Planting Our Pennies http://www.plantingourpennies.com Money, Happiness, Kittens Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:55:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.11 Irma; A Hurricane Saga in 3 parts http://www.plantingourpennies.com/168-hour-roller-coaster-ride/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/168-hour-roller-coaster-ride/#comments Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=8001 The whole thing began late Labor Day weekend. I had been having a wonderfully productive labor day weekend, working on my latest woodworking project around the house and knocking out some long-overdue weeding. It was one of those killer weekends where I felt like I was in amazing GSD mode [...]]]> Part 1 – The Evacuation

The whole thing began late Labor Day weekend. I had been having a wonderfully productive labor day weekend, working on my latest woodworking project around the house and knocking out some long-overdue weeding. It was one of those killer weekends where I felt like I was in amazing GSD mode and was knocking items off the “to do” list.  But… being so busy I hadn’t spent much time reviewing the NHC forecasts (which I typically try and check every day or two during hurricane season just to keep an eye on them). By the time I did check them late in the day on Labor Day Monday, it looked like Hurricane Irma could be something that Mr PoP and I would need to act on.

When we went for our nightly walk a little bit later, I told Mr PoP about my concerns and he said he’d look at the forecast when we got home too. After doing that, he agreed that we should start making some plans.

We had 3 things going for us at that time:

  1. We already had flight tickets booked to leave town on Friday to visit friends and attend a family wedding in Brooklyn.
  2. Thanks to all my cabinet building we had a decent amount of plywood and materials for boarding up the house. Ironically I had thought getting rid of some of that would be added to my labor day “to do” list but it hadn’t quite made the list.
  3. On Monday evening, time was on our side-Irma wasn’t due to hit until late Saturday

So we had a game plan. Board up the house as best as possible, get on our flight on Friday morning and try to enjoy ourselves for the weekend.

On Tuesday morning I told this to my boss at work and let him know that I would probably not be working most of Thursday to make sure I took care of our house. I may have also had a mini breakdown at the office because this storm coincided with the departure of my friend at work leaving on a 6 week vacation and the start of my covering for him as the designated “IT backup and recovery” person for our little office location. So my responsibilities at the office were increasing dramatically as there was a freaking category 5 hurricane potentially headed our way.  I feel like the amount of stress I felt in that moment was appropriate and I knew already it was going to be a crazy week even with our game plan already in place at home.

As Mike Tyson says, “Everybody has a plan until we they get punched in the mouth.” Although we never really got punched in the mouth, our hurricane plans began to change almost immediately. Mr. PoP’s parents flight to the wedding in Brooklyn got canceled and Mr. PoP stayed behind to make sure that they caught a later flight out.

Reminder for future evacuations... being fed a constant supply of amazing food helps.

Reminder for future evacuations… being fed a constant supply of amazing food helps.

I flew Friday by myself – not sure if Mr PoP was going to make it out since so many flights were being canceled. The next 18 hours of being separated from Mr PoP and knowing he was still down there were awful. Luckily I was with amazing friends in Brooklyn. Lia just kept trying to feed me the most wonderful food you can imagine and George is one of the most even keeled people that I have ever met in my entire life. I would say something like, “If we still have a house after this, you guys have to visit again sometime soon to see everything we’ve done to the place since your last visit (4 years ago)”, and somehow they would just expertly deflect the conversation, letting me feel the feels but helping to keep them from dragging me down completely.

After hours on the phone with Delta Airlines, Mr PoP, Kitty PoP and his parents caught the last flight out from our town on Saturday AM and after that my emotions changed again. Once they were all safe, I REALLY didn’t care what happened to our properties or our things. At that point it was all just “stuff” that was insured, and it started becoming a strange “what if” sort of game in my head.

If we have to rebuild, do we do it on stilts and make the bottom a garage/woodshop?  

What if we don’t want to rebuild now, can we take some time to sit on that decision and travel a bit?  Maybe buy an RV?  (For some reason this RV plan kept coming up through my head all weekend although I have never been an RV proponent in my life.)  

On my way to greet Mr PoP, Kitty PoP (his first flight!), and his parents after their flight arrival, I was texting another friend and was telling him that we were all safe and that I really didn’t care about the rest. This was his text back:

IMG_7883

I literally LOL-ed standing on the subway platform.

It was true. At that point, it was all just stuff. We were insured, and we have resources. Sure it might be inconvenient, but none of this was going to break us, and in fact might present a very interesting set of choices.

Part 2 – Schroedinger’s House

I tried not to look at the forecasts too much after that point, but let’s be real. That meant I was only looking at it 50% of the time instead of the 100% of the time that I really wanted to be looking at it. And it sucked because they kept getting worse and worse for our town. By Sunday AM (when the hurricane hit the Keys), NOAA was saying there was a 10% chance that there would be 6 feet of water above ground level pretty much across our entire neighborhood. 10% chance isn’t a guarantee of that kind of flooding, but it’s definitely in the realm of possibility. And 6ft of water isn’t nothing. When it was just 3 ft, our friend Lia very awesomely said, “Your beautiful counters will probably make it!” But at 6 ft… well, the counters probably wouldn’t make it. Nor would pretty much anything else.

The wedding on Sunday was beautiful, but making smalltalk with the the other guests was odd. It was just weird to be in celebration mode in the exact moment that a Category 4  hurricane was hitting our house a couple thousand miles away.

We were at a table with relatives from the other side of the family that we didn’t really know, and, of course, the “where do you live?” question came up.

“Florida”

“Oh, I hope you’re not going to be impacted by Irma”

“We are. It’s hitting our house right now.”

“… Is everything going to be okay?”

“Who knows!  We are calling our home “Shroedinger’s House” at this point. Maybe it’s still a house, and maybe it a pile of wood!”

Then there was an awkward pause and they would change the subject. All in all, I think we were in good spirits, the corny 80’s pop music was perfect, the wedding was beautiful and we were so happy for the bride and groom.

But by Monday morning, it became clear that the surge and flooding hadn’t materialized for our neighborhood. We still didn’t have word on any wind damage, but at least the flooding hadn’t happened.  We had partial relief.

IMG_7877By Monday afternoon, a few pics came in from neighbors from the street along with word that no one on the street had experienced “major” damage. But our house wasn’t in any of the 3 snapshots we saw, and what the heck does “major” consist of anyway…?!?  Especially when we could definitely see trees downed all over the street and based on the way they fell, our giant tree (50 ft tall and wide live oak tree) would have likely fallen onto the house.

