Category Archives: Continuous improvement

January Expenses and the uber frugal month wrap up

What do the uber frugal month challenge and our January spending have in common?

Only that they happened on the same month.

So peek through to see our uber frugal month challenge results. How much did we save? How much did we spend? and what was our honest opinion. Finally, whether we think it’s right for you.

So lets hop to it..

Continue reading January Expenses and the uber frugal month wrap up

Net Worth Update : Our growth in 2016

Hey Traveling Wallet readers,

It’s net worth update time. When I first posted my net worth out for the world to see, I wasn’t so sure how I felt about it. I’ll be honest I’m still a bit paranoid about the whole thing. It’s probably not a surprise that I feel like I am leaving myself a bit exposed.

While I am not sharing my net worth here monthly I do track it regularly. Finally, I decided that giving a yearly snap shot was probably not so bad.  (& since Mr. Roamer is on board, then all engines go)

Today I will be sharing the growth we saw in the last 12 month period. Sometimes, a year can just fly by, but it turns out 365 days is a lot of time to make improvement to our finances. Continue reading Net Worth Update : Our growth in 2016

Uber Frugal Month Challenge, Well Why Not?

Happy New Year Traveling Wallet Readers!

It is officially 2017 and it’s time to use that new years motivation to tackle exciting tasks.

This month the Roamer clan is  participating in the Frugalwood’s Uber Frugal month challenge. When Mrs. Frugalwoods first mentioned it, I was intrigued. But because we are trying our hand at travel hacking. Or credit cards rewards, I wasn’t sure we would be participating. Our 3 month deadline to meet spending is Jan 14. That is 14 days, where we would be more worried about spending rather then saving.

But we Continue reading Uber Frugal Month Challenge, Well Why Not?

Surviving 1 year of colorful capsule wardrobes, and cutting my wardrobe by 47%

The traveling wallet is our journey through many of life’s facets. That’s why I like to cover a few main topics here on the blog: travel, money, family and minimalism.

This post is for those interested in minimalism. In this case creating a minimalist wardrobe and purging the items that just hung around. This year I completed a whole year of living Continue reading Surviving 1 year of colorful capsule wardrobes, and cutting my wardrobe by 47%

2016 mid year goal review

Goals you either hate them or you love them. For me goal setting is what kept me on track once I got to university and had to be responsible for myself. With no parents around to make sure I did my homework and drank my milk I had to figure out a system. Back in university I would set goals every semester but now I simply set them at the beginning of the year. Goals are kind of like resolutions except they are less wishy-washy… Ever since then the habit has stuck because I have seen results.

This year I decided to try something new for my yearly goals. Continue reading 2016 mid year goal review

Capsule Wardrobe Experiment Update

It’s not a new story to open up your closet and find nothing to wear. I hate to admit it, but I was just like that. I was so frustrated once I even posted it on Facebook. I received a flood of comments, full of sympathy, so many of my  female friends could relate. Had they been standing next to me I’m sure I would have seen their heads nodding up and down. Woe is us.

Last year after connecting with the minimalist movement I learned about something else. Capsule wardrobes. When I first started my journey into capsule wardrobes all I knew was that it promised I wouldn’t open up my closet and feel like I had nothing to wear.  It was going to solve that problem.

So I dug deeper and found some guidelines. Suggestions and inspiration. *

I didn’t follow all the rules.

Continue reading Capsule Wardrobe Experiment Update

Trust the system


What does that mean anyway?

It means a set path. Following steps. That if you do A it will lead to B and then C.

But I am having trouble with this one.

See I’m taking an online course. Or should I say retaking it because last time I got stuck… Lost momentum and then stopped.

Trust the system I said to myself after watching the video. What the heck does that mean anyways? Continue reading Trust the system

2015 goals: year end review

I started off the year taking a big bite with my goals. But that’s me, I always think I can move mountains and 2015 was no different. The year started with me taking on 20 goals . To which I promptly added 4 more once I had printed them out on paper. (I always seem to forget something before I press print.)

But more then halfway through the year I had to admit that I just wasn’t feeling some of the items I had written down. Continue reading 2015 goals: year end review

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




capsule wardrobe challenge

Challenges really seem to put a smile on my face and I’m excited to try something new, taking a 3 month capsule wardrobe challenge but blending multiple ideas and inspirations. In case you don’t know a capsule wardrobe is a limited number of items that you mix and match to make multiple outfits.

How to Start the Process for a Capsule Wardrobe

So clearly we are going to need to pick our items, but it isn’t as simple as picking some items out of our closets. Most of us have items in multiple places and maybe even in storage(bins). Well at least I did. So I used some of my knowledge of 5S principles to get me started.

The first step is…

Take all the clothes out of everywhere you store it. That means empty out your closet and any bins with stored items. This is a lot of work, but it is one of those moments where front loading the work will save you a lot of hassle later.

Take inventory. This is a great chance to really figure out how many of each item we own? Then ask  ourselves, How many do we really need? It gives us a chance to eliminate any unnecessary multiples by seeing them side by side. I’m a bit meticulous in that I want to know what I have in each color. In my case that means figuring out how many green skirts, blue, or pink shirts. You get the idea.

 Eliminate the Uglies. While you inventory you are going to touch each article of clothing you own. Take this time to start making the get rid of pile, with the never wear and doesn’t fit items. This won’t be hard if you are truly open an honest with yourself about which clothes you haven’t worn in over six month or more. I like hard numbers, so I counted how many items ended up in that box. I removed 24 right off the bat.

