How We Paid Off $61,700 in Debt and Plan to Retire by 2021

I often hear the question, “how much debt were you in and what is your net worth now?” It took some serious Debt CSI to uncover our debt, assets, and net worth since 2006, but the results were quite revealing. In 2009/2010 we had a high of $61,700 in consumer debt and a net worth of -$74,000. In a few short years, we dug out of this pile of debt and currently have a net worth of over $500,000. Here’s our numbers story. Continue reading

Getting On the Same Page About Money

My husband and I often disagree about who is more frugal. He says I am, I say he is. The truth is, we both have our financial strengths and we both have different spending triggers.

The important thing is we’ve created financial goals together, we have extremely open conversations about finances, we have roles and responsibilities (mostly) carved out, and we’re supportive of each other. We’re on the same page.

But it wasn’t always this smooth. And, it takes effort to stay this way.

One of the questions I often hear in talking to other families working toward financial independence is, “Was your spouse/partner on board with all of this?” And, “Who’s idea was it and how did you convince your spouse/partner to follow suit?”

All great questions (and often humorous stories that follow). To help those who may be having these questions or interactions with their partner, here’s how we got on the same page about money and some tips we’ve learned along with the way.  Continue reading

Childcare costs and financial independence

Childcare Costs – Balancing Finances & Family When Working Toward Financial Independence

As parents, it’s easy to meet single professionals in their late 20’s who are well on their way to an early retirement (or already living the dream) and think two things: “Darn, I wish we would have started earlier” and, “But they don’t have kids!” FIRE envy aside, one big question working families with kids must tackle is how to deal with childcare expenses.

If we both work full-time, how can we minimize childcare expenses? Should one of us cut back to part-time or fully stay at home? What other sources of income can we create to offset these costs? What is best for our kids and our family right now?

These are all questions we’ve asked and over the years, we’ve tried quite a few different arrangements with work and childcare to find the right balance between finances and what is best for our family.

Here’s our experience and tips for managing costs. Continue reading

“Light Bulb:” Changing Our Family’s Mindset on Spending and Saving

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how incredible a simple shift in our family’s mindset on spending (and saving) created such a big change in our financial trajectory.

Sure, our path toward getting out of debt and planning for financial independence has been a process with very intentional actions, but first we had to change our family’s mindset on spending and saving.

We are now thinking about money in a new way – not as a tool to “buy, buy, buy” but as a tool to secure freedom and independence (while also living a bad ass life).

As Gru from Despicable Me loves to say… “Light. Bulb.”

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The Power of Small Changes for Big Savings

When our family started getting serious about saving for an early retirement, we knew decreasing our spending was a key part of the plan. At first, this seems daunting. Could we really make a meaningful dent in our spending? Would small changes really add up?

The encouraging answer is yes!

Regardless of your financial situation or goals, it is powerful to know that small changes do make a difference. 

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Infographic - Money Tips from Warren Buffett

5 Habits to Manage Your Money Like Warren Buffett [Infographic]

If your family is working toward financial freedom, eliminating debt, or simply getting your finances in order, developing smart habits is important for success. Not only do healthy money habits help you achieve your financial goals, they are great lessons to teach our children about managing money. Continue reading

Our Family’s Path to Financial Independence

Father and Son Walking Together Holding Hands

When we tell family, friends, and colleagues we want to retire in less than ten years we get a mix of responses – looks of confusion, positive support (sometimes followed by a list of objections), and curiosity.

In fact, if you told me two years ago we could save enough to be financially independent in ten years I probably would have reacted this way, too.

So, how did we get on a path to financial independence (FI)?
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