Liebster Award

The Liebster Award is a small blogger award that gets passed around to recognize smallish or newish blogs that deserve to be recognized. We are honored to have been nominated for the award by Try A Simple Life. I’ve read around and the rules are different with all nominations, it seems. (Is it like a big blogging game of “Telephone?”) Here are the rules as given to me:

1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
2. Answer the questions given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate up to 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4. Create 11 questions for the nominees.
5. Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.

Here are my responses to the 11 questions I was given:

1. Why did you start blogging? I started this here blog because I wanted to see real change in my life. I had spent years reading personal finance blogs and seeing how the PF blogger community as well as the accountability of having a blog really helped some people get where they wanted to be. If I wanted early retirement to be a possibility, I wanted to use the blog as a tool toward that goal as others have done and are doing now. I also wanted to add my voice as someone living in Alaska as a stay-at-home mom working toward these goals.
2. List one blog that inspires you. When I first decided to jump in to the personal finance blogging world, I was addicted to reading stories about jumping out of debt. Mr. T and I haven’t had any debt other than our current mortgage, but I wanted to learn what tactics these people used to do it. I closely followed Anna Newell Jones’ story at And Then We Saved and Cait Flanders at Blonde on a Budget. I then expanded to other blogs like J. Money’s Budgets are Sexy and then moved to early retirement with Mr. Money Mustache. The number of blogs I have been reading in the past year has expanded greatly. Other than the blogs I’ll be nominating below, some of my other favorites include: Even Steven MoneyFrugaling, Frugalwoods, and Our Next Life.
3. How has blogging influenced your life recently? Starting this blog has sort of been like trying a new table in the middle school cafeteria. I still feel all nervous I don’t fit in around here, but everyone has been so nice and welcoming. It’s interesting to interact online with bloggers I’ve been following for a long time. Having the blog has made me actually comment the things I’m thinking on other blogs, which I never did before. It’s fun connecting with the real people behind the blogs and I hope to build friendships in doing so because the people out there blogging are awesome.
4. What hobbies do you enjoy doing? I have expressed my love for dipnetting, but that only happens once a year. We love going on bike rides as a family. Every summer we put up a chart of how many miles we want to bike that summer and the kids mark off each mile as we go. I also enjoy hanging with Mr. T. Since he’s a project guy, that often means grabbing a paintbrush or a hammer and joining him in the garage.
5. Do you enjoy traveling or nesting? Since this question came next, I didn’t mention traveling in my hobbies, but traveling is absolutely where my mind is all the time. If I’m wasting time, it’s usually trying to find plane tickets, houses, or jobs in another country.
6. Describe your favorite place to be. Vacation with my family is my very favorite. When I can pack up Mr. T and I and the three kiddos and leave our daily grind behind, we have a great time being together as a family. We explore. We laugh. And we connect in ways we don’t in our day-to-day at home. I simply love it.
7. Tell us one goal you have. My ultimate goal is to have more of these experiences with my family. I am trying to align our finances for the primary purpose of getting to spend the most time together as a family as possible. Right now, Mr. T’s work schedule and the kids’ school schedules get in the way. If we could eliminate one of those, we would be much more flexible.
8. Would you rather read a book or watch a movie? This is a tough one. I would probably rather read a book, but with three kids, that has become increasingly difficult, so I would lean toward watching a movie because Mr. T and I can do that together and finish it in an evening after the kids go to bed.
9. Would you rather vacation at the beach or in the mountains? The beach. I do love renting cabins in the mountains, but the beach brings out the crazy and the calm in everyone. The wide open space begs you to run and scream and dig and play. But the calming sound of the waves crashing against the shore ask you to reflect and spend some time on some introspection. I also grew up going to the beach every summer, and during the Great Recession, Mr. T and I lived at the beach, so I might be biased.
10. What is one frustration you are trying to solve? I’m not as healthy as I would like to be and it’s my fault. I’m working on building a better routine for myself and my family so that I get the things done that I need to, take care of myself, and still put my children first.
11. What is one activity you like to do with your family/friends?  Dipnetting and travel are my obvious answers to this question, but I also really like to eat. Food is delicious and it brings people together.

So there you have my answers. For the #3 requirement, I ignored readership requirements (because I’m going to hope that all these awesome blogs have more than 200 followers) and just went with recent blogs that I enjoy. So, drumroll please…. I nominate, in no particular order: – This blog is written by a midwestern guy in his mid-40s working toward retirement before 50. And guess what? He’s close! He has less than a year left, so we could all learn from his wisdom.

