Archive | May, 2012

Form of Communication

27 May

Technology has certainly given me the convenience of keeping in touch with others from email, instant messaging and of course texting!

In person, I’m not a very chatty person on the phone.  To stay in contact, I rather text than call a friend up.  My main form of communication on my cell phone is texting.  Unfortunately, I do not have an unlimited text plan.  Every month, I would try to stay within my limit of 250 outgoing text which is included in my plan.

This month, I’ve already gone over my text limit.  They don’t come cheap when you go over limit.  It is 20 cents per text.  Looks like I’ll be pay an extra $2.60 on my monthly cell bill.  There are still five more days left in May!!

I should really take advantage of my voice plan which is 300 daytime minutes and unlimited minutes after 6pm/weekends.  Certainly, I am not taking full advantage of my plan usage since I barely put any minutes on my cell.

A call over text is always more personal.  Sometimes, we all lose touch.  We’re so absorbed in our routine to take the time to talk for a few minutes.  In our busy schedules, we forget the more simpler times of catching up over the phone.  When is the last time you’ve called up a friend to chat on the phone?

Capital One Aspire Cash Mastercard!

24 May

Capital One Aspire Cash Mastercard is my latest acquisition in the long line of credit cards I have collected throughout the years.

This card has many features that makes me feel protected!  Check it out: Travel Benefits and Everyday Benefits

Would I qualify if I do not make $60k income?  The answer is yes!  I certainly do not make over $60k, far from it.  With my awesome credit history, I got approved for a measly $3000 credit limit.  On my application, I did put down my household income at $100k.

Please note:  This card is good for people who likes to collect cash rewards for their spending, has excellent credit history, and usually pays full balance every month.

Card Summary

  • 1% cash rewards on all net purchases and 50% extra cash rewards every year which equals to 1.5% cash back!
  • There is no tier spending or limit to the amount of cash you can earn
  • $100 bonus cash reward on your first purchase
  • World benefits including Travel Medical Insurance
  • No annual fee
  • Annual interest fee:  16.8%

As much as I love my MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard, Capital One has certainly given a 0.5% advantage over all net purchases. I will still use my Smart Cash for all my gas and groceries earning me 3% cash back.  All my other net purchases, I will use on my new Aspire Cash earning me 1.5% cash back!  Let the money roll in by just by swiping their cards 🙂  Cash is dumb, credit is smart!

Gambling with Pennies

23 May

It’s time for me to gamble with pennies again.  Great Quest Metals has been my most successful one, yet there were countless of blunders to bring down my glory. 

PSST, I got a tip from undisclosed sources that a penny stock will sky rocket to $2.00 by next week.  When I hear this, I laugh to myself.  But the source is adament about his friend’s success in the penny stock realm who made thousands.  I’m a little skeptical.  But it’s a risk I’m willing to bet on as of now to recoup my losses of this dreaded month.

??? – 10,000 shares @ 0.61

Sorry folks, I’m not going to disclose the ticker symbol as I don’t want to get blamed if the stock does head south from here end out.

Apple certainly has gotten the best of me!

21 May

There’s no dwelling on the past moves.  I sold out last week when the endless sea of red was crashing in day after day.  My gains were wiped out by the violent waves that invaded my portfolio.  I just snapped.  I took what little gain I had left and climbed the mountain of cash I had to safety.  Or so, I thought…

Today was a public holiday in Canada, Victoria Day!  I had slept in… forgetting about the US stock market at the bell.  If I had done my ritual 7am check on my stocks, I would have realized that Apple was on a move again.  This time for the recovery.  Today, Apple jumped from $530 to $560.  I had sold out at $535.  I am very disappointed as I wanted to get in on Apple on the lower end of the spectrum of $500ish.

I decided to go a different route this time.  I picked up Google, 50 shares @ $612.68.  Once again, half of the stock is on margin.  I am going to stop my tirade trading ways.  I shall not trade.  I shall concentrate at the longer term gains than the short-term gains.

My Tips to Savings

20 May

Saving money is easy for me.  But why is it so hard for others to save?

I’m polar opposite from my younger brother.  He makes more than I do, but he wastes his money on who knows what!  He lives at home with my parents, doesn’t have to pay rent or food.  Yet, his credit card is maxed out all the time.  He’s always asking for money… asking for help.  He lives in the moment, doesn’t care about savings at all.  One day, he has to wake up to reality of the real world and soon it’ll bite him where it hurts.

The sad fact is he still owes me in the thousands, I regret my decision to bailing him out countless of times.  I might as well write it off as a bad debt.  I hope one day he’ll come around, but it’s hard to change a person’s habits.

