A year off from work, Why? & How?

I have been wanting to take a year off from work for a very long time. As the year gets closer to its end I have a lot to contemplate.

A young mother

The whole idea started after giving birth to my son, he’s 7 now. See I got pregnant while attending university and due to the situation I didn’t even take my full 6 weeks off to recoup. I had deadlines and metrics to meet if I wasn’t going to become another drop out statistic.

There were plenty of breaks thanks to the academic school term and because of how close I live to campus I spent lots of time back home with my baby. But I still felt I was missing a lot.

I remember telling my significant other ” You are going to have to make enough money to support us for a year, because for my next one I am going to take a whole year off. I’m not going to miss anything in that first year”

Well I have 2 babies now and that goal never came to pass. Though by that time, I had put in enough time to qualify for PFL, FMLA, CFRA and all those pro family programs it was still a limited amount of time. 6 weeks. A consolation prize compared to a year. But I took it and even optimized it. ( Another post I’m eager to write).

So I missed it, the goal but I still held out hope.

A year off, are you sure?

I still wanted a year off. But with debt and bills and by the way we have “free” childcare. There wasn’t a lot of support for the idea.

It’s a big mistake older women advised.

“You’ll lose financial security and be dependent on the man. ”

“It’ll kill your career”

“Why would you want to stay home, I couldn’t do that”

It wasn’t so much the career suicide comments that deterred me as much as the money. A lot of that debt was mine not my husband’s and I wanted to pay it off myself. I suffer from pride and stubbornness and wanted to prove “hey I got myself in this mess and I can get myself out”.

But I still wanted to take a year off.

Revised Goal

So I accepted the fact I probably wasn’t going to take the first year off. I asked myself what my goal was really.

Minnie Roamer

Simply I wanted to raise my kids but more specially be the one to imprint onto my daughter in her early years. I wanted to be a key player. Not the alternate. I know there are sentiments against this after all many household are now dual income, farming out the majority of childcare.


There is no argument in my mind that there are certain things you just won’t learn without putting in the time.

” Quality time happens with quantity time”

So with this I decided that I could still take a year off soon, but there was a limited window.

I only had until she turned 4. That would give me a year before she started school and she herself became less available.

So I started a count down, literally on excel.

Minnie Roamer is 2 now and Jr is 7. And it’s looking like next year will finally be the year.

Preparation for a year off

If you are in a dual income household* there are some steps that need to be taken. (* these same steps could also be applied if you are a single parent but you will probably need to make some adjustments)

Taking a year off from work is going to impact a lot on your household from schedules to routines. While those also need to be address the main and first thing is the math needs to make sense.

Financially it needs to work for a year off to happen.

  1. You need to understand your financial situation. As in you need to know how much debt you have and how much you have in savings and other liquid (easily accessible cash) assets. I would recommend having enough savings to cover 6 months* of all your spending.(* if your single you will clearly need to save over a years worth of spending )
  2. You need to know your cash flow. How much money is coming in? How much money is going out? In other words what are you earning and what are you spending.
  3. Identify the Gap. This is where you analyze the earnings with the spending and identify how much excess you have. This is the equivalent of when you hear someone say. I only live off 75% of my take home pay. That means they could function normally losing the extra 25% of income. You want that gap to equal your entire paycheck if possible. This will look different for everyone. For example if you are both equal earners you want the gap to be 50%. But if your spouse bring in 75% of the income then a 25% gap should equal your entire paycheck and you should be good

When your gap is good & savings are met , financially the math makes sense to take a year off. (High five)


What if your saving don’t add up to 6 months and your gap is very small?

Then you need to make a plan to cut your spending. (This should be a post on its own ) Here are some things to consider.

  1. Pay off your debt. Simplistic yes, but this can have a big impact in both how much you need to save and your gap. How? Here’s a table below.Quick analyses of the spending changes and impacts
  2. Reduce any other type of spending. Reducing your spending anywhere else will have the same affect as the above. The less you spend the bigger the gap and the less you need to save to cover you for 6 months.

If you spend $5,000 a month then you need $30,000 saved up to cover 6 months. If you only spend $3,000 then you’ll need $18,000 for 6 months. I’m sure you can guess that getting to $18k will be quicker then $30k.

This was pretty much the scenario for us. After we paid off all the student loans and the car loans our cash flow took a big hike up. As in the gap increased. Then we also realized that what we had saved( without adding anymore) covered more months then it had before.

Family plan

But its not just about the money. Other things should also be discussed.

  1. Agree to have a spouse that keeps working. As in if the job starts to suck, they need to just stick it out or secure another job before quitting. ( At the very least agree to discuss options, I  would want to avoid any disruptions in income)
  2. Make a schedule of things you want to Do. The new schedule is going to be strange and having an idea of why you wanted the time off to begin with will help you not feel antsy about it.
  3. Discuss changes in division of household tasks. But agree to post pone changes and expectations until after 6 weeks pass.
  4. Take 6 weeks to get use to new tempo.  During my maternity leave this is how long it took me to finally find my groove at home. You will feel doubt, again the changes are going to feel weird.
  5. Finally let your mind stop working and decompress.
  6. Schedule to revisit situation, (finances, feeling, expectations) each quarter.

Just in case you are wondering, yes these are all thing we have done. Specifically the financial planning. I have had up to 8 weeks off of work continuously for maternity leave but I’m sure there’s other things that will come up mentally/ emotionally that I currently can’t foresee.

Have you ever thought about taking a year off of work? Maybe it was to be a full time parent maybe something else. How would you go about preparing for it?

The Roamer traveling wallet



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Weekly Pain & Gain: FinCon +


So I just wanted to let you know that I’m sorry I’ve fallen off my consistent posting schedule. agh! I was doing so good too. Lately I missed a lot of posts, which sucks because it was my goal to have 1 post a week . It’s my fault I fell off the horse.

But below is the reason why.

Excuses, Excuses , Excuses

I recently attended FinCon  ( financial bloggers conference) for the first time and what can I say I needed some time to recoup and make up for all the family time I missed.

