Saturday, October 31, 2015

Better Investing Update 10/30/15

Trade Updates

My Investing Mission this week was to buy stocks that will be paying dividends soon. Below is a table of the stocks that I bought this past trading week. I won't be getting a dividend from one of the F and OHI shares. I bought them after the ex-dividend dates to cost average down.

StockTickerBuy Price
AppleAAPL$115.00
FordF$14.99
FordF$14.66
IntelINTC$34.10
Omega Healthcare InvestorsOHI$36.05
Omega Healthcare InvestorsOHI$35.07
Total$249.87

I also sold my 1 share of Colgate-Palmolive this week. 

CompanyTickerBuy Price Sell PriceDifferenceDividendFee% Gain
Colgate-PalmoliveCL$61.85$68.80$6.95$0.38-$0.0211.82%

To determine the % Gain, I used the following equation. 

=(Difference + Dividend + Fee)/Buy Price. 

In the equation I have "+Fee", and the reason I add the fee is because I have it listed as negative on my spreadsheet (Adding a negative, or subtracting a positive result in the same value). I am pumped to get an 11.82% gain on 1 stock trade. I will receive the dividend for CL on November 16th. 

Next week's plans will be to sell a majority of my stocks. I am going to try and sell Microsoft, Apple, Ford, Unilever, Intel, General Electric, and Omega Healthcare Investors. All of these stocks besides General Electric had recent ex-dividends or will have them this upcoming week. General Electric won't have an ex-dividend until December, so I am going to take the gains from it and buy something else. 

***Some blogs I've visited encourage you to sign up and pay money to check information about dividends. Don't pay money to check when ex-dividend dates are - use the NASDAQ Dividend Calendar. This is what I've been using lately.- 


Robinhood App Updates

The Robinhood App is now on Version 1.3.5. The previous version was 1.2.2. The app shows 3 version updates, versions 1.3.3., 1.3.4, and 1.3.5. It looks like the biggest part of the 1.3.3 update was adding cards. You can see at the bottom of the picture below where the cards are placed at. The cards have information related to the stocks you own and information about the economy. I didn't have any cards with information about my account, but the description from the app says the cards will have that too.

The version 1.3.4 and 1.3.5 updates were smaller updates containing fixes for the app. I did also notice that there is an option to send friends referrals to use the app. I'm not sure what version this updated with, but it is there now.

I had been wondering if the app was going to update soon, since it'd been a while since there was one. The app doesn't need updates all the time, but it's nice to know the app is being maintained. 

It should be another fun week of trading next week, and I have quite a few stocks to sell. I'll have to check out the addition of cards to the Robinhood App some more too.

You can look at my investing page to see my portfolio resulting from the trades this past week.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Signed,

Mitch



Friday, October 30, 2015

Investing Update 10/30/15

I'm doing this post from my phone since I'm out and about with some friends! It won't be a full length post, but I'll give a few highlights.

This week I sold CL stock and bought Apple, Intel, and Omega Healthcare. I sold CL at a gain, and am up $4 on Apple right now. I bought Apple because I figured the stock would go up with their earnings report.

The Robinhood App updated. It now has a spot for information about the economy, your trades, and upcoming dividends. This was something missing from the app, a connection to the "outside" world. I like it for now, but hope it doesn't get too busy or overbearing.

I'll do a more in-depth post on my weekly trades tomorrow, and a review on the Robinhood App update.

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, October 29, 2015

General Updates

I've decided to give general updates on all MITCH topics tonight -

Minimalism
I'm about half way done with the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo. I should be able to finish it by/on Saturday. The book is bringing up ideas about minimizing, de-cluttering, and organizing that I haven't heard of before. I will plan on sharing this book with friends or family to help them improve their lives.

Investing
There is a new update to the Robinhood App, so I'll include those updates tomorrow in my investing update post. Tomorrow's post will also talk about my trades for the week. As of right now, I'm up 12.04% since August. I could theoretically stop trading until next August, and still have a higher % return than my Roth IRA last year.

Technology
I'm starting to notice my phone dragging. Also, I'm still not happy with any messaging service on Android. I think within 6 months I'll have a new phone, and I'm still torn between the Google Nexus 6P and the Apple iPhone 6S+.

Conservation
No major updates here, but I'm going to start using my reusable water bottle again. I'm stopped using it and I need to start using it again. I've been noticing a lot of plastic bottle waste by myself and others, and I need to lead by example. Also, No Shave November is starting soon. I talked about this in yesterday's post, and this is another way I'm conserving resources.

Health
I've been trying to follow a routine in the mornings when I wake up. Part of the routine involves drinking a glass of water, stretching, an eating an orange. It is nice having some structure in the morning, although I'm not disciplined to following it 100% yet. Also, it's starting to get cold in Minnesota, so the options for doing outside activities are getting smaller.

