Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Favorite 2015 Posts

If you haven't heard, 2015 is coming to an end. Only about 6 hours of 2015 left for us here in the central time zone. I've learned that reflection is an important tool for learning. Below I listed my favorite posts from each of the 5 topics that I blog about. I like a lot of my posts, but I chose ones that I enjoyed writing and/or thought had a large impact on my journey.

If you don't want to read all of the posts, I have a short synopsis under each of the links.

Minimalism - http://www.bloggingmitch.com/2015/11/thanksgiving-2015.html

  • I left my phone at home during my family's Thanksgiving and I really enjoyed it. The minimalism part was not being a phone zombie and enjoying time with my family.


Investing - http://www.bloggingmitch.com/2015/11/tacos-at-home.html

  • I calculated the unit cost of the black bean tacos that I eat. The more I know about what I'm spending on food, the more I can track my overall budget and put more money towards investing.


Technology - http://www.bloggingmitch.com/2015/08/chromebook.html

  • My first post, and I talked about my Chromebook. I still love my Chromebook and am typing on it right now. My Chromebook has been my best/favorite technology purchase ever.


Conservation - http://www.bloggingmitch.com/2015/12/no-shave-november-2015.html

  • I talked about No Shave November, one of my favorite events of the year. I mentioned how not shaving has a positive impact on the environment. 


Health - http://www.bloggingmitch.com/2015/12/treating-facebook-like-aol-instant.html

  • I finally uninstalled the Facebook app and talked about the good 'ol days with AOL instant messenger. Uninstalling Facebook is good for my mental health. 

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Recycling Paper and Computers

My post on Monday showed a picture of items I was getting ready to recycle. I sorted through a bunch of old papers, and I'm still not done yet. I weighed the papers that I sorted through and it was 7.8 pounds. I was happy with this number.

Also, I took two computer towers (pictured to the left) to Best Buy to be recycled. The process was super easy.

1. Walked in to Best Buy with tower
2. Door Greeter said "Recycling?"
3. I said "Yes"
4. Door Greeter points to customer service and says "Head to Customer Service".
5. I stand in line for 30 seconds (behind other people getting their gadgets/items worked on)
6. Best Buy worker walks over and says "I can help you over here, you can put the towers on the counter"
7. The towers go on the counter
8. The Best Buy worker starts slapping some stickers on the towers and keyboard and says "That's it"
9. I thanked her and walked away.

I am very surprised at how easy the process was. I have many more items that I plan on taking to Best Buy, although I'll have to keep the 3 item limit per day in mind.

I did pull out the hard drives before I recycled the towers. I wasn't able to wipe the hard drives, as I wasn't able to log on to either computer. They both booted up fine, but I couldn't get past the log in screens on either computer. On one I couldn't remember the password, and on the other, the version of windows became "non genuine" and wouldn't let me log on.

It's been a successful week of recycling so far. It appears that the stock markets have normal hours tomorrow and won't be closing early for New Year's Eve.

Signed,

Mitch

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Treating Facebook like AOL Instant Messenger

One of my Missions this week was to uninstall the Facebook app from my phone. All of my Missions this week are Health related, and this one is for mental health reasons. I don't need to mindlessly scroll through Facebook throughout the day. I'm going to start treating Facebook like how I used AOL instant messenger 13 years ago.

Back in 2002, on week nights, all of my friends seemed to get online after dinner time, around 6:30 PM. I would eat dinner and then go downstairs to the computer, use dial-up to connect to the internet, and then sign into AOL instant messenger. It was fun because everyone was online at the same time, before we all had to work on homework. It was a dedicated time to chat with friends, and since we only stayed on for about an hour, you had to be intentional about who you wanted to talk to and intentional about the things you wanted to talk about.

Now in 2015, I can check Facebook any time I want. There isn't the excitement of running downstairs to a computer and connecting to the internet and seeing who is online. There isn't the excitement of hearing the sound notification of a friend (or a crush) getting online. I'm going to start treating Facebook like AOL instant messenger. Here is what I'm going to do -


  • Keep Facebook uninstalled on my phone
  • Only check Facebook on a computer/Chromebook
  • Check Facebook at a certain time in the evening

Signed,

Mitch

Monday, December 28, 2015

Papers, Books, and Electronics soon to be Recycled

The picture to the left is of items I'm getting rid of soon. The item furthest on the left is an old computer tower. This tower has been around for probably 14 years, and tomorrow I'm going to see if it'll still work. I may run into difficulties, because I don't remember the password to the computer. I am planning on taking this tower to Best Buy to be recycled. Even if I wipe the computer, I'm planning on pulling the hard drive out before taking it to Best Buy. I don't have anything to hide, but I don't know how I feel turning my hard drive over to people I don't know. The space needed to store a hard drive will be a lot less than an entire computer tower.