My piles of color coded clothing. :-)
My piles of color coded clothing. 🙂

I wasn’t super lean in my process because I ended up separating my clothes in different ways several times. First I separated clothes by color. I wrote down numbers as I transitioned those color piles into stacks of particular items, for example, pants, t-shirts, and blouses. But you don’t need to spend time on this.

Before you make your capsule you need to decided if you can swing having your capsule wardrobe cover your work and play. For me this just didn’t suit, so I also created a work uniform and removed all my other work clothes. Essentially creating a mini work capsule wardrobe.

So now that you know what you’re capsule is covering you can just follow the guidelines set by The project 333 site. Which is picking out all your “I love” items. For me that seemed difficult so I used this other go by, pictured below. Which is just 3 of every item.

Capsule wardrobe suggestions

After you pick your items put everything else away. Not back in the closet but away away.. I used bins. This is a great way to ensure you follow through. If you simply place stuff back into the closet( even if its the far side) then it will be easier for you to grab other items and slowly but surely increase your capsule until your closet is full again. Take a page from my 5S guide and increase your chances of success by making it sustainable. Put the no items for this round in boxes or bins. Then tape them closed. The extra effort will keep you focused on what you have available to wear.

This whole process took me 2 days. I didn’t take any short cuts and I wanted to make sure I addressed every item. Realize though that the more stuff you have the longer it can take to go through this process. Also don’t waste time thinking you need a helpful printable as you can see I just used pen and paper for this process.

What prompted me?

I first became aware that I didn’t need much clothing during a long trip to visit family. After Minnie Roamer’s birth I planned my FMLA/PFL so that we could take a long 3 week vacation in MI during Christmas . We needed to keep suitcases to a minimum since we already needed to be able to maneuver around the airport with 2 kids, 2 car seats, a stroller, diaper bag and of course the suitcases. Everything also need to be able to fit into our ride once we arrived. So packing 4 peoples clothes in one suitcase and 2 back packs that needed to include big winter coats meant few but versatile clothing options for everyone.

Capsule Wardrobe, My first encounter, and inspiration.
Capsule Wardrobe, My first encounter, and inspiration.

That lead me to do some research and I came across this picture. It blew my mind and since then 2 years ago its been kicking around in my head. However, in June coming off another minimalist challenge I decided to do more research and try it full force.

My Capsule Wardrobe

After taking the steps above I ended up with this as my capsule wardrobe.

For my summer Capsule wardrobe I chose white and green and then added other colors as I saw fit.
For my summer Capsule wardrobe I chose white and green and then added other colors as I saw fit.

If you read the 333 article you’ll notice I didn’t follow all the rules but I did start off by using their suggestions. In the end to me its more about reducing the amount of items in my closet to the point where I am forced/encouraged to use the items I really like. Instead of defaulting into just wearing the same stuff everyday. So it’s not really about a specific number but I do suggest you start there. Summer Capsule shoes

I did want to be as transparent as possible so I am showing you my lounge/ work out clothes too. Which is a big gray area in the rules. So now you know how much clothes I have period. Note: I am not divulging or counting intimate garments, socks, accessories: belts, necklaces, hats, scarves. So accessories will be my gray area. Though in my wrap up I will let you know if that became a big thing. Normally I don’t accessorizes.

Capsule wardrobe
My itemized list of clothing. I have 3 main groups in my capsule wardrobe experiment.

So now you know what I have, and I just want to explain a little bit about why. I’m not a runway model and this isn’t about fashion for me. Though I think I have my moments where I look like a million bucks for the most part I’m a Tomboy and I have the men’s pants and men’s shorts to prove it. ( why do I need to prove it?) My #1 is comfort and functionality. I need to be able to run after kids. I need free range of motion.  But I am pushing the limits to try and wear some of my nicer items.

Like I said earlier I don’t want to mix work with fun.( Because work is a dusty and dirty place). But my capsule still needs to allow me to ride a bike, hit the beach, attend a wedding and most importantly run after kids. (Did I already say that?) Full disclosure, my capsule would be 4 items lighter if I wasn’t attending a wedding this season.


Awareness. I discovered that I owned 269 articles of clothing. A lot of which I really don’t even wear anymore. This awareness is a benefit that right away helps you be intentional with your wardrobe It helped me eliminate those 24 pieces right away.

I think its crazy to think that I own so much clothes, but whats crazier is that it probably pales in comparison to the average woman.
I think its crazy that I own so much clothes, but what’s crazier is that it probably pales in comparison to the average woman.

Save in costs. Don’t fall pray to being average. The average family spends about $2,000 dollars a year on clothes. BE EXCEPTIONAL. Going through the cataloging of your clothing is a great way to know what you have. You’ll be wearing items you love and that should leave you with no desire to buy any clothes during the challenge. Even if you do feel the urge, make it a goal to resist for just 3 months.

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

Personally for me its Good practice for a life of travel. Learn to live on less is the perfect challenge. Seriously this Traveling Wallet blog will one day be written from a different local every month for at least 1 year. The better I understand my style and can be creative with clothing the more I can parse down on the quantity. The more I practice, the better prepared I’ll be for living out of a suitcase. 🙂 And that is benefit enough for me.

Need some more inspiration ?

Check out these other post. How to create a capsule wardrobe

Unfancy Capsule wardrobe 101

A work uniform post

So there you have it. I hope you checked out those articles and are excited to start a capsule wardrobe. Don’t forget to click the notify me of new posts, so that you can read my review and wrap up in September. To Find out how I did and what I think I’m sure there are more benefits to be discovered through the challenge. Don’t miss out.

Will you join me in this simple and intentional living challenge? Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe?