2016 Goals: July Update

Progress Report


  1. CMSRN credential
    1. Let’s face it…ain’t happenin’ this year. ūüôā
  2. Pay off at least $20,000 of debt.
    1. Paid off $3650¬†this month!¬†¬†Full disclosure…while this number is incredible, it also entails a little bit of debt-shifting, so to speak. ¬†We had an earlier-than-expected, unplanned trip back to Illinois due to my grandpa passing away. ¬†We had known¬†it was coming relatively soon and (thankfully, right? :S) it was quick and he is no longer in pain. ¬†We were fortunate enough to have taken a trip back in June, where I had the opportunity to shake his hand, hug him, say “I love you” in person, and then goodbye for what I had presumed would be the last time. ¬†Therefore, I’m very much at peace with everything.
    2. Back to the PF side of things: ¬†in light of this trip obviously costing money, my grandma and dad had actually decided to dole out a little early inheritance, last gift from grandpa, if you will, and gave the grandchildren $1500 each. ¬†We decided to put that money towards our debt, helping us get that much closer to debt freedom. ¬†For that, thank you grandpa! ¬†ūüôā
    3. Otherwise, July was a three-paycheck month (why can’t every month be?!?) ¬†I also noticed a nice uptick in the value of my TSP retirement fund of about $1000 and, as a result of all combined efforts, we have paid off $15,734 year-to-date, putting us at 79% of of goal for the year, and our current net worth sits at $13,438, a 52% increase over last month. ¬†Overall, while July was a bit of a rough month from an emotional standpoint, our financial footing continues to gain solid standing.
  3. Weight loss:¬† weigh 200 pounds by the end of February (complete)¬†and 185 pounds by the end of April ‚Äď monitoring with weekly weigh-ins
    1. No real change to report here…my weight is fluctuating a bit week-to-week, hovering around 185 with a 35 inch waist. ¬†Not bad considering we were eating out on our trip to Illinois. ¬†The important thing to remember is that I’m still feeling happy and healthy.
  4. Increased meal planning with eMeals
    1. *averts eyes and hangs head in shame* ¬†lol…gotta get back on this!
  5. Month-to-month junk food buying ban
    1. The ban (and homemade delicious goodies) continues! ¬†ūüôā
  6. Decreased soda :  $24 = 3 cases/month
    1. I remain fully aware that I drink too much soda. ¬†While I haven’t been actually tracking it, I have zero doubt that I’m blowing this budget. ¬†Hakuna Matata!
  7. Using our treadmill for at least 20 minutes per day when off work (sold it in May)
  8. Improved planning and crop yield from the garden
    1. Gardening has gone well this past month. ¬†We were forced to prematurely dig up our potatoes, as these lovely bastards below DEMOLISHED the leaves on our plants while we were gone to Illinois. ¬†We have avoided insecticides this season¬†but next year, we will have to rethink our approach…we’ll likely try my wife’s idea of a homemade mixture of flour and cayenne pepper. ¬†If you have any other advice or tricks to avoid chemical insecticides, please let me know! ¬†Otherwise, we dug up about a grocery bag full¬†of potatoes and will definitely be planting more than one row next year, as they are delicious and Rowan got a real kick out of digging through the dirt with me. ¬†#ProudDaddy ¬†ūüôā ¬†Also, we have gotten five squash from our one plant, given away a few, and also canned two dozen pints of green beans thus¬†far, with more that will need picked in the next several days. ¬†Our corn is just starting to grow some ears so hopefully I have a good report on that next month. ¬†Otherwise, two of our three Roma tomato plants are doing well and we’ve got some¬†ripening indoors with this cool trick, involving placing them in a¬†closed paper bag with a banana, which releases ethylene gas and helps the ripening process. ¬†#cool-shit-to-know20160620_190420
  9. Read a minimum of 5 books in 2016
    1. While I haven’t ¬†had the opportunity to finish¬†Man’s Search for Meaning yet, it is an excellent and thought-provoking read that I highly encourage you to check out if you haven’t already. ¬†If you’d like a nice, two paragraph summation of Victor Frankl’s “logotherapy,” check out this article over at Baha’i Teachings.
  10. Increased personal time and appreciation for my wonderful and loving wife, who is the greatest momma I could ever hope to have for our amazing son.
    1. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to report in this department. ¬†We took a few family day-trips to Smith Falls, enjoying some short walks along the Niobrara river and splashing around in the nearby waterfall. ¬†Otherwise, we spent a week traveling back to Illinois and felt like my other days off this past month were basically spent playing catch-up with the usual mundane tasks and chores that have to be accomplished. ¬†In the small amount of time we spend together between our son going to bed and then us crashing, we managed to finish the rest of the first four seasons of¬†Orange is the New Black, but have otherwise not had much one-on-one time. ¬†However, we have been planning for Rowan’s upcoming second birthday, which will hopefully be some good fun. ¬†Cheyenne is making the cake/cupcakes and is playing around with homemade fondant, thanks to the wonders of Pinterest. ¬†*Side note: ¬†Pinterest is a truly amazing treasure-trove of kid craft ideas that we have been having a blast with Rowan with. ¬†I’m also planning to make some homemade ice cream for the party and let Rowan choose to dye it blue or yellow (or green, purple, or whatever he chooses,) as his party is Minion themed. ¬†Also, yours truly will be dressing in this saucy little number for the party. ¬†ūüôā

All things considered, July was great month. ¬†We are perpetually exhausted but we remain happy, healthy, and are an extremely kick-ass, loving family. ¬†It continues to be an honor to spend my life with my loving wife, as we watch our no-longer-baby boy continue to flourish in his hilarity and thirst for knowledge and adventure. ¬†He continues to amaze me more and more every single day…to be fair, he also drives me nutty on a daily basis but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything in the world. ¬†ūüôā

Also, I’ve been extremely absent from the blogosphere this past month. ¬†I was three weeks late replying to a few comments that rolled in here-and-there and haven’t made a new post since the last update I posted for June. ¬†I’ve read a few of your guys’ articles when time allows but haven’t even had the opportunity to comment; for that, I’m sorry…but priorities are priorities, you know? ¬†I applaud all of you out there that continue to kick ass at this PF business and stand in awe of your abilities to continue pumping out excellent material to continue educating the masses. ¬†While I honestly don’t know what lies in the future for¬†my blog, it is my plan to continue following along with you all as best as I can, continue posting monthly progress reports to keep myself motivated on our journey, and occasionally eek out an article or two along the way. ¬†Thank you all for your continued support and for following along with our family. ¬†Have an awesome day, my friends.

