It’s feast or famine here at the ole’ Northern Expenditure blog (okay, mostly famine these days, but I’m going to post a NZ/Australia cost breakdown this week as well, so a bit of a feast even though I’ve been silent for six months).

If you’ll recall from the last time I posted, we have two goals this year:

  • Finish a draft of my novel
  • Finish the home addition

Good news! The first one is DONE. I managed to finish a draft of my novel before the summer craziness set in. It has been sent to two rounds of beta readers who have returned very helpful feedback, which I will incorporate when the kids are back in school. I also plan to start pitching to agents at that point. I have also started a second novel that follows the first, so that’s the fun update there. It was a slog for awhile, but once I hit my groove, it was actually really fun. And I think now that I’ve written one novel-length story, it will be easier to fit a story into that size again.

Addition Update:

I know it’s July 14, so technically not still Q2, but we finished tiling the bathroom shower last night, which is the last BIG project left. We will grout it tomorrow. And I’ll call around to get shower glass ordered.

Things left to do before the addition is done:

  • Grout the shower tile
  • Add our accent line of river rock (which we’ve been collecting and tumbling from all of our travels around Alaska and elsewhere)
  • Seal the shower tile
  • Order shower glass to be installed
  • Make a countertop for the bathroom vanity
  • Install vanity and sinks
  • Install the toilet
  • Install the bathroom mirror
  • Install sliding door over walk-in closet
  • Install bathroom door
  • Finish trimwork
  • Extend deck
  • Get a new as-built survey completed
  • Get final inspection
  • MOVE IN!

It’s actually starting to feel doable and close to being done, which is VERY exciting. And I’m very over pouring money into it. Once it’s all buttoned up, our final big celebratory purchase will be a hot tub off the deck so we can watch the northern lights in comfort!

Work Update:

The new team is working out just fine, for now. It does involve a lot of last minute scrambling projects, which aren’t my favorite, but it’s still way better than it was at the end of last year and the big news is…

With this big promotion, I crossed the $100k earning threshold, which was a giant goal of mine for purely mental reasons. I somehow wanted to prove to myself that I could do that even after being a stay-at-home parent for a decade. I even crossed Mr. T’s earnings again! Our money is pooled, so it doesn’t matter, but it feels like an accomplishment!

Important note: I recommend everyone have an account in just their name, just in case. Mr. T and I each have a little stash of our own money. Mr. T is not offended that I think this way because he’s not a jerk and he knows the statistics on women, financial abuse, and divorce. Have your own money!

This also means we now collectively make over $200k, which I’m told is past the threshold of relatability. And let me tell you, I GET IT. When I started this blog and read so many blogs of dual-income families that were making MORE THAN DOUBLE what we were, it was completely unrelatable. But I want to remind you that early on, the numbers don’t matter and please do not discount the reality of the 4-year potential! I mean, four years ago, I was still a stay-at-home parent and we were still making less than $100k, combined!

Life Update:

We stayed in an AMAZING AirBNB in March in Mexico for Spring Break with our friends.

Mexico AirBNB

This was the last of my revenge travel trips I booked during the pandemic, and it was perfect. We played on the beach and went swimming in a million cenotes (natural sinkhole pools) that were incredible.

Swimming in a Cenote

The thing I loved the most was just being able to buy amazing, healthy pre-cooked food for my entire family for cheap. I’m so burned out of making food from the pandemic, I literally don’t do it anymore. Mr. T has taken that over entirely. If we had something like that here, I would be totally tempted to get it every day (even so, we’ve been going out to eat WAY more than we used to and I have no regrets).

Then, in May, we took my parents on a trip to Southeast Alaska, exploring islands via the ferry and making stops in Skagway and Juneau. We saw a ton of whales and had an amazing time.

In other news, I have a new Lego obsession. Okay, I’ve always loved Legos, but I managed to score two GIANT bags of Legos at Goodwill in May for $125 each. I’ve spent a lot of my free time sorting them into over $1200 worth of sets and planning a whole Lego corner for the basement once we move into the addition. I also want big, expensive Lego sets now, so the whole thing probably backfired, but I am HAVING SO MUCH FUN. And just LOOK at this amazing minifigure collection from just the first bag! The second bag doubled this number.

Lego Minifigures Collection

The Numbers:

I know, this is what you’re really here for and you had to put up with me talking about work, travel, and Legos for SO LONG (who are we kidding, you scrolled right on down to this, didn’t you?).

Well, since I skipped blogging for Q1, I’ll start there and say that at that point, our mortgage was at $268,000 (a reminder that this is a 15-year mortgage at 2.125%, which we don’t plan to pay off early and which I will brag about until the day I die). Our investments at the end of Q1 were at $746,600, which is just past the previous high of $744,000 we saw at the end of 2021.

Well, the market has continued to rip and we’re seeing a new number at the front now! Investments are up to $818,500 and my personal 401k crossed $100k, which is VERY exciting for me since I just started it at the end of 2019 when I went full-time at work. I can’t believe the progress I’ve made financially in less than four years! The mortgage is now at $260,000 and will be totally gone in 12.5 years if we pay nothing extra.

So far, we’re still on track to max out both of our 401ks and my Roth IRA is already funded for the year. TBD on Mr. T’s. We’ve been very spendy-pants the past couple of years, so after the year of yes last year, I’m hoping for balance. I think 2023 will still have elevated spending (braces for the oldest and finishing up the addition), but it’s nice to have the majority of the addition expenses finished. We also look forward to having more TIME after the addition is done. We’re building this life we want, but we don’t have time to live it between jobs and the addition (and travel, which is definitely part of that life). So, we look forward to being able to enjoy relaxing days filled with Legos, archery in the back yard, and evening dips in the hot tub (fingers crossed we get that before winter!).

I hope you are all doing well. Remember to be kind to one another. Also remember that money is just a tool. Use it to take care of yourself and your family.