Know Your Blogger Series
Tis But A Moment
I began Tis But A Moment just after getting laid off from what I thought was the best company I’d ever work with. Three startups in, one finally got acquired! But it meant that they had to downsize significantly, and I was out of a job.
My blog was born out of struggling my way through the startup grind, earning less than $20,000 a year while working 60+ hours a week for a company I built with friends. I was indoctrinated with the idea that the struggle equated to passion – and that earning next to nothing was a badge of honor.
Deprogramming that toxic belief system really changed everything for me. I was able to go from earning $38,000 to $95,000 in a single year, just by realizing that I needed to advocate for myself. By the time I was 25, I was able to purchase a house on my own in Los Angeles as a single woman.
Check out our Q&A with Tis But A Moment here.
Come read about Tis But a Moment – a blog documenting this young woman’s journey to financial and career success.
Each week at Personal Finance Blogs, we publish interviews from amazing bloggers from the personal finance space. This week, we are featuring the blog, Tis But A Moment.
During these weekly features, we are hoping to provide a way for you to interact and learn more about different blogs in the personal finance space.
Below, you can read more about the story behind Tis But A Moment, learn about the author, and learn personal finance tips from Tis But A Moment to help you improve your financial situation.
A big thanks for Tis But A Moment for this interview! Now, we will turn it over to the author for this interview.
Tell us about Tis But A Moment
I began Tis But A Moment just after getting laid off
from what I thought was the best company I’d ever work with. Three startups in, one finally got acquired! But it meant that they had to downsize significantly, and I was out of a job. I’m not going to lie, I panicked! But after that initial panic subsided, I wanted to think strategically about where I was and what to do next.
That’s how the website got started. “Tis But A Moment” was originally a way for me to remind myself that my anxiety around my career and my finances was manageable. I stole the line from Monty Python, but instead of a flesh wound, it was a temporary moment in time. Since then, it’s helped me focus and share tools to regain control – whether that meant opening new, more diverse income streams
or standing up for myself in my career.
While it’s been really helpful for my own peace of mind, the real benefit of blogging about my projects and experiences has been connecting with womxn who are struggling and growing in their own careers and personal finance journeys as well. There’s so much advice out there that just doesn’t apply universally, and it’s nice to have a community that focuses on the womxn’s experiences and growth in the stereotypically masculine spaces of finance and career development.
What makes you and your blog unique?
Honestly, that’s a tough question. My blog was born out of struggling my way through the startup grind, earning less than $20,000 a year while working 60+ hours a week for a company I built with friends. I left that glamorous lifestyle to… well, struggle my way through another startup that eventually did quite a bit better, and then another. I was indoctrinated with the idea that the struggle equated to passion – and that earning next to nothing was a badge of honor.
Deprogramming that toxic belief system
really changed everything for me. I was able to go from earning $38,000 to $95,000 in a single year
, just by realizing that I needed to advocate for myself. By the time I was 25, I was able to purchase a house on my own in Los Angeles as a single woman. There’s a whole lot of luck that went into that, and it honestly became the best financial decision I’ve made to date. It’s since become my first true rental property!
Those experiences opened my eyes to who is given the grace to “pull themselves up from their bootstraps,” and who just keeps pulling. I’m a professional recruiter, and talking to candidates through my years of hiring for progressive companies has only served to reinforce that. You start to see patterns in everyone that feels empowered to negotiate for themselves, or everyone who undersells themselves
, as well as whom companies are willing to take risks on or pay top dollar for.
All this to say, it’s been a personal journey, but along the way, I’ve become keenly interested in the intersection of identity, financial access, and career development.
What does “being good with your personal finances” mean to you?
I love this question. The truth is, as long as you’re not stressed about your money or developing dangerous or detrimental habits, you’re good with your personal finances. “Being good with your personal finances” means that dealing with your finances doesn’t produce intense anxiety, and you’re not hurting yourself or anyone else with your money decisions.
