Denali Northern Expenditure

Category: Plan Updates Page 2 of 7

April 2018 Plan Update

April 2018 Plan Update

It’s MAY, glorious MAY, wonderful MAY!

School gets out in two weeks and we jetset shortly thereafter (woo hoo!). The kids recently finished their historic timeline on our hallway walls, so we’re officially ready (minus all the actual stuff we need to do to get ready!).

I should also tell you that I did a thing! Erik from The Mastermind Within was kind enough to have me on his podcast, so if you want to hear my voice and hear more of the details about what we’re up to (instead of hanging out here as often as we once did), have a listen.

Other than that, we’re just hammering away at shirts so we can try to keep sales going while we’re on our big trip. BIG GOALS, remember?

Also, June’s plan update will probably be delayed. You know, out of the country and all…

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 $24,300. Paying no extra still. But chipping away. Q4 of t-shirt sales will determine whether we’re able to kill it before the end of the year as hoped!

Investments are now at $198,080. Almost back up to $200,000. I’m expected to hit it next month since I was in the UK when we hit $100,000. It’s only right that we hit the second $100,000 while back in the UK with the family!

2018 Financial Goals Update:

  • KILL THE MORTGAGE – $24,200 to go! Once we get this trip out of the way, we’ll be able to start chipping at this again.
  • 27-Day Europe Trip –  $467.22 – Earned: $12,495.88, Spent: $12,028.66 (with “earned” meaning the money we’ve made from selling shirts on Amazon and “spent” meaning all of the costs for the trip as well as any extra payments toward our mortgage) – Details on most of these numbers can be found in our Great Merch Challenge Q1 update – We’re in the black again, though I anticipate that to go back to negative next month as our spending will outpace our earnings next month most likely.
  • Max out Mr. T’s 401k – Automatic – however, limits rose to $18,500/year which makes it messy if you get 24 paychecks a year. We’ll probably make a contribution toward the end of the year to top it off.
  • Stretch Goal: Put $5500 into My Roth IRA – Not yet.
  • Market-Based Goal: $250,000 in investments by the end of 2018 – Not yet.

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:

  • $10 – To get a notary to fill out my I9 for my company changeover.
  • $22 – A yearbook for my daughter’s school
  • $601.20 – Flight for a big road trip in the fall to see Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and everything in between (because one big vacation this year just isn’t enough!).
  • $174.62 – Enough grains for oatmeal for the rest of the year.
  • $19.19 – The charge to pay my taxes with a credit card – but it helped me earn 80,000 Ultimate Reward points, so it was worth it.
  • $1,026 – Taxes. Blech.

Financial Phrases:

These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:

  • “My company’s ____ (couldn’t hear) process is so complicated. I spent all last week just trying to get in to do the things they want me to do. I spent hours on the phone with I.T. – now multiply that by the entire company and think how much this inefficiency is costing!”
  • I was told Discovery Channel will pay you $30,000 per episode for your idea for a reality TV show.
Great Banks Merch Challenge Q1 2018 Update

Great Banks Merch Challenge Q1 2018 Update

As a reminder, we’re trying to pay off our mortgage and take our family on a 27-day Europe trip with just t-shirt sales in what we call the Great Banks Merch Challenge.

I’ll be providing quarterly updates. This one is 2018 Q1 update:

The Current Merch Challenge Numbers

Current Trip Costs:

