Monday, August 31, 2015

It's My Birthday!!

36 today which is a little scary since it's closer to 40 than 30 but it's better than the alternative of not having another birthday.  I have lunch planned with my husband and a quiet dinner with my kids.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Picking Investments

Another blogger, Leslie, asked me how I picked my stocks and researched them.  I will give a back story about how I started investing a different time but I will try to explain how I pick investments now.

I actually have two retail investment accounts.  The first account is with Sharebuilder that I've had for over 9 years.  The balance took a dive today and is just under $8000.  I only have individual stocks in this one.  I have Titan Machinery which has done horribly.  I bought this just as I was getting back into investing and didn't do any research on it.  Commodity prices tanked a couple years ago and farmers aren't buying new farm equipment.  I also own Halliburton, BP and Conoco, all of which were bought around the first of the year when oil first tanked.  I'm down about $1500 now between the three stocks.  I didn't really research them but just bought when oil tanked.  The other stock I own is Coach.  I just bought this in the past month.  Again, I didn't research it much but I do think it's solid stock.  This account was down a total of $1700 today.

The other account I have is with a brokerage firm with an investment advisor.  I have $27,000 in this account and heavily rely on my advisor's advice.  I have a relationship with the advisor, not the firm.  I would follow him to a different firm if he left.  I know him personally and he isn't shy about telling me what to do.  I think he has my best interests in mind when he tells me what to do.  I have three mutual funds.  Two were the first ones that he recommended.  They are income producing funds and not very risky.  The other one is the one that is getting all of my money lately, it's an energy fund that I talked to my advisor about when oil started really heading south about a month ago.  It's less risky than buying individual stocks but still in the energy sector.  I knew I wanted something in the energy sector and he steered me in this direction.

Overall, I'm a terrible researcher but I've always made money on stocks.  I've sold Playboy, Halliburton, GE, Bank of America, ING, and Caterpillar for a profit.  I lost on GM.  I have a bit of a reckless personality which is why I want to buy when everybody else is selling.  However, that reckless part of my personality is what makes me a bad investor which is why I need a trusted advisor.  The traditional personal finance investing advice is to buy Vanguard mutual funds and hold.  I'm not that patient and I'm not enthused to do that.  This is what works for me and I hope it's profitable.

What do you think?  Do you think I'm crazy?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Back To School

Lil Punk goes back to school this week on Wednesday.  We had first grade orientation last week and her teacher seemed so nice.  She was very kind and enthusiastic.  I think she will be a great teacher and make the effort to bond with Lil Punk.

Lil Punk and I went to the fair today to use up a couple ride tickets from yesterday when we were rained out.  We went on the Tilt O Whirl and another big kid ride.  It was so much fun and I'm happy that she's almost done with the kiddie rides.  She wanted to go on the Zipper but I thought that be a bit much for a 6 year old.  Next year I definitely want to take her on armband night.  I love rides and it was such a big step for her today.

This week will likely feel out of sorts as we adjust to back to school.  I can't believe how quickly the summer flew by.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Duggars

I made a comment awhile back about the Duggars that I thought it was not a bad thing that they kept popping out kids.  I now fully retract that statement.  They obviously have too many kids to care for all of them.

When it came to light 3 months ago that Josh had molested his sisters and one other girl.  His parents gave an interview that defended their actions of not reporting him sooner and basically dismissed their daughters' feelings on the subject.  They acted like the situation wasn't a huge deal until he started touching their very young daughter.  As a survivor of incestuous abuse, I was absolutely disgusted by their attitude on the whole situation.  I couldn't believe that they didn't do more to protect their daughters.  They were more interested in protecting Josh's name now.

It was revealed this week from hackers that Josh had two paid subscriptions to Ashley Madison, the website for cheaters.  He even paid extra to guarantee himself an affair.  He is obviously a pig and a cheater.  The worst part about this is that his poor wife, Anna, just had their fourth baby.  To my knowledge, Anna has never worked during their marriage.  She helped out a bit at their car lot but Josh made all the decisions.  Anna has no means to support herself and its likely that her family and Josh's will urge her to forgive him and stay with him.  I'm sure she will look at this as one big test from God, not the sign to run far away like it should be.  Anna has no financial options to leave Josh except for going after him for child support. I feel so sorry for Anna.  Nobody deserves the shit that she is going through.

The whole situation is terrible.  Their culture really sets woman back 100 years or more.  What are your thoughts on the Duggar situation?

Friday, August 21, 2015


For the better part of this year I have lacked enthusiasm for saving.  I was excited to pay off our remaining auto debt and to bring our liquid emergency fund up to $10,000.  We have still been saving money but not with much enthusiasm.  Until now!  Nothing motivates me more than a down market to be motivated to put every extra penny into savings.  I love getting things I really want on sale and stocks are no exception.

