"A Jack of All Trades is a Master of None, but oftentimes better than a Master of One."

Hitting Rock Bottom and Getting Back Up

It was March 2010. We found out in a few months we’d both be unemployed. We sat in the living room in silence watching the sun set behind the trees; wondering how we were going to pay the mortgage in a few months. Maybe even wondering how we were going to eat. What jobs could we even get? Our current careers were being decimated.

This wasn’t our absolute worst bottom yet, but it was what became our first rock bottom and what sparked the first glimmer of our frugal lifestyle.

For years prior, I had been saving my income to pay off my student loans and Chris was paying the minimums on his. We didn’t have a plan, but I wanted to be debt-free, even if it was just debt-freedom personally, but not as a married couple. The reimbursement I’d get in six months would be able to pay the last of my loans off (I was currently taking 3 post-masters courses and luckily the 1 year in my current position allowed me to get reimbursed for about 1/2 of it). Though, without a steady income that reimbursement would be important to just survive.

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3 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Your Company’s 401k or 403b

I’ll be honest. I’ve been a little afraid to start this blog and even more afraid to write about real world problems and how we can fix our own little financial worlds in the midst of all this chaos. I’m going to do my best to share my thoughts and let the chips fall where they may.

One topic I’ve researched a lot over the years, watched documentaries on, but personally do not fund are 401k retirement plans. We do have a pension system (while in disarray) that we are paying into and we fund Roth IRAs. We have the option to fund 403b accounts, but at this time we’re investing that money in paying off our mortgage.

If you want a true picture of the 401k (or 403b), read Why Your 401k Is A Scam! by James Altucher. So far, that’s probably the best piece of writing I’ve found that explains it straight forward.

I know not everyone will agree with me, but that’s okay. That’s why personal finance is personal. As long as you’re comfortable with what you’re doing, then don’t listen to anyone else.

One of the biggest things I’ve said to others who talk to me about personal finance is to ask questions. Lots of questions. If someone is coming to meet you in your work lunchroom to manage your retirement, you’re paying them. This isn’t a free meeting. They are getting paid in fees and bonuses for all the money they are bringing into their company. Don’t be fooled. Continue reading…

Keeping Up With the Mom-ses

About a month ago, I almost made a huge financial mistake on our path to financial independence and debt-freedom. I almost financed a newer car.

Since our second little baby guy Crab came along, it’s been a lot more difficult getting out the door every day with two kiddos in tow. For the first few months of his little life, while on family leave, I drove my oldest to school (or walked before my 6-week postpartum grace period, eeek!). In that time, I found myself envious of all the CRVs and minivans parked along the road, engines humming in the gorgeous fall air, waiting to pickup their cherubs.

How easy it looked to put your infant and toddler into their carseats at waist height. How simple my life would be if I just had a bit more room for strollers and a higher backseat so I didn’t have to bend over… A door that closes on it’s own? Cool.

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No New Clothes for A Year

I wrote about my reasons not to buy new clothes for a year, on my personal blog, after reading an impressive challenge via Mrs. FrugalWoods. She continued her journey through pregnancy and postpartum, which I find to be very challenging in the clothes sizes I’ve experienced up and down the past five years.

I thought I’d take a moment to update you in the process and what I’ve saved thus far, as well as my hopes going forward. I started this challenge for myself the weekend of Thanksgiving 2015. I chose to avoid buying and actually shopping on Black Friday, a day which I usually do a lot of shopping for holiday gifts and for myself!

I did not buy any new clothing for the month of December, January, or February. I received as a Christmas gift a pair of suede boots and pajamas, and I was given a nice sweater as well. Those are the only new items I’ve acquired in that time, and it’s been quite nice not slumming around the stores looking in the ladies departments the past few months.

I’d like to update you monthly here about this challenge and keep track of how it’s going.

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

It’s super easy to make your own laundry detergent. You might think this takes a lot of time, but it takes about 5 minutes and lasts about 6 months or more. The last time we made laundry detergent was before the Crab arrived, over 6 months ago, and we still had a decent amount left. This past week, I made a bit more to last another half year.

The recipe is pretty simple, you can make it complex with essential oils if you choose to, but we’re pretty easy going with our laundry scents.

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