Thursday, September 29, 2011


I just finished a letter to the editor of my local paper proposing that the City Council should consider an ordinance requiring owners of dogs with a reputation for attacking people and other dogs to carry at least $100,000 in liability insurance.  What prompted this letter was the recent proliferation in my neighborhood of pit bull owners.  Just today, one of these dog owners was walking 2 pit bulls and another large dog in front of the building where I live.  When they spotted a guy walking his beagle, the pit bulls went berserk trying to get at them and the woman had to sit down on the curb to restrain them.  Even then, they turned on one another.  I couldn't help but think what an attack by these dogs would do to someone on blood thinners, like myself or to someone elses small child or small pet.  God help the guy if he'd been just a little closer, at the very least the beagle would have been toast.  It has gotten so bad that I'm always nervous when walking my 5 lb. chihuahua.  He's already been attacked 3 times by large dogs.  Each time I've managed to retrieve him just in the nick of time.  I don't know how well I'd fair against a couple of pits, I'm thinking not good. 

In the town where I grew up, they started having a lot of problems with people not keeping control over their dogs, so they passed an ordinance requiring the dog owners of certain breeds, with reputations for dog attacks, to carry $150,000 in liability insurance and to muzzle their dogs any time they took them out in public.  Even then they continued to have so many problems, it got to the point the city banned pit bulls entirely. 

I like dogs and I think you should be able to have any dog you choose, but I also think you should be responsible and accountable for your pet.  If you choose to own a dog with a reputation for vicious attacks, then you should be responsible enough to carry insurance if something bad were to happen.

For those of you who own pit bulls and would argue your dog would never do such a thing, I say tell that to the little kid who was attacked in front of my sister's house by the neighbors pit bull, or to the mail man in a nearby city who is undergoing extensive plastic surgery for being viciously mauled by 2 pit bulls on his route.  Or explain that to the guy in southeast Missouri who barely survived when his four pit bulls turned on him and nearly killed him.  He'd had his dogs for several years and had never had a problem.  Then ask yourself, what if my child were mauled by a pit bull or by my own dog?  How many of these stories do we have to hear?  Face it, some dogs have a reputation because they've EARNED IT.

So, in my opinion all dog owners should be required to carry liability insurance.  If you can't afford the insurance then you most likely shouldn't own a dog in the first place.  It would be financially irresponsible to be unable to pay for any damages caused by your pet.  My dog could turn on somebody some day, but I think I could afford to pay any damages caused by my 5 lb. chihuahua.  Can you say the same about your dog?


Look for the Proctor & Gamble coupon insert in the upcoming Sunday paper for over $97 in coupon savings.  For every P&G coupon you redeem, Proctor & Gamble will make a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  Save some money and help support a great cause!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


The stock market rebounded slightly on Friday, but not enough to regain losses from earlier in the week.  I added some shares of Australia's largest telecom to my IRA account.  As it turned out, I could have saved nearly 10% by waiting until the end of this week, but it should all work out in the end. 

I don't put much stock in the new jobs stimulus program.  The only beneficiaries of the last stimulus were big banks and bank executives, who promptly paid themselves large bonuses.  I figure this program will prove more of the same.  So much for change in Washington, although I noticed from a CNBC article that Nancy Pelosi's net worth increase during the past year by over 50%.  Wonder how that happened?

Well, enough of that.  After work today I'm off to the Lake of the Ozarks for some much needed R&R.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Didn't really need much in the way of groceries at home, but am planning to spend an extended weekend with friends at their Lake Ozark condo, so I picked snack and food items to take along on my trip.  For $18.26 I got: 2 boxes Cheez Its snack crackers 13 oz., 2 boxes Stouffers Stuffed Peppers, 1 bag fun size Baby Ruth candy bars, 1 bag fun size Butter Finger candy bars, 2/4pks. Yoplait Yogurt and 2 pkgs. Chips Ahoy cookies.  The peppers will make a nice dinner one night, saving some cash by not eating out.  The snack items will come in handy while we hang out and watch movies or play cards at the condo.  The regular retail price of items purchased:  $30.68.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Have I mentioned that I LOVE SHOPPING AT WALGREENS?!!!  I'm sure I have.  Today was another great shopping experience there.  Even though it was one of their less spectacular ads, I was able to match up coupons with advertised sales and register rewards for a savings of a little over 50%!  What a deal.  I spent only $19.01 but I got Folgers coffee, 2 packs of bagels, 3 Carmex and 1 Blistex lip balm, Infusium shampoo, Colgate Pro Relief Sensitive toothpaste, 12 double roll pack of Angel Soft toilet paper and 2 cans of Comet cleanser with bleach.  Not a bad hall, will be a nice addition to my stockpile. 

The thing I love most about Walgreens is the great deals, but I also like shopping there because it is so convenient compared to the big box retailers.  No long lines, no hateful employees, no third degree over every coupon and no isles piled with freight.  Fast, friendly service, neat, clean and well stocked store!  Fantastic, keep up the good work!

Between Walgreens and the grocery stores (mostly Gerbes and Schnucks), I'm down to spending $40 or less per week even though I'm purchasing about 5 times as much in groceries!  It's all about matching the coupons with the sales. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Thanks to coupons I'm beginning to see the possibility of early retirement once again.  A few years back, when I lost my job to the economic downturn and had to take a much lower paying job, things didn't look too good for an early retirement.  Then, after suffering a couple of heart attacks last year and being faced with ongoing expenses for medical care, I had pretty much given up hope of retiring even a few years early.  Now I'm beginning to think I might get out of the rat race earlier than I expected, thanks in part, to using coupons. 

I've only been maximizing coupon use since June of this year, but in that same time period I've been able to triple my monthly savings and investment amount.  While my income from my job has actually declined with less hours, I've seen a dramatic increase in earnings from due to increased use of printed coupons.  They pay 10 cents for every printed coupon redeemed, which may not sound like much, but when you're using a lot of coupons, it really starts to add up. 

My taxable stock portfolio produces 8 dividend payouts per month, 2 of which I'm currently reinvesting for growth and the remainder I'm having paid in to an FDIC savings account which pays interest.  My taxable account is set up for automatic investments each month to increase my stock holdings.  Both of my retirement accounts are also set for automatic investments.  So by the time I actually retire I can expect to draw at least 8 payouts per month, while continuing to reinvest dividends in at least to stock positions each month for increased dividend income. 

With the money I'm saving by couponing, I'm also paying off the remainder of my old debts and will be debt free much sooner than I expected.  As soon as that happens, I'll be able to triple my monthly investment contributions once again which should lead to a much earlier retirement than I had hoped for. 

Monday, September 12, 2011


I've been concentrating a lot lately on my tax deferred retirement accounts and decided it was high time I took a close look at my investment plan for my taxable portfolio.  I spent a few hours this afternoon reviewing my holdings and decided to purchase shares in 3 utility companies to round out my account.  I put in an order to buy shares of DUK, AEP and EXC.  All three stocks have dividend yields close to or above 5% which will add nicely to my cash flow.  I've set my account to reinvest dividends automatically in 2 different stocks per month and pay the remaining 6 dividends to my cash account.  In this way I'll be building a nice cash reserve in an FDIC insured, interest paying account and will be increasing my stock holdings at the same time. 

For a while I had been reinvesting all dividends, however, since I've signed up for the savings plan at work and I'm still investing in my own IRA account, with the new plan for my taxable account I'll have tripled my savings contributions per month.  I think that's probably enough.  The great thing about my current investment plan is that it's all automated.  Everything is set so I have to do nothing but sit back and watch the dividends roll in!  Of course I'll still be actively managing my accounts, making sure that my investment choices are still right for my goals, but otherwise there is very little for me to do.  That's the way it should be, something simple that allows you to sleep at night. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011


From an earlier post in May when I wrote about QE2:

''Since the total cost of QE2 came to $6 billion, that works out to $850,000 per job created. I figure I could retire quite comfortably on about a third of that amount. So if the government had simply offered early retirement to people like myself, they could have easily freed up 2,100,000 jobs. Now if you had 2,100,000 job openings and 2,100,000 new retirees with adequately funded retirements, not only would you create additional jobs to support the needs of the retirees, but income tax revenues would have increased since retirees would still be paying income taxes, and the government would have recouped the money spent on early retirements in the form of income taxes. Given the fact that new hires are usually hired on at a lower pay scale than seasoned employees, it would have had the added effect of keeping inflation in check by lowering payrolls and reducing overall costs for businesses. Private corporations and state governments do this all the time, offering early retirement as a way to reduce payroll costs. Why not apply the same method on a national level if you're going to spend the money anyway? Something our political leaders may need to look into.''

Corporations and state governments do early retirement buyouts, why not the Federal Government?  In the case above, instead of creating just a few hundred thousand jobs, for the same tax dollars they could free up a couple of million jobs and create additional jobs to meet the needs of an additional 2 million retirees.  Granted, they're not talking about spending an additional $6 Billion, but the principle is the same. 


I suppose the big news this week is the President's jobs program, or as Shakespeare might call it, "Much ado about nothing."  Another $3 billion of taxpayers money down the drain.  The last "stimulus" program didn't stimulate much as far as I can see. 

Anyway, the market is much the same as last week, up and down, but mostly going nowhere fast.  I expect to see more of the same, which is good news for me since I'm in the buying mode.  Not so good for those who bought in at loftier prices. 

Got some great deals with coupons this week!  Took advantage of Schnuck's 10 for $10 sale, matched up coupons on some needed items and walked out with a 70% savings on my total grocery bill.  I expect to do as well or better at Walgreens this coming Sunday.  Already making my shopping lists and matching up coupons with their ad.  I created a simple spreadsheet with Microsoft Works to keep track of my coupon savings starting the first of this month.  Just curious to see how much I'm actually getting with coupons.  I'll post the results at the end of each month. 

Friday, September 2, 2011


We gained some and lost some in the market for the last few days of August and the first few days of September.  My accounts ended pretty much flat for the week.  I did collect some decent dividends from AEA, AFLAC, Intel and ConAgra, so it wasn't exactly an unprofitable week.  Still in the buying mode.  Reinvested my dividend payments in additional shares of current holdings.  I really don't see any sustainable rallies in the market until after October.  I think we'll just be seeing more of the same minor ups and downs.  Don't really think there will be a double dip recession, although I do think it will take quite a bit longer for the economy to recover.  Which, as far as I'm concerned, spells prolonged buying opportunities. 

I've decided to invest my extra check this month from SendEarnings in my cash accounts.  I'm working toward building additional cash reserves along with beefing up my stock holdings.  I should receive my first statement from my savings plan at work by the end of September.  It will be great having an additional investment account, especially one with 100% matching contributions.  I've already decided any new raises will go toward increasing contributions to the plan.  With the company match and tax deferral it's the best opportunity available to me at this time.

I've been offered a new job with better pay and reduced hours (something I want), but it involves working at the county jail.  So I'm going to have to think that one over.  It's a new jail and they're working through setting up their operating system, think I'll wait and see how things go before I make a final decision.  I'd be working for a private contractor, so it wouldn't be in my best interests to take the job and have them lose their contract leaving me unemployed.  Think I'll wait until they've at least finished construction.