Also I needed to make time to process all the info that I got at the conference. It was awesome but also very overwhelming. I have to make a game plan because when I attend next year I want there to be big change.

Which leads me to…

What’s on the Horizon

I have been thinking about doing a slight pivot on the blog. ( Foolishly I totally forgot to get some opinions from all the clever people at the conference) but I have lots of work to do to spiff up the blog.

Why change?

Well its really suppose to be to improve the reader experience. So that means its for you. And any future readers.

The layout of the blog will be changing but that won’t happen for a while .

Also it appears I need to clarify what it is we do here. I’ll be honest it’s about my journey and what I value and is important to me.

Which naturally means topics could morph as I grow and my families situation changes. But the main topics will be family/ parenting, travel, and finance.

And with that it’s time to put my nose to the grindstone. I’ve been slacking, I have to admit it. I have to fight for my dreams, they aren’t going to fall in my lap. I wish it were all about numbers and money. For some reason that comes easy to me.

But finding how to communicate and identify a value that people really actually need … That’s something else.


Talking about FinCon, it wasn’t all overload. Actually when it comes to the check book it was pretty darn good.

When I first did my math, I was pretty dissatisfied with how much this whole thing was going to cost. I mean when you compare it to an 8 day 4 person family vacation and come out at the same cost its hard not to be disappointed.

I had the total cost at $1404.82 for 1 person for FinCon . And that wasn’t including transportation  or food for the 4 days.

Fortunately the total cost of the trip currently clocks in at  $1202.76 which will drop further to $1078 once the last roomie payment clears.

So how did I drop the initial cost ?

Well I hustled and found 1 roommate (cha-ching $$) who help find another 2 ($$). So that $515 for 3 nights was sliced by having 3 other amazing ladies stay in the same room. Each of us only payed a quarter of the price. It was win win and it was so much fun.

Another way I cut costs was I used the bus.

I’ve never been shy around public transportation because I grew up in LA and we used it regularly. But after going away to college in a city were  everything was dangerous it had been a while since I had ridden a bus, specially alone. Thankfully the positive bus experience I had with Mr. Roamer last year set me up to courageously try out the transit in Charlotte.

The bus cost a meer $2.20 each way and that was all the transportation needs I had. After that I simply walked.

I had an amazing time at FinCon and I’m happy I came back with a small gain through lowering my initial costs.

Another gain that happened this week specifically was having an eye opening conversation. A conversation that was educational and enlightening in dismantling misconceptions.

I had an amazing conversation with a Persian coworker. Did you know that most Persians would now be called Iranians? I sure didn’t.

I had never thought of that, and as soon as I made the connection I felt the twinge of something. Deep down, Danger? Distrust? Negative feelings for sure. I recognized it right away but he and I were still talking so I noted it but moved on quickly.

We continued talking.

He talked about his country and all the great stuff about it. He jumped on Google and showed me pictures, I asked about the weather, does it snow? He said yes, there are mountains and pulled up a picture.

I was amazed as I noted a quick passage of another thought. Deserts this doesn’t look like just deserts. Then he brought it up. “I don’t know why everyone thinks its all just deserts and camels.”

And I said yes!!! ( wish you could see my face) that is exactly what I was thinking.  And then we talked about the media and its part in painting a whole country as one very narrow thing. It was an amazing conversation. and I left it excited to add Persia / Iran to my want to go places.

The conversation did get a bit emotional as he spoke of the government and its poor performance ( to put it lightly). The country and people as a whole he was all gush!

It’s amazing how one conversation can break down barriers. All those negative thoughts that popped in my head, they have been challenged and now I can see another perspective. People are always talking about moving out of your comfort zone. This is great way to do that. Go TALK to someone about where they’re from….

Ha-ha honestly can’t remember how conversation started… Oh no wait now I do… He kept saying Persia and I kept thinking I don’t think Persia is a country anymore… Finally I just asked.

What Pains and Gains have you experienced lately? If you went to FinCon how was it?

The Roamer traveling wallet




Weekend Wanderings #4: Tiny House for the Win

I’m over hear doting on tiny houses and their many upsides.While everyone is thinking bigger, and bigger.  What’s up with that?

A Note to New Readers: My Weekend Wandering series is a time I take to wander off the main focus of this blog and discuss any other topic.  Usually including videos that I found inspirational, informative or controversial. But if you'd like to talk about money read about how we obliterated debt in just 3 years.

FYI, this post does dive into money, so stick around.

Like all my weekend wandering posts this one is going to be chock-full of videos and the idea is that you watch them and be inspired. I won’t be summarizing their awesomeness. Today I am wandering into the realm of tiny houses.

I have gotten quite infatuated with the idea of tiny living and these videos should show you why, but just in case it isn’t crystal clear I’ll specify why I would really enjoy it for me and my family. That’s right, I’m talking about a family, of 4 no less.

First of all, I don’t support or understand this new trend that every kid needs their own bedroom. Seriously, can some one explain to me this thought? See I was raised different in a lot of ways and its because of my heritage. So honestly why does each kid need their own bedroom? Leave me a comment below to cue me in to this practice. It’s super foreign to me.

Its an important question to ask because tiny house living isn’t likely to support that requirement. Making good use of space means bunking together, bunk bedding that is. The first video is a single guy but I could easily see my family in the unit.

If I had to say one thing about it, it would be. “Can I move in and try this out, like now!”

All right now that you’ve watched that video lets get this discussion started.

Cost, starts high gets low

Now this first video is a great way to start the discussion on cost. The owner had a lot of specialty items, that means big $$ up front. Even so, tiny homes are still much more affordable. You just have to have a long term investment mentality. Get the good stuff now and pay less over your lifetime. For example it might cost you more to get your tiny home all set , then most people put down as a standard down payment. but then you get to enjoy all the perks.

How exactly will you save money after the purchase?

Small space, means no room to store unneeded items. Most tiny home dwellers report having to become  more intentional about their lifestyles. This translates into their purchases because it all ends up back in the house. Cutting the volume of the items you buy will undoubtedly lead to a smaller overall costs.  Hooray! for saving money.

