Planting Our Pennies http://www.plantingourpennies.com Money, Happiness, Kittens Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:55:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 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?

]]> http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-401k-401k/feed/ 13
Happy Friday – Bunny Not Mouse http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-bunny-not-mouse/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-bunny-not-mouse/#comments Fri, 14 Jul 2017 10:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7917 Today is a happy Friday. Yesterday was a fretful Thursday, in which I spent most of the day worried that we might have a mouse in the house after seeing some tiny droppings in the corner while emptying Kitty PoP’s litter box that morning. But at 4:45 this morning, when Kitty PoP and I got [...]]]> Today is a happy Friday.  Yesterday was a fretful Thursday, in which I spent most of the day worried that we might have a mouse in the house after seeing some tiny droppings in the corner while emptying Kitty PoP’s litter box that morning.   But at 4:45 this morning, when Kitty PoP and I got up and walked out to the living room and I turned the light on, we both saw the furry culprit at the same time, fleeing as fast as it could across the living room floor.

Bunny, not mouse!

Quick!  Pick up the cat that is now starting to sprint across the room!  Lock him in another bedroom!  Follow the baby bunny and find him underneath one of the big pieces of furniture in the construction zone that is currently in our bedroom.  *Sigh*

Baby bunny!  Everybody saw awwwwww!  (Okay, so the internet says technically it’s an adolescent cottontail, probably about a month old.)

See fluff and whiskers on the left side - that's a baby bunny...

See fluff and whiskers on the left side – that’s a baby bunny…

I tried to move the big piece of furniture it was under and succeeded moving it and inch or two, but then the bunny fled and I didn’t see where he went.  So now there’s a bunny in an unknown location (my guess is still the bedroom since there are a good number of places to hide there at the moment) in the house.

In hindsight, it probably came in the house via the door between the kitchen and the garage, which I realized I left open for a few hours Tuesday or Wednesday night.

We had a similarly aged bunny in the front yard, cowering next to The Tree last weekend.  (We must have a burrow nearby.)  At the time, I joked with Mr PoP that I wanted to save it and keep it (which the internet again says is a very bad idea).  But now that bunny (or likely one of its siblings) is in our house.

While I would love to take this as a sign that the bunny has chosen us as its new bunny parents, I don’t want to wake up one morning to find that Kitty PoP’s killer instincts (and boy does he have them) have finally been able to be used on something bigger than a lizard.

So, please – help me out.  What do I do here?  I want the bunny out of the house, but I want the bunny unharmed.  And I have to leave for work soon.

I’ll be locking Kitty PoP in one of the bathrooms for the day (sorry buddy…), and leaving out a plate with some water and a little pile of grass since the little guy has to be getting hungry and dehydrated by now having been in here since at least Wednesday evening (maybe even Tuesday, I can’t remember which night I left the door open).

Do I try and track down humane traps?  Will they work on a bunny this small?  He’s not much bigger than my fist (and I have pretty small hands), and I’m betting most of that is fur.

So while I’m definitely having a Happy Friday since a baby bunny is 1,000x more preferable to a mouse in the house… the situation isn’t one for the long term either.

 

Seriously, what do I do!?!  How do I help the bunny get back to his burrow unharmed?  

 

Friday Night Update!!!

So when I left in the morning, the box with grass I set out was like this:

image1 (5)

Then when I got home, it looked like this:

image2 (2)

 

The little guy was clearly hungry after not eating anything for at least a day and a half – but he was still cowering under a big dresser in our bedroom.  Luckily Mama PoP came over and brought a couple of nets with her.  Between the two of us, we got the little guy into a net….

image3 (2)

 

and then released him outside.

image4 (1)

 

So all is well again in the the world of PoP.

 

Thanks for all the advice, everyone!

]]>
http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-bunny-not-mouse/feed/ 13
PoP Balance Sheet – June 2017 – Happy Anniversary! http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-balance-sheet-june-2017/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-balance-sheet-june-2017/#comments Thu, 06 Jul 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7913 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 June 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 balance sheet didn’t see a crazy amount of action this month.  The stock market was up just slightly, we put a little bit more money into our various savings/investing outlets, and paid down a little more debt.  Slow and steady.

