Category Archives: Saving

2016 Goals: Year End Review

It’s January, and you know what that means.

Goals for 2016

This past year I decided to try something new. I had read that I could be more focused if I just chose one goal and really bore down on it for a whole month. It sounded interesting and logical. It sounded like I would get more, deeper work done.

It was also a way to avoid my natural tendency to overload myself with goals. The year before I had jot down 24. Instead this year I could only choose 12 goals for the year.  Continue reading 2016 Goals: Year End Review

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

Getting Laid………..OFF

The one gift you always hope to receive before the holidays is more time off. Of course, that’s paid time off. What you don’t hope for is that you walk in at the start of your shift on Monday right before the holidays to receive a big fat lay off.

Poor timing.

It definitely wins the award for that.

..and while I was still in utter shock I was also trying really hard not to smile and shout, “see ya later suckers!!” . ( Of course Mommy would never say such bad things. Felt like I should address my kids there for some reason. Ha ha ha)


I didn’t smile and I didn’t utter any self aggrandizing phrases.

Actually for all my joy, I was very much insulted. “You?!…. lay me?!! Off!” ….. I think not. I was suppose to get myself laid off. I was even reading how to engineer your lay off, but that, I had planned to execute after December so I could max out my 401k. Honestly March would have been better. But its November. November I say!!!!


Well no use getting mad over spilled milk… Or however that goes.

The truth is, it happened and it wasn’t well timed. It was like most lay offs, out of nowhere. And it wasn’t just me, it was 35 or so other employees.

I was just one of the herd being unceremoniously shown the door.
But that was about all I had in common with that herd.

Diverting from the herd

Truthfully there was no herd upon my exit. As I had been the only office employee let go from 2nd shift. (Don’t feel too bad about that number I was the only 2nd shift office employee to begin with). So I didn’t witness the fallout. But I heard others had shed tears and even sat in their cars for over an hr in a daze.
I did run into 2 shop guys whom shared the same fate and one of them had just the week prior opened up about some financial challenges. I felt more sympathy and concern as we crossed paths.

What would become of this guy and his young family? Would he find something new quick enough? Would he have to settle for less pay just to secure a pay check? Or worse take out a pay day loan.

This is after all what most people concern themselves with after a lay off. I’m sure if you’re new here you’re wondering. Okay so what makes you so different.

Why on earth were you ready to Conga line out the door, when others were trying to make sense of the madness.

Laid off but not laid out

While a shocker, our family wasn’t beaten down by the news. And here is why .

  • We had already paid off all our debt
  • Which meant we had reduced our monthly expenses
  • We reduced them so much we could and were living off of one income.
  • We had a years worth of spending saved up
  • And we live off of the previous months earnings giving us an extra month of cushion. (So November is funded by Oct paychecks and so on.)
  • We were already planning for some time off in the future.

Basically, We made sure we had good financial footing long before the news and you can too.

Here are the things you want to start working on now while you have your J-o-b

Sadly this list isn’t going to help you if you were laid off yesterday and are in sink or swim mode. There is no quick fix for financial preparedness. But if your happy chugging along at your 9-5, don’t forget to set some money aside for unpleasant surprises like a lay off.

Are you ready?

So this isn’t for beginners your going to need more then a 1k emergency fund to make it through major financial crises. You need to start saving big money. You are going to want to move from the 1k cash cushion to the 3 month cushion, Then to 6 months, and THEN to 12 months. And if you dislike your day job like I did, your going to want to make it a priority and grow it quickly.

Lower your operating costs. Or in common household lingo, lower your monthly costs. You can do that by knocking out some debt. Big or small balance, ridding yourself of it will have a positive impact on managing a lay off. And just in case you have multiple debts in your name use the snowball or avalanche technique to focus on fully paying off one at a time.

You can also reduce your costs by choosing to be more conscious about your spending. Lowering that entertainment budget from $250 to $175 or even (gasp) $100. Will have a 2 fold effect. More money available to save and less you need to pay out in the future.

