Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mitch Mission Update W.E. 1/30/2016

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.

"W.E. 1/30/2016" means "Week Ending" 1/30/2016, I think of weeks in terms of Sundays to Saturdays.

50% of my Missions were completed this past week, and this isn't a good completion rate.

Minimalism - Recycle/Toss/Donate 30 items.

  • I set up a box for these items. I have probably 20 items in it comprised of papers to be scanned, and others to be tossed.


Investing - Track and analyze the earnings reports of 5 of the companies I own.

  • Nope.

Technology - Delete 3 apps from my phone.



Conservation - Figure out how I'm going to complete my 2016 Mission of planting a tree.

  • Realistically, I'll probably donate money towards a reputable tree planting program. I may sponsor a local tree too. My city has a program for people to plant trees, and I could potentially sponsor someone's tree.


Health - Drink only water after 5 P.M, and stay within my calorie budget.

  • As always, the week started off strong and my focus lessened throughout the week. :( 


New Missions for W.E. 1/30/2016

Minimalism - Sort through my key ring and take off any unnecessary keys.

Investing -  Plan out my dividend calendar for the rest of the year.

Technology - Learn more about Project Fi by Google.

Conservation - Review the sustainability plan of one of the companies I own a stock in.

Health - Plan out a push-up plan for my 2016 Health Mission.


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cloud Storage

I've been having some difficulties in continuity on my devices lately. My work computer is windows and utilizes OneDrive for cloud storage. My phone is Android and I also have a Chromebook, but I'm not a huge fan of Google Drive. My iMac has Google Drive and Dropbox, and I don't use iCloud. I am glad I get to use different services so I can stay up-to-date on technology, it sometimes make it difficult to preserve continuity. Also, and I never thought I'd say this, but I kind of miss using windows on a home computer.

I personally really like Dropbox, and it would take a lot to convince me to use another form of cloud storage. I use Google Drive, but I still prioritize Dropbox for stuff I need to quickly find. Cloud storage is something that is supposed to make life easier, and it's making mine a little more difficult.

I can feel good knowing I'm probably not going to lose anything, but finding files, that's another thing. Also, I'm still amazed at how many people don't use cloud storage. Do yourself and your friends/family a favor. Next time you're with friends/family, if you don't see any sort of cloud storage on their computer, help them install it and set it up.

Signed,

Mitch


Friday, January 29, 2016

Investing Update 1/29/2016

There was quite a bit of green (prices going up) this week. It actually makes me a little sad, because it's better to buy stocks at lower prices. Preferably, I think we'd all like normal ups and downs, instead of these huge ups and downs we've had over the last 6 months.

Year-To-Date Update

1/1/20161/29/2016Change since Jan 1st
Robinhood Portfolio Value$607.87$704.84$96.97
Money from my pocket$550.00$650.00$100.00
Dividends$9.79$11.71$1.92
Gains/Realized & Unrealized$48.08$43.13-$4.95

The table above shows the change in my Robinhood portfolio since the start of 2016.

Robinhood Portfolio Value = (Money from my pocket) + (Dividends) + (Gains/Realized & Unrealized)

Dividends

I received two dividend payments this week.

CompanyTicker SymbolDividend AmountStock Buy PriceAnnualized Div Yield
Whole Foods Market, Inc.WFM$0.14$33.001.70%
Bank of Nova ScotiaBNS$0.50$40.454.94%
Total$0.64

The annualized dividend yield = (Dividend Amount * 4) / Stock Buy Price.

The reason the dividend amount is multiplied by 4 is because these stocks pay dividends 4 times a year. So the yearly amount of dividends I'll receive divided by the cost of the stock equals the dividend yield.


Stock Purchase

I did not buy any stocks this week. Stock buying will probably slow down for a while.


2016 Investing Missions

  • Purchase and hold 25 different stocks that pay dividends: 13/25 - 56% Completed (Not counting Disney stock)
  • Receive $75 in dividends: $1.92/$75.00 - 2.56% Completed.


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

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, January 28, 2016

See you later, Best Friend

My best friend recently moved away. In the span of five months, we met, became best friends and then he moved away. Even though our time together was short, I still considered him my best friend. After going a year with having very few friends, let alone a best friend, I believe a higher power made our paths cross. I could truly be my 100% authentic self around him, and it took very little time for this to happen.