Perhaps because it was so boring, I figure I’d mention that today is our 8th wedding anniversary.  (See Mr PoP – I didn’t forget!)  It’s been eight years since that fateful 7-6-09 when we took a lovely boat ride and eloped.  And it’s been quite a ride ever since – but luckily one with no regrets.  Scratch that, I have one regret – that we didn’t postpone getting married for 2 days s we could end up with a wedding date that is a punchline to a joke I have loved for way too long.

“Why was six afraid of seven?”  “Because seven-eight-nine!”  =)

With eight years under our belt, baby – here’s to eighty more!  And hoping that I still love that joke (and you love my weirdness for loving it) when we’re 114-years-old.

But on to the numbers for June:

  • Our total assets up $15.3K
  • Our total liabilities went down by $1.4K 
  • Net worth went up by $16.7K 
  • Total net worth as of the end of June is $1,425.8K, which represents a 1.19% increase for the month

For the details…

dyerware.com


Assets

Brokerage Accounts

  • 401K accounts: $399.6 – soooo close to having 401K in our 401Ks!  
  • Roth IRA accounts: $215.8
  • HSA account: $21.2
  • Taxable Brokerage Accounts: $220.9
  • Total Brokerage Accounts: $857.5 

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: $28.6 – in the midst of moving $ into our taxable account to get this lower
  • Savings/Money Market Accounts: $6.0
  • Total Cash Holdings: $34.6

Total Assets: $1,526.1

Liabilities

Real Estate Loans

  • Primary Mortgage: $75.8
  • HELOC on Investment Duplex: $0.0 (re-advanceable)
  • Personal Loan – Used to Purchase $50K Duplex: $0.0
  • Total Real Estate Related Loans: $75.8

Car Loan

  • Loan on NSX: $23.5  – the interest rate is so low on this, almost all of the $727 payment went towards principal
  • Total Car Loans: $23.5

Revolving Credit

  • Credit Card Balance: $1.0
  • Total Revolving Credit: $1.0

Total Liabilities: $100.3 

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities

Net Worth = $1,425.8, up 1.19% from May

 

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 168.0. 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

16.59/25 = COL Early Retirement Locale / 168.0

COL Early Retirement Locale = 111.47

… which gives us the city of Nairobi, Kenya!

I really would love to visit Africa someday, and Nairobi with its temperate weather seems like a pretty decent place to start.  But Mr PoP should be aware that if we take a day or two to stay at Giraffe Manor, he may have a hard time getting me to leave.

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

 

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

]]>
http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-balance-sheet-june-2017/feed/ 14
PoP Income Statement – June 2017 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-income-statement-june-2017/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-income-statement-june-2017/#comments Mon, 03 Jul 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7898 Piano!

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 [...]]]> Piano! If you look closely, you can see where it sat in the corner of Mama and Papa PoP's living room at their old house in this picture...

Piano!

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.

It’s like Christmas in July right now in the PoP household, in more ways than one. First, our spending was definitely high this month – a problem most people have right around Christmas. But secondly, and more importantly, it sounding a lot like Christmas because I have gotten as far as Jingle Bells in the Alfred’s Self Teaching Adult Piano Course book I took out from the library after the piano that we inherited as part of Mama and Papa PoP’s downsizing arrived at our house a couple of weeks ago!  Have a listen for yourself… or don’t and save your ears.  =)

Please don’t mock my beginner piano skills too badly. I’ve had nowhere near 10,000 hours with this thing yet!   =P

The piano was actually our biggest expense, too (well, second to the mortgage). It hadn’t been played in quite some time, so we paid for an overhaul to be done on it and that cost came in to the tune (haha, get it?) of ~$960. But now we have a lovely piano that’s a century+ old for me to learn on. (No pressure, right?) That cost, plus a wedding gift for a family member (another $200) had the shopping budget significantly higher than we typically like to see, but these kinds of things are the reason we try and be frugal – so we can do stuff like this when we want to.

Another sizable expense this month was prepaying for a year of car insurance, to which we also added umbrella coverage for the first time. This was another ~$870 for the two of them together.

The pool also cost us a little over $300 this month as we had a leak specialist out to check and see if our little repairs had caught what we thought was a big leak. As it turned out, the leak was small and our repairs did catch it, but we had so little rain this winter (less than half the usual winter rainfall) that we thought the problem was worse than it was. Between the fix and the serious rains since then, the pool’s water level is high and holding.

