Category: Plan Updates (Page 1 of 5)

August 2017 Plan Update

August 2017 Plan Update

Hello, dear readers! Welcome back to our regularly scheduled blogging program!

This summer has been glorious. And August was no exception. We started the month in Disneyland with the family and then headed to the Seattle area for a week where we spent 3 entire days swimming, kayaking, and paddle-boarding in lakes. It was amazing. The month ended with all 3 kids in school.

This was a particularly expensive month for us with some plane tickets being purchased, but I’m super excited about all things ahead!


The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (Also feel free to read my more in-depth review of Personal Capital.)

Our mortgage is below $40,000 ($39,920 to be exact)! Woo hoo! Only 3 more of those milestones and then IT’S DEAD! With the expensive flights we purchased this month, we probably won’t be contributing much extra next month to save up a bit again, but I’m still super happy about the direction this is headed! We’ve been able to pay this down just over $50,000 in just over 2 years. I feel pretty great about that.

Investments are now at $166,190. Markets took a few dives, but ended up slightly higher. It’s not looking like we’ll crack $200,000 this year but it’s great to see these climb consistently while we live our lives.

For our savings percentage, we track the percentage of our pre-tax (or gross) income and the extra payments put toward the mortgage are included in the amount saved. Savings percentage for August – 51%. This is why I don’t think this is a great metric. We didn’t actually save any more… but we earned less, so our percentage looks good.

2017 Financial Goal Update:

  • Earn $25,000 – ($19,853/$25,000) –  This is mainly my main job as they have delayed paychecks. I was gone for a lot of the month, so these are last month’s paychecks. No freelancing this month. Next month’s income will be lower.
  • Mortgage Balance below $30,000 – (Currently at $39,920 – less than $10k to go! WOO HOO!)
  • Max out Mr. T’s 401k – This is set up already and if nothing changes, he should automatically max it out this year for the first time! Yay for automatic payments!
  • Put $5500 into My Roth IRA – $0 progress so far.
  • $2500 in other investments – $0 progress so far.
  • $200,000 Investment Balance by the end of the year – Seems like it would take a market miracle to get us another $34k by the end of the year. Again, I wasn’t ever really tied to this one because it’s entirely market based.

Notable Expenses This Month: The Story Our Money Tells:

These are expenses that tell an interesting story. A peek into our lives through our pocketbook:

  • $2,479.48 – This covers all 5 of us from the UK to Anchorage via Norway and Iceland next summer.
  • $285 – Another 20 Cambodian lessons.
  • $254.40 – The eye doctor for Florin. She’s graduated from glasses and is loving her glasses-free life.
  • $451.39 – Food at DisneyLand.
  • $65.55 – Shuttle from Disney to the airport.
  • $103.86 – School supplies and clothes and shoes for the kids.
  • $85 – Lui’s preschool tuition for the ENTIRE YEAR. It was amazing we got him into this special preschool program. Our wallets thank us.

EXTRA INCOME (anything that doesn’t come from our jobs/my freelance work):

  • $1.05 – Bookscouter Affiliate Link
  • $100 – Reader sign-ups through my Personal Capital links. Thank you!
  • $39.07 – Selling shirts online. Most of this was a delayed check from Mr. T selling a shirt on Woot for a week.
  • $8.32 – Affiliate payments from myFinance (those links at the bottom of the posts).

Financial Phrases:

These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:

  • “Preschool is costing our kid $270/month?! I don’t remember agreeing to this!”
  • “She said the kayaks at her house kept multiplying. She told her husband she was okay with him buying a kayak, but then every week another one appeared.”
  • “She said: ‘Just use my guy. He only costs $50/hour.’ That’s less than I make. My time is literally worth less than that. I’m free!”
July 2017 Alaska Plan Update

July 2017 Plan Update

Another July has come and gone. Isn’t summer glorious?

We caught 21 salmon despite there being very few fish in the water and we got rained on (inside our tent!). Full dipnetting adventure story coming in the fall. (I know, you can’t wait!).

Guess where we are right now! DisneyLand! I know. Living the magic. Seriously.

Also this month, my parents received a mission call to Leeds, England. They’ll be leaving in November for a year and a half, so we’re taking the kids to Europe next summer! I can’t explain how excited about this I am. Dream come true. For reals. I’ll be talking lots about our preparations come fall/winter.

The weekly email updates keep coming all summer long, so sign up to find out all the happenings!


The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (Also feel free to read my more in-depth review of Personal Capital.)

Our mortgage is currently at $41,800. I’d love to see this below $40,000 next month. I’m more chill about the mortgage this month… the benefit of taking a step back for a bit (also the benefit of being able to go to EUROPE next year with all 5 of us… that’ll take some dough).

