Archive | May, 2012

Weekend Reading

5 May

It’s been ages since I went to a library until recently!  I hate to admit it, but I used to go quite often to the romance section.  For the past few years, I’ve been a working zombie and had little time to myself.  Now, I live within a five-minute walk to a local library.  This gives me the convenience to clear my mind and fill my brain with wonderful literature on personal well-being.  My phase of romance books is long gone.

I am looking to enrich myself by discovering other personal finance blogs online.  I never knew how many others alike were out there till recently.  It’s a wonderful community.  I never really participate by making comments on their blogs, but I do enjoy reading about their personal goals in life whether they’re getting out of debt to investing in stocks.  Everyone is different, I strive to keep up with my savings and investing in the market goals.

Last weekend I finished reading, “Idiot Millionaire by Derek Foster.”  This was his fifth book in personal finance series.  All I can say this was an easy read.  It is easy for him to say you can also become an idiot millionaire by investing fool proofed dividend stocks that we use in everyday life essentials.  He writes a list of his top picks from different sectors and adds why they are good for the long haul.  From what I heard, Derek Foster got lucky and he used a lot of leveraging to achieve his first million in the stock market.  Now, I am curious how he retired at the age of 34 and how exactly did he do it?  So I decided to go to the library last night and grab his first book on how he got started!

Here is a list of my weekend readings:

  • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  • Start late, Finish Rich by David Bach
  • Stop Working- Here’s How YOU Can by Derek Foster (1st book in series)

 

 

Milk Run

4 May

Our freezer was stocked up on frozen meat:  ribs, wings, chicken drumsticks, pork chops.  But our fridge was lacking milk and vegetables.

It was time for a milk run plus some other goodies!  I have a gift card to use at Costco, so I went there after work to pick up a few items just the other day.  Four items ended up costing me $25.28!  Spending sure does add up.  My guilty purchase was Haagen Dazs bars.  It was on sale for $11.49 from their regular price of $14.99.  Each bar cost $1.28 before tax.  I had one tonight, and it was so worth it!

Breakdown on what I spent at Costco:

  1. Milk- $4.63
  2. Asian Affair Pre-Mix Salad- $4.79
  3. Spinach Spring Mix- $2.99
  4. Haagen Dazs (9 bars)- $11.49 (Sale)

Costco is an exclusive warehouse retailer that charges a membership fee to their customers for shopping at their big box stores.  They are extremely popular and have a  loyal customer base.  Why are these people paying $55/yr for Gold Membership or $110/yr for Executive Membership just to shop there?  Costco focuses on selling products at low prices, often at very high volume. These goods are usually bulk-packaged and marketed primarily to large families and businesses.  People shop there so they can save money or so I think!  I must admit, Costco has a really good deal with their quarter pound hotdog and pop for $1.50.  Their fries are to die for as well!

I am thinking to myself as I browse through their aisles, “Am I really saving that much by shopping at Costco?”  Look at the price of the milk, I thought milk would be a little cheaper at Costco than other grocery stores.  But I think $4.63 for a four liter jug is comparable to stores like Superstore or Walmart where anyone can shop there!  Maybe if I crossed the border to shop at Costco, it’ll be more advantageous.  Everything down south is much cheaper from gas to cheese, and I would assume milk as well!  It’s not fair, why do I live in such an expensive city?

All I am saying here is Costco is not the best deal in town unless you spend a lot in groceries and love to buy stuff.  Personally, I would not be a member of Costco as I am minimalist.  Sure, I would tag along with  a friend who has membership to shop there from time to time, but it’s not worth my money to pay Costco to shop there!  I don’t spend enough to make it worthwhile.

Bloody Hell!

4 May

May has certainly lived up to its expectations.  The saying goes, “SELL IN MAY, GO AWAY!” with the notion that investors should cash in their investments and take the summer off.  Historically, summer time seems to prove to be the worst performing months of the year in the stock market.