Reduce your monthly costs enough and you might even get to the point where you can happily live off one income.( in a 2 income household). And maybe? the big key is, you should just plan to live off of one income indefinitely.

Living off of one income gives you a big boost in savings and building a cash cushion but most importantly if you can live off of one income. You won’t even need to draw on your emergency money if you do experience a lay off.  Because one salary fully funds your happy lifestyle.

If you’ve been laid off recently and weren’t financial ready, I’m sorry, this isn’t a quick fix you can take to the bank. But if you have a job and live in a 2 income situation I strongly encourage you to design your life that it is completely sustainable on one income… And if you really want to challenge yourself make it the lower income.

Love your job or hate it, I would recommend you always plan for a lay off.

Life now

My lay off was over a month ago and we had an unusually expensive month in November as we also experienced our move to a more expensive area to be closer to work. Even so our active 401k is still being contributed to as are the IRAs.  My lay off has not deterred our saving goals for the year.

Come January hopefully we’ll have realized some saving from the move and as customary for the beginning of the year we will have to reassess our budget and priorities.

But our current income and safety net will/ has afforded us plenty of room for the rest of the year.  So unlike my former coworkers who need to rush out and secure new employment before the Christmas rush.

I am looking forward to our 2 week Michigan trip.

I am taking my year off.

I am nestling in for the long haul of full time parenthood. Afforded to me by good financial know how, savvy spending and sturdy savings.

Do you have any advice for me. How should I set up my daily schedule to make the most of it?

The Roamer traveling wallet

Picture by: Gratisography

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Surprise! Why me? Dealing with bad surprises

You know that feeling you get, you know when to feel like “I just can’t believe this is happening to me” and not in a good way.

But in a
Why me? way.

That is how I was feeling lately.


Because of the Surprise!
It wasn’t even a good surprise.

It was another unexpected, out of nowhere, break you expense.
Well, it could have been, had we not been in the financial position we are today.

Emergency fund, rainy day fund, unexpected expenses fund. It doesn’t matter what it’s called. Every one is touting be prepare. Like an 11 year old boy scout.

But honestly most people just don’t do it.  One survey showed that up to 62% of people wouldn’t be able to cover a $1,000 expense. While we all seem to expect the worst in some scenarios in others we think ” that will never happen to me. To us. That only happens to them.” It’s almost like we think bad things only happen to people who deserve it. If we are good, nice , caring people we should be fine.

Whether it’s Karma or God you believe in, banking that things will be good all the time is just not realistic. Life is messy so being prepared is key.

You, I, we all need an emergency fund.

When disaster strikes

Personally when an emergency happens its all about what’s going on in the moment. What needs to get done, what do you need to figure out.  Your in the moment and you might not realize whats happening until later.

Looking back I can’t believe the last 12 months.

It’s been Emergency after emergency. Though I don’t think you should freak out and expect an emergency to pop up everyday of the month like this poverty simulation.* It seems like it would be in your best interest to plan for 1 every quarter.


That means you should plan to have a minimum of 1K in the bank at all times and be able to save $333 a month to replenish any 1K emergency after only 3 months. Therefore, covering you 1K every quarter. Lets take a moment to digest that why don’t we. What I am saying is you need to have a $333 wiggle room in your budget at all times. But we can tackle that after building up the initial 1K.

Like I said earlier, this past year has been rife with the unexpected high cost expenses here at Traveling Wallet HQ. The financial emergency if you will.

I don’t remember a year so full of unwelcome surprises.

1 year 4 bad surprises

Last December less then 12 months ago Mr. Roamer was surprised by a hit and run driver. Leaving the car in shambles and us asking. Is this covered by the insurance? Luckily it was, but we were still liable for the 1k deductible.  2 months later and 1k copay we were back to 2 cars.

Bad Surprise # 1, Cost $1,000 paid out in February

March saw us loose our childcare. While this didn’t cost us money paid out. It did cost us used vacation and lost hrs for 2 weeks as we juggled the new situation.  If we didn’t have vacations saved up or flexible employers it would have meant lost wages. I was able to change to 2nd shift to adjust to our new family needs. Could you have afforded not being paid for 2 weeks?  What if the employer hadn’t allowed a shift change? Could you have handled losing the wages of 1 earner? Or found emergency childcare and paid the extra money to have it immediately?

