Denali Northern Expenditure

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Following the Money: In Practice

Following the Money: In Practice

One of the big entrepreneurial concepts is following the money. If you haven’t figured out how to get paid or you’re not chasing the pipeline that is actually paying you, you’re doing it all wrong.

Following the Money

As you know, our current most lucrative side hustle is selling shirts. When we realized the potential of selling shirts, we had to hit it hard (getting 1500 listings on Amazon takes real work!).

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December 2018 Plan Update

December was a great month. Though we still had our fair share of aftershocks, we got to enjoy a tremendously snowy Christmas full of sledding, ice skating, hot cocoa, friends and fun. I also got to FINALLY open the Lego Hogwarts Lego sets I bought “for the kids” in August. They’re amazing (I got the 2 sets, not the one giant $400 one) and I love them so much. The girls have been playing Hogwarts everyday since Christmas and Lui got to put together Aragog’s lair and now he’s pretty thrilled with “being Aragog” when he decides he wants to play along with them. Mr. T build a pretty epic luge track that uses our snow pile as usual but goes down the backside and winds around behind the house.

This month I will also be publishing a Merch Challenge 2018 Q4 Update (after December sales numbers post mid-month), a more in-depth 2018 recap, and introduce new goals for 2019. I love a New Year!

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.)

Mortgage is now at $1,900! That means NO MORE EXTRA PAYMENTS are required! We will pay it off with our usual mortgage payment next month and BE DONE!!!!! So we’re a month late. I’m counting it as a win.

Investments have tumbled considerably to $204,539. I heard the market was falling, but I was too busy to actually look at my numbers until this update and was quite surprised to see how much we lost in a month! At least we’re ending the year above $200,000. And hopefully money can start being shoveled toward this next month!

2018 Financial Goals Update:

  • KILL THE MORTGAGE – $1,900 – I’m counting it as a WIN because we won’t have to put any more extra money toward this and we’ll only have to make one more regular payment. Then it is DEAD!
  • Merch Challenge Update (paying for our 27-night Europe trip and our extra mortgage payments with t-shirt sales) –  -$1896.40 – Earned (with just shirt sales online): $19,216.46, Spent: $10,412.86 (Europe Trip) + $10,700 extra mortgage payments – So it looks bad now, but since this includes all of the “spend” and we still have December’s shirt payment coming in January, this might still happen!
  • 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. But, we’ll hit $18,000 anyway, so pretty close.
  • Stretch Goal: Put $5500 into My Roth IRA – Nopety nope.
  • Market-Based Goal: $250,000 in investments by the end of 2018 – Markets down. Not looking possible this year. Oh well.

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:

  • $1.08 – Two ice creams for the girls after using the rest of a McDonald’s gift card. I took them to ice cream and told them about Santa. I was sure to tell them that magic is created and they are now part of Santa’s team. It ended up being adorable. They came home and helped Lui write a letter to Santa and they were the most enthusiastic Santa trackers on Christmas Eve!
  • $16.85 – We were able to find the two books Florin wanted for Christmas at the best little book shop in town and I was so excited to support local.
  • $103.95 – Tire changeover for Mr. T’s car. He did it before we got our big snow dump, luckily. Yay for winter tires!
  • $209.11 – Medical bill for some tests they ran when I had bronchitis back in the summer. The insurance finally paid some and they finally sent me the final bill. Why is healthcare so expensive?! 

Financial Phrases:

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

  • “I have a secret shopping problem!”
  • Spoken on the Saturday before Christmas by a friend: “This afternoon, my husband is taking the kids and I get to go shopping.” My reaction: “NOOOOOOO!!!!”
  • “I think the pressure of getting his wife amazing gifts motivated his career.”

September 2017 Plan Update

September 2017 Plan Update

Ahhh fall. Crisp air. Fall leaves everywhere. Colds from school. The whole gambit. We’re living all of it here in September.

Along with fall came an onslaught of money spending! We continued booking next year’s big Europe trip. We also spent the beginning-of-the-year fees for lessons/classes for the kiddos. Details in our spending section.