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

No Shave November - Conservation

I've had a beard for almost a year now. I've only been clean shaven with a razor blade maybe 5 times in the last year. In the past year, I've saved a lot of money on razor blades. Shaving cream should last a decent amount of time, so I don't think I've saved a lot of money on shaving cream. I've been using an electric trimmer to trim my beard and keep it somewhat presentable.

I'm not advocating that all men grow their beards out to help save the earth. There was a time when I enjoyed having a shaved face. I know some people need to have their faces shaved for work, and I understand that. I personally like having facial hair, and at the same time, I realize not shaving every day is good for the earth.

I don't recycle the shaving cream cans. I'm not sure if you can. I have quite a few old razors laying around that I should probably just throw away. My plan right now is to do No Shave November, like I've done every year for the past 8 years. I will post before and after pictures, because I think they're cool. I encourage everyone, Men and Women, to do No Shave November. I enjoy the idea of it, and I don't really care if people find it disgusting.

Signed,

Mitch

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Preliminary Look - Verizon Phone Bill

I will start this post off by saving that I am a kind of a Verizon Fanboy. I've never had issues with coverage, dropped calls, or call quality. Verizon will pretty much work everywhere you go across the country. I feel like AT&T does too, but I don't have much experience with AT&T. Now that I'm living in Minnesota, I see a lot more people with T-Mobile. It's great to see another competitor around, but I personally don't think I would use T-Mobile. It works for people here because they're probably within a good radius of the Twin Cities to allow them to stay in T-Mobiles good coverage areas for Minnesota.

My family has had the Verizon bill on auto-pay for a long time. We don't really look at the bill as close as we probably should. Logging into my Verizon account tonight, I am sort of reminded why. The website is a bit clunky and slow. Verizon should take some tips from Google on how to streamline the site and make it easier to understand. Also when first logging in, there is a nice pop-up to greet you. Now, this is a pop-up notification to use points to buy stuff through Verizon, but still... I find this annoying.

Looking through the historical billing periods, when we had a phone with Verizon Edge, our phone bill was higher. I initially thought Verizon Edge was a good deal. Talking about Edge would probably take another post, so I won't get into it too much. Now that we don't have a smartphone on Edge, our bill is a little bit lower. So breaking up the bill, it looks like -


  • Base Bill (Base Program/Account Charges)
  • Individual Lines
  • Equipment Charges
  • Surcharges
  • Taxes

All of the smartphone lines are being charged approximately the same price, with the newer of the smartphones costing about $9 more a month. Our 1 flip phone line looks like it's costing us too much, so I will have to look into that.

I will need to sit down with Excel or Google Spreadsheets and break these numbers down some more. What I would like to do is buy my phone either outright or pay for it through the phone provider (Apple or Google). I'm over paying for stuff through Verizon that isn't the core cell phone service. I didn't really provide much insight into the phone bill, but I'm setting up the framework to look into it further. 

Signed,

Mitch

Monday, October 26, 2015

Money Spent on Food - Part II

I made an introductory post about the money I spent on food on the 14th of this month - (Money Spent on Food). It was eye opening to see how much money I was spending compared to a standard set by the USDA. I am going to spend this entire week tracking how money I spend on food. I calculated yesterday's and today's cost on food, see the chart below. 

10/25/201510/26/2015
1/2 Pizza$6.99Banana $0.27
Pastries$2.49Powerade$1.00
1 Coke Life$0.502 bread$0.37
1 Cup of Almond Milk$0.371 cheese$0.19
2 mayo scoops$0.07
lettuce$0.10
chips$0.60
1 pop$1.81
frosted flakes$0.30
1 cup of almond milk$0.37
$10.35$5.09
So judging off of my food from Sunday, you may think that I don't care about Health. Monday isn't much better, but a little bit. My diet (diet meaning food that I eat, not the buzzword of diet), has slowly been changing, and it's currently a work in progress. 

I'm tracking $'s spent on food, $'s/meal, $'s day, for a few reasons. 
  • To become aware of my spending to stick closer to the standard by the USDA. 
  • I've been reading about recipes about slow cookers, and some of those sites/blogs have it broken down into $'s meal/portion. 
  • A close friend of mine is watching his spending on food, and it made me feel bad about how much money I was spending on food. 

It took some time to enter in my receipt from the grocery store, but it'll pay off if I'm able to come up with a system to consistently track this information. If I come up with a good system, I'll post about it. 

So in the past 2 days, the food that I've eaten has cost me $15.44. This leaves about $50 for the rest of the week to stay within the standard of $65 I set for myself (but haven't been monitoring until now). 

Signed, 

Mitch


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mitch Mission Update W.E. 10/24/15

I gave myself 5 missions this past Sunday to complete over the week. A green Mission means it was completed, a yellow Mission means it was semi/mostly completed, and a red Mission means it was not completed.

50% of my Missions were completed this past week.

Minimalism -  Filter through all of the items I'm bringing back to my apartment from my house.

  • This was probably a bad Mission, and probably too much to take on for 1 week. I could have unpacked and put everything away, but I want to make sure it's put away in a proper place. I also want to throw away anything I won't need.