Bad Surprise #2, Cost ~$600 in used vacation in March

Oct saw my car stop working right as I needed to drop off Jr to school.  Jr. missed school and later we discovered a rodent decided to take refuge and chew through some wires. A $4,000+ quote later we are asking once again, will the insurance cover this? The insurance coverage with the same 1 k deductible. Back down to one car for 3 wk and this time we really struggled to make it work. With our staggered work schedules we could no longer carpool and we seriously discussed getting a rental car.  In the end we choose not to. But would you need to get a rental car on top of paying for the repairs or your deductible.

Bad Surprise #3, Cost $842 repair in October

Finally November saw another bomb dropped on the Traveling Wallet household. This one costing over 3k in perpetuity.

Bad Surprise #4, Cost 3K+ in November.

Now like I said, this seems like an unusually high set of occurrences. It is, but I’m a real person and this is what’s been going on in my real life. If we switched places would you have survived my last year?

So lets get serious

So I know you need an emergency fund , you know you need an emergency fund, what are we going to do about it?

First off I’m going to drop a bomb. You want to build a 1k emergency fund in 15 months, sorry the rest of this post isn’t for you.

Seriously 15 months? no. You need 1k in your bank account NOW!

It can’t wait anymore. You need to take a challenge and get those funds together in 1 month.

Now I’m not saying what you do in the next month is going to be sustainable for the long term. I’m saying that while improving your whole financial health might be a marathon. An emergency fund is a sprint. You need to push yourself to the limit then push yourself some more.

Its completely possible. I know because I’ve carried a 1K savings since high school.

Getting the 1k in a month

We are emergency fund ninjas! HAAA YA!
We are emergency fund ninjas! HAAA YA!

Extreme times call for extreme measures. I’m sure you’ll read through this list and think uck.  But not having $1,000 in cash to cover emergency expenses is in itself a big huge emergency that needs to be taken care of ASAP.

So lets get started

  •  Need money? Pull it out of a vacation fund. Maybe your on the up and up and are saving small amounts for your emergency fund, a vacation and the holidays. Christmas is around the corner. Pretty much you’ve decided to tackle multiple financial goals.

Sorry, but funding your emergency fund takes priority and is actually your current 1k emergency. Everything else needs to take a back seat until you have your 1k sitting safely in the bank.

If you have money sitting around waiting for a purchase. Post pone the purchase until your e-fund is built.  Potential $100-$500

  • Cut out cable for a month. Whether it’s movies or sports you watch take a break for 1 month to get your finances in shape. $70-$120
  • Lower your grocery bill. Apparently people spend big bucks on feeding the family. Up in the 1k a month range.
    Remember your taking a one month extreme challenge. Cut out all meat. Cut out any fancy items like expensive cheese. Cut out food waste by buying smaller qty.  If you have food going into the garbage your wasting money. $1000 reduced to $600 means $400 + for savings. And honestly I think you can do better then that. We are a family  of 4 and spend $400-$500 per month and we still eat meat occasionally, and we don’t eat ramen at all.
  • Cut out eating out at work. Pack your lunch 4 days a week. If you spend $10/day that equals $40/wk and $160/month. That still leaves you 1 day a week to go eat out.
  • Cut out eating out as a family. That can easily cost $50-$100 per outing. Cut it out twice this month and save $100-$200
  • Cut out unnecessary expenses. I said Christmas is right around the corner and many people will say presents is a necessary part of that. How much you spend on presents is totally optional, cut down or cut out the qty. And give your family the gift of surviving an emergency unscathed.  Can you save $100 from your holiday budget?
  • Reduce your driving. On the weekends walk or bike around town for entertainment. Save 1 tank of gas. $30- $70.
The stroller we sold for $50
The stroller we sold for $50
  • Sell extra things around the house. I made $50 with a stroller sale. Can you find a few things to sell? Earn and save $50
  • Close your storage unit. Sell enough of your unused items and you can close out your storage space. Or at the very least move to a smaller unit. $50- $100 saved

Add up all the lower end stuff and all the higher end stuff this list has the potential to save you $1060- $1700.  Some stuff will apply some won’t and you might have to even think of some of your own ideas. Like getting a second or side job for a month and saving all the earnings. That will get you to your 1 K safety net real fast.

