9 Things we Cut from our Budget (that we don’t miss!)

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9 things we cut from our budget that we don't miss (1)

1. Housing

Housing is most people's biggest expense, and it's the one that made the biggest impact on our budget when we decreased it. Out of the 9 things we cut from our budget that we don't miss, this is the most impactful.

What We Did

We purchased a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house and rented out 3 of the rooms. We rented them out to coworkers, people we met on Craigslist, and friends. If we didn't know the person, we made sure to run a background and credit check through Cozy.co to ensure a good fit.

Using this strategy, we were essentially able to live in a huge house with awesome people for a couple hundred dollars a month. Now that we're full-time traveling, we rented out our master and make about $400/month (should there be no unexpected expenses). We aren't planning on living off this though, but just saving it for future repair bills on the house.

What You Can Do

We realize this strategy might not work for everyone. Maybe you have kids or you live in a city where buying a house is impossible. In that case, you always have options if you're willing to look for them. For instance, if you have kids, you could buy a duplex, rent out half of the house and live in the other half. If you're a single person living in San Francisco, you can rent a room instead of having a studio to yourself. Or you could even buy a van and live in that fulltime (what we're doing now)!

Our first house!
Our first house!

2. Cars

It's pretty much the norm for people these days to have a car payment. We make excuses that we need that SUV for "safety" or "must buy new cars" so they don't breakdown. Nowadays, cars are built really well. No longer do we need to buy new to ensure a cars reliability. Even buying a used car  from a dealership can be a ripoff.

What We Do

Given Matt is a mechanical engineer, he is pretty good with cars! So when we're looking for a new car, we scour ads on Craigslist. We are all about good gas mileage and reliability. The last car we purchased (before Clifford) was a 2005 Toyota Prius with 30,000 miles on it. We purchased it for about $8000. Matt was driving 100 miles a day to work (ugh), so the gas mileage also saved us hundreds of dollars a month. Most of Matt's coworkers (who had the same commute), drove trucks. Not only did they have a car payment, but they were paying hundreds of dollars more per month in gas! All for a hunk of metal! No thanks!

What You Can Do

Decide what type of car you'd like to buy given your commute, your lifestyle, your budget, and where you live. Scour Craigslist or Facebook marketplace for cars. Take them for a test drive! (Being a woman, I would never do this alone. Always bring someone with you!). Once you find a car you like, take it to your local mechanic for a lookover (it will cost about $80).  Pull the cash out of the bank, exchange title, and make your way over to the DMV to process the registration.

I added the "Cool Prius -no one" sticker.
I added the "Cool Prius -no one" sticker.

3. Restaurants

Our first meal in the van- eggs, kimchi, avocado!
Our first meal in the van- eggs, kimchi, avocado!

4. Alcohol

Having a delicious mojito at a friend's wedding!
Having a delicious mojito at a friend's wedding!

5. Social Events

We loooveee to be social! Most of our social activities revolved around eating out, drinking out, and playing out (hellooo, Coachella!). While all these activities were really fun (#noregrets), when we got serious about our goals, we had to get creative with ways to be social for less moneys.

What We Do

Invite people over (yes, even into our van!). Cook for friends, have game nights, go on hikes with friends, go to free concerts with friends...the opportunities are endless!

What You Can Do

Brainstorm a few things you LOVE doing with friends that are free (or cost just a lil bit). Realize that you might lose some friends by not going out all the time (that's ok and normal!). Join meetup.com to find new friends that like doing similar (free) things!

Hiking with our friends from Wild Drive Life!
Hiking with our friends from Wild Drive Life!

6. Clothes (Shopping in General!)

When I was just #babymoneyAlli, I had a monthly subscription to StitchFix. Most of the time, I got a few clothes from there that I liked, but was too lazy to return the ones that were "meh." This resulted in me having a LOT of clothes in my closet that were just "meh."

What We Do

Now that we live in a van, clothes shopping isn't really an option (where am I going to put new sh*t?). Before #vanlife, I challenged myself to a clothes buying ban. Not only does this save money, but it helps you appreciate what you have in your closet. This translates to just a happier life (hellooo #gratitude).

What You Can Do

Go on a clothes buying ban! Go through your closet and sell all the clothes that are just "meh" or give away ones that you can't sell on apps like Poshmark or eBay.

If you follow us on Instagram, you've seen this jacket. I only have one...
If you follow us on Instagram, you've seen this jacket. I only have one...

7. Subscription Services

Subscription services may seem like a small amount. But $10/month over the course of a year is $120/ year! I get it, TV shows are important to many people, but for us, we realized TV didn't really improve our lives much.

What We Do

We canceled all subscription services and stay entertained through free books from the library and YouTube. Are you subscribed to our channel btw ?  Click here hehe (shameless plug)!

What You Can Do

Share an account with a friend! Rent a book from the library! Don't let your brain go to mush!

Pretending to read, but really just admiring Ember.
Pretending to read, but really just admiring Ember.

8. Buying Books

We're big self-development junkies, so books are our best friends!

What We Do

We got library cards to basically everywhere possible..in our hometown in Bakersfield, in my mom's county and in my mom's city! This gave us access to Hoopla and Overdrive, which are apps that allow you to rent e-books and stream audiobooks FO'FREE!

What You Can Do

Go to your local library (or your mom's), get a library card, ask them which app they are subscribed to...download that app...get all the books! And get partying!

9. Insourcing

We try to do everything "in house"...that means, if either of us need a haircut, we're getting out the scissors and shavers and it's going down!

What We Do

Not only do we insource hair cutting, but we do all our own car maintenance. That means oil changes, brakes, etc. YouTube is our best friend here for sure.