Second from the left are a few textbooks from college. I'm going to attempt to sell these back to Amazon. I don't know the specifics, but I believe you type in the ISBN number of the books into Amazon, and you can print shipping papers, and you send the books to Amazon. Amazon will then credit your account how much money the books are worth to the them. I'm not expecting to make much money off of this, but some money is better than the books taking up space in my closet.

The item second from the right is a brown paper bag full of papers to be recycled. I've spent a lot of time going through old papers, and the bag is decently full. This will go out with the recycling this week.

The last item, farthest on the right, is a box of old electronics. It has an old corded home telephone, an old GPS, and other electronics. I'm planning on taking these to Best Buy and Staples to be recycled.

The volume/cubic space that these items take up isn't a lot. It may not be noticeable right away that these items are gone. But as time goes on, and as more stuff is donated/recycled/thrown away, the space regained will be noticeable. The size of what is going to be recycled might also be deceiving in terms of how long it took to sort through the items. I can't quantify the hours I spent sorting, but this pile wasn't just assembled in 15 minutes.

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mitch Mission Update W.E. 12/26/15

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.

60% of my Missions were completed this past week.

Minimalism - Finish the Marie Kondo book on minimalism, and give this book as a gift to someone else. Also, keep my phone off for 4 hours during my family gathering for Christmas.

  • I'm still working on the book, I have about 40 pages left. I kept my phone off for close to 4 hours on Christmas day when around family, and I gave the Marie Kondo book as a gift (regifting) to another family member.

Investing - Finalize my stocks for 2016. If you go to my investing page, you'll see I'm adding a bunch of stock information and numbers, as I'm trying to plan for 2016. It's not finalized yet, it's still a work in progress.

  • I have finalized the 25 stocks that I will start the year off with as my 2016 Robinhood portfolio plan. Things can always change, and I won't be rigid to change, but I also see the value in having a set plan going in to the new year. 

Technology - Set up my new OnHub router.

  • I set up the new router and I love it so far. I had one connectivity issue so far, but that was on my cable modem's/ISP's end. 

Conservation - Find an electronics recycling center, and take old electronics there.

  • Apparently Best Buy and Staples will take electronics beyond old cell phones and ink cartridges. Best Buy has a general limit of 3 electronic items per day and Staples has a general limit of 6 items per day. 

Health - Continue sleeping 8 hours a night, along with the only beverage I can drink after 5 PM is water.

  • I probably got close to 8 hours a night, but not going to sleep at the same time interfered with getting good sleep. Also the only water after 5 PM Mission was not done at all :( 



New Missions for W.E. 1/2/2016

I'm going to do 5 Health Missions this week.

Health 1 - Sleep 8 hours a night.

Health 2 - Only drink water after 4 PM.

Health 3 - Do some sort of exercise every day, even if it's 5 push ups or a 1 minute plank.

Health 4 - Uninstall the Facebook app from my phone.

Health 5 - After I wake up in the morning, drink a glass of water and stretch for 5 minutes.


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Clutter

I was doing a puzzle tonight with a good friend of mine. She and her family got the puzzle started, and I helped with the last half. After some time, we had a lot of pieces inside the puzzle area and it was causing clutter. It was difficult to continue with the puzzle and hard to find where new pieces fit in. My friend said we needed to get the clutter out of the way, and after we moved the pieces back outside the puzzle, we were able to see the puzzle easier and where the remaining pieces should go. I thought about this and thought about clutter in other areas of life. Things are easier to complete when there is less clutter. Puzzles are awesome!

Signed,

Mitch

Friday, December 25, 2015

Google OnHub Router

I set up my new router tonight, the Google ASUS OnHub router. I chose the ASUS version over the TP-Link version mostly due to where the cables plug into the router, which is a minor detail. On the ASUS router, the cables plug directly into the back of the router, whereas on the TP-Link, the cables plug into the back after a decorative shell/outer cover is taken off. In my mind, I acknowledge that ASUS is a good brand, so that was also part of why I went with the ASUS OnHub router. I'm not very familiar with TP-Link.

As Google says, the set up for this router was very easy. As I was setting it up, the router was updated. I've already installed more updates on this new router than the old one (which was a total number of 0 updates). I never understood how to install firmware updates on previous routers I had.