So if you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a thousand times. In the end you  and I need an Emergency fund. So stop procrastinating. As you saw with me you might have years where nothing happens and then you have 4 in one year. Don’t wait be ready now.

Do you have an emergency fund? If not what are you going to do to make sure you are all set by the end of the next 30 days?

The Roamer traveling wallet

*Spent is a simulation test to see if you’d survive with 1k for a month.

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.





Shooting for Early Retirement

I don’t remember and don’t want to go back and look at all the previous Traveling Wallet posts. But……Do you even know what our retirement goal is? I don’t think that I have shared it with you.

I guess in a way I always wanted  to retire early but that to me meant at 50. I first started thinking about retirement because at my new full time job I had to decide what to do about this 401k thing. As I learned I thought 65 just sounded wrong specially with the acceptable retirement age getting older and older.

It almost seemed like it was just out of my control. So I started reading about retirement, a lot of it was very negative but I also discovered retirement calculators.  I got really infatuated with the MSN retirement calculator( its different now and nothing special it reduced user control by eliminating input fields, I was disappointed) it had lots of fields to fill and I began experimenting with scenarios.

Back then you could run it and make multiple adjustments to income, amount saved yearly, starting balance, investment return percentage, you could even check a box to include social security benefits.

Back then I also didn’t really know what I was doing so I made a lot assumptions based on popular opinion. Like the fact that I should have 1 million for retirement. I also started by assuming only 10% of income being deposited into retirement accounts.  And agreeing that I would need 80% of my last earnings for retirement. The only popular assumption I didn’t make was 8% growth. I always used 5%.  But that didn’t get me where I wanted so I started playing with the numbers. Sometimes including social security other times not. Finally I got it to work and so 50 was my goal.

When I started this blog I shared that goal with you. In my first post I mentioned retirement and it was a guess with calculations based on broad assumptions. To most people who feel like they can’t ever retire it was a very admirable goal. It was aggressive, though not unrealistic.

It said and I quote

“-Early Retirement (as in 50 or younger shooting for 45)”

Well soon after that post I finally learned about the 4% safe withdrawal rate and about the shockingly simple math to retirement. I ran some scenarios for just how early we could retire.  Learning that you don’t need a million to retire, what you really need is 25 times your yearly spend. So you could need less or much much more.

So I did the math to figure out our number. Then  assuming a 60% savings rate based off of last year. Here are our freedom numbers


150 months to freedom*
12.5 years to early retirement
FI in Oct  2026
Start date May 2014

*Mr.1500, I like your number based goal so I’m cribbing from you. I hope you don’t mind. 

Well there you have it. Now you know when the Roamer clan here at Traveling Wallet will be free from work. We are looking at 40 years old at the worst.

But since that math we’d much rather get there by 37. If we can pull off 35 that would be the shizz. But in the end the number is 25. 25 times our spend.

Everyone loves a good graphic so I figured I’d do something to communicate progress visually.

Our tracker, accumulating a full year's worth of savings take time
Our tracker, accumulating a full year’s worth of savings/spending take time

Most FI is done with a mentality to the dollars. The date will be whenever the dollars are enough. So I found it interesting to read Financial Samurai’s post stating that you focus on a retirement age instead.  I can see the draw in that since I am sure we will earn at least a little bit of income post retirement. 

Yet another perspective is Paula’s at Afford Anything. Post on semi vs mini vs early retirement. Opening up a whole new world for retirement.

So I’m constantly assessing and asking myself what would be ideal. How about you?

Are you dreaming of retirement or enough financial freedom to live life on your terms ? Let me know in the comments.






Money Cycle: Spend, Worry, Earn

Spending money before its in your pocket. You know this is a frequent topic when it comes to money and often its used to illustrate poor financial habits.

