He Said She Said – Blogs We’re Reading Lately

Today we’re bringing you another round of He Said/She Said. These posts are really your chance as readers to hear how discussions (and sometimes disagreements) play out when managing our lives with each other. For a look at some of the past He Said/She Said discussions – check ‘em out here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile Mr PoP and I love each other and share many interests, there’s actually surprisingly little overlap in our reading lists from day to day. (Personal finance sites are one area of obvious overlap, but even within that niche, we tend to lean toward different sites.) But sometimes we find ourselves reading sites that we find so neat and so interesting that we have to share them with one another even if it falls outside the normal overlap of our reading lists.

Mr PoP’s reading has been trending more towards some of our longer-term goals, specifically slow travel by boat after FIRE, while I’m focused a little more on our nearer-term goal of fixing up the kitchen.

He Said

Continue reading He Said She Said – Blogs We’re Reading Lately

When To DIY And When To Outsource

Even Kitty PoP helps DIY in the PoP house!

Even Kitty PoP helps DIY in the PoP house!

We’ve been talking about our DIY kitchen remodeling project for months now, but the truth is, it’s not going to be 100% DIY.


I know, that isn’t really that much of a surprise since we already fessed up to hiring a structural engineer to provide plans that would guide us through the major structural changes of our remodel (moving a wall and modifying our roof trusses to vault the ceiling) without sacrificing any structural integrity of our house.

But that’s not where the outsourcing is going to end… Instead of DIY, we’re going to outsource other parts of the project that (unlike the structural plans) we’re pretty sure we could do ourselves.

double gasp!

But instead of could, we need to also ask the question: should we do everything ourselves?

Yes, even for hard-core DIY folks like us there’s comes a point in projects when outsourcing can make sense. But there’s also no easy “line in the sand” where it always makes sense to DIY for certain projects and always outsource for others. Instead we find ourselves asking some of the same questions time and time again when evaluating the DIY-ness of a given project. Here’s what those questions are.

Continue reading When To DIY And When To Outsource

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

idyllic backyardMr PoP and I are truly spoiled by the peacefulness and tranquility of our little suburban neighborhood.  Seriously.  I’m sitting here on a Saturday on our back patio looking out over the little lake in our backyard and across into the yards of the half dozen or so other homes that share our lake pond as a backyard.  (The internet tells me it’s a pond, but our realtor called it a lake – that must mean “lakes” sell better than “ponds”.  Pardon me if I use these interchangeably.)

Growing up, this kind of set up was foreign to me.  I couldn’t imagine a backyard without walls, usually cinderblock, that rose any less than six feet out of the ground with thick mesh metal gates locked with padlocks.  You know, to keep people out.  Because other people are all bad and must be kept out at all times… or at least that’s the impression those walls leave me with when I think about them today.

Our current backyard setup would have seriously weirded me out as a kid, but I don’t know how to describe it … sharing space with our neighbors just seems natural now.  After all, “no man is an island entire of itself”.

Continue reading Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

PoP Balance Sheet – September 2014

Welcome to our September 2014 Balance Sheet!

We use the structure of a monthly income statement and balance sheet in tandem to make sure we are keeping our expenses low and planting our pennies wisely. If you’re not already tracking your finances using these two methods, go to mint.com and get started today! If you have any questions about how we do this just post a comment and we’ll be sure to help!

While we had some good after-tax savings this month (over $7K!) on our income statement, most of that actually got eaten up by losses in our equity portfolio.  With over $400K in various brokerage accounts, and an equity heavy allocation, it takes less than a 2% dip in prices across the board to eat up all those gains and then some.  While that didn’t (quite!) happen this month, we came darned close.  It’s a good reminder – the bigger our holdings get, the less of an impact our month-to-month savings have in comparison to the market swings.

Now, that’s not to be taken as a disincentive to save, but rather just a reminder that we need to get used to feeling the up and down motion of the markets and being okay with it in much the same way that when you get on a boat for the first time you need to get used to the up and downs of the waves.  In that sense, we’re earning our “sea legs” right now.  So far, no need for barf bags or Dramamine.

So for the month of September:

  • Our total assets went down by $0.3K  (oh no!  wrong way!)
  • Our total liabilities went down by $1.1K
  • Net worth rose by $0.8K
  • Total net worth as of the end of September is $787.1K, which represents a measly 0.10% increase this month.

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

PoP Income Statement – September 2014

Welcome to our September 2014 Income Statement!

Kitty PoP looks kindof old man-ish with his shaved chin!

Kitty PoP looks kindof old man-ish with his shaved chin!

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 been a crazy month here in the PoP household.  I managed to maim myself not once, but twice.  (My klutziness knows no bounds!)  And Mr PoP had some work travel that is driving him a little nuts these days, too.  Not even Kitty PoP escaped the crazy as he did his first ever interview – check out his interview with Frugal Hound at Frugalwoods.

The income statement looks a little more flush than usual this month, but it comes with a caveat.  I am now officially maxed out on my 401K for the year, which means funds (to the tune of ~$2K/month) that were bypassing our income statement and going straight to the balance sheet (how we always treat pre-tax savings), have to come through our income statement (and get taxed along the way… sad face!) before we can allocate them as savings to our taxable account.  Mr PoP is also on track to max out his 401K, but we’re trying to get that to happen as close to the end of the year as we can (this will maximize his employer match) while dealing with his unpredictable income from his commission sales job.

Also boosting the income this month was the fact that one of our renters decided they wanted to pay us in advance every 2 months.  So the amount recorded for rental income there is ~1.5 months of rent from our 2 units, and next month will reflect ~0.5 months.  Makes income slightly lumpier, but we don’t mind the lumps.

On the expenses side, we’ve also added a new category under “Home” for our kitchen renovations.  Though the bulk of these expenses will come in 2015, there are a few (probably totaling $3K or less) that we are trying to get done in 2014 in preparation for the big event.  It’ll be a bit of a squeeze to get these expenses in under the $50K mark that we are aiming for in total 2014 spending, but if we end up going over by the “Kitchen” amount or less we won’t stress it since it’s more a matter of bringing these expenses forward from the 2015 year.

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $7,436.

And here are the details…

Continue reading PoP Income Statement – September 2014