I am not expecting any problems with the router itself, and if there are any internet issues, I'm assuming it'll come from my internet service provider (ISP). Since I'm not a sophisticated/advanced user with routers, after the router is set up, there isn't much left to adjust/tinker with. With having this router, I'll now need to find a new longer-term technology project/Mission to work on.

Signed,

Mitch



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Investing Update 12/24/2015

I've now seen Star Wars Episode VII three times. I had mixed feelings after I saw it the first time, but I loved it after I saw it the second time.

This past trading week I sold 1 share of Coca Cola.

CompanyTickerBuy Price Sell PriceDifferenceDividendFee% Gain
Coca ColaKO$43.30$43.60$0.30$0.33-$0.021.41%
Total$43.30$43.60$0.30$0.33-$0.021.41%

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

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

I am planning on buying KO again to hold long term, but with KO just recently paying a dividend, I figured I could sell it and use the money to buy a stock that is paying a dividend sooner than KO. I will have fewer updates on selling stocks as I'm shifting to holding stocks long term.

I bought 3 stocks this week, 1 that I've purchased before (DE), and 2 new ones (O & USB).

StockTickerSharesBuy PriceAvg. Price/Share
John DeereDE1$78.79$78.79
Realty IncomeO1$51.31$51.31
US BancorpUSB1$42.28$42.28
Total$172.38

All three of these stocks have upcoming dividends. I also feel good about holding these stocks long term.

Below is information on my year-to-date (YTD) investing numbers.

MITCH Investing - 2015
Friday Date12/25/201512/18/2015
Dividends Received$9.33$9.33
$'s Gained$63.43$59.36
Dividend % of Gain14.71%15.72%
Overall % Gain12.08%11.87%

You can click on the investing tab or here to see what stocks I currently have in my Robinhood portfolio.

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I don't like Gyms

I went to the gym tonight, and I was initially excited about going, but by the time I was leaving, I lost this excitement. After nearly getting knocked in the head with a basketball out on the basketball court and also hearing people dropping weights so loudly it boomed throughout the gym, I was annoyed when I was leaving.

I was shooting hoops and there were younger kids on the court shooting around too. I understand kids will be kids, and they're just having fun, but they weren't staying consistent on which hoops they were shooting on. I understand sharing the court, but the kids were on one hoop, then on the same one as me, then back to the original. I wasn't really expecting to have company on my hoops since I saw the kids on the other hoop, and almost got knocked in the head from a missed ball. I moved away from them after that. Call me "Grinch Mitch" I guess.

I also get annoyed when I hear people dropping weights. Almost two years ago, I was at a gym stretching before going on the treadmill, and some guy was doing dead weights in a NON lifting area, pretty close to me. He was dropping the weights on his way down, and the sounds of the weights hitting the floor pierced my right ear. I got up quickly, but the damage had still been done. I've had hearing problems in my right ear ever since.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't be a Gym Bro/Rat when you're lifting weights. If you're not strong enough to lift the weights, don't lift them. /rant  

In other news, the stock market will be open until 12 noon CST tomorrow, and it will be closed on Friday. So from 8:30 - noon CST tomorrow is the last chance to trade stocks this week. I may do my investing post tomorrow since it's the last day of the trading week, and also since talking about money/investing on Christmas day seems a bit taboo.

Signed,

Mitch

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

General Updates 12/22/15

Minimalism - Still sorting through old school papers, and working on Marie Kondo's book. I have mixed thoughts on buying gifts for the holidays/Christmas. I don't think buying and giving gifts is bad, I just think the greed, excess money spent, and over-consumption is bad. I'm also considering taking a Facebook hiatus until the beginning of the new year.

Investing - I'm slowly buying stocks that I'll be holding long term. I'm actually going to outline the entire 2016 year for dividend payments and stock purchases. My employer has taught me the value in planning at work, and I'm using this in my personal life too.

Technology - My OnHub router arrived today, and I'm super pumped about it. I will be setting it up on Christmas Eve, the 24th :)

Conservation - I'm collecting a box of old electronics that I can take to an electronics recycler. It's becoming more difficult for me to buy things, because I get stuck on what happens to the object/product when I'm done using/consuming it. 

Health - I think I need to dedicate 5 Missions all towards health. Catching up on sleep and decluttering is definitely helping with mental health, which I don't think I talk about enough yet. Mental health is just as important as physical health in my eyes. 

Also, this time of year is filled with people who are "busy" and stressed, and people who are busy doing last minute shopping. Please help all of humanity out by being patient, leaving 5 minutes earlier to go somewhere, expecting delays, and being willing to get some gifts after Christmas. Road rage is only amplified with the stress of the holidays.