Some guy buying a big screen TV in anticipation of a big bonus. Or some girl eyeing some strappy sandals and a nice paring  bag. Because she deserves it.

Honestly I’ve never suffered from wanting to buy stuff before even having the money in my hand. Actually I’m a really bad shopper period. Even when I see something I want and think about it I regularly convince myself out of the purchase.

And even to this day there are things I still want after years and years of thinking about it. (Like the signature little black dress, and a nice blazer). Have I bought them? nope. Because I don’t really need them.

Yet I realized that even though I don’t buy things. Specially physically things with out having the money. I actually do suffer from spending in advance.


Well after college graduation I made the lofty goal to pay off my $46,000 debt in just 5 yrs. I knew I didn’t want that pain in the butt hanging around long term. I needed to kill it.

My plan to kill it came with me dedicating plenty of my paycheck to pay it off. But where my advanced spending is really highlighted is in the fact that I also earmarked my tax refunds years in advanced for debt repayment.

That’s right, before I ever got my tax refunds I had already spent them. I did some math and conservatively calculated that I could expect to get at least an extra $1000 in my tax refund. In turn I could use those funds towards my loans each of those 5 yrs.  Sure I spent them on debt repayment but I’d spent them nonetheless.

Up to 5 years in advance. Compared to those who spend just a paycheck in advance I have a serious problem.  🙁

Wait? What?

Why exactly is this a problem?


Well let me break it down to you in this way. When you spend your money ahead of time. It means you need it. You’re depending on it. And when your banking on money it means your going to stress out about it. If it doesn’t come your going to be SOL. I think it’s a lot worse when you have a physical item in your hands you can’t pay for. But even if its just the idea of future spending you still end up stressing about it.

It’s good to know what the plan is and its motivational for sure. After all I did pay off all my student debt in just a little over 3 yrs. But you know what? the stress was there, and if the refund wasn’t what I was expecting, so was the disappointment.

It’s stressful because it limits your options. It ways you down. You feel stuck, after all you really need that next paycheck. You’ve spent it already.

And just like those paycheck to paycheck people I would have to scramble to figure out what my next move was. Not because I really needed to but because in my mind I had already spent it, so now I needed to find a way to make up the difference.

Well I’ve paid off my debt so what’s there to worry about now.

I should be relaxed. I shouldn’t be worried about money anymore. I mean at the start of the year our networth was over $85k and its been growing ever since.

We’ve cut our monthly costs drastically simply by paying off all our debts. Inversely increasing our cash flow.

We have a nice years worth of safety cushion in a saving account.

We could both loose our jobs and we’d survive just fine with plenty of time to find new ones.

So no stress for the Roamer. Not money related at least. Right?!




I wish…..(sigh)


You see I’ve gone and done it again. Spent all my money before I even made it.

It’s important to note that I also realized that the bigger the amount your on the hook for the bigger the amount of stress.

That makes sense right? If you owed someone $5 you wouldn’t be nearly as worried as if you owed them $5,000.

So tell me Roamer with all that plush why are you still stressing about money?

You want the truth? You can’t handle the TRUTH!


It’s this stupid FI goal! Ha-ha seriously!


You see some people say when you save for retirement don’t think of it as savings. Your actually spending it on your future self.

I have made this thing so real that my money is already spent. And not just the money I’ve saved so far but all the money I’m yet to earn in the next 7-10 yrs.

I made this, its all my doing. I’ve promised myself this and in doing so I’ve put myself in debt and not just to my future self but to Mr. Roamer too. The more he talks about it the more real it is, the more that it becomes unacceptable to do anything less.

You see just like my student debt I’ve created this stress. In truth if I didn’t get my 1k I would have been fine. Realistically it would have pushed out my repayment by a couple of months and made me pay maybe.. maybe… a couple extra $100. The world wouldn’t have ended. But it stressed me out.

And now we aren’t talking about 1k we are talking about multiples and multiples of it.

