Happy Friday – Just a Little Wheezy

Look at those eyes! So cute!

Look at those eyes! So cute!

A week ago, we left for our evening walk and our neighbor called us over.  “Hey!” he said, pointing downward, “Is this your cat?”  There on the ground, circling our neighbor’s feet, was a ridiculously friendly kitten.

Within a minute, the kitten had stopped circling our neighbor’s feet and basically attached itself to us.  We wondered what to do…

Some people in our neighborhood do have indoor/outdoor cats, but this one seemed pretty young for that.  Mr PoP thought it was feral, but I thought there was no way a kitten that friendly and accustomed to people was feral.  So we had a mini driveway debate… what do we do?   Continue reading Happy Friday – Just a Little Wheezy

Ooops, We Live Blogged The Flash Crash. Kindof.

This past weekend, Mr PoP realized that we were down about $40K in market value on our investments over the past week due to market losses.  It didn’t bother us (if anything it was just taking back some of the INSANE gains from YTD before that), but it meant that one subject of conversation in the PoP household this weekend (in addition to pondering backsplash tile!) was how much of a drop there would have to be to see the news media freaking out.

When lunchtime Monday came around and the tvs on at the gym were blasting all the news networks, I couldn’t help but notice that the market was down even more.  So I knew exactly what Mr PoP was talking about when he sent me a text a couple hours later about being disappointed with the news cycle.

What follows below is a 24 minute text conversation that Mr PoP and I had, inadvertently “live blogging” (well, not really since it was just for each other at the time) yesterday’s flash crash.   Continue reading Ooops, We Live Blogged The Flash Crash. Kindof.

Happy Anniversary – 10 Years of Using Mint!

The last line was what caught my eye...

The last line was what caught my eye…

A couple of weeks ago I was poking around the “Edit Accounts” section of Mint.com trying to see if I could add our new Vanguard Donor Advised Fund to the list of accounts we track in Mint, and I happened to look to the right and see the summary of our accounts. It was mostly a blur of all the numerous items that Mint has tracked. At the bottom of the list, though, was a bullet point that caught my eye. I had 3635 days of history in our mint account – just about 2 weeks shy of 10 years with Mint!

So, I did what any personal finance dork would do and added a calendar alert to remind me when my 10-year anniversary would be – and that day is today!

Happy Anniversary, Mint!

I want to take a little time today to tell you how much you mean to me.

We’ve been through a lot together. From paying off my student loans, to getting married and getting Mr PoP fully on board with budgeting, to setting savings and debt-payoff goals (which we ended up exceeding!), you’ve been invaluable. And I couldn’t appreciate it more.

I briefly flirted with another (Personal Capital), but didn’t care for them.  Luckily it was brief enough that you didn’t seem to notice and kept downloading all of my transactions in the meantime.

The internet tells me that these days the 10-year anniversary mark is celebrated with gifts of diamond jewelry. Luckily, we’ve always had a much more frugal relationship going, so I don’t think either of us expects a shiny surprise – and luckily trips down memory lane can be incredibly frugal.  So let’s take one together!

Did Mint and I Have a Meetcute?

Continue reading Happy Anniversary – 10 Years of Using Mint!

PoP 2017 Spending Summary

2017 was a year of highs and lows, and very much felt defined by two items:

  1. Mr PoP finally buying his dream car – a 25 year old Honda, and living that joy daily, and
  2. Experiencing our first ever hurricane and dealing with the stress and the aftermath in our own ways.

Looking at our spending, it’s pretty clear that both of these items had a pretty significant impact.

2017 Spending Goals

Chock full again - of the car of Mr PoP's dreams...

That 25 year old Honda Mr PoP dreamed about…

We started the year with a plan to spend:

  • $46.7K on “personal spending, excluding
  • another $3.6K on finishing our remodel – which has now expanded to almost every room in the house,
  • and spend the $18K already set aside for Mr PoP’s dream car, plus probably another $18-20K in current cash.

