September 28, 2015

For the past week, I’ve been trying to recover from the Financial Bloggers Conference, aka FinCon. I came back last Sunday with absolutely no voice and throbbing feet from several nights on the dance floor.

I know I mentioned that last year was a dream come true, but this year was ten times better.

Last year, I had just quit my job and didn’t really know what I was doing. I felt like the new kid on the block, just soaking everything in. I had a blast then, too and did my fair share of networking — most of which elevated my career this past year.

This year? I wasn’t necessarily looking for work, I WAS working. My colleague Tonya Rapley and I hosted two awesome events at FinCon with financial brands that I LOVE. We’ve been working behind-the-scenes for months to make these events happen and it felt so good to see the fruits of our labor pay off.

Right before FinCon started, we hosted a lovely Women and Money Tea sponsored by Fidelity. Imagine a room of 30 powerful and engaging women talking about money in an intimate setting. It was so great to sit down with people I admire and talk candidly about our relationship to money and our unique struggles.

by Joshua Galloway


FinCon could have ended there and I’d be happy. Everything about that event was simply perfect and I cried happy tears afterward.

The next day we also hosted an event with SoFi, pretty much the coolest student loan refinancing company around. We invited everyone to hang out and bowl. I’m proud to announce I’m still a terrible bowler, but a good time was had by all.


On Saturday, the happy hour crew recorded Martinis and Your Money live and I shared my most embarrassing money mistake. It was so great to connect with all the ladies in-person.

THEN, Saturday night blew my mind even more. This little blog of mine WON best debt-focused blog! I ran up there, jumping up and down like a crazy person. I was so excited. Thank you to all my readers and those that voted. You rock.

Dear Debt is my baby. Dear Debt, in many ways, was a lifesaver for me. In that moment of winning, I felt like everything I’ve worked hard for did matter. It’s nice to have those moments where you feel like other people get what you are trying to do.

Then I kept screaming like a crazy person because Shannon won best podcast, Tonya won best video, Jason won best collaborative project for Road to Financial Wellness (which I coordinated the blog tour and several in-person events for) and more.

Aside from the events, the podcast, and the award, I did attend some sessions that were really inspiring. In addition, I networked my face off and met with as many people as I could.

But the absolute best part of FinCon? The people. Last year I met Shannon for the first time and we were insta-BFFs. This year we were roommates and oh man it was like we were in college. We shared our dreams, our struggles, and our goals for the future (and stayed out way too late). And I’m so proud to call her a friend and colleague.

I loved seeing Erin from Journey to Saving again and catching up about our crazy freelance journey. I enjoyed meeting my debt accountability partner, Even Steven Money, who is always making sure I’m working hard to pay off that debt. I loved meeting the ladies at Payoff in person. I had a great time meeting some of my clients for the first time.

There are simply too many people to name, but I had an outstanding time reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. As an extrovert, FinCon gave me SO MUCH LIFE.

I’m a die-hard FinCon fan and you bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be in San Diego next year for #FinCon16. Will I see you there?

Were you at FinCon15? What was your experience? Did we meet? If so, say hi!

Fidelity photos by Joshua Galloway


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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40 responses to “#FinCon15 Gave Me LIFE”

  1. I really enjoy reading all the bloggers Fincon experiences. It sounds like do much fun and somewhere I need to be to excel in the blogging community. I look forward to being there next year!
    Shirria @ GDTH recently posted…Money Saving Grocery Tips!My Profile

  2. I am glad to see you have a great time and congratulations on the accomplishments! I was there, but was not feeling too well. Overall, great experience! I hope to meet you next year in San Diego!

  3. Loved meeting you!! I will certainly be at FinCon16. I can’t wait!! 🙂
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…10 Financial Habits to Start in Your 20sMy Profile

  4. So great seeing you! You’re the best! And thanks for hosting those awesome parties! They were a blast!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Shopaholics, Step Away from the Clearance AisleMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Loved seeing you again and I was super happy you won the Plutus for best freelancer. You are an inspiration! Thanks for the compliments about the events, hopefully there will be more in the future 😉

  5. I wasn’t there but it’s inspiring to hear about your experience, especially since you’ve established your career as a blogger this year! It sounds super fun to meet all the great people behind the blogs in real life.
    Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor recently posted…Terrific Trash Finds of Summer 2015My Profile

  6. Jim Wang says:

    It was great seeing you take home the award, kudos to you! Sounds like you had a great FinCon, it was great seeing you again.
    Jim Wang recently posted…Why Do You Work?My Profile