I’ve put this thing over our heads and as I think about just quitting for a year because night shift suck for our family… It sucks so bad. I am stressed out, scrambling to see if I can make the numbers work. If I can calculate how we can still make it to FI in 7-10 yrs.

But do I really need to run these numbers?!  Is age 41 really worse? Or 45 for that matter.

I recognize it now, the dangers of spending before hand. Because you put yourself up against a wall. You give yourself that fight or flight feeling. You make yourself feel trapped.

Really, the runway is clear. Unlike a jet on an aircraft carrier I won’t plummet into the ocean if I take more time to sail into the FI sky.

With the habits we have we will get there for sure, maybe not in a specific amount of time but we are headed in that direction.

Now that I’ve recognized it how do I remove these shackles I’ve placed on myself?

To you FI dreamer I send a warning and advice. Stay flexible. Don’t shackle yourself, not even to a goal…

Do you have any advice for me? For all you FI-ers  how do you stay centered?

Lastly a Thanks to the minimalists who helped my thoughts flow after their great essay.

What it feels like to no longer worry about money

Also check out these other 2 relevant articles. They are great reads.

Accomplishments without Goals 

And Dividend Mantra’s Live more then one life

Don’t forget to leave me your advice below. Or just let me know how or what makes you worry about money?





Quarter 1 review of goals

Actually I guess its not a quarterly review as much as a trimester review. Jan- April.

So part of making goals public is that they help you with accountability right? Well things have not been going well on all fronts.

I am just going to hit these all fast and hard… Is what I was going to say, but who am I kidding 🙂

Starting from the top and working my way down.

Picture of the goals I carry around in my planner. The one in my planner is actually all marked up.

Spiritual Awareness

Let see what we have on here?..

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

I’m going to come right out ans say it. This is so not a priority right now. Which is kind of funny and sad as I am always aiming to improve as a person and mother and I’m sure the reflection would help me realign my values with my actions. I’ve been extremely short tempered since switching to night shift. Though finally I am getting use to the schedule and at least that is improving.

As for the finding some sort of spiritual house or following…. I am going to go ahead and just strike that off the list. Technically I could cram it all into the last 4 months of the year. But… I am just going to be honest that for the next 5 months I don’t see myself searching for different religious houses of worship and then forcing my family to attend in an attempt to broaden mine and their horizons.  I’ll only review this again if I decide I have time to put it back on the table

Spirituality final tally: 0%… Or F if you prefer a letter grade. Either way I’m off track.


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).  🙂
  • Run two 5ks, 1 Jan-June and then 1 July-Dec.

I actually completed this so Yay! Yet I’ve only done 1 organized run a year for past 2 years so I don’t know why I keep putting 2…. Is it to push myself? Must be. I am not a 100% fan of the sticker price of fun runs but I am working on a post where I rationalize the shizz out of it.

Run: 50% complete, on track

  • Dance 1/ month @ home

I’m doing pretty good on that. Though it looks like I missed February. Which means I can’t get 100%. 🙁

Dancing: 25% complete, on track

  • Take 1 class (yoga, dance ???) With Mr. Roamer.

Haven’t touched this one yet, but there is still time. So no grading still on track to be able to complete it. Haha thank goodness for a goal of one with still over 150 day left in the year.


  • Read 1 book in Spanish.

Sadly I’m not including children’s books….. Or am I? 😉 I’m going with not done yet. I still have time so I am going to say no grade necessary yet, I’m still on track. But I am getting my reading muscle working and added

  • Read 4 books this year.

Really sad compared to how much I use to read but I’m sure 400% better then last year. Already working on I Will Teach You To Be Rich (pg 109 of 260) and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (pg.144 of 340).

Reading: 20%, slightly behind

2014 characters learned
2014 characters learned
  • Chinese 2 characters/month

I have not really touched this one yet. By this point I should already know how to pen 10 new characters above and beyond last years learning. I think I have done 1.

Chinese: 4% when I should be at 40% , Behind



Leftovers from our fancy January date
  • 1 date a month w/ Mr Roamer.