Even with a couple week-long trip to California in the spring, and the car spending running a bit high as we headed into the fall, we weren’t shooting too far off the mark for that spending goal. But Hurricane Irma put a significant crimp in our plans. Hurricane related spending added up pretty quickly…
$4,011 in hurricane prep/repairs after the fact
+ $1,830 in hurricane evacuation spending (plane tickets, rental cars, gas, etc…)
+ $1,000 in hurricane related charity spending
$6,841 in total “hurricane related” spending

Now, some of that I’m sure we would have spent anyhow – for example, we probably would have still donated a similar amount to charity, but would have likely chosen a different charity. And some of the “evacuation” spending would have been regular “travel” spending since we were already traveling that weekend, it just ended up being a longer and very different trip than we thought!

So with that nearly $7K in “hurricane spending” in mind, I don’t feel like we did too badly with our actual spending:

2017 Actual Spending

  • $51,407 on “personal spending”, excluding the
  • $3.0K on the remodel (so $51,302 total),
  • and $20K spent on acquiring Mr PoP’s car (the rest still financed), though this doesn’t include the ~$5K he spent in assorted parts to play with work on the car since he got it (that money is included in our “personal spending”).

We’re off by ~$5K, which I’m pretty comfortable writing off completely to Hurricane Irma.

Where Did The Money Go?

  • Reminder for future evacuations... being fed a constant supply of amazing food helps.

    I didn’t make this, but I have now had cooking lessons from the person who did that are paying off… =)

    Groceries: $5,409 – a bit on the high side, but we’ve been hosting more (including hosting Christmas at our place this year)

  • Eating Out: $2,464
  • Total Food – $7,868 – 10.5% of the total 

Continue reading PoP 2017 Spending Summary

PoP Balance Sheet – December 2017

Welcome to our December 2017 Balance Sheet!

We use the structure of a monthly income statement and balance sheet in tandem to make sure we are keeping our expenses low and planting our pennies wisely. If you’re not already tracking your finances using these two methods, go to mint.com and get started today! If you have any questions about how we do this just post a comment and we’ll be sure to help!

If you had asked me on January 1, 2017 if I thought that the S&P500 would be up over 18% a year later (over 20% after dividends), I would have looked at you as though you were insane.  And yet, here we are.  Because we aren’t market-timers, the difference between what I thought the market was more likely to return (0%?) and what the market did actually return (>18%) didn’t actually make a difference in our actions throughout the year.

But, we did make a few changes, and our balance sheet is shaped a bit different than it was this time last year, too.

  1. The first way is a bit noticeable in that we bought Mr PoP his dream car, and then decided to take out a loan against it because the interest rate was so low.  So that added lines to both our assets and liabilities.
  2. The second was less immediately noticeable, but we moved money around within our accounts so that instead of aiming for a 90/10 stock/bond ratio across individual accounts, we aimed for it across our entire portfolio and did some fee minimization there.  I’m actually slightly embarrassed that we hadn’t optimized this earlier since now that our brokerage accounts are as big as they are, this will actually save us almost $1,000/yr on fees.
  3. The last thing we did is also a little noticeable, but we did it at the very end of the year so this is the first monthly balance sheet it shows on.  We transferred $25K from our taxable investment account to a Donor Advised Fund at Vanguard.  This will be where we expect our charitable giving will come from for the most part.  In a way, this money isn’t *really* our money anymore.  It’s earmarked for charity, so kindof already spent.  But we get to decide the timetable and what charities we get to give it to.

With all that, our net worth growth wasn’t the highest YOY change we’ve ever had, but it was still quite solid, coming in at a gain of $294.1K for the year.

Here are the numbers for December:

  • Our total assets went up $18.2K
  • Our total liabilities went up by $0.1K
  • Net worth went up by $18.1K 
  • Total net worth as of the end of December is $1,574.5K, which represents a 1.16% increase for the month

For the details…

Continue reading PoP Balance Sheet – December 2017