the ladder & the GovJobs

Hi Readers!

I want to give a little background so that people have some context while reading this blog.

My husband and I met in 2010 in the Pacific Northwest, where we still live today. I had graduated from undergrad and my husband had gotten his first post-Masters career position in the town we now live (prior to us meeting). When we met I had just moved back to my hometown with my parents. I had tried for a year after graduating to get a career-oriented job in my college town, but I had only managed to get babysitting and barista jobs. But it was 2009-2010, and finding a job was a challenge, though I was extremely fortunate to graduate without student loans. That was the most valued gift I have ever been given.

When I met Al, he had a salary of about $50k/year at his GovJob, and about $35k of student loan debt. Our relationship was moving along, and about 6 months in, my mom got a fantastic job opportunity in her hometown, out of state. So, Al and I made the decision that I would move in to his 690 sq.ft. apartment. Immediately, with the money that I payed him for rent, he started saving. He was also paying toward the principal on his highest loans. He paid his car and his loans off in at an astonishing rate. I had gotten in a car accident, bought a used car, and paid it off in a couple years with the settlement money in addition to my regular payments.

After a couple years of dating and living together, he asked whether I’d like to focus on getting married or buying a house. Since we had some time before we wanted kids, I responded that I wanted to start with a house. By this time, we had no debt, and we started saving rapidly for a down payment. I also had some investments (around $10k) that were handed over to me. By this time, after a short stint in private industry, I also had acquired a GovJob.

After a year and a half of house hunting, and a a few turned-down offers in a complete sellers market, we finally purchased a foreclosure home for $340k in 2015. We put $72k down to avoid PMI, and that was every last cent we had. We made just under $100k that year.

And this, dear reader, was how we got into our house. Since buying our house, life has been a wild, fulfilling, and extremely expensive ride. Our house, and our lives, look drastically different than they did in our sub-700 sq.ft. apartment.

What type of living situations have you been in, reader? Did you make these decisions with intent? What types of decision-making processes did you go through to arrive where you are?



reduce, reuse, recycle, retire

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the club! My internet name is Mel, and the purpose of this blog is to document my family’s journey into intentional living, with an ultimate goal of early retirement thrown in there (but not too early, more on this later). Our family consists of my husband Al, our toddler Bo, my mother-in-law, and our dog Bear.

So, why “reduce, reuse, recycle, retire”? These four r’s sum up our plan to get where we want to be, in the manner that is important to us. But it’s not about recycling trash (though hey, that’s great!), it’s about:

  • Reducing spending, unnecessary consumer purchases, and waste;
  • Reusing items where we can and buying reusable items where it makes sense. This also includes giving away or selling items so that they don’t end up in the landfill;
  • Recycling what is no longer useful;
  • Retiring early by increasing our savings rate, while focusing our spending and energy on what is truly important to us.

We’ve been doing a lot of research, reading, and podcast-listening lately, which has started to subtly shift the trajectory of our lives. And while I am a late-adopter to some of these philosophies, my husband seems to be quite the natural for things that I find challenging (like frugality!). And although we are just starting to step off of the path we have been walking, my intent is to be authentic with this journey, the good and bad, and to find the path that fits.

Through this blog, I look forward to finding some like-minded people, who might be walking (or running) a similar path. People who are authentically sharing their successes and stumbles, tips and tricks! Drop a line and let me know who you are and how you’re living intentionally.