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, December 20, 2015

MItch Mission Update W.E. 12/19/15

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 - Donate/toss/recycle 25 items. I'm not messing around anymore.

  • I didn't follow this Mission exactly, but I did sort through a lot of old school papers. I'm going to give myself a semi/mostly completed for this. My Mission, my rules :) 

Investing - Set up the HomeBudget app on my phone. I will probably pay for the app, because I think it's actually worth paying for. (This'll be the 2nd app ever that I've purchased)

  • I talked about this last night. I didn't get the paid version, and I did not start using the app yet.

Technology - Research new routers. I'll probably get the new Google OnHub router, but I want to at least compare other routers before I fully decide.

  • Briefly looked at routers at Best Buy, and I was started to consider looking at other routers, but then I stopped myself. The OnHub Router is ordered, and I will do a review on it once I get it! 

Conservation - Talk to my family about wrapping white elephant gifts in old newspaper instead of wrapping paper.

  • Brought it up, but it didn't go so well.

Health - Get 8 hours of sleep every night, even if I don't sleep a full 8 hours, dedicate 8 hours of time to sleep.

  • This was done probably 90% of the nights this past week. I don't feel super energized, but I know I'm doing my body some good.



New Missions for W.E. 12/26/2015

Minimalism - Finish the Marie Kondo book on minimalism, and give this book as a gift to someone else. Also, keep my phone off for 4 hours during my family gathering for Christmas.

Investing - Finalize my stocks for 2016. If you go to my investing page, you'll see I'm adding a bunch of stock information and numbers, as I'm trying to plan for 2016. It's not finalized yet, it's still a work in progress.

Technology - Set up my new OnHub router.

Conservation - Find an electronics recycling center, and take old electronics there.

Health - Continue sleeping 8 hours a night, along with the only beverage I can drink after 5 PM is water.


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Budgeting: App or Spreadsheet

Today was a pretty relaxed Saturday. I read Marie Kondo's book on minimalism, sorted through old school papers, and reviewed my spending in November.

I would like to use an app to track my spending, and I have very high hopes for the HomeBudget app. I've tried multiple times to track my spending in a spreadsheet and I never keep up with it. My hesitations with an app is that I may not be able to be specific enough with categorizing my purchases. So, with not keeping up with spreadsheets, and hesitations with apps, I'm left with spending that I can't compare to a budget/standard.

Before writing this, I was tinkering around with another spreadsheet, but I should really give this an app a full try. There is a free version and a paid version of the app. I'll probably end up "buying" it, and I put buying in quotations because I'll use the Google Play Store credit I have built up from taking surveys by Google.

There is a reason I keep bringing the topic of budgeting up. It is an elementary topic/task that I've never mastered. Once I know my budget and spending, I can figure out how much money I can add to my Robinhood account or other investments. Adding money to investments, 401k's, or other retirement funds on a recurring basis is a good idea.

Are there any budgeting apps you use or like? Let me know!

Signed,

Mitch

Friday, December 18, 2015

Investing Update 12/18/2015

I saw Star Wars Episode VII this evening, and I enjoyed it. That's all I'm going to say about it.

This past trading week I sold Waste Management, Coca Cola, and Omega Healthcare.

CompanyTickerBuy Price Sell PriceDifferenceDividendFee% Gain
Waste ManagementWM$53.62$54.00$0.38$0.39$0.021.47%
Coca ColaKO$43.33$43.84$0.52$0.33$0.022.00%
Omega HealthcareOHI$175.80$173.50-$2.30$1.12$0.02-0.66%
Total$272.75$271.34-$1.41$1.84$0.060.18%

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

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

I talked about selling WM on Wednesday, and how I put in a limit order to sell this share. If it hadn't been for that limit order, I was planning on keeping the share of WM. My other trades were made so I could have money to buy the stocks I have planned for 2016. These trades consisted of selling one of my KO shares, and all 5 of my OHI shares.

I had my first trade loss on Robinhood this week. I sold my 5 shares of OHI for a -0.66% loss. This isn't terrible at all, and it could have been worse. I think I averaged down too quickly, and I didn't have a good working knowledge of this stock. I will consider these lessons learned, and move on. I think the stock price will go back up eventually where I could have sold for a positive gain, but having ~$170 tied up in OHI was too much.

I bought 3 stocks this week, 2 that I've purchased before (T and VZ), and 1 new one (BNS).

StockTickerSharesBuy PriceAvg. Price/Share
AT&TT1$33.90$33.90
VerizonVZ1$45.77$45.77
Bank of Nova ScotiaBNS1$40.45$40.45
Total$120.12

Any stocks that I buy going forward will be held long term.

