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

Reader Question – Food Spending Rules of Thumb

On last month’s income statement, one reader noticed that we had a particularly inexpensive month when it came to eating, spending $302 on groceries, and $214 on eating out and wrote us.

Hi PoP Family!

So I know you don’t normally go this route with your posts, but how on EARTH do you keep your grocery and food bills so low? Hubby and I just got married, and so far groceries are costing us close to $550/month plus another $200 on restaurants. We’re in Georgia, so the cost of living is a little more than you guys in FL but not by much, so that can’t be all of it! Do you have any “rules of thumb” you usually live by?



While I jotted Ashley a quick reply in the comments (citing my vegetarianism and Mr PoP’s lazy omnivore-ism as quick partial explanations), her question really made me think because compared to many folks who post on the MMM forums, we’re downright gluttonous in our food spending.   But then again, I know we spend a ton less than other friends who live right near us, too.  Here are some of those thoughts and seven “rules of thumb” that we’ve come to live/eat by.

But first, a few quick things to keep in mind…

Continue reading Reader Question – Food Spending Rules of Thumb

How To Plan A Major DIY Renovation

A couple of months ago, while reflecting on some of our wants and needs, we mentioned that we had plans to make some major changes to our kitchen and dining area in 2015.  But doing a DIY renovation on this scale (while living in the house!) takes some major planning.  Here are the steps we are following when planning our next big project.


1.  Observe Your Life Annoyances

No house is perfect.  But sometimes you don’t know how much the imperfections in your home’s design will affect your everyday life until you live in it and experience these annoyances first hand.  Of course, there are differences in scale.  Focus on the major annoyances for the biggest bang for buck on your happiness ROI, but also keep a list of all the minor annoyances nearby so you can address as many as possible when completing your renovation.

Our major annoyances are going to drive the bulk of the renovation:

  • Ugly, worn, poorly installed tile
  • Aging pressboard cabinets in an inefficient layout
  • Not enough seating area for guests indoors
  • Low ceilings shrink the feel of the space in the kitchen
Ugly tile, inefficient and old cabinetry, very little seating, and low, low kitchen ceilings

The Major Annoyances: Ugly tile, inefficient and old cabinetry, very little seating, and low, low kitchen ceilings

Continue reading How To Plan A Major DIY Renovation

PoP Balance Sheet – July 2014

Welcome to our July 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!

On the evening on July 31, after seeing how Argentina’s default led to a market drop of 2%, and waiting for the prices on our mutual funds to update and our 401K shares to be purchased we both took a guess as to where our net worth would be for the month end.  Between the market drop and our high spending month buying Sunny, Mr PoP guessed it might be our first down month since recording these updates on the blog (it’s gotta happen eventually!), and I guessed that we’d be within $1,500 up or down of our June update.  Turned out we were both wrong and we squeaked out a little gain this month.  Not much, but we’ll take it.  So for the month of July:

  • Our total assets went up by $3.3K
  • Our total liabilities went down by $0.4K
  • Net worth rose by $3.7K
  • Total net worth as of the end of July is $763.9K, which represents a 0.5% increase this month.

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