This is the way I operate:

  • I track all my expenses down to the penny from putting a quarter in a parking meter to groceries.  I know exactly where my money is going to.  Some months are worst than others.  I can pin point as to why.  Can I cut back on this?  Maybe, it is time for me to stop buying junk food cause that’s unhealthy for myself and budget.  It’s all about money management.  Spending under what I make will give me the freedom to do whatever I want in the future.
  • I hate paying fees!  I pay off my credit card balance in full by the due date.  President Choice Financial and ING Direct are online banks that I use for my daily banking needs where I pay absolutely no fees.
  • Most of my purchases are put through my credit card.  MBNA Smart Cash is used for gas and groceries (3% cash back).  Capital One Aspire World Cash is used for all my other purchases (1.5% cash back).  They reward me cash back for using their cards exclusively.  So far, I’ve gotten $100 from MBNA this year.  As for Capital One, they rewarded me $100 just for signing up with them recently!  That’s $200 in my pocket and counting each time I make a purchase!
  • Food takes a big chunk out of my budget!  I try my best to pack lunch for work such as leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, microwavable lunches (not so healthy), or a simple sandwich/wrap.  If I do go out for lunches to eat, most of the time it’s under $10.  Sometimes the portion is too big for me to finish, instead of stuffing myself, I’d save half of it to eat the next day.  Two lunches in one!  Whenever I go out to eat, I usually just ask for water to accompany my meal.  There is no use to adding a few dollars to the tab or meaningless calories to your diet by ordering a drink.  Unless, it comes with the meal!
  • Never pay full price for an item!  There is always a sale around the corner.  Just be patient and wait for it.  I only buy what I need at a good price.  I bought my MSI laptop for $500 when it went on sale.  I got my HTC Desire Z for free by signing a 3 year contract for mobility service paying $20/mo plus tax.  It would be nice to have the latest gadgets like Ipad or Iphone, but the stuff I have works efficiently enough.
  •  Do not buy frivolous stuff that you don’t need!  Take inventory of what you have.  When you add them all up, do I really need this?  It is easy to want new trendy stuff.
  • Cars are money pits that takes you from point A to point B.  Some people pay a premium for a more luxurious name.  That’s all to it!  All cars have the same capability as any other.  If you must get a car, buy what you can afford.  Do not go out on a limb to look good in your car.  I have a 2006 Civic which is fully paid off.  I plan on driving this for a long time, unless it craps out on me.
  • Traveling is really fun, but it can also set you back quite a bit in money terms.  One trick is to take shorter vacations.  It’s always nice to escape the daily grind at least once a year!  Even though, I finally earned three weeks of vacation at work.  I still only take a week’s vacation at a time and budget how much to spend!  My most recent vacation was to Disneyworld in Orlando.  By flying out of Seattle instead of Vancouver, I’d save at least $300.  In total, I spent under $1400 for flight, Disney resort stay for 8 nights, food, park tickets (5 days at Disney/2 days at Universal) and souvenirs!  We went off season in Jan/Feb and it paid off!

When I was younger, I splurged on a $800 snowboard that I hardly use anymore.  I explored Europe with Contiki Tour for 17 days, once in a lifetime opportunity.  I would buy Manga comics or romance books for my reading enjoyment, now they’re just collecting dust and worthless.  Everyone has made buying blunders… so have I!  All I am saying here is however you spend your money, spend it wisely!!

As the years progressed, I have become more conscious of my spending habits.  You can say I’m a little stingy now… but I wouldn’t say I would deprive myself if I really wanted something or to do something!

Portfolio Makeover

19 May

May has been disastrous for me.  Within a few days, all my paper gains were wiped out.  On Thursday, I pulled the plug on my losers and winners.   In hindsight, I should have pulled the trigger earlier, but I was hopeful that the next day would turn around.  This has been the most upsetting week for me.  Back to the drawing board once again.  I still have 8 stocks left mostly in my RRSP and TFSA account.  I am not going to buy anything for now till I see a good opportunity for me to jump in.

Oh yes, I did buy Facebook on Friday, May 18th!  I was in/out… $41.15/$41.40.  I got spooked, and it was the right call in the end of it.  Personally, I don’t like FB as a stock, I think it’s overvalued.  But I wanted to see if I can make a few bucks (Woohoo, I made $15!).

I shouldn’t have sold out on Shaw Cable.  It’s relatively a safe stock, I was just impatient and I wanted to be out of margin.

My gamble in Apple finally made me realize that I am a bad gambler!  I should have sold you when I was in the green, but as a gambler, I wanted to see more out of you which led to my own demise.

As for Cliff Natural Resources, this is the first time I had to take a loss in you!  You’ve never disappointed me before, but this time you did.  I still think you’re a great stock with potential.

Mastercard has always been resilient, but lately it’s been losing ground really fast.  I needed to capture whatever gain I have before it gets wiped out.

I am very sad to say goodbye to an old stock:  My beloved Starbucks.  We’ve been through a lot in the last few years.  You broke my heart when you pulled back from a high of $62.  I did not want to see you dip below $50s, so I had to let you go!  I think I can afford to go drink your specialty coffees from time to time.  Thank you!

It’s time to come up with another strategy.  Limit my losses as much as possible.  Don’t let the stock get out of hand.  Always have the upper hand over your stocks!  Don’t let it control you.

