All Bike Commutes Are Not Created Equal

20140416-185155.jpgNearly 4 years ago, I started bike commuting to work and loved (nearly) every second of it.  Recently, though, I’ve definitely taken note of how spoiled I have been with the quality of my bike commute route.  As so often comes to mind when I run into situations like this, I channel Joni Mitchell singing Big Yellow Taxi (one of my favorite old songs)…

“Don’t it always seem to go

that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.  

Paved paradise

and put up a parking lot.”

In this case, though, a paved chunk of my paradise is gone.  =(

After years of delays, there’s some major construction going on along my normal bike path.  In some parts, the off road path/sidewalk is being widened to 10 ft, and in others the road is shut down completely while a couple of small bridges are being completely removed and replaced.

Long term, this is pretty great.  The area that is getting new bridges and wider bike paths was the part of my commute that had the smallest shoulders and the roughest “sidewalks/paths”.  This improvement is going to increase the ease with which one can eventually get to even more fun biking routes.  But short term, it has kindof sucked.

Continue reading All Bike Commutes Are Not Created Equal

PoP Balance Sheet – February 2017

Welcome to our February 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!

Some action on the balance sheet for us this month.  The S&P500 was up over 3.7%, which definitely boosted our brokerage accounts, but our cash took a sizable hit with the purchase of Mr PoP’s new car.  We did add the car to the balance sheet as an asset, but at what Mr PoP considers to be a “fire sale” sort of valuation.

Next month there should be even a little more action on the balance sheet as we add a loan against the new car to the books… looking forward to getting that all finished!

Here are the numbers for February:

  • Our total assets up $35.4K
  • Our total liabilities went down by $0.9K 
  • Net worth went up by $36.3K 
  • Total net worth as of the end of February is $1,340.6K, which represents a 2.78% increase for the month

For the details…

Continue reading PoP Balance Sheet – February 2017

PoP Income Statement – February 2017

Mr. PoP and I put these income statements together for two reasons. First, we want to be transparent about our finances because we’re trying to be role models for other people who are trying to plant their own pennies (and end up with dollars someday!). Second, we do this to make sure we’re on track to meet our own long-term goals. If you’re not tracking your income statement and balance sheet, we highly recommend you start using a program like Mint to keep track of it all.

We've been going on a lot of beach walks lately, enjoying the remaining cool mornings and the critters like this guy that are out in the mornings to say hello!

We’ve been going on a lot of beach walks lately, enjoying the remaining cool mornings and the critters like this guy that are out in the mornings to say hello!

February is a short month, but we managed to spend an extraordinary amount of money in those 28 brief days.  Taking out what we spent on Mr PoP’s new car, it’s actually pretty good, but there are a couple of categories that were significantly higher than usual.  

First was groceries.  Honestly, this was  insanely high for us.  We went overboard purchasing when we were having friends and family over for a few different meals, which I know counted for some of that. 

Some of it also went literally down the drain! I was draining the pasta just before we were going to sit down to eat with friends as part of a pasta-primavera dinner when the handle on my colander snapped and the entire pot of pasta went down the  garbage disposal in a second.  Bless her heart, our friend walked over, pulled a strand of angel hair out of what was still sticking out of the disposal, ate it and said, “It’s a shame, because you cooked this to perfection!”  What an awesome friend, right?  =)  And luckily I had very over-purchased and had plenty of vegetti-noodles that people had instead of the actual pasta and it turned out to be a very tasty, and even healthier than intended, meal.

Hosting others aside, I apparently didn’t stay on top of grocery spending this month very well at all.  =/  The good news is that I know very little of it went to spending on junk food as both Mr PoP and I are trying to eat pretty clean these days to get back in “fighting shape” after dealing with general holiday food splurging combined with (for me) post foot surgery activity limitations.  Nonetheless, I’ll try not to make $500+ grocery months a regular occurrence, which I think I can do even eating very cleanly with a little more diligence.  

Last minute addition: I figured out at least part of the insane grocery costs in February when I went to the grocery Thursday night.  Twice in February I picked up a package of pine nuts at Publix not realizing how much they cost, but knowing they were in this recipe for kale salad that I was making for Mr PoP (he likes it!).  As I found out when I was buying another container of them today, I have been paying $10 for a tiny 5oz container of pine nuts!  That’s $32/lb!  

