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!)

The big news this month is that we got our mortgage under $50,000! The mortgage balance currently sits at $49,730. Our investments, despite any extra added (other than the automatic max contributions to Mr. T’s 401k), continue to climb and today sit at $145,600.

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 March – 35%. I’m still hoping this percentage gets a bit higher again in the next couple of months, but it’s also not a metric I love, so I’m not too worried about it.

2017 Financial Goal Update:

  • Earn $25,000 – ($6,446/$25,000) – Back on track. Again, thanks to travel this month, it will probably be lower next month, but I’m feeling pretty good about it.
  • Mortgage Balance below $30,000 – (Currently at $49,730! $19,730 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 – Do you think $55k by the end of the year is a possibility? This one is market-based, but we hit our crazy market-based goal last year… who’s to say we can’t this year as well!

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:

  • $36 – Yay! Our “experiences” budget was higher this month! This was the price for all of us to get into the Durham museum in Omaha. It was great! We also went to the Omaha Children’s museum and the Perot Museum in Dallas, but we got in free thanks to the reciprocity of our Anchorage Museum Membership! And the Omaha zoo was free because my sister-in-law and her friend got us in on their guest passes.
  • $128.47 – We ate out at Raising Cane’s, Chik-fil-a, and Pepperjax while on the trip. This also includes Ivar’s at the Seattle airport and meals on the flight home. We ate out a few times in Texas as well, but my darling sister covered the bill.
  • $62.78 – Overnight parking for two cars in San Antonio. The hotel was paid for with points.
  • $475 – The first orthodontist bill for Penny (with a 5% discount for paying up front). They gave me an estimate of $8,000 for braces in a few years. And the other two kids will be following close behind. There goes our retirement plans!
  • $221.50 – Rental car for a week in Texas. We bummed a car off Mr. T’s brother whilst in Nebraska.
  • $75.99 – We got Penny a 20″ bike for her 9th birthday. Last summer she was still riding a 12″ and it was really small!

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

$0.60 from my Bookscouter Affiliate Link – A real big blog income month! 🙂

Financial Phrases:

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

  • “As soon as my husband finishes dental school and gets a job, we’ll be paying off my credit card debt. Not very exciting putting your first real paychecks toward your wife’s $20,000 of credit card debt.”
  • “You’ve closed on a house and you haven’t graduated or found a job yet?”
  • “We’ve got to start with high automatic savings taken out of the paycheck and then claw it back if it isn’t working. It’s much harder to build up.”
  • “You know, I’d really like to be able to find an incinerator that will work for reindeer carcasses.”


Northern Expression: Most people leave no traces.


How “Make More Money” is Like a Video Game


  1. You did well on your expense given the traveling you did. It’s great to be able to utilize resources from family and friends to help keep travel expenses down. I love these updates, keep them coming!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks! Visiting family is always a helpful way to do inexpensive travel!

  2. Matt @ Optimize Your Life

    “You know, I’d really like to be able to find an incinerator that will work for reindeer carcasses.”


  3. Woohoo! Congrats on the mortgage. That’s the dream right there. I can’t even imagine five digits at this point!

    • MaggieBanks

      Yeah, I pretty much don’t care about any other number right now since anything savings-wise seems so out of reach. I can’t wait to just GET RID of the mortgage. Then I can focus on the other stuff. 🙂

  4. Congratulations on the sub $50k mortgage. Ouch about the braces though. I was horribly snaggle toothed as a kid so I’m hoping against hope that Toddler BITA has had the good sense to inherit her father’s teeth. Otherwise she might have to choose between a pretty smile or a college education : /

    By the time braces come due though we should be FIREed, so hopefully we can use geographical arbitrage to our advantage if the wrong set of genes wins out.

    • MaggieBanks

      I’ve def thought about moving to Thailand! But alas, we’re not ready to do that yet. Dang braces!

  5. ChooseBetterLife

    Congrats on your mortgage milestone! That’s huge!
    It also makes me so happy to hear about your travels. Kids playing with cousins will form lifelong bonds and memories that are so very important. Kudos to you for making this a priority.

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks! If we can’t live near cousins, we need to make sure we see them!

  6. I feel like once a mortgage got that small I would want it gone even faster. Like when there is only a few bites of cake left but I’m already full and I just push it in my mouth anyways. =) A big mortgage is like, “Ah, whatever, this will take forever!” But a tiny one….I start rubbing my greedy little hands together like a hamster. =)

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh yes definitely. I am planning to just start throwing money at it and want it GONE by the end of 2018 at the latest!

  7. Great news Maggie! I love how you guys are making such big progress on your goals, while living a seemingly well-balance life with lots of travel and family fun. Keep up the good work 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks, friend. We are doing pretty well, though we’re facing the inevitability that we won’t be in this house forever and that’s uprooting all of my long term plans! 🙂

  8. Chris @ Keep Thrifty

    Awesome progress!

    That comment on closing on a house prior to graduation and getting a job – that can’t be real, right? How does one get approved for a mortgage with no income?

    This world is crazy!

    • MaggieBanks

      I nearly died. She was cutting my hair at the time and I honestly asked: “You don’t have a job lined up, but you have a house?” She told me all about how they closed almost a month ago and the constantly order stuff online and her parents pick it up and deliver it to the new house. They’ll head there in a couple of months and then start paying off credit card debt and student loans when her husband gets a job. Oh dear.

  9. Congrats on getting the mortgage low! And about the house and ordering stuff with no jobs… I’m with Chris, wtf?! Actually going thru the approval process for us, with enough investments to pay it off outright, and 2, 6 figure salaries and no debt but a small car loan, it was still like pulling teeth to get it done. And this was for a loan that was only half of the amount they approved us for…

    Mind boggling they could get a mortgage with no income. But of course they need to fill the house with stuff, I mean, you can’t put your old college stuff in a new house, right? lol

    • MaggieBanks

      For being complete strangers, I was VERY worried about their financial futures!

  10. Oooooh, I can’t wait for our mortgage to hit the 5 digits period. That $50K is awesome!

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes… I am getting close to declaring war on the whole thing and taking it down altogether! I just have to make sure all my other financial ducks are in a row, first. 🙂

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