– Nurse on Fire

2016 Goals: June Update

Progress Report


  1. CMSRN credential
    1. Still nothing new here.¬† I’ve come to the realization that, in all honesty, if I don’t achieve this goal this year, I’m really okay with it.¬† It’s not going to make-or-break my nursing career in the slightest.¬† Without a doubt, I will obtain this certification…it’s just not looking favorable that it will be in 2016.
  2. Pay off at least $20,000 of debt.
    1. Paid off $708 this month!¬†¬†Unfortunately, this is the worst month of debt repayment¬†in 2016…oh well, shit happens¬†¬†ūüôā¬† Year-to-date debt payments stand¬†at $12,084, meaning we are at 60% of our $20k goal for 2016.¬†¬†Also, despite market losses this month, our net worth saw another month of increase to $8,817, a 15% gain over last month.
  3. Weight loss:¬† weigh 200 pounds by the end of February (complete)¬†and 185 pounds by the end of April ‚Äď monitoring with weekly weigh-ins
    1. Current weight is in the 184-185 range with a 34.5 inch waist; no complaints here!
  4. Increased meal planning with eMeals
    1. While we continue to eat healthier, this is still lacking in a fundamentally horrific way.¬† What minimal free time we’ve had that we could accomplish this (which is after our son goes to bed,) the fact of the matter is that chilling out with some¬†Orange is the New Black on Netflix is far more appealing than actually sitting down to do it.¬† ūüôā
  5. Month-to-month junk food buying ban
    1. The ban continues!
  6. Decreased soda :  $24 = 3 cases/month
    1. Not sure on the exact dollar amount spent but, overall, no reportable change.
  7. Using our treadmill for at least 20 minutes per day when off work (sold it last month)
  8. Improved planning and crop yield from the garden
    1. The birds picked our strawberries clean so we’re apparently going to have to buy some netting for next year.¬† Everything else is sprouting nicely; I’ve hilled the potatoes as high as gravity is allowing and I’m fairly confident that we should have some green beans to harvest in the next couple weeks.¬† Also this month, we bought a pressure canner and four boxes of canning jars to get us started; this entails some rather¬†pricey startup costs but should definitely pay for itself as the equipment (other than buying new lids) will remain usable for years to come.
  9. Read a minimum of 5 books in 2016
    1. This month, I¬†was reading¬†Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl (book¬†#4 for 2016)¬†but was unable to finish it.¬† The book is divided into two parts.¬† Part one, which I finished, was a narrative of Frankl’s experience in the concentration camps with some psychological gleanings from his experience…a truly remarkable read.¬† Part two, which I have yet to start, delves into his psychological theory called logotherapy.¬† I know nothing further on the topic; I’ll attempt to comment further once I’ve finished the book.
  10. Increased personal time and appreciation for my wonderful and loving wife, who is the greatest momma I could ever hope to have for our amazing son.
    1. While we’ve only been married a little over two years now, June 28th marked mine and my wife’s 11 years anniversary!¬† As is usual, I made her a hilarious homemade card, which she loved and got a good laugh from¬† ūüôā

      Hallmark ain’t got shit on me¬† ūüôā

      She is my greatest friend and the most spectacular mom to our son, Rowan.¬† I literally have no clue what I’d do without her; nor do I want to find out!¬† ūüôā

Thanks for reading!¬† I hope your goals are progressing well in 2016; please let me know how things are going in the comments below!¬† ūüôā

If you’re not yet following along, we would love for you to join us on¬†our journey to financial independence, with all the craziness that is our life in the meantime. ¬†Please follow along through WordPress or sign up to receive updates via e-mail. ¬†Thank you, again, and have an amazing day!

– Nurse on Fire


Working in the field that I work in, the epic shit that we sometimes have to experience and be close to can be a bit overwhelming at times. ¬†While I will refrain from going into any details of exactly what I’m referring to, you may glean my message from the remainder of this post. ¬†I just want to tell you that when things like this happen, it has the power to provide an entirely new perspective on life, spotlighting that which is truly important. ¬†Stop whatever you’re doing, right now…seriously,¬†stop reading this. ¬†Go hug your child, your children, your significant other, a family member, your friend, neighbor, coworker, or even a total stranger. ¬†Stop, take a moment, and be truly thankful for the blessings in your life. ¬†Then, and only then, come back to this.

Having a child has been, without a doubt, the most incredible experience of my life.  When I look at my son, the world, and all the ugliness that so often fills it, simply melts away.  In him, I see the good that is possible in mankind.  I see pure and utter joy, and the thought of losing him is so far beyond unfathomable that my heart truly aches for anyone who has experienced such a loss.

Therefore, in celebration of the wonderful blessings in my life, I would like to (sorta) introduce my family to you. ¬†As you may already know, I’m Brandon. ¬†My hilarious and wonderful son’s name is Rowan, and my best friend and loving wife’s name is Cheyenne. ¬†These pictures are from our trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE last month.


