Northern Expenditure Turns 1

Northern Expenditure Turns 1!

The first year of any life simultaneously speeds by and seems like forever. When I think back on where we were a year ago, it seems so distant. But every week on the blog has been such a joy, it’s gone by in a flash.

This blog was born out of a malaise with the norm. Ironically, though our situation hasn’t changed much, the blog has helped us find more joy in the current situation. Why? Because we’re doing something about it while also realizing even more that living in the present is important.

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Northern Expressions

Northern Expressions: Be a Columbus

Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you

Today, as Mr. T and I are driving North to Edinburgh, I wanted to share a travel-related Northern Expression. Ultimately, we are capable of thinking amazing things and those thoughts can turn into future realities. Too often, we put limits on our possibilities. We decide we cannot open “new channels” because we are stuck. Thoughts are never stuck. And those thoughts can explore you right out of tight places. I’m hoping to expand my own possibilities this year and need to take the time to give “thought” the time it deserves in that plan.

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

Love, Maggie

Save Money on a Legal Will

Save Money on Your Legal Will

Mr. T and I finished the whole estate-planning process just before leaving on our grand adventure (follow us on Twitter for trip updates!). On Monday, we outlined considerations for making a will. Today we’re going to talk about how to save money on making one. This is expensive stuff we’re talking about! And today we’re going to cover how to save money on a legal will. I’m not an attorney, so obviously don’t take this as legal advice. This is just my observations based on my experiences and research on the matter. Mr. T and I used a lawyer to draft up our legal wills, powers of attorney, and advanced health directives (a total of 6 documents). The legal fees? $1,895! Yikes! That’s more than it cost for all of our plane tickets for the trip we’re on! Here are 5 ways to do it for less:

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Drafting a Will

Decisions to Make Before Drafting a Will

Our three-week trip away from our children forced Mr. T and I to finally kick into gear and make a legal will (you know, because planes falling out of the sky are actually a thing these days!). We always knew we needed one, but it seemed so daunting! Well, guys, we did it. It is done. And now I’m here to help you through doing the same thing. Obviously, I’m no lawyer or financial advisor, so don’t go around thinking this is legal or financial advice. I’m just here to help you with the first step: thinking through most of the things you’ll need to consider before drafting your own will.

Two months ago, Mr. T and I said: “We leave in a month. We need a basic will, an advanced health directive, and a legal power of attorney. Where do we start?” This, my friends, is the list of where you should start. Today, we will take you through the large list of decisions that need to be made before you’re even ready to start the documents! Ready? Here we go:

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Fund a Roth IRA without a side hustle

Funding Your Roth IRA Without a Side Hustle

I love today’s contribution to the Roth IRA Challenge. Des over at Half Banked is awesome at talking about financial basics and helping you apply the principles to your own situation. Today is a perfect example of that! The Roth IRA Challenge is all about figuring out how to earn and/or raise $5500 and make sure it goes towards the goals you want. After you learn loads and get excited to read more and do more, go check out her blog. Also, in my defense, the following conversation never happened, but I’ll let Des take it from here…

Maggie: Des, you should participate in the Roth IRA Challenge!

Des: Are you sure?! I’m not really a side-hustler – unless my sad fledgling Etsy store counts?

Maggie: Well, how much have you made from it?

Des: *checks total* Tens of dollars!

Maggie:

A proficient side-hustler, I am not.

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Europe on $10 a day

Europe for $10/Day (in 1977): Part 2

You guys, isn’t my mom the coolest? If you missed Part One of her adventures, check those out. The story continues today right where we left off on Monday:

MUSIC AND MORE

It can be expensive attending concerts and visiting museums and art galleries, but isn’t that what Europe and England are all about? I had a long list of classical essentials, but our first cultural experience was a foray into The Sound of Music. The first day in the gorgeous city of Salzburg, we walked down to the old part of the city and looked for a tram to take us to the majestic castle on the hill. We kept walking up – up this path and finally figured we were walking up to the castle without paying to ride the tram. The castle gave us a beautiful view of Salzburg
so we walked around the courtyard.

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Europe on $10 a day

Europe for $10/Day (in 1977): Part 1

I’m super excited today to introduce my very own mother! As Mr. T and I were planning our travels, my mom found her journal from her backpacking trip through Europe in 1977 and starting telling me crazy stories. I told her she just had to write some up! So today, while Mr. T and I are off doing our own (less crazy) traveling and while my mother is busy chasing my three children around the Oregon Coast, enjoy reading her perspective about what inexpensive travel was like without the variety of travel resources we have today! 

I grew up in a tiny town on the coast – nice enough, but rainy and windy in the winter and drizzly and windy in the summer. For some reason, no one ever seemed to want to leave this place; not in my family anyway. I wanted to go to Europe. That meant two things to me: The Eiffel Tower in Paris of which I owned a poster. It was the first thing I put on the wall in my Freshman dorm room at the state college. The other thing it meant was Dickens and AustenThackeray and Eliot. I was crazy about 19th century English literature and I wanted to be in those bucolic places described in those novels. Of course, in Dickens case, it was squalid more than bucolic, but that meant London and as I became a teenager, I was very keen to be in
London. Who wasn’t in the 1970’s?

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Northern Expressions

Northern Expressions: Advice is NOT Permission

You don't need anyone to give you permission to pursue a dream

Happy Friday! Today, Mr. T and I are in London. Tomorrow, we get to see the new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (I’m really, really excited!). Also tomorrow, we get to witness the grand parade that is the Trooping of the Colour (in honor of the Queen’s 90th this year!). I hope your summer is going well. Today’s quote from Chris Guillebeau is one of my favorites from the $100 Startup. It’s so inspiring! If you want to do it, DO IT! Follow your dream. Make it happen. Tell the naysayers to get lost and go and live your dream! Have a great weekend, friends!

Love, Maggie

Travel Hacking to London and Paris

Travel Hacking from Anchorage Alaska to London & Paris

On Monday, we shared our quick guide to conservative travel hacking. Since we’re all about sharing our numbers here on the blog, I want to break down how much we spent on airfare and lodging for our current trip to the UK and Paris.

FLIGHTS:

Total Cost: $1007.36

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Conservative Travel Hacking

Conservative Travel Hacking

Late tonight, Mr. T and I fly to the UK to celebrate our tenth anniversary! We’ll spend 2.5 weeks driving around the UK, fly to Paris for the last three days, and then fly back to pick up our children. We have awesome posts lined up while we are away, so don’t be a stranger. If we’re slow on reading/responding to comments, I promise we will catch up upon our return. The comments are one of our favorite parts of blogging, so please share your thoughts even though the response may be quite delayed! And be sure to follow us on Twitter if you want to know what we’re up to!

While we’re off and away, I think it’s time we shared how we travel hack conservatively. I’ve been interested in travel hacking for years, but I only found sources churning 4-12 credit cards every three months and doing something called manufactured spend. Then I found the ultimate travel hacker resource for every level of travel hacker: Brad and Alexi and their FREE Travel Miles 101 Course (not an affiliate link, but I highly recommend signing up if you are interested at all in travel hacking). Alexi is a heavy credit card churner while Brad churns only a few cards a year and they teach you everything (earning money on the credit card sign-ups through their affiliate links).

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