We also had some non-trivial NSX expenses as Mr PoP continues to make sure the NSX is a solid, dependable, supercar for our 1-car family. This month, it was mostly in A/C parts. The A/C in the car works, but hasn’t been the strongest, so Mr PoP is planning on some preventative repairs to the system before it has any sort of catastrophic failure. He’ll be fiddling with that over some time off in the next couple of weeks – wish him luck!

Putting it all together, it was definitely not a cheap month, but hopefully we’re spending in ways that will continue to improve our lives for years to come.

Here’s all the rest of the numbers…

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $3,902.  

And the details…

Income

  • Wages and Salaries (after taxes, 401K deposits, HSA allocations, etc.): $7,138
  • Rental Income: $1,600
  • Miscellaneous Income (rebates, reimbursements, etc.): $1,584 – we sold the Benz!
  • Total Income: $10,322

Expenditures

  • Groceries: $410
  • Eating Out: $226 – approximately half of this was an excellent restaurant we eat at once per year.  Definitely a treat and we savor every bite!
  • Total Food: $636
  • Mortgage: $1,123
  • Home Maintenance and Repairs: $318 – most of this was on the pool, actually.  We thought we might have a leak, and weren’t sure if our attempts to fix it had gotten the whole thing.
  • Renovations: $156 – about half of this was hinges!  Some of the specialty ones are pricey.  
  • Bills/Utilities for Primary Residence: $168 – hopefully this will drop next month as we aren’t filling the pool anymore (leak fixed!)
  • Total Home: $1,765
  • Gas: $221
  • Repairs & Maintenance: $734 –still working on getting the NSX to “daily driver” status here, which it pretty much needs to be now that the Miata is sold!  This month the items mostly relate to the A/C system, which Mr PoP wants in tip/top shape for our Florida summers.
  • 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
  • Car Insurance: $734 – a year of car insurance
  • Total Transportation: $2,435
  • General Shopping: $1,278 – The piano and a wedding gift were most of this…
  • Pet Supplies / Care: $0
  • Total Shopping: $1,278
  • Gym / Fitness: $37
  • Medical Treatment/Visit: $0
  • Media Subscriptions: $9!
  • Total Health/Fitness/Entertainment: $46
  • Travel: $0 – Mr PoP’s parents reimbursed us for all of his travel expenses incurred driving their truck to Florida from up north as part of their downsizing adventure
  • Total Miscellaneous: $0
  • Total “Personal Expenditures”: $6,160  ($4,543 net Reno and NSX)
  • Investment Properties: $260
  • Total Investment Expenses: $260
Earnings Before Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations (EBPPS)
  • EBPPS = $10,322 – $6,160 – $260 = $3,902

Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations

  • Transfer to Holding Acct for 2017 Roth IRAs: $1,000
  • Transfer to Taxable Investment Account: $3,000
  • Total Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations: $4,000
Net Income = EBPPS – (Principal Paydowns + Savings Allocations)
  • $3,902 – $4,000 = –$98 = Net Income

How was your income and spending this month?

 

 

]]> http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-income-statement-june-2017/feed/ 6
Adventures in Downsizing http://www.plantingourpennies.com/adventures-in-downsizing/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/adventures-in-downsizing/#comments Wed, 21 Jun 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7881 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 [...]]]> 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.

Mrs:  Got that everybody?  5,500 sqft + barn + playhouse + huge garages/workrooms + acreage…  which brings up the next question.  How many hours/month would you say Papa PoP and the brothers spent on “maintenance” on the property up north on average?  How does that compare to the “maintenance” required for your property down here?  

Mama: It’s important to note here that Papa PoP is a completely DIY guy. He built the house up north and developed the property and he and the boys did everything themselves. (Mrs PoP note – now you guys know where Mr PoP got it!)  Now that he is 79 years old, it’s much harder to accomplish repair projects, the boys have grown up and moved away, and we have had to learn how to hire people to do many things that he would have done himself in the past. Although the house we built is over 30 years old it has not been updated except for carpeting.

