PoP Balance Sheet – January 2017

Welcome to our January 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!

January was a bit of a reset month for us.  With the new year, we once again started up pre-tax contributions into our 401Ks, and Mr PoP’s employer dropped a lump sum into his HSA as well.  We were able to set a bit aside for our taxable account after a bit of a pricey January, and all these things (combined with a market that rose more than 1.75% for the month), boosted our net worth.  So no complaints on the net worth front, I suppose?

In the charts below we’ve added a new visualization graph that’s based on LTM (last twelve month) spending.  Our expenses tend to jump around a fair amount from month to month, and we’re hoping this will help us smooth that a bit and give us a better idea of when we’re long-term prepared for FIRE, but it still feels incomplete.  Any ideas on how we can add to it would be greatly appreciated if you have them!

Here are the numbers for January:

  • Our total assets up $22.8K
  • Our total liabilities went down by $1.1K 
  • Net worth went up by $23.9K 
  • Total net worth as of the end of January is $1,304.3K, which represents a 1.87% increase for the month

For the details…

Continue reading PoP Balance Sheet – January 2017

PoP Income Statement – January 2017

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’re off to a bang for 2017 in the PoP household, where we had pretty much the opposite of an “Uber Frugal January”.  Though I did get this yoga cats calendar for free.  That was pretty frugal!

Laser from the laser floor level. When it shows 2 lines like this, it's indicating an unlevel spot, so Mr PoP leveled it out a bit before laying the tile and the floor (and the process) was much smoother! And yes, that is the remnants of duct tape that was taped to the concrete subfloor underneath the tile that was removed. The guys that removed it were confused, too. =/

Laser from the laser floor level. When it shows 2 lines like this, it’s indicating an un-level spot, so Mr PoP leveled it out a bit before laying the tile and the floor (and the process) was much smoother! And yes, that is the remnants of duct tape that was taped to the concrete subfloor underneath the tile that was removed. The guys that removed it were confused, too. =/

As expected, spending on renovations* picked up this month as we spent money hiring out the tile removal (no regrets there!) and then spent some more money on top of that getting together further tile laying tools and supplies that Mr PoP is using to lay the tile. One cool toy tool that Mr PoP bought this month to help with the surface prep for laying the tile this time was this Bosch laser floor level.  Mr PoP bought a refurbished one, and we’ll sell it when we’re done, but it already helped identify a couple of small low spots and gave Mr PoP a lot more insight into the gentle topography of the floor that really makes a difference when laying the long, thin 6″ x 36″ plank tiles.  Luckily, the money spent here is already showing results as Mr PoP is about halfway through tiling the first of the three bedrooms. So yay!

Sidenote – between the laser floor level and the two Star Shower Laser Holiday lights we got in the after Christmas sale at Bed Bath and Beyond (50% + 20% off coupon FTW), we managed to spend just over $300 on laser toys/tools.  I found this amusing.  MOAR LASERS! 

The second, slightly less expected category was our “General Shopping” spending, where my purchase of a new Roomba (which we have now named “Newmba!”) was a bit earlier than originally planned. Our old Roomba has slowly been dying over the last year (at nearly 6 years of use and abuse, it has had a good run and we’ll probably sell it on ebay or Craigslist for parts). I had watched the sales over the holidays, and then finally bought one when I managed to stack a 20% off Bed Bath & Beyond coupon on top of a 15% off sale and take home a more advanced model that’s supposed to be better for long hair for $360, including tax when it’s usually $500 +tax. So far, Newmba is performing like a champ and really keeping dust to a minimum, despite almost half the house being without flooring. I think both Mr PoP and I view the Newmba purchase as a good one.

However, when you toss in a new $90 bike headlight (this one – it’s really bright!) and $40 for unlimited lifetime flat repair (including tubes!) on my bike (supplies/services that I’ll eventually get reimbursed for), our shopping spending ended up a bit higher than we thought it would going into the month.