2016-06-16 23.45.38

While they don’t show our faces, you can let you imagination run wild and think about how cute we are…trust me, we are. ¬†ūüėČ

Cherish the rest of your day; have a wonderful Friday and a happy and safe weekend. ¬†And the next time your child is nearby, even if they’re driving you crazy, squeeze them and remind them how incredibly precious they are and how much you love them. ¬†We do these things with our son countless times each and every day. ¬†I plan on getting a few extra ones in today…maybe with a few tears mixed in, as well.

Until next time my friends,


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I‚ÄĒ
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
 РRobert Frost (text borrowed from the Poetry Foundation)

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but we’ve apparently all been reading Frost’s poem wrong.¬† See here¬†and here, as well. ¬†To sum up the opposing interpretation, Frost states that the two paths are worn essentially the same and that, when he one day looks back and reflects on his chosen path over the other, he will deceptively convince himself¬†that the chosen path made all the difference in his life, while never truly knowing what the other path may have provided, having no way of going back and choosing differently.

When I stumbled into this world of personal finance, I was heading down the well-worn path of a “normal” working career, fresh out of undergrad and delving into my role as a registered nurse. ¬†From the beginning, I had every intention of continuing on to¬†grad school (which I still want to do…at some point) and climbing the proverbial ladder, making my way to the top of the food chain as CEO or Chief Nursing Officer of a major hospital somewhere in the country. ¬†Honestly, I still love the idea of doing that and, who knows, maybe I will “(keep it) for another day.” ¬†In my younger days, while I didn’t know the specifics would include being a registered nurse, this was the general path that I had been looking down my entire life, never knowing of the possibilities of early retirement or the concept of financial independence. ¬†If I were to choose to follow this path and continue¬†on as a federal employee, I would eventually (assuming nothing changes) qualify for a nice pension and continued health insurance benefits into retirement, both of which are, quite understandably, incredibly appealing. ¬†Also, in the meantime, we could continue investing at the oft-touted 10-15%, make the minimum payments on our debt, continue financing new cars, settle down with a 30 year mortgage, take frequent¬†vacations, and¬†do all the other “normal” things that the majority of people do.

However, thanks to the birth of our son¬†(our proverbial fork in the road,) many of you fine people, and¬†the likes of Dave Ramsey and Mr. Money Mustache, I have been given the opportunity to stare down the other path, the one with “perhaps the better claim.” ¬†Does it really have the “better claim” though? ¬†Reading about the lives of those who have done it and about¬†those of us who are fighting and ever-inching closer to that goal, certainly makes it seem that way; however, the true answer is…


“Somewhere ages and ages hence,” I shall find myself reflecting on the decisions I have made throughout my life (including with regards to reaching FIRE) and, regardless of the path I/we ultimately choose to follow, we’ll convince ourselves that it was the right decision, having no way of knowing whether or not it’s actually true.

In fact, we’ve already experienced this phenomenon just a couple short years ago, which I wrote about recently in my post titled Don’t Be Afraid to Run. ¬†Reflecting on our decision to move to South Dakota, as opposed to Houston, TX, we’ve told ourselves many times how much better off we are. ¬†On the surface, there is sound logic in our reasoning and I don’t second guess or regret our decision in the slightest; however, who truly knows what our lives would be like down there? ¬†Maybe we would have crossed paths with some stranger, formed a¬†great business idea, and be sitting pretty as multi-millionaires right now. ¬†FYI…not likely…lol. ¬†However, that would have certainly made us think back and say that choice had “made all the difference.” ¬†When we changed course, we even told ourselves that we could always move to Houston later on down the road, i.e. “(keeping) the first for another day!” ¬†Now though, as “way leads on to way,” we’ve grown to love our rural surroundings and actually hate the idea of fighting traffic to drudge back and forth between work and home. ¬†It’s quite unlikely that we’ll ever revisit that fork in the road, as we now have our sights set on new and exciting adventures to come.

Our Next Life¬†recently issued a challenge to discuss our own “road less traveled” and the unique steps we are taking to reach FIRE. ¬†Honestly, I wouldn’t say that we are doing anything unique at this point in time. ¬†We are throwing all the money we can at our debt and are currently on pace to be completely debt free in about two years. ¬†Within the next two to three years, our current plan is to move into an RV full-time while traveling the country as I work as a travel nurse. ¬†This should (at least, in theory) allow for our savings rate to continue increasing, while also allowing me to get paid as we travel this wonderful country and explore all it has to offer, all the while giving our son the greatest hands-on, in-the-dirt education¬†that no school system could ever dream of. ¬†*For more on that topic, check out this article from Steve over at Think $ave Retire*

The only “downside” to this plan is that it would involve¬†us going back into debt with the financing of the RV, as there is no way we could have the cash to cover it in that time period. ¬†However, the beauty is that the housing stipend I would get from whatever travel agency I work with would almost, if not completely, cover the monthly payment of the RV. ¬†I actually called one agency a couple months ago and was informed that, depending on the cost of living in the area I work, the housing allowance is $300-$1000 per week ūüėź plus up to $800 in mileage to drive to the destination, all of which is in addition to my hourly wage and any other stipends that may be included/available for the assignment.

Otherwise, if we choose to not go back into debt right away, maybe we’ll just stick around here. ¬†I make damn good money, have incredible health insurance benefits, and we love our home and the beautiful area. ¬†Total debt freedom right here will allow for our savings rate to skyrocket, as well as the ability and freedom to travel wherever we choose.

So…fast forward three years from now. ¬†There we’ll stand, at yet another set of roads diverged in the proverbial yellow wood. ¬†Two paths and choices will lie before us. ¬†We’ll be sorry that we cannot travel both, hoping to choose the one with the better claim, all the while knowing that, one day, we will look back and tell ourselves that, whichever path we ultimately choose, it will have made all the difference.