Up north, Papa PoP mowed 5 of the 10 acres, which takes a lot of time when the grass grows! He also planted a large garden and plowed the 100-yard steep driveway every time it snowed.  When we are not there, we have to hire someone to mow and plow. In the last few years, we struggled with changing light bulbs (they are always too high), and only got “maintenance” kinds of things done when one of the boys visited.

In FL, all yard work is done by the HOA unless Papa PoP just wants to do something special. We hire someone to clean each house but in FL the house cleaner is also a super handyman who paints, clears leaves from the gutters, changes light bulbs, rewires lighting, installs light fixtures, regrouts bathrooms, moves furniture, and generally does all of the everyday kinds of maintenance that needs to happen around a house.

 

Mrs:  One year ago (almost exactly since it was Father’s Day weekend!) you asked all the brothers come to your house up north so you all could start to divvy up different items from around the family house to everyone fairly.  Can you describe the process you used to do that?  Were there any surprises that came out of that?  

Mama PoP: Our downsizing was complicated by the fact that the FL house was already as full as I wanted it to be, leaving virtually no room for more unless I ditched what was there. I find that I LOVE to see empty closet shelves! The PA property was very full. There were so many family “heirlooms” from several generations on each side, and we simply didn’t know what the boys would want – if anything. We have always loved antiques, especially our family pieces from the 1800s, but most of the boys are well established with homes of their own that are fully furnished.

We invited all of the boys to come to the house on Father’s Day 2016 so we could celebrate together at the house one last time as well as divide up the things that they wanted to take for themselves. To start off the big day, we gave each boy a colored marble to use for the big items. Anyone who wanted a particular item put his marble in a cup held by Papa PoP and I drew the winning marble, so it was a random selection. It soon became clear that the boys were really being thoughtful of each other and watching to see who “really” wanted something. Sometimes there was only one marble in the cup and sometimes there were four!

Papa PoP had a collection of firearms that called for a different strategy. He wanted to make sure that each boy had an equal chance to select his favorite guns. We used the marbles to create a selection order (rather than using birth order) and used that order to go round robin until everything had been selected.

It was impossible to go through all of the items in the house and barn and playhouse, so we concentrated only on the things that mattered to us the most. “Marble” became a verb as in “Do you want to marble for that?” “Marbling” became a bit of a game and I felt good about the fun we had. It was very important to me to see that the boys knew that no physical object was worth getting upset over if someone else got it. There was even some trading that went on afterward!

A big surprise came when the boys all wanted all of the family pictures. I had somehow thought that we would drag out the 25 large albums and uncounted assorted boxes and they would divide them up on the spot just as my sister and I did when my parents died. Nope, not going to work.

 

Mrs: Yes, the pictures!  That was a huge undertaking you took on this year – digitizing decades of family photos and loading them onto a cloud server so all the various branches of the family could access them.  How many pictures did you end up converting?  What did you end up doing to make the process smoother and to help share them with everyone?  Did you have any favorite pictures that you came across during this process?

Mama PoP: So far, there are more than 10,000 scanned photos. More unscanned pics keep surfacing, so it is a work in progress. I have another 18,549 digital pictures already in my computer that need to be uploaded. Any way you look at it, there are a lot of pictures!

We gave each boy a PixStar Photo Frame last year for Christmas, and used a family OneDrive account to store the files. Technology came to the rescue with a new Epson FastFoto 640 Scanner that can scan 30 pics at once up to an 8 x 10 size. Mr. Pop’s younger brother helped tremendously by working with me when he could – I pulled pictures and got them ready and he kept feeding the machine. I organized the pictures by year when possible. Now any one in the family can access the photos online and download them into a device of their choosing. The PixStar frames can wirelessly access the pictures or download them into memory. Someone can have all of the pictures or only the ones he wants. Additionally, people can email pictures to the photo frames or add pictures to the OneDrive.

I have been enjoying the pictures of building the house and of course the family pictures that I haven’t seen for many years. When the photos were in albums they never made it off the shelves, but I’ve set the photo frame on my desk to cycle through the pictures randomly.

 

Mrs:  Once the brothers had staked their claims marbled for some of the items, your next step was deciding what to keep and then selling the rest.  You had your first big estate sale last fall, and then a second one just last month.  What kind of items were you selling at each of them?  What was the hardest item for you to part with at the time?  

