Fincon13: Inspired and Overwhelmed!

Recapping my amazing trip to Fincon13 (Financial Bloggers Conference) in 2013 in St. Louis. #FinconI have a feeling there will be quite a few Fincon related posts out there, so I’ll try to be as brief as possible (for my sake and yours).

I’m feeling a bit a lot run down as it’s been a whirlwind five days! People have mentioned time and time again how fun Fincon is and how everyone is really nice and friendly. They were liars. ha ha! OK I’m kidding. They were totally spot on. I really had an incredible time!

Since I’ve been home I’ve been slammed with kitchen plumbing issues (bad) and video freelance work (GOOD!), so I think it’s going to take me at least a week to regroup and get organized. I learned so much this past weekend that it’s left me both a little overwhelmed with what to do with my site, but inspired too. I just need to take baby steps. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, right?

So to be brief, here are a few takeaways from Fincon13:

1. You hear, “I’m never drinking again” a lot. Oh, maybe that was me.

2. I still have no idea what Penguin/Panda really mean.

3. Don’t try to do everything while you’re there! You need to pace yourself, otherwise it can be overwhelming.

IMG_0626_crop4. Say yes to opportunities that scare you. I was asked by Kathleen from Frugal Portland to be a presenter at the Plutus Awards and my first reaction was “hell no,” but I said yes because it’s a great way to introduce myself to 500 people in an instant. And it gets me out of my comfort zone.

5. Get fresh air and exercise if you can. I did a 6:30 am run around the Arch with some other bloggers, and although waking up was really hard, it felt good to get out of the hotel. I also went to City Museum with Debt Blag, Red Debted Stepchild, and some new friends from Credit Karma, which was a blast. It was like an adult jungle gym.

6. I don’t regret having a hotel room all to myself. It definitely cost me more, but having that quiet space was a lifesaver. I also discovered that there is a show called Island Hunters on HGTV. I love catching up on cable at hotels since I don’t have it myself.

7. I’m going to be spending hours upon hours redoing all my SEO keywords. Thanks to Deacon from Well Kept Wallet for that session.

8. I learned just as much what NOT to do with my blog as I did what to do.

9. Getting to Fincon a day early is a great way for an introvert like me to ease into the conference.

10. One of my favorite takeaways was from Jean Chatzky in her keynote speech. She said that women in particular still have a fear of becoming homeless bag ladies. When asked if she ever feared the same thing, she said no. She said she would be the best damn waitress anyone had ever seen.

It reminds me of the last year or so on this personal finance journey. There was a time I was not doing “whatever it takes” to pay off the rest of my debt and start to get ahead in my freelance career. But in the last year I’ve really made great strides in both my video work and side hustles to make this year a lot better than the year prior. It’s all a matter of how bad you really want it.

But although I don’t fear being homeless necessarily, I guess I still do fear “not doing well” or not having financial independence (according to my definition). So in that regard I still have a long way to go.

For the rest of my pictures, click here!


Tonya is a video editor/producer and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball, playing ukulele, and running. To get the latest updates, be sure to subscribe. To support her fundraising efforts to produce more video for this site, please visit her crowdfunding page!

Latest posts by Tonya (see all)

  • Girl Meets Debt

    Thanks for sharing some pics with us T! It looked like so much fun, I might even be convinced to go next year ;)

    • Tonya

      I can’t believe I never ran into J there! Sad I missed seeing him and hope you can make it next year!

  • jefferson @seedebtrun

    Was great to meet you, kind volleyball superstar lady. Wish we could have had time to chat more. Our babysitters failed us a bit this weekend :(

    • Tonya

      Awe sorry about that. Yeah I was sad not to see more of you guys. :(

  • Travis Pizel

    The only thing I regret not being able to do over the weekend was go running with fellow PF bloggers like yourself. My body was in dire need of a break, and boy did it thank me. I feel physically refreshed and ready to go again.

    It was fantastic meeting you, Tonya – hope to see you again next year!

    • Tonya

      Glad you finally took a rest from working out. You were going like every day right? It was great to meet you too!

  • Erin @ My Alternate Life

    Great recap, Tonya! It was such an amazing week and I’m glad we got to hang out more :).

    P.S. My knees are SO bruised from City Museum! Haha, oh well, I loved the sliding part!

    • Tonya

      I was bruised all over too, but it was well worth it.

