The Power Of A Well Made Tool

20150210-195533-71733500.jpg

We’ll call these “eh”, “better”, and “best”.

It sounds very domestic, but every week, I iron our clothes for the work week ahead. I’ve been doing this for years, ironing my father’s work clothes when I was in middle school and high school, then my own when I got a job that required something slightly nicer than jeans and a t-shirt. And after Mr PoP and I got married, I started ironing his clothes as well.

Some people might think the ironing is overkill, but when it comes down to it, there are times (work especially) when we want our clothes to have a nice crisp look to it that we never seem to get with “non-iron” clothing items. (Mr PoP looks adorable in the morning with some nice crisp creases in his khakis!)  Plus, there’s an element of indulgence to the ironing at this point in my life. We’re not people that plop down and zone out in front of the tv for hours (it feels like such a waste of time!), but if I watch a show or two while ironing, well no time at all is being wasted and I *still* get to know the latest on Jane the Virgin* guilt-free.

So I iron. And I don’t hate it (thanks to Jane’s entertaining saga). But up until recently it did take me a solid 60-90 minutes each week to do all the ironing. What changed?

We Bought A New Iron

Continue reading The Power Of A Well Made Tool

PoP Balance Sheet – January 2015

Welcome to our January 2015 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 markets were down in January, but we managed to salvage asset growth due to Mr PoP’s big year-end commission check.  No big changes to the accounts, except we’re particularly cash heavy at the moment while we wait for our permits for our new solar panels to be approved (at which point we’ll have to fork over a large amount of cash).  We could lean on our HELOC if we wanted to, but the current rate on that is around 5%, and we’d rather just forgo putting money into our taxable account for a month or two instead of paying interest on the HELOC.  (Feels too much like borrowing to invest in the stock market, and that’s the type of leverage we’ve never been comfortable with.)

So for the month of January:

  • Our total assets went up by $11.2
  • Our total liabilities went down by $0.8
  • Net worth rose by $12.0K 
  • Total net worth as of the end of January is $838.6K, which represents a 1.45% increase this month.

And for the details…

Continue reading PoP Balance Sheet – January 2015

PoP Income Statement – January 2015

Welcome to our January 2015 Income Statement!

20150201-163448-59688411.jpg

Entering week 4 without a ceiling in the kitchen. It gets pretty cold in there some nights without a ceiling! =)

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.

A quick update on our 2014 Spending Summary.   As of that writing, we were $495 over our spending goal for the year.  Well, as it turns out an escrow review on our mortgage found that we overfunded our escrow account by $483 in 2014, so the bank sent us a refund check for that amount and our mortgage payments will drop in February.  Yay!  So unofficially we were actually only over our spending goal by $12 in 2014.  Sweet!

And on to 2015.  If the year 2015 were compressed down to a single day*, it’d be about 2am right now.  Mr PoP and I aren’t at our sharpest in the wee hours of the morning, and the same can be said about our food spending (normally an easy win) this month, which hasn’t been this high in over a year.  Call them “reasons” or “excuses”, but there were a few factors at play here.

1 – Not having a ceiling in your kitchen (see the pic for the current status of our renovations!) makes for a not-so-ideal cooking environment.  And while my awesome Instant Pot has been allowing me some limited “cooking in the living room” adventures (today was Brazilian corn chowder, yum!), we’re turning to convenience food more and that’s expensive even at the grocery store.  Mr PoP got two Rotisserie chickens in what I have deemed the Publix PMS Sale**, and there were multiple trips to the sub counter for some lovely Publix subs to refuel energy that is being used demolishing and rebuilding our ceiling.

2 – We took a fair number of people out to eat this month.  Which included thank you’s to family members like Mama PoP for giving Mr PoP a ride, and Mr PoP’s younger brother for helping us out in the kitchen renovations, and just trying to be good ambassadors for FL and the PF blogging community as the nice folks from Ridinkulous came down south to defrost for a weekend.  No regrets for taking anyone out and we will totally plan around a budget to continue to do just this in our FI plans.  =)

3 – Mr PoP joined a new team at work and is focusing on networking within his new group, which meant more lunches out for him.  He doesn’t think this is going to be a permanent fixture of his new gig, but if it is, we’ll re-evaluate our planned food spending and adjust appropriately.

So yeah. Food spending was high.  Hopefully an anomaly, but we’ve got a year to make up for this excess and hopefully we will.

Also high this month was spending on the car.  It was totally expected as we spent a little over $1K getting a new soft-top for our convertible.  The old one had developed a hole right over the driver’s left shoulder and the duct tape solution Mr PoP had fashioned was no longer effective and it just plain sucks to be rained on INSIDE your car.  (Not to mention the moisture being bad for the upholstery and carpeting…  Normally this might be something Mr PoP would think about DIY-ing to save a couple hundred bucks, but between the kitchen reno taking up time (YouTube made the install seem like a tricky possibly all-day affair) and the 5-year warranty that we would lose if we didn’t install the top using a certified installer, we went with the installer and are pretty pleased with that decision.  We know the car will have higher than normal expenses this year as we get some more maintenance issues done after hitting 100K miles in December and have tried to plan for that.

Other than food and the car, though, our spending was actually pretty good for all the fun we’ve been having!

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $14,221.

And here are the details…

Continue reading PoP Income Statement – January 2015

Happy Friday – Never Scooping Litter Again!

20150122-195059-71459297.jpgWith 3 Happy Friday posts in a row, it seems we’ve got a lot to be happy about these days. This week, I’m beyond happy – thrilled might be a better word – that I’m never scooping a litter box again.

How Have I Arranged This Amazing Feat?

Kitty PoP isn’t being given away. He provides far too much cheap entertainment for us to consider that.

We also have not managed to toilet train him (as Mama PoP once attempted* with their cat, Z). This seems like it would be a great idea in theory. But our reality is different. At every opportunity, Kitty PoP will dunk his toys in an open toilet bowl and bring them to me in the middle of the night. The weirdo cat does this with his water dish, too, on occasion. But at 2am you REALLY hope it’s not a toilet monkey that’s dripping on your chest. So leaving the toilet seat intentionally up (we have firm house rules on closing the toilet because of Kitty PoP’s affinity for this) seems to be asking for trouble.

Instead, I used birthday and Christmas money from assorted family members** to buy Kitty PoP the Rolls Royce of litter boxes, the Litter Robot II Bubble Unit (complete with the additional $20 expansion window!).

Yes, that’s right.  I spent $389 on a litter box.

Continue reading Happy Friday – Never Scooping Litter Again!

Happy Friday – A Happy Complication

Let's love some trees!

Let’s love some trees!

As if we didn’t have enough on our plate this year with the planned kitchen renovation, we had to go and add another complication. And one that is going to cause our 2015 spending to be significantly higher* and we couldn’t be more excited!

No, I’m not pregnant, silly. Jeez!

We’re getting solar panels!! We just got word that we’re approved for funds through our utility company, FPL, to use for an install of a photo-voltaic system that will cover the electricity needs for our little house.

Getting these funds was like playing the lottery (something we never do), but since it involved just a $0 upfront cost and some time and research, we went for it. And boy did we get lucky since not only might 2015 be the last year for FPL solar funds, but all the solar funds were awarded in record time this year.

The Numbers

Continue reading Happy Friday – A Happy Complication