What You Can Do

It's important to recognize your own skills in this department and what might be reasonable to insource, and start there! Never touched a car before? I wouldn't recommend doing your brakes yourself, then. But doing your own "at home pedicure" might be more realistic. Start small, then you'll gain the confidence to tackle the more technical skills (with YouTube at your back!)

We were pretty much your typical millennials when it came to eating out-- we used to eat out 3-4x per week! Our favorites were sushi, thai, and mexican OF COURSE!

What We Do

Now we only eat out 2-3x per month and because of that, eating out is a TREAT! We also have amped up our skills in the kitchen and really enjoy cooking a meal at home together. By cooking at home we also have the comfort of knowing exactly what ingredients are used and can make it as healthy as possible.

What You Can Do

Start making small changes. Don't try to go from eating out every day to never eating out. Allow yourself some treats but also be realistic about your goals.

We used to also DRINK out alot- I'm talking a $100 bar tab on the weekend was the norm. Ugh- not only is that horrible for our health, but it hurts our wallets.

What We Do

Bota Box boxed wine is our JAM! We also invite friends over for drinks. We find the conversations we can have in our home are much more interesting than the conversations we have at a loud bar.

What You Can Do

Order soda water with lime when you go out. That way, it looks like you're drinking a mixed drink, but it saves your health (and your wallet!)

June Expense Report – First Month in the Van!

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June Expenses - First Month of Full-Time Van Living

June Expenses

Written by Matt

June Expense Report - $15,335 of $40,000 challenge (36%)

We took off in the van on May 30th so this Expense report marks the first month of us living in the van full time! I wasn't sure exactly what our expenses would look like but so far they look pretty good! I think they will drop even more next month as we get more comfortable in the van, how we manage groceries, and get a little farther away from all the people we know (quit inviting us out to eat already...)

So far we are 6mo in and we have only spent 36% of our $40k budget which is awesome!

June Expenses

Our June Experience!

June was the first full month of Van Life. We left California on May 30th and booked it across the country to get to South Carolina by June 9th for my family reunion. It was a pretty serious pace which was less than our favorite way to travel. But that's just how the cookie crumbled.

This month was a nice ease into van life. We spent a lot of time visiting with friends and family. We only camped out 4 of the 10 days it took us to drive from CA to SC. The other times we stayed (in the van) at friends and families houses.

We stayed in the van the entirety of the family reunion which was actually pretty nice to just have our own little space. After leaving Myrtle Beach we headed down to Savannah GA to pick up my sister's dog who we will be taking with us on the trip. Things worked out that she needed a long-term dog sitter and we were supremely qualified.

From GA we started our trek north hoping that we would find some cooler weather and some fun adventures. We found one of those things as the weather has been relentlessly hot. We have stayed in the comfort of AC quite a few times in the last 2 weeks as we head north. We have visited with 1 travel buddy, 2 aunts and uncles, 3 cousins, and my grandma on our way up the east coast and have a couple more friends to meet before we reach Maine and turn West again.

Our New Van Puppy
Our New Van Puppy

June Expenses

Mortgage: $1,790.74 - We finally stopped paying that principle only payment. It will help with our monthly cash flow a bit going forward until we start bringing in some more income from the businesses.

Roommate Income: $2,380 – This should be pretty typical of a month going forward as long as we keep the house fully rented

June Housing

Net housing Costs Income: $456.97 (plus we built some equity in there!)

This represents a pretty stable idea of what we should be getting out of the house going forward. I realized that I had been counting the excess income we got from our house in the last two months against our expenses (which made sense when it was a cost) but now that it should be an income going forward we'll take it out of the total so we can look at how much we actually spent during the month


Other Bills:

Gasoline: $599.40 This was a big hitter this month! makes sense because we drove all the way across the country and then down to GA and up to Virginia all in one month. I think we covered ~4,000 miles this month which is pretty insane. I think we'll be quite a bit slower in July. I thought something might have been wrong here but a quick back of the envelope of 4,000 miles at 20mpg with gas around $3/gal for diesel works out to $600. So I'd say we are pretty close.

Student Loan Payment: $500 – Only 5 more years to go!

Groceries: $437.16 – slightly higher than last month but we did cook in quite a bit. We also took our turn cooking at the family reunion for 21 people... I think that dinner was $120 by itself. But we got fed the rest of the time at no charge to us. The community food for breakfast and lunch will get split up between everyone but we haven't seen how much that will be. It was a good week with a lot of food and drink.

Eating Out: $215.31 – One of the hardest parts about visiting with friends and family is that it always seems like a "vacation" to them. "You're in town for a couple days? Let's go eat at our favorite restaurant or get some drinks at our favorite brewery"... its easy to do and hard to say no to because its always fun and the food and drink is always amazing. However for us... it isn't a vacation it's our everyday life. So it can really start to pile up. Honestly, I thought this number would be higher as I reflect back on June. We have a ton of family on this side of the country so I expect once we get our on our own a bit more when we get north we will be back to eating out just a few times per month.

Health Insurance: $202.24 - We signed up with a Christian health Sharing ministry for our insurance when we left work. We waited until May to sign up because we could have gone back on COBRA for 30days after we ended employment if something had happened that required significant medical care. This charge was for set up fees as well so from here on out I believe its only ~$100 for both of us which is super affordable. Granted we have a $10,000 deductible but we have that if something catastrophic happened like a car accident and otherwise we are generally pretty healthy and got full check-ups before we left work.

Phone: $121.70 –  We maxed out on our Project FI account this month because we used it a lot as we traveled across the country as a hot spot. We ended up switching to Verizon in June though because of the hacking incident. There are some more details on that in our VLOG videos

Travel: $106– We got an annual pass to the national parks ($80) and an entrance to sliding rock in Pisgah National Forest ($3) each. The other $20 was a sticker for the van (gotta keep a record) and some other random items.

