How Do I Get Ahead If I’m Not a Mega Saver or Super Frugal? The Story of How Two Average Joes Got Out of Debt and Got on the Road to Financial Independence: Part I

Ever wonder how you can build financial independence if you’re not a super saver, maybe spend a little too much going out to eat, or like to go on vacation?

This is the story of how two Average Joes (or, one average Joe and one average Jane) have created financial security without being big savers, super frugal, or mega income earners (and still go out to eat and take vacations). Continue reading “How Do I Get Ahead If I’m Not a Mega Saver or Super Frugal? The Story of How Two Average Joes Got Out of Debt and Got on the Road to Financial Independence: Part I”

YNAB Review

**This year is A Year of Good Habits. Each month, I’ll focus on developing or strengthening one financial habit to better automate that behavior so we can double our net worth in three years and become location independent. In January, I’m focusing on setting and sticking to a budget as the goal. To do that, I started using a new budgeting software called You Need a Budget. Below is my take on how that’s working out for us.** (By the way, if you click the link above, you’ll get a free month and I’ll get a free month. Thanks for supporting this blog!). 

Here We Go

Why did I pick budgeting as a habit? Is it a habit, exactly? If we look at a habit as a behavior or set of behaviors that have become automated, then the way we channel the money that comes into our house is a habit. In the past, I’ve used the 50/50 budget method and Mvelopes software to channel our family’s finances. Some people use an anti-budget which works, too. But for me, a reformed spendthrift, I need the parameters of a budget to help me spend less. I say “I” because my husband does not have this problem to the same extent. He doesn’t spend much (I am also the family purchaser, for the most part. I buy groceries, pay insurance, etc.).

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January Net Worth Update

Our family’s dream is to move internationally in three years. In order to do that, we’ve set a goal of doubling our net worth by December 2019. While that amount of money won’t replace our yearly expenses using the 4% rule (yet!—we’re slowly bringing down our spending),  it will give us enough financial security to leave our “safe” jobs to travel.

For us “semi-adventurous” folk, having that nest egg in the bank is important. Everyone has different levels of tolerance for financial security.

My husband grew up very, very poor, in Santiago, Chile. While his family always had enough food to eat, he spent time after school collecting wood scraps in order to heat their house. His mom worked three jobs after his dad died, when he was 13, in order to keep their family afloat. As you can probably imagine, financial security is important to him.

Mr. ThreeYear as a boy

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The 50/50 Budget

I have a friend who is amazing in so many ways. She is giving, has co-funded charities that help refugees, and is so excited about life she never stops participating in cool events in our area. She has family who lives internationally so she and her family travel a lot. But she is terrified of budgeting. She and I have made dates to sit down and look at her budget but she keeps cancelling—she can’t bring herself to do it. She is afraid that if she puts the numbers to paper that she will be forced to stop doing something she likes—travel, supporting charities, enjoying local entertainment.

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I Changed This One Habit to Save Over $11,000 This Year!

Could you really implement one, just one habit into your life to save massive amounts of money in a year? 

You can, and it’s not too hard. I did it, and I saved over $11,000 in one year, without really trying to.

What in the world is this magic trick and how can you implement it? 

Read on.

The Excel Spreadsheet

It’s almost December, and I’ve just about completed the second year of tracking my spending on my good ole’ Excel Spreadsheet.

Wait, what? That’s the big secret? Tracking?

Yep. Sorry if you were expecting something more flashy.

But it really is as simple as that.

I started the habit last January (2015), when I wanted more control of my spending trends than my budgeting software was giving me.

Our family has made (and gone over) budgets since 2008, so I’d been keeping a close eye on our spending for many years.

I kept hearing advice that tracking your spending was important to financial independence, so…

I decided to manually track everything in my Super-Duper-Over-the-Top-Six-Sheet Excel Networth Spreadsheet.

And it turns out that manually tracking your spending is enough to change your spending behavior in major ways. 

Continue reading “I Changed This One Habit to Save Over $11,000 This Year!”