So what path are you choosing? ¬†Do you find yourself heading down the “normal” path or forging your way toward FIRE? ¬†Presumably, if you’re reading this and other similar blogs, you’re heading toward FIRE. ¬†Or, do you say fuck it, bust out an axe, and clear your own path? ¬†What is your “road not taken” and, unique or not, what are you doing to get there?

– Nurse on Fire

Time to Lighten the F*** Up

A couple weeks ago, I got a call that my grandpa was, yet again, hospitalized this year. ¬†He’ll be 80 later this year and has, surprisingly enough, had lung cancer for the past 16 years. ¬†Sixteen years ago, he was given six months to live as he refused treatment and, instead, chose to go home and enjoy his easy chair, cigarettes, and coffee with grandma. ¬†Now, all these years later, the cancer has grown (although, amazingly enough, not spread) and, along with other health problems he’s been facing, he’s spilling sodium for some unknown reason and, in all likelihood, it’s only a matter of time before things begin to further decline. ¬†For now though, he’s back home, spunky as usual, where he wanted to be all along. ¬†So, for now at least, it’s just a waiting game. ¬†Obviously, he’s still choosing to not do anything about the cancer at this point in his life and who really knows how much time he’s got left? ¬†Anyway, all is well for now but, when we got the news, we decided to make an unplanned trip back to Illinois to visit with him and the rest of the family that we haven’t seen in nearly a year.

During our two days on the road to Illinois, my wife and I had the opportunity to discuss my “worries” over our finances. ¬†The fact of the matter is that we’re actually doing great and our progress for the year is, in my humble opinion, rather remarkable considering how we could be doing the “normal” thing and blowing through our money in comparison. ¬†She, in her omnipotent wisdom ;), very rightfully pointed out to me that I am entirely too obsessed with the whole process and that I really need to work on refocusing my energy. ¬†I haven’t made a post in nearly a month and haven’t even looked at my spreadsheets for the past week (other than to pay bills) and, you know what….she’s right! ¬†It feels indescribably incredible¬†to back off on the obsessive thoughts of making sure every little thing is going¬†perfectly and, instead, sit back and realize that things are actually going awesome and that some things just take a little time. ¬†Damn, she’s smart.

If by some chance you missed it, head over and see my buddy Ernie at Purple Sweatpants; he recently had a similar¬†epiphany, writing a post titled Refocusing My Financial Goals. ¬†I e-mailed him from one of our hotel rooms on the road home and told him that I was having the same types of feelings on our finances and that it’s really good to know I’m¬†not alone in those types of thoughts.

Do you find yourself having similar obsessive issues that may be¬†bordering on unhealthy? ¬†I sure as shit¬†was! ¬†If this doesn’t resonate with you at all…awesome! ¬†However, if it does, please know that it’s okay and that, if you can find the strength to do so, back off, take a breather, and re-prioritize. ¬†I’d bet my debt that you’ll feel (at the very least) a little better and maybe even come out with a stronger¬†resolve to tackle your goals head-on, while simultaneously improving your overall mental well-being. ¬†Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’m not gonna FIRE tomorrow. ¬†It’s time to lighten the f*** up. ¬†ūüôā

– Nurse on Fire

P.S. – my next post, coming your way¬†on Tuesday, is inspired by the oft-quoted Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken. ¬†It’s been sitting in my draft box for a few weeks and got a new twist and some added inspiration thanks to Our Next Life’s latest challenge surrounding the poem. ¬†Also, if you haven’t already subscribed to follow along with my family’s journey, I certainly hope you decide to do so. ¬†Lastly, if this is your first (or second, third, or 80th¬†:)) time checking out my blog, I definitely hope you decide to comment below or¬†Say Hello!¬† Have an amazing weekend!

2016 Goals: May Update

Progress Report


  1. CMSRN credential
    1. This goal remains on the backburner with no progress to report at this time.
  2. Pay off at least $20,000 of debt.
    1. Paid off $1,508 this month!¬† Year-to-date debt payments stand¬†at $11,376, meaning we are at 57% of our $20k goal for 2016. ¬†Things continue to go well in this category, as we remain on pace to surpass this goal. ¬†Also, our net worth this month saw another increase to $7,641. ¬†Damn…I ain’t retired yet…lol!
  3. Weight loss:¬† weigh 200 pounds by the end of February (complete)¬†and 185 pounds by the end of April ‚Äď monitoring with weekly weigh-ins
    1. Mission accomplished last month and I’m holding steady at 185 pounds with a 35 inch waist. ¬†I’m happy with these numbers but still have some abdominal fat tissue I would like to see melt away. ¬†Without some cardio, though, I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon. ¬†No biggie though. ¬†ūüôā
  4. Increased meal planning with eMeals
    1. Terrible!  We continue to eat much healthier than in the past but have seriously gone astray when it comes to planning our meals beyond a day or two.
  5. Month-to-month junk food buying ban
    1. Zero change here; the ban continues!!!
  6. Decreased soda :  $24 = 3 cases/month
    1. I know soda is a waste of money when there is perfectly delicious, not to mention¬†FREE, tap water available. ¬†I do drink a lot of water, as well, but I really just enjoy my sodas. ¬†I swear there’s something addictive in it…besides the caffeine…I get enough of that with my coffee.
  7. Using our treadmill for at least 20 minutes per day when I am off work
    1. We actually sold some pieces of furniture at the beginning of May and, when the guy showed up to pick up the stuff, we parted ways with the coat rack…uh, treadmill…as well. ¬†ūüôā
  8. Improved planning and crop yield from the garden
    1. Our garden survived the blanket of snow we received and is going strong. ¬†I hilled the potatoes for the first time this past week and am seriously looking forward to some yummy Yukon Golds coming our way. ¬†We’ve eaten THREE delicious strawberries thus far and are working on keeping the friggin’ birds from eating the rest! ¬†Otherwise, the beans and corn have sprouted, our lilies are budding like crazy, and we should have the first of thirteen currently budding roses opening in the next day or two.
  9. Read a minimum of 5 books in 2016
    1. This month, I finished book number 3 and am now reading¬†Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist who wrote this book to not only chronicle his experiences in the concentration camps, but to discuss the mental stages that prisoners go through, adapting to the environment and experiences within the camps. ¬†It’s a relatively short book of about 150 pages, of which I am about a third of the way through. ¬†Quite a fascinating read thus far; you should definitely check it out. ¬†Also, another incredible book in this same category, which I read several years ago, is¬†Night by Elie Wiesel.
  10. Increased personal time and appreciation for my wonderful and loving wife, who is the greatest momma I could ever hope to have for our amazing son.
    1. As per the usual, things were rather hectic in May; however, this past week, Cheyenne and I were able to watch a couple movies once we got our kiddo to bed. ¬†One was Deadpool¬†and, while it is in no way family friendly, it is insanely hilarious. ¬†The other was¬†Grandma, starring Lily Tomlin; while it wasn’t as great as I hoped, it was nice enough and Tomlin was funny. ¬†Also, if you haven’t already, you should check her out in¬†Grace & Frankie on Netflix…she’s hilarious in that show. ¬†One other show we are now working on is¬†Sex, Drugs, & Rock n’ Roll¬†on Hulu, created by and starring Denis Leary. ¬†We’ve only watched a few episodes, but it has a really good story line thus far and the music is excellent.