Investing - Attempt to sell VZ, DE, and GIS stocks, and buy 1 new stock that will be paying out a dividend soon.


Technology - Manage/consolidate/delete photos on my phone.


Conservation - Analyze my grocery purchases for opportunities in reducing materials going to the landfill. This is the same as last week.

  • I posted about this, but I probably could have done a more in-depth analysis.

Health - Weigh at or below 218 pounds on Saturday 10/24/15.

  • Weighed in at 221.6 on Saturday morning. Still at a 7 year low for me, and I'm not ballooning back up, but I still have room to improve. 


New Missions for W.E. 10/31/2015

Minimalism -  Finish the Marie Kondo book. This is a book that I need to read cover to cover and take notes on. This will also help me unpack my apartment.

Investing - Use the $'s from selling General Mills, John Deere, and Verizon to buy more stocks this week. These stock/s that I buy should be paying a dividend soon.

Technology - Analyze phone bill for upcoming $20/increase due to unlimited data line. Look at options for shared data package. 

Conservation - In honor of No Shave November, analyze the decrease in water and shaving supplies I'll use. 

Health - Walk for at least 30 minutes four days this week. 


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Google Opinion Rewards

A legitimate app that lets you earn Google Play Store credit is called Google Opinion Rewards. With this app, you fill out short surveys and Google will pay you for taking these surveys. The payment is credit to the Play Store and you can use this money to buy apps, music, movies, etc.

I can't say for sure the frequency I get surveys to fill out, but I get one on average probably around every 3 days. They surveys are about places I've shopped at, things I'm interested in shopping for, politics, and more. I know Google is using this data to probably sell me ads or products, and I'm OK with that. You don't make a lot of money per survey, but for me, it ranges from $0.00 to $0.40, with the average around probably $0.17. My reward history has the complete breakdown of frequency and credit earned, so I will do a statistical analysis on this sometime.

If you have Android, I would recommend downloading this app. Again, it is a legitimate app, it's from Google! I have to decide what I want to spend my credits on, as I almost have enough money to buy a movie.

Signed,

Mitch

Friday, October 23, 2015

Investing Update 10/23/15

My Investing Mission this week was to attempt to sell VZ, DE, and GIS stocks, and buy 1 new stock that will be paying out a dividend soon. I completed this Mission. The stock market was up the last two days, and it was a nice change of pace. Below is a summary of the gains from selling those stocks.

CompanyTickerBuy Price Sell PriceDifferenceDividend% Gain
John DeereDE$78.38$79.42$1.04$0.602.07%
General MillsGIS$57.14$58.12$0.98$0.442.45%
VerizonVZ$44.45$45.77$1.32$0.574.21%

To determine the % Gain, I did the following - (Difference + Dividend - 0.02)/Buy Price. Remember that Robinhood doesn't charge commissions, but there is a $0.02 fee charged to selling stocks. I'm happy with any positive gain, and the fact I got a 4%+ gain with a stock makes me happy too. 

The other part of my Mission was to buy a new stock. I bought Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI) for $36.56. It has a upcoming dividend of $0.56. 

At the time of writing this, my Robinhood Account is up over 11%. 

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Grocery Packaging Waste Analysis

One person that I admire is Lauren Singer of www.trashisfortossers.com. If you look around her website, you can see that she is very sustainability/conservation orientated. She has a page that shows how little trash she's generated over the past two years. I compared the trash she generates to how much I generate, and it made me think that I need to make a change. I've been reading her site on how to get ideas on ways I can generate less trash.

I want to generate less trash, and I'm going to start with food. Looking over my grocery bill from almost two weeks ago, and analyzing my purchases, I have opportunities to generate less trash-

  • Cottage Cheese - Plastic Tubs can be recycled, plastic film can't.
  • Orange Juice - Can the carton be recycled? I usually throw it away.
  • Cereal/Cheez Its - Wetboard can be recycled, plastic bag can't. 
  • Fruit/Vegetables - Plastic bags and twist ties
  • Soup - Can tin cans be recycled? I think so, I don't remember. 
  • Chips - Chip bag was thrown away
  • Guacamole Mix - Packages were thrown away
  • Gatorade Bottles - Bottles can be recycled
  • Frozen Pizza - Plastic and cardboard were thrown away. 
  • Plastic Bags - I think I had around 6 plastic bags for these groceries
I don't think this was a terrible amount of trash, but it could be better. One thing I'm going to do is order some reusable fruit/vegetable bags. I need to figure out how the weight is accounted for when checking out, and if the grocery stores will be OK with subtracting the weight of these bags. I also need to use reusable grocery bags. I have some, I'm just never good about remembering to bring them. This will just take discipline. 

I will start with the reusable produce bags and grocery bags and go from there. I don't think all packaging is bad, because this keeps food safe, but like I said, I have opportunities to improve. 