Grumble, Grumble

16 May

My portfolio took a big hit this week due to the European crisis mainly due to Greece in limbo as of now.  Thousands in paper gains were lost in an instant.  I should have listen to my wise foe who told me to cash out while I can before May…  but I tend to attached myself in stocks for the better or worse.  Is there no end to this down slide in sight?  The companies I hold are on a fire sale!  Roll of the dice!  Too bad, all my money is tied up in them at the moment.

Currently, the two stocks I worry about are Apple and Cliff Natural Resources.  I have over $30k on margin for both stocks and every day they seem to be tanking like crazy.  By putting myself on margin, I put myself at a bigger risk to lose more than what I have.

Today, I sold out SJR.B at a loss to free up my margin.  I bought SJR.B at the wrong time.  I thought it was bottom when I bought it, but then this week happen and the rest of it is history!

I was seriously contemplating liquidating some of my stocks to keep afloat… to minimize my losses especially in Apple and Cliff.  But I think I waited too long for that.  So I will wait until Friday to see if the market will show some signs of a recovery…

Nothing seems to be going my way these days.  Life is full of twists and turns.  One can be snuffed out in an instant.  There were a few tragedies that happen recently that hit close to home on the local news.

1)  A friend I know who’s coworker died tragically in a hang gliding accident.  It was her first time going tandem with an instructor, she wasn’t strapped in properly in her harness and she fell out shortly after takeoff.

  • Sometimes the thrill of an adventure can turn out tragically.

2)  My part-time boss’s landlord crashed his float plane out in Okanagan shortly after takeoff.  The plane caught on fire, he and two other passengers did not make it out alive.

  • He died doing what he loved.

3)  My coworker’s son-in-law’s cousin died in a car accident over the weekend.

  • Error in judgment can quickly turn deadly.

Sometimes, I wonder why I save so much?  Will I survive that long to actually enjoy the savings that I have accumulated.  Sometimes, you need to have a proper balance of enjoying life as it is and taking each day to the fullest!

Stupid Article from Globe and Mail

9 May

Here’s an article about how there will be a pullback on shares of Boston Pizza Fund:

OMG, Boston Pizza really did pull back today after this Globe and Mail article was published on May 8th!   Oh no, I’m going to sell, it’s going to drop like crazy!!  Do you hear the sarcasm as I type this out?

Yes, Boston Pizza is going to announce their earnings report after trading hours of today.  This may cause uncertainty for some investors.  They want to protect their capital or gains and pull their money out of Boston Pizza.

Boston Pizza has consistently paid out a distribution month after month.  It’s been relatively untouched by the events of the Greek Crisis.  Boston Pizza Fund was holding strong throughout the day above the $18.00 mark.  After this article was published at 2:03PM, Boston Pizza took a 50 cent drop!  As you can see in the chart below, this morning investors were panicking… selling as low as $15.61!  When I checked my stocks in the morning, EVERYTHING was red.  What really stood out was the big loss in Boston Pizza in the morning trading session.  As the day is progressing, the price of Boston Pizza is slowly creeping up again… at the time of writing this 2:56PM.

Updated Earnings Report:  Boston Pizza Royalties Income Fund (TSX:BPF.UN). First-quarter ended March 31, 2012, net loss $6.9 million, net loss 47.8 cents per share; 2011, net income $2.95 million, 20.1 cents per share. Revenue: 2012, $7.52 million; 2011, $6.98 million.

I am dissapointed to see the net loss by Boston Pizza.  However, I’ll continue to monitor the price and momentum of the Boston Pizza before making any decisions. 

NOTE:  I currently have 200 shares since June 2009.

Averaged Down a Day too Early

8 May

Opps, I didn’t make a post on my buy trades from yesterday:

BOUGHT:  BMO- 200 shares @ $57.00, dividends $210 per quarter (accumulated 300 shares)
BOUGHT:  CHE.UN- 420 shares @ $15.71, distribution $150.10 per month (accumulated 1510 shares, my largest position to date!)

As you can see, today would have been better to average down.  Bad news is always around the corner.  My gains from previous months have been wiped out, I continue to stay the course and not panic.  Anyways, I’m going to be holding on these stocks for a while.  I’m not going to panick and start selling like everyone today.  It’s always a bummer watching your recent stock buys go down.  It is what it is.

Mini Jabs

7 May

Lately, I’ve been taking mini jabs at Apple from my Questrade RRSP account.  My realized gains are peanuts compared to my current paper loss ($1111.20) in my Questrade Margin account.  I’m not down till I sell… I plan to hold my 40 shares of Apple till I see the green light once again!  

At least, I’m not getting burnt by the depreciated price of Apple in my RRSP account.  On a few occasions, I could have sold at a higher gain, but I was hoping for too much in return only be  be burnt at the end.  So I think I’m not going to touch Apple again within my RRSP account.  I am going to move on to another stock that offers more of a chance in a gain.  Potash might be the next contender!

On a positive note, Apple finally closed in the green today!