Category: About the Banks (Page 1 of 3)
One of the things that makes our journey to early retirement unique is that I’m a stay at home mom. Though I do have some income (I’ll get to that), I am not a major financial contributer to this journey. Yet I’m the one that manages all the finances and makes all the plans for Mr. T to retire early. Here’s a bit more of the story behind that.
How I chose to be a Stay-at-Home mom
Penny, our oldest, was born while I was in graduate school. Because of the timing, I had the opportunity to decide what I wanted to do before ever starting a corporate life. Because Mr. T and I were both in school, we balanced parenting duties equally and made sure our class schedules worked around each other so we could pass off the stroller on campus between our respective classes. After Mr. T graduated, we moved to the Northwest so he could find a job and I could finish my masters thesis. We didn’t count on our long stint with unemployment at the same time. I graduated just before Penny was 18 months old and the next month, Mr. T got a job in Alaska.
I hate shopping. Especially for clothes. Part of me wishes I was that person that could walk into a store and want ALL THE THINGS! Before moving to Alaska, thrift stores were my jam. Everything I owned was from a thrift store. It was my style, it was cheap, and if it got destroyed, I wasn’t that worried about it. Also, I could walk into the thrift store and look at my size on the rack. When the rack ended, I was done.
Now that I live in Alaska (where the thrift stores are both expensive and terrible), I’ve been forced into buying clothes from stores like regular people. It’s awful.
Clothes are Expensive!
I hear the argument that you should just buy really well made clothes and they’ll last forever. It’s a sane argument. But what if you have 3 crazy kids, you spend most of your year walking through snow, your shirts always manage to get holes in the front, and you are incapable of eating chocolate without having pieces melt into your shirt?* Well, then your argument is crazy. Then I put on said shirt and feel like I can’t live my life. I can’t accidentally rub up against my car (with its inch-thick dirt in the winter and spring). I can’t touch my children. I can’t go outside.
Earth Day was this weekend. To celebrate, Florin’s school passed out garbage bags to kick off next week’s city-wide clean up (my favorite time of year… all the trash that was hiding in all that snow gets picked up!). Each year, I perform a personal Earth Day Checkup. We could all be doing better protecting the environment, but every year, I like to celebrate the things I am doing, note my own improvements, and come up with something I can improve upon.
Earth Day Checkup: The Good
While we were off traveling, our dear friends over at Our Next Life issued a challenge. You see, the early retirement community is full of “Commandments” (as Our Next Life so hilariously outlined in their original post). This challenge called for a celebration of differences. A manifesto of what we’re doing differently. After I read it, I was immediately THRILLED about the opportunity to come clean. You see, Northern Expenditure is a fraud. I’m not sure why anyone reads us at all. We’re on the path to early retirement, but we’re doing everything
Why We’re Early Retirement Frauds:
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.
We live on a cul-de-sac with a shared picnic/BBQ area. In the summertime, my kids are constantly riding bikes and playing in the cul-de-sac. There are currently no other kids, but we know most of our neighbors and they are great about letting the kids play. (One neighbor even bought them tiny rakes because she thought they’d like them. They do!) Our neighbors have been awesome. One helped with our windows, two of them insulated their attics the same day we did so we could all help each other out, and we used the tools of one of our neighbors to do all the window and door trim work. Two of our neighbors came over for Christmas Eve two years ago. We really like the dynamic of our cul-de-sac. We often end up having communal dinners in the picnic area during the summer and stay up late chatting with the neighbors when the sun is out until midnight.
The Banks family has embarked on a journey of creating a house of order in 2016. The first category to tackle was clothes. I started my thorough examination and culling of my clothing last summer. I knew I wanted to make real changes, but I wasn’t sure how. I considered why I had so many clothes. Here were the categories I identified:
We’re spending the Christmas holiday in Hawaii, so we will be taking a virtual break until the New Year when we will return on Monday, January 4 with a December plan update. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season with family and friends and spend time on what is the most important. Also, I had another post planned about some little-known facts about reindeer, but Mental Floss beat me to it, so I recommend checking that out. Also, we were interviewed over at Even Steven Money so go check us out there!
Yesterday, my dad drove up to his office with his briefcase in hand, went in through the back door, met with clients as usual, and when the day was done, he walked away forever. He hadn’t planned to retire for another 5 years, but someone offered to buy his small business earlier this year, so he did some calculations. He realized that if he carried the loan on the business and charged a low interest rate, the person buying the business would be happy with the low rate, and my dad could use the loan payments to retire five years earlier than planned. I’ve known about this for nearly six months and have had several thoughts since hearing the news. Here are a few of those thoughts: