September 2017 Plan Update

September 2017 Plan Update

Ahhh fall. Crisp air. Fall leaves everywhere. Colds from school. The whole gambit. We’re living all of it here in September.

Along with fall came an onslaught of money spending! We continued booking next year’s big Europe trip. We also spent the beginning-of-the-year fees for lessons/classes for the kiddos. Details in our spending section.

Also, Mr. T and I just got approved for Global Entry. So we’re ballers now. At least when traveling. And I started a weight training class at the University (paid for by my company so I can maintain access to the University library for my research work). I’m the oldest, weakest among those college younguns, but I’m having a great time!

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 is now at $38,920. With trip expenses happening, I’m not entirely sure we’ll get this below $30,000 before the end of the year as hoped. No excuses. We just found something we got more excited about it right now (travel!). We know entirely that we may be thwarting our financial goals this year. I don’t, however, have much fear that we won’t be able to pay it off by the end of 2018 as hoped.

Investments are now at $171,076.

Can we just celebrate that we’ve increased our net worth by over $150,000 since starting this blog in June 2015?! We’ve increased our investments by over $110,000 and dropped our mortgage over $50,000! Yes, markets have certainly helped us out, but look at how far we’ve come! And though we may be looking like financial failures throwing money at so many things this month, our finances actually align very nicely with our priorities and I’m very happy with where we’re at.

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 August – 42%. This is why I don’t think this is a great metric. We didn’t actually save any more… but we earned less, so our percentage looks good. We spent TONS. Doesn’t matter. Weird metric.

2017 Financial Goal Update:

  • Earn $25,000 – ($20,439/$25,000) –  Slow month. Less than $1000. Oh well. Still on track.
  • Mortgage Balance below $30,000 – (Currently at $38,920 – less than $9k to go! WOO HOO!)
  • 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 – Seems like it would take a market miracle to get us another $29k by the end of the year but it’s certainly possible!

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:

  • $160 – The girls started piano lessons! This is just for September for both girls. But again, a skill we think is worth it (and why we bought a piano for Christmas last year).
  • $70 – Lui started swimming lessons. His teacher is AMAZING and if he can get to “don’t drown” stage by next summer, it will all be worth it. Right now he just runs and jumps into the pool and can’t swim at all so you need to make sure you are right there. It’s exhausting!
  • $70 – DonorsChoose donations – my family is full of teachers and I feel like teachers need support from those they love (and everyone!). I donated to two 2 projects of relatives and 1 for Penny’s class.
  • $61 – School pictures for all 3 kids. We always get the smallest package available, but feel that school pictures are an important element of life (and potential future blackmail opportunities).
  • $881 – Car insurance for our 2 cars.
  • $7.99 – While Lui was at preschool, I went Costco shopping ALONE and bought myself a Churro and some Rice Krispie Treats Cereal and no one knew! It was pretty great.
  • $293.93 – The rest of that Costco trip – all the boring stuff like food and toilet paper.
  • $9.75 – Lunch out with friends.
  • $1,608.53 – Some of our AirBNBs for next year’s 27-day trip! This covers at least London and Iceland. There are still several days left to book.

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:

  • In my weight lifting class discussing how a 100lb barbell costs about $100, one guy offered: “Hop on my shoulders, dude. I’m cheap.” Guess that’s one way to work out for cheap. 🙂
  • “I chose my specialty because the doctor I met with was so kind. The other docs didn’t give me the time of day.”
  • Penny: “Can you just write a check anytime you want to?” – We had a good discussion about how banks work (she rarely sees me write checks).
  • From a flight attendant: “I told my husband he should come with me to Sitka today, but we ultimately decided against it. We need to remember we have a senior in high school and though she is pretty independent, we need to be there for her. I’m worried once my husband starts traveling with me, those flood gates will open and it will be hard to go back.”


How Money is Like Toilet Paper


The Our Next Life Challenge: Take 2


  1. Chris @ Keep Thrifty

    “Can we just celebrate that we’ve increased our net worth by over $150,000 since starting this blog in June 2015?!”

    Ummm….yes – that’s absolutely a HUGE reason to celebrate. Congrats you guys – that’s an incredible accomplishment!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks, Chris. It actually makes me feel like this whole crazy journey may actually be possible!

  2. LOVE this whole update – $150,000 positive change is amazing. And I am really looking forward to your trip! 🙂

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