Category: About the Banks (Page 1 of 2)

Why I Don't Shop For Clothes (But am Trying!)

Why I Don’t Shop For Clothes (But am Trying!)

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.

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A 2017 Earth Day Checkup

A 2017 Earth Day Checkup

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

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We're early retirement frauds

Retiring Early? We’re Early Retirement Frauds

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 wrong differently.

Why We’re Early Retirement Frauds:

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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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How Much Do Your Neighbors Matter?

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.

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Organizing My Clothes Closet

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:

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Merry Christmas from the Banks

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! 

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My Dad Retired Yesterday

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:

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The Experience-Based Christmas

FLASHBACK: I’m eight years old. My mom and sister and I decided to be in the community production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” I was a baby angel. Adorable, I know. We had rehearsals/performances every evening Monday-Saturday through Christmas Eve. It was fun and festive and everything always felt so Christmassy! But what about my dad? He couldn’t be in the play with us because rehearsals started before he was done with work. He came to several performances, but mostly, he was left to fend for himself most evenings leading up to Christmas. Christmas is about families and he missed us. Christmas morning arrived and we were all together. My sister and I came running down the stairs and saw the biggest load of presents around the tree I’ve ever seen! It turns out my dad spent his evenings buying us stuff… lots of stuff… to make up for not being with us. As the stuff pile grew taller and the wrapping paper pile got more out of hand, my mom got a bit tense. The following year my mom made a sweeping declaration: this wasn’t going to happen again.

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What I Learned In Ice Skating Class

Yesterday, I finished the ice skating class I took at the university. My final included me performing a routine to “Shut Up and Dance With Me” (best song ever, by the way). Yes, I know, you wish you could have been there. But let me tell you that I was the worst one in the class. Don’t think I’m being humble. I’m just being honest. I’m a terrible ice skater. My final routine included mainly skating forward, doing one turn, and stopping while skating. The teacher told me to skip the other stuff. I did fall down in the first two seconds, but then I got up and did the rest pretty well.

skating

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