When friends are separated, it's never the same. When I was in college, I moved from the 3rd floor of the building up to the 4th floor. I told my friends on the 3rd floor that I was only 1 floor away, and we'd still hang out. This didn't happen. We still lived in the same building, yet, those friendships didn't last. I realize a lot of it is circumstantial, and I know long-distance friendships can work.

At some point, you can't maintain dozens of long-distance friendships and simultaneously maintain relationships with people currently in your life. Is this best friend of mine someone that I would put the effort towards maintaining a long-distance friendship? Yes. Is it going to happen? Probably not.

A lot of the topics of minimalism I've talked about are related to physical stuff. I'm also feeling weighed down by people. There are childhood, high school, college, former work, and other friends that I want to maintain communication and friendships with. This isn't working for me anymore. I have to let go of some of these people. Just like decluttering, I will start decluttering thoughts of maintaining friendships with people, although I will always make time for the most important people. But for friends who I haven't lived by for almost 15 years now, I need to declutter my thoughts of thinking we'll have the same level of friendship again one day.

So for my best friend, I'm going to declutter my thoughts of our friendship ever being the same again. I am very grateful for our five months together, and I hope to find another friend that I can build the same level of friendship with. I think I know him well enough to know that a long distance friendship isn't going to work. Instead of being quite sad that we don't live by each other anymore, because you are such a great friend, I'm going to declutter you from my thoughts.

See you later, Best Friend.

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg's Shirts

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, recently posted a picture of his closet/wardrobe. This picture had all of the same grey/dark grey T-shirts on the left, and his hoodies on the right. He posted this picture on Facebook with a question of what he should wear. It was sarcasm, but I see value in wearing the same thing every day.

I've considered wearing the same thing every day, and I think ultimately it would be worth it, I personally would run into two major road bumps.

1. Finding the right clothing that feels good. If I'm buying 5 of the same shirts/jeans/pants, I would want them to feel good. I have some clothes I like wearing more than others, because they feel/fit better. If I buy a set of 5 shirts, and 1 of them is uncomfortable, then they're all going to be uncomfortable.

2. Storing my current clothes. I don't think I'd get rid of all my clothes if I switched over to wearing the same thing every day. I would keep some things, which result in storage space. Storing things that aren't used that often might be deemed as wasteful, and doesn't fit in as being a "minimalist".

It'd be nice to know what I'm wearing every day. I don't spend a ton of time planning what I wear now, but even the little time I do spend, I'd like to have that additional time in the morning to drink coffee and eat my honey nut cheerios.

Maybe I'll call Mark Zuckerberg and ask him where he gets his shirts from and have him order a few extra for me. :)

Signed,

Mitch

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

More Apps Uninstalled

My Technology Mission this week was to uninstall 3 apps from my phone. I only have a phone with a 16 GB hard drive, and actually about 9.something gigs that I can use due to the phone's software. I uninstall unnecessary apps to 1. not feel cluttered on my phone, and 2. I am limited to space due to the 16 gig hard drive.

Here are the reasons I uninstalled the following apps -

1. ESPN FFL - ESPN Fantasy Football - Fantasy season is over. I won't need this until next fall.

2. Lyft - I wanted to see how the app worked and what it looked like. I doubt there are any drivers around where I live.

3. Twitch (Old Version) - An app to watch people live stream video games. I don't game much anymore, so I don't use it.

4. Twitch (New Version) - Not sure why Twitch created a separate app, but either way, I don't use Twitch anymore.

5. Forest - This was an app to help to not use my phone. You set an amount of time to stay off your phone, and if you completed this time, a shrub or tree grew. I stopped using it after a couple of weeks.

6. Skype - I installed it briefly to try and call a friend that uses it. I couldn't find him through the search feature and just called him on the regular phone.

7. I think the idea of Tumblr is cool, I just wasn't using it. I have enough to look at with FB, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Those were the apps I uninstalled, and besides Fantasy Football, I doubt I'll reinstall any of them down the road.

Signed,

Mitch

Monday, January 25, 2016

Measuring Food Intake

I've been using an app called MyFitnessPal to track my calories every day. When logging food into MyFitnessPal, you have to input the quantity of food you're eating.

I love cottage cheese. It's my favorite food right now. Before measuring how much was a serving of 1/2 cup, I'd guesstimate. After measuring, I see that this guesstimate was too high.

It takes some extra work to measure everything and it gets annoying too. But just going to the fridge/cupboard and eating an unmeasured amount got me to the weight I'm at today. Measuring my food out now will help me to get under 200 lbs.