Small Space, means small utility usage. Another perk reported is the wonderful side effect of lower monthly bills. Smaller square footage means less energy spent on heating and cooling. Bye Bye big electric/ gas bill.

Small space, means smaller over all cost of purchase. Like I said  earlier there are throngs of people buying houses without putting much money down. Not even 20%, but knowing you could buy a tiny home out right if you save might be motivation enough to accumulate enough to pay in cash. Can you say paying cash means hundreds of thousands of dollars saved in interest over the course of a standard 30 yr mortgage. THAT IS BIG $$$$$. I’m seeing hearts and stars just thinking about it.

Small space, means smaller tax burden. Okay I am making some assumptions here, but it is my understanding that the yearly tax of a house is based on the value of the house. Tiny homes cost less so that means they are worth less (not worthless, I’d say this makes them near priceless). But comment below if you do real estate and set me straight.

Finally for us, and to be more specific when it comes to the 2 mobile houses below. It is no small thing to say that if we were willing to give it a go, we could own one out right . Right now! Seriously at 30 – 40 K we could own it already. After all just this year we are setting aside 30K for a down payment on a more standard house. Like I said above stars and hearts people.


I included lots of different possibilities for Tiny House living (and you can binge watch more if you just keep watching all the attached videos). Not all offer this perk but oh how my heart sings at the idea. The video above and below show case yet another feature. Flexibility, with a capital F.

I am the Roamer, this is the Traveling Wallet, if you still can’t guess I have a deep rooted desire to travel. I know, its my fault I haven’t screamed it from the mountains. But I do, and the idea that these homes let me, you, go where ever the wind takes you. Well sign me up.

For me this also screams upgrade. I know that’s hard to understand when you are sitting in a 2,000 sqft house but hear me out.

You see I have this desire to do what some would call crazy travel. Living out of a suitcase travel. Camping in tents with nothing but the stuff on our backs. Much like this amazingly inspiring family has done.

A portable tiny house would be a great way to make sure we always have somewhere to stay and have our stuff with us. Compared to tents a tiny house is huge. It’s also a huge upgrade in comfort and amenities. You see what I’m saying now.

This following video really make tiny house living look so good.

Okay so what did you think?

Me in one sentence ” I can have a full kitchen? Man this just keep getting better and better” okay that was more then one sentence.

As I was doing research for this post I just came across so many, many videos with so many different floor plans and options.  It truly is an amazing and inspiring lifestyle for me.

Mr. Roamer doesn’t think this is very feasible for us right now, with 2 small children. He does say once they are grown he could see the allure and would be willing to try it. I say great. Being open to the idea is already a good sign. 

Ready to question the status quo of home buying?

Instead of planning your purchase with the thought of hosting Thanksgiving dinner once a year and hosting a couple of friends. How about asking what is my daily life going to look like here.

Most of us don’t really use all the space we have.  By asking what is my daily life going to look like you are asking, “What is the use of this home 80% of the time?”

I am planning my home by my 80%. Not my 20%. 80% is what I want to cover. For the less usual 20% I’ll get creative.

So, do families really need 4,000 sq ft for a family of 4? Did you know that homes in the past housed more people but where smaller in foot print?

Now a days we call those homes starter homes and we think that each kid need their own bedroom. ( I don’t understand this idea as my family (5 people) was raised in a 2 bedroom house from age 10 until 18.) Even now my family of 4 lives in a 950 sq ft apartment.

So if you’re going to say… But Roamer how will you have guests stay over or even dinner parties. Honestly that is not my life 80% of the time. If we do have visitors I would gladly offer them the space we do have.

And we do that even now. Making it a house of 6 for up to 10 days.

We have air mattresses and space enough to lay them out. If that doesn’t suit them they can always say no thank you. But it just doesn’t make sense to me to buy a 3 bedroom house just to have a guest room for the few and far in between times that does happen.

Did you know that even if you house guest for a whole month… That’s right 31 days, its still less then 10% of the planned yearly usage of your home.


Well what about big 10 people dinner parties. My reply to you would be.. did watch the first video? Seriously how sick was the dinning table.

So what do you think? Are you tearing down those old ingrained ideas of good, bad… normal? That is my goal for my weekend wanderings. To make you think outside the box.

So could you live in a tiny home? What about just down sizing?

The Roamer traveling wallet




Weekly Pain & Gain: Kids and Money

Kids can’t live with them can’t live without them.

Seriously this week wasn’t so bad but this weekend. Sheesh. I was an emotional wreck.


You know as the week progresses I like to make notes about what would be my gain and pain… So that I have some ideas to work with.

My pain this week was going to be all financial. See I messed up and miss calculated my IRA numbers, which negates last weeks gain :( . I really thought I was going to be able to max it out… But I accidentally had one extra space, I was counting contributions for January as well… Hmm.

So anyways that was going to be my pain for the week but then Sunday happen.

We, (I?) Had a big Baby scare.

Minnie Roamer rocked my world Sunday by frightening me. She is 2 and was taking too long on the potty, I was getting impatient and finally just picked her up. Then I saw it and something wasn’t right. So I set her down and told Mr Roamer to watch her. Then I went to check her poopy diaper… The poop didn’t seem to be too hard…

How could this happen….

I rushed back and told Mr. Roamer that I thought something was wrong. So I picked her up and told him to look, no that is not poop hanging from her.

I lost it. I did not keep it together. Oddly Minnie didn’t appear to be in any pain just discomfort, trying to shake the “poop” loose.

We waited a bit to see if things would go back to normal but…. I just wanted to take her in. I’m so glad the  hospital is almost literally right around the corner.

Note to all parents and future parents: as you freak out or remain calm about some child injury or emergency. Take a picture!

By the time we were seen at the emergency room everything was back to normal downstairs.  Diagnosis… They really didn’t give us one .. But it might have been rectal prolapse.

After we realized that everything was okay. We started to joke around… Man there are better things we could have done with those $100 and 30 min.  Another of those times you have to laugh to keep from crying… Though I did plenty of crying earlier.

Seriously though I am so happy we can just head over to a hospital… Even if the doctor says this wasn’t an emergency. I’m glad we don’t have to weigh whether something makes financial sense before we consider getting a professional opinion.

Though in the end it was almost a waste… The doctor didn’t do anything really since the problem wasn’t there anymore. I’d rather try to joke about the unnecessary expense after then to wait.

Still I’d rather do without the emotional rollercoaster to begin with but as a parent… These things are bound to happen …

Which lead me to…


I am soooo lucky to have Mr. Roamer, I myself was not feeling well Sunday morning which I think contributed to my maybe overly emotional reaction to Minnie.

But before all that happened Mr. Was doing what he could to pamper me and make me comfortable. Then all hell broke loose… Well at least I lost it. But he kept it together. I could see he was also greatly concerned but he stayed level. I love him so much. I’m so happy to have him around.


And before Sunday we also had a nice day at the beach. There was an event going on so there were booths and as we walked to our usual spot we scored some free snacks.

Beach free snacks… Big waves. (Thumbs up)

Free snacks scored at the beach, and 2 frisbees.
Free snacks scored at the beach, and 2 frisbees.

Actually we scored more then what is pictures above because as we left we also each snagged some more snacks. Yup we are those people taking full advantage of good freebies.

Capsule Update

So another complain is revolving around my capsule.  The weather is hot… Capsule for fall so far is all wrong thanks to the weather. Heats not dropping. I have too many cold weather items and not enough warm weather… Plus I went over board with the color..  I’m feeling like this capsule is going to be a big challenge.

The Roamer traveling wallet




Weekly Pain & Gain: Capsule Wardrobe Madness

Happy Labor Day everyone. I hope you all get to celebrate how you see fit. Make sure though you keep and eye on the dollar. I read a post that said most people spend more then what they are getting paid to have the day off. Say what?!

So yeah have fun but make sure your asking yourself what the value proposition is? Don’t just follow the crowd… if you think it has valued then go right ahead. Just taking the time to ask yourself the question and making sure your actions are in line with your values is where its at.

Okay now for this past weeks update.


This past week I’d been anxiously awaiting the weekend so I could get to work on switching out my capsule. If your new, in June I decided to try a capsule wardrobe and I used project 333 as my starting point .  Well I knew it was going to be a lot of work but sheesh. So much effort and work revolving around this capsule wardrobe challenge. I am seriously exhausted between all the work of switching stuff around and packing the rest of it up.

My piles of clothing. From round one on the capsule wardrobe challenge
My piles of clothing. From round one on the capsule wardrobe challenge

The real work however was prepping everything for Friday’s post. Taking pictures, editing the images, putting it all together and I haven’t even started writing it yet. (insert home alone scream*) Some posts are hard work. I have to say though I was happy with the outcome. Is it still a pain if all the hard work pays off?

*you have seen Home Alone right?I’m talking about the one he does in the bathroom after the after shave.

So yeah owning a lot of stuff….ugh….I am more and more getting enthralled with the idea of minimalism.

It could have been worse had I not already started to pare down my belongings.

The worst thing?

I didn’t follow my gut. It told me I had enough with the sorting of clothes. I didn’t listen. Instead I fished  out the 3 bins full of kids clothes. The weather was starting to get cooler so I figured I should fish out Minnie Roamer’s warm clothes.

Big Mistake!

Mr. Roamer just told me its suppose to be 100 this week…. So yeah I should have just not taken out the kids clothes. Full confession. They are still sprawled out across the extra bed in Jr’s room.

I just couldn’t take it anymore. Should have listened to that still quite voice inside saying I’d had enough. I’d had enough of separating and sorting and…. well you get the idea. Oh well.

Deep breath maybe I’ll work on it during the week.

How about you? Do you ever start cleaning stuff out finish feeling accomplished enough to start round 2 only to say. “What the hell was I thinking?”

Ha-ha you have to laugh to keep from crying.

Anyways lets move it along to the good stuff.


3 day weekend! hello! Nothing is more wonderful then having an extra day off! Fantasy is this what retirement will feel like?

Nuff said.

Also I might be double dipping but last week I was also really happy about calculating the traveling wallet family’s progress so far financially. You know this is a finance focused blog but for all my progress for some reason the financial articles are the hardest to spit out onto the paper.


401k Status
401k Status

But these numbers at least show you I’m not messing around. Even though I might have trouble articulating what we do exactly it is definitely something I give lots of thought to and that we are making great progress in.

Maybe you can just ask me some specific questions in the comments? Answering them might be easier then me guessing about what you want to know financially.

So like I was saying we are doing well in the financial department so much so that I decided to add the goal of maxing out our IRAs as well. I’ll be honest its a soft goal. First and foremost is meeting all the other preset goals.

Would you like to know our monthly expenses? How is a family of 4 in California saving so much?

Let me know I’ve been playing around with the idea of doing a monthly expenditure review.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment with your financial questions? Do you think I should do a monthly expense report? And have you ever walked away in the middle of organizing?

The Roamer traveling wallet




Goals: 2nd Trimester Review 2015

At some point  this trimester I realized I needed to focus my efforts. It’s not that it’s impossible to work on multiple things at once. It was more the fact that I needed to do a lot of learning. See sometimes you have all the foundational knowledge to accomplish something you just need to take up the challenge to push yourself farther, harder.

But that wasn’t the case for a lot of what I was trying to do. I didn’t have the background. So one task would split into several other smaller things that I needed to learn first. In essence my one goal might actually require me to jump 5 hurdles before even being able to address my goal.

I knew that on some level. That was part of the challenge of the goal. To learn something new. But I just didn’t gauge the amount of time I would need.

Not to mention these goals where made under different circumstances, chiefly me being on day shift.

So I had to reevaluate.

Being on 2nd shift has turned out to be extremely stress inducing.

So the key moving forward was Focus and Stress reduction. I knew I would feel like a failure if the end of the year came and I had not at least tried to achieve each and every one of my goals. So some just has to go.

