PoP Balance Sheet – July 2014

Welcome to our July 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!

On the evening on July 31, after seeing how Argentina’s default led to a market drop of 2%, and waiting for the prices on our mutual funds to update and our 401K shares to be purchased we both took a guess as to where our net worth would be for the month end.  Between the market drop and our high spending month buying Sunny, Mr PoP guessed it might be our first down month since recording these updates on the blog (it’s gotta happen eventually!), and I guessed that we’d be within $1,500 up or down of our June update.  Turned out we were both wrong and we squeaked out a little gain this month.  Not much, but we’ll take it.  So for the month of July:

  • Our total assets went up by $3.3K
  • Our total liabilities went down by $0.4K
  • Net worth rose by $3.7K
  • Total net worth as of the end of July is $763.9K, which represents a 0.5% increase this month.

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

PoP Income Statement – July 2014

Welcome to our July 2014 Income Statement!

sunny4blogMr. PoP and I put these income statements together for two reasons. First, we want to be transparent about our finances because we’re trying to be role models for other people who are trying to plant their own pennies (and end up with dollars someday!). Second, we do this to make sure we’re on track to meet our own long-term goals. If you’re not tracking your income statement and balance sheet, we highly recommend you start using a program like Mint to keep track of it all.

Overall, expenses were high.  But we can’t really be too surprised by that since we went out and bought a 41-year-old car.  =)

Sunny the yellow Benz is finally here (albeit a lot rustier than the last time we saw her).  It was a bit more expensive than we thought to get her here (car moving seems like a giant scam, BTW) and stored (and storage rental places seem ridiculously priced as well!).  But on the bright side, we think she is done costing us money until we decide to start fixing her up.  The fix-up won’t start for another 18-24 months at least as we’ve got some pretty big plans for working on the house first.

Other than Sunny, it would have been our lowest spend month in the history of the blog, so it’s good to know we can dial back without too much effort when we have an unusually large and unanticipated expenditure.  But there’s still a chance Sunny will put us over our planned budget for the year.  We were running right on schedule with a slight cushion built in for the first 6 months of the year, but now we’re behind and have to catch up ~$1.4K over the next 5 months.  It’s gonna be tight if we manage it.

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $4,357.

And here are the details…

Continue reading PoP Income Statement – July 2014

Crazy Calculus and Credit Card Churning

WalletsTons of folks out there talk about their adventures and successes in credit card churning all the time – Holly at Club Thrifty and Brad at Richmond Savers, to name just a couple who have been around the block when it comes to credit card offers.

We had gotten into a very comfortable routine with our 3 cash back cards, but I was curious to see what bonuses we could accrue and how easily we could use them if we gave credit card churning a try for a year or so.

Halfway Through That Year I Want To Poke My Eyes Out!

Lose #1 – Fighting With Technology

With the exception of the Chase cards (these were just added to my existing Chase login and synced perfectly) that I added and churned through, adding new cards to mint has been absolutely terrible. I use a password manager, so each new account requires a plethora of new (fake) answers to a multitude of useless, socially engineer-able (I may have made that word up) questions. And entering and re-entering them multiple times. Then when a customer service agent asks you what street you grew up on and you tell them, “Wait, I need to unlock my database to tell you the answer to that…”, see if you can sense the moments when they try and decide if you are a criminal or not.

Continue reading Crazy Calculus and Credit Card Churning

Happy Friday – Happily Irrational!

We just made what is probably the least rational decision we’ve ever made. And it’s probably going to cost us between $15K and $20K over the next 5 years. And we’re happy.

Are we crazy? Well, you decide.

The Beginning

This story actually starts about a decade before we were born. It was the early 1970′s and Mr PoP’s grandparents were in a doozy of a car accident. Everyone survived, thank goodness, but the VW bug they were in at the time did not sufficiently protect the family members from serious injuries. As the story goes, grandma had extensive injuries and needed to relearn to walk, etc. After that experience, Mr PoP’s grandfather went out and bought his wife the safest car he could find – a 1972 Mercedes Benz 230 sedan. A yellow one, as it happened.

Continue reading Happy Friday – Happily Irrational!

Financial Literacy And Asking The Wrong Questions

I recently ran across a stumper of a question and wanted to run it by our blog readers here. So here goes. How would you answer the following question on a test of financial literacy?

Mrs Jones has a loan of 8,000 zeds with FirstZed Finance. The annual interest rate on the loan is 15%. Her repayments each month are 150 zeds. After one year Mrs Jones still owes 7,400 zeds.

Another finance company called Zedbest will give Mrs Jones a loan of 10,000 zeds with an annual interest rate of 13%. Her repayments each month would also be 150 zeds.

If she takes the Zedbest loan, Mrs Jones will immediately pay off her existing loan. What are two other FINANCIAL benefits for Mrs Jones if she takes the Zedbest loan?

1. _________________
2. _________________

My Answer

If I were taking this test, I would write the following, “It’s not clear there are any (much less two distinct) financial benefits for Mrs Jones to take the loan from Zedbest without further information.”

Then I’d likely memorize the test question and report it* to the test creators and proctors as a faulty question.  But that’s not on the list of “correct” answers.

And The “Correct” Answers?

Continue reading Financial Literacy And Asking The Wrong Questions