An Exercise in Self-Reflection
- Grab a Piece of Paper and a Pencil
- Write down 5 things you are AWESOME at.
- Write down 5 weaknesses you have.
- Write down 1 thing you want to actively get better at.
February was a beautiful, snowy month here in Anchorage. On the home front, it was a crazy month, but good. I got some health answers and am working on finding a good management program (testing which foods impact me and which don’t).
It was also a good, but busy month at work. After quitting my job, things have improved greatly and at least I’m back to loving the work.
My totally awesome survey is up to 367 responses… not close to the 1000+ I’d like to see in order for this to turn in to an actual study… If you have any ideas on how to get more visibility/more responses, I’d love to hear them. (Non-spammy places to share it? A database of thousands of people waiting to take surveys perhaps?) Help a sister out!
We also had the awesome privilege of getting one of this month’s Rockstar Finance Giving Cards. Full story coming Monday!
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.)
A business can do everything right, but if they have poor business communication, they’ll never succeed. You are your business. You need to make sure you have the ability to communicate your goals and priorities to yourself, your partner and to others that that are involved in your bottom line.
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!
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!
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:
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?)
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!).
What a roller coaster of a month! I’m happy to report that things are going great inside the Stock house. The kids are at great stages right now and our house feels very merry and bright! Outside our little house and in the big, big world, I can’t say I feel quite as safe and happy. The hate is coming out of the closets and seemingly taking over the world. It’s important to be kind and as Mr. Rogers said:
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’
(Mister Rogers has always been my favorite!)
This Christmas season, we’re making an increased effort to be those helpers!
This month is BIG for the blog. Coming soon: we have a very exciting Christmas post that’s definitely out of the ordinary. (Mr. T and I spent hours putting it together and you’ll LOVE IT. I promise!) In two weeks, I’m introducing something BIG and I’m super excited about it… details coming Monday, December 19th! YAY YAY YAY YAY! Ahem. Okay… what you came here for…
I enjoyed the Halloween tweet-storm so much, I decided to do a Thanksgiving version. I asked people to give me one amount of money they are grateful for in 2016:
For my post tomorrow, tweet at me a specific amount of money you're grateful for in 2016 and why: $276 – 2 tickets to new Harry potter play
— Maggie Banks (@northernexpense) November 22, 2016
I thought about this a lot myself before tweeting it out and have an answer that fits in a variety of categories. For each category, I add my own answer and the Twitter responses I got that fit in that category as well.
My $276 amount to see the second ever showing of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would fit in this category. It was an amazing, historic experience.
In preparation for Thanksgiving this year, we’re going to do a practical gratitude exercise. This is Thanksgiving week. (YAY!) Think about where you were last year at this time: how old were your kids? who was with you Thanksgiving week? where were you? what were you working on? what things were you wishing you were doing better?
Do not focus on the negative. Life happens. Maybe this year had a lot of bad things happen. Now is not the time to talk about those.
Focus on the growth. Pick (at least) 2 things that are better this year than last year.
This fills up as we pay our mortgage down. We started with $90,000 left on our mortgage.
This charts our investment progress to early retirement.