The living room, set up for the 2nd estate sale.

The living room, set up for the 2nd estate sale.

Mama PoP: I’m a bit too Scotch to simply donate everything that the boys didn’t want/need, and I was determined not to haul a lot of stuff to Florida that we didn’t have a specific place for in advance and would simply have to get rid of there. We had furnished the Florida house primarily from the outstanding local thrift stores, so we aren’t attached to much of anything that is there. Thus, the selection process of what to move and what to sell/donate became a careful negotiation of “If we take this item, what are we getting rid of so it has a spot?” For example, we wanted to keep the carved walnut bedroom furniture that was a wedding present to Papa PoP’s grandma in the 1880s. That was fairly easy since the Florida furniture in the master bedroom came with the house. Large pictures presented a bigger problem since we have lots more wall space up north and we have furnished the FL house with art we really like.

The estate sale in September 2016 was really easy for me because it was all of the garage items, tools, and everything in the barn and playhouse. Essentially, it was all of Papa PoP’s things but not mine. We hired a company to do the sale and their commission was 30%. That really sounds like a lot, but they earned every bit of it. They set up the sale, advertised it, and priced everything. Because they have a large following, we had hundreds of people there each day.

The living room after the second estate sale (and the last of the packing by Mama and Papa PoP!)

The living room after the second estate sale (and the last of the packing by Mama and Papa PoP!)

The sale in May 2017 was much harder for me since it involved all of the inside items and everything from the attics (read family stuff we saved for many years). Our youngest son had spent countless hours and days over the summer of 2016 dragging everything out of the attics and helping me sort and pack things for the sale and pack things to take to FL. Getting ready for this sale was emotionally difficult because so many things had family history. Also, I could have kept anything I wanted and postponed the decision-making until it arrived in FL. We were living in the house and the sale created absolute chaos since most of the house was open to the public and we had to move whatever we wanted to keep into just a couple of bedrooms. We were active during both sales, helping to identify, organize, and sell things.

Z attempting to help pack as well.

Z attempting to help pack as well.

As you might imagine, some “treasures” (both emotional and financial) emerged from the attics, barn, and misc. boxes. But, that’s another whole story.

After the second sale, we called a charity and they took two big truck/trailer loads of household items. I got everything into a big room and walked away and didn’t look. Then we called a friend who scraps things and he cleaned out the workroom, garage, and barn, taking everything he could sell for scrap or thought he could give away.

The best surprise happened after the sale when we were trying to figure out what to do with my upright piano. The piano was made in 1904 and given to Mr. Pop’s great-grandmother who was six years old at the time, so it has been a part of the family for a long time and has a lot of sentimental attachment for us. It’s been played by each generation and we were thrilled when Mrs. PoP said that she would like to have it!

 

Mrs: Yes, I’m glad the piano ended up working out coming down here – I just need to learn how to play it!  Do you find that you’ve missed any of the items you’ve sold or given away?  What about that item that was hardest for you to part with at the time of the sale?  

Mama PoP:  As I write this, Mr. PoP and one of his brothers are driving a 20-foot U-Haul truck some 1,000+ miles to FL. So, all of our “stuff” will arrive on Father’s Day (Mrs PoP – It did arrive on Sunday!), one year from when all this began. I haven’t really missed any of the items that were sold or given away, but maybe it’s a bit soon. We have so much stuff that we love and I love loving less stuff and more people.

 

Mrs: Considering this has been more than a year in the making, do you have any advice for anyone looking to downsize? 

Mama:

  • Downsize when you are sure you are physically and emotionally able or just walk away from the mess and hire someone.
  • Possessions tend to fill available space. We had a lot of space and it was filled! Guard against the inertia that sets in when you can simply stuff the stuff in another attic or the barn.
  • Hire a good company to help with an estate sale if you have a lot to sell. We made many thousands on the sales and would never have had big crowds if we had done it alone. Not to mention the big prices we got for some items that were identified by the sale guys as valuable – they were junk to us.
  • If possible, pack what you want to keep and get it off site before the estate sale begins. Don’t live there while it’s happening!
  • Ask your family for help and be specific about what you need. Some of the boys have absolutely no idea how hard this was on us and would surely have helped if we had asked. We were very lucky to have Mr. Pop’s younger brother helping us through most of the process, but we still hired extra people besides the estate sale company.
  • Go through paper records well in advance because they need to be downsized, too. When I retired, I gave all of my professional materials away (four big filing cabinets full and huge book cases full of textbooks and dissertations) and brought home only the personal pictures from the wall. We also went from two home offices with 10 full file drawers to two small desks and two small file drawers.
  • Don’t even think about scanning a lot of pictures on a flat bed scanner.

