Thursday, November 24, 2011


Heading off to the family Thanksgiving Dinner, just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Had a great morning of early shopping at Walgreens.  They had some fantastic deals for Thanksgiving day and the Black Friday shopping weekend.  Was able to match coupons and sales to purchase $150.00 in merchandise, including a new blood pressure monitor and bath scales that I'd been wanting for a total of $45.00.  I ended my trip with a $6 register reward, so I got everything for $39.00 or a little less than the regular price of the blood pressure monitor.  Along with the scales and the monitor I also got an additional 14 personal care and household items.  Not a bad haul for the price of one blood pressure monitor.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Other than garnering a lot of unfavorable media attention and alienating average Americans, I haven't seen much accomplished by the camping out of the participants in the "Occupy Wall Street" movement.  I'm thinking if they were really wanting to change the world, or at least have an effect on Wall Street greed and political influence, they need to redirect their attentions away from camping out and crying the blues.  What they need to do is start a grass roots movement to encourage people to stop doing business with the major corporations who played a role in the financial meltdown.  The very companies and the people who run them are still rolling along, mostly unaffected by the financial crisis thanks to taxpayer bailouts. 

If the "Occupy" movement really want to make some changes, the only real way to bring these people down is to hit them in their pocket books.  I just watched a documentary recently, narrated by Matt Damon, covering the whole financial meltdown.  How it started, who was involved and which companies played the largest role in wrecking the economy.  This documentary listed corporations by name who played the largest role in bringing down the economy.  If the goal is to send a message to the people running these companies that this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated, then the best way to do it is to stop doing any business with them.  Cut up their credit cards, cancel your bank and investment accounts with them and avoid any business with them or their partners or subsidiaries.  Just make sure when you do cancel your accounts you send them an nice email or written communication explaining why you will no longer do business with them.  When the money stops, that's when they will stand up and take notice. 

In my opinion, the people who were responsible for the financial crisis should be in prison, not enjoying the good life on bonuses paid with bailout money.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


TLC's show "Extreme Couponing" has become one of my favorite shows.  I don't get to watch it at its' normal show time, so I catch up by watching the marathons on weekends.  Was truly inspired by the 16 year old from California who had filled his mother's garage with products after taking up couponing.  I personally only buy items I use or can share with family and friends, however, I can see the appeal of picking up any free items.

While my personal couponing habits would not qualify me for the show, I did save over 30% on this weeks grocery shopping and a whopping 60% on my Sunday morning trip to Walgreens!  Walgreens has become my favorite store by far.  I rarely go to Walmart, Kmart, Family Dollar or Dollar General anymore.  I get the majority of my personal care items, household cleaning products and some food items from Walgreens.  It's quick, easy and by matching coupons with sales and register rewards, it's next to impossible to beat their deals.  They also have some of the friendliest, most helpful staff members of any store I've ever shopped.  Keep up the good work Walgreens!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I've been avoiding credit cards during the past year in an effort to eliminate most of my cards and bring the balances on my two remaining cards to 0.  However, back around the middle of August, I got the idea to use my cash back credit card like a debit card.  All the little things I purchase during the month go on the card, I carry very little cash.  On my paydays, twice monthly, I go online and pay the balance on my card so I have nothing that carries over and charges interest to my account.  So far I've earned about $13 and paid $0 in interest/fees.  While this is not much in earnings, I wasn't earning anything from my debit card purchases, so I'm thinking it's a big improvement.

I wouldn't recommend this strategy to everyone.  In my case, I have a low enough credit limit and enough money to pay off the balance even if I max out the card.  So there is not much risk as far as running up debt and paying outrageous interest rates on charges carried from month to month.  It definitely makes sense for me to use the card in this way.  It's convenient, it's easy, it earns extra cash for me and as long as I pay the balance in full, it costs me nothing. 

Monday, November 7, 2011


Last month I posted about utilities and the possibility of their benefiting from low interest rates for the next year or so.  Then it occurred to me that if you had only enough money to invest in a few stocks, you could do a lot worse than investing in a few good utility companies.

For instance, if you're goal were to receive monthly dividend payments, by purchasing shares in 3 different utilities paying dividends in different quarters, you could create just such a portfolio. 

As an example:

1.  MDU Resources Group (MDU) 3.1% dividend yield, pays dividends in January, April, July and October.

2.  NSTAR (NST)  3.7% dividend yield, pays dividends in February, May, August and November.

3.  Wisconsin Energy (WEC)  3.3% dividend yield, pays dividends in March, June, September and December.

All the above stocks have 5 year estimated dividend growth rates of 5 to 7%, meaning that dividend payouts should increase nicely over the next few years.  This is just an example, you'd want to do your own research and choose your own stocks, but the idea would work with any three stocks paying in different quarters.

Friday, November 4, 2011


We had a nice week overall although stocks ended lower on Friday on European financial woes.  As for my own investments, picked up more shares of BMY and T through dividend re investments.  Also made an extra cash deposit to my taxable account from money earned through my part time carpet cleaning business.  I've earned enough to pay for the equipment, so I'm investing half of my earnings in dividend stocks to create additional monthly cash flow.

Did my grocery shopping after work today.  Picked up a everything I needed for the week and saved a little more than 30% off with coupons and sale match ups.  Looking forward to my weekly Walgreens trip on Sunday for more great deals!