When we saw our neighborhood gas station in a national news outlet without a roof over the pumps, was that “major” damage?  Or just “some” damage?   After all, the main building was still standing and looked ok.

I was starting to feel better, but not 100%. But by a few hours after that we got word from Mr PoP’s brother who had stayed down there on the damage to our house.  His first glance is that we lost 1 (of 28) solar panels (and probably have some roof damage where it was pulled off) and also lost a post from the screened pool cage, but otherwise he couldn’t see any damage.  Fabulous news – and a credit to Mr PoP for boarding the house up so well.

Then word came in from one of our renters that evacuated. Looks like a leak – which we will see if we can get covered under warranty since that roof is only ~2 years old. A tree also toppled in the front and is laying across one of the driveways – this tree might have roots extending to the leach field for the septic so we will take a look and make sure the leach field doesn’t need any repairs too. Their whole street also looks like a lake, as well, but the water never made it anywhere close to the house.

So 2 properties, still habitable.  A-freaking-mazing.  

Part 3 – You Can’t Go Home Again

At least not as quickly as we’d like.

1 week (168 hours) after Mr PoP and I talked about the hurricane on our nightly walk, we sat in our friends’ living room – with a tentative plan in place to get back.  It seemed like this was going to be at least a little messy, but way better than it could have been.

We started the journey back Wednesday AM with a flight to Atlanta.  There, we had a reservation for an SUV (and plan to drive around gathering what supplies we could find here – we scored a generator that had literally just been returned at Home Depot and the last small window AC unit!).

The power is still out on our street, and on Wednesday the roads from Atlanta to all points in South Florida were packed with cars with gas still a bit scarce even in the northern parts of the state.  Those factors, combined with the possibility that I-75, the main artery from Atlanta into FL, was potentially going to get closed due to the Santa Fe River flooding meant we stayed here in Atlanta for a night.  Luckily, that meant more wonderful food with friends – and a Pub Trivia Night!  It was way more fun than racing a potentially flooding river when gas is still such a precious resource.

The roads are clear now, and they’re saying the risk of flooding closing the bridge has passed, so by the time you read this post we should be almost home.  Fingers crossed we get power back sooner than later – right now the estimate for us is 9/22 (that’s still a week out for those keeping track at home!), though others that have been told the same have power back already so we’re really hopeful.

The goal is to get the house cleaned up this weekend (it’s a mess inside from all the crazy packing), and then start getting back to regular life and our J-O-B-S on Monday.

We will probably write more about this later – but if you don’t hear from us for a little bit, we are safe and probably busy as hell cleaning up and might not have power or internet access for a bit.

So hugs to everyone – and we hope everyone else came through safe and sound with possessions relatively unscathed as well.

 

 

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Happy Friday – Happy Cabinetry! http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-happy-cabinetry-2/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-happy-cabinetry-2/#comments Thu, 14 Sep 2017 12:18:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-happy-cabinetry-2/   

  

  

  

  

     

  

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PoP Balance Sheet – August 2017 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-balance-sheet-august-2017/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-balance-sheet-august-2017/#comments Mon, 04 Sep 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7993 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 [...]]]> Welcome to our August 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 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!

The S&P moved mostly sideways from the beginning to the end of the month in August. And we didn’t have omniscience necessary to time our investments to correspond with the dip in the middle of the month. However, we did have a fair amount that we rolled into taxable investments at the end of the month, so we still ended up with a decent increase in our net worth for the month.

But on to the numbers for August:

  • Our total assets up $17.6K
  • Our total liabilities went up by $0.4K (we paid the cc balance right after this snapshot, oh well!) 
  • Net worth went up by $29.2K 
  • Total net worth as of the end of August is $1,472.3K, which represents a 1.18% increase for the month

For the details…

dyerware.com


Assets

Brokerage Accounts

  • 401K accounts: $415.8 
  • Roth IRA accounts: $221.5
  • HSA account: $22.1
  • Taxable Brokerage Accounts: $229.4
  • Total Brokerage Accounts: $903.3 

Real Estate (based on current market comparable sales)

  • Primary Residence: $269.0
  • Investment Duplex: $175.0
  • Investment Residential Land: $160.0
  • Total Real Estate: $604.0 

Cars (based on “fire sale” pricing per Mr PoP’s research)

Cash Holdings

  • Checking Accounts: $26.0
  • Savings/Money Market Accounts: $8.0
  • Total Cash Holdings: $34.0

Total Assets: $1,571.3

Liabilities

Real Estate Loans

  • Primary Mortgage: $74.7
  • HELOC on Investment Duplex: $0.0 (re-advanceable)
  • Personal Loan – Used to Purchase $50K Duplex: $0.0
  • Total Real Estate Related Loans: $74.7

Car Loan

  • Loan on NSX: $22.1  – the interest rate is so low on this, almost all of the $727 payment went towards principal
  • Total Car Loans: $22.1

Revolving Credit

  • Credit Card Balance: $2.2
  • Total Revolving Credit: $2.2

Total Liabilities: $99.0 

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities

Net Worth = $1,472.3, up 1.18% from July

 

How Close Are We Getting to FIRE?

New this year is a graph that Mr PoP and I are still trying to figure out how useful it is to us.

In this one, we’re tracking month-by-month, two lines.  The blue one is an approximation of FIRE income – it is the sum of the last twelve months of net real estate income plus 4% of the most recent brokerage account balances.   The yellow one is an approximation of our FIRE spending, for which I’m using the last twelve months of what I’m thinking of as our “recurring spend”.  Bu that I mean our spending, net of all the crazy shenanigans we’ve been up to the last couple of years with remodeling and “fun car” spending.  The main reason we’re netting these out, is that we definitely won’t be pulling the plug with any big line items like this hanging over us.

The significant dip the yellow line makes this month will probably normalize out next month.  The main reason is that last August was pretty expensive (with Mr PoP paying the bulk of his Burning Man expenses for he and his friend up front) and that high spend month was replaced by this past month in the trailing 12 month average.  When his friend paid us back for his half of the Burning Man expenses, we counted that against September spending (so that ended up looking much lower than usual) and that low spend will come off the trailing average next month.

dyerware.com


We’re still chewing on this visualization a little bit, because while it’s nice and succinct, it still omits some important information from our portfolio and spending patterns, specifically our empty lot (worth ~$160K) that instead of generating income is currently costing us ~$1,500/year, as well as the ever decreasing lifespan of our mortgage.  We also spend ~$9400/year on the principal and interest payment of our mortgage, so paying that off (and the value of the lot would pay it off and then some!) would decrease our outflow needs significantly, and even if we pay it off according to schedule it’ll be gone in 2026.