Doctor: $91.78 – Had some remaining balances somehow from our doctor visits back in March and April... Not sure how it takes 3 months to bill someone but it was a legitimate charge but that should definitely be the last of it.

Fees and Charges: $76.60 – Last month we talked about our hacking situation. This was some more bank and account fallout because of that. we got quite a bit of stuff reversed but not everyone is willing to work with you on it.

Gift: $25.63 – For a friends wedding we will be going to in Oct.

Gym: $5 – I know I said this one would be gone but it Snuck in there! it billed super early in June but next month for sure!

June Expense

June Income

Selling Stuff: $0

Dividends: $143.95

Interest Income: $26.38

Credit Card Bonus: $588.16  - We had opened a couple discover cards last year to put a loan to a friend on. They let us carry the money at 0% for 18mo or something. We paid them all off last month and got the sign-up bonus and cash back this month.

June Income

Business Expenses

Owen Your Future: $604.83 – We bought a Drone (DJI Spark) used off of craigslist for our youtube channel ($400). I'm still learning to fly it around but its a pretty good time and relevant to the videography we are learning.

We spent about $180 on things for Clifford, I bought a fuel filter and a spare, some tire fill extenders for the dual tires, a wifi adapter with antennas that will hopefully help us catch better wifi. a couple air filters (Number 1 maintenance item to be on top of) and a new circuit breaker for the electrical as one failed limiting our microwave or appliance usage.

Business Support: $133.48 -  We had an issue with referrer spam on our website causing the site to go down due to too much bandwidth usage. It took me a while to find a solution but if you are having issues banning people with a free Cloudflare account has worked great so far for us. We had to boost up our hosting subscription to get through the month. I'm thinking we can bring it back down after we get the spam under control.

Primal Noms: $16.35 -  We have our first product out and ready to go! You can check out the mug cakes at PrimalNoms.com I bought a package of them to test the order form and payment processing. Hopefully, we will have some business revenue coming in for next month!

Align with Alli: $22 -  additional credits for the program she uses to level her audio before publishing her podcast.

June is in the bag and we are already well into July. Let us know what you think about our first month's expenses in the van. I'd love to hear other peoples thoughts on your own monthly expenses in the comments or send us an email!

Thanks for Reading!

Business June

©2017. All Rights Reserved. Please note we are not financial professionals and this is only our personal experience.

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May Expenses – Leaving Bakersfield Behind and Finishing the Van

Tame Your Wild Money Habits in 10 Minutes a Week!

May Expenses - Leaving Bakersfield Behind and Finishing the Van

May Expense Report

Written by Matt

May Expense Report - $13,046 of $40,000 challenge

As you read in our April post we are a little late publishing our blog content because we spent just about 6 weeks straight building our van working on it full time. we spent the next few weeks traveling and we are just hitting 4 weeks of being on the road. We are starting to get caught up but to be honest sometimes I'd rather enjoy the travel and experiences than be to focused on keeping our content schedule

So better late than never but here are our May expenses.

May expense

Our May Experience!

If our April Experience was crazy, I'm not quite sure how to describe May. We started out the month with 5 days to finish the van and get fully moved out before our new tenants moved in to take over our room and start acting as house managers... We 100% missed that target. We ended up behind schedule on Clifford's build and we ended up spending an additional week sleeping on our van mattress in the living room of the house.

We needed to stay for a bit longer to finish up the framing and cabinets inside. We had some larger saws and things we didn't intend to take with us when we left that held us up.

Following that week we packed up all the things we were going to keep (some tools, sentimental stuff, winter clothes, everything that belonged in the van) and moved it to Allison's Mom's house just outside of LA where we resumed living on a different living room floor for an additional 2 weeks while we finished everything else on the van!

Seriously this period of our life was a tornado of activity.

Alli Knocking out some Van Construction
Alli Knocking out some Van Construction

May Expenses

Mortgage: $2,090.74 - We made the election change to take off our principle only payment and they kindly let us know it woudl take several weeks to go into effect... oh well. Maybe next month this will go down.

Roommate Income: $2,900 – We had new roommates move into our master bedroom. Another couple our age that was trying to save some extra money by getting out of their apartment. Since they are helping to manage the house where we still rent the other 3 rooms individually, we gave them a break on the rent. This month we had some deposits which raised the total a little bit. we are expecting to have around $2,400 coming in for the house each month going forward.

We also let them take over paying the maids and gardener so those are bills we are no longer responsible for

may housing

Net housing costs Income: $668.63 (plus we built some equity in there!)

As I explained above we had a bit more generous rental income than usual and since we have gotten rid of the responsibility for the maids and the gardener the numbers look pretty awesome this month. It will all even out down the road when deposits go back to renters but even so we should be in the black on the house rental with the current arrangement.

Other Bills:

Insurance: $1,249.74 - We finished the Van! Now that Cliffy was complete we decided we needed to get appropriate insurance on him. It was surprisingly hard to find a company to insure a self-built RV. We called around to lots of companies and ended up with AAA because they were one of the only ones that would do it. He had full comprehensive coverage up to $30k

Student Loan Payment: $500 – same as every month

Eating Out: $396.50 – Last month I talked about how we can start to slip up when it comes to eating out when you get busy? Well, that definitely happened to us this month! we were out of our element, we were living in a different house, sleeping on the floor, and working on the van nonstop. We also were staying with someone who didn't cook often so it was so easy to end up in their routine of eating out and grabbing something quick that was convenient... Just to show that we are not perfect haha. I was proud of us last month and a bit disappointed this month...