Below is information on my year-to-date (YTD) investing numbers.

MITCH Investing - 2015
Friday Date12/18/201512/11/2015
Dividends Received$9.33$8.28
$'s Gained$59.36$47.92
Dividend % of Gain15.72%17.28%
Overall % Gain11.87%9.58%


You can click on the investing tab or here to see what stocks I currently have in my Robinhood portfolio.

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars, Student Loans, and Sleep

Star Wars - Tonight the public can start watching the new Star Wars movie, Episode VII - The Force Awakens. Yes, I'm including the "Episode VII" part, even though Disney is neglecting it to be inclusive of those who haven't seen the first six movies. Hopefully I don't see any spoilers before I see the movie tomorrow. It feels weird knowing that the movie is out, probably because it's been three years since first hearing about the movie.

As I look around at my stuff, I have quite a few Star Wars items. It's tough to get rid of Star Wars items, because I was genuinely happy to receive/buy each of the Star Wars items I have. Specifically, I have three 500 piece Star Wars puzzles from when I was a kid. I have great memories of doing these puzzles with my parents and grandma. It'd be very tough to get rid of the puzzles. I'll be willing to part with some of my Star Wars items, but there are definitely some things I'll never get rid of.

Student Loans - I have quite a few thoughts on this, but the most prevalent one in my mind right now is graduated college students living at home. I see absolutely nothing wrong with, and actually encourage, students living at home after they graduate. I see no shame or embarrassment with living at home. I have a good friend who's been living at home after he graduating college, since he found a job in a neighboring town. He is saving so much money on rent, insurance, utilities and food. The American dream of owning a house is overrated in my pessimistic eyes on home ownership, and I'd rather your money be in YOUR pockets, and not the big bank's or slumlord's pockets.

Sleep - Since Sunday night, I've been getting 8 or more hours of sleep. I don't feel super energized or revitalized, but I'm probably making up for a lack of sleep before Sunday night. Getting this much sleep is great, and now I need to focus on sleeping at a consistent time. I think going to bed consistently and getting 8 hours of sleep is going to be great. This is a very basic concept I think we're told at a young age, it's just hard to do it.

If you see Star Wars Episode VII this weekend, I hope you enjoy it!

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Surprise! I sold a stock!

The Robinhood app is now on version 1.6.2. It updated to 1.6.1 yesterday, 12/15/15, and today it updated again. The 1.6.1. added more ups and downs in the graphs showing the stock price fluctuations throughout the day (See picture at the bottom), along with some fixes. The 1.6.2. appears to have more fixes, although I don't have any experience with said problems that are listed as fixes in the picture to the right.

The reason that I document the app changes and updates is because I am very "invested" in this app. I waited a long time for it to become available, and wish I could have been using this app ever since I heard about it. I like seeing how things change over time, and I hope that this app only ever changes for the better. If the app ever puts in advertisements, user fees, or trade commissions, I'll be one sad Mitch.

I woke up this morning to a notification on my phone that my 1 share of Waste Management (WM) had been sold. I was surprised to see this notification, then remembered I set a limit order for this stock.

Earlier in the month, I set a limit order ("Good Till Canceled") to sell WM stock at $54.00. Today was the first day since I placed that order that WM stock traded at $54.00 or higher than $54.00. I should have kept up on my orders, because I was considering keeping WM full time. I recently read WM raised the amount of their dividend. I'm not mad by any means, I set the limit order to sell above what I bought for the stock, so since it processed, I didn't "lose" any money.

I have another "Good Till Canceled" limit order for OHI stock. It'd be great if that would sell soon!

Signed,

Mitch


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

OnHub Router


Above is a video about the OnHub router from Google. I am leaning towards getting this router soon. Like a lot of products, Google gave other businesses PLENTY of time to get things right and make things work. My experience with routers has been a pain in the butt, and Google probably knows the average household user also has problems with routers. The average consumer doesn't know how to download and install firmware updates. The average consumer doesn't know the default address to access a router is 192.168.0.1. Products and services are so poorly designed in my opinion, that Google has to come in and revamp products with an easy to use interface. 

There are a few things that I like about this router.

  1. It's by Google
  2. You can control the router with an app
  3. It tells you who is all on the network
I watched an unboxing/setup video of it on YouTube, and it seemed very straightforward. If I get the OnHub, I may do a setup video myself. 