Do you take any future changes into account in your visualizations?

 

Tracking Investable Asset Growth

This first graph shows the growth of our investable assets (net of any liabilities against them), and shows the distribution of the various equity classes we hold. Pretty self explanatory.

dyerware.com


 

How Many Years Of Spending Do We Have Saved?

Here I’ve taken the total of our investable assets for each month and divided it by the expenses (excluding our investment property expenses) for that month. The idea being that this shows how many years we could live off of those assets at that rate and gives us a better idea of what lifestyle inflation (or intentional deflation) can do to the relative value of our savings.

dyerware.com


It fluctuates in a much bigger range, because in high spending months (like February 2013 when we spent almost $7K paying off our car completely and February 2015 when we spent a bunch installing solar panels), the denominator is so much bigger. Because of that, it’s the overall trend we’re looking for.

Early Retirement Locale Index

Mr PoP wanted one more way to understand more viscerally how much we have in “investable assets”, so we’ve come up with what we’re calling our Early Retirement Locale Index. The basic idea is that we know how many years of savings we have at our disposal if we were to continue living in south Florida. (That’s the chart above.) But using the “magical” 25 years of savings necessary for early retirement, where would we have to move so that our current investable assets would cover 25x our COL adjusted current spending? (Note, this is purely for fun, we’re not intending to move. Don’t worry Mama & Papa PoP!) If you want to follow along, we’re using this Cost of Living Index from Expatistan, and using the average of the two big cities in south Florida on the list (Miami and Tampa) as our current COL index, which gets us 159.0. Our city isn’t on their full list, hence the average – but maybe yours is. Then we’re solving this equation:

Current Years Saved/ 25 = COL Early Retirement Locale / COL S. FL

25.87/25 = COL Early Retirement Locale / 158.0

COL Early Retirement Locale = 163.51

… which gives us the city of Christchurch, New Zealand!

I’ve wanted to go to New Zealand for a long time, and it was disappointing that during our trip to Australia a few years ago we weren’t able to swing enough time off to get there.  And now the problem is that we both know how ridiculously painful the 15+ hours flights to get to that side of the world were, so we’re going to have to find a much less direct way to get there.  And those trips take time – but hopefully before too long time is something we will have in much greater surplus!

Here’s our journey through the ERLI so far…

  • January 2014 – Delhi, India
  • February 2014 – Quito, Ecuador
  • March 2014 – Kiev, Ukraine
  • April 2014 – Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • May 2014 – Madras/Chennai, India
  • June 2014 – Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • July 2014 – Bangalore, India
  • August 2014 – Yerevan, Armenia
  • September 2014 – Skopje, Macedonia
  • October 2014 – Brasov, Romania
  • November 2014 – Prague, Czech Republic
  • December 2014 – Mexico City, Mexico
  • January 2015 – Zadar, Croatia
  • February 2015 – Kiev, Ukraine
  • March 2015 – Cairo, Egypt
  • April 2015 – Bangalore, India
  • May 2015 – Niteroi, Brazil
  • June 2015 – Nowhere!
  • July 2015 – Skopje, Macedonia
  • August 2015 – Recife, Brazil
  • September 2015 – Ankara, Turkey
  • October 2015 – Lisbon, Portugal / Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • November 2015 – Debrecen, Hungary
  • December 2015 – Tbilisi, Georgia
  • January 2016 – San Antonio, Texas or Louisville, KY – readers pick!
  • February 2016 – Lisbon, Portugal
  • March 2016 – Brno, Czech Republic
  • April 2016 – Vitoria, Brazil
  • May 2016 – Santiago, Chile
  • June 2016 – Johannesburg, South Africa
  • July 2016 – Thessaloniki, Greece
  • August 2016 – Gurgaon, India
  • September 2016 – Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  • October 2016 – Las Vegas, Nevada
  • November 2016 – Oakland, California
  • December 2016 – Hartford, Connecticut
  • January 2017 – Montevideo, Uruguay
  • February 2017 – Noweheresville – or maybe we can just live in the car?
  • March 2017 – Stuttgart, Germany
  • April 2017 – Bologna, Italy
  • May 2017 – Brasilia, Brazil
  • June 2017 – Nairobi, Kenya
  • July 2017 – Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • August 2017 – Christchurch, New Zealand

 

How was your balance sheet in August? Where would your savings land you today? 

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PoP Income Statement – August 2017 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-income-statement-august-2017/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-income-statement-august-2017/#comments Fri, 01 Sep 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7985 With a face this cute, you’d never suspect he’d be hosting a parasite, would you. =(

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 [...]]]> With a face this cute, you'd never suspect he'd be hosting a parasite, would you. =(

With a face this cute, you’d never suspect he’d be hosting a parasite, would you. =(

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.

We got some bad news today.  Kitty PoP has a tapeworm.  He has almost no symptoms (he has yacked up his dinner a few times over the last month or so, which is a bit unusual), but seems otherwise not bothered by them.  The worm(s?) turned up in one of the tests the vet ran last month and we somehow didn’t find out until today. =(  But we applied the anti-parasitic, so hopefully it will take care of the problem and our little guy can go back to being his perfect little self.

In other news… it was a solid month for income in the PoP household – we each earned some bonus money from our employers, and it *looked* even better than it would have earlier in the year because we both officially maxed out on our 401K deposits. From now through the end of the year we will see more after tax money flowing through these income statements instead of bypassing them and going straight to the 401Ks.  But probably not as much as this month.  Bonus money from both our employers in one month was a bit unusual.

Other than groceries being particularly egregious (I have yet to stop at Publix since the Amazon/Whole Foods merger on Monday to see if there has been an immediate impact yet), the month was pretty close to “normal” for us.

Mr PoP shopped around and got us a new bug company at a slightly lower rate, so we hope they will be good since we paid for a year of pest control service up front (for both our house and the duplex).

And the duplex had a pesky A/C problem that we had to pay after-hours rates for. That was a bit pricey, but we’re not going to mess around with renters not having A/C in August in Florida. Sorry, not happening.

Here’s all the rest of the numbers…

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $12,515.  

And the details…

Income

  • Wages and Salaries (after taxes, 401K deposits, HSA allocations, etc.): $15,451
  • Rental Income: $1,600
  • Miscellaneous Income (rebates, reimbursements, etc.): $205 – flex reimbursements
  • Total Income: $17,256

Expenditures

  • Groceries: $541– particularly bad, I know!
  • Eating Out: $195
  • Total Food: $736
  • Mortgage: $1,123
  • Home Maintenance and Repairs: $654 – a year of pest control, plus a repair to the pool filter (hopefully the pool stuff is done breaking for now)
  • Renovations: $143 – mostly baseboard and a truck to get it home – the last room is being tiled!
  • Bills/Utilities for Primary Residence: $150
  • Total Home: $2,070
  • Gas: $216
  • Repairs & Maintenance: $75 – oil change items for Mr PoP to change the oil, plus some touch up paint to patch a ding Mr PoP got probably from a rock on the highway
  • NSX Payment: $727 – while we paid cash for the car, we opted shortly thereafter to take advantage of the stupid low rate our credit union was offering on car loans to take a loan on the car and have more money liquid in the market.  
  • Total Transportation: $1,018
  • General Shopping: $157 – mostly presents for others
  • Pet Supplies / Care: $14 – litter… the charge for Kitty PoP’s wormy-meds hasn’t come through yet, but that’ll be $18 on next month’s statement.
  • Total Shopping: $171
  • Gym / Fitness: $37
  • Medical Treatment/Visit: $50 – copays
  • Media Subscriptions: $9!
  • Total Health/Fitness/Entertainment: $46
  • Travel: $0
  • Total Miscellaneous: $0
  • Total “Personal Expenditures”: $4,091  ($3,221 net Reno and NSX payment)
  • Investment Properties: $650 – a year of pest control plus an emergency AC repair
  • Total Investment Expenses: $650
Earnings Before Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations (EBPPS)
  • EBPPS = $17,256 – $4,091 – $650 = $12,515

Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations

  • Transfer to Holding Acct for 2017 Roth IRAs: $1,000
  • Transfer to Taxable Investment Account: $11,500
  • Total Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations: $12,500
Net Income = EBPPS – (Principal Paydowns + Savings Allocations)
  • $12,515 – $12,500 = $15 = Net Income

How was your income and spending this month?

 

 

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Why I’m Looking Forward To Amazon Owning Whole Foods http://www.plantingourpennies.com/im-looking-forward-amazon-owning-whole-foods/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/im-looking-forward-amazon-owning-whole-foods/#comments Mon, 28 Aug 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7967 PoP water levels after this crazy rain: This tree near the edge of our property (on the neighbor’s lot) is usually a good 6 feet + away from the lake’s edge, not submerged a solid 6″ (or more?) in water.

Before I type anything about something as trivial as groceries, I have to stop [...]]]> PoP water levels after this crazy rain: This tree near the edge of our property (on the neighbor's lot) is usually a good 6 feet + away from the lake's edge, not submerged a solid 6" (or more?) in water.

PoP water levels after this crazy rain: This tree near the edge of our property (on the neighbor’s lot) is usually a good 6 feet + away from the lake’s edge, not submerged a solid 6″ (or more?) in water.

Before I type anything about something as trivial as groceries, I have to stop and hold those in Texas in my thoughts.  I hope you are all safe and stay that way.  

According to local public rain gauge data, upwards of 9″ and 10″ of rain has fallen at the nearest (to us in FL!) rain gauges to us over the last 4 days (through Saturday), and that doesn’t include the fact that it has been raining mostly non-stop all of Sunday (so far).  The lake behind our house was at a height on Saturday that we have never witnessed in the 8 years we’ve lived here (still well below our home’s elevation, so please don’t worry about us), and I’ve been hunkered down in the house, even a bit scared to go out driving on the roads.  

Viewing this here, I can’t even wrap my mind around what it has been like to have that quantity of rain fall that Houston and other nearby areas have received in far less time that that.  I am scared for you.  Please, take care!  

 

Today, Amazon will close on its $13.7 billion dollar purchase of Whole Foods.  Honestly, I’m a little surprised the FTC gave it the go-ahead.  But I am actually looking forward to it, and even more so after Jeff Bezos announced that the first thing that will happen post merger is for prices to decrease on key staples throughout the store on Monday morning.

Image from TechCrunch

I only shop at Whole Foods maybe once a month, and only buy a (literal) handful of items when I go (as I noted when I wrote about our food spending rules of thumb almost exactly three years ago).  Nonetheless, I’m hoping that these price reductions (and hopefully other supply chain innovation) will bring the prices of high quality food down from the heights that they have risen to over the past few years (and especially over the last year!).  Specifically, at the chain where we do the vast majority of our grocery spending, Publix.

You see, our grocery spending has been going up over the past few years…. and (sneak preview), this month will not be an outlier in that trend given that we were already over the grocery budget before I went shopping this morning (the first time I had been out of the house since Thursday – darn you rain!).

dyerware.com


At the time of that post, our grocery budget had been $350 for years and we weren’t having much trouble hitting it.  But since then I’ve had to increase it to $400, and even then we’re having trouble hitting that number more often than not lately.  I’ve attributed different things to the increases in my mind over time…

  • At first it was ongoing construction at our house leading to convenience food purchase, which definitely was the case in 2015, but hasn’t really been since.
  • Then I started thinking that we’ve been cutting our use of processed foods and relying less on some of the less expensive (or even zero) grains even when cutting processed foods.
  • Occasionally I’ve blamed the spending on carelessness and not being budget conscious or looking at prices on every item – but that’s much less the case as I’ve been paying a lot of attention lately as it gets harder and harder to meet our increased grocery budget.
  • And I have blamed part of it on buying a higher proportion of our household cleaning and personal care supplies at Publix (groceries) instead of Target (shopping) – which is true to some extent,

but that still doesn’t account for the number of times that I have groaned to myself (and even once to the Publix store manager!) for Publix replacing lower cost products with higher ones, raising prices throughout the store (especially in the produce department), and having sales that aren’t as deep as they used to be.  For example:

Publix used to have (for me) THE BEST value in natural peanut butter.  They sold a glass jar containing 16oz of just peanuts and salt ground to a gritty perfection for just $2.29, and occasionally on sale for $2.  The nearest competitor in value was Trader Joe’s 16oz plastic jar of (IMHO) too finely ground peanuts and salt for $2.49.  When I asked the store manager what happened to the Publix brand, he told me that the store can’t even order it anymore, and their suggested option is the Publix Greenwise (organic) peanut butter, which comes in a plastic jar for (get this!) $4.99 or the Smucker’s Natural that was $2.99 (and is now $3.19).

Prices have also been steadily climbing throughout the store, with most notable recent increases that stuck in my brain including a 3lb bag of baby carrots increasing from $3.99 to $4.19 and the already high price per pound of bell peppers making that same jump.

Sales also aren’t as deep as they used to be.  My “stock up” levels on a lot of items (prices where I start to consider “buy and freeze” or “buy as much as won’t go bad”) just haven’t been hit in the last year or so.  Blueberries never got below $2 this summer, where they had been 3 for $5 in many years past and got below the $2 mark in other stores.  Cheese products (including Publix brand) only seem to go on sale for a minimum of $6/lb, where Publix brand used to be pretty reliably $5/lb and sometimes brand names as well.

They’ve also been changing the way certain sales are run, like for instance this week where cantaloupe (either organic or conventional!) is on sale for $2.50.  Instead of conventional being $1.99 and organic $2.50 or more (like other years), they price both the same and shoppers who care about value go with the bigger melons (the conventional), but they’re selling them for more than they used to.

 

Our Publix (and I assume others in the chain) has been pushing toward the higher end shopper, and according to the Palm Beach Post, their profit margins have been hitting some crazy highs with the lack of realistic market competitors in the area.  We’re talking profit margins 6%+ in 2015 and 2016, while notoriously high margin Whole Foods has dropped from 3.9% in 2013 to just 2.44% in 2016.

Don’t get me wrong – I still stand by what I wrote about three years ago in our food spending rules of thumb.  I want to shop at stores where employees make a fair wage, and where customer service and quality products are a priority, not to mention that convenience plays a non-trivial role (and Publix is the most convenient store that meets those criteria – and most convenient overall, actually).

But from my pocketbook’s perspective, I’m eager to see the possibilities that lie behind Amazon shaking up our local grocery market a bit and giving Publix some additional pricing pressure.

Fingers crossed that materializes.  I’m counting on you, Mr Bezos.

 

What has your grocery spending been like over the past few years?  Have you noticed a similar increase in prices (at Publix or otherwise)?  What are some of your hopes and predictions of the Amazon/Whole Foods merger?  

 

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How Much Did I REALLY Save Building Our Cabinets? http://www.plantingourpennies.com/much-really-save-building-cabinets/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/much-really-save-building-cabinets/#comments Wed, 09 Aug 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7961 A kitchen-full of cabinets!

Regular readers here know that I spent the past two years building a kitchen-full of cabinets and basically just wrapped it up a couple of weeks ago. On that post, a reader recently asked a good question and I started to answer, but then realized my answer needed to be [...]]]> A kitchen-full of cabinets!

A kitchen-full of cabinets!

Regular readers here know that I spent the past two years building a kitchen-full of cabinets and basically just wrapped it up a couple of weeks ago.  On that post, a reader recently asked a good question and I started to answer, but then realized my answer needed to be a full post of its own. Here it is!

Here’s Cat’s question:

Can you comment on the cost of doing it yourself vs having someone else custom make the cabinets?

Apparently I’ll do more than comment, Cat – I’ll write a whole post. =)

The Short Answer…

It’s tough to say exactly how much we saved since there are so many different variants on cabinet features and finishes that play a role in the pricing of cabinets, but I do have a few data points that seem to indicate I saved us a boatload of money on the cabinetry AND got us cabinets that are custom-made for our space and of a much higher quality than we would have otherwise ended up with on this budget.

And now for the much longer answer…

Data Point #1 – Our Cabinets

  • Total Linear Feet – ~ 54
  • Total Cost – ~$6K
  • Cost Per Linear Foot Installed – $111

About the Cost – I haven’t been super meticulous about tracking the cost of the cabinetry once I had the bulk of the boxes constructed and put into place, but my best estimates put it at around $6K. However, this also includes approximately $1K in assorted woodworking tools that I directly purchased in order to build the cabinets. For the most part these are really nice tools (have I mentioned how much I love my table saw lately?) and we’re planning on keeping them.

About the Construction – The cabinets we ended up with are painted poplar faces and frames (a mid-tier finish, I think, pricewise), but the boxes are constructed with high-end 3/4″ formaldehyde-free birch plywood, which isn’t quite the highest end, but I couldn’t source baltic birch plywood, which is the highest of the high end for cabinet boxes. In non-woodworker terms, they’re made out of very good materials.

About the Features – I also have a lot of high end and custom features built into the cabinets that we wouldn’t have been able to get if we had tried to go “off-the-shelf” or even semi-custom. Things like the toe-kick drawers and the floating bench seat that opens two ways for ease of storage access or the six-foot wide by 7.5 foot tall pantry with two different depths, or the in-wall spice cabinet built between the studs… these would have all been either very expensive add-ons or high priced custom orders.

Data Point #2 – Mama and Papa PoP’s Recent Cabinet Quote

  • Total Linear Feet – ~44
  • Total Cost – ~$28K
  • Cost Per Linear Foot Installed – $636

The kitchen Mama and Papa PoP recently downsized from was absolutely huge, so Mama and Papa PoP are planning a remodel to expand their little 9.5×9(ish) kitchen into the little breakfast nook right next to it to make the kitchen feel bigger and more usable. When it’s done, it’s going to be a similar size to ours, I’m pretty sure theirs will be ~9.5×16(ish) where ours is 11×16.5 including our dining/pantry area.

The total linear feet of cabinets is not *quite* as large as ours, but close, and they’ll end up with a similar finish (painted wood) and 3/4″ plywood boxes, so very similar construction, but I don’t think the cabinet features will be quite as fancy as ours. I don’t think that includes things like toe-kick drawers, but it will include a number of pull-outs in the pantry and under the sink, and lazy susans in the corner, so definitely some very useful add-ons are included here!

Data Point #3 – A Quote for a Friend with a Larger Home

  • Total Linear Feet – ~80 (for the upper and lower wall cabinets)
  • Total Cost – ~$41K (for the wall cabinets, the island cabinets were another $6K)
  • Cost Per Linear Foot Installed – $513

The finish and features on these cabinets haven’t yet been decided, but the materials allowance allows for high-ish end materials, but doesn’t really talk about the cabinet features, which is usually a later stage in the quote and where it can climb some more. It’s also for a bigger kitchen, so there’s some efficiencies in terms of cost there. Both of those facts probably account for the majority of the reason the $/linear foot is lower than Mama and Papa PoP’s.