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Square Register

I went to a local coffee shop today and saw this Square Register. To understand what Square is, let's say I wanted to start my own dog-walking business. I walk my neighbor's dog every day for a week, and at the end of the week, my neighbor could pay me by credit card if I have a Square Reader for my smartphone or tablet. This is a device that goes into the headphone jack of your smartphone or tablet, and you're able to swipe a credit card through it and get paid. Now, if I charge my neighbor $5/day, and I walked the dog for 5 days, my neighbor would owe me $25. The net amount I would get after the transaction is $24.38. For every transaction that is swiped through Square, 2.75% of it goes to paying the Credit Card company, Square, and other thing, but I'm not sure what.

Looking through the website, www.squareup.com, it looks like there is some pretty good software with the app that can help people manage their business and take a deeper look at transactions. I've really only see these Square Registers at small/local shops so far. I'm not sure what the future brings for Square with Apple and Google introducing Apple Pay and Android Pay. Also, I'm not sure what the future holds for the Square Readers that read credit card magnetic strips. This is becoming obsolete technology, with the new credit card chip law coming out. Square does have a credit card chip reader, but it's not as "cute" as plugging the magnetic strip reader into your headphone jack. I will take safer technology over convenience though.

If I was to start my own business, I would probably pursue using Square. The founder and CEO is Jack Dorsey, also the co-founder and CEO of Twitter. I respect Jack and have confidence in what he'll do with Twitter and Square.

Signed,

Mitch

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Google Photos

My Technology Mission this week is to manage/consolidate/delete photos on my phone. I used the DiskUsage app to reanalyze how much space pictures were taking up on my phone. I then double checked that Google Photos had my photos backed up. After verifying this, I let the Google Photos app delete pictures on my phone that had been backed up (See the picture on the left). I also manually deleted photos/screenshots/saved snapchats.

At the time of writing this, Google Photos is the #5 Top Free App on the Google Play Store. When you take a picture, a high quality version of the photo can be uploaded to Google's servers. There is no limit on how many photos you can do this with when the pictures are saved as a high quality version. There is a limit on photos stored on Google's servers that are saved at the original size/quality the photo was taken at. For someone who only has 9 point something gigabytes of storage on their phone, Google storing my photos is really helpful.

This was not planned - but Google posted about Google Photos on their blog today. It's a pretty cool post! - https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2015/10/11-things-to-know-about-google-photos.html

Signed,

Mitch




Monday, October 19, 2015

Cluttering My Apartment

The picture to the left is a good chunk of the items I was able to fit in my vehicle and haul back with me to my apartment. I'm going to unpack these things slowly. I'm going to evaluate it's use for me and where it will go before unpacking it. My living room will look like a mess, but it'll be worth taking extra time to unpack the right way.

I feel tired and somewhat drained from the long weekend of moving, getting rid of stuff, packing, and unpacking. My Minimalism Mission this week is to filter through all of these items. I probably won't get around to doing this until at least Wednesday, since I'm playing catch up from being gone this weekend.

I don't want to view having stuff as a bad thing. I am happy to have more of my stuff in my apartment now. I brought my coffee maker, so I can start making coffee again in the mornings. I brought my dish drainer, which will help with dishes. I brought my winter jackets/coats since temperatures are cooling off. I did bring bring a lot of clothes back with me too. I have 55 shirts (shirts being an encompassing term of things I wear on my torso), and this number will go up by quite a bit after my next shirt inventory.

I'm looking forward to filter through my stuff and taking inventory. I'm not looking forward to the shirt inventory, and I may donate some shirts before doing my inventory to hide how unnecessarily large my wardrobe is! Just kidding, I will be up front about how cluttered I am.

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mitch Mission Updates W.E. 10/17/2015

I gave myself 5 missions this past Sunday to complete over the week. A green Mission means it was completed, a yellow Mission means it was semi/mostly completed, and a red Mission means it was not completed.

60% of my Missions were completed this past week.

Minimalism -  Read the first chapter/section of "the life-changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo. This will be a continuation of last week.

  • Completed. Marie Kondo even favorited my tweet about it! :)

Investing - Track how much money I spend on food this week. Use this data to budget for future spending on meals.

  • Mostly completed. I didn't get all of Saturday's food tracked yet because that was a travel day.

Technology - Figure out how to display a Google Spreadsheet correctly on my investing page.

  • Mostly completed. I posted about this, and it still feels open-ended to me. But for now, my investing page looks pretty good to me! 

Conservation - Analyze my grocery purchases for opportunities in reducing materials going to the landfill.

  • Nope. Didn't happen. 

Health - Walk continuously for at least 30 minutes every day this week. This will be a continuation of last week.

  • This happened for most of the days this week. I traveled this weekend to my house, so Friday and Saturday got busy. 


New Missions for W.E. 10/24/2015

Minimalism -  Filter through all of the items I'm bringing back to my apartment from my house. 

Investing - Attempt to sell VZ, DE, and GIS stocks, and buy 1 new stock that will be paying out a dividend soon.

Technology - Manage/consolidate/delete photos on my phone.

Conservation - Analyze my grocery purchases for opportunities in reducing materials going to the landfill. This is the same as last week.