  • Flights: $2,035.48 – This amount includes :
    • Flight from Anchorage to NYC for a day before flying to England (we used Alaska miles for this leg + $28 in fees)
    • Flight from NYC to London (we used AA miles for this leg + $28 in fees)
    • Flight from England to Norway (paid Cash, SAS airlines – $355.63 for all 5 tickets)
    • Flight from Norway to Iceland (free layover for 4 days) to Alaska (paid cash – $2,123.85 for all 5 tickets)
    • – $500 – from our sign-up bonus on the Barclay Arrival+ card. Yay for a $500 discount!
  • Lodging: $2,518.53 – All lodging (except 2 hotel nights in Norway we’re still travel hack):
    • 3 nights in London, England – $677.01
    • 1 night just outside Reykjavik, Iceland – $250.49
    • 3 nights on the Golden Circle in Iceland – $681.03
    • $1000 worth of discounted AirBNB gift cards we’ve used to purchase lodging in England and Norway – $910
  • Transportation: $658.97 – (we’ve reserved our rental car for Iceland, but won’t pay for that until the trip):
    • Norway Car Rental: $294.26
    • UK Car Rental: $364.71
  • Other Stuff: $1,217.78 – All of the other experiences, tickets, and stuff we’ve purchased for the trip:
    • Passport fees for the 3 kids – $315
    • Global Entry for all of us – Free (thanks Amex Platinum card!)
    • Travelable booster seats for all 3 kids (to be legal in Europe) – $103.97
    • Travel Backpacks for the girls (Lui will use his small school backpack) – $204.30
    • Tickets to see Matilda the musical in London – $348.15
    • Tickets to the Harry Potter Film Studio outside London – $183.73
    • Westminster Abbey Tickets – $62.63

TOTAL SPENT SO FAR: $6,430.76

Mortgage Costs: 

For Merch to cover the rest of our mortgage, we’re including any payments we make above our minimum monthly payments. So, these costs are the extra payments we made starting with the November mortgage payment:

  • $2,100 (November)
  • $1,700 (December)
  • $1,500 (January)
  • $0 (February)
  • $100 (March) – hopefully sales will pick up again soon so we can start shoveling money toward the mortgage!

TOTAL EXTRA PUT TOWARD MORTGAGE: $5,400

Current Merch Earnings (earnings are 2 months behind as that’s when we get and report the money):

  • June: $7.07
  • July: $218.24
  • August: $810.78
  • September: $1,065.67
  • October: $3,352.58
  • November: $1837.50
  • December: $2627.96
  • January: $1076.85
  • February: $695.83
  • TOTAL: $11,692.48

minus our total mortgage payments and total trip costs of $11,830.76

Merch Challenge Totals: -$138.28

Verdict so far: We’re pretty darn close to breaking even on this thing, but that doesn’t mean much right now since we still have over $25,000 left on the mortgage and we still have tons to pay for on the trip (most of our experiences, castle passes, food, a few hotels, one rental car, etc.). Sales have also been pretty dismal. We now have 2000 listings on Amazon filled and we hope sales pick up for the summertime. We’re hoping to have 4000 filled at the start of Q4.  Do you think we can do it?

February 2018 Plan Update

February 2018 Plan Update

I keep feeling like I need to apologize for not filling this space as often as I used to. But then I remember you guys are my friends and the whole point of not filling this space as often is because I’m practicing what I’m preaching. I’m following the money while trying not to lose sight of what’s important (like my children, for example). So, here I am with another plan update.

February was crazy busy for all of us. We got the science fair project for Penny started (rock candy with every kind of sugar available currently growing on my counter). We spent many days reshaping our snow pile into sledding tracks, watching the Olympics, taking the kids to swimming, etc. Life is glorious, isn’t it?

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 $26,700. We weren’t able to put any extra towards the mortgage this month because we owe just over $1,000 for taxes. Blech.

Investments are now at $186,840. I told you we’d be back below $200,000 this month, but it was fun to hit another nice round number first!

2018 Financial Goals Update:

  • KILL THE MORTGAGE – $26,700 to go! If this was the only thing we were doing this year, I would feel super confident, but this big trip AND paying off the mortgage… it feels like a stretch! If we nail both of these goals this year, I will be ECSTATIC!
  • 27-Day Europe Trip –   -$487.75 – Earned: $10,996.65, Spent: $11,484.40 (with “earned” meaning the money we’ve made from selling shirts on Amazon and “spent” meaning all of the costs for the trip as well as any extra payments toward our mortgage) – We didn’t put any extra toward our mortgage and didn’t pay for any trip costs this month. Sales are low this time of year and next month is going to look worse than this one!
  • Max out Mr. T’s 401k – Automatic – however, limits rose to $18,500/year which makes it messy if you get 24 paychecks a year. We’ll probably make a contribution toward the end of the year to top it off.
  • Stretch Goal: Put $5500 into My Roth IRA – Not yet.
  • Market-Based Goal: $250,000 in investments by the end of 2018 – Not yet.

