Road Less Traveled Challenge: COD and Our Next Life

By on June 14, 2016

The Road Less Traveled Challenge: How are we doing early retirement our own way?

cod BUS

The friendly folks over at Our Next Life have issued a Road Less Traveled challenge, a call to others in pursuit of FIRE (financial independence and retiring early). They’ve asked people to share what they’re doing that’s similar to other FIRE seekers, and more importantly, how they’re unique in their plans and methods. Many early-retirement peeps are doing a lot of the same things (saving at a high rate, investing in a certain way, using the 4% rule and similar calculations), but since early-retirement requires some level of “go your own way” thinking and different mindsets from the general population, the ONL guys are asking for our stories. How are we designing our own lives? How are we different from the others in the FIRE community? We’re excited to join the conversation! Here’s how we’re diverging from the traditional path: (more…)

Limits And Why They’re Good For You

By on June 10, 2016

Limits. As we all know, they are often painted in a negative context:

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” –-Mary Kay Ash

“There’s no limit to what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it!” –almost every single high school commencement speech every spring

“The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.” –Tony Robbins

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” –Michael Phelps

photo race crowd

There is no shortage of inspirational quotes to be found about not letting limits run your life. It’s great to unleash the power of positive thinking in achieving goals. Heck, I’m working on that as I aim to build this blog and a freelance career. (more…)

Cell Phone: Pay for what you use & save

By on June 3, 2016

So you only paid a penny for a $600 cell phone and for 80 bucks a month you have unlimited data, texting, minutes, and a lifetime supply of oxygen included for FREE! WOW! That’s a great deal!?

For many people you could spend less than $20 per month per phone, if you changed a few of your defaults by utilizing wifi options. The switch from major cell providers was easier for us once we realized how to utilize the FORCE (wifi) and that we could effectively and easily manage our data consumption, texts, and phone minutes.


My Last Work Week

By on June 1, 2016

My last work week was amazing. Busy. Encouraging. Emotional. Bittersweet. I sit here at the end of the day, the last day I went to my work. (Okay, so I’m finishing the writing of this post about a week later. No apologies…I’m semi-retired and I’ve been loving the time with my boys already!) It feels almost just like any other day. As a teacher, I’m used to the May feeling, the “school’s out for summer!” feeling. Every year, it’s the most incredible sense of freedom, to know that I’ve finally reached the END of something. Educators are lucky in that way–we get beginnings and endings, unlike people in so many other professions that just trod on and on and on with no respite. Today, I’m done, but not just for the summer. For the next three YEARS! (more…)

Dollar Shave Club: Save a Little Money

By on May 21, 2016

I use a razor every day to shave more than just my face. As they say I’m “follically challenged” and have been for over half my life. So good razors are important to me, but I also like to get the last bit of life out of my razors because they are so damn expensive. I was very excited when the triple blades came out. What an improvement over the dual blades. Smooooooth. As you may or may not know there are now several shave clubs to join which save a lot of $$$ and you can use fresh blades more often without feeling guilty for moving on to a new $4 blade.


save, gifts, thrift, donation

A Semi-Frugal Date

By on May 15, 2016

Ah, the joys of the semi-frugal date! In our nearly eight years together, Nate and I have spent much more time doing cheap or free stuff on our dates than expensive activities. We do occasionally splurge on a special meal or movie out, but our default is cheaper alternatives. On our first trip to Madison, for example, we visited a free museum and heard four different free concerts! (more…)

Peer pressure and purchases: the groupthink mentality

By on May 7, 2016

Peer pressure: it’s not just for teenagers! Peer pressure can lead us to get a terrible haircut, to hire a friend for a job, to share a post on social media, to support a cause, to attend a certain college…and to buy stuff we don’t want or need.


Pic of us at Millennium Park, Chicago. Free outdoor fun!


Recently, my neighbor invited me to her Pampered Chef party. It ended up being pretty fun, actually, since it was a chance to spend time with her and I don’t know her well. The products showcased were cool, too. Man, it makes me feel old to admit I enjoyed checking out kitchen wares! We shared delicious food and chatted in a relaxed setting. (more…)

default changing

By on May 7, 2016

photo empty kayak

I wish I could pull a Doctor Who time travel and go back in time to save myself from some costly mistakes. I would give myself some sage advice regarding investing or at least tell myself to listen and FOLLOW the advice given by my friend Ryan circa the year 2000. Love those college years and all that debt, but that’s for a later post. (more…)

What Your Coffee Is Costing You

By on May 5, 2016

We all know our daily coffee habit can perk us up on the dreariest of days, but have you ever stopped to think about what your coffee is costing you? You might think it’s just a simple cup of java to help you hit the ground running, but it could be one of many factors to slow down your path to retirement.


Au revoir, student loans!

By on April 30, 2016

Note: This post was written in November of 2015. It’s an important part of our story, so we’re including it here although some circumstances have changed.

Today, I owe nothing on my student loans–hallelujah! Thirteen and a half years since college graduation, four years since completing my masters, and 35 grand gone.

It was a bit of a thrill as I logged onto my loan account this morning to see…paid in full. Balance zero. Oh, how beautiful!