Groceries: $330.15 – It's amazing how we can spend so much on eating out and STILL spend the same amount we normally do on groceries. This just goes to show that you pay a huge markup on meals out!

Shipping: $294.20 - We really kicked up the eBay selling this month! I debated taking this out but I already built the nice graphics and chart above so it's staying in... all of this was covered by the eBay income and the majority of it was a tool that got mailed to Dubai.

Gasoline: $178.23 –  We sold the Prius in the middle of the month so we are now a one van family! we had to put some gas in the moving truck and ran what felt like a million errands to Lowes or Home Depot...

Moving Truck: $119.03– We moved out of our house in Bakersfield the second week of May. We kept some things we didn't want to sell like all my mechanics tools, some sentimental items, everything coming in the van, and our winter clothes. I was shocked that even after selling what felt like 90% of our belongings we still had no trouble filling an 18' Uhaul... minimal stacking but it was far from sparse in there.

It is truly incredible how much "stuff" you acquire so quickly. Especially living in a big house with lots of room for it to hide. I think the experience of downsizing and selling all of it was a good learning experience for us that we hopefully mind in the future if we ever move back into a house.

Phones: $102.39– We used quite a bit of data this month. With Project Fi you pay for data up to 10GB and then its free. So it maxes out at $120/mo. I managed to upload a ton of videos from our build to Dropbox via data.... Oops, Later $60... In fact, I still haven't figured out how to prevent it from uploading on data and I believe its impossible. At least going forward I know we will be maxed out anyway so it shouldn't matter too much.

Fees and Charges: $94.16 – So there will be more to come on this but I'll spill a bit of the beans. We had our computer hacked and had all of our information stolen. It was AWFUL. We spent all of June just trying to get our lives back in order. It was a truly eye-opening experience to the importance of internet security, something I had really taken for granted up until now. In response to this, we froze all our accounts and changed all our cards, all our online passwords for everything we could think of. because of that, we had some checks bounce as bills that were on auto-pay tried to deduct from a frozen checking account. We got some fees from this and some we could petition to have removed and some we couldn't. There will be some more of these charges in June and I want to do a post on what we learned from the experience with some more details so you can learn from our mistakes.

Trade Commissions: $12.26 – This is our usual wealth front fees

Gym: $5 –Alli Finished her Yoga Teacher Certification. So Proud of her! You won't see this charge from here on out because it's all private lessons for me!

May expenses


Paychecks: $0– The lifeline of 9-5 income has officially ended! We are on our own from here on out. It's exciting and terrifying at the same time!

401k Contributions: $0

Selling Stuff: $9,510 - We Sold my Prius ($7k) and lots of other stuff on Ebay, craigslist, and offer up. We have extracted just about all the value we can out of the stuff we have so from here on out its all up to the businesses.

Dividends: $121.96

HSA Contribution: $0

may income

Business Expenses

Owen Your Future: $3,307.46 – This is the remainder of the stuff we needed to finish out the van. In total we ended up spending ~$21k on the van and all the materials for the conversion. Definitely wasn't cheap but I think we built a pretty kick ass van and when you consider our house cost over 10x that, It's pretty cool that we have a mobile home for the next 6mo on the cheap. Van Life is just like anything else, you can spend whatever your heart desires. There are vans that cost upwards of $100k and there are people who are enjoying life in a $5,000 rig. It all just depends on what you want and need from your van and your own personal strategy to fill your needs.

Business Support: $39.98 -  This is Dropbox, LibSyn, and Active Campaign

Primal Noms: $869 -  We finalized our formulation for the Muffin product for our ketogenic food company. I paid the remainder of the bill to the food scientist to close the contract. We've had some trouble getting everything lined up for manufacturing but we do have a mug cake mix that is ready to go! We are going to launch into the market with that and then hopefully bring the muffins along down the line.

may business

Hope you enjoyed the May Expense report. I'd love to know what you think and as always if you have any tips or tricks to save some money share them bellow in the comments!

©2017. All Rights Reserved. Please note we are not financial professionals and this is only our personal experience.

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April Expenses – Sprinter Van Conversion Costs and Our Last Paychecks!

Tame Your Wild Money Habits in 10 Minutes a Week!

April Expenses - Sprinter Van Conversion Costs, Our Last Paychecks

April Expenses

Written by Matt

April Expense Report - $10,354 of $40,000 challenge

Sorry this post is coming out so late! Our lives have really been a whirlwind recently and the blog has not been getting a whole lot of love. I wanted to keep these posts going through because I think it's important to keep us on track for our goal of $40k even when we are going through a crazy life transition. Hopefully, you all enjoy learning about how we spend our Money Monthly!

Year to Date Expenses
Year to Date Expenses

Our April Experience!

Our April was CRAZY. We Quit our Jobs (April 12th) Went full time on converting Clifford, our Sprinter Van, Started selling all our belongings in preparation for leaving our house behind. There felt like there were hundreds of small logistical items that neede handled when you transition out of a job, out of your house, and out of your town into an unconventional lifestyle.

I'll break down our expenses this month and I was pretty shocked that they were still right in line with where we wanted to be! obviously, it is easy to slacken up on your budget when the rest of your life gets hectic. After all you only have so much mental bandwidth and when you're spending a ton of time thinking about everything else in your life sometimes it easy to lose track and overspend.

Alli Knocking out some Van Construction
Alli Knocking out some Van Construction

April Expenses

Mortgage: $2,090.74 - You've seen this one the last several months. No change here yet. We will stop paying our $300 extra towards principle soon though.