If you're trying to lose weight, measure your food!

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mitch Mission Update W.E. 1/23/2016

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.

"W.E. 1/23/2016" means "Week Ending" 1/23/2016, I think of weeks in terms of Sundays to Saturdays.

30% of my Missions were completed this past week, and this isn't a good completion rate.

Minimalism - Find 2 inactive online accounts to permanently delete.

  • I thought I had more loose accounts, but none came to mind when I went to justdelete.me


Investing - Review my student loans.

  • Looked at the website that my student loans are on. It had been updated since I lasted looked at it. I didn't want to deal with navigating through a new system and logged out. 

Technology - Upgrade to the family plan for Google Play Music.

  • This Mission was accomplished! - Google Music Family Plan, basically, buy paying $5 more a month ($9.99 to $14.99), 6 people can have unlimited streaming music, instead of just me. 


Conservation - Buy a new reusable thermos/coffee mug. Preferably stainless steel and made in the USA.

  • Nope. Didn't get done.


Health - Stay within my budgeted calories on MyFitnessPal.

  • I did decent. I had a splurge day on Wednesday, I got wings. I got 6 wings instead of 12, so it could have been worse. I also splurged on Saturday, although I haven't put my food into MyFitnessPal yet, but I know I splurged.


New Missions for W.E. 1/30/2016

Minimalism - Recycle/Toss/Donate 30 items.

Investing - Track and analyze the earnings reports of 5 of the companies I own. 

Technology - Delete 3 apps from my phone.

Conservation - Figure out how I'm going to complete my 2016 Mission of planting a tree.

Health - Drink only water after 5 P.M, and stay within my calorie budget. 


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Apple Earnings 2016 Quarter 1

On Tuesday at 4:00 PM CST, Apple will announce their 2016 quarter 1 earnings. Why am I dedicated a whole post to Apple earnings?

  1. I think most people have heard of Apple and their products.
  2. Their product line and product mix isn't enormous. It's straightforward how they make money from these products. If you ask me how General Electric makes money, I couldn't tell you.
  3. There's always hype and buzz around Apple.
  4. It seems fitting since I watched the latest Steve Jobs movie tonight. 
The earnings estimate for 2016 quarter 1 is $3.23/share. So this is written as "earnings per share, earnings/share". Comparing this to the 2015 quarter 1, Apple made $3.06/share.

Apple 2015 Quarter 1 Earnings Per Share
Net Income$18,024,000,000
Shares5,881,803,000
Earnings/Share$3.06

Yes, that is "Net Income" of ~18 BILLION dollars.  

The earnings per share is estimated to be higher for 2016 quarter 1 compared to last year's 2015 quarter 1. Mathematically, the equation is "Earnings/Share = Net Income / Shares". There are a few things that make earning per share higher. 

  1. Net Income goes up. This occurs from higher revenue, fewer expenses, or both.
  2. The number of shares goes down. This occurs when Apple buys back Apple stock.
  3. Both of these things.

Below is a table of the revenue for the 2015 quarter 1 for Apple. You can see that the iPhone was 68.6% of Apple's total revenue.

Apple 2015 Quarter 1
ProductRevenue%
iPhone$51,182,000,00068.6%
iPad$8,985,000,00012.0%
Mac$6,944,000,0009.3%
Apple Services$4,799,000,0006.4%
Other$2,689,000,0003.6%
$74,599,000,000100.0%

It will be interesting to compare what products make up what percentage of revenue for 2016 quarter 1. 

I currently have 13.276 shares of Apple in my other stock brokerage account (This stock brokerage account charges $9.99 per trade). I would like to sell these shares and bring that money over to my Robinhood account that charges $0.00 per trade. 

The few times I've listened to earnings reports, I usually don't know what the numbers mean. I'm hoping by doing some research on Apple, I'll understand a few numbers on Tuesday during the earnings call. I am hoping that Apple will announce a $0.52 dividend during the call. 

Full Disclosure: I own Apple Stock. I am not a licensed financial advisor. 

Signed,

Mitch




Friday, January 22, 2016

Investing Update 1/22/2016

The market seemed to stabilize a little bit this week. There were days of heavy selling, but I saw a bit more green this week than last week. By green, I mean stock prices going up. I think the common mentality of dividend investors is that market swings don't concern us. Concern sets in when a company reduces the amount of money that is paid out for their dividend.