I took comfort in knowing that even though I thought they were important they really weren’t relevant to the over all picture. Ruthless prioritization, am I right? So I crossed out all the following.

Changing tide, changing goals

  • Crossed out all of spirituality
  • Crossed out 2nd organized run
  • Crossed out Chinese
  • Crossed out class with Mr Roamer
  • Crossed out girls night with sister and mother.
  • Crossed out paying for my blog by AdSense
  • Crossed out job interviews
Picture of the goals I carry around in my planner. The one in my planner is actually all marked up.

Spiritual Awareness

  1. Attend 4 churches in a year( attend 4 times a month ) 1  2  3   4
  2. Write in  Journal, reflect 15 min what I am thankful for 1/wk (Total of 52)

I mentioned on my first review that this area was in trouble of being struck out. I decided that this wasn’t a main focus for me this year so it is officially crossed out. You won’t even see it in my year end wrap up.


Warrior Dash in march. Tonya and I getting ready to get muddy...(that is not my real hair :) )
Warrior Dash in march. Tonya and I getting ready to get muddy…(and yes, I did give myself crazy hair and a smile to try and conceal my identity).  :)

3.  Run two 5ks, 1 Jan-June and then 1 July-Dec.

I actually completed the first run in the first trimester review. I crossed out the 2nd so this one is complete and no longer on my plate.

Run: 100% complete 

4. Dance 1/ month @ home

Though this hasn’t been the rigorous dancing that will keep me in shape, Minnie Roamer enjoys dancing and I will dance with her often. As an exhaust 2nd shift mama I am in serious need of some endorphins. Dancing make me happy so I need to keep it up. Plus we also attended a wedding so got in extra dancing. 🙌

Dancing: 66% complete 

5.  Take 1 class (yoga, dance ???) With Mr. Roamer.  Crossed out


6. Read 1 book in Spanish.

7. Read 4 books this year.

I am really trying to also get my learning through books. I finished reading I Will Teach You To Be Rich (should I do a review?). I still need to finish 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (pg.144 of 340). Currently though I am  100% focused on Financial Samurai’s How to Engineer your Layoff. Because I’d like to leave my job and if I can do it profitably then why not.

Reading: 45 %, slightly behind

8. Chinese 2 characters/month  Crossed out not relevant to my current life trajectory.


Our June date. Dressed up to go out for sushi at our favorite place.
Our June date. Dressed up to go out for sushi at our favorite place.

9.1 date a month with each child.

With kids off of school I had lots of chances to spend one on one time together. I did a lot better this trimester.

Jr. Roamer time: 33%,  back on track with last 3 months in a row completed 

Minnie Roamer time: 50%, back on track

10. 1 date a month w/ Mr Roamer.

Mr. And I are actively dating. We even went on 2 this past month. I think for the most part we are also doing well with our spending. For our anniversary I put aside $300 to splurge. Even though we went to eat where we really wanted to (sushi) we probably spent only $60. Including getting some Cold Stone’s ice cream. 😲 I guess sushi is a lot cheaper for 2 then a family of four.

Dating husband: 66% complete, on track

11. Sister & mother 1 date/ 6 months  Crossed out, off my plate

12. Write in kids memory books.

I missed July and August. And there is no way to catch up because I can’t go back in time.

Memory book: 33% , missed months so can’t get 100%


This whole section is predominantly on auto pilot. The only one I need to actively worry about is earning side hustle. These goals also build on each previous month and I have the option to catch up. So I wanted to include some charts.

13.  Earn side hustle  $500

I am just not doing well here. I’ve had a few sales but nothing I am truly amazed by. I’ve made $172 extra.

Hustle: 34%, Behind,  need to up the hustle.

Hustle status

14.  Max out 401k ,18k/ person

Max out 401k on track to be done by Dec. I just need to make one adjustment in December and up it 1%


401K: 85% & 92% complete, on track

401k Status
401k Status

15. Save 30k for house($2500/month)

This was behind last trimester because we were funnelling our earnings into front loading the 401ks. Now though we are right on track.

House fund: 63% complete, On track


16. Both Max out IRA, 11 K total (New goal)

This is a soft goal. I just want to keep it up in our view to max it out if at all possible given our other 2  financial goals. The math is looking promising so I am adding it on.

IRA status


17.  Write  2 1 posts a week.

Crossed out my 2 post per week goal and put it at 1/ wk. Amusingly enough I’ve been posting twice a week consistently for a whole month. My  new weekly updates have really kept the writing juices flowing. And it gives you the reader a quick way to see what we are up to. Still I’m going to leave it at 1/month just in case I hit a metal block, I’ll force myself to write at least 1.

Posts: 62%, on track

18.  Add AdSense when hit 35 posts. Have blog pay for itself.

It’s added, but I couldn’t careless about earnings, focusing on content.

Adsense: Complete 

19.  Attend Fincon

This one is as good as in the bag. It’s September and plane, hotel, room is booked. Vacation is approved and I even found roommates. Horray! I would say this is on track to be done this month. FinCon here I come!

FinCon: Can I even score this?


20. Reevaluate job in July

July came and I decided it made more sense to push through to the end of the year then to try and find a new nightshift position somewhere else.

21.  Hunt for new job / interview 3 times.

22. Get pay increase of 5% .

This is also 100% and in July I finally got my paychecks reflecting the 10% increase in pay due to shift differential. So that means I actually got gip on the raise but instead got a shift differential. Which means if I ever go back to days I would loose it. Still for me it has set a new baseline for what I can earn moving forward.

Pay increase: 100% complete

I have no more open tasks for work. But I have to add one more to prepare for what’s coming next.

23.  I have reading and hw for Engineering my layoff.

Now you might be thinking. What in the world was that. After all this is all you see for my goals here on the blog….

Goals as they appear on the blog
Goals as they appear on the blog

Well I wanted to really check in with all of them so that is why I referred back to the goals I presented to you in the new year. Now another reason I brought up the blog vs. my other goals is that here I include my travel goal.