Personally, I quell my financial anxieties by building my own financial security. Having a good budgeting app, automating payments and savings, using hands-off investing platforms, and making sure I have a few income-producing irons in the fire rather than relying on one singular paycheck mean that I never have to panic over being laid off again, which has happened
! Such is life in Startup Land.
What are some habits you practice to keep your personal finances in order?
I rely on automation and hands-off tools, first and foremost. I love Mint, which is free and connects to everything from bank accounts to Venmo and investment platforms. Every few days, I use Mint to track my expenses and income, and make sure I’m hitting my savings goals for the month.
I also lean into my frugal side. My clothing comes to me used
, I buy my tea in bulk, and I only “eat out” if I’m bringing dinner to my grandma. I believe in DIY-ing my way through everything – including my taxes, rental properties
, and even starting an LLC.
Still, the most important habit I’ve developed has been tracking my wins
at work and advocating for what I’m worth. I’m lucky to have a career I’m passionate about, but it’s also a tool for long-term financial stability and, dammit, I’m going to make the most of it.
What are your three articles people should read to get to know you and your message better on your site?
My favorite post right now was actually a collaboration I wrote with my brilliant sister: Money Isn’t Evil, It’s A Tool. Get Yours.
She and I have followed vastly different paths. While I’ve been in Startup Land, she’s been through the non-profit grind that preys on the idea of servitude just as much, if not more. We have very different money philosophies, but that deprogramming process is essential for breaking through mental boundaries that tell us not to want what we’re worth, not to ask for more.
Becoming a DIY Rental Real Estate investor has been another massive gamechanger for me, which I thoroughly detailed here: From House-Hack to Rental Real Estate
And, if it wasn’t clear, I’m a firm Financial Feminist. I don’t believe it’s fair to anyone
to believe that money is a gendered tool, only fit for half of the population. So, let’s Kill The Traditional Breadwinner
For someone looking to improve their financial situation, what’s your best advice?
Obviously step one would be to take stock of what you have vs. what you spend. For anyone just getting started, I love these 10 10-Minute Steps. But for meaningful financial change? Increase and diversify your income. It’s easier said than done! It’s a combination of:
Learning whether your career can be lucrative, and deciding whether that’s a priority to you.
Reach out to people who know your industry well, and learn what would make you successful. Or, if you just want to chat with a Recruiter who may know what makes you hirable
, hey there
Developing marketable (read: well-paying) skills for that career.
Advocating for yourself, and, if necessary, moving to greener pastures.
Building income-producing opportunities outside of your day job. For me, that’s meant taking on countless part-time jobs and freelance gigs
, some of which I ended up loving like hosting trivia games at local pubs, working as a consulting recruiter, renting out space in my own home, and even blogging!
It’s work, but also requires a great deal of luck. There are assumed privileges just to start with a job or training opportunities, or time to invest in yourself. But if you have two of those three things, there’s a way to increase your income. That’s much more powerful than cutting costs or reducing debt.
What’s an area of your life which has benefited from improving your personal finances? Have there been any areas of your life which have suffered?
The biggest benefit of improving my personal finances has been my peace of mind. When I was earning next to nothing, it felt impossible to make any progress. My future felt intimidating and uncertain. I was struggling to save any money, I put off doctors appointments because I was worried about the bill, and even fixing a flat tire or doing my taxes felt out of reach.
Developing my career and learning advocate for myself, along with building healthy financial habits, has changed all of that. There’s a palpable relief of knowing I’m in control of my finances and have systems in place to weather a storm. The time and mental energy I used to devote to cutting costs and timing payments is now freed for self-development, or even dreaming of a future. I never saw myself having a family – now I know I can have one if I choose to. I told myself certain things weren’t for me, but the truth is a lot of those self-imposed boundaries were based on my lack of financial security.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can reduce anxiety and open doors. There is a heightened opportunity for losing touch. Every dollar I’ve earned has brought privilege into my life. If I’m honest with myself, my blog can straight-up reek of privilege, and the further I go on this journey, the more my assumptions change about what’s normal or even accessible. So, no, I haven’t suffered from financial security, but I also don’t want to allow that sense of security to change my perspective over time.
In your opinion, what’s better? Renting a place or buying a house to live?
