The first year of any life simultaneously speeds by and seems like forever. When I think back on where we were a year ago, it seems so distant. But every week on the blog has been such a joy, it’s gone by in a flash.
This blog was born out of a malaise with the norm. Ironically, though our situation hasn’t changed much, the blog has helped us find more joy in the current situation. Why? Because we’re doing something about it while also realizing even more that living in the present is important.
The absolute number one reason I’m so glad I started this blog is the connections I’ve made because of it. I’ve met some actual friends that are bloggers and those connections are awesome. I also love all the comments! The connections with you are WHY we do this. Our readers are amazing and every once in awhile, someone will comment a personal story or a tip or inspiration that completely rocks my socks! So thank you. Thank you for being here. Thanks for joining the discussion. Thanks for being my friends.
For our 100th post, we put together a clip show. Today, we will continue that theme and create the ultimate first year Northern Expenditure clip show! Look at the highlights from the past year (cue sentimental music…. “It’s something unpredictable… I hope you had the time of your life…”):
What Have We Accomplished?
Since starting the blog one year ago, we have made so many little changes that have added up to a complete lifestyle change. Over the past year, we:
- Completed the Alaska Energy Rebate Program (with a rebate close to $8,000!) – This was a big task that involved replacing our front door and garage door, insulating our attic and crawlspace, replacing our windows, bathroom fans, and replacing our hot water heater with a tankless version. We did all the work ourselves because we don’t think work is a bad 4-letter word.
- Seen our investments rise by $38,360 and paid down our mortgage by $18,800 all while collectively making less than $100,000/year.
- Maxed out our IRAs for 2015, working on 2016.
- Increased Mr. T’s 401k contributions to the monthly amount that maxes it out annually ($1500/month).
- Touched everything in our house and got rid of tons of stuff. We started by category with clothes and books and then moved on to rooms like the bathrooms and kitchen.
- Got over $10,000 overnight thanks to the PFD (or the money we get paid to live in Alaska)
- Started doing some conservative travel hacking (and Mr. T and I went to London and Paris!)
- Got our legal will figured out (plus our living wills) and saved money doing it!
We recently recalculated our plans and would have been frustrated by the numbers, but when you take into account the 4-year potential, I’m excited to see what lies ahead for us and love taking a look through the kaleidoscope toward that future.
I’m a researcher. I do it for work. I do it for fun. So periodically, I talk about research here on the blog. We’ve covered topics such as: temporal discounting (and the famous marshmallow study), regret (how to avoid regret, how to plan for regret, business regrets, general life regrets and my hilarious worst money regret), starting a new habit, feature fatigue, gratitude (also a possible antidote for temporal discounting!), relationships and finances, the brand name deception, how the rich live longer, and inflation and market returns.
We’ve also offered our own advice (though obviously for entertainment only) of various varieties:
- To the akward middle schooler (though it also works for the awkward adult).
- To the High School Graduate
- To the College Graduate
- To the person getting a “real job” job for the first time
- To the person trying to get a raise
- To the parents of a new baby
- To the people without children (also to those new baby parents)
- To the parents trying to pay their kids for chores
- To the couple navigating finances in marriage
- To the person spending money on groceries
- To anyone currently eating money
- To the person struggling to save money for retirement
If you’re looking for inspiration, we’re here to tell you that you need to Accept Yourself Now but we’re also here to tell you that if you don’t like something It’s Your Fault! and you should start by making one change toward where you want to be. You need to pick a path and make it yours, dream big, work out your life asset allocations, and be willing to go shirtless. We’ve also created a whole series of pinnable, printable inspiration for you that we like to call Northern Expressions.
As for your finances, we have some stuff to say about that, too. (Again, disclosure: don’t make financial choices based on some Alaskan blogger.) First of all, we believe that we won the birth lottery and that allows us to pursue financial independence. We also think that finances are relative, so you are the only person that can determine the best choices for you. We can tell you the basics and lay them out as simply as possible, but in the end, you are the one that you need to understand. You need to know your financial reflexes, your gazingus pin, your leaky spending, when your love is getting in the way, and whether you are a saver or a spender. The path to financial independence is long, but it gains momentum as you go, and the good news is: it’s not a marathon (or a sprint!).
Thanks for being along for our journey. We truly appreciate it. You inspire us. We hope we’ve been able to inspire a few of you as well. Here’s to another 20 years! Go and eat some cake in our honor! (I always approve of eating cake and I’m happy to give you an excuse to do so.)