Building and Maintaining Your Commuter Bike

20140907-182952-66592380.jpgAs primary bike mechanic, Mr PoP is giving his thoughts today on bike maintenance for your daily-rider!

It’s been great having Mrs. PoP ride her bike to work every day .  She is less stressed, healthier, and wealthier, which is a pretty incredible trifecta. Behind the scenes I’ve also been having a ton of fun learning how to tinker with and maintain her trusty Jamis commuter bike (we call her Go-Go!), and turn her into a true commuting machine.  Quick Note – the links below may go to Amazon! I get my stuff through there if the LBS (local bike shop) doesn’t have the right tools.

 

What Makes a Bicycle a Good Commuter?

Continue reading Building and Maintaining Your Commuter Bike

Getting The Plans For Our Dream Kitchen

View into kitchen/dining area with thick blue lines indicating change to ceiling line and where wall will move opening up the space.

View into kitchen/dining area with thick blue lines indicating change to ceiling line and where wall will move opening up the space.

Last we left in the grand saga that will become (already is getting to be?) this kitchen remodel, we had dreamed up some major changes.

A lot of them were aesthetic.  New cabinetry with a new layout and new flooring are the big aesthetic changes, which is pretty standard for a DIY kitchen remodel.  And the great thing about aesthetic changes is that most of the time they don’t need to be permitted*.

Don’t get me wrong, I love our city employees.  (Seriously, I was just telling Mr PoP how fabulous of an experience I had with our city’s public works office the other day.)  But if I don’t have to deal with an added layer of bureaucracy to make a minor change to our house, I’ll be glad to omit that step.

Sometimes Looks Aren’t Everything

But in addition to the aesthetic changes, we had some bigger ideas for the kitchen - vaulting the ceiling and moving the kitchen wall by about 3.5 feet to expand the footprint and make it feel much bigger.  Those ideas were definitely structural changes and we knew before we could move forward with the ideas we would need some help finding answers to these two main questions: Continue reading Getting The Plans For Our Dream Kitchen

PoP Economics of Bike Commuting, 17 Months In

20140907-182952-66592380.jpg

My bike all decked out and up on the rack for a tune up!

Since I started bike commuting back in April 2013, we haven’t really done much of an update in terms of what the ongoing biking expenses have been like and what kind of savings we are realizing in terms of other modes of transportation (ie cars). Here’s that update.

Bike Costs

In the last 17 months, my bike has gotten a bit of a makeover, though slowly. The makeover is mostly complete, but it has been a little on the pricey side to transform my trusty GoGo (a Jamis commuter hybrid originally purchased in 2005) from a 3-mile per day fair weather commuter bike I used in school 8 years ago into a 20-mile per day commuter bike that gets me reliably to and from my “corporate America” job.

Here’s what was added or upgraded as part of her transformation this year:

Continue reading PoP Economics of Bike Commuting, 17 Months In

PoP Balance Sheet – August 2014

Welcome to our August 2014 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!

August was an average month when it came to our savings, but the stock market gave us a nice little boost as well, so we had some pretty solid growth in our brokerage accounts this month.  But other than that, the balance sheet was pretty boring this month.

So for the month of August:

  • Our total assets went up by $22.1K
  • Our total liabilities went down by $0.3K
  • Net worth rose by $22.4K
  • Total net worth as of the end of July is $786.3K, which represents a 2.9% increase this month.

And for the details… Continue reading PoP Balance Sheet – August 2014

PoP Income Statement – August 2014

Welcome to our August 2014 Income Statement!

Wasn't sure if this little guy was dead, so he went back to bobbing in the ocean after a quick picture.  But what a treat to see washed up on shore!

Wasn’t sure if this little guy was dead, so he went back to bobbing in the ocean after a quick picture. But what a treat to see washed up on shore!


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.

Speaking of Mint, we were profiled on the Mint blog last week – check it out!

Another month come and gone, and we can hardly believe that summer is coming to an end.  It’s been a hot one down here, with temperatures running a bit higher than normal, so I won’t mind when the temperature starts to drop a bit.

Expenses this month were right around where we need to be from now until the end of the year if we’re to hit our goal of spending no more than $50K this year, which is a good feeling considering it was still a pretty luxurious month.  Well, not buying a a 41-year-old car luxurious, but pretty nice.  =)

The biggest expense (besides the mortgage) this month came from getting Mr PoP his SCUBA certification (~$800, though he’s got an as-of-yet unused credit for some equipment in there, too).  He’s talked about wanting to get certified for a while and a friend of ours who is a former SCUBA instructor came over and gave us a lesson in the pool earlier in the summer.  But, he finally bit the bullet and did it.  We hope this turns into something where we make more of an effort to go to different locations not too far from home a few times a year for a nice weekend in and around the water.

The other big expense was renewing our Truly Nolen bug service.  I have mixed feelings about this one… it’s expensive, but I’m really NOT okay with bugs being in the house.  The yearly service would be over $400 if we didn’t get a 5% discount for paying for a year all at once.  Mr PoP has talked about learning about the various things that they do and trying to DIY this for a year.  While I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to not spending this kind of money, I think this is the kind of thing that (especially in FL!!), you really need to stay on top of and we couldn’t let a busy month or quarter become an excuse not to treat the property.  Does anyone DIY their own pest control in an area like Florida?  Any recommendations?

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $4,964.

And here are the details…

Continue reading PoP Income Statement – August 2014