I remember being three years into startup #1, struggling to pay rent every month in my shared one bedroom apartment, and looking at the numbers. If I’d have somehow squirreled that rent money away, I could have purchased a home in Los Angeles with a full 20% downpayment. The thought of it felt so defeating.
There are tons of benefits to renting: you don’t have to worry if the water heater goes out, wear and tear doesn’t matter, and you can pick up and move with limited financial fallout. But I argue that homeownership has much more salient benefits:
Some of my mortgage payment just goes to interest (gross), but a good chunk of it goes to my equity.
I benefit just from having time pass; while real estate values rise, so does my net worth.
Any new additions or fixes to the home also improve my net worth, and I can make decisions based on my priorities or preferences.
I can rent bedrooms, storage space, or parking spots to strangers without breaking rules in a lease.
And now that I’ve moved on to the next place, I can rent the whole house out!
Yes, I’ve had a hot water heater break down or a washing machine leak, but that’s what home warranties are for. The extra few hours of work to maintain my home – let alone rent it out – have given me an extra $80K+ of value in just 3 years.
What is your favorite investment class and why? (stocks, private business, bonds, real estate, crypto, precious metals, etc.)
Real Estate has proven my favorite investment class so far, but it’s expensive just to break into. Once I could afford to do it, it became the best financial decision of my life so far. Real Estate is not just a financial investment; it’s also a home, or a business. People will pay money on top of whatever you earn from the real estate market’s changes, or you can use it for yourself. Stocks, bonds, and crypto can’t do that.
It’s also a higher investment of time – at least the way I do it. But the investment has been worth it.
Do you have any financial mistakes you’d like to share, and how have you grown from these mistakes to improve your personal finances?
My biggest financial mistake has been working for free, or even just for less than I’m worth. I don’t just mean in those early Startup days! To this day, I sometimes struggle to charge what I’m worth because there’s a tinge of self-doubt and imposter syndrome still sticking around. I get asked all the time, as a recruiter, to help a friend of a friend or a former coworker with their job search. I’ve had to develop my own guidelines
of when I charge people and when I don’t, but it’s worth it to protect my time and boundaries.
The same goes for my side gigs and hobbies. I’m a professional trivia host! How fun is that? But because it’s fun, it’s easy to want to devote hours of my time to the games. If a business wants me to host a team-building event or a pub needs an event, you can bet I’m charging them for the time. But if a friend of a friend wants games for an upcoming party, it’s harder to give them a quote.
It comes back down to the idea that money is evil, and asking for money makes you a bad friend. But the truth is, these are things I do to make my living, and they take time. I constantly need to remind myself that, while there are valid situations that warrant some work pro-bono, there are also situations where my efforts should be compensated. I need to stop stressing myself out trying to please everyone!
If you received a $5,000,000 windfall tomorrow, what would you do with the money?
f I got a $5,000,000 windfall tomorrow, I’d split it into a few pots:
More hanging plants for my home office.
A commercial investment! Residential rentals are great, but what would be really great? Commercial properties. I’d start looking for a good syndication deal to put some of that money and my own sweat equity into!
A self-sustaining Giving Fund. I currently save a bit of money each month for my Random Acts of Generosity fund
, but one of my goals for my 28th year
is to establish a separate giving fund. I’m not exactly Miss Money Bags over here, but I’ll know I’ve made it once I can set up a long-term way to donate a small-but-mighty amount to great causes every year. Even better if I can do it in a way that uses the stock market to generate real good.
Dare to dream! But small investments and donations are a good starting point in the meantime. If I’ve learned anything about setting financial goals, it’s that just starting where you are matters more than aiming for unbelievable heights. Growth takes time, it can feel like I’m not getting anywhere in the thick of it, but progress is being made.
How You Can Contact Tis But A Moment for More Information
You can learn more about Tis But A Moment at https://tisbutamoment.com/
, like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tisbutamoment
, and follow them on Twitter at @TisButAMoment
Thank you for reading this interview, and thank you, Tis But A Moment, for providing us with some great personal finance tips!