Roommate Income: $1,950 – We had one roommate change over. It was good to get that done before we left. We are planning to have a couple move into our house on May 5th to take over our master and become the house mangers. We have to get the Van done and get moved out by then.

April Housing

Net housing cots: $513.93 (plus we built some equity in there!)

Bills were reasonable this month. We didn't need to heat the house at all so there is no gas bill. Just $12 we pay per month to PG&E for their smart meter. All the electricity was covered by solar. The way our solar billing works is they keep track of how much is used and generated for a 12 month cycle. at the end if you used more than you made you pay the difference and if you made more than you used you owe zero (unfortunately they don't have to pay you for your surplus)


Other Bills:

Student Loan Payment: $500 – I was fortunate enough that my parents could help me pay for college. I’m paying my mom back for ~$60k in student loans. We set up a $500 payment each month for 10 years which I’m about 5 years into. (0% interest!)

Travel: Zero travel expenses. I could have put some of our San Diego expenses in under travel but they were already categorized in our regular spending and it was relatively short and inexpensive trip.

Groceries: $300.45 – Groceries were back on track this month after having so may people visiting last month. We tried to eat everyting that we had stocked up in our house which helped keep this low. We were pretty sucessful in cleaning the pantry and the fridge before we left

Doctor: $253.37 – So we decided we should get checked up before we left our company insurance. We started the process in March of getting full blood works done and any kind of tests we thought we should have. Luckily we are both in great health but we did spend some money here for some peace of mind before we left the safety net of insurance for our health sharing plan ($10,000 deductible!)

Insurance: $202.24 - $60 for Alli, $72 for me, and we added the van to Allison's policy. We are taking both of our cars off as we sell them and will likely get a refund for some of these payments

Gasoline: $157.24 –  I only commuted to work about half the month but we filled up Clifford for a grand total of $100... California gas is pretty expensive and he took ~26gal at $4 a pop. Luckily other states are a lot cheaper for diesel

Eating out: $185.37– We went out to dinner with a few friends for going away get-togethers. We bought a couple meals for people that stopped by and helped with the van. A little higher this month but considering how busy were working on everything else I think it went really well. Its easy to let cooking fall by the wayside and opt for the convenience of going out when things get a little hectic

Auto Parts/service: $88.63 – Allison had a flat tire on the Honda and had to have it replaced. Unexpected but maybe got some of that value out of the car when we sold it. Hard to say.

Trade Commissions: $50.37 – all the fund fees for my 401k got charged. Seems like this only happens once a quarter so that would explain why this month was so much higher.

Phones: $47.97 – We used to get our phones paid for by work. Now we are on our own. We decided to go with ProjectFI by google. it had a pretty attractive price at $20/mo plus $10/G of data. I'll have more to say about that in a future post but we have since swapped to Verizon

Shipping: $29.22 – we have been selling a ton of stuff on Ebay. So really this gets offset by some of our income but I included it here because really it all comes out in the wash in the total for the month.

Gym: $5 – we have a web subscription to “yoga works” which we still haven't canceled. We barely used it this month and unfortunately, workouts have fallen down the priority list and niether of us have done a great job keeping up on it. Allison is still doing her Yoga Teacher training so soon I'll have my own personal instructor!

april expnse

April Income

Paychecks: $12,392.18 – We got our final paychecks this month so we got paid out some of our banked vacation time. I had ~2 weeks of vacation banked up so I basically got paid through the end of the month even though we left on the 12th.  Also, Alli filled her 401k so we started receiving that money as paychecks again.

401k Contributions: $9,047.53 -  We still were able to get some additional funds into the 401k before we quit. That money will have lots of time to sit there and grow before we need to pull from it!

Selling Stuff: $7,110.10 - It's amazing the value of all the stuff you have in your house. We sold Allisons Car ($4,000) held a garage sale ($1,200) and sold lot and lots of stuff on OfferUp and Ebay. This was Extremely taxing though. Its hard to part with all your things and it can be a real time suck to try and get a fair price for everything. The garage sale was the last step and we just sold everything at 80% discounts... but it was good to just have it gone

Dividends: $782.85 – All of the 401k holdings paid out dividends. So this offsets all those fees you saw up above.

HSA Contribution: $188.46 – Since I only got one paycheck I could only put half into this account.

april income

Business Expenses

Owen Your Future: $8,325.82 – We purchased almost everything we would need to finish out the conversion on Clifford. He, unfortunately, did need a very expensive engine repair that we didn't see coming. The original owner had told us he replaced the motor. We came to find out that he actually had a shop just replace pistons and bearings on the bottom end of the motor. They had re-used the old head and we ended up with a failed head gasket. I personally learned a lot about myself through this van purchase. I felt as though I got caught up in the emotions of the moment and wanted the van so badly that I accepted that there was no maintenance paperwork or proof of any work. Just went by word and overlooked some warning signs that it may not have been in the best condition.

Its always good to know where you shortfalls are so that I can help mitigate them in the future. While its unfortunate to have to immediately put $4,000 into the van in repairs It was a learning experience and at this point, there is no stopping this train so whatever Clifford needs, Clifford gets.

Business Support: $404.30 -  We paid for our yearly hosting bill, Active Campaign, LibSyn for Alli's podcast and we took the step of setting up an LLC. We decided to create one master LLC that we could then put the individual companies underneath but after talking with a tax advisor and doing our taxes for last year we determined we had to at a minimum get one business structure in place and stop comingling expenses. So we have Owen Family Enterprises LLC and a business bank account now!

Sorry again for the tardiness of this post! the next couple months should follow this one shortly. Overall it was a good month. Even with all the major changes and shakedown happening in our life we stayed on budget. We are doing pretty well with our Clifford renovation budget even with a large mechanic bill. Stay tuned for more details on Clifford's renovation and our travels from the road!

