Tag: kids (Page 1 of 2)

Why I'm a Stay-at-Home Mom (and the financial implications)

Why I’m a Stay-at-Home Mom (and the financial implications)

One of the things that makes our journey to early retirement unique is that I’m a stay at home mom. Though I do have some income (I’ll get to that), I am not a major financial contributer to this journey. Yet I’m the one that manages all the finances and makes all the plans for Mr. T to retire early. Here’s a bit more of the story behind that.

How I chose to be a Stay-at-Home mom

Penny, our oldest, was born while I was in graduate school. Because of the timing, I had the opportunity to decide what I wanted to do before ever starting a corporate life. Because Mr. T and I were both in school, we balanced parenting duties equally and made sure our class schedules worked around each other so we could pass off the stroller on campus between our respective classes. After Mr. T graduated, we moved to the Northwest so he could find a job and I could finish my masters thesis. We didn’t count on our long stint with unemployment at the same time. I graduated just before Penny was 18 months old and the next month, Mr. T got a job in Alaska.

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The Our Next Life Challenge: Take 2

The Our Next Life Challenge: Take 2

Long, long ago, Steve over at Think Save Retire started a series called: our next life – then our friends over at Our Next Life, the blog, continued the series. We first participated in September of 2015 and ended that post by saying: “I should probably re-write this post once a year for the next seven years!” because plans change and ours are so fluid. So, here I am again 2 years later revisiting our plans.

Our Next Life Timeline

2018 – Take the kids to England, Wales, Norway, and Iceland – this will be a 27-day trip! This is one of the big changes from when we wrote this post the first time. This was supposed to be an England-only trip the summer after we paid off the mortgage. Now we’re doing a sweeping 4-country trip (so still fairly slow travel compared to hitting many countries) and we’re doing it before the mortgage is paid off so we can visit my parents in England while they’re living there.

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What's Stopping You From Cutting That Budget Line Item?

What’s Stopping You From Cutting That Budget Line Item?

I am a big fan of making sure I get value from my money. Each month as I look over the month’s spending, I look at where I can improve and where I can optimize and where I’m happy with my spend. Each budget line item should have a purpose. So often, we get stuck with ones that don’t, so why do we avoid cutting them?

Things Change, So Should Your Spending

We used to cloth diaper, but with health problems after Lui’s birth, we stopped. Paying for diapers was worth the expense.

This week, we returned from a 2-week vacation to visit the kids’ cousins in Nebraska and Texas and I realized diapers are no longer worth the line item on our budget. Lui’s 3 now and is ready.

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A Day in the Life of a Work-at-Home-Mom

A Day in the Life of a Work-at-Home-Mom

If you know nothing about me, you need to know that I have three children (ages 3, 6, and 9) and that I work part-time from home for a behavioral economics firm in the Midwest (I live in Alaska… if that wasn’t abundantly clear). I am privileged to be able to be a stay-at-home mom for my kids, but also earn some income doing something I love. That does not mean my days are easy. Today, I’m going to give you a typical “day in the life of Maggie.” I bet you can’t wait!

The Life of a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) and WAHM (work-at-home-mom):

5:45 AM – Get up, brush hair, throw on a sweater and set up my computer at the table for a 6AM work meeting. I keep my pajama pants on and have a heated blanket in my lap because the heat in the house doesn’t turn on until 7AM.

6:00 AM – Skype with a group in the conference room at the company’s office. (Until last week, I could just phone in to meetings and stay in my bed for them… but unfortunately, they just got Skype working and now I have to pretend I’m put together).

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Last Minute Frugal Valentine’s Day Ideas (for kids and spouses)

When is Valentine’s Day again? TOMORROW?! Don’t worry… I’ve got your back. I literally don’t do a THING until the day before to prepare and I don’t spend a penny on this holiday!

(Insert: rant about commercialization of a made-up holiday designed to make you spend money to prove your love…)

Valentine’s Day Decorations

Okay, fine. We planned a LITTLE bit ahead on this one, but I still had to share it because it is literally the GREATEST IDEA EVER (I can’t take credit… I found it on Pinterest years ago and I can’t find the original source…).