24. 1 family trip 5+ days

We made it to Colorado and back. We spent time with family and it was great. But this year is also the year we do Christmas with Mr Roamer family. We have booked our flights. Yes! For closing out the year with Travel. We will bring in the new year in Michigan.

Travel: 100% complete and more to come!

So why am I sharing with you? Well like I said you all help to keep me accountable. My strengths are clearly saving. It was also helpful to recheck goals to see where they stack up and realign objectives. Which included striking some from the list. I went from 24 separate goals down to 18. Out of those 18, 5 are complete, 3 are on auto pilot. Which means just 10 to focus on each month.

Any pointers? How do you manage multiple goals at once? Let me know down below. Also do you do goal reviews let me know  I’d enjoy checking them out. Leave a Comment.





Weekly Pain & Gain: A little bit of everything


Lots of waste this week. We didn’t really follow our food menu and we ended up with lots of spoiled food. I know this is something most American households struggle with and I guess we aren’t the exception.

It’s really disappointing to me. I know some weeks we do really well and other are so bad. It’s something I am trying to improve by buying less food.

We are still learning but its still chafes me to throw food out. Some people say its better to be safe then sorry and I agree but the question shouldn’t be well what’s more costly a doctors appointment or a head of lettuce. It just shouldn’t get to that point period.


This past week we hosted my mother in-law at our place.  This was a win win situation for both of us. She didn’t have to worry about renting a car or a room, and because she was right here she generously watched the kids ( who are early risers ) so that we could get extra rest. :)

It’s really great to be able to offer our visitors somewhere to stay because they usually offer us the same thing when we visit family in Michigan. But don’t miss understand me, I don’t have a very big place, actually we live in a 900+ sq ft, 2 bedroom apartment and like I have said before we are a family of 4. Still it’s no trouble to host someone for a week 3-4 times a year. It’s very doable.

Speaking about Michigan we have purchased our plane ticket and so its official that we will be taking a nice vacation out there for the winter holidays. It’s not the cheapest time to fly but family there have standing tradition of all gathering together. Which means we would miss seeing a lot of people if we traveled at a different time. We highly value this family time so its not really an issue about spending dollars there. Still we try to optimize on the cost so we will be traveling on specific days which are cheaper. But that is another post for another time.

Another great thing about having my mother in law stay with us was that I was able to get one volunteer day in. Last year it was a real struggle to go out and help since I have Minnie Roamer. I want to help, not distract the kids with my little girl. So my mother in law watched Minnie and I was able to go help in Jr’s class. Parents want to give their kids the best chance of success and they buy all these things but I believe volunteering and being an active parent will go much farther.

Lots of good things. I could name a few more but I’ll call it good.

Capsule Completion

Its the last week of the 3 month capsule wardrobe challenge. Well I made it the 3 months and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything really.

I did have some clothes I hadn’t worn so I’m sure I could work with less. I finally did ware most of it before the 3 months were over.

So here are the last looks.

Outfit #17

Outfit #19

My outfit to help out at school
My outfit to help out at school

Outfit #21

Why so many outfits this week. Well like I said earlier I had company. So I couldn’t be in my lounge ware all day every day.

How was last week? Do you also struggle with food waste?






Frugal Back to School shopping

LastLast week on Tuesday Jr went back to school. Not only that, I also realized I’m getting old he’s getting old. I mean he’s in 2nd grade!

( inhale ,exhale, inhale, exhale)

What happened to the surprise baby. :(

After the initial shock I had a thought. And it went like this.

“Oh yeah, wasn’t there a shopping thing I was supposed to do to get ready for today”

I didn’t prepare at all. I didn’t even really think about preparing for it at all. Other then  “oh Jr starts school next week “.

Instead of think about it in regards to money and purchases. I thought about it in regards to time.

How are our schedules going to change? Adjust?

But wait a minute

I want to go back to this money and back to school shopping thing.

We all know that there is an endless barrage to buy. That is no different when it comes to kids and school. Actually my research showed its the 2nd most consumeristic time of the year. The message to buy was rampant. Even so I hardly noticed it myself.

The truth is I didn’t get a list so I wasn’t worried about having to check items off that list. Still, I got curious about this back to school shopping practice so I did  some research.

How much are parents spending on their back to school shopping sprees? And on what?

A standard list of items for back to school shopping even for young 2nd grade students is pretty extensive.

Back to school list

Writing utensils, Art stuff, Paper. But this list didn’t even include clothes.

Checking off all the items on the box + clothes will leave you $630 poorer says NRF’s study.

As an aspiring minimalist I have to say the list  I found looked a bit much. I recall my days in school and a few back to school shopping trips. (I don’t think it was as popular a thing back then.)  You know what else I recall having plenty of left overs at the end of the year.

It’s not over yet

After checking the last items off your list, walking around with a lighter wallet, you are finally ready to say good bye to the school related spending.


While it sounds like most parents (American parents?) spend a lot of time thinking about the initial cost of school few discuss all the other costs.

Yup that’s right closing your wallet after picking up the last 3 ringed binder on the list is not the end of your school related spending. Oh no.

Whether you plan to pay for them or abstain its a good idea to at least acknowledge all the other costs.

$5-10 PTA membership. We receive the little envelope the first week of  school.  We pass on this because I don’t have time to participate.

$20- $60 Class pictures. Okay these are kind of nice special since we don’t go take professional pictures as a family every single year ( actually never do this).But the costs can get up there.

Growing up we always got full picture packages. You know how much good it did us?

Zero good, well zero to buy so many. Being the only family to live in the USA, it would have been nice to send them to family outside the country. But we  never did, instead we end up with hundreds of paid pictures that we didn’t need.

Maybe that was just my family but I’m using it as a lesson. We do buy them but only exactly how many we need. Which usually is the smallest package or 1-2 sheets. Usually $20-$27. Though still ridiculously over priced in my opinion much better then the $60 or more you spend if you want everything.

$5-$10 Field trips, ~2 per year. If you really like experiences, don’t forget to account for these later in the year. But the older your kid gets the more expensive. I was in marching band growing up and we had 3 field trips a year at about $45 each.