Year-To-Date Update

1/1/20161/22/2016Change since Jan 1st
Robinhood Portfolio Value$607.87$663.36$55.49
Money from my pocket$550.00$625.00$75.00
Dividends$9.79$11.07$1.28
Gains/Realized & Unrealized$48.08$27.29-$20.79

The table above shows the change in my Robinhood portfolio since the start of 2016.

Robinhood Portfolio Value = (Money from my pocket) + (Dividends) + (Gains/Realized & Unrealized)

Dividends

I didn't receive any dividends this week.

Stock Purchase

StockTickerSharesBuy PriceAvg. Price/ShareUpcoming Div.Div. Yield at Purchase
International PaperIP1$34.40$34.40$0.445.12%
Total$34.40

IP was on my list of stocks to buy for my 2016 Investing Mission. It has an upcoming ex-dividend date around February 11th. I think I read recently that the stock was downgraded, but I still bought the stock. I'm interested in this stock due to their sustainability efforts. When I was working as an engineer, my company worked with IP, so I have some working knowledge of the company.


2016 Investing Missions

  • Purchase and hold 25 different stocks that pay dividends: 13/25 - 56% Completed (Not counting Disney stock)
  • Receive $75 in dividends: $1.28/$75.00 - 1.71% Completed.


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

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Google Play Music Family Plan

My Technology Mission this week was to upgrade to the family plan for Google Play Music. I first started using streaming music back in 2012 with Spotify. Once Google implemented their music streaming, I jumped ship.

I talked about coming up with ways to save $25/week, and this will be one of them. If you look at the picture, you see the pricing for this. It costs $14.99/month and 6 people can be on the family account. This comes out to $2.50/person/month. (Apple's version of streaming music with a family plan costs the same amount.)

For the sake of math and calculating large numbers, lets say 6 people were each paying $9.99/month for streaming music. This saves each person $7.49 a month. That's almost a whole Netflix streaming subscription!

I was already paying $9.99/month for steaming and it only made sense to pay $5 more a month to add family members. The setup and process to shift to a single plan to family plan was super easy. Also, the new price won't take place until my next billing date, but we already get the benefits of the family plan.

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Autonomous Cars

Autonomous/self-driving electric cars are the future.

If there is any car manufacturer that thinks differently, let me refer you to two companies that you will soon join the history books with - Kodak and Blockbuster. Hindsight is 20/20, but I laugh and laugh when I read about Blockbuster not taking the Netflix founder seriously when he proposed his idea of Netflix to Blockbuster. If Ford, General Motors, Toyota, or other car manufacturers think that THEY decide what the future of cars will be, they will be wrong.

Having technology dictate car manufacturers is LONG overdue. If GM or Chrysler had it their way, we'd be driving gasoline cars for the next 100 years. At least Toyota developed hybrid cars and premiered a practical hybrid way sooner than other manufacturers.

I read an article from Yahoo Finance the other day that basically said younger people aren't driving as much compared to the same age group in previous decades. I've never really enjoyed driving, and to be honest, driving sucks. The article mentioned that the cost of cars factored into this declining statistic, and also mentioned that people who resided in cities did not own cars.

The point I'm trying to make is that in the future, if I need to go somewhere, I'm going to open up an app on my phone, probably called "Google Self Driving Car" (obviously something shorter and better than that), and an electric, self-driving car will come to pick me up. The car will drop me off right in front of where I need to go. I can call for a return trip, and payments will all be done automatically through the app.

I also think UBER will be in trouble if they don't team up with a car manufacturer. Google isn't going to need UBER's app or database to get customers to use their self-driving cars. Google can and will design an app for ride sharing/taxi/self-driving taxi service that's better than any other companies' apps.

I'm seeing quite a bit of news related to Ford, GM, and self-driving cars on the Yahoo Finance page, so I just thought I'd give my 2 cents.

Signed,

Mitch

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Rough Day with Calories

I was worried I was going to go way over on my calories today. I got really hungry after midnight last night (technically this morning) and had a big snack. I attribute this snack to two things: being up too late and not being consistent with my calories. I ate a LOT on Friday and Saturday, so on Sunday I ate less to make up for it. Not eating a lot on Sunday led me to being super hungry yesterday. What I learned from this - Eat my normal allotment of calories, even if I went over the day before.