Leave us some comments below and let us know how you are doing on your financial goals for this year and if we can support you on your journey in any way! Thanks for reading!

April buisness

February Expense Report – The $40k Challenge

Tame Your Wild Money Habits in 10 Minutes a Week!

February Expense Report - $40K Challenge Update

Copy of Saving money during the holidays

Written by Matt

February Budget - $4,865 of $40,000 challenge

Starting off 2018 we decided to take a challenge to spend $40,000 this year. We are two months into the challenge and we are on track! I honestly expected some overages with the beginning of the year travel but Feb is always a good month. Its shorter than all the other months by half a week and I get my company bonus!

Spending wheel

Our February Experience!

We kept it pretty calm and collected this February. We had on trip down to San Diego to visit with one of Allison’s friends from college, Liz, and to record a podcast with Rachel Maddox. Check out Alli’s two podcast episodes here: LINK TO PODCAST

We stayed at Liz’s house so we didn’t have any hotel but we did spend a little bit more than normal on eating out and we went out the bar which always racks up some bills and an Uber home. It was a great little trip and I got to take some cool beach photos while Allison was in her podcast which is always a good time.

I could get use to that San Diego life! Weather is a wonderful 70F in Feb.
I could get use to that San Diego life! Weather is a wonderful 70F in Feb.

February Expenses

Mortgage: $2,090.74 – Same as last month. Should be the same for the rest of the year. We will likely stop paying our extra $300 toward the principle in May or June. We are planning to leave the state in the second week of May and will be having another couple move into our master bedroom and act as onsite property managers. I’m sure we will have a post on that and maybe on how we selected this property in general as a real estate investment.

Roommate Income: $1,950 – We will have one roommate that is leaving in April. Hopefully, we can fill it rather quickly and avoid any vacancy. I think we may have another one moving out in May so we will have a bit of turnover at the house! Looks like that might coincide with when we take off on our trip so we’ll do our best to get it lined up and filled ahead of time.

Vacancy is really one of the worst things for rental property income. Just one month missed rent with one empty room is $600 extra that month. If both our rooms were empty for a month that would be $1,200 or almost half of our whole month's spending!


Net housing cots: $719.67 (plus we built some equity in there!)

Bills were pretty normal other than the Gardener! We hadn’t paid him since we left on vacation in December so we had 3 months of regular bills ($60/mo plus we had trees trimmed and we reseeded the front yard). We had one bill for the maids (they come every 2 weeks so next month we might have 3) internet is always the same and unfortunately, it’s the lowest we could find for the area, water is usually pretty cheap and usually 30-40 a month. We spent a little less on gas since it’s a bit warmer than last month. That should drop of even more in March as we have solar, so the electricity side of things is practically free.


Other Bills:

Student Loan Payment: $500 – I was fortunate enough that my parents could help me pay for college. I’m paying my mom back for ~$60k in student loans. We set up a $500 payment each month for 10 years which I’m about 5 years into. (0% interest!)

Travel: Zero travel expenses. I could have put some of our San Diego expenses in under travel but they were already categorized in our regular spending and it was relatively short and inexpensive trip.

Groceries: $386.16 – Few stops at Vons and Trader Joes. I keep hearing how great Aldi is on the choose FI forums so we might check that out. We just let our Costco membership expire as we won’t be needing Costco sized things when we are living in a Van/RV

Electronics: $370 – We bought Allison a Google Pixel. When we leave our jobs, we are going to have to get on our own plan and bring our own phones. We will be going to Project FI through google and decided we’d rather buy an older version phone instead of doing a brand new one or financing it. Project FI uses 3 different wireless providers and only costs $130/mo for an unlimited plan. If you use less data you pay less so the base price is ~$50 a month for the two of us and caps at $130. The data also works internationally which is an amazing feature for when we go international next year!

Gasoline: $187.65 – I worked from town a few extra days this month so a little less driving out the field but we also drove down to SD although we took my Prius so it wasn’t a huge hit on the gas bill.

Insurance: $145.50 - $60 for Alli, $72 for me, and $13 for an umbrella policy since we have renters in our house and because we are working on our businesses. As those become more mature we will likely have separate insurance and LLCs for each of those.

Eating out: $131.23 – Breakfast, lunch and dinner for two days basically while in San Diego. This also includes our bar tab when we were out on the town. All in all, it was pretty cheap. Nothing over $20. Thanks “California Burrito” for feeding me twice and being soooo delicious.

Pharmacy: $68.75 – Our health is super important to us. We didn’t buy any supplements this time around but we did have to hit the pharmacy to get a few things. Allison got her nose pierced and we needed some stuff to take care of that. I do think we still bought some vitamins though. Can’t get out of rite aid without some vitamins.

Registration: $55 – registration for Alli’s car was due. Thankfully we drive old beaters so its pretty cheap!

Shopping: $24.02 – While we were in SD we went to the mall. We used mostly Gift Cards we had from Christmas but had to make up a little bit of the difference. New swimsuits and some makeup.

Gym: $5 – we have a web subscription to “yoga works” which is awesome. There are a ton of great classes on there we can do from the house and its really cheap. I could save the $5 and just look some up on YouTube I’m sure but having a good range to pick from with good quality video is worth the price for us.

Feb Expenses

February Income

Bonus!!!: $19,837.99 - My company pays an annual bonus which is a big portion of my compensation. The company performed well this year and due to that, we got a pretty nice chunk of change. We had definitely planned for this and it will make up a good chunk of the money that will go into the honeypot to fund our travels for the next year or more.