Investments are back on the upswing. To be clear, we just haven’t prioritized the Roth IRAs this year. I’m not making excuses. I’d rather kill the mortgage and I can’t do it all. So… that’s gone by the wayside. This is why personal finance is personal. I realize contributing would be really awesome of us. But I just don’t feel it right now. And that’s the best answer I’ve got. Despite that, our total investments sit at $163,400 right now. It feels pretty good to see these climb by default (automatic savings from Mr. T’s paycheck).

For our savings percentage, we track the percentage of our pre-tax (or gross) income and the extra payments put toward the mortgage are included in the amount saved. Savings percentage for July – 38%. For not really paying much attention to saving and buying some plane tickets, I think this is pretty decent.

2017 Financial Goal Update:

  • Earn $25,000 – ($17,902/$25,000) –  This was a pretty big month for me. I did quite a bit of freelancing and got the paycheck for my work trip in June for my regular job, so I’m looking pretty lucrative these days. 🙂
  • Mortgage Balance below $30,000 – (Currently at $41,800 – $11,800 to go!)
  • Max out Mr. T’s 401k – This is set up already and if nothing changes, he should automatically max it out this year for the first time! Yay for automatic payments!
  • Put $5500 into My Roth IRA – $0 progress so far.
  • $2500 in other investments – $0 progress so far.
  • $200,000 Investment Balance by the end of the year – This is looking possible. I’m not super committed to this goal because it’s market-based, but with these bonkers markets, maybe we’ll successfully get $37k-ish by the end of the year!

Notable Expenses This Month: The Story Our Money Tells:

These are expenses that tell an interesting story. A peek into our lives through our pocketbook:

  • $28 – Cash price for award tickets from New York to London. I’ll piece together the other legs of next year’s trip later.
  • $204.30 – Travel backpacks for the girls. They’re going to be in charge of their own stuff. It’s going to be awesome.
  • $254.12 – All dipnetting costs (again, breakdown coming in September!)
  • $11.99 – A slingshot Mr. T purchased for a slingshot paintball game with some friends but we’ve all had a great time with in our own yard!
  • $21.99 – Melatonin – We usually go through about 2 bottles a summer. With the sun up all night, the kids need a little help shutting the brains off. #AlaskaLife
  • $49.98 – We bought a Kindle and a kid proof case for Lui on Prime Day in preparation of next year’s really really long flights. The girls already have their own.
  • $149 – A new phone. Because I broke mine a few months ago. Then I shattered the screen on my mother-in-law’s old phone I was using. Mr. T put packaging tape on it so the little shards wouldn’t get in my ear when I’m talking on the phone. I can’t have nice things.
  • $778.45 – Airplane tickets for FINCON! Everyone excited?! I’m so pumped!

EXTRA INCOME (anything that doesn’t come from our jobs/my freelance work):

Financial Phrases:

These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:

  • “My brother keeps saying, ‘ just start a blog and people will click on your links and you’ll make plenty of money,’ but he is thinking like an already-wealthy doctor. We need health insurance.”
  • “The problem with entrepreneurs is they don’t share all the little steps it took to get to where they made it. Sometimes they probably don’t even know which steps those were.”
  • “They have secretary day and office manager day. But they never have computer programmer day! And we always have to chip in for those parties or birthday parties and they don’t throw a party for everyone and then it causes all sorts of drama.”
June 2017 Plan Update

June 2017 Plan Update

June was awesome and a great leap into summer. It kicked off with our first vacation. We headed to Portland for a few days and dropped the kids off with my parents while Tom and I headed to Utah for a business trip. Though we both spent most of the trip working, we were able to see some sites and enjoy ourselves. As soon as we returned, I helped run a 4-day camp-out for 16 teenage girls from church. We camped by the bay, saw whales, fished all night, hiked to old World War II sites, cooked delicious food in dutch ovens, ate a million S’mores, found some awesome shells, avoided bears, and had absolutely perfect weather. Overall successful.

The second half of the month, we just enjoyed summer. I delivered lunch to the kiddos outside nearly every day it wasn’t raining. Mr. T finished planting a few more things in the garden (zucchini and pumpkins) and started replacing the countertop and backsplash in the master bathroom. Lui is working on figuring out his new balance bike (a free hand-me-down from a friend). It’s been a tremendous month.

The blog break has been good and while I’m super excited to return twice a week, I’m forcing myself to continue the break as promised through August, but will be back full-force in September. I’m using the time to catch up on some other projects including my totally awesome survey. If you haven’t taken it yet, go do it now! We have over 600 responses now. (Also, I would LOVE to get another 500+ responses from a non-PF-geek population. If you have any great ideas on how to do that, PLEASE SHARE! – and thanks to those of you that shared it on your personal Facebook pages!).

You may miss me weekly here on the blog, but my Saturday e-mails are heating up. I still send those out weekly and LOVE to interact off-blog.