I did that twice in February and once more last night… I told Mr PoP when he got home and he said they were good, but not better than a pound of olive bar olives and tiny mozzarella balls which he would much rather have for $10.  I gave him the pine nuts and the receipt and told him he was welcome to exchange them.  We’ll figure something else out for the kale salad and I need to start making sure I stop buying things without knowing how much they cost, since it’s rarely LESS than I would guess. =)

Our Gym/Fitness category was pretty high in February, too.  I bought a class pass to my favorite yoga studio, but then Mr PoP and I also switched gyms and got hit with a modest activation fee for doing so.  Even accounting for the activation fee, it’ll pay off to switch within about 4 months, and so far we’re enjoying the switch, so we’re not too concerned about this category being a bit high.  

Combining that with the car purchase, though, and the spending was pretty insane.  

Despite a pretty healthy income including a bonus for Mr PoP (though this time of year rougly 50% of that gross is being funneled off for 401K deposits and federal taxes), we spent enough to pretty much completely counteract the high income month.  Basically nothing really to set aside this month, waiting on completing the car loan (info on that in this post) to rebuild cash buffer and get more money working for us again after the big splurge that was Mr PoP’s car.  

Here’s all the dirty numbers…

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $470.  

And the details…

Income

  • Wages and Salaries (after taxes, 401K deposits, HSA allocations, etc.): $15,370 – Mr PoP got a bonus, yay!
  • Rental Income: $1,600
  • Miscellaneous Income (rebates, reimbursements, etc.): $0
  • Total Income: $16,970

Expenditures

  • Groceries: $573 – eep!
  • Eating Out: $189
  • Total Food: $726 – significantly higher than usual
  • Mortgage: $1,123 – actually down due to our escrow change
  • Home Maintenance and Repairs: $75
  • Renovations: $430 – tiling and baseboard stuff.  Mr & Mrs 1500, the guest room is ready whenever you are!  
  • Bills/Utilities for Primary Residence: $151
  • Total Home: $1,779
  • Gas: $187
  • Fun Car: $12,689 – this represents the price + delivery + new parts + taxes – the $30K loan we are in the midst of trying to complete.  More details here. =P
  • Car Insurance – $184 – insurance on the new car
  • Total Transportation: $13,060
  • General Shopping: $187 – A fancy new colander is included in this total.  =)
  • Pet Supplies / Care: $0
  • Total Shopping: $187
  • Gym / Fitness: $363
  • Medical Treatment/Visit: $7
  • Media Subscriptions: $8
  • Total Health/Fitness/Entertainment: $378
  • Travel: $329
  • Total Miscellaneous: $0
  • Total “Personal Expenditures”: $16,459
  • Investment Properties: $41
  • Total Investment Expenses: $41
Earnings Before Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations (EBPPS)
  • EBPPS = $16,970 – $16,459 – $41 = $470

Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations

  • Transfer to Holding Acct for 2017 Roth IRAs: $0
  • Transfer to Taxable Investment Account: $0
  • Total Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations: $0
Net Income = EBPPS – (Principal Paydowns + Savings Allocations)
  • $470 – $0 = $470 = Net Income

How was your income and spending this month?

 

 

Buying A Classic Supercar – The Money Parts

Readers, be forewarned.  This was not a frugal car choice for Mr PoP.  We knew long ago that whatever “fun car” Mr PoP ended up with it wouldn’t be frugal.  And this thing sitting in the garage is far from frugal.

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

Still pondering names for this car…  Any suggestions?

But he’s sure enjoying it mightily, and we tried to make the purchase without doing excessive damage to our finances.  Here’s how that is shaking out.

Step 0 – A Year’s Worth of Car Savings

For all of 2016, we had put aside $1,500/mo into a money market account for Mr PoP to use on a car.  That meant we had $18K specifically earmarked for him to use.  But once Sunny was out of the picture, we both had a strong suspicion that the upfront price was going to increase a bit.

Step 1 – Selling Sunny

Continue reading Buying A Classic Supercar – The Money Parts

Mr PoP’s Very Happy Friday…

Not long ago our garage looked like this.

Empty - Gloriously empty of piles of construction materials...

Empty – Gloriously empty of piles of construction materials…

But now our garage looks like this!   Continue reading Mr PoP’s Very Happy Friday…