Health - Weigh at or below 218 pounds on Saturday 10/24/15. 


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, October 17, 2015

House & Clothing

Right now I'm sitting in my house, listening to twenty one pilots, typing on my Chromebook, and connected to the internet from my phone's hot spot. I cancelled my internet since I'm barely in my house anymore and it didn't make sense to keep paying for it. This weekend's goal has been to move as much stuff out as possible. Buying and selling a house within a year has been a stressful learning experience.

This has been the first move in a long time that I don't feel super stressed out from moving my stuff. I did a decent job of not accumulating too much stuff over the past year. I also am getting rid of stuff by posting it in my town's Facebook "For Sale" group. On quite a few things, I'm listing it for free because I just want to get rid of it. (If you want to get rid of something quick, just list it as "FREE" and it will fly out the door!)

I may have mentioned this before, but a lot of my desire to be a minimalist came from moving out from my dorm rooms in college. I was embarrassed at how much stuff I had, and stressed on trying to figure out how to move all of it. I've been working on changing ever since. I don't know if I'll ever be a super minimalist, but I have learned I should sort through my things more frequently to keep things from accumulating in my house/apartment. I also need to evaluate the waste stream more often on things I buy/obtain. I need look at the waste stream from a minimalist and conservationist point of view. 

I should have the bulk of my stuff removed from my house tomorrow. From that point, I will need to continue to sort through my things, do inventories, donate, and toss things in the garbage. My next immediate inventories will be for my clothing since I should have most of it in my apartment after this weekend. I am looking forward to getting these clothing inventories done because it's been far too long since I've sorted through my clothes. I think this act alone will reduce a lot of the stuff-induced anxiety I have. 

I will end with acknowledging how fortunate I am to have a house and excess clothing. 

Signed,

Mitch

Friday, October 16, 2015

Investing Update

I am leaning towards trying to capture dividends from the companies I have invested in. I might not do this with every stock I have, but I will with some. I will be receiving a dividend from AT&T (T) on November 2nd for $0.47. Since I have "captured" this dividend, I sold my 1 share of AT&T stock. 

I bought this 1 share for $32.30 and sold it for for $33.32. I did a limit sell for $33.32 because I wanted to gain a full $1.00 gain on the stock. The Robinhood App doesn't charge commissions, but there is still a $0.01 or $0.02 fee for selling a stock. So $33.32 - $0.02 - $1.00 = $32.30. 

Between the gain from the stock and the dividend, I made/will make - $0.47 dividend + $1.00 gain = $1.47 total gain. My total gain divided by the initial stock of the price, $1.47/$32.30 = 4.55% gain. I'm happy with this return on investment. 

I have a few other dividends I've captured, and I will probably sell those stocks once their value rises above the price I bought them for. 

Signed,
Mitch

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Investing Page Update

It took longer than I wanted, but I found a preliminary solution to correctly displaying a Google Spreadsheet on my investing page. This was my Technology Mission for the week.

You can view my investing page by clicking the Investing tab above, or going here - http://www.bloggingmitch.com/p/investing.html

I looked through the Google Docs Help Forum the other night and couldn't find anything. I also tweeted for help with the #gHelp hashtag on Twitter. I haven't gotten a response yet from Google. I did find help in the Docs Help Forum tonight. - https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/docs/RfE8tdDlzF4;context-place=topicsearchin/docs/change$20size

As you can see on my investing page, my portfolio spreadsheet has a larger display now. I'm still going to look into this issue, as I feel Google should have a tutorial on this, and I shouldn't have had to look on help forums for it. Now that I have the portfolio spreadsheet displaying correctly, I will work on updating my portfolio.

Side Note - I went on an early walk this morning, and it was great!

Signed,

Mitch


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Money Spent on Food

I need to create a budget or standard for how much money I'm spending on food. One of my Missions this week was to track how much money I spend on food. I haven't been watching my spending on food very closely the last two months.

Through doing a Google search, and looking through a LifeHacker post, I found a food plan by the USDA - http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CostofFoodAug2015.pdf. This plan shows food costs at home on a weekly and monthly basis, and divides up the information into different spending plans. I fall into the Male 19-50 year old category. According to this category, if I followed the following plans - the thrifty plan, low-cost plan, moderate-cost plan, and liberal plan, I would spend $43.40, $55.90, $70.20, and $86.50 per week, respectively.

I spent $70.08 at the grocery store on Sunday. With this cost alone, that would put me in the moderate-cost plan. I've spent more money eating out, so I can't say confidently if the $70.08 would last me a whole week, but it probably should. I definitely need to create a standard for myself, continue to analyze my food costs, and look into making bulk meals.

I think for next week I'll set my spending standard for $65 and be in between the low-cost and moderate-cost plans.

Signed,

Mitch

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

30 Minute Walks

Yesterday and today I was very intentional about taking at least a 30 minute walk. This was one of my Missions this week, and I'm going to complete it. I also need to enjoy the weather before it gets snowy. This will be my first winter in Minnesota and I don't quite know what the weather will bring.