I had to make some changes throughout my day to make sure I stayed within my 1,840 calorie budget. For lunch, I mixed some cottage cheese and spaghetti sauce with a good amount of spinach, heated it up, and pretended it was a real spaghetti/lasagna mix. My lunch only ended up being 231 calories. Now, will I do this every day? No. But did I make changes to roll with the punches of my midnight snack decisions? Yes.

I am more dedicated and motivated than ever to get under 200 pounds. Using this blog is keeping me accountable. I'm also getting motivation from Tim at http://www.steppersstory.com/. He's been logging 10,000 steps a day, and he is very dedicated. Every time I check Twitter and see his progress of steps, it reminds me that I need to do my part and keep good progress on my health Missions.

Do you have someone keeping you accountable for your health Missions/dreams? Are you tracking your calories every day?

Signed,

Mitch


Monday, January 18, 2016

Saving $25/Week

I will be publishing a new page soon to my blog, and it will talk about ways to save money. I am adding $25/week to my Robinhood account, so I need to find $25/week in cost savings to offset this. Hopefully most people can allocate money in their budget to put towards investments/retirement funds, but having a conversation and idea list on ways to save $25/week will hopefully show it can be accomplished by the "average Josephine/Joe".

Note:

  • Some of the cost savings might be monthly cost savings, so I will break them down into a weekly basis.
  • I will strive to come up with original ideas and examples, but the "Starbucks vs. making your own coffee" will come up. I will strive to show an original example of this cost savings example though. 
  • Some cost savings might be considered no-brainers by some, like "Quit Smoking". I didn't realize until recently how many people actually still smoke.
  • Some cost savings ideas might be more specific to men, because I identify as a man. (This isn't to leave women out, it's just because I'm a man).
  • For some cost savings, there might be an initial cost. I will try to calculate the rate of return to justify the initial cost to eventually save money.
  • My cost saving calculations will probably show prices/costs specifically where I live. These prices/costs might be different than where you live, but the idea is to create conversation and thought towards cost saving. 
If I could go back in time and change one thing about how I personally chose to invest, I would have added money on a more consistent and frequent basis to my investments. I can't go back in time, but I can add $25/week to my investments now. 

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mitch Mission Update W.E. 1/16/2016

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.

"W.E. 1/16/2016" means "Week Ending" 1/16/2016, I think of weeks in terms of Sundays to Saturdays.

50% of my Missions were completed this past week.

Minimalism - Scan a "good amount" of papers this week with my new document scanner.

  • Tinkered with a few settings, and I think I'm set to go now. There is a big speed difference in scanning between scanning at 300 dpi (dots per inch) and 400 dpi. (Default was 300, but I wanted to test it at 400). Also I changed some settings to not bring up the settings box after every scan, this will save me time with scanning. I didn't get a ton of papers scanned, but I made overall progress with the scanner.


Investing - Review my Roth IRA.

  • It's good to check in on investments, especially since I haven't been following my Roth IRA very closely for maybe half a year or so. I didn't like the numbers I saw, but oh well. I did receive some dividends that didn't DRIP, so I'll have to call my financial advisor about that. 

Technology - Analyze my phone usage to figure out how to reduce the number of times a day I check my phone.

  • I glanced at my phone usage app and didn't really come up with a new "mind blowing" ideas. I could use WhatsApp less and use Google Hangouts more. That way I can "text" from my iMac and Chromebook versus being on my phone. 


Conservation - Research SolarCity for investing purposes and for conservation purposes.

  • Used Yahoo Finance and Morningstar.com to look at SolarCity. There are still some technical things I need to learn about related to stock/company performance. I believe Elon Musk should be valued more than Steve Jobs, and SolarCity is one of a few major projects Elon Musk is involved with. 


Health - Find healthy food recipes to make in bulk.

  • I have a few websites that I've been looking at, but no recipes in hand or bookmarked.


New Missions for W.E. 1/23/2016

(Reminder: The markets are closed tomorrow to observed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)

Minimalism - Find 2 inactive online accounts to permanently delete.

Investing - Review my student loans.

Technology - Upgrade to the family plan for Google Play Music.

Conservation - Buy a new reusable thermos/coffee mug. Preferably stainless steel and made in the USA.

Health - Stay within my budgeted calories on MyFitnessPal. 


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Investing Update 1/16/2016

It was another week of stock prices going down in value, and lots of stocks being sold off. As I said last week, the market goes up, the market goes down. This isn't the end of the world. If I had more money available currently, I'd be buying a ton of stocks.

