Our First Time Talking About Budgeting: So Much Fun!


Last weekend we were blessed to speak at the Texas Style Council Conference in Austin, Texas. It was our second time attending this social media conference. The first time was in March 2011, and we had to miss last year because we were busy trying to figure out how to keep a one-week-old baby alive. If there is one word I had to use to describe the feeling we had after teaching about budgeting it would be AWESOME. It was awesome. After the nerves settled as we got rolling, we had so much fun. And then, we got to talk to a bunch of people individually about it and it was so inspiring.


We spent an entire evening crafting the outline of our talk and determining the main points we wanted to make. We then spent the month of July working on putting together handouts and slides for our presentation.


We wanted the talk to be loose with lots of room for questions, so we only practiced our talk one time at home. And then we did another run through about an hour before we had to talk. We felt prepared, and were really hoping for lots of questions.

There was no way for us to know how many people would be there. We did have two confirmations from readers (thanks, Jesse and Dale), but apart from that, we really had no idea who would show up.

To be honest, we had pretty low expectations. There was a thrift shop tour and two other classes going on at the same time as ours, and to top it off it was scheduled at noon with no lunch break built into the conference schedule. We would have been happy if five people showed up.


As we exited the elevator on the 17th floor where there were two conference rooms for classes, there were tons of people waiting outside the door. And we were like, “What are all these people doing here? They must be waiting for the other class.” The class right before ours was just finishing up, and then they opened the doors.

We were pretty focused on getting everything set up, so we didn't pay much attention to people coming in and leaving. We headed straight to the front to get our slideshow figured out and prepare to hand out our six copies of budget material.

When we looked up, all the seats were filled (50 of them) and a few other people were filing in and sitting on the floor along the side of the room.


At that point, I asked Kelsey, “Why are all these people still here from the other class?” This was the point I think we both got kind of nervous and also really excited. We realized they were all there to hear us talk about budgeting. (Who knew it was such a hot topic? I mean, we think it's awesome, but we're also dorky like that.)

We're still shocked by the amount of people that came (we're guessing 60ish), but we also learned an important lesson as we connected with a handful of attendees afterward.

The lesson is that everyone struggles with money. Whether you have plenty of it, not enough of it or owe lots of it to other people. It seems if you are talking about money, people want to listen and they want to know how others handle it.


photo by Jesse

Which is totally awesome, because we love talking about how we handle money and sharing our stories and experiences with anyone who will listen. Whatever it takes to help others not make the same mistakes we have.

The Material

We wanted to cover four main points about budgeting:

  1. Our story
  2. Why you need a budget
  3. Your first budget
  4. Sticking to a budget

And then, of course, we wanted people to ask questions. And since we got excited and nervous at the last minute, we pretty much blew straight through our material in like 13 minutes. Leaving 32 minutes for questions (our run-through had taken us 35 minutes).

It turned out great as we were able to have a real discussion and answer specific questions that people had. And, let me just say that Kelsey brought her A-game when it was showtime. She was more nervous and tense when we did our run-throughs than when we did it for real. It was super fun speaking together.

The Conversation

After the class was over and the pits of my shirt were drenched, we had a chance to check out the conversation on Twitter by following #budgetwithwilliams and also talk personally with those who attended.

The feedback was super encouraging to us. Especially after pouring ourselves into this blog for the past two and a half years, it was nice to know the material we have been writing about stuck to the wall when we threw it at people in a live situation. It's much easier to write behind a laptop vs. getting up in front of people and talking.

It's just really difficult to know if your message is clear to those who may not have heard about budgeting before, or have no experience with it. We tried to boil the concepts down to basic principles.

You can check out the entire conversation on Twitter, and even add to it if you want or have any of your own questions. Apparently we said some tweetable things, but we don't really remember because we kind of blacked out while up there. Here are some that are still making me smile: https://twitter.com/ReneeGallifrey/status/363717838814867456 https://twitter.com/grrrfeisty/status/363715479388434432 https://twitter.com/kristennjansen/status/363708283099426817 https://twitter.com/pleasurebus/status/363707808660721664


The Stories

I think the best part of the entire experience for us was the connections we made with people after the class. We were able to hear a handful of stories and offer some perspective from what we know and have learned along our journey.

It was both humbling and encouraging. I kept telling Kelsey how I couldn't believe how many women showed up to hear us talk about personal budgeting at a blogging/fashion/business conference.

The class was videotaped, and supposedly we will have access to it soon. If the quality is good enough, we're hoping to have it available for others to view as well. The video will be raw and we didn't have microphones so I'm not sure how the audio will turn out. We'll have to see.

I can't say it enough. The experience was amazing, and turned out a million times better than we could have hoped for. So. Much. Fun. Talking. About. Budgeting.

And one last big shout out to Chance and the You Need a Budget team for sponsoring our trip.

P.S. Last time we were in Austin, this site was not even launched yet. We had been sporadically writing at wordsofwilliams.wordpress.com. We had purchased the domain and were working on our branding and launch of wordsofwilliams.com. And, I wrote our entire fairytale story at Austin Java one evening while Kelsey was at a shopping event. How neat is that?

P.P.S. Kelsey will do a recap on the rest of the events next week.