PoP Economics of Bike Commuting, 17 Months In


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

Flat Tires And New Construction – Boom Times Back in FL?

Twice in the last twelve months we’ve picked up screws in tires on the car. A third time we picked up a huge nail in a tire on the Jeep (before we sold it). Last week, I even managed to pick up a screw in one of my bike tires while riding to work in the morning!  Most of these haven’t been a big deal as they’ve been $20-$30 repairs or we’ve been able to time them pretty well with when we knew we already needed tires.

A friend at work hasn’t been quite as lucky – three punctures from nails and screws, needing 2 new tires in the last year.  Another friend remembers at least two tire punctures in the same period.  It’s kindof ridiculous, but the frequency with which we’re getting flats is starting to harken back to a different time in Florida… the mid-2000s.

It Was A Different Time

Continue reading Flat Tires And New Construction – Boom Times Back in FL?

Drawing and Dreaming Our Dream Kitchen

One of the biggest parts of planning our major DIY kitchen remodel was step 3 in the How To Process – to start dreaming and drawing to figure out what we wanted to accomplish in our renovation.  Since the whole process took us months to accomplish, we want to lay out what we came up with before we start buying anything or any construction.  Then when it’s all done we’ll be able to see how close we end up to that dream ideal.

Ugly tile, inefficient and old cabinetry, very little seating, and low, low kitchen ceilings

Ugly tile, inefficient and old cabinetry, very little seating, and low, low kitchen ceilings

Where Did We Start?

We already knew the big things we didn’t like about our kitchen:

  • the ugly, worn, poorly installed tile,
  • the aging cabinetry and countertops in a poor layout, and
  • the fact that the lowered ceilings made it feel like an especially small space.

With those in mind, we started talking about what we liked in other peoples’ homes, not hindered by much.  We both like spanish tile and polished concrete flooring, but neither seemed to fit with the feel of our little Florida home.  So we did what our elementary and middle school teachers diligently trained us to do and headed to the local library.

There we found books on historical architecture in our area and realized that what we really wanted was to make our little 1980′s hodgepodge home more true to the styles that parts of the design had been taken from, namely the 19th century Florida Cracker dwellings, and the mid-twentieth century Florida beach cottages that are now historic in our area. Continue reading Drawing and Dreaming Our Dream Kitchen