Two years ago, I used to go out and just jog/run a majority of the nights of the week. It was probably around this time two years ago that I started decreasing how often I went out for runs/walks. I am reminded about this decrease in running from walking out at night in the cooler temperatures. I am viewing these walks as a stepping stone to build back up to running.

While on my walk last night, I grabbed a few pretty leaves and am currently pressing them. I'm not 100% sure what I'll do with them yet, but they'll be nice to look at in January when there are no leaves on the trees.

My Mission this week is to walk every day, and I am considering making this a permanent Mission. It's a very basic Mission, and it'll just take budgeting/scheduling a time to do it every day.
Signed,

Mitch


Monday, October 12, 2015

the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo

I read chapter one tonight of the life-changing magic of tidying up. I've owned this book for about 2 months now, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet... (I'm working on becoming more disciplined). I became aware of this book from reading r/declutter and r/minimalism, both which are subreddits from a website called reddit.

I read the introduction and first chapter of the book, and I'm enjoying it so far. I'm not going to talk too much about what the book covers, but will eventually post pictures of how my apartment changes from reading this book. Knowing how to tidy up will be important once I finish my transition from completely moving out of my house into my apartment. Moving items from my house that has probably 3x the square feet compared to my apartment will be interesting. I think the biggest issues of bringing stuff from my house to my apartment will come from clothing, books, and movies/dvds.

I will also be keeping in mind how to minimize my smartphone usage by reading this book. I don't believe this book will talk about smartphones very much, if at all. I am not done minimizing distractions/apps on my smartphone, and I will continue analyzing my smartphone until I can feel confident I won't be a smartphone zombie.

I won't post about each chapter I read, but I will probably make a post once I've finished the book.

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Mitch Mission Updates 10/11/2015

I gave myself 5 missions this past Sunday to complete over the week. If the Mission is highlighted green, it was completed. If the Mission is highlighted red, it was not completed.

I was very optimistic about this week, even tweeting that I should complete at least 80% of these Missions, instead I failed 80% of the Missions this week.

Minimalism -  Read the first chapter/section of "the life-changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo.

  • I will chalk this up to not being disciplined.

Investing - Use the NASDAQ ex-dividend calendar to "capture" upcoming dividend payments.

  • Accomplished this mission. Bought 1 share of General Mills.

Technology - Decide between using Google Keep and Wunderlist. This is a continuation from last week.

  • I think there are parts of both that I like, and I can still find value in using both right now.

Conservation - Don't purchase any unnecessary plastic cups or bottles this week.

  • I don't think this was a good Mission, as it was inhibiting to going about my life normally. Should I miss out on hanging out with friends because I didn't want to get a smoothie and throw the cup away afterwards?

Health - Walk continuously for at least 30 minutes every day this week.

  • I did not walk "continuously" for 30 minutes every day this week. On a positive note, my time spent walking this past week ranged from 51 min on Sunday to 2 hours 35 minutes yesterday (Saturday).


New Missions for W.E. 10/17/2015

Minimalism -  Read the first chapter/section of "the life-changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo. This will be a continuation of last week.

Investing - Track how much money I spend on food this week. Use this data to budget for future spending on meals.

Technology - Figure out how to display a Google Spreadsheet correctly on my investing page. 

Conservation - Analyze my grocery purchases for opportunities in reducing materials going to the landfill. 

Health - Walk continuously for at least 30 minutes every day this week. This will be a continuation of last week. 


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Verizon Unlimited Data

I still have a Verizon Wireless smart phone with unlimited data. I just became aware tonight that Verizon is planning on making customers pay more for smart phone lines with unlimited data. One of the articles about this is here - http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/08/technology/verizon-unlimited-plan-increase/

I need to double check my plan to see if this additional charge to unlimited data is going to affect me. I love having unlimited data on Verizon. It's fast and reliable, and I like not having to worry about going over my data limit and being charged for extra costs. I actually got a smart phone about a week before Verizon stopped offering unlimited data plans.

According to the article, not very many people have unlimited data plans (I guess that makes me special!). I guess Verizon is trying to maximize profits and standardize their plans. I think having customers with unlimited data, Verizon has to maintain their old plans' details and continue to educate their employees on how they work. If everyone is on the same plan, with varying sizes of data, it's probably easier for everyone at Verizon, instead of managing 2-3 different plans.

I might be willing to pay the extra $20/month to keep unlimited data, but if not, at least data plans/pools are getting better. Old data plans/pools of < 8 GB for 4 people was stupid and just greedy. I'll let you know what I decide. For now, I'm probably going to stream a bunch of video on my phone out of spite! Below is a picture of a recent month's data usage for my phone.

Signed,

Mitch




Friday, October 9, 2015

General Mills

One of my missions this week was to "capture" a dividend payment. I bought one share of General Mills (GIS) for $57.14. The ex-dividend date was 10/7, the record date is the 12th, and the payment date is November 2nd. I chose GIS because I'm familiar with a decent amount of it's popular brands. The dividend payment hasn't shown up yet on the Robinhood App, but I believe it will after the market closes on the 12th.