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:

  • $24.26 – Batting to finish a quilt I got in the mail from someone who made the top for my wedding 12 years ago and then never got around to finishing the quilt. Now I need to figure out how to finish it! LOL!
  • $9.99 – This is a monthly fee, but I’ll only include it once. Mr. T has photoshop on his computer, but I wanted to get more into photoshop myself, so I signed up!
  • $8.97 – Carl’s Jr. dinner for my children for Lui’s birthday.
  • $15 – The cost to pull the police report to file to insurance to replace our neighborhood mailbox that got plowed over by a car in December.
  • $15 – Taking a friend out to peanut butter pie for her birthday.
  • $77 – Mr. T and I went out to a semi-fancy restaurant with friends on a double date. It’s fun to do this on occasion.

Financial Phrases:

These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:

  • “$7,000 isn’t a lot a lot, but I could have stretched it pretty far.”
  • “When you have a mortgage, three car payments, student loan debt, and credit card debt, a $5,000 tax bill is enough to crush you.”
  • “I decided I’m going to use my birthday money to buy an ukulele.” – This is Penny. And don’t worry… you’ll probably see an Ukulele in our expenses for next month. (shhh. Don’t tell.)
January 2018 Plan Update

January 2018 Plan Update

January was a crazy month for the Banks family. The kids started swim after school twice a week which has been quite an adjustment for all of us. On top of that, we’ve had some big responsibilities at Church. We’ve also been trying to get our Merch shirts organized so it’s easier to relist them if they don’t sell and Amazon takes them down. So lots of awesome, productive things going on, but really busy.

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.)

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2018 Non-Financial Goals (and 2017 recap)

2018 Non-Financial Goals (and 2017 recap)

I like to also set non-financial goals here at Northern Expenditure because life is worth living for more than just money!

2017 Goal Recap:

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The Great Banks Merch Challenge January Update

The Great Banks Merch Challenge January Update

As a reminder, we’re attempting to pay for our 27-day Europe trip and all the extra payments toward our mortgage until it is gone with nothing but selling shirts on Merch by Amazon.

First off, this trip is not cheap. We’re not trying to do it all that cheaply. We’re taking our kids to some of the most expensive countries (we’ll reserve our next international trip for Cambodia!). But we also really wanted to stretch ourselves this year with our t-shirt sales, so we decided to add in our mortgage to really make things interesting. Also remember that most t-shirt sales come in October-December, so it’s going to look pretty bad here at the beginning of the year as we keep spending, but don’t make as much. But hopefully, by December, everything will come together in magical ways and we’ll pay for our whole trip plus our mortgage with just t-shirt sales! Wish us luck!

I’ll be providing quarterly updates. This one is 2017 Q4 update:

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December 2017 Plan Update (and 2018 Financial Goals!)

December 2017 Plan Update (and 2018 Financial Goals!)

Ah… December. I do love the holidays with the kids home and Mr. T having so many days home as well. December was glorious. We really could have used more snow, but we did at least get a few good days of hoar frost where all of Anchorage was magical and white.

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.)

Read More

November 2017 Plan Update

November 2017 Plan Update

November came and went in a flash. It included a stressful week at the office (which included the hotel giving Kate @ Goodnight Debt and I chlorine burns). It also included a weekend with my sister (post-stress workweek) that included binge-watching and many delicious desserts. At the home front, we’re in the thick of sledding and ice skating season. Mr. T has successfully shaped our driveway snowpile into a sledding track as usual and we’re all enjoying ourselves. Christmas decorations are up and we’re enjoying our holidays so far with food, warm drinks, and cozy blankets. My favorite way!

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.)

Read More

October 2017 Plan Update

October 2017 Plan Update

October saw Alaska’s first snow (which then quickly melted and the fog rolled in for a perfect foggy, 40-degree Halloween). Also in October, we celebrated PFD day, Alaska day, and went to #FinCon17 (a non-Twitter recap coming Wednesday).

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.)

Read More

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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