Saturday, October 29, 2011


Collected the first FDIC insured interest payment on the cash balance in my IRA account.  My investment company started offering the FDIC account option since money market rates have been so pitiful and I signed up for it right away.  As expected, the payment was nothing to get excited about, but it's that much more than I had.

Also collected dividends from SPY and CPB.  Reinvested the dividend in Campbell's Soup and kept the cash from SPY.  I believe these are the last two payments I'll get for the month of October.  Looking forward to the payouts in November from my holdings in energy limited partnerships.  I sold a large portion of my holdings in the partnerships to reduce exposure and collect on some of the capital gains, almost wish I'd held on to a few more units.  The cash payouts have been great!!!  But that's water under the bridge.  Don't plan on selling my remaining shares/units.  As it stands, I have taken all my initial investment, plus a substantial profit out of the 3 energy partnerships I have left.  So anything I collect now is icing on the cake.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


WOW!  It's been a nice couple of days for the stock market :0).  While you tell yourself a real investor stays with the market in good times and bad, it is nice to see some upward movement for a change.  How long it will last is another story.

Collected some nice dividends from AGNC and NLY today.  Using that money to purchase shares in dividend paying utilities.  Like I mentioned in an earlier article, I expect them to do well as long as interest rates remain low.  So I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is in this case.

I'm on a new schedule at work, so tomorrow is my last day of work for this week.  Looking forward to some R&R this weekend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


It's a coupon bonanza in Sunday, October 30th newspapers with 3 coupon inserts.  Proctor & Gamble's insert promises to contain over $102 in coupon savings!  Red Plum and Smartsource also have inserts in the upcoming paper and promise even more great ways to save. 

I'll also be looking for new coupons on  Their coupons section has provided me with some fantastic deals and I've never had a problem redeeming any of their printed coupons in any of the stores I shop.  The cash back is a great little bonus as well.

Pick up some coupons and save yourself some money!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


My adventures in extreme couponing continue with today's shopping trip to Walgreens.  I matched coupons with advertised sales and register rewards for a savings of over 50%!  I purchased over $100 worth of merchandise including toothpaste, laundry detergent, lip balm, mouthwash, soft drinks, snack items, candy, coffee, kleenex, Aleve and Bayer aspirin and paid a little over $40 for everything.  My total savings was over $50 or over 50% of my purchase.  Making half of everything I purchased free!!!

I take Aleve (for arthritis) and Bayer low-dose aspirin (for my heart) on a regular basis.  Was extremely happy to get a 6 month supply of both at next to nothing!  When you're looking to trim a few bucks from your budget, you just can't beat coupons!


I wrote earlier in the month questioning the motives and agenda of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement.  While I agree there is way too much corporate greed as far as executive pay packages and bonuses, I think the whole protest may be misdirected. 

If you give the matter a little thought before jumping in to the fray, what seems to have triggered the movement were the outrageous bonuses paid out in the financial industry immediately following the government bailout.  If this is the case, then protesters should be occupying Capital Hill instead of Wall Street.  If the government had not bailed out banks and financial companies with taxpayer dollars then these companies would not have had the money available to pay out unearned and undeserved bonuses in the first place.  Obviously if you hand over taxpayer dollars to people who already make way more in income than the national average, they're most likely to look for ways to put some or all of this money in to their own pockets. 

I think the protesters should move their camps to Washington D.C. and change the name to Occupy Capital Hill.  After all, which is worse, bilking shareholders through overly generous compensation plans or handing over taxpayer dollars taken from the pockets of people who no longer have jobs or have much lower paying jobs than before? 


Recently I made some changes in my IRA account.  I sold my stake in Astrazeneca (AZN) and used the proceeds to purchase shares of Deere & Company (DE), Westar Energy (WR) and added more shares of Great Plains Energy (GXP).  AZN's prospects for increasing earnings per share looked kind of bleak, so the prospects of continued dividend growth seemed kind of slim.  So I sold the shares while I was showing an overall profit and reinvested the money with the above named companies who's earnings and dividends are more likely to increase over the next 5 years.  These companies are dividend plays with some potential for growth and are all part of my long-term holdings in my retirement account.

As for my taxable investment account, I plan to purchase shares of Duke Energy (DUK), Northeast Utilities (NU) and Wisconsin Energy (WEC) as funds become available.  Right now I'm a little short on cash due to ongoing medical bills related to my heart attacks last year.  So my cash contributions to this account have been quite small, although I do contribute additional funds on a monthly basis.  The money available for new stock purchases is coming mostly from dividend payments, so there's been less activity in this account than in my IRA.  After Friday's run up in the stock market they're both doing quite well.  If the economy picks up after the first of next year, as I expect, then I should see some nice gains on shares purchased during the downturn in both accounts.

I recently received an investment newsletter in which the author was promoting an investment strategy quite similar to my own.  In the article she pointed out how her portfolio of dividend stocks was paying out a monthly payment from $1,100 to $1,500 per month after only 5 years.  Of course she had a total of around $200,000 invested.  Way more than I have now, but the principle is the same.  My dividend payments go up every month from the dividends I reinvest from the previous months and from additional cash contributions on my part.  It's really only a matter of time before my own portfolio of dividend stocks are paying as much or more than I will receive in Social Security each month upon retirement.  It's a simple matter of having a plan and sticking with it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


What exactly are the people who are occupying Wall Street hoping to accomplish?  So far I'm not getting any clear message of their agenda from any of the news that I've seen or read.  Could they be trying to destabilize the stock market even further?  How would that help their cause or causes in any way?  Perhaps the protestors need to go home and give the whole thing a little more thought, instead of trying to ruin what's left of their parents and grandparents retirement. 

My biggest question is, how do all these people have so much time on their hands?  I have to work for a living and when I'm not at work, I have responsibilities at home.  If they're not working, wouldn't their time be better spent looking for a job?  If they are working, why aren't they at work?  If they don't need a job because they're supported by government entitlement programs or are independently wealthy, then wouldn't they just be protesting against themselves?

I think they definitely need to give this thing a little more thought.  Flash mobs on Wall Street aren't likely to accomplish much. 

Monday, October 10, 2011


The Federal Reserve is pledging to keep short-term rates near zero until at least mid-2013, which is good news for companies who rely heavily on borrowed funds, including utilities.  In economic downturns most people still try to maintain lights and heat/air conditioning to their homes and businesses.  So while other companies may see a drastic reduction in sales, this is not often the case for utility providers. 

With some measure of guaranteed cost reductions from lower interest rates and reduced fuel costs, utilities should benefit over the next few years.  Investors should benefit as well, since utility companies are required by law to pass along a certain percentage of profits to shareholders in the form of dividend payments. 

While no one can predict where the market is headed, I think a good case could be made for utilities coming out as the big winners of the current economic turmoil.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Monday I downloaded the Kindle app for my Ipod Touch.  So far it is working great!  I've downloaded some of the free books from, much easier to do than downloading books to my ereader.  This time I've picked out some classics from H.G. Wells.  Although I've seen most of the movies based on his books, I hadn't actually read too many of them.  So far the writing is superb!  I'll also be able to pick up some of the newer investment books for a fraction of the the printed copies.  (#401) 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


The month of October started out on the downside for the stock market Monday and given the performance in the Asian markets overnight, I think we'll see more of the same today.  My accounts started the month off with a nice dividend payment from Reynolds American (RAI:NYSE).  Their current dividend yield is 5.67% with an annualized dividend of $2.12 per share.  RAI is one of my long term investments.

Looking ahead for the market, I'm expecting October to be much like the month of September with continued weakness in share prices.  I'll be busy adding to some of my current positions while prices are down.  I expect to continue buying through at least the end of this year.  I think stock prices are cheap and it's a good opportunity to beef up some of my long term investments, so I'm not as active in searching for new investments.