  • Dear Debt

    Wow sounds like a great time! Glad you and Kathleen got to announce the Plutus awards. I hope I can go next year! Rest, recover, and redefine. And keep on movin’!

    • Tonya

      I think you would really enjoy it. I need to start saving for it now!

  • Michelle

    Love your recap. It was so much fun hanging out with you! :)

    • Tonya

      You too! BTW I caught up with the Vampire Diaries yesterday and I can’t…I just can’t It’s gotten way too stupid. Now there are the travelers? Give me a break!

  • Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way

    It’s pretty obvious that you really had a great time. Talking to your fellow bloggers and meeting new friends was awesome!

    • Tonya

      It was great!

  • Brian @ Luke1428

    “Say yes to opportunities that scare you.” That’s a tough one but very true. Personal growth happens when we break out of our comfort zone.

    • Tonya

      I did that a couple times while I was there and glad I did. I’m trying to get more comfortable with a mic.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money

    Great list, and sorry to have missed FinCon, would have love to have met you and others in person finally! This is something I’ll keep in mind for next year: 9. Getting to Fincon a day early is a great way for an introvert like me to ease into the conference.

    • Tonya

      It really did help because I kind of eased into it and there wasn’t the rush of getting to sessions. Mostly it was sitting at the pub and talking.

  • cashRebel

    Nice recap, I’m jealous I wasn’t able to make it! This might sound like an odd question, but are the majority of PF bloggers women? I noticed the woman filled picture and most people who visit my site are women (according to Alexa). Is that a real trend?

    • Tonya

      hmmm, not really sure. I did see what seems like an equal amount of men. Maybe women are just better commenters?

  • Matt @ momanddadmoney

    Glad you had a good time. Everyone I’ve heard from seems to be a little overwhelmed by all the information, but in a good way. I’m definitely hoping my schedule will let me go next year. It sounds like an incredibly valuable experience.

    • Tonya

      I think you’d get a lot out of it. It’s really worth it. Hope you can make it next year.

  • http://Www.Plantingourpennies.Com/ Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies

    So glad to have met you in person finally, and to have you as a running buddy. =).

    • Tonya

      Glad I got to meet and run with you too!

  • Holly Johnson

    I wish I could’ve gone….we were so busy moving and getting everything packed. Next year for sure!

    • Tonya

      Hope so!

  • Done by Forty

    Thanks for the recap and for the link to SEO 101. I’ll have to check that out!

    • Tonya

      It was very helpful!

  • Kyle James

    Love your recap! I have not been to a conference in years, much to my own detriment. If I went to one I think FinCon would be a great choice as most of the folks are like-minded. I would have loved to hear Deacon’s talk!

    • Tonya

      I never go to conferences either but this was awesome! Hope you can make it next year.

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar

    I have that ame picture! Great to hang out with you and get overwhelmed together.

    • Tonya

      glad you were there too fellow RBFS girl. I enjoyed our talks.

  • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde

    So glad you had fun! Wish I could have been there!

    • Tonya

      I would say next year but you might be…oh a little busy? :)

      • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde

        Ha I’m really going to try!!

  • Stefanie @ brokeandbeau

    I’m bummed I missed it. I could really use the tips on SEO keywords!

    • Tonya

      wish you could have been there. That was one of my favorite sessions.

  • Shannon Ryan

    Sounds like a fabulous time and I’m bummed I couldn’t make it this year. Hopefully it will be in the cards next year!

    • Tonya

      I hope so. We should still try to grab coffee sometime since you ARE in my neighborhood!

  • alwayshungry4

    Great learning lessons, Tonya, and so glad to hear you had a fun time! Hope the plumbing issues work out, and get some rest. Looking forward to reading more of your insight on FinCon. :)

    • Tonya

      The plumber is coming over for the second time in two days. Ugh. At least I don’t have to pay of it. I’ll try to post more fincon tips as I go along.

  • moneystepper

    Its sounds like everyone had an awesome time. Not heard one negative word said about the conference yet. The organizers should be very proud!

    • Tonya

      They really should. Very well organized and a lot of fun.

  • Maggie@SquarePennies

    Such a great conference! I don’t really understand the Penguin/Panda shuffle either. So many great ideas though!

    • Tonya

      I don’t know if I ever will. But lots of other cool things I can implement.

  • Mackenzie

    I totally here you about the whole “introvert” thing. I think getting your own room was totally a good idea!
    Glad you had a great time!!!! :)

    • Tonya

      It was great till I paid the bill. ha ha!

  • Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies

    How exciting! It looks like you had an amazing time and the photos look great!! :)

    • Tonya

      Thanks Eva!

  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    Great recap Tonya – I have mine going up on Friday. :) I am glad we got there early as well – we got in Wednesday night and helped us ease in to things, especially with me being an introvert. There was a ton to takeaway and drove my poor wife nuts on the drive home with my list of things to do. But, I am taking the week to decompress and will get started week by week after that. Sorry we really didn’t get to talk much, next year though! :)

    • Tonya

      I feel like I have a big to-do list now. But yes, baby steps!

  • Pauline @RFIndependence

    Lucky you! Looks like it was awesome. Well done presenting the Plutus, I would have said no too! I love early morning runs after a tough night, it just puts my head back straight and I am ready to tackle the day.

    • Tonya

      It really wasn’t that bad. Or maybe the two glasses of wine helped? :)

      • Pauline @RFIndependence

        that sure helps. I checked your pics but you don’t say who is who? between the ones who don’t post pics and the ones who only have one photo picture on their blog there are a lot I didn’t recognize.

        • Tonya

          I kept it that way on purpose to protect people who don’t have pics on their blog’s privacy.

  • E.M.

    I am getting so jealous of hearing everyone’s stories! =) I’m glad you enjoyed it and took the opportunity to be a presenter. I probably would have stuck with no, but you make a good point about introducing yourself to a lot of people with a few words. I hope the kitchen plumbing issues get resolved soon!

    • Tonya

      I was surprised how how not nervous I was. I think I possibly might have had an out of body experience. :)

  • Michelle

    Tonya, I had such a fantastic time hanging out and can’t wait until next time. Am serious about Cali, Urth cafe, and Venice Beach. I really appreciate you including the link to the SEO page-really needed that! Finally, the pictures were great :)

    • Tonya

      I loved hanging out with you too even though we didn’t get a lot accomplished with ISWLG. :( It was just so crazy busy! Come visit me in LA!!! Now! :)


    Tonya, it was great meeting you and talking about all our favorite places in Michigan. We learned so much and can’t wait to be back next year!

    • Tonya

      It was great meeting you too! Let me know how I can be of service!

  • Lisa vs. the Loans

    Although it would save money to share a room, I think I’d appreciate having my own room, too. Us introverts need to recharge!

    • Tonya

      I’ve been lethargic all week from fincon. I put out so much energy which is unusual for me that it wiped me out this week!

  • Jen @ The Happy Homeowner

    I’m so happy we were able to meet in “real life!” Had such a blast with you guys. Here’s to next year :)

    • Tonya

      It was great! Till next year!

  • All That Glitters

    Sounds like a total blast, Tonya! I love the pictures and I wasn’t even there. And bravo for presenting!! I know that must’ve been difficult to do. I would love to hear one of these days, what you learned NOT to do with your blog. Hope you’re well, old friend!

    • Tonya

      It surprisingly wasn’t even that bad. Maybe I have a future as a host. :) Yes we need another “Urth” session.

  • Student Debt Survivor

    Keep reading all these posts about how awesome Fin Con was and hoping that I’ll be able to make it next year. I still have a long way to go with the blog, but more than that I would love put names and faces together for the bloggers I feel like I “know” but have never actually met.

    • Tonya

      I hope you can make it next year. It was really great!

  • Jenna Lee

    It was so great meeting you (a week ago, wow!), Tonya! Although SF doesn’t have a jungle gym as awesome as City Museum (to my best knowledge), you better come visit us anyway! :)

    • Tonya

      I’d love to! SF is one of my favorite cities!

  • Cait Flanders

    I definitely want to go a day early next time, but then leave early on the last day. It’s nice to ease into it, but then I’m always anxious to get home. (Or maybe not, per my last post, haha.) Anyway, it was so nice to meet you finally! Even though we didn’t get to spend a ton of time together, I really enjoyed sitting w/ you at lunch that one day :)

    • Tonya

      I agree. I didn’t need to much time on Sunday. Just not too early that I’m regretting it after the final party. Glad we at least had our nice lunch!

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More

    I think that’s a great wrap up of FinCon. The key to #1 is the fact that while people say it, they’re drinking at the open bar later that night :)

  • Debt and the Girl

    I am so jealous!! I am going next year and that is that. I can’t believe how quickly time passed