Tag: saving (Page 1 of 3)

Why Are We Afraid of Boring?

Why Are We Afraid of Boring?

Everyone lives their lives trying to not be boring. They don’t want to live like everyone else. They don’t want to seem average. People prove they’re not boring by buying nice houses, interesting cars, fashionable clothes. “I couldn’t possibly be boring. Just LOOK at me!” In this cycle of trying to prove we’re not boring, we also expect boring answers to be wrong.

The Boring Answers are the Best Ones

People want shortcuts. They want to hear the anecdotes and not the research. Everyone wants to be in shape and everyone wants to be rich. Why do you think the weight loss and financial industries are so large? We want a pill or a get-rich scheme. Do you know how to get in shape? You exercise. You actually work the muscles you want to be strong. Do you know how to get rich? You save money. You let money grow by not touching it.

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A Simple, Month-Ahead Elimination Budget

A Simple, Month-Ahead Elimination Budget

Mr. T and I were married in the midst of college. We were happiness-rich, but cash poor. We were both lucky to not be in debt because we were both given some assistance from our parents for college. After we were married, we combined our meager bank accounts and started an elimination budget.

We both worked hourly as custodians for our college football team cleaning the locker rooms and the coaches’ offices between 9:30PM and 1AM. Perks: football games were way more engaging because we knew the players intimately though we never met them (“the player that’s got that cute letter from a 6-year-old fan on his locker board has the ball!”). We also got random things out of the trash, like a barely-worn pair of shoes and a dozen tickets to the nearby waterpark. Also, we got to work together and we got a slight pay increase for working nights. Downsides: It was very late and we were tired. We got weekly wheatgrass shots at Jamba Juice to get us through.

The Simple Elimination Budget

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How "Make More Money" is Like a Video Game

How “Make More Money” is Like a Video Game

Quick call to action: I’m running an awesome research project and need your help. I need as many responses as possible. Go take the survey. It won’t take long. Thanks so much! Do it for science!

Maybe you’re like me. You read all these amazing posts about how the solution to your problem is simple. Make more money. And then you think: “Yeah, wouldn’t that be great?!” The posts say: “Don’t worry. It’s easy. Start a blog. Make an extra $90,000/year” Or “just start an e-commerce business and watch the sales replace your day job income in no time!” Now, as a consistent blogger of nearly 2 years that has made a grand total of less than $400 on this blog (want to increase that? Sign up for Personal Capital with my affiliate link. The service is free. And awesome. I promise), and as someone that runs an Etsy shop with 2 total sales (I won’t pitch that to you as well. You’re welcome), let me tell you that I finally figured it out!

There are levels to the game Make More Money

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Northern Expressions

Northern Expressions: The Wilderness Will Tear You Down

Happy Friday! Tomorrow is the ceremonial start of The Last Great Race on Earth, AKA, The Iditarod! So, today’s Northern Expression comes from 4-time Iditarod Champion (including last year), Dallas Seavey:

The wilderness will tear them down. It's bigger than anybody out there. It has to just be your home.

“Every time I see people having to build themselves up to face the wilderness, the wilderness will tear them down. It’s bigger than anybody out there. It has to just be your home.” – Dallas Seavey

He said this in an interview with Survival Life. I really enjoyed the thought that if you have to build yourself up for something, you’re probably not ready for it. You have to learn to be at peace in even the harshest climates (literal or figurative).

If you have to build yourself up for financial set-backs and financial emergencies, your finances aren’t ready for them. The goal is to be so prepared that they just become an obstacle to overcome on the course rather than a complete roadblock.

So… let’s get prepared, friends! And get out there and enjoy the weekend! Run, dogs, run!

Love, Maggie

The Impact of Good Business Communication

The Impact of Good Business Communication

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.

Business Communication Leads to Trust

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How to Choose a Fund Manager

How to Choose a Fund Manager

Over the past year, I’ve come across some pretty interesting studies about fund managers. Based on the research, let’s take a look at who the ideal fund manager is:

Top Performing Fund Managers:

  1. Drive “Practical but Unexciting” Cars – Fund managers who drive sports cars take on more risk… but the risk doesn’t translate into better returns. So, make sure you’re checking the parking lot before choosing your fund manager!
  2. Are from Poorer Backgrounds – It turns out privilege puts people in positions they don’t necessarily deserve to be in. Fund managers from poorer backgrounds may have to prove themselves more because of their lack of connections or status, so the ones that make it are smarter and have more grit than the ones that got a “leg up” to get there.
  3. Actually Do Very Little – This article is about Nevada’s 35 billion dollar fund manager. He describes his method as “bare-bones.” The article says: “The Nevada system’s stocks and bonds are all in low-cost funds that mimic indexes. Mr. Edmundson may make one change to the portfolio a year.”

Be Your Own Manager:

The key, as Mr. Edmundson from the Nevada fund would tell you, is low-fee index funds. Even if you don’t choose Vanguard funds, you can thank Vanguard for creating The Vanguard Effect – The combined savings of Vanguard’s low fees added to the driving down of prices in the industry leading to a savings of over $1 Trillion to the consumer!*

Maybe this is the end of investing as we know it if everyone jumps on the passive funds train. Or maybe you think index funds are communist (I don’t make this stuff up!). Then make up your own mind… but for now, I’m going to drive my sensible car and put my money in index funds and leave it alone!**


*This is similar to the “Costco Effect” in Anchorage. We’re told to be grateful we live in Anchorage after Costco came because before that, prices were much, much higher. 

**I can’t claim I don’t have the privilege card, because I do

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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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 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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