Thank you for stopping by; I’ve been absent from the online¬†PF community for the past few weeks due to an unexpected trip back home to Illinois. ¬†More information on that in an upcoming post.

If you’re not yet following along, we would love for you to join us on¬†our journey to financial independence, with all the craziness that is our life in the meantime. ¬†Please follow along through WordPress or sign up to receive updates via e-mail. ¬†Thank you, again, and have an amazing day!

– Nurse on Fire

The Clarity That Comes With Delayed Gratification

In case you’re not already familiar with our 5-Year Plan¬†(which, by the way, isn’t 100% accurate anymore…amazing how plans change :-)), it entails the purchase of a truck and an Airstream, after which we plan to hit the road full-time as I begin working as a travel nurse. ¬†That being said…the other day, my wife and I nearly brought a brand-new (the horror!!! ¬†lol!) Chevy Silverado 2500HD pickup truck.

Having spent the past couple months discussing it,¬†along with my researching of various trucks, including used ones, we had test driven and settled on what we wanted. ¬†Our initial plan was to get our Jeep paid off and then purchase the truck closer to our yet-to-be-determined departure, keeping the Jeep in storage during our travels. ¬†We “love” our Jeep and have often said that we are¬†planning to keep it forever, even making it our son’s first car one of these days. ¬†However, we have come to realize that, while the Jeep is awesome, it’s not really the Jeep that we love. ¬†I had wanted this Jeep for two years while we were in college and was super happy when we made the purchase after graduation but what we love are the memories that we’ve experienced with it: ¬†for instance, my wife drove it out here to South Dakota when we altered our course from Texas; we brought our son home from the hospital and I strapped his legs in wrong as I hurried to get him in because it was so cold and snowing out; and we took him to his first St. Louis Cardinals game during our first ever visit to Denver. ¬†You get the idea…it’s those memories that we now and will forever cherish. ¬†Realizing this allows for the understanding that we will continue to make new and amazing memories; it’s just going to eventually be in a different¬†vehicle.

Knowing what sort of things we were looking for in a truck, I did what any decent PF-blogger would do and I began looking for a used one. ¬†I was looking for one that was in the 2-4 year old range¬†and sadly, my research resulted in trucks that fit into either one of two categories. ¬†One group had an average of 40,000+ miles/year driven on them; the second consisted of trucks that hadn’t necessarily had the crap driven out of them but were damn-near just as expensive as a brand-new one. ¬†Neither scenario suited my wife and I so we then turned to looking at new. ¬†We stopped by a dealer last week, test drove one, and then went home to sleep on it while I, of course :-), ran the¬†numbers.

Over the next couple days, I figured the trade-in value of the Jeep versus our pay-off, the increased monthly payment, insurance, and fuel costs, and then detailed out the increased costs and broke it down to how much extra the truck would cost us out of each paycheck.  We knew the math, were comfortable with it, got pre-qualified with our bank, and decided to head back to the dealership the following day.

We drove the truck again, along with a couple others for comparison, determined for certain that¬†it was what we wanted, and had the salesman (who was truly¬†not your typical salesman and a genuinely awesome guy) run the numbers. ¬†We sat down, he slid the paper over to us with the numbers (that I already knew and expected!) and I froze. ¬†After coming to my senses and realizing that we had already prepped for this, I called my bank. ¬†The loan officer, who happened to be the only one that could help me, just so happened to be out on a late lunch. ¬†We decided to head out and get some food, as well, and told our salesman we’d be back. ¬†Unfortunately for him, lunch was just the opportunity we needed to talk more and realize that there is no rush to buy this particular truck and that waiting another 12-18 months will allow for us to be in an even better position financially.

Since we had kept him busy through lunch, we actually took our salesman a Subway sandwich and explained that, having thought more about it, we were going to hold off that day. ¬†However, I explained to him our reasoning and thanked him for his time, as this opportunity allowed us to fully realize that the particular truck we had driven was exactly what we wanted and that we will be back to buy from him as soon as the time is right. ¬†Maybe this wasn’t the best thing to say from a negotiating position but, honestly, I don’t really care. ¬†We walked away from their offering of a very respectable deal, without any negotiating on our part, so I anticipate similar treatment the next time we go back.