Also, Mr. T and I just got approved for Global Entry. So we’re ballers now. At least when traveling. And I started a weight training class at the University (paid for by my company so I can maintain access to the University library for my research work). I’m the oldest, weakest among those college younguns, but I’m having a great time!

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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August 2017 Plan Update

August 2017 Plan Update

Hello, dear readers! Welcome back to our regularly scheduled blogging program!

This summer has been glorious. And August was no exception. We started the month in Disneyland with the family and then headed to the Seattle area for a week where we spent 3 entire days swimming, kayaking, and paddle-boarding in lakes. It was amazing. The month ended with all 3 kids in school.

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Calculating Good and Bad Financial Scenarios

Calculating Good and Bad Financial Scenarios

I haven’t done many calculations around here lately and since we both know I am number-crunching incessently, I thought it was about time to do a number crunching exercise here on the blog with our numbers. Today, we’re going to look at 3 scenarios into the future: a terrible one, a low-return one, and a good return one. Let’s see how the numbers play out:

Where we Stand

These calculations are based on our portfolio’s current $150,000 value (a nice even number to work with, which is part of why we’re running the simulations now!). The monthly savings for the first year assume $2500 – the $1500 to max out Mr. T’s 401k (automatic) and a mix of employer contributions and my savings for another $1000/month. This is our current savings rate. Then, after the first year, those monthly savings amount skyrocket to $4500 because in 2019, we will start the year with a paid off house and we can throw our mortgage payment directly into savings! To make these calculations, I use my very favorite compound interest calculator to plug in the numbers.

The Recession Starts Tomorrow!

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Why I Want to Move to the U.K.

Why I Want to Move to the U.K.

I often wax poetic about wanting to move to the U.K. and long-time readers of the blog know that I sincerely mean it when I say I want to move there. But, recently, I had a breakthrough in thinking. Last week, Mr.T and I were on a road trip from Dallas to San Antonio with two sleeping 3-year-olds in the back seat. So, we were stuck in a car with time to chat.

Our usual conversation is about where we would move if we left Alaska. Our parents are in the Northwest and we grew up in the suburbs of Seattle and Portland, but we’ve found that when we go back, we’re stressed out by the amount of people and traffic and the bustle that has moved into the suburbs. Living in Anchorage has made us small-time people. We’re now definitely more country or suburbs-of-suburbs type of people. We also would love to live next to siblings, but our siblings are all over (Texas, Nebraska, California) and we’re not in love with any of those locations and we can’t count on them to stay there either.

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An Honest Look At Your Awesomeness

An Honest Look At Your Awesomeness

An Exercise in Self-Reflection

  1. Grab a Piece of Paper and a Pencil
  2. Write down 5 things you are AWESOME at.
  3. Write down 5 weaknesses you have.
  4. Write down 1 thing you want to actively get better at.

Are you Too Hard on Yourself?

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Save Money on Razors (by using only 1 a year!)

Save Money on Razors (by using only 1 a year!)

On Sunday, my razor head broke. That’s right. It broke. The plastic connecting it to the razor broke. And I had been using the same razor for just over one year!

Men’s Razors are Better Than Women’s

Yes. There’s a wage gap and, I believe, a razor gap. They just don’t make them the same for women. I’ve been a men’s razor snob since Gillette accidentally sent me a Mach 3 razor when I turned 18 (I was a male on their marketing list apparently). So, let me tell you, ladies… it’s time to pick yourself up a Men’s razor. That’s step one.

Razor Heads Can be Sharpened

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Seward's Folly: Happy Alaska Day

Seward’s Folly (Happy Alaska Day)

Let me tell you a little story about taking chances that people think are stupid.

There once was a guy who bet $7.2 MILLION DOLLARS on real estate. I mean, Crazy right? And this was WAY back in 1867, so those dollars were worth WAY more back then!

His name was William Henry Seward and his purchase? ALASKA! He bought the state for the equivalent of 2.5 cents per acre!

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Northern Expenditure’s 100th Post!

We’ve made it. 100 episodes. That’s over four seasons if we were a standard American sitcom! And that means… it’s time for a clip show! That’s right. Here’s where we would put together a moving and hilarious series of vignettes of us laughing together and crying together. Unfortunately, in blog form, this is the best I can do to capture our collective experience:

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