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Northern Expressions

Northern Expressions: Good Wishes Are Not Sufficient

Every individual has a responsibility to guide our global family in the right direction

Good Wishes are Not Sufficient

Happy Friday, friends! Mr. T came across this quote by the Dalai Lama this week and we both thought it worth sharing:

In the present circumstances, no one can afford to assume that someone else will solve their problems. Every individual has a responsibility to help guide our global family in the right direction. Good wishes are not sufficient; we must become actively engaged. – The Dalai Lama

We can no longer let the world move forward without our voices. It’s time to make sure your elected leaders know what you are passionate about. You cannot complain about the situation if you haven’t personally done something to try to fix it.

Start at home. Start with your family. Start with your neighborhood. Start with your city. If we can spread kindness and goodness from the bottom up, the impact will eventually spread. No one can change the world for us. It’s time to become actively engaged.

Love, Maggie

Tracking Your Finances Won't Make You Rich

Tracking Your Finances Won’t Make You Rich

Tracking is the First Step

If you don’t know where your money is going, you don’t know how to make it go where you want. Simply having a budget or tracking your finances the right way isn’t going to change your behavior.

In Fall 2016, a study was published about activity trackers (ie: FitBits) and weight loss. It was a randomized controlled trial (the best kind of study there is!). 471 participants spent 6 months on a low calorie diet, group counseling, and physical fitness prescriptions. After 6 months, the group was randomized into 2 groups: “Self-monitoring” (ie: “you’re on your own, but here’s a website where you can enter your data”) or “Activity Tracker” (ie: “here’s a FitBit. It will capture your data.”) After 2 years (!), they all weighed in. Both groups had better levels of fitness, but the group without the FitBit lost significantly more weight!

You read that right… the ones that had the fancy trackers lost LESS weight than those that didn’t have them!

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Tracking Your Finances and Celebrating Wins!

Tracking Your Finances and Celebrating Wins!

If you’ve been around Northern Expenditure awhile, you’re probably aware that I like to celebrate. (If you follow me on Twitter, you’re aware I celebrate with dancing gifs!) If you don’t track, you can’t celebrate!

Tracking Your Finances:

It’s a new year (yay for new!) and it’s time to start tracking your finances FOR REAL this year. Here’s what you need:

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Mostly Mindful

Roth IRA Challenge: Mostly Mindful

Today’s Roth IRA Challenge comes all the way from South Africa! Ang and Sporty live in Cape Town with their stuffed tortoise, Terence, and not much else. They spend their days drinking coffee, eating Thai food and blogging about their urban hippie adventures and everyday, not-so-hardcore minimalism on a blog they call Mostly Mindful.

In July 2008, when Sporty and I set out on this minimalist journey, our finances were in horrible shape. We were in debt to the tune of $95 000, we had no investments, no rainy day savings account and no plan to dig ourselves out of the deep, dark hole we were in.

Fast forward eight and a half years and things are looking pretty sweet.

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how much we spend

How Much We Spent and Saved in 2016

The numbers are in!

Let’s start with how much we spent:

First off, if you want detailed breakdowns of previous years, check out our first “How Much We Spend” post. To summarize:

  • In 2013, we spent $53,218
  • In 2014, we spent $53,344
  • In 2015, we spent $55,810 ($63,581 before subtracting the Alaska State Energy Rebate)

In 2016 we spent…. drum roll please…. $59,392! 

Yes… more than last year, but still under $60k. So, how did this year break down? Here’s a lovely graph:

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2017 Non-Financial Life Goals

2017 Non-Financial Life Goals

Life isn’t all about money, and we have to make sure we’re moving forward in all aspects of our lives. (Have I mentioned I love a New Year, a fresh start, and making new goals?)

First a recap of 2016:

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2017 Financial Goals

2017 Financial Goals

As I’ve thought about how to direct our money in 2017, I’ve gotten so overwhelmed. I’m really horrible at multitasking when it comes to goals. I want to just get rid of my mortgage so that I can direct all money toward investments. But I also know if I just throw all money toward the mortgage, I’ll regret not adding more to investments along the way. The stock market seems really inflated to me right now, so I will continue to throw money at my mortgage for now, but if the market tanks later in the year, I will redirect more towards “on sale” investments.

I’m also terrible at hiding my own money before I see it. It was easy to up Mr. T’s 401k contributions, because they take that money out automatically. My paycheck is a physical check I get in the mail and it varies greatly. Last year, I ranged from $0 (vacation pay periods, I make no money… the plight of an hourly employee) to $1608 (if there is more work to do, I get more money… the awesomeness of being an hourly employee). So, it’s hard to plan monthly savings goals around my income. I haven’t figured out the best way to handle this yet. (Thoughts?)

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January 2017 Plan Update

December 2016 Plan Update

Welcome back, friends!

PLEASE – If you haven’t taken my SUPER IMPORTANT AND AWESOME SURVEY, please do it now. Share it with your family. Make your friends take it at your house. Post it on social media. Okay… you get it. Thanks. Seriously and honestly: Thank you.

Welcome to 2017 – the year where people stop dying and the world becomes a wonderful, hopeful, kind place. Too much hope? I love a new year. A clean slate. And while I can’t entirely control the world, I can move myself forward. So, the next few posts will be introducing the 2017 Stock household goals (yay goals!).

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The Money Moose Survey

The Money Moose Survey!

Alright, friends! The time has come! Drumroll, please….

Introducing, the Money Moose Survey!

How You Can Help Me:

  1. Go and Take the Survey. It will take 5-10 minutes. Be honest in your responses.
  2. Make all spouse/significant others/random dinner guests take the survey. Don’t discuss its contents, just set it in front of them and say: “While I whip up dessert, I have an important study I would like you to participate in.”
  3. Share with your blogger and personal audiences. If you are a blogger, share the link and say something like: “A large-scale study about money! Help a sister out!” When you post it on your personal Facebook/Twitter feed say: “My good friend Maggie [because I consider you a friend if you are here reading this blog… I mean, you know more about me than most of my Facebook friends!] is doing a large-scale research project. Please take 5-10 minutes of your time to participate.”
  4. Post the link in public bathrooms. Bribe people. Withhold Christmas cookies until they take the survey. *Ahem* I’m sorry. I got a bit carried away there… I don’t want anyone to be forced… (am I coming off as desperate?)

The link to share is:

http://www.moneymoose.space

(please note it is .space, not .com … who wouldn’t want to click on that?!) Again, please don’t discuss the survey contents. You can say it’s about money (I put it right in the title!) but please leave the rest hidden. I don’t want to skew results by having people think about the answers before they take the survey.

Challenge: Share it far. Share it wide. Can we get 500 responses before I return on January 9? I’ll let you know how many we have when I return.

HAPPY HAPPY HOLIDAYS FRIENDS! You are all the greatest. Seriously. I’m thankful for you! And I’ll see you Next Year!

What does your remarkable life look like?

What Does Your Remarkable Life Look Like?

Several years ago, I caught a glimpse at my doctor’s notes in my chart. Mine didn’t say “difficult patient” like Elaine in that one Seinfeld Episode, but I was equally confused and offended by a statement in mine:

Bones and joints unremarkable.

Um, excuse me?! I think my bones and joints are VERY remarkable! I jest about my offense, of course. As Mr. T pointed out, in the medical world, that is probably a compliment (and since Lui’s birth, my joints are probably now medically remarkable). But “unremarkable” feels offensive.

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