Year-To-Date Update

1/1/20161/15/2016Change since Jan 1st
Robinhood Portfolio Value$607.87$616.58$8.71
Money from my pocket$550.00$600.00$50.00
Dividends$9.79$11.07$1.28
Gains/Realized & Unrealized$48.08$5.51-$42.57

The table above shows the change in my Robinhood portfolio since the start of 2016. My realized and unrealized gains are trending towards $0, and by next week I may have an overall negative return.

Dividends

CompanyTicker SymbolDividend Amount
DisneyDIS$0.71
US BancorpUSB$0.26
Realty IncomeO$0.19
Total$1.16

I received $1.16 in dividends this week from the 3 companies listed above. For "O", I believe the dividend payment was $0.195, so I will have to see how Robinhood handles the half cent portion of the dividend. 


Stock Purchase

StockTickerSharesBuy PriceAvg. Price/Share
Archer Daniels MidlandADM1$33.95$33.95
Total$33.95

ADM was on my list of stocks to buy for my 2016 Investing Mission. It has an upcoming ex-dividend date around February 12th.


2016 Investing Missions

  • Purchase and hold 25 different stocks that pay dividends: 13/25 - 52% Completed (Not counting Disney stock)
  • Receive $75 in dividends: $1.28/$75.00 - 1.71% Completed.


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

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My week so far with MyFitnessPal App

I've completed 4 days of tracking my calories with MyFitnessPal. Yesterday and today I'm noticing my hunger increasing. I'm not complaining, I'm just noting it took until the 3rd day to start really feeling hungry.

One thing of interest is the Nutrition section of the app. I am concerned with my sodium intake today, a very high amount of 3,686 mg. This was due to having a can of soup for part of my lunch.

Please note:

Progresso Soup - Owned by General Mills, stock ticker GIS.
Campbell's Soup - Owned by Campbell Soup Company, stock ticker CPB.

I personally think it's interesting to know the company/parent company of the foods I'm buying.

I think there is mindset that soup is "healthy". It's certainly convenient to bring a microwaveable bowl or cup of soup to the office for an easy lunch. Do you think you're eating healthy when eating soup? Soup is not always healthy, and look at the sodium content to figure out why. I need to lower my sodium intake to help with blood pressure, and I really should focus on meeting or doing better than the 2,300 mg intake suggested limit. After my current inventory of soup is gone, I don't plan on buying much more. If I do, I'll definitely be buying the low-sodium soups.

I've been staying at my calorie goal so far this week, and we'll see what the weekend brings! Hopefully I don't go over, or at least not too much over.

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

AT&T Unlimited Data & Robinhood App Update


I read today that AT&T is bringing back unlimited data if you have DIRECTV (satelite dish) or "AT&T u-verse". After reading more into it, the song I've linked above popped into my head, "A Matter of Time". I've been hoping that unlimited data would be brought back. In my mind, this is great news for AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) customers. As far as I'm aware, it's the first time either T or VZ has implemented an unlimited plan after ending them ~4.5ish years ago.

The reason I think this is great news for T and VZ customers is because VZ is going to have to respond to this. Data use is important to a lot of people, and I could see people jumping ship to T for the unlimited data. I'm even somewhat tempted by it, and I love Verizon. This may not be great news for T customers who don't have DIRECTV or u-verse, but I believe this announcement by AT&T means the tides are changing, and within a few years unlimited data plan options will be back for all customers on T and VZ. Perhaps they'll offer unlimited 4G LTE Data, and then go back to capped data once 5G service comes out.

In other news, the Robinhood App updated on Monday. The app is now on version 1.7.2. The biggest part of this update is the ability to change the order of how you view your stocks that you've purchased, and also the ones on your watch list. Previously there really wasn't an order to how the stocks showed up on the lists. I've now alphabetized my purchased list of stocks, since that's how I track them on my google docs/portfolio page, and it'll be easier to process/get mental updates now.

Signed,

Mitch




Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Document Scanner

I set up my new document scanner tonight. I've included a picture of it (Banana for scale). I had a little bit of trouble setting it up, because my iMac doesn't have a CD/DVD drive for the installation discs. I assumed by plugging the scanner in, my iMac would automatically prompt to download/install any necessary software. This was not the case, and I had to manually go find the software on the Epson website.

After downloading some drivers and updates, I eventually got the scanner to work. I still have some configuring/tinkering to do, but I almost have it set up to how I want it.