My strategy with Robinhood App is to buy dividend stocks. I am considering "dividend capture", which is buying the dividend stock before the ex-dividend date and selling the stock on or after the ex-dividend date. This "captures" the dividend. I have been enjoying buying these stocks and not monitoring them every day. Doing dividend capture will add monitoring, but not too much. The biggest thing will be to make sure I don't sell the stock for less than the dividend amount.

Looking at the GIS website, they have information on their sustainability efforts. They have goals to reduce green house gas emissions (GHG), fuel usage, water usage, energy usage, and more. From their charts, it appears they are making improvements in these categories. I'm not an expert in analyzing sustainability efforts, but the fact that GIS is aware of and tracking these efforts, that works for me to invest in them right now. I will work on improving my understanding of company's sustainability reports.

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, October 8, 2015

DiskUsage App

Back in June I bought a 64 gigabyte SD card for my phone. I have a Galaxy S4, and this model still allows for removable storage. Apple's iPhones do not have removable storage and the Samsung Galaxy models have started doing the same as Apple. I bought a SD card for my phone because I was running out of space with my small "16" gigabyte hard drive. I put the 16 in quotes because as you can see on the picture to my left, I actually only have 9.947 gigabytes of storage for my own personal usage, and even less if you count bloatware apps (Looking at you Verizon and Samsung).

The past couple of days my phone notified me I was running out of space. I wanted to see what is taking up space on my phone and in what quantities. I downloaded an app called DiskUsage. Now anything that can scan your phone like this, I would be cautious with installing. This app had over 1,000,000 downloads on the google play store, so I figured it was OK. You can see I have 5.56 gigabytes of apps and 2.4 gigabytes of media (pictures/video). I actually don't have a ton of apps left to remove on my phone, so I'm not going to clear much space there. I think I can make a decent amount of space with deleting pictures. I can delete the pictures saved on my phone once I make sure they're backed up on the cloud.

I like the DiskUsage app so far. It can scan my internal storage and my SD card storage. You can see that Facebook is my largest app, which I talked about deleting in yesterday's post. (Small update - my phone says I can move the Facebook app to my SD card, so I am going to do that for now. I'm still undecided about deleting the app). I don't know if I'll keep this app forever, or if I'll uninstall it once I get my phone storage under control.

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Deleting the Facebook App

I am strongly considering deleting the Facebook app on my smartphone based off of three reasons -

1. The size of the app
2. The frequency of updates
3. Reduction of being a phone zombie.

According to the app info on my phone, Facebook takes up 318 MB of storage on my phone. This the largest app on my phone. The next closest is Google Play Music app at 260 MB and the Google App at 109 MB.

I don't know the exact frequency at which Facebook is updating the app, but I feel like it's every other day or every 3 days the app is getting an update. I appreciate apps being updated, but it's starting to get annoying.

I'm working on not being a phone zombie. I feel if I deleted the Facebook app, this would reduce my time spent on my phone. I also think I would appreciate content more on Facebook if I was on a computer actually paying attention to it. Just like when I check my e-mail, I focus on e-mails better when sitting at a computer compared to checking it on my phone. Another reason for deleting the app is that content that my friends are sharing is turning into crap. Half of my news feed is just people sharing pictures from other pages/sites. Also, I've seen enough minion photos to last me a lifetime.

I haven't fully made my decision yet if I'm going to delete it, but I have a lot of good reasons for doing so. I'm leaning towards deleting it, and I will give an update if I do.

Signed,

Mitch

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Google Fit

An app that I need to start paying more attention to is Google Fit. This is an app that tracks how far you walk and how many steps you take in a day. I see quite a few people wearing Fitbits (a wristband that can track your movement activity), and I hear even more people about "getting their steps in" for the day. I'm not 100% sure if GPS has to be enabled to track your steps (yes, creepy, I know), or if an internet connection is good enough. 

The thing I like about this app is how it tracks things passively. I don't need to commence a start button to say that I'm walking. I can just pull my phone out any time throughout the day and see how far I've walked. I have noticed that driving can cause some issues with app, and potentially log driving as walking. It's cool to look at previous history of how much/far I walk. I've noticed that Sundays are my lowest days. Knowing this, I should attempt to walk more on Sundays. I should also check my phone in the afternoons to see where I'm at for the day, and whether or not I'll "get my steps in". 

Signed,

Mitch



Monday, October 5, 2015

Dividends, Wedding Weight, & Jack

Dividends

In the month of September I received one dividend payment from McDonald's (MCD) for $0.85. I bought this share of MCD for $94.00 and sold it for $97.15. I made $3.15 from selling the stock, plus $0.85 from the dividend, minus the $0.02 cost of selling the stock, for a net profit of $3.98. This $3.98, divided by the original cost of $94.00, is a 4.23% gain. If I remember right, I bought this stock to capture the dividend. I know MCD isn't known to be health friendly, but I still think they're a good business. MCD is actively engaged in keeping their product line current and appealing to customers. On long trips, I am usually inclined to stop at McDonald's to use the bathroom and get a coffee/pop. I do not currently own any direct stock in MCD, but I'm not ruling them out in the future.