Signed,

Mitch


Monday, December 14, 2015

Time Constraints

I got 8 hours of sleep last night, and I am always happy to get such a good amount of sleep. As I think about budgeting my time more for sleep, exercise, and food preparation, I am starting to get worried about time. As I increase time spent in these areas, this means decreasing time spent in other areas. I don't know if it'll get to the point where I'm scheduling out every minute of every day, but it might be helpful for a while, until I get into a routine. It'll at least coming down to declaring 10 things I want to do every single day, and doing things outside of those 10 will have to wait. (10 is an arbitrary number).

For example -

With 24 Hours:

Sleep - 8 Hours
Morning Prep/Routine/Go to Work - 1 Hour
Work - 8 Hours
Gym/Exercise - 1 Hour
Evening Chores - 1 Hour
Dinner - 0.5 Hours

This right here adds up to 19.5 Hours, and I'm leaving plenty of time out. There's also a lot of filler/wait time in life, and doing things doesn't always take up an even amount of "hours".

Getting more sleep is absolutely necessary to my health, so this'll mean I'll have to be more efficient at other things that take up time, or cut them out.

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mitch Mission Update W.E. 12/12/15

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 - Donate/toss/recycle 15 items. I had one similar to this a few weeks ago, but it didn't get done.

  • I donated 7 items yesterday, but didn't get around to sorting through anything else.

Investing - Sell off everything that doesn't have an upcoming dividend.

  • I was too scared to sell my stocks for a loss, I will try again this week! 

Technology - Have under 200 emails in my inbox.

  • I have under 200 emails in my main inbox. When I initially made this Mission, I thought I had a lot more emails. I either made a bad estimate, or I just sleep-deleted a hundred emails and don't remember it.

Conservation - Look into LED light bulbs for my lamps.

  • I looked into the lights, but I don't know when I'll order new ones. The lightbulbs I have are working fine, and I think it's wasteful to get rid of lightbulbs that are working.

Health - Go the gym at least 3 times.

  • I continue to have opportunities in this area, but it will get better. I only went 1 time.



New Missions for W.E. 12/19/2015

Minimalism - Donate/toss/recycle 25 items. I'm not messing around anymore. 

Investing - Set up the HomeBudget app on my phone. I will probably pay for the app, because I think it's actually worth paying for. (This'll be the 2nd app ever that I've purchased)

Technology - Research new routers. I'll probably get the new Google OnHub router, but I want to at least compare other routers before I fully decide.

Conservation - Talk to my family about wrapping white elephant gifts in old newspaper instead of wrapping paper.

Health - Get 8 hours of sleep every night, even if I don't sleep a full 8 hours, dedicate 8 hours of time to sleep.


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Donating and a Trip to the Mall

Today I donated 8 items: 1 old work shirt, 4 DVDs, and 3 books. I took these items to a thrift store, and I just dropped the bag of items off in a collection bin near the front of the store. It was a pretty easy process, and I got a slip for tax deductions. I don't know if I'll fill the slip out though, since the items are barely worth anything.

Now that I know exactly where to go and what to do, donating more stuff in the future should be easy.

After the thrift store, I headed to the mall. Besides getting a haircut, and seeing if my old Barnes & Noble gift card had any money on it, I didn't need to buy anything. The mall was absolutely packed. Granted, it was a Saturday afternoon, 2 weeks before Christmas. I can say with 90% confidence that I've never been in a mall so crowded before. It got me thinking about all of the things people are buying for the holidays. I thought about the money people are spending, the packaging that will end up in the trash, and presents that will go unused. I also saw tons of people with Starbucks in their hands, and probably 99% of those drink containers will end up in the trash.

Outside of Barnes & Noble, it wasn't a very enjoyable experience at the mall. It was super crowded and I was distracted with all of the people and what they were buying. I'll have to put more time into thinking about holiday gifts. I don't think they're a bad idea, but maybe I need to come up with alternative methods/plans for gift giving.

Signed,

Mitch

Friday, December 11, 2015

Investing Update 12/11/2015

Hopefully when I'm posting my investing update next week, I will be able to say that I've seen Star Wars Episode VII. I will probably see the movie 2 or 3 times, and I have no concerns with spending that much money on movie tickets.

This past trading week I sold 1 share of Hewlett Packard and 2 shares of Best Buy.

CompanyTickerBuy Price Sell PriceDifferenceDividendFee% Gain
Hewlett Packard, Inc.HPQ$11.99$12.25$0.26$0.12$0.013.25%
Best BuyBBY$62.02$62.74$0.72$0.46$0.021.93%
Total$74.01$74.99$0.98$0.58$0.032.15%

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

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

I bet HPQ because of the recent company split. I didn't have a lot of money left in my Robinhood account to buy new stocks last week, and I saw that HPQ had an upcoming dividend. My Chromebook is made my Hewlett Packard, and I wouldn't have bought an HP Chromebook if I didn't think it was a good brand.