The fact of the matter is, when our time comes to live on the road full-time, our Jeep will be all but useless to us.  Even if it had the available towing package on it, the thing could barely pull a wheelbarrow, let alone an Airstream.  All-in-all, choosing to practice delayed gratification with this truck purchase will allow us to continue improving our financial situation and decrease the cognitive dissonance that often accompanies large purchases.  We will also have the opportunity to ease our way into the increased costs associated with the truck over our Jeep.  For instance, now knowing the increased insurance costs, I went ahead and increased the automatic paycheck allotment to our Ally bank account set up for our auto/life insurance premiums.  By the time we buy the truck, we will have long forgotten this increased cost and its effect on my paychecks.

The next delayed purchase will be the Airstream, which we are planning to check out next week on our trip to Denver. ¬†I’m extremely excited and hope it’s as awesome as I’ve been building it up in my head for the past several months. ¬†I’ll let you know!

What are some major (or minor) purchases you’ve made, having¬†practiced the art of delayed gratification? ¬†Are you delaying something right now? ¬†If so, are you doing so with the hope that your desire for the purchase will fade? ¬†Or are you simply waiting for the “right” time?

– RN on Fire

P.S. – I’ll continue¬†searching for the “right” used truck in order to save us some dough, as well. ¬†If you have any suggestions on any¬†sites to check out, please let me know! ¬†ūüôā


Don’t Be Afraid to Run!

Welcome to our¬†experience with The All Powerful Motivator….FEAR!

My wife and I lived in Illinois our entire lives…until February of 2014. ¬†We grew up in the same small town of 5,000 people, on the same street even, less than six blocks away from each other. ¬†A town where everybody knows everybody. ¬†Three stoplights. ¬†After being together for a few years, we then moved two hours from home during the summer of 2010, remaining¬†in Illinois, in order to attend college. ¬†We had this idea that small town living wasn’t for us anymore and, while in college (in a town of about 90,000 people), decided that once we graduated, we were heading for the city…Houston, TX to be exact.

You see, my wife knew early in her teen years that she wanted to live in a city.  I, on the other hand, always felt like a more rural area suited me better.  My grandparents live near the Garden of the Gods in Illinois and, spending a lot of time with them as I was growing up, that type of area is what I always thought I wanted.

The Garden of the Gods РIllinois

My wife and I love concerts, live theater, and other amenities that are most often attributed to the urban scene and, due to our many adventures during the¬†early years of being together, my desires for rural living began to wane. ¬†So, as we approached graduation, we began developing our plans to move to Houston. ¬†I couldn’t immediately apply for nursing positions there because I had to take boards first and then, to be quite honest, getting a Texas license is a little bit of a P.I.T.A. and the process took some time to complete. ¬†Because of this, we temporarily moved back home and I took my first job in Indiana, to which I commuted most days (nearly two hours each way :-|…otherwise, I stayed in an extremely cheap/sketchy motel, somehow managing to avoid getting loaded with bed bugs :-S) while working to¬†secure a job in Houston.

During that time, I had also applied for every Indian Health Service (IHS) position I was qualified for, primarily due to the Loan Repayment Program, but never heard anything for months.  Finally, two hospitals in Houston wanted to interview me so we drove down in January of 2014; I was offered a position and moving plans kicked into overdrive.

Within a couple weeks, we were all set to move and then, late one evening, my phone rang…literally six days before packing the U-Haul and heading to Houston (thank God we hadn’t signed a lease yet!) ¬†It was an IHS facility in South Dakota. ¬†Fear¬†of changing our plans paralyzed me, kicking my “fight-or-flight” response into overdrive. ¬†I stammered through the initial call, nearly turning down the chance for an interview in lieu of holding true to my prior acceptance of a job in Houston. ¬†Thankfully, my wife was sitting there with me and told me to take the interview. ¬†Within a 36-hour window of time, our plans went from moving to Houston to my participating in a phone interview, receiving a job offer, accepting it, and adjusting our compass to the middle-of-nowhere South Dakota…exactly the type of rural area I had always envisioned.

The moral of my story:  if the opportunity is right, take a step (or a leap) outside your comfort zone and be prepared to run the hell away from what you think is your dream.

Image result for we buy shit we don't need fight club

Don’t be so dead-set in your ways and risk-averse that you lose sight of the opportunities staring you directly in the face. ¬†It would have been far¬†easier and¬†less horrifying to stick with our original plan, play it safe, and move to Houston. ¬†But honestly, we’d be friggin’ miserable if we were living in Houston right now. ¬†We’d be near our best friends, which would be incredible, but between “normal” bills, higher rent, student loans, and the like, we’d barely be treading water. ¬†Worse yet, I’d probably be working two jobs or my wife would HAVE to work just so we could make ends-meat. ¬†F.I.R.E. wouldn’t be anywhere on our radar and, without a doubt, I sure as hell wouldn’t be writing this blog.

Instead, we took a chance and ran away from what we thought was our dream. ¬†We have been immensely fortunate that ¬†our roll-of-the-dice has paid off tremendously well and we couldn’t be in a stronger position because of it. ¬†Because of our willingness to adapt our plans and take calculated risks, we are able to¬†position ourselves in such a way that we will one day have the freedom to go anywhere and do anything we want, whether that may ultimately be living in Houston or, quite literally, any other spot on the map…or globe, for that matter! ¬†Having that freedom is both motivating and incredibly empowering. ¬†It has taught us a lot about ourselves, our willingness to do whatever is best for our family, and has brought us incredibly closer and stronger in our relationship. ¬†My wife and I are an incredible team and I know, without a doubt, that¬†we can achieve anything we set our minds to…even if it’s out of shear stubbornness! ¬†ūüėÄ

If you’re part of the personal finance or FIRE community, new to the game or a long-time veteran, I’m sure you can relate to our situation. ¬†You are choosing to live outside of what has become the societal norm. ¬†No more do we accept the notion that we must work until 65 and¬†beyond, saving a mere average of 5% of our income, succumbing to the whims of marketing and spending the remainder on frivolous crap that continues to rob our future selves of freedom, with¬†ever-increasing lifestyle inflation, and thereby keeping us on the never-ending hamster wheel of chasing the elusive and almighty dollar.