 

 

We are so impressed with all the work that Mama and Papa PoP have accomplished this year in downsizing and we wish them all the happiness in the world as full-time Floridians. 

 

Have you ever had to downsize or help a relative do so when they were retiring?

 

 

]]>
http://www.plantingourpennies.com/adventures-in-downsizing/feed/ 10
Happy Friday – Finally a 1 Car Family! http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-finally-1-car-family/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-finally-1-car-family/#comments Fri, 16 Jun 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7882 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 [...]]]> 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.

  • In May 2014 – we sold Mr PoP’s Jeep, which left *just* my Miata which we were sharing after I switched to using a bike as my primary mode of transportation. But then…
  • In July 2014 – we ended up impulse buying Sunny off ebay – a car that had been in and out of the family for decades, but was in need of some serious work the shippers dropped her off on our doorstep. Sunny sat “in storage” (by that I mean on our back patio*) for 2.5 years before we ended up conceding defeat before even starting “the battle of the rust”. At this point, I considered us functionally 1 car, but there were technically 2 cars on our property. I’ll compromise that we were at 1.5 cars here since Sunny didn’t run. So…
  • In January 2017 – we sold Sunny, and were finally back down to sharing the Miata, before…
  • In February 2017 – Mr PoP bought his NSX! We were 2 cars at that point, the Miata and the NSX until …
  • In May 2017 – we sold the Miata and that left us with just the NSX…

But all this time, in the background (well ~1,200 miles away) there was a phantom car. It was Mr PoP’s beloved car from college – a mid 1980’s Mercedes Benz.

Mr PoP loved that car. He named her Victoria – Vicky for short. I even remember when he came back to the dorm the weekend after he bought Vicky and he was so proud he dragged me out to the parking lot in the dark and the cold on a Sunday night to admire it. This might have been less weird if we had been dating at the time, but that didn’t start until a couple years later. =)

It was the car that took Mr PoP south to Florida and out west, and back and forth again to Florida a few times. When Mr PoP moved to Florida in 2006, he initially brought Vicky with him, but quickly realized that without access to his parents’ garage and his father’s huge supply of tools, he couldn’t keep up with the maintenance and repairs.  He could see that it was starting to be an albatross around his neck. By my nearest estimation, I believe the moment he realized that car was not sustainable was while he was biking across a large bridge in the dark during a record cold snap in Florida because the exhaust had fallen off the car *AGAIN*.  That finally made the decision clear – he needed to put the car out to pasture.

So he did. Literally, I mean.

For the last decade, that car has been in the pasture beside the barn at his parents’ property up north.

We moved on with life and pretty much forgot about it. For YEARS.

Vicky (the phantom car) came back on the radar over the past year as Mama and Papa PoP prepared to sell their property up north and become official full-time Floridians. We knew we didn’t want to pay to store the darned thing (like Sunny it wasn’t worth the storage fees and there was no way I was agreeing to having a SECOND car on our patio!). Mr PoP did, however, briefly consider restoring it instead of Sunny or an NSX, but the issues there were more than he wanted to take on.

So instead he sold it. And it’s officially headed off down the road, most likely to be used for parts for a Mercedes Benz enthusiast.

So long, Vicky!

And we are now (finally! 3 years later!) officially a one-car family. And that one car just so happens to be a 25-year-old supercar that Mr PoP absolutely adores.

The NSX lives in the garage, and our lives feel significantly simpler without having a couple of thousand pounds of excess metal attached to them that we need to worry about.

So happy Friday!

 

What are you happy about this Friday?

