July 2017 Alaska Plan Update

July 2017 Plan Update

Another July has come and gone. Isn’t summer glorious?

We caught 21 salmon despite there being very few fish in the water and we got rained on (inside our tent!). Full dipnetting adventure story coming in the fall. (I know, you can’t wait!).

Guess where we are right now! DisneyLand! I know. Living the magic. Seriously.

Also this month, my parents received a mission call to Leeds, England. They’ll be leaving in November for a year and a half, so we’re taking the kids to Europe next summer! I can’t explain how excited about this I am. Dream come true. For reals. I’ll be talking lots about our preparations come fall/winter.

The weekly email updates keep coming all summer long, so sign up to find out all the happenings!

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 currently at $41,800. I’d love to see this below $40,000 next month. I’m more chill about the mortgage this month… the benefit of taking a step back for a bit (also the benefit of being able to go to EUROPE next year with all 5 of us… that’ll take some dough).

Investments are back on the upswing. To be clear, we just haven’t prioritized the Roth IRAs this year. I’m not making excuses. I’d rather kill the mortgage and I can’t do it all. So… that’s gone by the wayside. This is why personal finance is personal. I realize contributing would be really awesome of us. But I just don’t feel it right now. And that’s the best answer I’ve got. Despite that, our total investments sit at $163,400 right now. It feels pretty good to see these climb by default (automatic savings from Mr. T’s paycheck).

For our savings percentage, we track the percentage of our pre-tax (or gross) income and the extra payments put toward the mortgage are included in the amount saved. Savings percentage for July – 38%. For not really paying much attention to saving and buying some plane tickets, I think this is pretty decent.

2017 Financial Goal Update:

  • Earn $25,000 – ($17,902/$25,000) –  This was a pretty big month for me. I did quite a bit of freelancing and got the paycheck for my work trip in June for my regular job, so I’m looking pretty lucrative these days. 🙂
  • Mortgage Balance below $30,000 – (Currently at $41,800 – $11,800 to go!)
  • Max out Mr. T’s 401k – This is set up already and if nothing changes, he should automatically max it out this year for the first time! Yay for automatic payments!
  • Put $5500 into My Roth IRA – $0 progress so far.
  • $2500 in other investments – $0 progress so far.
  • $200,000 Investment Balance by the end of the year – This is looking possible. I’m not super committed to this goal because it’s market-based, but with these bonkers markets, maybe we’ll successfully get $37k-ish by the end of the year!

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:

  • $28 – Cash price for award tickets from New York to London. I’ll piece together the other legs of next year’s trip later.
  • $204.30 – Travel backpacks for the girls. They’re going to be in charge of their own stuff. It’s going to be awesome.
  • $254.12 – All dipnetting costs (again, breakdown coming in September!)
  • $11.99 – A slingshot Mr. T purchased for a slingshot paintball game with some friends but we’ve all had a great time with in our own yard!
  • $21.99 – Melatonin – We usually go through about 2 bottles a summer. With the sun up all night, the kids need a little help shutting the brains off. #AlaskaLife
  • $49.98 – We bought a Kindle and a kid proof case for Lui on Prime Day in preparation of next year’s really really long flights. The girls already have their own.
  • $149 – A new phone. Because I broke mine a few months ago. Then I shattered the screen on my mother-in-law’s old phone I was using. Mr. T put packaging tape on it so the little shards wouldn’t get in my ear when I’m talking on the phone. I can’t have nice things.
  • $778.45 – Airplane tickets for FINCON! Everyone excited?! I’m so pumped!

EXTRA INCOME (anything that doesn’t come from our jobs/my freelance work):

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 brother keeps saying, ‘ just start a blog and people will click on your links and you’ll make plenty of money,’ but he is thinking like an already-wealthy doctor. We need health insurance.”
  • “The problem with entrepreneurs is they don’t share all the little steps it took to get to where they made it. Sometimes they probably don’t even know which steps those were.”
  • “They have secretary day and office manager day. But they never have computer programmer day! And we always have to chip in for those parties or birthday parties and they don’t throw a party for everyone and then it causes all sorts of drama.”


June 2017 Plan Update


August 2017 Plan Update


  1. That quote about entrepreneurs is awesome! Whenever Iook for business mentors, I tend to go with people just a few years ahead of me. Because they still remember! If it was 10 years ago, you hear the highlights but none of the crucial details.

  2. It’s so nice to get an update – I miss you Maggie!

    I was actually thinking about you the other day because the kids are really into the PBS show, Wild Kratts. They did an Alaska special about the salmon. I didn’t know that the salmon change color – pretty cool!

    Awesome work on the mortgage and happy to read that you’re doing so well with freelancing, and that Mr. T sold a shirt!

    I can’t wait to hear more about the trip to Europe – sounds like you’ve got lots of exciting updates coming soon 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Ha ha ha. Yup. We know all about the salmon. And they actually rot as they age… so you don’t want to eat a red salmon that is actually super red because it’s the living dead! Crazy stuff!

  3. Hey, Maggie. I’m so happy that you, Mr. T, and the girls will be going to London. You guys will have a blast. It’s not high on my bucket list, but I would love to have a pint of beer in a London pub just once. And I never heard of slingshot paintball before. What a ingenious–and frugal–way to splatter your friends with paint. Hope you post some pictures. Cheers.

  4. Hello Maggie,
    Kudos to you guys to get on a savings plan for FI! Your quest is very noble and I hope you guys achieve it soon! It seems like there are a lot of interesting material on your website and I am sure I will enjoy every bit of it! Newbie here just getting started on the road to FI myself!

  5. Owen @ PlanEasy

    A trip to Europe would be awesome. Would you stay with them or rent a place? We’ve been having fantastic luck with AirBnB. We recently rented a place in Lisbon that was fantastic. Very large, three bedroom with huge living room and kitchen, and less than it would have cost us for two hotel rooms.

    • MaggieBanks

      Yet to be determined. We’re tentatively planning to crash on their floor for that segment of the trip, but will be spending much time in AirBNBs the rest of the trip (and maybe there as well depending on what their apartment looks like).

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