Tell me about a gamble you took that paid off.¬† On the flip-side of that coin, what have you done that didn’t quite go as planned? ¬†If you’re facing a big decision in your life right now, I’d love to hear about it.¬† What’s holding you back from making a big move in your life? ¬†If you’re not up for sharing publicly in the comments below, please feel free to e-mail me at nurseonfire@outlook.com. ¬†While I¬†may be out of fairy dust and magical wisdom to truly solve your concerns¬†(nor am I¬†really an expert at much of anything,) or necessarily ease your fears about whatever decision you may be struggling with, I’d be happy and honored to be¬†your¬†sounding board and give you my honest, impartial view of whatever situation you may be facing.¬† I look¬†forward to speaking with you soon; have an awesome weekend!

– Brandon

The All Powerful Motivator

Think back…what’s the most intense memory you have? ¬†Oftentimes, the events of our lives that we tend to remember the most involve intense emotional responses (good or bad) to the events themselves. ¬†We owe this to an area of the brain known as the limbic system; it consists of several structures that¬†are heavily involved in the formation of our memories. ¬†The amygdala, a piece of flesh the mere size of an almond, is responsible for what is known as fear conditioning and the cognitive processes that our bodies¬†experience when we develop a fear of something.

Additionally, the limbic system consists of several other structures such as the hippocampus, responsible for long-term memory storage, the olfactory complex (which is why it is often said that smell is the sense with the strongest tie to memory) and the hypothalamus, whose job entails maintaining a state of homeostasis throughout the body by producing hormones that regulate the production and inhibition of other hormones from our other organ systems.

For the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on the endocrine system.

Within the endocrine system itself, to narrow things down even further, we find, among other organs, the adrenal glands. ¬†You have two of these glands, one sitting on top of each of your kidneys. ¬†One of the hormones that each of these glands produces, you are undoubtedly familiar with: ¬†epinephrine, or more commonly known as…ADRENALINE!

Adrenaline¬†is the hormone that results in what is known as the “fight-or-flight” response that we experience during a stressful or fearful situation. ¬†Stimulating the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, adrenaline results in our heart beating faster, our airways opening to allow more vital oxygen into our cells, our pupils dilating, the release of additional glucose (ENERGY!) from the liver, and¬†the diversion of blood flow from non-essential organs, such as our bowels, to our brains and muscles…prepping us to scissor-kick some shit if necessary!

You see, the human body is amazing. ¬†Bones, muscle, nerves, skin…individually useless. ¬†But,¬†stitched¬†together into a interconnected web, they have the capacity to make one hell of an incredibly well-oiled machine, powered by the greatest super-computer the world will ever know…the brain.

Writing this, I can’t help but be reminded of my experience with these very processes last July. ¬†I had backed our Jeep out of the garage early in the day to allow our housing/hospital maintenance guys to get to our basement to check out the AC that was on the fritz. ¬†That afternoon, before moving it back into the garage, I busted out the BBQ and, deciding to take the grates out and give them a good cleaning before¬†firing it up, I rounded the front of the car and, coiled up under the front passenger tire, was a rattlesnake…hands down, my greatest physical fear. ¬†I immediately stopped dead in my tracks and could literally feel the physiological changes happening within my body. ¬†I experienced tunnel vision as my eyes became hyper-focused on the snake and its location. ¬†My heart began racing, I could feel my hands become moist with perspiration. ¬†Blood flow was shunted¬†away from my skin, causing me to experience a wave of cool over my body, my breaths deepened, and I could feel a rush of blood to my brain, resulting in a lightheaded feeling.

There was no conscious thought that had to occur. ¬†The fact of the matter was, plain and simple, one of us was about to fucking die. ¬†I certainly had no intention of experiencing the bite of a snake or the subsequent trip to the Emergency Room in my own backyard, followed by an air flight to a larger hospital with an Intensive Care Unit. ¬†Therefore, never breaking eye contact, I sat the grill grate down, grabbed my shovel that, thankfully, happened to be right next to me in the corner of the garage, and got down to business. ¬†After it was over, I went over to the door and yelled for my wife…who, of course, thought I was full of shit. ¬†I could then begin to feel the effects of the parasympathetic system kicking in, prompted by the hypothalamus working to bring me back to that state of homeostasis. ¬†My heart rate began slowing down, my respiratory rate began to relax, my hands began tremling, and I suddenly felt the urge to pee…thankfully, my body prevented me from pissing my pants at the sight of the snake! ¬†ūüôā

This anatomy lesson was all a preface to my next post, in which I will discuss my¬†encounter with fear from more of a personal finance standpoint, entitled¬†Don’t Be Afraid to Run!¬† I really hope you’ll decide, if you haven’t already, to follow along with my family’s journey to financial independence. ¬†And definitely come back for my next post, which will be coming on Friday!

Please comment below and share your own adrenaline-induced memory.