Some of the things I can configure is the "file save location". The default location was in "My Pictures", but I have moved the save location to a folder in Dropbox. I personally have had the best success in organizing my files by using cloud storage, especially Dropbox. I can also configure if the scan saves as a ".JPEG" or a ".PDF".

I'm looking forward to using this scanner to get rid of papers. I will try to scan papers that I know I will definitely look at again, or papers that bring me joy.

Signed,

Mitch

Monday, January 11, 2016

Home Screen Priority

Tracking my calories needs to be a priority of mine. One of my 2016 Health Missions is to get under 200 pounds. I can't accomplish this without tracking my calories. As a way to prioritize tracking my calories, I've made space on my home screen, and put the MyFitnessPal widget at the top of my home screen.

Having this widget on my home screen will help with a few things.

1. I will have quick access to the bar code scanner, which will reduce the number of steps required to input food.

2. Every time I get on my phone, I'll see this widget. This will remind me that I need to make losing weight a priority.

Also, as a way to keep myself consistent in tracking calories, I'll also be inputting my daily calorie intake on my Portfolio page. I don't think I need a whole page dedicated to tracking calories, but some day I'll have a page dedicated to health.

I used MyFitnessPal last January and February to track calories, and I lost weight. I just need to do this again and stick with it.

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mitch Mission Update W.E. 1/9/16

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.

"W.E. 1/9/16" means "Week Ending" 1/9/16, I think of weeks in terms of Sundays to Saturdays.

80% of my Missions were completed this past week.


Minimalism - Similar Mission to previous ones, but it's important. Donate/toss/recycle 20 items.

  • This was completed. Nothing was donated this week, but I tossed and recycled a combined 20 items. 

Investing - Review components that make up credit score and determine the best plan to rebuild mine.

  • I read bits and pieces from - http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/WhatsInYourScore.aspx. Most of it is information I've known from looking at it over the years. It looks like the largest % component of the credit score, "Payment History", will be affected by the foreclosure. This should be my first and only problem with credit, so I'll continue my good spending habits and let the credit score fix itself over time. 

Technology - Get a paper/document scanner.

  • I got one, and I'll be talking about it this coming week! 

Conservation - Figure out where my re-usable produce bags are. They still haven't been delivered, and I'm not too impressed with ETSY anymore.

  • My bags showed up this week! I'm hesitant to use ETSY again though in the near future though.

Health - Go to the gym three times this week.

  • I went twice, and both times I walked on the treadmill at an incline for 40+ minutes. I could quantify this as the equivalent of 3 workouts, but I'll leave it at 2. 


New Missions for W.E. 1/16/2016

Minimalism - Scan a "good amount" of papers this week with my new document scanner.

Investing - Review my Roth IRA. 

Technology - Analyze my phone usage to figure out how to reduce the number of times a day I check my phone.

Conservation - Research SolarCity for investing purposes and for conservation purposes.

Health - Find healthy food recipes to make in bulk. 


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Credit Cards

I've been reading about credit cards from My Money Blog recently (http://www.mymoneyblog.com/credit-card-guide). Jonathan has a great blog, and it's full of great information. I've been interested in obtaining another credit card to assist in rebuilding my credit score.

Since I've been thinking about credit cards lately, and thinking about potentially not using my credit cards to help with rebuilding the credit score, a couple of things came to mind.


  1. If I stopped using a credit card, I stop getting cash back bonuses. 
  2. If someone swiped my debit card digits, and there was fraud committed against me, that money would instantly be drained from my checking account. 


Those are two reasons why I will continue to use credit cards, with the second reason being a MAJOR reason. I don't get a ton of money from cash back bonuses, but 1% cash back is cool and numerically, it's higher than a 0% cash back bonus.

As for the second reason, I have a quick story to tell. Some time ago, I walked downstairs at my house and found my mother crying at the computer. She was on the phone while looking at our computer. I didn't know what my mother was crying about, but I was instantly worried and confused. She was on the phone with the credit company because she was looking at her bank account and ~$800 had been charged to her credit cards from purchases that she didn't make. After looking at the transactions, it was for T-Mobile service all the way down in Georgia. For one, we use Verizon, and two, we've never ever been to Georgia.

The charges got taken off, but I was very angry for what had happened because it made my mother cry. If the fraud happens on a debit card, that money will be deducted from your checking account. If the fraud happens on a credit card, at least there is a barrier in place before the money gets deducted from your checking account.

So for now, I will continue using my credit cards.

