Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thank you KRAFT!!!


As many already know Kraft (KRFT) is merging with Heinz to become the Kraft Heinz Company. The new company will become the third-largest food company in North America. The best part of the news aside from a jump in shareholder value is that Warren Buffett is involved in the deal.

Kraft shareholders will receive a 49% stake in the new company and will also receive a special $16.50 dividend. KRFT is currently trading up about $23 a share from about $61 to over $84. This represents a 37% increase over yesterday's close. This obviously is the pre-dividend price.

Since I currently own 75 shares, my special dividend amount will be $1237.50.

While this is only a one time dividend, it comes at an excellent time considering my yearly dividends were cut buy $632 thanks to ESV. It is also nice to have good news while I continue to buy energy companies and weather the storm on that side of my portfolio.

DEFY MEDIOCRITY

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases


Here are my automatic investments for this week.

  • CVX:  1.90 shares @ $105.11 --- Yield  4.07%
  • NOV:  4.09 shares @ $48.95 --- Yield  3.76%
  • XOM:  2.35 shares @ $84.97 --- Yield  3.27%

Total capital invested is $600 ($200 in each company).  The combined yield is 3.70% and these purchases will add $22.20 to my yearly dividends.

Energy companies continue to look attractive, however Shell and BP seem to be leaving some of the others behind. As a whole the market seems to keep grinding its way up and any pullbacks disappear quickly.

I think I will continue with lower weekly purchases in energy names and make the occasional larger purchase in a non energy sector to keep my diversification in check.

Companies on my radar for next week include the ones above along with CAT, BBL, ESV, and Shell.


DEFY MEDIOCRITY

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Weekly Sharebuilder Purchases


Here are my two purchases for this week.

  • NOV:  5.21 shares @ $47.95 --- Yield  3.84%
  • XOM:  2.96 shares @ $84.41 --- Yield  3.27%

Total capital invested is $500 ($250 in each company). The combined yield on these purchases is 3.55% and will $17.78 to my yearly dividends.

I'm wading back into the energy side of the investment pool this week. Last week I added Shell and this week I continue to build my positions in NOV and XOM. It looks like WTI is around $42 and continues to drift lower.

Companies on my radar for next week are XOM, NOV, CVX, RDS-b, BP, BBL, and CAT.

DEFY MEDIOCRITY



Friday, March 13, 2015

Stock Bought: Shell







Today I added to my Shell position.

  • RDS-b:  30 shares @ $59.88 --- Yield  6.28%

Total capital invested is $1810.30 and this will increase my yearly dividends by $112.80.

I have done my best to stay away from oil companies during the past three months, but I had some money in my pocket today and Shell is in the 50s. I was going to wait until next Tuesday to add to my oil positions with my weekly purchases, but pulled the trigger today. BBL was also tempting but I have a smaller position in Shell so I went that direction.

Am I crazy for making this purchase?? We'll see. A year from now I am going to have a lot of dividends coming from big oil companies or will have a lot of blood dripping from my portfolio.

DEFY MEDIOCRITY

Thursday, March 12, 2015

February 2015 Income and Expenses


February is a short month, but historically is better income-wise than January. This proved to be the case again this year. I don't know if the warmer weather last month helped, but I'll take it. There have been early indications of layoffs in some of the smaller oil service companies around Houston. While it is good to be aware of potential economic storms brewing, everything seems to be chugging along nicely for us. Fortunately Houston is a much more economically diversified city than it was 30 years ago so I still feel good about the rest of the year going forward.

Anyway, here is the basic summary from last month.

Day job (take home pay) --- $13170.83
Dividends/interest --- $903.12

Total net income --- $14073.95

Expenses --- $4533.98

Savings --- $9539.97   Rate --- 67.78%


Overall I like the looks of my savings rate this month. My goal is still to get normal expenses closer to $3,200 while working. Then once I leave the working world they should drop closer to $2500.

The bulk of my expenses came from two areas.
  • Walmart & HEB --- As best I can tell my wife spends more on Keurig cups than actual food
  • Academy --- Replacement treadmill and a new exercise bike

The so called grocery expenses totalled $1200 and the exercise equipment came in at $900. It seems like every month $500-$1000 in unusual expenses pop up. I always, in my mind, plan for stuff like this. There is always going to be landscaping in the spring, taxes, medical emergencies, random vet bills, hot water heaters that break, leaky roofs, car problems and maintenance, eyeglass, birthdays, etc.

Trying to plan a budget without accounting for $750 in the "other expenses" column is wishful thinking in my book. What I can do is work on the regular recurring expenses that tend to drift up and up over time. I just noticed that my Direct TV bill came in at $170 this month. I wanted to cancel the premium channels, but my wife reminded me a new season of Game of Thrones begins next month. Now that's an emergency if I have ever seen one.  I actually like watching the series and it gives us extra time to spend together. This is a perfect example of an area I can cut back on in a couple of months.

