Adventures in Downsizing

This post isn’t really about OUR adventures in downsizing – we’ve only had bit roles in these grand adventures.  Instead, I’ve made an attempt to interview Mama PoP about everything that she and Papa PoP (remember, these are Mr PoP’s parents) have been undertaking over the last year (yes, a year!) in downsizing from their big family property up north to their home down here in FL, where they have become permanent residents in our same town.

So please welcome Mama PoP as she tells us about all the work they have done in the last year downsizing to become full-time Floridians!  =)


Mrs PoP: So give us a little bit of background here.  What led you to making the permanent move to FL and downsizing?  

Mama PoP: In 2008, we purchased a house in Florida while keeping our primary residence in PA, and both homes were fully furnished and decorated and each house had all of the necessary accouterments such as Internet, TV service, phones, and vehicles. We divided our time between the properties based on work schedules, weather, and hobbies.  

After retirement in January 2015, I have worked on the big goal of “simplifying our lives.” This included streamlining everything that I could such as finances, passwords, communications, legal paperwork, and eliminating unnecessary duplication/complication of “whatever.” An obvious complication was having two homes and it was about that time that I realized that it was becoming increasingly harder to keep up with the big property up north. The “downsizing” idea grew to make sense as we spent more time in Florida.


Mrs: Can you tell the readers a little bit about your home and property up north.  What is it like and how big is it?  How does that compare to your home down here in Florida?  

Mama: The house up north is the “homestead” that we designed and built in 1984 and where we raised our family. We didn’t hire a contractor and Papa Pop and the big boys nailed every nail so it was truly ours from start to finish. Note: Although the five boys range in age from 48 to 32, they will always be boys to us. Mr. PoP is known as one of the little boys as he was born next to the last. His job in building the house was to pick up Pepsi bottles throughout the construction site since he was 2 years old at the time.

The barn - the wood that become our countertop lived in here for 30 years!

The barn – the wood that become our countertop lived in here for 30 years!

The house has 5,500 square feet under roof and there is also a bank barn that is 60 x 40 as well as a 10 x 12 two room “playhouse” with an attic, running water, septic access, and electricity that someone could use as their tiny house. Papa PoP builds big when he builds. The house has four bedrooms, three baths, two fireplaces, an open floor plan with vaulted ceilings, and is a solar and earth bermed design with redundant heating systems as well as air conditioning. The garage and workroom are oversized (28 x 28 and 28 x 14) and the house features barn beams, barn siding, and fieldstone.  There are three attics – one you can simply walk into from ground level (very convenient!) and no basement.

The property covers 10 acres of rolling hills and includes the stream that we needed for the horses as well as woods and a swampy area where the boys played. Papa Pop has a huge garden for vegetables and there are many perennial flowerbeds scattered around.

The Florida house is in a HOA community with 65 houses and a pool. Built in 1990, it has 1,600 square feet under air and has a small two-car garage, three bedrooms, two baths, vaulted ceilings and a large lanai that overlooks a small lake.

Continue reading Adventures in Downsizing

Happy Friday – Finally a 1 Car Family!

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

Finally down to 1 car – and what a car!

Mr PoP stayed up late a couple of nights ago to make sure the hand-off went well, but around 11pm, the car hauler finally loaded the car up and drove off with it. Mr PoP celebrated… I slept. =)

And with that we were finally officially a one car family – about 3 years after making our initial announcement about becoming a 1 car family on this blog. Alas, we were kindof lying then even though we didn’t really realize we were. Continue reading Happy Friday – Finally a 1 Car Family!

PoP Balance Sheet – May 2017

Welcome to our May 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 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!

You may not have realized it, but we recently crossed over a milestone – five years of publishing monthly financial statements as we pursued various goals and tried to live life pretty fully along the way.  Five years isn’t really short in real-time (heck that’s a kindergartener for some of our friends!).  But in internet-years, the blog has definitely reached at least middle age, if not nearing retirement.  The very first post on our blog was our balance sheet in May 2012, and it’s fair to say we’ve shown a fair bit of progress since then.

So while it’s been quite a ride in the last 5 years, this past month was mostly boring.  We sold the Miata, which brought in about $4,000 in extra cash from an asset we had written down to zero, so that’s always nice.  But the rest was pretty boring!  (I’m still waiting for the exciting month when our 401K has at least 401K in it!)

Here are the numbers for May:

  • Our total assets up $25.8K
  • Our total liabilities went down by $0.5K 
  • Net worth went up by $26.3K 
  • Total net worth as of the end of May is $1,409.1K, which represents a 1.90% increase for the month

For the details…

Continue reading PoP Balance Sheet – May 2017

PoP Income Statement – May 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.

IMGP0747We’re a little late delivering on this promise, but here are MOAR OTTER PICS!!!  Clicking on them should enlarge them.  I think Mr PoP did pretty well getting some good pics without scaring the little (well, kindof big) guy away.

The months are flying by here in the PoP household.  This last one started off with some great folks coming to spend the weekend in Florida while we streamed the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in our living room, and is ending (as I type this) with Mr PoP happily ensconced in the garage doing some work (replacing some 20+ coolant hoses and other stuff) on his NSX.

Speaking of working on the NSX, it’s more important than ever that Mr PoP gets it in daily driver shape (that’s what he’s working on now!) because we decided to sell our other car – a Miata.  We sold that over the weekend and are (kindof) back down to one car.  (We’ll explain the “kindof” soon, I promise!)  The Miata needed some work before we sold it – her pesky AC needed a better fix after the quick fix the local shop had attempted the previous month, so Mr PoP did that, and then a few other “little” things added up to several hundred dollars in repairs.  But that felt worthwhile when selling it to someone who turned out to be an early retiree!  We have little doubt that he’ll take good care of her car and use her until the very end.

IMGP0785All in all, life is pretty great, as Mr PoP seems to constantly be reminding me lately.  Seriously, he’s taken just to saying, “Our lives are pretty great” on a not-irregular basis.  It’s adorably endearing and I’m glad he’s super happy.  Though let’s be real – I could do with another three day weekend like last weekend.  =)


Here’s all the rest of the numbers…

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $7,299.  

And the details… Continue reading PoP Income Statement – May 2017

Cushy On Our Tushies!

After years of preparation, here we are… finally sitting pretty.  Well, sitting *on* something pretty.  And for that I have to thank Frugal Paragon, for being such an awesome inspiration.  And my mom, for sitting me down and teaching me something I wasn’t really nuts about when I was nine years old well enough that I could remember a lot of the basics and online tutorials could mostly fill in the rest 2.5 decades later.

IMG_7524You see, I just spent the last two weekends sewing seat cushions for not only the bench seat in the dining room, but all the chairs as well.  And (IMNSHO) they turned out pretty darned well!  (Especially the last two I made.  I definitely got better as I went along!  =) )

These cushions have been a long time coming.  Specifically since we installed the bench seat roughly  a year ago and I realized that it can get pretty uncomfortable to sit on un-molded plywood for hours at a dinner party.

I didn’t originally plan to sew these myself.  I thought I’d be able to find cushions that I didn’t hate pretty easily.  Sadly, I found that not to be the case, in no small part because of the mish-mash of shapes and sizes of seats that we needed the cushions for.  The bench seat has 3 seats with hinged opening, 2 of which are the same size.  Then we have 2 library chairs, and 2 petite chairs.  Finding cushions to fit all of these, and remotely match was going to be a custom job, and those tend to come with custom prices. Continue reading Cushy On Our Tushies!