We have done really well so far and not spent a bunch of money. We’ve gone to the movies, a fancy dinner and picnic date. I forgot to write some of it down but we have spent very marginal amounts of money as well.

Dating husband: 41% complete, on track

  • Write in kids memory books.

So far my planner says I am on track but missed January, and might still need to do May. I think this is a great ways to capture important moments and doing it once a month at the minimum isn’t too difficult.

Memory book: 25% , missed a month so can’t get 100% , On track 

  • 1 date a month with each child.

I haven’t been doing so well here I have missed whole months. With my new schedule I now get to spend a lot of one on one time with Minnie Roamer , but see Jr.Roamer a lot less. I haven’t been setting time aside for just him and so I need to pick up the slack. Moving forward Minnie Roamer will automatically be on track, what I need to focus on is Jr. Roamer.

Jr. Roamer time: 8% should be 41%, off track

Minnie Roamer time: 25%, off track

  • Sister & mother 1 date/ 6 months

I have one month left to schedule this and be on track.

Sis, Ma time: 0% , on track


  • Earn side hustle  $500

So far I’ve earned $30. If I divide $500/12 I should be shooting for about $42 a month so I am behind. I need to pick up the slack. So far I am not a craigslist whiz.

Hustle: 6%, Behind,  need to up the hustle.

  • Max out 401k ,18k/ person

We are aggressively front loading our 401k and in June we will drop it significantly to have enough to continue to get employer match until year end . This is also one of the main reasons I didn’t want to quit when our family situation suddenly changed.

401K: 70% complete, on track

  • Save 30k for house($2500/month)

I really shouldn’t have added the per month part as I knew we would be front loading 401ks. So we have not been hitting the monthly goal but after June and the 401k adjustments we will be saving over the monthly goal and should end up with both goals met by year end.

House fund: 19% complete, Behind , but not worried


  • Write 2 posts a week.

Yup. Nope! What was I thinking not even on my good month was I able to keep that up. Its a good goal and it reinforces the need for consistent content to A. Practice writing and B. Keep people interested but I was being too aggressive. With my new work schedule time to write seems more sporadic and hard to come by then before. My realistic goal moving forward is 1 post per week . which is vastly better then the 1 post per month I have suddenly found myself doing.

Posts: 13%, Behind, goal adjusted, 25% with new goal

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

It’s been added. So far not good. I am cutting this goal from my view for the next trimester as I strictly focus on creating consistent content.

Adsense: 0%, dropped off the queue

  • Attend Fincon

I purchased the early bird ticket and now Mr. And I need to have a discussion and figure everything else out. I am looking for roommate!!!! To save on cost and I might even venture into credit card churning to lower cost. But I need to figure this all out asap. EEK!

FinCon: Can I even score this???


  • Reevaluate job in July..

Well I am working a new position and though its still not something that makes my heart sing it is keeping my brain working harder then it was before the switch. As of right now goal is to stay until end of year. But I will ask myself again in July.

  • Hunt for new job / interview 3 times.

As I am now working a strange corporate shift 3:30- 12:30 am . I keep telling myself I won’t find the same deal anywhere else. Technically I should have interviewed once already but I think this might just get cut out.

  • Get pay increase of 5% .

Well I haven’t seen it in my paycheck yet but I am supposedly getting a 10%  increase. Still not happy but that’s a story for a different post.

Pay increase: 100% complete? and then some….(update when check rolls in)

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.


Denver... in the Spring?
Denver… in the Spring?
  • 1 family trip 5+ days

We made it to Colorado and back. We spent time together and with the rest of our family. So all done in this department according to goals. Still we are planning a second trip for the winter. This keeps getting dropped from yearly goals because really its almost habitual. 1 yearly visit to extended family is part of our life, so really no goal is necessary.

Travel: 100% complete

So why am I sharing with you? Well like I said you all help to keep me accountable. Also writing up this post really did help me review stuff and see where I need to focus my attention. My strengths are clearly saving, now I just need to manage my time better. It was also helpful to recheck goals to see where they stack up and realign objectives. Which included striking some from the list.

Any pointers? How do you manage multiple goals at once? Let me know down below.