 

* There’s a loophole** in our town laws that says all cars need to be on pavement. The back patio is pavement… it’s just not the driveway. =D

** At the time I was glad this loophole existed so we avoided paying storage fees for a couple of years while taking our time to decide what to do with Sunny. But as it turns out, I am even more glad that Sunny is no longer on our back patio. =D =D =D

 

]]> http://www.plantingourpennies.com/happy-friday-finally-1-car-family/feed/ 8
PoP Balance Sheet – May 2017 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-balance-sheet-may-2017/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-balance-sheet-may-2017/#comments Wed, 07 Jun 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7869 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 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 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!

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…

dyerware.com


Assets

Brokerage Accounts

  • 401K accounts: $392.0
  • Roth IRA accounts: $214.4
  • HSA account: $20.9
  • Taxable Brokerage Accounts: $212.9
  • Total Brokerage Accounts: $840.2 

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: $31.6 – in the midst of moving $ into our taxable account to get this lower
  • Savings/Money Market Accounts: $5.0
  • Total Cash Holdings: $36.6

Total Assets: $1,510.8

Liabilities

Real Estate Loans

  • Primary Mortgage: $76.4
  • HELOC on Investment Duplex: $0.0 (re-advanceable)
  • Personal Loan – Used to Purchase $50K Duplex: $0.0
  • Total Real Estate Related Loans: $76.4

Car Loan

  • Loan on NSX: $24.2  – the interest rate is so low on this, almost all of the $727 payment went towards principal
  • Total Car Loans: $24.2

Revolving Credit

  • Credit Card Balance: $1.1
  • Total Revolving Credit: $1.1

Total Liabilities: $101.7 

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities

Net Worth = $1,409.1, up 1.90% from April

 

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 at least one 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 175.0. 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

18.45/25 = COL Early Retirement Locale / 175.0

COL Early Retirement Locale = 129.16

… which gives us the city of Brasilia, Brazil!

Given how hot it’s been here the last week, I’m pretty on board with a trip the southern hemisphere where it is currently winter.  =)  Add in a city full of neat architecture built largely in the mid-twentieth century, and I’m sure Mr PoP and I could find a way to enjoy ourselves.

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

 

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

]]>
http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-balance-sheet-may-2017/feed/ 4
PoP Income Statement – May 2017 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-income-statement-may-2017/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-income-statement-may-2017/#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7862 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 [...]]]> 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…

Income

  • Wages and Salaries (after taxes, 401K deposits, HSA allocations, etc.): $7,138
  • Rental Income: $1,600
  • Miscellaneous Income (rebates, reimbursements, etc.): $4,079 – we sold the Miata!
  • Total Income: $12,817

Expenditures

  • Groceries: $422
  • Eating Out: $233
  • Total Food: $655
  • Mortgage: $1,123
  • Home Maintenance and Repairs: $77
  • Renovations: $179 – mostly the cushions, but also some wood to make the remaining cabinet doors.
  • Bills/Utilities for Primary Residence: $162
  • Total Home: $1,541
  • Gas: $168
  • Repairs & Maintenance: $677 – most of this was on tools and supplies to get the Miata in the best condition possible for sale.  Some of which we get to keep and use on the NSX.
  • 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
  • Fun Car: $608 – still working on getting the NSX to “daily driver” status here, which it pretty much needs to be now that the Miata is sold!  The bulk of this is having window tinting applied, getting a custom sun-shade for the windshield, and an expansion tank for the cooling system (which Mr PoP has now completely overhauled!)  
  • Car Registration Fees: $88 – neither for the NSX, nor the Miata… yes, somehow we have ANOTHER phantom car that required a small fee to the tax man…  Will explain more soon, I promise!
  • Total Transportation: $2,268
  • General Shopping: $378 – we may have impulse bought a hammock over Memorial Day with plans to install it on our lanai.  
  • Pet Supplies / Care: $0
  • Total Shopping: $378
  • Gym / Fitness: $37
  • Medical Treatment/Visit: $9
  • Media Subscriptions: $9!  I thought Hulu increased their prices, but no!  FL decided to tax streaming media!  Mildly annoyed the tax rate is so high, too!
  • Total Health/Fitness/Entertainment: $76
  • Tax Man: $550 – bill for our expert to do our taxes this year.
  • Total Miscellaneous: $550
  • Total “Personal Expenditures”: $5,468  ($3,954 net Reno and NSX)
  • Investment Properties: $50
  • Total Investment Expenses: $50
Earnings Before Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations (EBPPS)
  • EBPPS = $12,817 – $5,468 – $50 = $7,299

Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations

  • Transfer to Holding Acct for 2017 Roth IRAs: $1,000
  • Transfer to Taxable Investment Account: $6,000
  • Total Principal Paydowns / Savings Allocations: $7,000
Net Income = EBPPS – (Principal Paydowns + Savings Allocations)
  • $7,299 – $7,000 = $299 = Net Income

How was your income and spending this month?

