ruining their lives. These people don’t need preaching, threats and admonishing. They need to be provoked out of their inertia and supported to change direction; to think radically and to believe that they can be financially healthy, irrespective of where they are today.

Which three financial tips would you like readers to take away from your blog/site?

  1. Personal finance is not about the ‘personal’; it is about understanding the wider picture and your position in it.
  2. Personal finance is not about ‘finance’. Every time you make decisions about money these are decisions about your life. So start with life rather than money.
  3. Separating your ‘needs’ and ‘wants’, the age old mantra of personal finance, is over-rated. To control your finances you have to learn to control your ‘wants’ not to stay with your ‘needs’.

What do you hope to get out of Write on Finance Blog Up Leeds?

Meet the UK personal finance bloggers some of whom I know ‘virtually’, make friends, have jolly good debates, learn and have nice wine in wonderful company!

What advice would you give someone starting a personal finance blog/site?

  • Position you blog where your passion is; if you are really passionate about investing don’t go writing about frugality.
  • Write from the heart even when you write for the mind; anything else sounds false and your readers know it.
  • Don’t do it for profit; don’t get obsessed by ranking. Write useful and entertaining posts, respect others and yourself, network and the rest will come.
  • Find you voice but don’t define your reader; defining your readers locks you in and you need space to grow and develop your blog.

Our interview with Adam Piplica of Magical Penny, who is also a panelist at the Write on Finance Blog Up in Leeds.

Our interview with Kylie Ofiu, workshop leader at the Write on Finance Blog Up Leeds.

Our interview with Paul Knott author of OUCH!, workshop leader at the Write on Finance Blog Up Leeds.