In the meantime, I have sold positions in COS.TO and POT.TO to free up some cash.  However, I have dug myself a pretty big hole in my margin account.  My latest buys of AAPL and CLF have faltered and in the steep path for margin calls.  My optimism for the stocks to rebound has been short-lived.  This goes to prove that the market is unforgiving and you should always take precautionary steps to protect yourself.

If I see an opportunity to jump in, I will.  For now, I hang onto my stocks for dear life.  I shall take a buying break from the market, and see how the market will churn out in next week.

Why am I poor this year?

3 May

Number one reason as to why I am poor this year is moving out of my parent’s house.  I have a true appreciation for them nowadays.  It is time for me to branch out and support myself which I have done for the past five months.  Rent, food, bills are certainly cutting into my savings.  This is a cost that everyone must take at one point in their lives.

Second reason is that my hours at my part-time have dramatically decreased from the previous year.  Last year, I was generating on average $300 per month.  From January to March 2012, I only made $100 per month.  For April, I did not work at all which is always welcomed on my end.  This extra free time allows me to be free to do whatever my heart desires!

My goal for 2012 is to save $12,500!  Thanks to my tax refund, I am almost half way there!  This is from my hefty contribution into my RRSPs of $20,000 in 2011.  You’re probably wondering why am I putting so much into my RRSPs… It’s to protect myself if I ever get audited by you know who.

So what am I really saving for?  I am saving for a sizable down payment!  My ultimate goal is to put 50% towards my down payment.  I’m far from it right now, but if I keep on top of my stocks, it’s quite possible.  Right now, all my stocks are slumping and it’s hard to picture my goal.  But in all due’s time, it may blossom into a fortune.  I signed a contract to buy a pre-construction condo that won’t be completed in two years.  It is a small little 1 bedroom, 1 den condo out in New Westminster just on the outskirts of Vancouver which is one of the most expensive cities to live in North America.  Unfortunately, I can not touch any money from my RRSP since I do not qualify as a first time home buyer.  That means I have to save and invest in the market aggressively to achieve my goal of paying off the condo in 10 yrs.

Life is full of twists and turns… who knows where I’ll be in the next couple of years.  But I think I have most things under control.

Go Big or Go Home

3 May

Today is a bloody mess out there in the stock market.  I try to close my eyes to picture greener pastures in the near future.  I’m tired of buying bits and pieces of several companies only to see no reward.  Maybe it’s time for me to sell most of my stocks and concentrate on a few. 

However, seems like I’m just accumulating as per usual:

Shaw Communication is trading near its 52 week low.  This is a boring stock relatively safe I think, it does not move much in price.  However, they do pay out a monthly dividend of 8 cents per share.  Their dividend date is May 15th so I should be able to capture that along with some price appreciation leading up to the dividend.

BOUGHT:  SJR.B  500 @ $19.68 on Margin
BOUGHT: Averaged down on CLF 100 @ $60.39 on Margin

Time for a Review

1 May

  1. Itrade Margin–  My three most profitable stocks are held here:  Starbucks; Boston Pizza; Great Quest Metals.  I don’t plan on selling them anytime soon, unless there is a dramatic price drop.
  2. Questrade Margin–  This is my most active and fun trading account.  Currently, I have a margin of $19,979.21 at risk here due to my recent buys of Apple.  Stocks have changed hands many times over here.
  3. Questrade TFSA–  Once again, I have dwindled my money away.  Impatience have done me wrong many times here.  Currently, I hold Chemtrade Logistics and a new darling purchase Canadian Oil Sands.  My promise is to hold Chemtrade Logistics as long as possible for their lucrative distribution of $85 per month.
  4. Questrade RRSP–  This is for the long haul.  At the moment, I have too many different stocks in there:  Bank of Montreal; Chemtrade Logistics; Inter Pipline Fund; Keg Royalties Income; Potash Corporation.  My goal is to get rid of BMO and POT at a gain to buy a stock or unit trust that has more growth potential.