May Update

May 2016 Plan Update

May was filled with end-of school projects, trip preparations, and playing outside! May is the month we move into full summer here in Anchorage and it’s glorious! I’ve spent my Saturdays in the hospital infusion center getting pumped full of iron to help the anemia before we leave (those bills haven’t yet arrived!) reading Harry Potter and wrapped in a warm blanket. Things have improved, which is fabulous! We also had an adorable moose family move into our yard for the holiday weekend. They were very fun to watch (from a distance). We had a few close calls with the mom, but no one got charged and we got some great pictures of the twin babies.

Moose family

On the blog this past month, we hosted Mr. Groovy and Taylor from the Freedom from Money for the Roth IRA Challenge, we explored research on the brand name deception and entrepreneurs, and gave an update on the simpler life we’ve created. I wrote a dramatic commencement address, talked about relativity in finances, admitted my gazingus pin, and reminded you all that this path to financial independence is not a marathon or a sprint (which was featured on Rockstar Finance!).

We leave the country at the beginning of next week! If you’re not aware (you must be new around here!), Mr. T and I are headed to the UK and Paris for a big tenth anniversary trip sans children. And it all kicks off next week! We have super exciting stuff happening on the usual MWF schedule here on the blog while we’re away, we may just get a bit behind on answering comments (but we’ll catch up, we promise!).

The Numbers:

We’ve been using Personal Capital to get a snapshot of our monthly finances. It really is a geeked-out dream for someone like me that loves to see graphs and make spreadsheets. If you don’t like doing that, it’s also really user-friendly and does all the work for you. Best part? It’s free! Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! It has cut down my end-of-the month reckoning significantly since I can see all my accounts together (with graphs!).

Our investments sit at $97,390! If the markets keep rising, we may actually be able to break 6 digits next month (less than $3000 away!). I’m not counting on any market anything, but that would be really fun to see that first big number! And the mortgage is down to $71,200. With the upcoming trip, we didn’t put very much extra toward the mortgage this month to ensure we have some cash on hand for next month.

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 May: 36.9% – Without a large extra mortgage payment, our savings percentage decreased. I don’t expect it to go back up until after the summertime. We’ll be out of the country for nearly the entire month of June, so that will probably be the most expensive month of the year. I will also not be working for the month of June, which means our monthly income will decrease by $1000-2000 (my usual monthly wage).

2016 Financial Goal Update:

I’m actually starting to feel a bit down about our progress on these goals. We’re halfway through the year, just about ready to jet-set for nearly a month in an expensive country, and we still need $11,900 (over our usual mortgage payments) to bring the mortgage below $5500 and we still need $11,000 to max out our Roth IRAs. Unless we get another $10,000 overnight from the PFD (which isn’t looking likely), I’m not entirely sure we can hit these goals! But that just means it’s time to try harder and get creative!

  • $125,000 in investments by the end of the year (need some market help on this one, so I’m not going to focus on it, but if they continue, it might be possible! Currently $97,390/$125,000)
  • Max out my Roth IRA for 2015 by April ($5500/$5500) – Done!
  • Max out Mr. T’s Roth IRA for 2016 by December ($0/$5500)
  • Max out my Roth IRA for 2016 by December ($0/$5500)
  • Mortgage balance below $55,000 by the end of December ($71,200 – $16,200 left to go!)

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:

$12.50 – More wheatgrass juice shots.

$356.20 – Flights from Edinburgh to Paris. We were going to take the train, but the cost ended up being the same to just fly.

$3 – Mr. T and I used gifted Costco Regal Cinemas tickets to see the new Captain America movie. Apparently it costs $1.50 each to use these. We saw it on a Monday afternoon in a theater with recliners.

$3.98 – Two pieces of Costco pizza the kids and I shared one day for lunch. Some days, it’s worth the cost to give the kids a special lunch!


$0.90 from my Bookscouter Affiliate Link – Oh no! My “passive income” is going down! 🙂

$525 – My new side hustle… one weekend of taking the SEO course and the work came rolling in! After our big trip this month, I’m hoping SEO work can help us meet our goals for the year!

$15.19 – A few kind readers have shopped through my Amazon link over the past year. This is the first deposit I’ve gotten. Thank you, dear readers. You melt my heart.

$158.77 – We finally got around to selling a pile of things from our big home purge on eBay. It feels good!

Financial Phrases:

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

  • “Well we bought our house, but we don’t own it. The bank owns it and we live in it.”
  • “Our will would just involve who would have to pay our debts when we die. With the mortgage and medical school loans, there won’t be any money left!”
  • “We have so many plans for our finances after we buy our house!”
  • “We’re picky about dumpy houses. What does that say about us?”