When the season is over I am cancelling the premium channels right away and saving about $50 a month. Next year I will resubscribe to HBO. There are many holes in my budget that if I focus on them I could squeeze a few hundred in savings here and there.

Guilty pleasures that won't go away are keeping the AC at 68 in the summer, eating at Saltgrass and Benihana quite often, and keeping some Crown Reserve at the house.

Life is too short to avoid some of the finer things and if I want the AC at 68 so I can get a good night's sleep on a hot Houston evening in July, so be it.

Anyway looking ahead to March I hope to receive enough passive income to cover almost all of our bills. I have never had a month in which I saved 100% of my day job take home pay. This could be that month.

Stay tuned.

DEFY MEDIOCRITY




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

No Weekly Sharebuilder Purchase -- Empty Wallet


After close examination, it appears that I have too much oxygen in my wallet.

  • No purchase --- Yield 0%

Total capital invested is $0 and my yearly dividends will remain the same.

I went a bit crazy last week buying a ton of PM and CAT, which exhausted my funds. So much so that I strongly considered temporarily eliminating the DRIP on CVX, JNJ, IBM, and XOM as they pay dividends today. I don't DRIP TGT which is my payer today so that should help with my short term cash crunch. One day I will totally drop all DRIPing and will partially live off the income these companies create. What a great day that will be.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow for a cleaning (luckily I have the HSA card to make the payment). The good news is I will receive a paycheck on Friday so I should be back in business for next week. Sometimes I live a bit close to the edge.

If my wife saw this post she'd smack me upside the head and I can't say that I would blame her.

I may need to look into one of those 12 step programs for dividend addiction (DA). Anyway I am stuck on the porch this week, but this dog will be out running hard again next week.

By the look of today's market, I'm sure many will be adding oil companies to their wish lists. I have focused on other areas of my portfolio in recent months so I probably will jump back into the energy side of the pool. A lot can happen in a week.

Stocks on my radar for next week include SO, TD, KO, RDS-b, BBL, APU, PG, JNJ, CAT, NOV, and CVX.


DEFY MEDIOCRITY

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blog stats and Adsense revenue update


Even though February was a short month, I still managed to reach 21,934 page views.

Graph of Blogger page views


The spike around Valentine's Day was courtesy of  Dividend Mantra.

Graph of Blogger page views


For the second month in a row I managed to surpass 20,000 page views. This number seems difficult to believe and I am still under the impression that Blogger is giving me inflated results. But like I mentioned last month, similar to dividend investing, if the chart is heading up and to the right it's all good.

I really didn't make any changes to the blog other than I finally added an About Me page and I removed my Run Log.

I haven't stopped running. In fact after several months of various nagging knee and ankle injuries, I have finally gotten completely healthy (knock on wood). The main reason I am not tracking the miles anymore is because my wife got me a Garmin watch which tracks miles, pace, calories, and a few other cool things.

In February my adsense revenue increased to $35.65. This is quite a bit higher than the $20.55 I earned in January. I still have not received any funds because I have not broken the $100.00 minimum threshold. Hopefully by the end of April I will receive my first payment.

One day while roaming around the AdSense dashboard, a box appeared and asked me if I wanted to optimize my ads. I clicked yes (as this involved no effort on my part) and as far as I can tell my ads have become more COLORFUL and animated. Then again, this could be entirely my imagination. Usually the "optimizing my revenue" section within Adsense entails steps to resize and reshape my ads. Considering it took many hours to get the ads to properly appear (meaning "webpage cannot be displayed" did not pop up) in three locations I opted to avoid this altogether. As you may or may not remember, the last major change to my blog accidentally wiped out the borders surrounding my posts. I have to admit this still chaps my ass.

I have also been noticing that many of you have affiliate websites that seem to be much more effective at generating revenue. I was thinking about adding a Sharebuilder affiliate box to my site if it is available. Since I use their product and make purchases weekly, I certainly think it is a good and cost effective way to build positions in companies.

I guess I should see if Sharebuilder even offers an affiliate option. Then the hard part would be actually installing that into my site. The thought of trying to do that without screwing something major up is one of the reasons I haven't even looked into this yet. I know, I know....I have got to change with the times and tackle new projects. These things probably can be done in a matter of minutes for most of you, but continue to be a thorn in my side. Oh well, I will explore this option very soon.

Thanks to everyone who stops by to visit. I truly enjoy the interaction and support you guys provide. Your encouragement and advice is taken very seriously and I believe information is our most important asset and am always looking for new ideas.

Stay relentless in your pursuit of FI. I certainly plan to!!!

DEFY MEDIOCRITY