$20-$60 Spring pictures. The class pictures twin brother is the spring pictures. If your going to buy Ask yourself the same question. How many do I need exactly? We did not purchase these last year.

$????? Team fees, gear, and uniforms. We actually don’t have to worry about this, this year, but I know its a cost many parents place upon themselves. So make sure you account for it.

Also expect to get plenty of solicitations for, PTA garage sales, cookie sales, valentines day grams , mothers day grams, father’s day grams… Well you get my point. There’s a lot more spending to be done if you don’t keep your priorities straight.

Finally Hidden Costs

In my family and maybe yours too I know we will see Increased car usage. I recognized it right away that we would be using the car much more  frequently. Doing 2 round trips every day to school. This is going to cost more in gas usage. I am keeping an eye out to see it reflected in my monthly accounting.

Destroyed clothing. I don’t know what it is but during the summer break Jr did not put any holes in his clothing. However during school last year he was putting holes in his knees non stop and part of the dress code is no ripped clothing. So not only is there clothes shopping at the beginning of the school year  there is potential for it during the year too.

His Dad ended up purchasing him new jeans(multiples) more then once and we even did too. So I am expecting this cost this year as well. Though I am not scared of patching holes in knees for Mr. Roamer and myself. Jr’s tiny leg holes made the whole process much more labor intensive and time consuming. So I am thinking just purchasing replacements. Through thrift stores of course.

After all that bad news.

Tips for saving

  1. Wait to actually get a list from a teacher.

If you Google your child’s grade level there are plenty of lists of must haves available and the lists can be very inclusive.

Instead of doing this wait to get a list of items from the actual teacher. Then question the validity of them all. Every single item on the list. After all they are only suggestions so identify the real and true must haves, then move on to step number 2.

We still have lots of pencils and erasers at home.

2.Check at home first. A cluttered house can make it difficult to find items but you should try anyways. Likely you have at least pencils, pens, eraser, glue and crayons already at home.

3. Realize they don’t need it new every year if it works fine still. School is not a fashion show.  Back pack, lunch box? You don’t need a new one every year.

Finally we are going to address the excess driving by increasing my biking.

So far we have spent zero dollars on our back to school shopping. But I know that will change as school term progresses.

Alright all you parents or students. Did you go back to school shopping? How did you save? If you didn’t cause you don’t have any kids what would you do with the extra $630 you might have spent?





Weekly Pain & Gain: Emotional Spending

Well it was a really good idea to start this weekly column. I can see now why so many bloggers do it. It forces you to write and that in turn motivates you to write more. At least that is how it worked for me. This will be the 6th installment of my weekly updates.


Most of us can relate to making poor financial decisions because of external factors. Usually due to being caused some sort of discomfort. I think people like to call it emotional spending. I had just that experience this week.

I was having a bad day this week. I was mad and stressing.

Dammit , I’m going out to eat for my break. I’m going to go out cause I deserve to unwind, and relax.

But I didn’t want to actually go out to eat. I was just feeling helpless and overwhelmed. I wanted to feel in control of something, anything, and today that was my lunch. I’m not going to pack a lunch. I told myself rebelliously.

But my head, as it usually does, shot through a bunch of thoughts and at the end of it (probably less then a minute) I had lost interest.

I didn’t want to drive… I didn’t want to waste gas. That means I would have to walk and walking distance there was only a handful of places and they were all junk. Argh!


If I’m going to spend money on lunch I at least want it to be an indulgence not just junk. How disappointing.

This wasn’t going to help me in the long run. The things causing me stress were not going to be alleviated by this. This show of control was shallow. The worst part? the food wouldn’t have even been worth the expense. :( I was feeling quite sorry for myself but logic had won out.

So instead of going out to eat I separated some food and packed my lunch. I consoled myself by spending .50 in the vending machine on sweets.  :-(

At a cost of only 50 cents its a pretty mild Pain on the finance front, since in the end I decided to not go out to eat. But a pain none the less.


Hmmm. Good stuff , good stuff?

Well I guess I should be happy I survived the first week of school. Why do I say this? Well I’m still working nights and getting home to bed around 1 am. School means I have to wake up by 6:30 to get Jr ready for school which means less time for sleep. But I survived.

A small victory!

My body is also pretty sore thanks to the fact that I biked about 4 times this week up from zero before last Monday.

So even though I thought we would bike much more often during the summer the reverse was actually true we almost didn’t bike at all.

It was surprising, shocking, and annoying all at once but I guess that’s what happens when you go to the beach every weekend. To tired to do any other physical activity….

But it seems once school starts so does biking? Which I find kind of strange but whatever.

Anyways my son is already asking me whether we will be biking to school. I told him not tomorrow but its a good thing and so I know I will eventually.

Just not tomorrow. Too tired.

So even though my body is sore its still a Gain because , well we are exercising.

We have sourdough, whole grain, sun dried tomato... mmm sounds good.
We have sourdough, whole grain, sun dried tomato… mmm sounds good.

Also this whole summer we have been enjoying “fancy” bread at a discount thanks to someone who had been gifting us coupons.

However they expire this Friday so this weekend we picked up much more then usual, and we still have 4 left. We spent about $6 on all this bread. It is going into the freezer and instead of gorging on it all at once ( I really love bread, plus its such an easy snack) I am hoping to use it for our usual sandwich needs. Because we all know you aren’t saving anything if its something you would normally not buy. This bread fits squarely into that statement if we just start munching on it non stop.  But if we do use it per our usual usage we will have saved.


Mr. Roamer likes this dress... It turned out to be the perfect beach attire
Mr. Roamer likes this dress… It turned out to be the perfect beach attire

So we made it to the beach again. This year has been full of beach visits honestly probably 5 times more often then usual. I think this green dress has officially become my beach ware. It is perfect for changing into my bathing suit once we arrive. Though this time I just went ready board shorts and all.