Continue reading PoP Income Statement – January 2017

Are We Real? If You Prick Us, Do We Not Bleed?  

Kitty PoP, contemplating murder as usual.

Kitty PoP, contemplating murder as usual.

Not too long ago, I was poking around the internet, half zoned out while riding in the passenger seat on a mini road trip with Mr PoP, and ran across some commentary on how people seemed to think that personal finance blogs rang false to many of those commenting.  Commenters were deriding most personal finance blogs (including ours in particular, which didn’t feel great) for being more filtered than Instagram photos, and for being disingenuous about making money off a blog dedicated to financial independence (or something along those lines).

Honestly, reading it felt pretty crappy and I immediately got defensive.  We’ve always tried to be pretty up front with things going on in our lives, while also maintaining a level of privacy necessary to feel comfortable sharing financial information on the internet.

Addressing The Second Item First…

Is it disingenuous to earn the occasional buck from a blog where we are purportedly trying to become financially independent (including independent from blog income)?  I’m not sure I’m impartial enough to answer that one. Continue reading Are We Real? If You Prick Us, Do We Not Bleed?  

Update – Our His & Hers Kitchen

We’re a bit overdue for posting an update to our kitchen, but as Mr PoP pointed out, it’s because I keep wanting to finish “one more thing” before posting it.  But that just keeps postponing the update indefinitely, so here goes.

Design Dilemma Fixed!

A few months back, I wrote about the design dilemma that I had created in one corner of our kitchen where the door on the spice rack was preventing the slides in the adjacent broom closet from extending properly.  I am happy to say that has been fixed, thanks to the many wonderful ideas that readers helped brainstorm.  The one I liked the best, though, was from Nick Klenke when he suggested that I try building an inset door to the spice cabinet.  (A great suggestion from a very impressive woodworker – you should check out the cool stuff on his site!)

I was a bit concerned that Nick might be over-estimating my woodworking skills in telling me that I could build an inset door, but with a fair amount of sanding and the help of some truly awesome shims and a huge vote of confidence from Nick in his comments, I did it!

This is what it's like today. The white door leads to the garage, and the cabinet built into the wall is a shallow spice cabinet built between the wall studs.

Before: with the overlay door on the spice cabinet blocking the pullout for the broom closet.

And after!

After: with an inset door leaving plenty of room for the pullout… and I painted the door “pool blue”.

Absolutely instrumental in this process for me were some flat plastic shims that Mr PoP and I came across when we were looking for shims to install the kitchen counter.  We picked up a box of these BroadFix Flat Shims at our local hardware store, giggling to ourselves that the advertising on the box claiming they were “revolutionary” had to be hyperbole.  But since then we’ve found so many uses for these things, they might not be exaggerating as much as we thought!

In the case of building the inset door, I built it to as close to the interior measurements of the faceframe as I could, and then trimmed and sanded very carefully until I could fit 2mm shims around it on all sides.  I knew that was the measurement I wanted on the hinge side, so I made it as uniform as I could all the way around.  It wasn’t easy, and I think people who saw the overlay door and now see the inset door don’t even realize it’s different until you point it out.  But I’m actually really proud of my inset door and think it was the perfect solution to that design dilemma.

Countertop Details

Continue reading Update – Our His & Hers Kitchen

Happy Friday – We Just Bought Ourselves 4 Weekends!

IMG_5408And we’d do it again in a heartbeat.

We’re still working our way through a lot of the finishing touches on the kitchen, but now that our sink and countertops are in, a lot of what remains is on me.

That means Mr PoP has been getting antsy to get started on the next big phase, which is extending the new tile that he laid in half the house (basically the kitchen and living room) through to the bedrooms.

We’ve already purchased the tile itself (way back in summer 2015!), but before it can be laid, the old tile has to come out.

What Does That Entail?

Continue reading Happy Friday – We Just Bought Ourselves 4 Weekends!