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Girls Are Brilliant (And Why That Matters)

Girls Are Brilliant (And Why That Matters)

In light of recent events, I’ve started hearing arguments (from both men and women) that women have achieved equality and need to “stop complaining.” Everyone apparently knows that girls are brilliant already. I’ve also been informed that “men controlling women” isn’t a common theme that exists outside of my own “echo chamber” and that women can officially do anything they want to. I realize that research has also lost popularity as of late, but as a researcher, I will continue to publish research-based information.

Gender Stereotypes Start Young

In the midst of the arguments this past week, a study was published looking at 6-year-olds. In the first part of the study, children were told a story about a character that was “really, really smart.” They were then shown pictures of 2 men and 2 women and told to identify which one they thought was the protagonist of the story. 5-year-old girls and boys (not yet school-aged) were just as likely to choose a boy or a girl as a protagonist to the story (and likely to lean toward identifying the protagonist as themselves–girls would choose a girl, boys would choose a boy). 6-year-olds, however, were not. The study states: “Despite [the] strong tendency to view one’s gender in a positive light, girls aged 6 and 7 were significantly less likely than boys to associate brilliance with their own gender.”

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The future is full of hope

The Future is Full of HOPE

We’re going to start off with a little riddle:

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in and exclaims ‘I can’t operate on this boy!’
‘Why not?’ the nurse asks.
‘Because he’s my son,’ the doctor responds.
How is this possible?

An old one, for sure. Do you remember the first time you heard it? I do! I was still a kid. Of course the answer is “The doctor is the boy’s mother.” Duh. And I remember saying: “Oh duh! (probably with a forehead-to-the-hand smack)” but I totally didn’t get the answer. It was, indeed, a riddle. You could blame this on my upbringing, except I was raised by incredible, feminist parents that instilled very young that I could do anything I wanted to do even though I was a girl. So, I’m blaming society as a whole. We knew women could be doctors. We even knew some female docs, but they were usually male.

This week, I told this riddle to my children.

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The Privilege of Being Santa

The Privilege of Being Santa

Thanksgiving has been devoured and that is the official start of the Christmas season in the Banks house. My kids are dancing to Christmas music and throwing stuffed snowmen back and forth as I type this. And they look forward to the coming of Santa Claus, as most children do.

Santa is Magic

As an adult, I tear up a bit when I’m talking about Santa Claus. For me, Santa is the embodiment of what I wish the world could do all the time. Santa is a worldwide agreement that for one night, everyone will help make the world a magical, wonderful place. When my kids ask me if Santa is real, my response will be: “We have the power to create magic and Santa is the perfect example. The actual person named Santa does not exist, but he exists everywhere and now you get to be a part of the surprise and help create that magic for your younger siblings and for others!”

In Alaska, Santa is VERY REAL. We have been to his house in North Pole (a pretty elaborate gift shop).

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Save Money on a Legal Will

Save Money on Your Legal Will

Mr. T and I finished the whole estate-planning process just before leaving on our grand adventure (follow us on Twitter for trip updates!). On Monday, we outlined considerations for making a will. Today we’re going to talk about how to save money on making one. This is expensive stuff we’re talking about! And today we’re going to cover how to save money on a legal will. I’m not an attorney, so obviously don’t take this as legal advice. This is just my observations based on my experiences and research on the matter. Mr. T and I used a lawyer to draft up our legal wills, powers of attorney, and advanced health directives (a total of 6 documents). The legal fees? $1,895! Yikes! That’s more than it cost for all of our plane tickets for the trip we’re on! Here are 5 ways to do it for less:

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Drafting a Will

Decisions to Make Before Drafting a Will

Our three-week trip away from our children forced Mr. T and I to finally kick into gear and make a legal will (you know, because planes falling out of the sky are actually a thing these days!). We always knew we needed one, but it seemed so daunting! Well, guys, we did it. It is done. And now I’m here to help you through doing the same thing. Obviously, I’m no lawyer or financial advisor, so don’t go around thinking this is legal or financial advice. I’m just here to help you with the first step: thinking through most of the things you’ll need to consider before drafting your own will.

Two months ago, Mr. T and I said: “We leave in a month. We need a basic will, an advanced health directive, and a legal power of attorney. Where do we start?” This, my friends, is the list of where you should start. Today, we will take you through the large list of decisions that need to be made before you’re even ready to start the documents! Ready? Here we go:

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