A Year of Bike Commuting

About a year ago, I started biking to work. From our front door to my office is just around 9 miles, and there’s a path that allows me to take back roads with solid biking paths and sidewalks, meandering from our home, through golf courses, past canals and bays, and fancy neighborhoods, and end up at work. It takes around 35 minutes (a little faster with a tailwind, and a little slower with a headwind), but is a truly excellent way to start and end the workday.

When I started biking, I thought it would be a “once in a while” or “when the weather is nice” type of thing. However, just a short year later, we’re getting ready to list our second car for sale and happily transition to being a one car couple.

That really over-compresses what the year of biking has been like, and why we’re prepared to make it a permanent adjustment to our lifestyles.  Here are some more thoughts on what it has been like.

Finding Bike Paths Is Now Second Nature

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Something “wrong” with this picture?

I don’t ride on main roads. Maybe if we had bike paths on them like the one picture to the right, I would. But the reality is that Florida has plenty of 6 or 8 lane roadways with posted speed limits of 55mph (which we all know means plenty of people are going 65mph), and I have no desire to share that roadway.

Instead, we take back roads and sidewalks and have yet to really find places that are within a reasonable biking distance (I consider this about 10 miles) that we can’t get to via these methods.The last year of finding new routes to familiar spots has been interesting, though.

Sometimes I look up a way to go on google maps (rather than trusting their biking directions, I go with the satellite view and look for sideways and smaller parallel streets), but other times we’ve just gone with intuition and felt our way to and from the local parks and found new routes that are great for biking. We never would have known these lovely tree lined routes existed were it not for just trying it out. Sometimes you just have to do it.

Weather Has Been Less Of A Factor Than Expected

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PoP Balance Sheet – March 2014

Welcome to our March 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!

March was mostly pretty boring on our balance sheet except for one notable occurrence.  One of our retirement accounts (we have 4 of them…) officially crossed into 6 figures for the first time!  Sure, it’s just bookkeeping since our combined accounts crossed over the $100K mark quite a while ago, but it still felt like a victory.

But for the month of March:

  • Our total assets went up by $12.1K
  • Our total liabilities went down by $0.8K
  • Net worth rose by $12.9K
  • Total net worth as of the end of March is $705.6K, which represents a 1.9% increase this month.  

And for the details…

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PoP Income Statement – March 2014

Welcome to our March 2014 Income Statement!

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Screens being redone – so worth outsourcing for the high and big panels!

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.

Overall, March was pretty average in terms of where we like to see our spending, which is nice considering we did have a few fairly sizable very irregular purchases in there that totaled over $1,000. Mostly boring, but that’s the way things go sometimes, huh?

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $4,209.

And here are the details…

Continue reading PoP Income Statement – March 2014

Q1 Car Challenge Wrap Up

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Mr PoP’s ultimate goal with the 1 car plan…

So here we are, on the last day of Q1, and technically the last day of our Q1 Car Challenge. In case you missed our announcement of the challenge, here was the basic idea.

We have 2 cars, but were rarely using them both at the same time. To see if it would be possible to transition to being a one car household, we sought to only ever use one car duing the first three months of 2014 (Q1). (That is, one car at a time. We didn’t want the Jeep to go bad from lack of use, so Mr PoP drove it around for errands on the weekends every week or two.)

How Did It Go?

Pretty well on the whole. It wasn’t so effortless that we didn’t notice that we were doing the challenge, but we learned as we went along and made it through without any arguments or major inconveniences to each other. But there were some key themes that we learned along the way that made being a one-car household work for us.

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If It’s Green, It’s Grass… And Other Frugal Lawn Care Musings

20140320-183648.jpgOne Saturday not too long ago, Mr PoP was home enjoying his morning cup of coffee when the door bell rang. What joy!

It was a young gentleman from Truly Scape. For those of you not in the know, Truly Scape is one arm of the pest control company, Truly Nolen, and this ambitious young salesman was going door to door hawking lawn services. And since Mr PoP loves little more than being entertained by an ambitious sales pitch, he let the kid go for it.

Kid: I see that it looks like your yard could use some fertilizer. We have a service that would come out and fertilize your lawn for you so it would grow faster and fuller.
Mr PoP: Wait, that means I’d just have to cut it more often, right? Are you trying to create work for me?
(Strike 1 for the kid.)

Continue reading If It’s Green, It’s Grass… And Other Frugal Lawn Care Musings