Capsule outfit 16

Also I finally got around to wearing the white eyelet button up blouse. It almost made it to the end of the 3 months without being worn. It’s a nice shirt in my mind and so I like to save it for “special  occasions” but I only have so many of those come up that I just need to get over the idea of having clothes specifically for nice days. It’s very contrary to something Mrs. Frugalwoods recently wrote. I have more to say on the matter but I think I’ll just save it for the 3 month wrap up.

Are you a blogger, do you have a weekly column? Please let me know about it in the comments so I can check it out. What about everyone else, ever had an emotional spending moment? Have you noticed its a trigger in poor financial decisions?


Weekly Pain & Gain: No Siesta for you! And other adventures.

So much good this week, but don’t worry I still have a pain to complain about.


Minnie Roamer is not resting during her standard nap time. She does once in a while but is now predominantly taking her siesta during our drive to work and to see papa Roamer. So instead of resting at 1 pm at home. She is resting at 3 in the car. This is a real pain because that time was usually used to spend 1 on 1 time with Jr. Roamer while he’s in summer vacation. But during his school time. I could use the time to rest, work on ZTL hw., a blog post, and even read. But that only works if I’m not behind the wheel of a car. She is only 2 and too young to be abstaining from siestas. But driving siestas don’t give me any time to unwind or dedicate time to Jr. My drive in to work is just not ideal timing. :( so much more potential at 1 pm. We are still trying to get her down by 1 but I guess we’ll see how it goes.

Any parent out there I’m sure can give me a darn right! when I say children siestas are a calming oasis of time in a parent’s hectic daily schedule.

So I am crossing my fingers to still have their rejuvenating presence during an opportune time in my day.


Lots of Gains this week I’m just going to list them out in no particular order and then go into more detail about some.

Some of the fun this week included:

  • Mr. And I attended a wedding and it was great fun. Can you say Dancing!
  • Got my hand on a sowing machine.
  • Items in balcony cleaned out.
  • Mr Roamer and I had a heart to heart. Which is such a valuable experiences.
  • Found 1 roommate for FinCon but we are still looking to split more ways.
  • Went on a beach adventure. For mostly free :)
Travel Roamer
On our train adventure

So I know I complain about my job, a lot. To be fair its not just my companies fault really its just not a good fit for me.

So even though I am counting the days until I cut that cord(noose) I do have to acknowledge the good too. Like the fact that over my time there I have been able to build some relationships that have allowed me to do some stuff. Stuff like flex time. I am 2nd shift but I have on multiple occasions been able to simply bring up the need for a different set of hrs and I am told to proceed. No red tape, no hoops. It does provide some slight semblance to freedom. This freedom is what made it possible to attend the wedding mentioned earlier. Because it was schedule during the weekdays. No need to take vacation just shift schedule hrs and bam!

I’m really glad too about being able to go. Weddings are a very special occasion for the couple but I also find its a great time to hold hands with Mr.Roamer and for us to renew our vows. Simply by looking each other in the eyes and nodding along with recognition at the word of love being shared.

I think that experience help set a tempo to have our heart to heart over the weekend and even though that’s personal so I won’t go into too much detail. What I can say is that it’s moments like that, that show me how we are still building our relationship to each other. That is a great thing! I hope that you also are placing high value in building better, stronger and more fruitful relationships.

Metrolink view 2

Finally to wrap the week up we made sure to have an adventure with some free train passes that were about to expire. This is a personal finance blog so I will tell you the adventure wasn’t totally free.  You see we had 2 free passes but we are after all a family of 4 so we did have to pay for 1 more pass (Minnie was still free thankfully).

Then we also paid for some ice cream. We arrived early to Oceanside and headed to the beach from the station. We spent the majority of the day at the beach and dutifully packed snacks and lunch to have at the beach. But we decided that we would pack up early in search of a treat and so we did. We were so caught up in the present that I completely forgot to take pictures on the beach. But let’s be honest that’s actually a good thing.

Though it wasn’t free entertainment I’m still very pleased. Had we not gotten those free train passes I don’t think we would have taken this adventure. I hope the novelty of it is something the kids will remember. :) money well spent in my mind.

Honestly I don’t know how much we spent for the entire day trip but I can tell you the 1 pass was $10. And the train was over an hour and a half long. It was a full day. Total for the day we spent on the 1 pass, 3 ice cream cones and dinner. I’d guess about $40 for the whole day. For all you financial types.

Capsule Update

So I have more pictures this week because I went out more during the week so I couldn’t just stay in my lounge ware until work.

Wedding outfit before I'm all ready and before I realize how hot it is outside. It's in the 90's people!
Wedding outfit before I’m all ready and before I realize how hot it is outside. It’s in the 90’s people!


Munching on wedding fruit popsicle. A different look with out the sweater
Munching on wedding fruit popsicle. A different look with out the sweater.

Also you can see what I wore to the wedding! It turn out to be a blazing hot day and so I didn’t get to complete my outfit until late, late in the evening. It’s a purple sweater even though it looks blue here.

I always forget to put shoes on before these pictures
I always forget to put shoes on before these pictures

So like I think I said last week I’m looking forward to hitting the end of the month and changing my rotation along with getting rid of a few more items.  I want to reduce my over 200 clothing items by half and then see if I can take it down even more.

Mr Roamer says these look like pjs. Whaaaaa?! This is my real clothes. I can't deny its comfy. :)
Mr Roamer says these look like pjs. Whaaaaa?! This is my real clothes. I can’t deny its comfy. :)

Why? Well I want to travel. The more I think the more I keep coming back to that. And I mean like 1 year non stop. For that I am going to have to learn to function on much less clothing. Just enough to fit in a backpack. So that is my goal with this experiment. To have fun, explore my creativity through my style, and challenge myself to cut, cut and cut out the excess. On my way to that I enjoy reading about people who are on the completely other side of the spectrum. They serve as inspiration and a reality check. I mean if this guy or this girl can live on just 1 outfit for a whole year I can surely cut down to less. Check out one such article here.

1 year 1 outfit

How about you? Did you go on any adventures this weekend? Also if you capsule what is your motivation?