401k Contributions: $10,284.59 -  Since we were planning to leave our jobs we elected to kick up our Pre-tax 401k contributions as much as we could. My company allowed me to put in 25% of my income but Alli could do 100%! So, we elected to do that as we can live off my income for the next two months and still get all of the money into our 401Ks for the year. I won’t be able to top mine off but Alli will have hit the $18,000 limit by the end of this month.

Paychecks: $5,430.55 – This dropped due to the change in Alli’s paycheck going 100% into our 401k. We will save a little bit less cash prior to quitting but we will avoid a bit more California Taxes which I think will be worth it.

HSA Contribution: $376.92 – This will keep it up for the next two months. I had not contacted Fidelity to front load the HSA the same way we are doing in the 401K but I easily could. Maybe something I’ll look into this week.

Dividends: $224.91 – I have one dividend stock in my 401k that pumps out consistent dividends. Its also acting as the bond allocation for my diversification.

Overall it was a good month. Even with the market dip we survived and increased the net worth. No doubt due to that company bonus. Wish those came all the time!

For those that don't know we will be traveling this summer in a Rv or conversion van. I'm starting to do some research into converting our own! If anyone has some good resources let me know!

Leave us some comments below and let us know how you are doing on your financial goals for this year and if we can support you on your journey in any way! Thanks for reading!

Why We Quit Our $250k Per Year Jobs

Why We Quit our $250k per year Jobs

Why we quit our $250k per year jobs, an evaluation of risk. www.owenyourfuture.com


WE QUIT OUR JOBS!! - that was my Facebook status update just a few short weeks ago. All caps… multiple exclamation points… We were very excited to start the next chapter of our life. For those that don't know us,  Allison and I both work as engineers in the oil and gas industry in Bakersfield CA . We've been at it for about 5 years at this point. So we are beating the united states average for our age group (only 3.2 years for 25-34 year olds!)
So, someone quitting their job isn't all that abnormal when you look at it that way.  What makes us special? I would say nothing, as my life seems super normal to me, but I’m living inside the snow globe per say. To some outside observers apparently this choice was quite shocking. After all we have achieved so much “success” why would we leave it behind? We were called privileged, told we didn’t appreciate what we had, that others would give so much to have our position in life. I know I’m privileged, everyone in the US is privileged. Your view of your privilege all depends on your perspective, and I will try to give ours below!
Upon breaking the news to some of our friends and family we received a whole spectrum of responses ranging from confusion to jealousy. Many were concerned about our choice damaging our careers, our financial situation, or concerned that we would be victims of some horrible circumstance while traveling. Others were equally tired of corporate life, and felt as though they wished they could to the same (They could!). Many were congratulatory and supportive.
It was very interesting to see the differences in how the people around us responded to this big life change.  It teaches you a lot about your friends and family and about what they value. I think everyone who chimed in did so in an attempt to help us as much as possible. They really had pure intentions of making sure that we made the right choice, and did what they thought would be best for us. Some of them were aligned with our feelings of seeking freedom and making our own way while others felt we were jeopardizing our future and were trying to help us see the light. In the moment, those that stand against you can really rub you the wrong way, but we had to remind ourselves that they really did want the best for us. Just our vision of "best", and theirs were not quite aligned.


We need differing perspectives in our life, so I can really appreciate them for speaking their piece about our choice and helping us to make sure we considered every angle. Even if it is a little uncomfortable. It was an opportunity for us to grow and really seek the truth instead of just seeking those who would make us feel “right”!
So why did we do it?
We have determined that (once you reach a certain level of wealth, i.e. all your needs are taken care of) money is not the source of happiness. While we haven’t reached a stardom level of success we can agree with some of the sentiments of the ultrawealthy. We by all accounts, were very successful. We had great jobs, a great (new) marriage, a wonderful house, plenty of money… yet we really didn’t feel that happy. We felt something was missing. We went through a phase of filling our life with things and that didn’t really help. We then tried to fill our life with Experiences, that helped a lot more. But eventually we always came back to home plate, which was our 12hr work day, traveling on the weekends, and fitting in family where we could.
We wanted more time! We couldn’t live the lives we wanted to live around the confined schedule of our day to day work. I left the house at 5am and got back at 5pm. I cooked dinner and spent time with Allison and it was 7pm. I would work on our business or chat with the roomates for another hour and its time for bed, so that I can wake up at 4am to do it all over again. This life felt constrained. There was my 4 weeks of vacation (which is super generous in the US), but even that seemed to fly by. We found ourselves looking forward to the next vacation or the next weekend and this started to build an animosity between me and my work.
When I first started my job, I loved the excitement of learning something new. I loved the challenges that came with breaking into a brand-new field with so much to learn and figure out. I’m a problem solver by nature and my job gave me a ton of freedom to do the work that I found exciting and interesting. I still think my job is a great job, and I’ll try to even out some of the job bashing that could have been construed from the previous few paragraphs. I had an excellent job that was engaging and fulfilling. It paid me more than I ever could have imagined being paid leaving college and provided for me to be in the position to be able to make the choice to stay or not. I worked with great people on interesting problems. I felt I contributed to the success of the company and in many regards, I felt I held a position that I had significant and direct impact on the company’s performance and bottom line.
I started to envision and imagine what my life would look like 5 and 10 years down the road. I could see myself working at this job. Still doing the same work and saving as much money as I could to someday reach the magical 25x savings compared to my spending at which point I’d be free to leave and never work again if we so desired. We were scheduled to hit that goal in a short 5-7 years from this year, to which many would have advised sticking it out. Why quit when you are so close?
Because I was thinking Bigger! I started to envision what it would be like to live that life now. To explore and adventure before starting a family. To work on something that could build perennial value for us and for our family. We wanted to have something to call our own that we built ourselves. That we were truly passionate about and that lit us up inside. Why should we wait?
The pursuit of Financial independence and all the personal development and inner work we had undertaken had ruined the idea of working for someone else for the next 10 years. If we could provide $250,000 worth of value to a company from the inside. How much value could we provide to the world if we went direct to those that needed it? Click To Tweet Should we wait 10 years and then build the business and wait to be financially secure before taking the risk of leaving our jobs?