I think energy stocks are very undervalued right now so I want to dump any and all extra money into them.  I'm tempted to not buy any groceries except milk for the next two weeks so I can use all the grocery money to invest.  I do think its feasible that money invested now could double or more in the next few years.  I know its a gamble but I'm willing to take it.

I'm debating depleting our cash emergency fund to invest it all.  If Y was on board with that plan, I would do it.  We have about $10,000 liquid but I would even feel comfortable taking that down to around $2-3000.

Buying stocks on sale is for me is like most women buying shoes and purses on sale!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Retirement Update

I just added up our retirement totals for August 1st and we're within $5000 of our $150,000 goal this year.  We started with $116,599.75 at the beginning of the year and we've contributed quite a bit this year.  I have one more month of adding 16% of my income to my 401k before I need to back it down to the 5% to just get the company match.  I want to max out my 401k but I want the match so its a balancing game, especially because I'm on commission.

I've mentioned it before but the reason that I'm focusing so much on retirement is because I don't know what the future holds.  What if I'm disabled tomorrow and never able to work again?  Also, my in-laws just retired and I worry for them. I hope they have enough money to last.  My mother-in-law retired just before she turned 59 so that is young to retire.

If all goes according to plan (which I know rarely happens), I do want to be able to retire and travel without worrying about money at every twist and turn.  I want to have less stress in retirement, not worry about money.  I will probably be worried about our health and kids at that point.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Country Living

I spent the morning picking from my garden.  I picked tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and mini eggplant.  I washed up the tomatoes and peppers because I'm going to trade them with a friend for sweet corn.  He grows a huge field of it and I'm going to pick enough to freeze.  I'm going to blanch it and freeze some but I'm also going to try to make cream corn and freeze it like that.

I made a pasta salad with veggies from my garden, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and celery.  I'm bringing it over to our neighbor's house tonight for a pig roast.  It will be fun but super hot.  It's around 95 here today and very humid.  They don't have central air so you can't even go inside to cool off.  I don't know how people did it in the south before AC.  It will be fun to hang out with everybody and have a couple drinks.

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thursday Update

I'm not sure how many ways I can title my random updates which have become my entire blog.

Tomorrow is payday for Y and myself and a commission one for me.  I was able to log in today to see how much my check would be.  It's actually $600 more than what I was thinking it would be.  I deducted all of the savings and other small bills from my checkbook register.  Since this was a large commission check, I do plan on investing more money tomorrow but I'm not sure in the amount.

I did pay my one debt, the mortgage.  One commenter pointed out that I'm not debt free since I have a mortgage and she's correct.  My actual mortgage amount is $937 monthly and I choose to pay that rather than pay rent elsewhere.  1800 square feet new houses are not rented out in my town but if they were, the rent would be around $1500-1800 monthly.  I'm much farther ahead to have a manageable mortgage for our house.

The energy sale is continuing.  I'm buying energy stocks for the long haul.  I think they're undervalued but OPEC is going to push the price down as much as they can.  I think we will see low oil prices for a couple more years.  It looks like a couple big countries are on the verge of recessions.  Energy and steel stocks look like great buys right now.

I have been getting headaches consistently lately.  I made a chiropractic appointment so I hope that helps.  The other thing it could be is my long hair.  My hair is down to the middle of my back.  I don't have time to dry it in the morning anymore so its super healthy even with curling it.  I am loathe to cut it but of I must to get rid of my headaches, then it must be done.

That's is for today's random update :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Food and Stocks

I prepared dinner for tomorrow with ingredients from our garden.  Freshly dug potatoes, onions, and carrots were chopped and put in the crockpot with chicken thighs and garlic.  I will put the timer on the crockpot tomorrow and we will have a delicious dinner tomorrow night.  Our tomatoes are starting and I'm so thankful.  Tomatoes and cucumbers are my favorite foods.  I splash a little garlic rice wine vinegar in both and it makes for a good side dish or snack.

I met with my financial advisor and started buying an energy mutual fund.  I think energy stocks are undervalued right now and I love getting a good deal.  I wasn't sure if I wanted more exposure to individual energy stocks since I already own BP, Conoco, and Halliburton.  I also bought a couple thousand of Coach.  I don't buy their bags because I'm too frugal but I think I got a good deal on the stock.  I wish I had more cash right now because I love buying stocks on sale.  I am keeping my $10,000 emergency fund in cash but I'm so tempted to buy something else.

Another side note that's important to me:  I encourage you to call your Senators who voted not to defund Planned Parenthood.  This is not about women's rights.  Women should always have the right to say no.  It's not okay to use our tax dollars for an organization that is selling fetus body parts.

If you think that you're going to leave me a comment in my blog about changing my mind.  Forget it.  Never going to happen.

Edited to add:  I like that this is a passionate issue.  It should be.  Obviously I feel strongly about it and I think we should contact our elected officials to remind them how we want them to vote.