North Carolina to Kansas – Cross Country USA Road Trip (Part 1)

When planning our big summer road trip in the Western United States, we considered flying straight to Denver and starting our adventures there in the rocky Mountains. Or should we drive across the Midwest and stop to see whatever we can along the way?

We chose the latter route. Our family took a few extra days to explore parts of the country that we might not necessarily visit as destinations in and of themselves.

We spent three days driving across the country to Topeka, Kansas. Along the way, we stopped for sightseeing in Charleston, West Virginia and St. Louis. We also got some great barbeque in Kansas City! 

While in St. Louis, we discovered a crack in the windshield. I managed to repair our cracked windshield without messing up our remaining travel schedule.

Read more

July 2021 Early Retirement Update – Back Home in Raleigh!

Welcome back to Root of Good! We arrived in Raleigh two weeks ago after spending most of the summer driving cross country for our road trip. I can’t believe summer is almost over! One of our kids starts college half time in one week and all three will commence regular classes in two weeks. When they said “time flies when you’re having fun”, they didn’t lie! 

We’ve spent the past two weeks getting situated in Raleigh and relaxing after a busy but fun summer vacation. So far it looks like all the kids will be attending class in person this fall. For us adults, that means we will have a lot more free time between the hours of 9 am and 2:30 pm. This will be quite a schedule adjustment compared to the past 18 months of the kids being here almost all day every day. 

Financially, last month was pretty decent but not overwhelmingly positive. For the second month in a row, our stock investments went down very slightly. Net worth dipped by $9,000 to end the month at $2,692,000. Income during the month totaled $2,888, which was slightly higher than our $2,128 spending during the month.

Read more

June 2021 Early Retirement Update – USA Road Trip Edition

Here we are turning the page on our calendar to July. We’ve spent most of the last month traveling across the USA from North Carolina to California. As this post goes live, we’ll be waking up not too far from the Pacific Ocean. Soon we will turn back east and head toward home during the month of July. So far, so good, but there were a few hiccups along the way (read on for more details). 

We just finished a one week stay in Las Vegas where we were finally able to relax and sleep late for several days straight. Such a nice break after being on the move for several weeks in a row. The next segment of our trip takes us through California where wildfires are a big concern right now. This is a new risk to us, so I guess we are a little anxious that the wildfires interrupt our plans. 

Financially, we had a good month. Our stock investments went down very slightly but overall June didn’t have a lot of volatility. Net worth dipped by $12,000 to end the month at $2,701,000. Income during the month totaled $10,250, which was significantly higher than our $2,447 spending during the month. 

Read more

May 2021 Early Retirement Update

It was another busy month here in the Root of Good household. We have been busy with final preparations for our seven week road trip across the USA. I think we are ready to go. Two of our kids are completely done with school for the year. Our third kid will be logging into class from the road for a few days (if the cell signal holds up!)

This May brought us the best North Carolina weather I can remember in a long time. Very mild days, with some chilly temps mixed in. We got to enjoy the outdoors in comfort! The humidity just showed up in the past couple of days, so that’s a sign it’s time for us to head out of town for the summer. 

Before we hit the road, here is a look at our finances over the past month. Net worth continued its upward climb with a $46,000 increase in May. Our net worth ended the month at $2,713,000. Income during the month totaled $2,290, which was slightly lower than our $2,418 spending during the month. 

Read more

April 2021 Early Retirement Update

How does every month fly by so fast? Is it really May already?! I’m going to hit the pause button for a minute and reflect on the last month. 

It was a very busy month for us. The kids had spring break in early April with lots of fun times with their friends. Then we enjoyed a relatively normal Easter family gathering this year since almost everyone is vaccinated now. We closed out the month with a birthday party for our son. 

Nice weather means more time outdoors enjoying this fine spring weather. The pollen finally abated toward the end of the month too.

Right now, we’re busy planning the final details of our big summer road trip. It’ll be exciting to hit the road once again after over a year of being (mostly) stuck at home! 

