Monday, February 27, 2012


Are you successful at managing your money?  Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that if they don't make a lot of money, they are not successful.  That simply is not the case.  It's more a case of what you do with the money you make than how much you make.  Obviously it's easier to become wealthy if you make a great deal of money and are good at managing it.  However, it is also true you can become wealthy even if you don't make top dollar.  It's all how you handle your money.

For example, I know a couple who own a few small businesses.  They have a nice home, nice cars, live well and by all outward appearances are quite successful.  However, they recently told me they were trying to decide whether to pay off one of their credit cards with a $50,000 balance or keep the money in a savings account.  The interest payment alone on this account is $650 per month, with the minimum payment closer to $1,200 a month.  To help them gain a little perspective I explained to them that their interest payment alone would pay my rent, phone bill, doctor's bill and all my credit card payments each month.  Keep in mind, this is only one of their credit cards, they have several more.  So while they may be good at starting businesses and creating cash flow, they aren't so well versed in what to do with the money after it comes in.  It seems like a simple decision to me, earn low interest in a savings account or save $1,200 per month in payments.

So you can be income rich and cash poor or make very little in income and build a nice pile of cash.  It all comes down to how you handle the money you make. 

Monday, February 20, 2012


Just transferred the money to my taxable brokerage account to purchase shares of Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU).  They are the parent company of Northeast Utilities System.  Northeast Utilities System furnishes retail electric service through wholly owned subsidiaries to Connecticut, New Hampshire and western Massachusetts.

Their dividend yield, on recent price of $36.10 per share, was 3.25%, which represents a dividend of $1.18 per share.  I placed the order to purchase shares before the end of February, to take advantage of their next scheduled dividend payment on March 30, 2012.  Payments are made to shareholders of record as of March 1, 2012. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012


This past week was kind of hectic for me.  We've been busy at work getting ready for a big corporate inspection on the 22nd.  On top of that, we've been busier than usual due to increased traffic from people who've gotten their tax refunds.  So it's been kind of crazy there.

On a brighter note, I collected several dividend payments.  In my taxable portfolio I received dividend payments from REIT O, limited partnerships LGCY, EVEP and SGU.  For my IRA account I collected dividends from SPY, T, DE and ABT.  Also purchased a stake in NYB for their current dividend yield of 7.72%.  While NYB may be somewhat risky, the price was right and the rewards in high yields and possible capital gains made it worth the risk for me.  

On my shopping trips this week, I continued to benefit from my version of extreme couponing.  I saved a handy 38% at the grocery store by matching coupons with sale items.  On my Sunday trip to Walgreens I saved close to 50% off my total purchases!  I also got 2 more chances to win $3,000 with their customer surveys.  It's been really great, since I've started couponing, to keep my house so well stocked with food, cleaning supplies and personal care items.  I have never had my home so well stocked in my entire life.  Coupons are the way to go.  I even save $25 on work I had done on my Honda Civic by using a coupon from the dealership.  

While I was at the Lake of the Ozarks for my annual February get away at Port Elsewhere, I made good use of coupons to buy food for the condo so I didn't have to go out to eat.  While there, I shopped for new shoes at the Nike outlet store and got an $80 dollar pair of Nikes for $21, almost 75% off!  All the savings from coupons and sale items are making it much easier to weather the slump in the economy and rebuild my investment portfolio after paying medical bills from my heart attack.  It also helps make it easier with ongoing medical bills for follow up care.  

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I've never paid for a cell phone since I signed my first contract with AT&T.  At the time I really wanted the razr v3 by Motorola but I didn't want to pay for it.  So when AT&T offered me a free razr phone, I signed up.  Since that time, every two years I got a new phone free when I renewed my contract.  Sadly, as much as I love AT&T (one of my longest held dividend stocks), this time around they just didn't have a phone to suit my needs.  I know smart phones are all the rage, but I just don't see the need to have everything on my phone.  I have a Kindle Fire, an ipod touch and a couple of computers so I don't feel any need for Internet access on my phone.  As for text messaging, I've never seen the point.  If you call my cell phone, which I almost always have with me, I'll most likely answer it and you can tell me whatever you want to communicate without having to type it out on a small keypad.  If I don't answer, leave me a voicemail.  I personally feel no need to bother with texting. 

Having said all that, what I do want is sleek stylish design, preferably a flip or slider phone that's thin and tough enough to hold up when I carry it around in my pocket.  A big plus for me is long battery life, not because I use my phone excessively, but more because I don't want to be charging it up every time I turn around.

Considering all this, I came to the conclusion that I'd be happy with a new razr phone.  While I couldn't find the razr v3 on AT&T's website, I did find it on  I bought an unlocked U.S. version in blue.  I had enough left on a gift card from Christmas to almost pay for the phone, so my only out of pocket expense was $1.98.  Even if I'd had to pay the full price of $49.98 it wouldn't have been much over the upgrade fee from AT&T and I didn't have to sign a new two year contract. 

Friday, February 17, 2012


Yesterday I stopped at a convenience store to get gas and ran in to a girl I worked with about 5 years ago.  She's still at the same job and was telling me how much better things are there with the new managers.  After I left, I thought perhaps I should go talk to them about getting my old job back.  However, it also occurred to me that I'm still getting paid from my time working there.  In fact, I am not only getting paid from that job, I also get money every month from the job that followed that one and the unemployment I received before starting my current job.  If or when I decide to move on from my current job, I'll continue to get paid from them as well.  How is this possible?  By setting aside a small amount of my earnings each month and investing it in dividend stocks. 

