Twelve months of experiments: it’s the end of the year already?!

I’ve taken a few months off of explicitly doing a monthly experiment. September/October were unofficially me decluttering my life and slowing down (ahem, a work in progress. I don’t have some big announcement to make concerning that) and I’ve been doing a no-spend month for November (tune in next week for the spending report to see how that went!). But for this last month of the year (!!?) I’m back to doing a monthly experiment in the vein of my previous ones. In December I’m doing a 30 day yoga challenge.

Yes, you read that right. And trust me, I’m as shocked as you are that I’m saying this. Continue reading “Twelve months of experiments: it’s the end of the year already?!”

Everything I spent on FI community events this year / Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s not my usual time or day to put out a post, but my family’s doing our Thanksgiving meal today before we go see Hamilton later tonight (!!!) because my mom and I are driving back up to DC tomorrow night so I can go to work on Friday. So why not a thankfulness/reflection post at an unusual time to go with our untraditional Thanksgiving this year? Continue reading “Everything I spent on FI community events this year / Happy Thanksgiving!”

What’s Up Next? Podcast appearance

Since I’ve completely neglected to post all week, why not a random Friday afternoon post??

There’s a new podcast in town called What’s Up Next? that aims to take the FI conversation to new places. I was lucky enough to be asked by the hosts—DocG and Paul Thompson—to be one of the guests on an episode answering the question “do you have to have a high income to reach financial independence?” Continue reading “What’s Up Next? Podcast appearance”

Family and suboptimal decisions (and lots of traffic)

Friday evening was not the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.

I left work early so I could head out of town early and hopefully miss the usual traffic, but even leaving slightly before 3:00, I ran into residual traffic very soon after leaving the city (it’s not summer anymore, what the hell is up with there already being an accident and traffic at 3pm??!?). Over an hour and only 40 miles later, it started raining. It actually started pouring, and it didn’t let up for the rest of the trip. I-95 is not only a nightmare traffic-wise, but it turns out it’s not graded terribly well, and I hydroplaned in a couple of different spots. Continue reading “Family and suboptimal decisions (and lots of traffic)”

September 2018: I was NOT expecting this

I’m gonna be quite honest: September was a damn expensive month. How the hell did I manage to pull out not only a positive savings rate, but a halfway decent one? I honestly have no idea (although this is the power of including my 401(k) contributions in my income as well!).

I didn’t post much in September: I had four posts, three of which were for things that happened in August (CampFI and August’s spending report). And a lot of that is because that month saw a few big changes in my life that have occupied a fair amount of my time, including the resumption of weekly chorus rehearsals. Ah, sleep on Tuesday nights, I miss you dearly!

And of course I had FinCon at the end of the month! Continue reading “September 2018: I was NOT expecting this”

Personal finance for people with moderate incomes? Meet the Middletons

I make no secret of the fact that I don’t earn a ton and happen to live in an expensive city. In fact, that’s a huge part of the reason why I blog: I didn’t see anyone else blogging who had a similar background and story to mine. So I decided to start blogging to hold myself publicly accountable and to tell my story.

In amongst the six figure earners in the FIRE community (or honestly, even the people pulling in high five figures), it’s incredibly easy for me to feel like an impostor. I don’t think I’ve ever explicitly said so, but my last COL increase put me at just under $45,000. I’m lucky if I can reach a 40% savings rate most months, and I’m certainly not going to be financially independent before I’m 30, so who the hell do I think I am to be adding my voice to this space with my non-profit salary?? Often it seems like I am never actually going to reach financial independence.

But that’s why I’m documenting my journey, as a way to show people (AND myself!) that it is possible. It’s going to take time and lots of creativity both in terms of earning money and lifestyle design. But I believe it’s possible, and that in and of itself is reason to be writing and—dare I say it?—reaching for financial independence for myself.

When Gwen and J were interviewing me for FIRE Drill Podcast, they asked me if I had any resources or recommendations for people with lower incomes. And I blanked. I couldn’t think of anything terribly significant off the top of my head, even though I write as a person who makes a middle income. Why don’t I have any significant resources I can point people to? I ended up saying there’d be a project called The Money Middletons launching soon, so to keep an eye out for that.

Well, it’s happened: The Money Middletons launched today. Continue reading “Personal finance for people with moderate incomes? Meet the Middletons”

Breaking my clothes shopping ban two months early

I own a lot of clothes. For years I was a serial clothes-buyer, accumulating a piece or five here and there at a low-level but steady rate whenever the urge struck to get a flowy summer dress or an oversized comfy sweater (y’all, I’m fighting that urge HARD right now, now that it’s finally fall in DC) or a cute new scarf. And then, last November, I got sick of paying off those transactions on my credit card and I just…stopped. (Stopped buying clothes, that is, not stopped paying off my credit card!)

I didn’t even realize until earlier this year that I’d been on an unofficial clothes buying ban, at which point I decided to make it official for the remaining six months (or beyond) of the year.[*]

But I broke my ban and bought clothes in September, two months shy of a full year. I was so close to making it a year! Here’s why. Continue reading “Breaking my clothes shopping ban two months early”