Coincidentally, I bought my Chromebook at a Best Buy, and this was the other stock I sold this week. I bought Best Buy for the dividend. I do have some concerns holding this stock long term, but I find myself still going to shop there occasionally. Because of this, I was OK with buying the stock short term.

I should be selling my other stocks, but I really don't want to sell for a loss right now. I know eventually the share prices will go back up, I just need to be patient. Opportunity costs are screaming right now, but I'm not really listening.

I did not buy any new stocks this week.

Below is information on my year-to-date (YTD) investing numbers.

MITCH Investing - 2015
Friday Date12/11/201512/4/2015
Dividends Received$8.28$5.91
$'s Gained$47.92$56.20
Dividend % of Gain17.28%10.52%
Overall % Gain9.58%11.24%

You can click on the investing tab or here to see what stocks I currently have in my Robinhood portfolio.

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, December 10, 2015

General Updates 12/10/15

Let's work backwards tonight -

Health: To the left is a book that I'm planning on reading soon since I'll have some time around the holidays to read. I've had it for a few years and haven't fully read through it yet. I also went to the gym tonight and it actually wasn't too bad. I went with a friend, and that's the only reason I went. I made him make me go. We didn't work out in the same areas at the gym, but it was still nice having a gym buddy. I think I might make drinking only water after 5 PM a more permanent thing. I had pop last night and I could NOT fall asleep.

Conservation: My produce bags are currently being shipped. There weren't any notifications on the shipment being processed for at least a week and a half, so I e-mailed the maker of the bags. After my e-mail, a shipping notification popped up. Overall, not overly impressed with my experience with ETSY so far.

Technology: No real updates here. My phone is still working fine, so I don't know if I should be in a rush to get a new one. I'm actually getting a little annoyed with my iMac and have rekindled love for my Chromebook. I never stopped loving my Chromebook, I just appreciate it more lately since I'm losing some of my patience with my iMac.

Investing: Same thing with Technology, no major updates here related to stocks. With the holiday season here, watching spending and watching calorie intake will be important.

Minimalism: Along with The Skinny Rules, I'll be finishing Marie Kondo's book on minimalism around the holidays. Also, this weekend I'll be taking items to the thrift store/Goodwill equivalent.

I'll be shifting gears and talking more about Health in future posts. I will be mentally committed to improving my health and this needs to be a top priority in my life.

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Researching LED Light Bulbs

I started researching LED light bulbs tonight. I don't know exactly when I'll order new LED light bulbs, since the ones I have now are still working. I feel like it would be wasteful to order LED bulbs and then store my current ones or even throw them away. If I stored the bulbs somewhere, I feel like it'd lead to them breaking, so I think I'm better off keeping the ones I have for now.

Google searching " LED light bulbs made in America" led me to this site - https://www.earthled.com/. Looking around the site, and watching their "About Us" video, I'd feel pretty good about ordering LED light bulbs from EarthLED. The company is very green conscious, including being green in their own operations, and that's an added bonus to ordering something that is green also.

When my neighbor moved into her house, she replaced every single light bulb with LED light bulbs. She wants to have minimal maintenance with her house, and not have to worry about replacing light bulbs. She also said her electric bill went down.

There looks to be a pretty standard LED 60W lightbulb on the EarthLED website for $4. I think this'd be a pretty low cost expense to see how well the bulb works.

Signed,

Mitch


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Sleep Opportunities

I need to start dedicated some Health Missions towards sleep. I talked about how drinking only water after 5 PM seemed to help with falling asleep at night, with having caffeine out of my system. I am not very consistent with sleep, and haven't been since probably last December. Inconsistency with sleep seems to be a common theme among a lot of people. I envy the people that can roll up into a cocoon of blankets and sleep for 12+ hours. 

I need to analyze my nightly routine to see if there are opportunities to cut down time. I feel like my nightly routine takes too long, and with knowing this, I stay up even later to procrastinate getting ready to go to sleep. I may need to dig back into my industrial engineering knowledge and start looking at how efficient my nightly routine is. 

I really shouldn't take sleep for granted. I was so stressed at my last job that I couldn't sleep at night. I would wake up at 4 in the morning and start thinking about work, and then I couldn't fall back asleep. This was not a good place to be in. Now that I'm at a better job, I should really take advantage of building a consistent sleep schedule. 