If I had only known when I was younger what I know now, I'd be getting paid from every job I've ever had and would most likely be retired right now.  It doesn't take a great deal.  When I first started my investment program, I was only able to save $35 per month.  Yet I managed to accumulate a nice tidy portfolio over the years and anyone can do the same. will allow you to open an account and set aside small amounts to purchase shares of dividend stocks.  When you've purchased your initial shares you can easily re-invest dividends and start building your own portfolio.  Even if you only saved $20 per month, you'd have $240 by the end of the year.  Not a fortune, but enough to purchase dividend paying shares and start building your own cash machine that will pay you month after month, year after year. 

So my best advice to young people is;  Make it your goal to get paid for the rest of your life from every job you ever have.  No matter how much you're able to save, put a small portion aside and invest in dividend paying stocks.  Re-invest your dividends to build your cash flow and never spend your initial investment.  By doing so, you will continue getting paid in the form of dividends from every job you ever have.


Not long ago I wrote about adding utilities to my portfolio.  I've owned shares of CNP and Great Plains Energy for quite some time now.  However, with a goal towards increasing monthly cash flows and evening out monthly dividend payments, I decided to beef up my portfolio with high quality utility stocks. I've added Duke Energy (DUK), Wisconsin Energy (WEC) and Northeast Utilities.  With the dividend payment from Northeast (NU) in the month of March, I will have received payments from all three investments.  With these investments paying off each quarter, my next move will be to add shares in 3 additional utility companies paying in different quarters.  This will boost monthly dividends paid to my portfolio for each month of the year.  In the end I'll be collecting the same number of dividend payments each month.  Then it's really just a matter of boosting my holdings through dividend re investments and additional cash contributions to reach the ultimate goal of replacing my monthly from work.

As long as my health holds out, I plan to work at least another 10 years, so I've got quite a bit of time to build on my investments.  I'm already seeing the benefits of monthly income from dividends by the additional freedoms this allows.  I no longer have to work as much as I used to, or make as much from my job, to maintain my lifestyle.  Probably the best benefit of all is not worrying so much about money,  since I know that even when big expenses arise unexpectedly, the cash machine I've created from dividend stocks will eventually put me back in the black.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Racked up some great coupon savings at Walgreens this week!  I used register rewards from last week along with coupons on sale items.  I purchased personal care and grocery items which would normally retail for $30.65, for just $8.68 out of pocket.  From today's purchases I received $6.00 back in register rewards, making my actual cost $2.68, for a total savings of just over 91%!  I continued my savings spree at the grocery store, where I saved a handy 50% on food purchases.  I bought enough food at the store to make 6 meals for a total of $3.00 or 50 cents per meal! 

Picked up coupon booklets from my neighbor and a St. Louis Sunday paper to restock my coupon binder.  I spent $2 on the newspaper and got close to $100 in coupons!  Even if I only use 1/4th of the coupons I clip, what a phenomenal return on a $2 investment.  Wouldn't it be great if you could regularly do so well with stocks? 

This is why I get so excited about coupons.  If you spend $2 on a newspaper and get $25 in coupons that you actually use, that works out to a whopping 1250% return on your original investment!  What's even more amazing is that this is an instant 1250%, meaning if you repeated this each week just imagine what your annualized return would be.  The $2 per week would total $104 per year.  Multiply 52 weeks x $25 in usable coupons each week and you've managed to increase your original $104 buying power to $1300, or $108.33 per month on average.  

Saturday, February 4, 2012


The month of February is off to a good start for me.  With the stock market up and coupon savings at the grocery start of 47% this week, it's looking like a good month money wise.  I've been getting all my information together to file my tax returns and expect a modest refund.  The problems I've been having with my landlord regarding damages caused by a roof leak are nearing a resolution, so I should getting my apartment repaired soon and get things back to normal there too. 

I've had a lot of turmoil in my workplace related to turnover of employees and an upcoming corporate review.  While I don't deal as well as I should with changes in the workplace, I realize that fact and have resolved myself to roll with the punches, so to speak, and keep in mind that change can bring new opportunities.  So I'm concentrating on keeping myself open to new opportunity and keeping a positive outlook.  Ultimately I'm thankful to have a job at all when so many people are out of work.  Currently my working income represents the majority share of my monthly cash flow, so until my investment income overtakes that, I need to concentrate on keeping my employers happy.

I'm continuing work on my investment plan for the year and am considering opening a Roth IRA.  While contributions are not tax deductible, I like the idea of not being taxed on profits.  With contributions to my regular IRA making up only a small percentage of deductions to my taxes, I'm thinking that I would benefit more from future tax savings offered by a Roth account. 

Got some great coupons in the mail from Gerbes this week.  The mailers they send out are based on past purchases, so the coupons are for items I regularly purchase.  Some are entirely free and free is the ultimate goal of coupon shopping.  I'll be making good use of those along with the coupons I received from last weeks paper and register rewards from Walgreens.  All the money I save from couponing contributes toward building my investment portfolio and increasing monthly dividends.