Signed,

Mitch

Friday, January 8, 2016

Investing Update 1/8/2016

This week would be classified as a bad week for investing. The market in China had a lot of stock sell-offs, and this contributed to the stock sell-off in the US as well. The market goes up, the market goes down. Post 2008/9 recession, the stock market has gone up a ton, and this can't last forever.

Year-To-Date Update

1/1/20161/8/2016Change since Jan 1st
Robinhood Portfolio Value$607.87$607.24-$0.63
Money from my pocket$550.00$575.00$25.00
Dividends$9.79$9.91$0.12
Gains/Realized & Unrealized$48.08$22.33-$25.75

The table above shows the change in my Robinhood portfolio since the start of 2016. I essentially stayed the same, even with adding $25.00 to my account, because I "lost" $25.00 from unrealized gains. I put lost in parenthesis because you don't lose any money until you sell the stock. I did not sell any stocks this week.

Dividends

I received one dividend payment this week, and it was from Hewlett Packard (HPQ). I was paid a $0.12 dividend.

Stock Purchase

I bought 4 stocks this week, 3 of which I've purchased before.

StockTickerSharesBuy PriceAvg. Price/Share
HP Inc.HPQ1$11.52$11.52
Intel CorporationINTC1$33.21$33.21
UnileverUL1$41.63$41.63
Whole Foods Market, Inc.WFM1$33.00$33.00
Total$119.36

WFM was not on my list of stocks to buy in 2016, but I mentioned before that my list of stocks to buy wasn't going to be rigid. All 4 of these stocks have upcoming dividends.

2016 Investing Missions

  • Purchase and hold 25 different stocks that pay dividends: 12/25 - 48% Completed (Not counting Disney stock)
  • Receive $75 in dividends: $0.12/$75.00 - 0.16%


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

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dividend Reinvestment Program (DRIP)

I am invested in Apple stock on another stock brokerage, one that charges commissions for trading stocks. I eventually want to sell these shares of Apple and bring that money over to my Robinhood account. It looks like for the time being, I'm going to be holding on to my Apple stock (Due to the stock price currently being less than what I bought it for).

I've enabled Dividend Reinvestment Program (DRIP) on my other brokerage account. To explain DRIP, I'll use a real example from my Apple stock.

On 11/13/14, Apple paid out $0.47 per share as a dividend. At that time I had 13 shares of Apple stock. 13 shares x $0.47/share = $6.11. For that quarterly dividend, Apple paid me $6.11. Since I have DRIP enabled, this $6.11 bought more Apple stock (It reinvested the dividends).

The price of Apple stock that the dividends were reinvested at was $113.8525/share. So $6.11 / $113.8525/share equals 0.054 shares. After this DRIP, I had 13.054 shares of Apple.

At the next time a dividend is paid, I still get $0.47/share. So 13.054 shares x $0.47 = $6.14. The previous quarter I was paid $6.11, and the next quarter I was paid $6.14. As long as the dividend amount isn't decreased, and I stay enrolled in DRIP, the amount of money paid out to me in a dividend will increase every quarter.

Because of DRIP, I currently have 13.276 shares of Apple. Apple will probably pay a dividend of $0.52/share in February. So 13.276 shares x $0.52/share = $6.90. There is one positive thing about the stock price going down, and it's that I will buy more partial shares of Apple in February.

The stock price ended today at $96.45. The February dividend of $6.90 / $96.45/share = 0.072 shares. If Apple was at $115/share, then I would get $6.90 / $115/share = 0.06 shares.

This was a lot of numbers, but I hope it makes sense. I have an exit strategy for Apple in mind, and I hope I can execute it sooner rather than later. I want to bring this money over to my Robinhood account. For now, I am ok with getting more partial shares of Apple through DRIP.

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Reusable Produce Bags

They're finally here. The produce bags that I ordered at the end of November are finally here. In the picture, the reusable bag is on the left, and the normal plastic produce bag is on the right.

I ordered these off of ETSY, because I thought it'd be good to support a small business owner. Part of the reason shipping took so long is that the person I bought these from lives in Canada.

My order came with 12 bags, 3 bags of 4 different colors. They bags are really light weight, so it shouldn't be a problem reading the stickers on the produce at the check-out.

I'm glad I have these now, and this'll be one less item I have to worry about de-cluttering in my kitchen cabinets. I usually get a 5 cent discount for using reusable grocery bags, so I'll have to see if I get the same discount for using the reusable produce bags.

Signed,

Mitch