Our finances had a good time last month, too. Our net worth went up $19,000 to end the month at $2,667,000. Income during the month totaled $4,789, which was roughly double the $2,450 we spent during the month.

Read more

March 2021 Early Retirement Update

Well folks, here we are in April. It’s no longer winter but it’s not quite summer yet. Maybe we’ll enjoy a little bit of spring before the heat sets in? Right now we’re suffering through the horrible intermediate phase of “pollen season” here in North Carolina. It lasts a week or two.

Everything is covered in a thick layer of yellow pollen. It billows through the air in thick clouds, turning the sky green. I’m just glad I can wear a mask outside and not look ridiculous any longer! The main consolation is that it will rain eventually and wash all the pollen away.

Our kids just enjoyed almost two weeks off school for spring break. We didn’t go anywhere this year. However we are ramping up our big summer travel plans. So far it’s looking like we’ll take six or seven weeks to make a tour across the USA all the way to California in the west, Montana in the north, and then head back home. I’m keeping reservations mostly refundable at this point since 2020 taught us that flexibility is very important. 

The good times keep on rolling. March was another great month for our finances. Net worth went up $68,000 to end the month at $2,648,000. Income during the month totaled $16,183, which exceeded our paltry spending of $1,483 by a factor of ten!

Read more

Confessions Of A Frugal Millionaire

Unless you are an heir to a big fortune or you have won the lottery, you have to work hard to have money.  To accumulate wealth, you have to make more money than you spend.  The key is to keep your expenses low.  And there will be sacrifices.  Nothing crazy though.

At the Root of Good household, our clothes are not from the mall, we don’t dine out at Ruth’s Chris, or deck out our split level home with the latest from Pottery Barn or Williams Sonoma.  We choose not to quench our thirst with Dom Perignon or Dasani.  Yes, we have made sacrifices.  At first we balked at some of these sacrifices, but we gave them a try.  You never know until you try right?

We have decreased our expenses by carrying our lunches in disposable plastic grocery bags (which also make great suitcases).  We refill disposable water bottles and reuse disposable straws and plastic utensils.

Read more

January 2021 Early Retirement Update

Y’all still having fun out there? At this point of the year we are officially more than half way through winter. Spring is just around the corner! Here in North Carolina, January was more wet than cold for us. Although we did get a light dusting of snow that lasted for a few hours. I know my readers from the northern states laugh at our snow, but hey, it’s all we got. 

When it wasn’t wet and rainy, we managed to get outside a little and do some yard work, ride bikes, and go for walks. But we mostly stayed close to home and enjoyed a lot of inside activities. For me that means reading, video games, and Netflix. 

In financial terms, January was another great month. Our net worth went up $39,000 to end the month at $2,544,000. Income of $3,224 slightly exceeded our spending of $2,577 for all of January.

Read more
Mommy and baby deer on an island in the lake behind our house

August 2020 Early Retirement Update

Time flies when you’re having fun. We’re all having fun, right? Summer just flew by and we are officially feeling fall here in North Carolina. It’s cooling off some and the kids are back in (virtual) school so it definitely feels like fall even if the calendar says we have a couple more weeks of summer. 

This was our first summer in a long time that we didn’t travel anywhere. Was staying at home all summer boring? Not really. I still have the travel bug and want to hit the road again when it’s safe and convenient. In fact, we booked some speculative travel for next year with our fingers crossed that it will happen. You’ll have to keep reading to find out how optimistic our travel plans are!

Financially speaking, August was a fantastic month for us. Our net worth climbed $73,000 to end the month at $2,206,000. Income was relatively decent at $5,759 while our expenses came in slightly above budget at $3,468 for the entire month.

Read more

How to Visit Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

“Hey look it’s another 1,000 year old temple! And monkeys are climbing all over us!” That’s right, we spent a week in Siem Reap, Cambodia touring the ancient temples of the Angkor Wat complex.

Our visit to Siem Reap was part of our seven week Southeast Asia vacation that included two weeks in Vietnam and a week in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. After Siem Reap we headed to Thailand for a month where we visited Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Bangkok.

Read more