JumpStart First Bloggoversary.

JumpStart from scratch was born from panic anticipation about my son JumpStart Jack graduating and transitioning to a young adult.

While researching college, I found holes in the process.  All the information felt generic, and so vague that I couldn’t apply it to our own dual teacher 2 kid situation.  I wanted the numbers and details about real people putting their kids through college.

As a high school physics teacher, I get to know hundreds of high school seniors every year, but had no idea what they or their families were doing to afford college.  Beginning real life discussions about money is challenging, and seems to be the most taboo topic of all.  Many of the kids have no clue about the money aspect of college.  When a parent was actually willing to talk, I would get the same generic, vague, unhelpful statements:

  • “College list prices aren’t what you actually pay.”
  • “They think we make too much money, so no financial aid for us.”
  • “My son had to borrow a little, but it is good debt.”
  • “We’ve been saving a little each month since he was born, and were OK.”

In addition to all of the unanswered college questions, JS Jack’s 18th birthday would make him eligible for credit card bonuses and perks. My personal obsession with all the travel hacking blogs began in 2013, but there was a void in credit card hacking information for young adults.

I kept researching, recording thoughts/questions, did calculations, and mapped out plans for my son’s big transition into a young adult.  Before long I was shocked at the number and length of documents filling my college folder.  Over my first 43 years of life, I had only written when it was required by my teachers and my employers.  Somehow I had written thousands of words by choice.  After some inspiration from my favorite blogs, I decided to create the JumpStart alias, organize the ideas, put everything online, and attempt to describe details of our family’s journey through the college years.

Despite no website building experience, little photography equipment/skills, and social media knowledge limited to Facebook, I pieced together a website.  Over the past year, I’ve learned a little bit about wordpress, photoshop, graphical design, Twitter, SEO, chatroom etiquette, and Pinterest.  I’ve learned tons about writing, finances, college, and myself.  Blogging is pretty addictive, and I have actually begun to enjoy writing.  The blog’s biggest benefit has been the careful scrutiny of my choices, and as a result our finances seem to be on track. It has flown by making it is hard to believe, that this week is the one year anniversary of JumpStartfromScratch going online.

JumpStart First Bloggoversary Stats

  • 68- Posts published.
  • 5850- Page views.
  • 202- Record page views in one day.
  • 210- Comments.
  • 0$- Money earned.
  • ??? Lots-  Time consumed.
  • 9- Email subscribers.
  • 17- Pinterest followers.
  • 46- Facebook followers.
  • 925- Twitter followers.
  • 2- Number of times I’ve been called Mr. JumpStart in real life.

Many people have supported JumpStartfromScratch over the past year, and I would like to acknowledge and thank some of them.

My family including Mrs. JS, Mom, Frank, Lee, Adam, Robin, Jack, and Jill have been great for support, content, shares, likes, and comments.

The particularly supportive friends who read, share, like, and comment on my posts, include Bill, Sarah, Jennifer, Linda, Lynn, TK, Robbie, and Stephanie.

The blogging community is a special group of people, and I only know some of them from aliases and cartoon pictures, but their support wisdom, inspiration, advice, and involvement has been invaluable. My top new internet friends include:

Brokegirlrich, Othalafehu, Chiefmomofficer, Lifezemplified, Mediumsizedfamily, EarlyRetirementNow, SuperSavingTips, Femmefrugality, Racingtorwardretirement, and OurFinancialPath.

I’m probably not on J. Money’s radar yet, but his Budgets are Sexy site and forum has been a great resource, place to connect with other bloggers, and sent a decent chunk of traffic to JSFS.


November isn’t a traditional time of year for a status check, but the one year bloggoversary mark feels like as good a time as any.

JS Jack status

  • Radford U chosen, 1 semester tuition paid, 30 credit hours transferred, 1st semester classes in progress, and $9k allotted for semester 2.
  • $0 Debt.
  • Personal credit cards from Discover, BofA, and AMEX.
  • Adult checking and savings accounts established.
  • $165 in cash back earned from credit cards.
  • 12,500 AMEX Membership Rewards points earned.
  • Credit score around 745.
  • Recent raise at part time job.
  • Car with expired inspection sticker and no plates.

JS Jill status

  • 9k$ allotted for college.
  • $0 debt.
  • Personal youth savings account established.
  • 1st real job starting this week.
  • Learner’s permit.
  • Authorized user cards from Discover and AMEX.
  • Desire for a first car.

Mr. and Mrs. JumpStart status

  • Still employed as teachers.  The 30 year mark is actually in sight.
  • A solid plan for JS Jack’s zero debt undergraduate degree from Radford University.
  • A loose plan for JS Jill’s college.
  • Funds for 3 out of 16 semesters paid/saved.
  • Credit scores over 800.
  • No debt other than home and beach house mortgages.
  • Tenants in place at the beach house.
  • Free train tickets and free hotel secured to NYC at Christmas.
  • Free first class plane tickets booked to and from California in June.
  • 1.4 million miles/points balance.
  • Mrs. JS has the Southwest Companion Pass.
  • Mr. JS has Platinum status with Marriott/Starwood.
  • Side gig at the gym for Mrs. JS.

I apologize to anyone I overlooked.  Thanks to everyone, especially Mrs. JS, Jack, and Jill.  It has been, and continues to be quite a journey.

Posted in Blogging, Progress Snapshot.

10 Comments

  1. Thanks for counting me among your blogging friends, JS! I’ve really enjoyed reading the real information on your sons college journey. Since my oldest is off to college in just a few short years, and like you mentioned it’s very hard to find specific information, I really appreciate your writing on the subject. Happy one year!

  2. Wow!!
    Thinking your English teachers might enjoy reading this too! I sure have. Not for the same reasons. Go Mr. JS Go! This is a great story. Fine, indeed.

  3. I wish my parents had been concerned enough about my education to start a blog over it. How could this not translate to a deep appreciation from your kids when they become adults and realize why this is all happening? The stats will come, you just need to catch the right wave.

    • Thanks Otha. Stats are so random. My most popular post was from April Fool’s Day, and it was one big lie. I feel like my current audience is friends and bloggers. I appreciate them, but the target audience is different. The blog should help kids in high school or college and their parents. My info will be better once I am a few years into the process. I already know of things to do differently with JS Jill.

    • It definitely hasn’t been a consistent pace for that endurance. I started with 8 posts written. During summer unemployment, I should have written lots, but it was my most slack period. I’ve settled in at 1 or 2 per week through the beginning of this school year. Thanks HM, and good luck on your own blog.

    • Still think of myself as a newbie too. I’ve learned lots, but don’t think I’m ready to give out blogging advice. Looking over your stats, it looks like you are ahead of schedule. Just keep trying to make things a little better.

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