If It’s Green, It’s Grass… And Other Frugal Lawn Care Musings

20140320-183648.jpgOne Saturday not too long ago, Mr PoP was home enjoying his morning cup of coffee when the door bell rang. What joy!

It was a young gentleman from Truly Scape. For those of you not in the know, Truly Scape is one arm of the pest control company, Truly Nolen, and this ambitious young salesman was going door to door hawking lawn services. And since Mr PoP loves little more than being entertained by an ambitious sales pitch, he let the kid go for it.

Kid: I see that it looks like your yard could use some fertilizer. We have a service that would come out and fertilize your lawn for you so it would grow faster and fuller.
Mr PoP: Wait, that means I’d just have to cut it more often, right? Are you trying to create work for me?
(Strike 1 for the kid.)

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2013 Shareholder Letter

Warren Buffet’s #1 fan!

One of the ways that Mr. PoP has enjoyed learning about business and investing over the years is by reading (and re-reading!) Warren Buffet’s annual Shareholder Letters written to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. In honor of the recent release of Buffett’s 2013 letter, here is our own PoP 2013 Shareholder Letter. Click here for the 2012 edition.

Executive Summary

2013 was a very good year for us financially, though it was quite hectic and stressful at times.  While we like the former part of that statement, the latter is something we’d like to continue to address as we seek to continually improve quality of life.

In last year’s letter I mentioned that even in good years our net worth gains would likely decrease on a percentage basis; this is one of those times where I hate being right! Our increase in net worth was 49% instead of 66.3%; a respectable $207K regardless. Here is this year’s prediction: As the market grows as a portion of our net worth we are at a greater risk of being whipsawed by its fluctuations.

  • End of 2011 Net Worth: $256.7K  
  • End of 2012 Net Worth: $417.3K ( YOY increase of $170.2K or +66.3%)
    • 2012 Gross Income: $184.0K Employment / $16.9K Investment Properties
    • 2012 Spending: $55.2K Personal / $16.5K Investment Properties
  • End of 2013 Net Worth: $624.4K (YOY increase of $207.1K or 49.6%)
    • 2013 Gross Income: $183.6K Employment / $17.7K Investment Properties
    • 2013 Spending: $59.4K Personal / $12.7K Investment Properties

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do…

One way to do "cat pose"...

One way to do “cat pose”…

This weekend I did something that I should have done a long time ago. I ended a relationship that for a while now felt like it was taking more out of me than I was getting from the relationship. I broke up… with my yoga instructor.

What’s The History?

I call myself a casual yogi, having been practicing fairly regularly since starting with some community yoga classes that were offered free at a park across the street from my old office in 2007. I find it’s a great way to offset all the running I do.
But when I moved to be in the same city as Mr PoP in 2008, I started going to a gym owned by a friend and I came to really like the yoga instructor that taught a few classes there every week.

When we lived 10 minutes away from the gym, I would go to yoga once or twice per week and it was great. But then we moved 30 minutes away, and making it once per week was the most I could ever do.

So How Much Did Yoga Cost?

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PoP Balance Sheet – February 2014

Welcome to our February 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!

Nothing too exciting on the balance sheet this month, though we got a bit of a boost by the stock market’s rebound throughout February.  We’ll see how it ends up for the rest of the year!

But for the month of February:

  • Our total assets went up by $19.2K
  • Our total liabilities went up by $0.4K
  • Net worth rose by $18.8K
  • Total net worth as of the end of February is $692.7K, which represents a 2.8% increase this month.  

But we did add one more way that we hope to continue tracking investment growth, so let us know how what you think of our new “Early Retirement Locale Index” below.

And for the details…

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PoP Income Statement – February 2014

Welcome to our February 2014 Income Statement!


Say hello to Beri the miracle fruit plant! Kitty PoP likes her a little too much…

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.

February was a solid and uneventful month when it came to our income and spending, but actually a nice and somewhat eventful month for us personally. I ran a marathon, have been cooking a lot in my brand spanking new pressure cooker/slow cooker/yogurt maker (the Instant Pot IP-DUO60), we hung out with a lot of good friends, and perhaps most exciting – I bought a miracle fruit plant. Now I just need to properly care (and keep Kitty PoP from eating it) for it for a few years until I can get it to fruit! Then we’re in for some HUGE excitement. =)

All in all, a solid start to the new year.

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $4,705.

And here are the details…

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