– Nurse on Fire

2016 Goals: April Update

Progress Report


  1. CMSRN credential
    1. Blah! ¬†Nothing new here…to be continued…
  2. Pay off at least $20,000 of debt.
    1. Correction noted 5/15:¬† Paid off $1,672 this month!¬† This puts our year-to-date debt payments at $9,868, meaning we are at 49% of our $20k goal for 2016. ¬†This progress is going awesome, as we are only 33% of the way into the year. ¬†As mentioned last month, we’ve got some upcoming trips in the works (Denver in May and Illinois sometime maybe June-ish,) so the next couple months of debt payments will likely take a dip. ¬†We’ve been using our credit card for everything in order to utilize the cash-back rewards so the way the bill revolves in relation to my paychecks results in monthly expenses rolling into the following month. ¬†While my method of tracking things is a bit goofy, it’s all working out just fine and makes sense to me. ¬†ūüôā
      1. Last week, we bought a new dining table and chairs, as our previous one was a bar height table that my wife and I bought about six years ago. ¬†The table is still functional but, due to the extra-tall chairs, we find it to be extremely unsafe for our ever-growing and now-climbing toddler. ¬†Therefore, it’s gotta go because, let’s face it, a new table and chairs is cheaper than a head injury and worth the peace of mind knowing that our kiddo is safe. ¬†Rather than dipping into our cash reserve to pay for the table, it went on the card, will get us a little cash-back bonus, and will be paid off with my next paycheck to avoid any interest charges. ¬†Since this doesn’t qualify as our predetermined “debt,” it will have a negative effect on May’s debt payments. ¬†Certainly not a crisis, but a worthy mention.
  3. Weight loss:¬† weigh 200 pounds by the end of February (complete)¬†and 185 pounds by the end of April ‚Äď monitoring with weekly weigh-ins
    1. MISSION A-FRIGGIN’-COMPLISHED!!! ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†As of my last weigh-in for the month, Tuesday the 26th, I weigh 185.6¬†pounds with a 35.5 inch stomach. ¬†Total weight-loss year-to-date = 28.8 pounds and 6.5 inches off my gut.
      1. On January 1st, I weighed in at 214.4 pounds, with a gut measuring 42 inches and my BMI was 28.3 (overweight and climbing towards obese.) ¬†Now, however, my BMI is in the “healthy” range at 24.5 and my stomach measurement is now at a circumference that no longer puts me in the high-risk category for chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. ¬†I’ve truly never felt better, couldn’t be happier with my progress, and intend to continue monitoring my weight on a weekly basis and cut down a little more weight to the 175-180 range.
  4. Increased meal planning with eMeals
    1. Meals around our house remain relatively healthy but we’ve gotten away from meal planning. ¬†We’ve said to each other multiple times that we need to sit down and do it¬†but finding the time has been hard. ¬†I need to stop making excuses like that last sentence and just do it already. ¬†It’ll save us time, money, and legitimate boredome with our meals, as we’ve been stuck in repeat mode with a lot of our meals lately.
  5. Month-to-month junk food buying ban
    1. The ban continues!!!
  6. Decreased soda :  $24 = 3 cases/month
    1. Still averaging about 3 sodas/day but some days, that ticks up to 4. ¬†I acknowledge that I need to cut back (to zero!) but that hasn’t happened yet.¬†¬†#Balance
  7. Using our treadmill for at least 20 minutes per day when I am off work
    1. The treadmill was becoming a jungle gym for our son, so it made its way to the garage a couple weeks ago. ¬†I’ve had literally zero time to get on the thing and it was just taking up room. ¬†My wife and I hate the feeling of being cluttered and, honestly, moving it was actually a relief. ¬†I’m not sure what the future has in store for it, but I’m¬†wondering if its days in the NoF household are numbered…lol
  8. Improved planning and crop yield from the garden
    1. Seed potatoes were planted this month and the strawberries planted last year continue to grow. ¬†My wife even noticed one strawberry plant starting to bud a little white flower this past week. ¬†All of our lily bulbs have sprouted, some of which are several inches high already. ¬†The rose and lilac bushes, as well as the apple trees I planted last year, have greened out. ¬†We put in an order for some tulip bulbs from Colorblends to ship to us this fall, as we are planning to start a couple beds of them along our front sidewalk. ¬†We’re also adding some evergreen, shade-tolerant shrubs with a peony plant to the east-facing side of a house, as the plants we put there last year are complete garbage and refuse to do anything but grow to about 5 inches tall and then immediately shrivel up and DIE! ¬†lol
    2. Oh yeah! ¬†Remember that impending snow I mentioned¬†in last month’s update? ¬†Well…it came on the 27th, dumping about four or five inches of a snowy/slushy mess all over our nice green and growing flowers. ¬†Hopefully this won’t prove to be detrimental and they continue thriving.
    3. May will see the remainder of our crops being planted, along with some additional landscaping projects we’ve got planned. ¬†Maybe some photo updates will be in order. ¬†ūüôā
  9. Read a minimum of 5 books in 2016
    1. Haven’t pick it up in a couple weeks, so I’m still working on book number 3 for the year…Glenn Beck’s Agenda 21:¬† Into the Shadows, the sequel to the book I read in January. ¬†Not 100% certain what will come next, but I’m leaning towards some non-fiction this time with¬†Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. ¬†I’d like to get my hands on John Bogle’s¬†The Little Book of Common Sense Investing and Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor,¬†but haven’t managed to do so yet.
  10. Increased personal time and appreciation for my wonderful and loving wife, who is the greatest momma I could ever hope to have for our amazing son.
    1. My wife and I have been enjoying lots of outside playtime with our kiddo this month, as we have had some exceptionally nice weather until getting hit with the snow on the 27th. ¬†We’ve planned out some more landscaping projects and enjoyed seeing our previous years’ gardening endeavors pay off. ¬†She managed to get her Mother’s Day present out of me early this year (as she does with all presents!) and loves the personalized canvas tote bag that I had made for her. ¬†To be fair, she specifically told me what she wanted…lol…but the designing was of my own doing so, at the very least, I’m taking credit for that! ¬†ūüôā

We were fortunate enough to have yet another successful month in the NoF household. ¬†Thank you¬†very much for your time and, if you’ve been following along with our family, I remain truly honored. ¬†If you’re not yet following along, we would love for you to join us on¬†our journey to financial independence, with all the craziness that is our life in the meantime. ¬†Please follow along through WordPress or sign up to receive updates via e-mail. ¬†Thank you, again, and have an amazing day!

– Nurse on Fire