 

 

]]>
http://www.plantingourpennies.com/pop-income-statement-may-2017/feed/ 5
Cushy On Our Tushies! http://www.plantingourpennies.com/cushy-on-our-tushies/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/cushy-on-our-tushies/#comments Tue, 23 May 2017 09:55:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7849 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 [...]]]> 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.

image1 (4)Instead of giving up (or succumbing to insane prices), I remembered that I did know how to sew.  Once.  When my mom helped me sew an outfit (a flowered jumper – wahoo 1992!) for a spring recital in elementary school.

Surely if I could sew when I was 9, I could again at 34.  Right?  I just needed the tools and the time.

For the tools, I picked up a used Husqvarna Daisy off of Craigslist for $40.  It was missing a presser foot and a couple of covers, but overall is still in pretty solid shape despite being used (and probably abused) in the local school district’s home ec classrooms.  And the good thing about the Husqvarna (and part of why I chose this brand) is that our local JoAnn fabric has a Husqvarna station in the store.

IMG_7528So when the time came for me to finally get started on my project, I actually brought my Daisy into the JoAnn Fabric store with me and the Husqvarna lady not only helped me identify exactly which presser feet and needles I needed for my project, but also gave me an impromptu lesson reminding me of some basics I had forgotten like how to wind my bobbin and adjust my stitch types.  I probably could have gotten the parts for a bit cheaper elsewhere, but it was well worth the money for the time that she spent with me to get me started on the right presser foot!

All in all, I spent about $150 on this project, using a lot of the tips in this tutorial, but not adding welt cord or the other fancy parts, and still have another yard or so fabric and a bit of extra foam and batting, but now we have seven very comfortable places to sit and hang out with friends and family (which we already tested out this weekend for the first time!).

Are they perfect?  Nope.  But from the first one to the last, I definitely improved.  In fact, this is the part I’m most proud of out of the whole project and it’s almost never going to be noticed!

IMG_7529It’s the zipper back on the cushions for the library chairs.  While all of them have zippers so the cushion covers can be removed and washed (a necessity in this house!), I didn’t really start to get good with the zippers until the end.  On this last pair of cushions I did, I managed to get the pattern to line up pretty well and have the diamondy-flowery pattern centered vertically and horizontally over the center of the zipper line.  This matched how I had the diamondy-flowery pattern centered on all of the other sides, but getting it done with a zipper in the middle felt like a major accomplishment.

We’ll put our butts on it, and friends and family will do the same… but knowing that pattern is like that on the back brings me an inordinate amount of joy.

And Kitty PoP likes them too!  

FullSizeRender (19)

Are you making anything fun lately?  

]]>
http://www.plantingourpennies.com/cushy-on-our-tushies/feed/ 11
Sorry for the interruption! http://www.plantingourpennies.com/sorry-for-the-interruption/ http://www.plantingourpennies.com/sorry-for-the-interruption/#comments Fri, 12 May 2017 12:34:00 +0000 http://www.plantingourpennies.com/?p=7839 Sorry for the blackout everybody!

For a hot minute we thought our anonymity had been compromised by somebody at my office; we panicked and pulled the site till we could know for sure. Happily, all is well and we’re back up.

To all of our readers that wrote to ask what the deal was-thank you! [...]]]> Sorry for the blackout everybody!

For a hot minute we thought our anonymity had been compromised by somebody at my office; we panicked and pulled the site till we could know for sure. Happily, all is well and we’re back up.

To all of our readers that wrote to ask what the deal was-thank you! You’re a big reason why this blog is still up and running =)

Check in tomorrow for 100% more pictures of otters.

 

Thanks,

Mr. PoP

]]> http://www.plantingourpennies.com/sorry-for-the-interruption/feed/ 15