About

Fun Fact: “Gai Shan” is a Chinese phrase that means “to improve”; the Japanese equivalent “kaizen” is a philosophy of consistently improving one’s surroundings. It’s an appropriate motto & name for this blog which is about making a better life, one step at a time.

Hullo and welcome!

Who are you?
My name is Revanche.

I’m a married with dog and child, money-managing, 30-something, professional, geek living in the Bay Area.

I’ve been blogging about money as it relates to my family, career, hobbies and life since 2006.

My spouse is affectionately dubbed “Partner in Crime” or PiC and he would like you to know that he hasn’t committed any crimes.

My child is Little Bean, LB for short, the Unstoppable JuggerLB/JuggerBaby starting in March 2016. Previously Angry Inchworm or Roly Poly depending on the day and the mood. Mostly LB. To protect zir privacy until ze can consent to having zir identity shared here, we’re gender-neutral. Ze = he/she. Zir = his/her.

My dog is Seamus.

What’s this all about, then?

I’m a personal finance blogger by night, and a working professional by day.  I live with chronic pain and fatigue which is seriously the pits but until it kills me, we carry on.  This is the place where all my money decisions come to shine (or not…) in the course of our everyday lives.

A bit of background…

My obsession with money started when I was six, learning to write checks to “pay bills”. At nine, Mom let me write out the checks for the real bills and I was hooked on the whole idea of money: making it, saving it, paying for things.

By seventeen, the rose-colored glasses had to come off as I started college, started working, and started to support the household. A rash of BAD led to the last part: Grandma was bedridden and was moved in with us for hospice care, both Mom and Dad lost their jobs and were only able to work menial and therefore low paying jobs, Mom became terribly ill. I was lucky enough to have a full time job so the burden fell to me to pay all the bills.

Thank goodness for the internet! 

I started at minimum wage and broke some record on overtime hours worked. Using PF blogs and Fatwallet’s Finance & the now defunct Grocery Forums, I learned how to stretch my paychecks til they squeaked. Between 2000-2008, I paid off nearly $200K in family debts (credit card, auto loans, business loans, none of it mine) while supporting our family of four. I also started this blog as my free therapy. Little did I know I’d still be blogging ten years later!

I’m too old for this $h!t….

The rough times aren’t over but I hope the worst of them are. I got married. Mom passed. My family’s still a mess but I landed my Best Job Ever several years ago and it’s led to a pretty great work-life situation. My health is in the crapper but the two decades of mystery pain and fatigue has been diagnosed: there’s no cure. We stopped living paycheck to paycheck in 2011 and that gives me hope. I blog to remember, I blog to stay on track. I stay motivated. I give back.

Even with two adult dependents remaining, in addition to our small human dependent and dog-dependent, I’m determined to steer us to millionaire-ism before I’m through.

PiC says we don’t need to be rich but I’ve been poor long enough. Given the choice, I want us to be rich.

Not just rich in assets, but also rich in love, in compassion and giving, in freedom and choices. Rich in the things that make life worth living, without the sadness of poring over the checkbook by lamplight, trying to find a way to keep the water running.

So that’s what this blog is about: money and all that fun stuff while building a better, well-lived life.

You can read a 2015 look back over the years here, and a 2016 look back here.

I hope you enjoy your stay and please say hello if you do. I love hearing about you too!

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