Ideally, if I could fall asleep and wake up instantly, I would go to bed at 10 PM and wake up at 6 AM. There are more things that I want to do in the morning, and getting up at 6 AM would provide those opportunities. I will plan on making next week's Health Mission related to sleep. Take some time to think about your sleep schedule too!

Signed,

Mitch

Monday, December 7, 2015

About Me Page

I'm working an "About Me" page for this blog. I like reading other "About Me's" on other sites/blogs, and I also like reading about the focus the site/blog provides. Below is some of what I have so far, although it's still a draft and not quite the final product:

Some things about this blog -

  1. You will never see a pop-up advertisement to subscribe to a newsletter. I don't like newsletters and I'm not about filling up e-mail inboxes. I usually X out of sites that have pop-ups like this, so I definitely wouldn't do that here.
  2. I will do things and talk about things that the "Average Joe" can do. I'm not an extremist. Example - I will not advocate getting rid of all of your televisions to promote minimalism. I believe that "watching TV" time has shifted to computers, smartphones, etc. Getting rid of your TV's won't fix anything.
  3. Stock Photos. Most pictures will be taken from me and my phone, and I'm not trying to impress anyone with the quality. I'm just not going to post stock photos.
  4. I won't ask you to share my posts. If you want to read my blog, that's great. If you think it's worthy to share with your friends, that's cool too. I'm not going to ask you to subscribe, follow, or bookmark me. That is completely up to you. 
After this I plan on talking about my roots in each of the 5 topics of my blog. I will provide background and reasons why I'm interested in minimalism, investing, technology, conservation, and health. This page should be posted by the end of the week!

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mitch Mission Update W.E. 12/5/15

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.

80% of my Missions were completed this past week.

Minimalism - Research document scanners. Review them for quality, price, user interface, and ability to upload/save documents to Dropbox or Google Drive.

  • Did not get done. I really don't know if it's going to be worth the expense, so I'll have to do some more research.

Investing - Plan my investing strategy for 2016. I don't think I'm going to try and do "dividend capture" anymore.

  • I talked about this on a post earlier this week. I am going to buy and hold dividend stocks, instead of doing "dividend capture".

Technology - Look at the App Usage app to see which apps I'm using the most and see if I can live without these apps.

  • I used the App Usage app to notify when I've spent too much time on the Facebook app, and my usage has gone down. Sorry Zuckerberg.

Conservation - Reflect on No Shave November and how I conserved resources by growing a beard.

  • I love No Shave November, and aside from some trimming on Dec 1st, I'm continuing to grow out the beard.

Health - Drink only water after 5 PM, and drink at least a full bottle of water (33 oz/1000 mL or more) between 5 PM and when I go to sleep. Basically, if I'm going to drink coffee, juice, or pop, it needs to be before 5 PM.

  • I successfully did this and actually enjoyed it too. I felt I was able to fall asleep a little easier and it made me appreciate my morning coffee more, knowing I couldn't drink any after 5 PM. 


    New Missions for W.E. 12/12/2015

    Minimalism - Donate/toss/recycle 15 items. I had one similar to this a few weeks ago, but it didn't get done.

    Investing - Sell off everything that doesn't have an upcoming dividend.

    Technology - Have under 200 emails in my inbox.

    Conservation - Look into LED light bulbs for my lamps.

    Health - Go the gym at least 3 times.


    Signed,

    Mitch

    Saturday, December 5, 2015

    2016 Missions

    I will still be doing weekly Missions during 2016, but I will also have Missions on a larger scale. The weekly Missions should be contributing to the larger Mission, which will have multiple parts. This isn't a final version of my 2016 Missions, but this is close to what they'll look like.

    Minimalism -
    • Aside from important documents and special letters, have all papers scanned and filed, and no loose papers around my apartment. 
    • Have a full inventory done on my clothes.
    • Have under 500 total items. (I have no idea if this is an easy or difficult number, I can adjust in the future, I just wanted to quantify this Mission).

    Investing -
    • Transfer funds from other stock brokerage over to Robinhood account.
    • Purchase and hold 25 different stocks that pay dividends.
    • Receive $75 in dividends.
    • Come up with a consistent way to track $'s coming in and $'s going out.

    Technology -
    • Get a new phone.
    • Help someone who isn't technologically savvy with computer/phone issues. 
    • Regularly have 0 emails in my inbox.

    Conservation -
    • Produce 1 bag of trash or less per week.
    • Find a sustainability project to work on.

    Health -
    • Weigh under 200 pounds.
    • Run a marathon.
    • Plan out meals on a weekly basis.