Welcome to De Facto Living! I created this site to write about my attempts to navigate my personal finances, minimize and simplify my life, and travel more while on a budget.

Mr. Dove and I recently paid off over $40,000 in student loans in 2.5 years, and still have $230,000 to go. Yup, $230,000. 😂 How is this possible? Grad school. The $40,000+ we paid off consisted of all my private loans from undergrad and all Mr. Dove’s loans from a post-bacc program to transition careers. The remaining $230,000 are my federal loans from undergrad and grad school, and I plan on using the Public Interest Loan Forgiveness (PILF) program for those. Now that our “unforgivable” student loans are gone, we’re focusing on keeping down lifestyle inflation and building wealth for financial independence.

About the same time I started researching ways to save money to pay off our debt more quickly, I also found minimalism. I’m not sure which actually came first, but I think the debt free and minimalism movements work well together. Both emphasize living with less in order to have less stress, more life, and more freedom. I consider myself ‘fully’ minimal in that after several purges over two years, I’m very happy with amount and quality of things I have. I still find things here and there that I donate or sell, but I’m no longer actively looking to minimize. I believe that the right amount of stuff to have is the amount of stuff that makes you happy, comfortable, and peaceful in your space. I think we’re at that point, and I’m now interested in learning more about “simple living.”

Finally, what I consider the fun part – travel and local adventuring. I define travel as any overnight trip outside Chicago, where I live, and local adventuring as our day trips exploring Chicago neighborhoods and the surrounding area. Both Mr. Dove and I studied European history in undergrad and love traveling there every few years, relearning our history lessons where the events happened. But we also have a goal of seeing more of the U.S, in particular more of our national parks. Our local “adventures” started as a way to become familiar with our new city, and continue because 1) we still haven’t seen everything (it’s a big city!) and 2) they’re a lot of fun. You don’t have to travel far to get the excitement of traveling. And whether traveling abroad, across country, or locally you don’t need to spend a ton of money. I consider us to be budget travelers, although we’re not extreme (read no hostels). We mostly save money by traveling off-season.

So that’s a little bit about me and the kind of topics you can expect to read here. Enjoy!

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