The About Series: The Banks!

At the beginning of the month, Think Save Retire issued a challenge to go beyond the “About Page” and give more detail about ourselves and our blog. I enjoyed the challenge as well as the participation of others, so we’ve decided to jump in to the party as well. So, here are a few juicy details about the Banks Family and Northern Expenditure.

What’s in a Name?

The primary motivation behind starting the blog is that we live in Alaska which seems to run on very different rules than the rest of the United States (though arguably not Hawaii). We wanted to save money and work towards early retirement, but the fabulous advice of others didn’t always “fit” perfectly. So how would we fit all that into a title? A reference to a 90s TV show of course! If you haven’t seen Northern Exposure, it’s a great show about life in a little Alaskan town. As a disclaimer, the show is actually filmed in Washington (which is very obvious to us Alaskans when it’s dark at night in the summertime and they’re watching the Northern lights in a light jacket), but I would still recommend it. Mr. T gets credit for the clever wordplay that has become our name.

What’s the Point?

We started this blog for ourselves as well as others. We wanted to connect to all the wonderful voices in the personal finance blogging space (because we’ve secretly been geeking out over most of them for a long time). But also, we wanted to add our little voices from way up here in Alaska. We’ve got three kids, don’t make close to $100,000, and we live in a very weird, expensive place. So things are different for us. And we hope we can be a voice for people that can relate.

More about the Banks Fam:

Mr. T – He works in software by day, but spends his free time biking, taking pictures (including all the ones on this blog… even our header moose!), or creating something.

Maggie – I like chocolate. And peanut butter. Especially together. And the rain. I’m a geek for spreadsheets, research, and making elaborate plans.

Penny – She loves to read. A lot. And wants to be a scientist when she grows up… or an author/illustrator. She can’t decide.

Florin – She is our socialite. Also loves art, but mostly likes to do what others are doing because she’d rather be with people.

Lui – He loves food and mud puddles. He is mischievous but is the king of super cute faces with a tilted head when he gets caught. Cuteness is his best defense.

A Family Passion:

Flashback to baby Penny in Cambodia with some new friends.

Flashback to baby Penny in Cambodia with some new friends.

We love Cambodia. Mr. T lived there for two years and we’ve gone twice since we’ve been married. Before we moved to Alaska, we nearly moved to Cambodia. The kids and I have been trying to learn Cambodian for years (Mr. T already speaks it) and we hope to take all the kids there for a long period of time someday. A lot of our future (philanthropic and other post-retirement) plans involve Cambodia.

And now you know a bit more about us and our internet space. It’s been a fun few months so far. We’ve connected with so many cool people and I’m excited to see what happens with this adventure. For us, it’s all about the connections. So please connect with us! 

What questions do you have that I didn’t answer?

The About Series: About the Banks in Alaska and our blog, Northern Expenditure


How to Navigate Finances in Marriage


August 2015 Plan Update


  1. Yay — glad you continued the series! So many cool things in this — that Mr T. took that moose photo! That you all make regular trips to Cambodia and plan to continue that in retirement! And I always wondered about where Northern Exposure was filmed, just because nothing is every filmed where it is supposedly located, unless it’s LA or NYC. Good to know. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Ironically, Mr. T, having grown up in Washinton, had been to the town (Roslyn) in Washington where Northern Exposure was filmed before ever seeing it or coming to Alaska!

  2. Thanks for continuing the challenge! Alaska definitely is a unique place – you guys get to deal with some veeeeerrry interest phenomena that the rest of us don’t.

    Question: Seriously, what’s it like in the winter up there? When the sun only comes up for a few hours a day, I’m sure the local people find a way to stay focused on things and keep entertained. What do you do to stay busy and upbeat in the dead of winter?

    Thanks again. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Winter in Alaska is like a giant party. There are endless nights of Aurora chasing. Fur Rondy ushers in the Iditarod. And the holidays come before that. When we first moved up here, I thought the winters would be just really dark and gloomy, but there is usually snow on the ground, so it reflects all over the place and ends up being pretty light most of the winter. That being said, I don’t have seasonal depression, so it doesn’t bother me that much. By the time life calms down enough to notice it’s dark all the time (mid January, post holidays), it’s already starting to get light again!

  3. This is so cool that you’re sharing more about yourself. I love when bloggers do that – it makes it more real and it’s easier to relate. Also… I am obsessed with chocolate and peanut butter… in fact I am diving into some PB M&Ms as I’m writing this! Lastly – I think it’s kick-ass that you and your hub are both involved in the blog… Kind of like working out, you can hold each other accountable to contributing. Excellent update, thanks for sharing so much 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks Chris! My friend growing up was always allergic to peanut butter and he used to make fun of the massive amounts of it my family ate. When we saw him recently, my husband updated him on the fact that we now make a dessert called “peanut butter balls” which is basically PB mixed with sugar and dipped in chocolate. I’ve stepped up my PB chocolate game. 🙂

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