(Something is wonky here. Just click “subscribe” and fill out the info there.)

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (Also feel free to read my more in-depth review of Personal Capital.)

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May 2017 plan update

May 2017 Plan Update

Man, 2017 isn’t even half over and it’s been a crazy year. There’s been so much happening. With this in mind, I’ve decided that I will only be doing monthly plan updates on the blog until the beginning of September and then I’ll be back full force. I will, however, be sharing exclusive content in my weekly email newsletter all summer long, so sign up to find out all the happenings!



I’m also working on some stuff related to my totally awesome survey. If you haven’t taken it yet, go do it now! We have over 600 responses now. (Also, I would LOVE to get another 500+ responses from a non-PF-geek population. If you have any great ideas on how to do that, PLEASE SHARE!).

May was a great month for our family. School got out. We started our annual family bike rides (bike-to-work day and bike-to-school day are both very important holidays in our house!). Summer is glorious in Alaska and we’re definitely experiencing days where we are pretty sure we live in the greatest place in the world!

As for the numbers… it was pretty good. Not bad. See what you think:

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (Also feel free to read my more in-depth review of Personal Capital.)

Every few months, I get so frustrated with our mortgage, I just want it to DIE. I realize we’re doing really well. We have made incredible progress. Right now, it sits at $45,450. Being so close to $45,000 is amazing, but it also seems like we’re SO CLOSE! In our current plan, we pay it off at the end of 2018, so we’re on track for that… but if we could kill it sooner, I would be very happy about that!

Our investments continue in an uphill climb. I keep expecting a giant tumble (which is why I ran some calculations this month based on our current savings rates and looking at a smaller savings rate to see how market returns impact totals), but I won’t complain as things go up! We had a minor dip mid-month, but we’re ending on a high again. Our investments currently sit at $154,000 which also means we’ve surpassed $500/month in investment income assuming a 4% withdrawal.

For our savings percentage, we track the percentage of our pre-tax (or gross) income and the extra payments put toward the mortgage are included in the amount saved. Savings percentage for May – 50%. Anytime we break 50%, I’m thrilled! Yay us!

2017 Financial Goal Update:

  • Earn $25,000 – ($11,329/$25,000) – I picked up a one-time freelance research project that helped this month. I’m really enjoying the variety of work I’ve been doing this year (thanks, in part, to the pep talk I got from Revanche)!
  • Mortgage Balance below $30,000 – (Currently at $45,450! $14,450 to go! On track… and ready for this mortgage to be DEAD!)
  • Max out Mr. T’s 401k – This is set up already and if nothing changes, he should automatically max it out this year for the first time! Yay for automatic payments!
  • Put $5500 into My Roth IRA – $0 progress so far.
  • $2500 in other investments – $0 progress so far.
  • $200,000 Investment Balance by the end of the year – This is looking possible. I’m not super committed to this goal because it’s market-based, but with these bonkers markets, maybe we’ll successfully get $50k by the end of the year!

Notable Expenses This Month: The Story Our Money Tells:

These are expenses that tell an interesting story. A peek into our lives through our pocketbook:

  • FREE – Penny had two teeth extracted this month, so I took her for frosties as Wendys after the procedure. They made us wait at the counter for five minutes, so they just gave them to us for free.
  • $135.25 – The dental cost of the extractions.
  • $74 – A new bra at Nordstrom. Ladies, if you haven’t gone in to Nordstrom to be bra fitted, DO IT. I’ve never done this and I can tell you I’ve been wearing the total wrong size my entire life. $74 is a crazy expensive price for a bra, but the entire experience took TEN MINUTES. Worth it. Now I know my size and can shop much faster for other bras in the future.
  • $11.77 – Frozen Yogurt for myself and one of the teenage girls at Church that just broke up with her boyfriend.
  • $164 – CLOTHES! That’s right, after a HARROWING month of searching far and wide for some new clothes I like, I actually found some!
  • $42.21 – Edible Arrangement for Mr.T’s mom who just retired!
  • $48.99 – Date Night! We tried out Hard Rock Cafe downtown, saw a play (tickets purchased previously), and the finished splitting the Reese’s extreme blizzard at DQ (life-changing. That thing is amazing!).
  • $21.93 – Sharpies for an art project Mr. T is working on. (I can be talked into office supplies because that’s my Gazingus Pin. I love Sharpies.)

EXTRA INCOME (anything that doesn’t come from our jobs/my freelance work):

Financial Phrases:

These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:

  • “I took tomorrow off work so I could go up and start building my cabin. I rented a backhoe so I’ll be playing in the mud all weekend. The next four hours of work cannot go fast enough.”
  • From someone about to move to California: “Every time we sell something, I put the money in our Family DisneyLand tickets fund. Sold the couch. That’s one annual pass right there!”
April 2017 Plan Update

April 2017 Plan Update

It’s officially spring here in Alaska! Other than our two big snow piles on our lawn, all of the snow is gone! We’ve got seeds growing in our window (still risk of frost outside), the kids have been riding bikes outside after school every day, and they have less than a month left until summertime!