I’m an SEO Specialist and you can be too!


Roth IRA Challenge: Dream Beyond Debt


  1. Congrats on your strides for the month. And those investments…swoon worthy!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks Latoya! It’s actually starting to feel like real numbers as we near 6 digits!

  2. You should post pictures of the moose in your yard! I have a bunch that I should collect in a photo album some day. I never get tired of looking at them. I have a friend who’s working this summer out at ADF&G’s Moose Research Station on the Kenai, and she’s also currently providing my fill of moose pictures. 🙂

    Also, good to know that it can take forever and a day to actually make any money with the affiliate links…I’ve had mine up for a couple months now and I sometimes wonder if anyone ever clicks on them at all. I guess I’ll find out in 10 years. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      I meant to post one, but with the packing and cleaning and working, it didn’t happen. 🙂

  3. Good job on the savings percentage still being pretty high, it was definitely higher than ours was this month. 🙂 See, it’s all relative. I’ll have to look into the SEO a bit when i get more time. That is some pretty good cash, even on just the follow-up. Keep us posted on how that goes, you may just convince me to follow you down that path!

    • MaggieBanks

      We’ll see if the work keeps flowing! I’m hoping it does when we get back… otherwise, our 2016 goals aren’t looking so hot…

  4. Wow, you have a LOT going on! Enjoy your trip and Happy Anniversary! 🙂

  5. thejollyledger

    You are going to have such a great time in Paris! Leave all this other stuff behind. It will work out fine in the end…you will see. And your savings rate is still strong (Forest for the trees and all that!).

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks for the encouragement! I definitely don’t plan to worry while I’m gone! 🙂

  6. Have an amazing trip! That is super exciting!
    I wouldn’t worry about not reaching all your financial goals. You are moving in the right direction, and at a pretty good clip, I might add. I don’t think I will reach all my financial goals for the year, but I’ll keep trying!

  7. Happy anniversary! Have an amazing trip! And great job making progress on those goals. 🙂

  8. Nice work on your savings! And totally melting at the sight of those moose 🙂 Have a fabulous anniversary trip.

  9. believefire

    Great job tracking where your money goes and working towards early retirement. I hope you guys have a great anniversary vacation and are able to enjoy the break.

    Thanks for sharing the moose picture, such beautiful animals. I think D and I need to make a trip to Alaska one day. We’ve never been.

    • MaggieBanks

      I think everyone should come visit! It’s a great place. 🙂

  10. I love that money quote: “Well we bought our house, but we don’t own it. The bank owns it and we live in it.” That’s a realistic way to think about a mortgage — “renting to own” from the bank instead of a landlord.

    Have a fantastic time in Europe!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks guys! And I agree. That’s definitely how I feel about our home! I’m sick of the bank owning it!

  11. Would it not be great to reach 100K while enjoying a holiday. I hope you reach that milestone

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh my goodness. I love this comment! How profound it would be to actually hit the milestone while not even working! I hope we do now too! 🙂

  12. Congrats on all the progress Maggie. The moose story is amazing, we’ve had rosellas, , Huntsman Spiders and pelicans in our local area recently (2 different spiders were actually in our house 🙂 )

    I hope you have a great time visiting the UK and Paris. Good luck reaching $100k 🙂



    Also, what kind of movie theater has recliners? And where can I find one?

    I truly love your financial phrases segment. Picky about dumpy houses, lol.

    • MaggieBanks

      Aren’t they just the most adorable?! And you have to find the most ghetto mall theater and you’ll happen upon recliners! 🙂

  14. I think I earned $0.78 through Amazon affiliate income this month. Whee! I’m doing a free webinar through Bluehost this coming week to learn how to boost affiliate income through them.

    • MaggieBanks

      Mine was earned in about $0.78 increments… and now, a year later, I got a deposit!

  15. So exciting hearing about the trip especially sans kids – it will be strange – in a good way. Re the goals, sometimes you’ve just got to pause and enjoy yourselves. You will still have the frugal habits when you get back and will hit the 6 figure mark before you know it.

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks for the encouragement! We will miss the kids, but the break will be good for us to be able to regroup and figure out where we want to head next when we return and what we want to work on.

  16. J

    I’m so excited for you guys – for your trip and for being close to having 6-digits worth of investment! I can only dream about these 2 for now. Happy anniversary and I hope you have a blast in Europe. Can’t wait to read about your stories!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks J! It was very fitting we hit that milestone whilst traveling. It feels right. 🙂

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