 

Data Point #4 – IKEA Kitchen Planner

  • Total Linear Feet – ~50
  • Total Cost – ~$7K ($6K + tax + delivery)
  • Cost Per Linear Foot In Flat Pack Boxes – $140

Just to be really complete, I also went to the IKEA website and used their online kitchen planner since it’s well known as having decent quality cabinets at good prices. With IKEA, it’s all very standardized sizes and they don’t offer all of the cabinet types that I wanted, so that means I would have had to make some pretty big compromises on features and lose some space due to filler units, etc. This estimate also doesn’t include items like crown molding or end panels or filler units, which would add cost.

The construction of the cabinets also wouldn’t have been quite as good. The IKEA cabinet boxes (even if you opt for wood doors – which are more expensive) are particle board covered with melamine. That’s fine, and it should last a while (our old cabinets were particle board covered with melamine and they were in there for about 30 years – but were molding and in pretty bad shape when we removed them.) Real wood and plywood cabinets should last much longer.

And there’s the features I wouldn’t have… I wouldn’t have had my beloved in-wall spice cabinet. Or my toe-kick drawers. Or my thin cabinet that I use to store my cookie sheets vertically. My pantry would have been three 24” units uniformly deep instead of two 36” units (which really does affect how much stuff you can store!) with two different depths for the top and bottom which I find much more visually interesting. We probably could have made the bench seat floating(ish) to accommodate the cool table we built, but it would have taken some modifications to get the cabinets it consisted of to be okay to sit on as a bench and have the tops open on hinges as well. None of these are necessarily deal breakers. But after using them, I can attest they are definitely NICE to have. =)

Extrapolating From These Points…

Looking at these four data points, I probably saved us in the neighborhood of $1K if we were okay with really basic cabinetry. If we were redoing a kitchen in a rental, we would go this way in a heartbeat! Sorry, renters. =(

But for custom-made cabinets made out of nice materials with some fancy features… I probably saved us at least $20K, likely even a bit more. It also took me 2 years from start to finish (though there were some seriously lazy lulls in there when I didn’t work on it for a while), so that’s ~$10K per year. I don’t even want to try and estimate the number of hours I put in on this labor of love to try and get to an hourly rate. The best I’ll give is that it’s somewhere between minimum wage and what I earn at my full-time job. =P

Luckily I really did enjoy *almost* every minute of working on this giant project, and only injured myself a few times, the worst of which resulted in getting a fresh tetanus booster! Not bad for a person as injury prone as I am. =)

And if we ever move (heaven forbid), I’d probably do it again. But I don’t think I’d do it for anyone else. The pressure that I’d put on myself requiring both perfection for others (I know too many spots on my cabinets that aren’t perfect!) and a significantly faster timeline (custom cabinet orders usually take ~6 weeks) wouldn’t be worth it. Not to mention I’d feel terrible if they didn’t LOVE them!

So, Cat – I’m sorry for giving you such a long answer. But as it turned out, you asked a really good question. =)

Any other cabinetry questions? Have I convinced anyone to build their own kitchen-full of custom cabinets?

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PoP Balance Sheet – July 2017 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-balance-sheet-july-2017/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-balance-sheet-july-2017/#comments Thu, 03 Aug 2017 09:51:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7957 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 [...]]]> Welcome to our July 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 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!

The stock market was up, and we put a normal-ish (for us) amount into savings and investments this month.  Not a whole lot to say beyond that for the balance sheet, though our ERLI index put us in a pretty fun location this month!

But on to the numbers for July:

  • Our total assets up $27.6K
  • Our total liabilities went down by $1.7K 
  • Net worth went up by $29.3K 
  • Total net worth as of the end of July is $1,455.1K, which represents a 2.05% increase for the month

For the details…

dyerware.com


Assets

Brokerage Accounts

  • 401K accounts: $413.8 
  • Roth IRA accounts: $221.4
  • HSA account: $21.9
  • Taxable Brokerage Accounts: $229.4
  • Total Brokerage Accounts: $886.4 

Real Estate (based on current market comparable sales)

  • Primary Residence: $269.0
  • Investment Duplex: $175.0
  • Investment Residential Land: $160.0
  • Total Real Estate: $604.0 

Cars (based on “fire sale” pricing per Mr PoP’s research)

Cash Holdings

  • Checking Accounts: $26.4 – need to move some to taxable…
  • Savings/Money Market Accounts: $7.0
  • Total Cash Holdings: $33.4

Total Assets: $1,553.7

Liabilities

Real Estate Loans

  • Primary Mortgage: $75.2
  • HELOC on Investment Duplex: $0.0 (re-advanceable)
  • Personal Loan – Used to Purchase $50K Duplex: $0.0
  • Total Real Estate Related Loans: $75.2

Car Loan

  • Loan on NSX: $22.8  – the interest rate is so low on this, almost all of the $727 payment went towards principal
  • Total Car Loans: $22.8

Revolving Credit

  • Credit Card Balance: $0.6
  • Total Revolving Credit: $0.6

Total Liabilities: $98.6 

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities

Net Worth = $1,455.1, up 2.05% from June

 

How Close Are We Getting to FIRE?

New this year is a graph that Mr PoP and I are still trying to figure out how useful it is to us.

In this one, we’re tracking month-by-month, two lines.  The blue one is an approximation of FIRE income – it is the sum of the last twelve months of net real estate income plus 4% of the most recent brokerage account balances.   The yellow one is an approximation of our FIRE spending, for which I’m using the last twelve months of what I’m thinking of as our “recurring spend”.  Bu that I mean our spending, net of all the crazy shenanigans we’ve been up to the last couple of years with remodeling and “fun car” spending.  The main reason we’re netting these out, is that we definitely won’t be pulling the plug with any big line items like this hanging over us.

Yellow line holding steady under the blue line for now… =)

dyerware.com


We’re still chewing on this visualization a little bit, because while it’s nice and succinct, it still omits some important information from our portfolio and spending patterns, specifically our empty lot (worth ~$160K) that instead of generating income is currently costing us ~$1,500/year, as well as the ever decreasing lifespan of our mortgage.  We also spend ~$9400/year on the principal and interest payment of our mortgage, so paying that off (and the value of the lot would pay it off and then some!) would decrease our outflow needs significantly, and even if we pay it off according to schedule it’ll be gone in 2026.

Do you take any future changes into account in your visualizations?

 

Tracking Investable Asset Growth

This first graph shows the growth of our investable assets (net of any liabilities against them), and shows the distribution of the various equity classes we hold. Pretty self explanatory.

dyerware.com


 

How Many Years Of Spending Do We Have Saved?

