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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!



The Dangers of Relying on Luck

By on April 25, 2016

Four short weeks from today, I will go to work for the last time. Holy cow! It’s crazy to see those words in writing. I’ll walk out of that building and leave the school district where I’ve worked for the past fourteen years. As we’ve been telling people about my recent decision to stay home with the boys after this school year, a common reaction has been, “How did you get so lucky?”


How Whole Life Helped Pay Off Debt

By on April 20, 2016

A few months ago we got serious about slaying our remaining debts. We had already discovered ways to decrease spending, from razor blades, dropping dish/cable, shopping at Aldi, changing cell plans, and car insurance. While that’s all great and good, one also must slay the debt dragon if you want to get out from under the shadow of Lonely Mountain*.

Our FIRE manifesto

By on April 14, 2016

We weren’t born to just pay bills and mar 14

You’ve probably seen this quote floating around the Internet. It’s totally apropos for what we here at Changing Our Default are doing. FIRE (Financial Independence and Retiring Early) is now a primary goal for us.

“We were meant to live for so much more…have we lost ourselves?” – Switchfoot