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.)

Our mortgage currently sits at $43,640 but I calculated that basically all we need to pay it off by the end of the year is an extra $35,500 on top of our regular payments. So, now I’m on a mission to get to that as quickly as possible. I sometimes tweet about SQUIRREL moments (last-minute cruises, etc.), but have managed to stay the course so far. Unless we come up with an extra $35,500, we’re still on track to pay it off by the end of 2018. This month does mark officially paying off HALF of what we started with when we started this blog 2 years ago!

Markets have flat-lined this month (well, they went up and then back down and ended up slightly down), so with our regular contributions to our investments, we sit at a total of $157,230. It does make me feel good that our investments are now more than triple our mortgage balance!

2017 Financial Goal Update:

  • Earn $25,000 (me specifically, on top of Mr. T’s regular income)– ($13,700/$25,000) – On target! I’ve been really diversifying and experimenting. The majority of this is still from my regular behavioral economics research, but I’ve done several freelance projects as well.
  • Mortgage Balance below $30,000 – (Currently at $43,640! $13,640 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. I’m currently focusing on killing the mortgage because I really hate it and I also think markets may be on their way down soon.
  • $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 he market is unpredictable. Maybe we’ll get an extra $43k 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:

  • $19.50 – Mr. T and I seeing Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at the movie theater in the parking lot of our Utah hotel.
  • $20.30 – Mr. T and I seeing Wonder Woman at a different movie theater in Utah (no kids=the ability to just go to the movies on a whim).
  • $59.99 – Mr. T got himself a 12″ Dutch Oven so we can cook a meal and then a dessert in our 10″. He then made the best pork in it I have ever tasted (and some great pecan rolls in the smaller one).
  • $29 – My annual fishing license so I could go fishing on the camping trip (Mr. T will get his next month when we go dipnetting). I caught the biggest halibut I’ve ever caught! (It was 2.5 lbs… that’s right… I’ve never actually caught a halibut before and this one was tiny!)
  • $18 – New sandals for Lui and Florin for summertime. Penny had some I got on clearance last fall.
  • $71 – A guy I work with created this insane game called the Turing Tumble and kickstarted it this month. We supported him and bought one for the kids

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 think my family thinks we’re doing a lot better financially than we are. They’re always hinting that we should be able to pay for things now that my husband makes good money. I think they forget we also have a car payment, a mortgage, health bills, and 2 kids.”
  • “Our dream is to travel the world and homeschool the kids. That’s the dream.”


May 2017 Plan Update


July 2017 Plan Update


  1. Don’t blame the markets for not contributing to your Roth IRA. You can always put the money in a money market fund instead of investing it in stocks. Using the contribution room and investing it are not the same thing. You don’t have to do both at the same time.

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh I’m not blaming the markets. I’m “blaming” my mortgage because I hate it and want it gone. I know it’s not the most logical financial choice, but we admit many decisions are emotional and this is one of those.

      • Chris @ Keep Thrifty

        As someone who recently freed himself from having a mortgage through radical means (selling our house and moving into an apartment), I can wholeheartedly support that hating your mortgage is ok.

        Once that’s out of the way, you’ll feel a huge burden off your shoulders!

  2. Hey, Maggie. What did you think of Guardians of the Galaxy 2? I thought it was better than 1, but the soundtrack wasn’t nearly as good as 1. Also, Mrs. Groovy and I saw Wonder Woman this past weekend and we both liked it. It was the typical over-the-top Hollywood ending, but it was entertaining nonetheless. We spent $26.50. Two $8 tickets, a fun pack (drink, candy, and popcorn) for $6.50, and a pretzel for $4 that took so long to prepare we missed half of the coming attractions.

  3. Well if that isn’t the most perfect month recap, I don’t know what is. I’ve never been camping and you made it sound completely compelling. Especially the no bears part. Younger me would have wanted to see one but I don’t want to actually tangle with one.

    I’m quietly cheering every time I see your mortgage get closer to the finish. You are SO CLOSE.

    I feel like our year has been financially stagnant or even backwards so I love being able to share some of the excitement of your progress.

  4. oldsteronfire

    I do enjoy your posts. As a former Alaskan (Fairbanks area) they resonate with me on more than just the FIRE level. I remember the first time I went dip netting (Copper River). What an experience! I appreciate the level of honesty and accountability in your posts. Keep ’em coming!

    • MaggieBanks

      Welcome to the FIRE party (we’re more Alaskan and less FIRE than a lot of blogs since we’re still pretty early on in our journey). Dipnetting is my absolute favorite ever, but we only do the Kenai because it’s more family-friendly (and we value our lives!) 🙂

  5. Owen @ PlanEasy

    Those financial phrases are interesting, the first one especially, I don’t think I’ve ever received a comment from my family about my spending. Does that happen? Do families regularly criticize each others spending?

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