Here I’ve taken the total of our investable assets for each month and divided it by the expenses (excluding our investment property expenses) for that month. The idea being that this shows how many years we could live off of those assets at that rate and gives us a better idea of what lifestyle inflation (or intentional deflation) can do to the relative value of our savings.

dyerware.com


It fluctuates in a much bigger range, because in high spending months (like February 2013 when we spent almost $7K paying off our car completely and February 2015 when we spent a bunch installing solar panels), the denominator is so much bigger. Because of that, it’s the overall trend we’re looking for.

Early Retirement Locale Index

Mr PoP wanted one more way to understand more viscerally how much we have in “investable assets”, so we’ve come up with what we’re calling our Early Retirement Locale Index. The basic idea is that we know how many years of savings we have at our disposal if we were to continue living in south Florida. (That’s the chart above.) But using the “magical” 25 years of savings necessary for early retirement, where would we have to move so that our current investable assets would cover 25x our COL adjusted current spending? (Note, this is purely for fun, we’re not intending to move. Don’t worry Mama & Papa PoP!) If you want to follow along, we’re using this Cost of Living Index from Expatistan, and using the average of the two big cities in south Florida on the list (Miami and Tampa) as our current COL index, which gets us 159.0. Our city isn’t on their full list, hence the average – but maybe yours is. Then we’re solving this equation:

Current Years Saved/ 25 = COL Early Retirement Locale / COL S. FL

21.28/25 = COL Early Retirement Locale / 159.0

COL Early Retirement Locale = 135.36

… which gives us the city of Liverpool, UK!

Our other option was London, Ontario (Canada), but when one option is a city that managed to create 4 amazing mop-headed musicians… well, is there really another choice?  (Sorry London, Ontario!)
My favorite Beatles song is probably this one (though I love the version on the Let It Be Naked album – it’s much better!):

But then I also love this one, especially in German!  But sadly, it won’t let me embed it, so click through to listen to Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand (aka I Wanna Hold Your Hand).
ooof, or maybe there’s Hey Jude, which is one of the first songs I ever danced with a boy to…  Yay for Bar Mitzvahs!

 And here is someone who has ranked every Beatles song from worst to best
 What’s your favorite Beatles song?

Here’s our journey through the ERLI so far…

  • January 2014 – Delhi, India
  • February 2014 – Quito, Ecuador
  • March 2014 – Kiev, Ukraine
  • April 2014 – Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • May 2014 – Madras/Chennai, India
  • June 2014 – Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • July 2014 – Bangalore, India
  • August 2014 – Yerevan, Armenia
  • September 2014 – Skopje, Macedonia
  • October 2014 – Brasov, Romania
  • November 2014 – Prague, Czech Republic
  • December 2014 – Mexico City, Mexico
  • January 2015 – Zadar, Croatia
  • February 2015 – Kiev, Ukraine
  • March 2015 – Cairo, Egypt
  • April 2015 – Bangalore, India
  • May 2015 – Niteroi, Brazil
  • June 2015 – Nowhere!
  • July 2015 – Skopje, Macedonia
  • August 2015 – Recife, Brazil
  • September 2015 – Ankara, Turkey
  • October 2015 – Lisbon, Portugal / Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • November 2015 – Debrecen, Hungary
  • December 2015 – Tbilisi, Georgia
  • January 2016 – San Antonio, Texas or Louisville, KY – readers pick!
  • February 2016 – Lisbon, Portugal
  • March 2016 – Brno, Czech Republic
  • April 2016 – Vitoria, Brazil
  • May 2016 – Santiago, Chile
  • June 2016 – Johannesburg, South Africa
  • July 2016 – Thessaloniki, Greece
  • August 2016 – Gurgaon, India
  • September 2016 – Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  • October 2016 – Las Vegas, Nevada
  • November 2016 – Oakland, California
  • December 2016 – Hartford, Connecticut
  • January 2017 – Montevideo, Uruguay
  • February 2017 – Noweheresville – or maybe we can just live in the car?
  • March 2017 – Stuttgart, Germany
  • April 2017 – Bologna, Italy
  • May 2017 – Brasilia, Brazil
  • June 2017 – Nairobi, Kenya
  • July 2017 – Liverpool, United Kingdom

 

How was your balance sheet in July? Where would your savings land you today? 

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PoP Income Statement – July 2017 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-income-statement-july-2017/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-income-statement-july-2017/#comments Tue, 01 Aug 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7950 The picture of health is a very good nuzzler!

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!). [...]]]> The picture of health is a very good nuzzler!

The picture of health is a very good nuzzler!

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.

July was a pretty average month here in the PoP household. We had a couple of large-ish expenses, but we tend to have enough of those that it often seems it’s more a case of which lucky months don’t have any of those!

The first large-ish expense was paying for tickets to the Florida Camp Mustache which we’ll attend next January. If you’re going to be there, let us know – we’d love to say hello in person! =)

The second is our pool pump (the second month in a row the pool has been expensive!), whose motor died earlier this month. An attempted DIY repair ended up with a minor DIY fail (those happen!) and basically ate up all the savings from having a trusted pro replace the motor. So… the $350 pro job ended up costing $348 in supplies and 4 hours of Mr PoP’s effort. That division is not hard, but I will refrain from commenting on Mr PoP’s effective hourly rate of pay.

The last big category this month is for our duplex, whose flood insurance renewal premium was paid this month. We also had a long term tenant move out and the other tenant living in there had a partner move in. With that changeover, Mr PoP did some minor maintenance to the unit to freshen it up (<$175 in expenses), which is well worth it since the tenants in that unit have been amazing and have been there for 5 years requiring minimal maintenance for that whole time period. This is a huge DIY success, so on the whole, we at least balanced out, if not came out ahead on the DIY front this month. =)

Here’s all the rest of the numbers…

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $3,609.  