  7. Michelle says:

    Melanie!!! You SLAYED FinCon15. Thank you (and Tonya) so much for all of your hard work. Congratulations on winning the Plutus, and I was so happy to hang out with you. I’m all set for San Diego-but I hope to see you before then! Wishing you continued success.
    Michelle recently posted…Girl Gone Frugal Episode 13-Robert from Leave Your Daily HellMy Profile

  8. Michelle says:

    Oh, and can we get a copy of that awesome picture??!!
    Michelle recently posted…Girl Gone Frugal Episode 13-Robert from Leave Your Daily HellMy Profile

  9. I know I’ve already said it 100 times, but I’m totally stoked for you. And I’m looking forward to more scopes! I keep reminding myself about your first one 🙂
    Kate @ Cashville Skyline recently posted…Why Setting Intentions Matters (#FinCon15 Recap)My Profile

  10. Glad to hear it was such an amazing experience for you and the events that you and Tonya put on were some of my favorites! Can’t wait to see you in a couple weeks again when it’s not so crazy! Congrats on the well-deserved award as well!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Financial Odds and Ends: Vol. 8My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Awesome, that means a lot! Oh yes, I’m coming to LA soon…almost forgot lol. Congrats to YOU on the award. You put so much work into BATB TV and I’m thrilled for you!

  11. It sounds as if Fincon was such a fantastic experience – congratulations on all of the awards & fulfilling moments! I was able to make it to Jason’s Phroogal tour stop in Corvallis, OR (I was hoping to make it to the stop in Portland, but something came up that morning!). Such a wonderful tour that was, and Jason was incredibly grateful for all your coordination efforts! If you ever host a future personal finance event in Portland, OR – let me know, and I will be there! After hearing about FinCon this year, I am definitely wanting to make it to FinCon in San Diego next September. This October will be the one year anniversary of my PF blog, and I’ve been introduced to such an amazing community that I would be thrilled to meet everyone!
    Alyssa @ Generation YRA recently posted…Overcoming the Fear of InvestingMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Working on #TheRoad was so fun. We have monthly meetups in Portland if you can make it! You should definitely go to FinCon. It’s such a great way to connect with others and build your blog.

  12. FinCon was AMAZING! I can’t wait for next year. 🙂
    Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…Frugal Fashionista? How to Embrace Both Fashion and FrugalityMy Profile

  13. CONGRATS on your award! So well deserved!!! 🙂 FinCon sounds like a complete blast! 🙂
    Kara @ The Daily Whisk recently posted…4 Easy Make Ahead MealsMy Profile

  14. It was so incredible to see all of you win Plutus awards. I was so proud because I know how hard everyone has worked this past year, and how much heart and soul you’ve put into this blog. Besides that, you welcome others to share their struggles, and it’s truly a place where people can commit to killing their debt.

    FinCon was absolutely crazy, in a good way, and I totally can’t wait for next year already. It’s too far away! You’re also too far away! Clearly I need to get off the east coast. 😉
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…Being Grateful: Seventy-Fourth EditionMy Profile

  15. Michelle says:

    FinCon15 was amazing. I can’t wait until next year!

    FinCon always makes me super motivated about my blog and everything else in life. Love it!
    Michelle recently posted…These 4 Mistakes May Be Holding You Back From A Good Credit ScoreMy Profile

  16. Hannah says:

    FinCon was an amazing experience, I am so thankful that I got to go this year. I’m still trying to figure out if we can logistically swing it next year (everything is a little tougher with babies, this year I got lucky being just 2.5 hours from home).

    I have to say, I came home just bursting with ideas!

  17. catherine says:

    Sadly I was not there…will definitely not be there next year either seeing as how it’s pretty much as far away from me as possible on this continent! Sounds like an amazing time though and your win was very well deserved!! So glad self employment is working out for you.
    catherine recently posted…Changing Your Financial VocabularyMy Profile

  18. I LOVED rooming with you too!! It was like college but college rooming for hustlers!! I love that we set intentions over a drunken brunch last year and they came true and I can’t wait to see where we are by FinCon16!! You are really an inspiration and your drive and energy just inspires me to no end. You’re the best and I love you to pieces!!
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Money Mistakes Happy Hour StyleMy Profile

  19. So great to connect with you at FinCon Melanie! Congrats on the Plutus award! I’m still playing catch up from the great weekend!
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…The Language of MoneyMy Profile

  20. It needs to be FinCon 16 already, dammit!

    Congrats again for your win!
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…Are you ready for a frugal Christmas?My Profile

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