Two Cup House – This is a great blog written by a couple of 30-somethings looking for financial independence. Part of that journey involves a tiny house! (And I’m a huge geek-fan of the tiny houses!) They have some great insights and are also fabulous at spreading the blog love by sharing other posts that have inspired them. (They were also nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award last week, so this is a big couple of weeks for them! Congrats guys!)

Hey, It’s Just Money – J is new on the scene, but I’ve enjoyed what she’s had to say so far. She lives in Australia and is documenting her savings journey from there.

Ditching the Daily Grind – This blog is the journey of a family with three kids seeking early retirement. Sound familiar? I love finding people on similar journeys! They live in Texas and both have military backgrounds/current jobs.

Little Hands Can – This is not a personal finance blog, but if you have kids, you should definitely check it out. It’s a brand new blog that is all about helping kids serve others. I love getting new ideas on how to help my children help others. I am a firm believer that kids that learn to think about others will be set. That’s my biggest teaching priority as a parent.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to answer these questions on your own blog and nominate a few other smallish or newish blogs with new questions for them. Since some of the blogs I nominated are run by more than one person, it is up to you to decide whether to pick a representative to respond, respond collectively, or each respond individually:

  1. Describe your “I must start a blog!” moment. (Not a question. I’m breaking the rules on the very first one!)
  2. What do you think is the best use of your money?
  3. What would a perfect day look like for you?
  4. If you could travel anywhere in the world (costs aside), where would it be and why?
  5. What is an experience that changed your life for the better?
  6. If you were going to die after dinner, what would your last meal be?
  7. What is your favorite thing about the area in which you live?
  8. What would early retirement look like for you?
  9. If you could fix one world problem, which one would you choose?
  10. If you’ve been to Alaska, what do you love about it? If you haven’t, what do you think Alaska is like?
  11. What one piece of advice would you like to give the world? (Obviously, we’re assuming they’re going to listen to you. The whole entire world. Go.)

I can’t wait to read your answers!

Disclaimer: I totally stole all the Liebster Award badges from all over the internet. I don’t really know the protocol on that. Since it was hard to tell who created the original ones, consider this your credit unless you speak up. Nice work on the badge creation. Thanks for letting me use them. 🙂



July 2015 Plan Update


Research Highlight: How to Start a New Habit


  1. Love learning more about you through your answers! We’re honored to be mentioned among the good company of Frugalwoods, Frugaling and Even Steven. 🙂 Glad you’re sharing your PF journey with all of us through your great blog — keep it up!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks for the encouragement. Your support has been very helpful and meaningful. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for your comments on our little project–we really appreciate it! And I’m split on mountains v. beach, too. There is something so peaceful about being in the woods, wandering aimlessly. But I love to swim and when sand ends up in my hair. These aren’t always experiences I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy, so I relish those moments. Now, it’s time for me to write!

    • MaggieBanks

      I agree with the mountains thing as well. It’s always lovely to go exploring in the woods. And maybe part of my answer was influenced by the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of research about ticks for work this week. And, ew. 🙂

  3. Thanks for responding to the award nomination and I really enjoyed reading your answers! As you may have read in mine, I love biking as well, and while I didn’t have the chance to answer it, our family is definitely a beach family. All of our vacations except one have been to the beach. Thanks again and I look forward to continuing to read your blog 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks for the nomination! It was fun responding! I did note the biking love. Always great to meet a fellow bike enthusiast! Thanks again

  4. J

    Thanks Maggie for including me in your list. 🙂 Being new, I share your sentiment of blogging being like the new kid during lunch time…I still feel awkward, shy, and insecure most of the time (despite being anonymous) but other bloggers like you help me settle in. And, man, beach vs mountains?! I don’t think I can make a choice, I love them equally.

    • MaggieBanks

      That one is a tough choice! Thanks again for participating. I loved reading your answers!

  5. Thanks SO much for the cool call-out! This is my first year at blogging and my last year at work, so it’s been a fun project. I’ll start working on these questions this weekend and post as soon as I can. THANKS!

  6. I love your blog and I feel so honored to receive this award! Thank you so much!

    Can’t wait to see where you continue to go with this blog. You’re a great writer!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks Miriam! I love what you guys are doing over at Little Hands Can as well!

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