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (I assumed bloggers pushed this because of the affiliate income until I started using it myself… worth the FREE pricetag! And Seriously Amazing.)

Can I just say how much I love being a month ahead in finances? It’s only the first month, but it simplifies things so much! I know where my money is going! As for the investments, this market insanity can’t continue, can it? I mean, we’re up to $149,600. So close to $150,000! We’re starting to ramp up extra payments toward the mortgage again. This month was smaller than we hope to do the next few months, but we did manage to get it down to $48,100.

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March 2017 Plan Update

March 2017 Plan Update

March 2017 has been an awesome month! We traveled to Nebraska and Texas to see my sister and Mr. T’s brother and the kids got to play with cousins. We went to museums, parks, zoos, and just generally had a great time. A week after we got back from our trip, school was canceled here in Anchorage because we got nearly a foot of snow on top of all of the break-up ice (not even April Fooling you)!

We’re still discussing the best town to live in if you want to weigh in!

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (I assumed bloggers pushed this because of the affiliate income until I started using it myself… worth the FREE pricetag! And Seriously Amazing.)

I think we’re officially a month ahead in finances between some major hustling in March and our tax return! (but then we went on vacation and so my April paydates will be much lower, so we’ll see if we can maintain it!)

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Daily Spending and Saving in 2016

Daily Spending and Saving in 2016

Several people have suggested putting a certain amount of money in savings every single day, aim to spend less than a certain amount of money on any given day, etc. On a day to day basis, I don’t do well with that. I save in monthly spurts. But I liked the idea of tracking how much I spent and saved on a daily basis. Here are our 2016 expenses broken down into daily spending amounts in each category:

Daily Spending and Savings 2016

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February 2017 Plan Update

February 2017 Plan Update

February was a beautiful, snowy month here in Anchorage. On the home front, it was a crazy month, but good. I got some health answers and am working on finding a good management program (testing which foods impact me and which don’t).

It was also a good, but busy month at work. After quitting my job, things have improved greatly and at least I’m back to loving the work.

My totally awesome survey is up to 367 responses… not close to the 1000+ I’d like to see in order for this to turn in to an actual study… If you have any ideas on how to get more visibility/more responses, I’d love to hear them. (Non-spammy places to share it? A database of thousands of people waiting to take surveys perhaps?) Help a sister out!

We also had the awesome privilege of getting one of this month’s Rockstar Finance Giving Cards. Full story coming Monday!

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (I assumed bloggers pushed this because of the affiliate income until I started using it myself… worth the FREE pricetag! And Seriously Amazing.)

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How to Quit Your Job (to Make it Better!)

How to Quit Your Job (to Make it Better!)

Is your job terrible? Do you feel undervalued or stressed out or overworked? How much do you depend on that income? How badly do you want out? Here’s how to quit your job (and how that might actually make your job better).

Want to Quit Your Job?

BACKGROUND: I was hired nearly seven years ago by a behavioral economics company to be a contractor. I was hired to do research for the company and help write white papers when needed. Back in those days, the company had less than 30 employees. Today, the company is much larger. It has 3 offices and over 200 employees. My boss is awesome and has always been an advocate for my work and my flexibility (and gave me a 33% raise just over a year ago). The company, however, has had some growing pains. For the past 6 months, they’ve been adding hierarchy where there hasn’t been any.

Over the past six months, with the restructuring, several things have happened. Several people around the office have decided I’m under them in the hierarchy and have either decided to ignore my work or not consult with me in the first place. With changes in H.R., my paycheck was forgotten for three pay periods in a row! Then, in December, someone in the office accused me of dishonest business practices via email (and then failed to apologize or even respond when I responded with proof against the accusations). Needless to say, the past six months haven’t been great for work.

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January 2017 Plan Update

January 2017 Plan Update

I started January all ready to kick this year out of the park! One month in and I’m waning. January was a weird month and I can’t say February is shaping up to be any less weird. We’re watching the daily policy deluge coming out of Washington and bracing for Mr. T’s job to be impacted. Since I’m in research, it’s hard not feeling completely worthless in a climate that ignores research. Neil deGrasse Tyson said it best:

Despite the weirdness, we’ll try to pick ourselves up a bit in February and see how much we can accomplish. I made very little progress on any of my non-financial goals this month. Let’s see how I did on the financial ones…

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (I assumed bloggers pushed this because of the affiliate income until I started using it myself… worth the FREE pricetag! And Seriously Amazing.)

Read More

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