About Us

Hi, I’m Maggie Banks and I live in Alaska with my husband (endearingly called “Mr. T” though he is both thin and white) and our three young kids: Penny (older elementary age), Florin (younger elementary age), and Lui (not yet in school). Mr. T and I are both in our early thirties. We met in college, got married young, and had Penny when Mr. T was finishing his undergraduate degree and I was finishing my graduate degree. After spending ten months unemployed, we moved up to Alaska to experience the Great White North. We were both raised by small business owners who taught us sound financial principles, so we were able to graduate debt free and even managed to emerge from nearly a year of unemployment with enough savings for a down-payment on a house here in Alaska thanks to our unemployment game.

Mr. T is a programmer and works for a company with less-than-competitive income but a great environment, fabulous benefits, and wonderful vacation time. I am a stay at home mom, though I also work 10-15 hours a week from home as a behavioral economics researcher. I read a lot about behavior and money and love to find exciting out-of-the-box solutions to things. I also am fascinated with personal finance and read a ton of personal finance blogs. All of these passions combined one day in summer 2015 as Mr. T’s employer started discussing lay off possibilities and I was reading my favorite personal finance blogs and thinking (as I usually do): “they make way more than us,” “that won’t work in Alaska,” or “look at the success people are having in sharing their journey.” That day, Mr. T and I formulated our plan for early retirement (because retiring early is the ultimate creative, outside-the-box solution!) and decided to make it public as so many have done before us.

Mr. T and I on an elephant in Cambodia.

Mr. T and I on an elephant in Cambodia.

Alaska is a remarkable, wonderful place. But things are a bit different here. While Alaska does pay us to live here, we also have to deal with a very high cost of living. So, we’re going to try to navigate this journey in our own Alaskan way. We’ll keep you updated on our plan progress and we’ll also share our own money saving experiences and tips, talk about some awesome Alaskan stuff, highlight some behavioral economics research, and let you in on a little bit of our crazy.


  1. Hey Maggie

    I’m launching a blog post Wednesday titled the Index Card Challenge, in reference to the image that went viral by Harold Pollock (image below). Professor Pollack distilled all his financial advice in to a single index card and it was a big hit, as well as really instructive in what truly matters for success with your money.

    I thought it would be a fun project to gather index cards from around the personal finance blogosphere and am hoping you will participate. I’ll be doing blog posts on a continual basis as I receive new cards from other personal finance bloggers. All index card images will be posted on a page (not just a post) with a link back to your blog above the image as well as the image itself.

    If you want to participate, just shoot me back a photo of your image and I’ll add it the page. I’ll also be doing follow-up blog posts periodically to highlight all the submissions we receive and if you think it’s a fun idea, I would love to see you talk about it as well.

    Looking forward to seeing what you consider most essential for all our readers.



    • MaggieBanks

      Sounds like a fun idea! I’ll send one over this week. Thanks for the invite!

  2. Alaska49

    Hey, glad to see a fellow Alaskan!!! Keeping it real on the Kenai.

  3. You have officially been nominated! Have an awesome day! 🙂

  4. Great blog and great resources. I just finished opening a capital one account with your affiliate link. I am happy to find someone else who believes in achieving FI without a huge salary.

  5. Hi Maggie, nice to meet a fellow Alaskan in the personal finance Blogosphere. I feel your pain on the high cost of living in Alaska. We were spending around 30K per year while living in Utah; the same lifestyle costs us around 50K in Alaska. Looking forward to following your journey!

    • MaggieBanks

      I also love meeting fellow Alaskans heading toward FIRE! I’m glad to see you love Alaska as much as we do! 🙂

  6. Russell Robinson

    Hey Maggie, was brought here from an energy conservation rebate post from a while back. Do you know if the state or its counties/cities have any water rebate programs for both residential and commercial?

    • MaggieBanks

      I do not. I’m sorry! And I’m pretty sure the energy rebate we did is also a thing of the past.

  7. Russell

    Appreciate you getting back!

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