Wedding Weight

I was in a wedding this past weekend. I have learned that I always gain weight over long weekends like this. I weighed myself this morning at 223.4 pounds. I'm not happy, but I'm not mad either. Hopefully I can get close to 220 pounds by the end of the week. I don't think I over-consumed too badly this weekend, but there were a few instances were I consumed too many calories.

Jack

Today Jack Dorsey was announced the CEO of Twitter. Jack Dorsey co-founded Twitter. This is an important update because we will continue to see updates coming from Twitter. Like I've previously said, it seems almost every other day the Facebook and Twitter apps on my phone have to be updated. With Jack formally announced as CEO, I think these updates will continue. The reason I still have faith and see value in Twitter is described in one of Jack's tweets today -


Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mitch Mission Updates 10/4/2015

I gave myself 5 missions this past Sunday to complete over the week. If the Mission is highlighted green, it was completed. If the Mission is highlighted red, it was not completed.

Minimalism - Count and document all of the pants that I have. Now that I have a structure for inventorying my shirts, I don't think counting my pants will be too tough.
  • This mission was not completed this week. After thinking about it, the number of pants I have with me in my apartment is too low, and I need to bring more back from my house.

Investing - Find a non-dividend focused investing blog/person to follow.
  • I completed this mission by following mymoneyblog.com 

Technology - Decide between using Google Keep and Wunderlist.
  • I did not complete this mission this week.

Conservation - I'm going to pick a new topic for the week, since I'm hitting on a wall on having the same Mission for the past 2 weeks. The Mission will be to research how old cell phones/smartphones are recycled.
  • I completed this mission and will recycle my old smartphone once I've removed all my content from it.

Health - Track all of my calories consumed with MyFitnessPal app. I have a wedding this weekend, and I don't want to be 10 pounds heavier after next weekend. I won't have to track all of my calories down to the "T", and can be approximations.
  • This was not completed. I will find out tomorrow how much a weekend of wedding activities affected my weight! 

New Missions for W.E. 10/10/2015

Minimalism -  Read the first chapter/section of "the life-changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo.

Investing - Use the NASDAQ ex-dividend calendar to "capture" upcoming dividend payments.

Technology - Decide between using Google Keep and Wunderlist. This is a continuation from last week.

Conservation - Don't purchase any unnecessary plastic cups or bottles this week. 

Health - Walk continuously for at least 30 minutes every day this week.


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Google Maps

One app that is great and even plenty of iPhone owners use is Google Maps. There are plenty of great features on it, such as estimated time of arrivals and road congestion updates. I even noticed this weekend that when looking at my hotel on Google Maps, it shows the date that I have a reservation. I believe it synced because I had the reservation on Google Calendar.

Google Maps us great because you don't have to pay for updates. I believe all of the mapping will be important for Google's self driving car.

Signed,

Mitch

Friday, October 2, 2015

Wedding!

Today has been a busy day with wedding activities. The wedding is in the town where I went to college, so I've been catching up with old friends. I will have no major update related to MITCH tonight! To at least talk about something relatable, I'm posting this from the Blogger app on my smartphone. I've had an active day away from my chromebook, but I'm still able to post with the app.

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hotel WiFi & Verizon go90

Happy October!

I am currently writing this post on my Chromebook in a hotel room. I am traveling for a wedding this weekend, so my posts over the next couple of days might not be very detailed. I am not using hotel WiFi, because hotel WiFi can be frustrating. I spent a month in a hotel last year, and I never felt good about using hotel WiFi. I never felt secure using it, and ended up paying for a VPN client to help keep my connections secure. The connection speed was also noticeably slow. Right now I am connected to the internet from my smartphone hotspot. This is a sweet setup because I know the connection is secure since it is password protected. It is also very fast since the connection is off the 4G LTE off my phone. The only thing I have to worry about is my phone overheating, so I'm not going to keep it connected for too long.

Also, Verizon launched go90 today. I don't know a whole lot about it yet, but go90 is an app to stream video. From my limited use so far, it reminds me of a cross between Hulu Plus and the videos from "Discover" section on Snapchat. With going through the app for a few minutes, I was able to find video that interested me in the form of Smosh videos and the Daily Show videos. I enjoyed watching the Daily Show pieces on Snapchat, and it appears I can watch the full show on go90. One good thing so far about the app is when I backed out of the app while watching a video to send a text, resuming video was painless and it didn't glitch and have me start from the beginning. One bad thing so far is that when I "go90" and turn my phone 90 degrees, it doesn't go until full screen mode. I'll keep messing with the app to figure out why, and I hope it's not because my phone is getting old.

Signed,

Mitch