And the details…

Income

  • Wages and Salaries (after taxes, 401K deposits, HSA allocations, etc.): $7,871 – we should finish maxing out 401K deposits next month and see more income flowing through here…
  • Rental Income: $1,600
  • Miscellaneous Income (rebates, reimbursements, etc.): $0
  • Total Income: $9,471

Expenditures

  • Groceries: $486 – oof, that’s a bit higher than we like, but it was 5 weekends (when we do most of the shopping… and our fridge is really and truly full right now!)
  • Eating Out: $105 – luckily lower spending eating out helped counteract it!
  • Total Food: $591
  • Mortgage: $1,123
  • Home Maintenance and Repairs: $418 – See above, re the pool.  =P
  • Renovations: $311 – had to replace a couple of tile laying tools that broke, as well as some other odds and ends
  • Bills/Utilities for Primary Residence: $166
  • Total Home: $2,018
  • Gas: $198
  • Repairs & Maintenance: $188 – the remaining AC related items, but it looks like the AC repair/rebuild was successful!  Yay Mr PoP!  (Another DIY win!)
  • NSX Payment: $727 – while we paid cash for the car, we opted shortly thereafter to take advantage of the stupid low rate our credit union was offering on car loans to take a loan on the car and have more money liquid in the market.  
  • Total Transportation: $1,113
  • General Shopping: $363
  • Pet Supplies / Care: $98 – Kitty PoP’s annual check-up.  This year he had 1 vaccine and is the picture of Kitty-health!
  • Total Shopping: $461
  • Gym / Fitness: $37
  • Medical Treatment/Visit: $50 – 2 copays
  • Media Subscriptions: $9!
  • Media Non-Subscription: $22 – Mr PoP went to see Dunkirk in the theater and the beer cost more than the movie!  
  • Total Health/Fitness/Entertainment: $68
  • Travel: $600 – Camp Mustache Florida 2018!  =)
  • Total Miscellaneous: $600
  • Total “Personal Expenditures”: $4,911  ($3,873 net Reno and NSX payment)
  • Investment Properties: $951 – again, the bulk of this is the flood insurance renewal. 
  • Total Investment Expenses: $951
Earnings Before Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations (EBPPS)
  • EBPPS = $9,471 – $4,911 – $951 = $3,609

Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations

  • Transfer to Holding Acct for 2017 Roth IRAs: $1,000
  • Transfer to Taxable Investment Account: $2,000
  • Total Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations: $3,000
Net Income = EBPPS – (Principal Paydowns + Savings Allocations)
  • $3,609 – $3,000 = $609 = Net Income

How was your income and spending this month?

 

 

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Happy Friday – Happy Cabinetry! http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-happy-cabinetry/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-happy-cabinetry/#comments Fri, 28 Jul 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7942 Last weekend I finally put the last of the drawer faces on the remaining blank spots in our kitchen. And boy oh boy does it feel good to be done*!

*Technically I still need to put the baseboard and baseboard faces on the toe kick drawers, but I kindof need this victory right now, so [...]]]> Last weekend I finally put the last of the drawer faces on the remaining blank spots in our kitchen.  And boy oh boy does it feel good to be done*!

*Technically I still need to put the baseboard and baseboard faces on the toe kick drawers, but I kindof need this victory right now, so please don’t begrudge me on it.  =)

Why do I need the victory?  Because it has been just a hair over 2 YEARS since I started building these darned things!  Am I mildly crazy?  Yes.  Would I do it again?  Probably yes, because it is sooooo nice having the exact cabinetry I wanted.  For the most part, I have space to store what I want (so many fun kitchen stuffs!) where I want it (not on the counter unless it’s a knife block) and it’s all there at the ready.  Best yet, now that everything has doors I don’t have to stare at our food and dishes anymore.  =)

So, for the sake of the somewhat official record keeping here – these are the last of the cabinet faces that I finished up over the past couple months.

First: The uppers on the pantry… the tops will have glass in them and the lights inside the cabinets will shine through the glass when they are on.  We just need to get it worked out what we want the glass to be like and then probably work with our friend who is a glass artist.

FullSizeRender 7

Then I saved the hardest ones for last… the corner drawers and double door for the lazy susan on the bottom in the corner here.

FullSizeRender 6

The lazy susan door opens up like this:

FullSizeRender 5

and then the corner drawers (they are very deep!) pull out at a 45-degree angle like this:

IMG_7698

They are cool, but they were a HUGE pain in the butt to get adjusted properly.

And the panorama view…. Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to get a panorama that also included the pantry because I was basically standing right next to it to take this one.

FullSizeRender 3

The kitchen’s still not quite done (basically baseboards, backsplash, and a cover for the duct work is all that’s still needed), but with the cabinet doors and drawer faces finally out of the way, it sure feels like we’ve come a long way.

In fact, sometimes it’s nice to remind ourselves that the view from our bedroom used to be this (ignore the blue line that showed the idea to modify the ceiling and move the wall, which we ended up doing):

IMG_0096

And now it looks like this:

FullSizeRender 2

Feel free to flip back and forth between those two pictures a couple of times, I always find myself doing that because in many ways it doesn’t even feel like the same kitchen even though the major parts (sink, oven, dishwasher, and fridge) are all basically in the same spot.

It’s just so much lighter and brighter and spacious enough to host people – which we have been doing with much more regularity than we did with our old kitchen/dining area.

 

But after all this hard work, I’m actually more likely to follow Kitty PoP’s lead and take a nap.

FullSizeRender

 

This is what I’m happy about this Friday.  What are you happy about today?

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Happy Friday – 401K in our 401K! http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-401k-401k/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-401k-401k/#comments Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7928 I’m not usually one to celebrate arbitrary milestones, but for whatever reason this one has captured my sense of numerical whimsy* and for the last 6 months Mr PoP has had to listen to me providing updates on how close we were and pondering whether or not we would reach it in 2017.

I don’t [...]]]> I’m not usually one to celebrate arbitrary milestones, but for whatever reason this one has captured my sense of numerical whimsy* and for the last 6 months Mr PoP has had to listen to me providing updates on how close we were and pondering whether or not we would reach it in 2017.

I don’t typically check our balances mid-month, but when we were only a couple of thousand dollars away at our last monthly balance sheet update, I knew I would want to check after the 401K deposits from our first bi-monthly paychecks cleared (since those alone, with flat market movement would have put them over the top!).

You can only imagine my joy when I added up our 401K balances in Mint and saw that we were at $408K!
401K 20170718It really isn’t about the balance hitting a new high (though obviously that’s nice too, of course) – in fact, I truly believe it would have made me happier if there had been a little dip in the market and if we had hit $401K spot on! How fun would that have been! Not only would we have gotten better prices on the shares purchased with our deposit, but to hit the digits exactly would have just made my day. I probably would have walked around with a huge smile on my face all day and texted Mr PoP with my joy. Instead, the smile is a little more muted and I’ll just be sure to tell Mr PoP when I see him after work – no need for an instant update. =)

* In case you’re in doubt, numerical whimsy is totally a thing, and I have definitely been blessed with it in spades. For example, I was thrilled earlier this week when the date read 7/17/17!!!! Did I mention 17 is my favorite number? This year is like a gift that keeps giving.

What are you happy about this Friday? Do you have a strong sense of numerical whimsy?

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