I took a business class with Billy Murphy who writes a blog at ForeverJobless.com and he taught me so much about how to honestly evaluate risk. As humans we are inherently bad at being objective when it comes to risk because our brains were evolved with a negativity bias to help us survive. So, lets dive into our decision to really evaluate how risky it is.
The biggest risk in life is doing something that is not going to achieve your desired goals. When we looked at our life and thought about what we truly wanted more than anything else, we arrived at time and location freedom. We wanted to be able to support our standard of living of around $30-40k per year. We wanted to feel alive and passionate about what we were doing each day and feel that we were directly helping those we interacted with. (what are your dreams and desires? Write them down or put them in the comments below)
Time/ Location freedom
  • Jobs: scored pretty low in this area. We had very little freedom and while we had a light at the end of the tunnel that was still 7 years away or longer.
  • Quitting: Scored super high in this area, We could have this now. Work when we want, travel when we want, be wherever we want.
Financial Support
  • Jobs: Scores excellent. It has a 7 year timeline to get us to our goal of having enough savings to support our spending indefinitely and obviously provided more than enough for us to live on in the near term.
  • Quitting:
    • We said there is a 20% possibility (hopefully overestimated!) that we make zero money. We use up some of our 3 year savings runway and end up going back to work (Bummer) We lost a little time and money and end up in a similar situation to where we are now but maybe 1 year back on the timeline to FI.
    • There is a 50% chance that we at least make enough income to cover our expenses within the next 3 years so our runway becomes Infinite! Goal achieved
    • The other 30% of the time, we have amazing success in our businesses and greatly surpass our income requirements and quite possibly our earnings at our jobs. (hopefully underestimated!)
Feeling alive and passionate about our work
  • Jobs: This scores a 4/10. I liked what I did, and when you compare one job to another job… I had a great job. But if you compare that job to running a company that directly touches peoples lives? It starts to look a little worse.
  • Quitting: We can work on whatever we want! So this by nature has to be a 10/10 as long as we are being honest with ourselves!
So looking at these aspects when laid out this way, by taking your goals, and using those as the rubric to measure your choices, you hopefully end up with the optimal decision.
Worst-Case Scenario: would be we quit, and we are unable to provide for ourselves financially and we deplete our savings runway. We end up going back to work (we will be 30 and 31) and we can choose a new location and new jobs. In the mean time we had an awesome 3 years of travel and growth as we learned new skills and stretched ourselves. We likely grew together as a couple having all of these experiences and we are ready to settle down, have some kiddos and we can likely be financially free by the time they are 10.
Probable Scenario: We travel and work for the next 3 years and can get the businesses producing at least $30-40k per year. We maintain most of our savings and we live off the business and continue to invest into them and grow them. At the end of our 3 years of travel (or longer since we have a now infinite runway!) we can choose anywhere in the world to settle down and have kids. We can work from home and spend time with them when they are young. We make all the school and sports events. We can take them on long summer travels or homeschool them and travel indefinitely until we want them to have a more stable group of friends.
Ideal Scenario: Basically looks the same as above except we make WAY more than 30-40k/yr and we gain even more freedom to do what we want. We also get to give a lot of that money away to help others. We spend our time with our family, building new exciting businesses, or working to help more people in the ones we’ve already built.
Hidden Scenario: It’s easy to skip over the “do nothing” scenario as the status quo is so familiar but that has to be evaluated also. If we stay in our jobs we spend the next 7 years in Bakersfield, in a melancholy state, working until we reach our goals of financial independence. We want to have a family before then, so we are working and having kids and now have a lot of inertia holding us in Bakersfield. I literally feel like I just graduated college, where did the last 5 years go… Where will the next 7 go if I stay? Will I get out and make the move later on? (I think so but I’m not willing to risk it!)
When we broke it down like this. Our fears of leaving this job behind seemed so small and in fact, the thought of doing nothing and sticking it out seemed a little scary. Many people give up on their dreams automatically by choosing a path that is guaranteed to never get them there. If you goal is to make $2,000,000/yr You shouldn’t take a job as a fry-cook. Drastic example but I think you get the point. Each opportunity and option needs to be evaluated against where you want your life to be and that is how you truly evaluate your risk and your expected value. While staying in a nice safe job can seem less risky, it’s really not if its likely hood of reaching your goals are close to zero.
So that is why we did it! Please leave us a comment below and let us know what you think about our choice, our logic, etc. We are open books!
What are we going to do?
We have orchestrated a plan to travel the US and the world by a mix of plane, RV, and sailboat. It’s a loose plan at this point, but we like that and intend to keep it that way for at least a little while. Our first 6 months will be spent traveling the US via RV and exploring our own home country. We've both done a ton of international travel and sadly I haven't even been to half the states. The ones I have been too, I've seen 1 or 2 towns and usually for only a few days. We felt it's time to get out there and take it all in. We want to try and find our "forever home" that we can go to when we want to have kids and give them a more stable place to grow up.

What are we going to work on? 

We have Primal Noms, a keto and paleo baked goods company, which will be launching a line of muffins and mug cake products in April 2018! (woot woot!)

Alli has her own life coaching practice, and we plan to open up a financial coaching school for couples using Matt's expertise in finances, investments, and Alli's coaching skills.


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