The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Challenge – Game Over

August was a pretty rough one for the markets and I shared in its pain. Here are my results:

  • Krogers (KR) – Purchase price – $63.53, number of shares 46. Current Price: $33.92  a gain of $198.34
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $46.76, number of 32. Current Price: $42.50, a loss of $136.32
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $15.11, number of shares 99. Current Price: $13.99 a loss of $110.88
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138, Current Price $7.47 a loss of $462.30

closedI’m down $511.16 or about 10%. As of now I am out, closing up shop. I set up a hard rule when I began this exercise that I would never allow my portfolio to lose more than 15% and while I am not there I don’t see how things will improve in the near term. Like Kenny Rogers says “You got to know when to fold um”. So I am walking away from this market and waiting to see how things pan out.

What went wrong? The popular consensus is China. The Chinese are very deceptive with their economic numbers. Some believe that they are heading into a recession, but no one can no for sure because of the perception that they are dishonest. I give some weight to this argument, but I don’t think that is the while story.

I believe that America is entering a recession and many people are worse off than they were back in 2007. I fear that the resulting down turn will be quite dramatic. I hope I am wrong and I feel confident that in the next two months I will know one way or the other. Fingers crossed.


***Please not that I am not and investment adviser.Please consult your investment adviser before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Challenge – The July Slide

It’s bad, it doesn’t show any signs of getting better. Here are my results:

  • Krogers (KR) – Purchase price – $63.53, number of shares 46. Current Price: $38.72  a gain of $319.70
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $46.76, number of 32. Current Price: $46.62, a loss of $4.48
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $15.11, number of shares 99. Current Price: $13.99 a loss of $110.88
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138, Current Price $7.66 a loss of $436.08

I’m slightly less red, down $231.74. QuestionWhile my portfolio recovered a small amount my confidence in this market is waining. All the news that I read is bad, all of the earnings I see are misses. A great case for another recession could be convincingly and easily made to me. I am trying to maintain a level head, but sometimes the sky is falling. Is this one of those times? I suspect that time will tell.


***Please not that I am not and investment adviser.Please consult your investment adviser before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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Thank You For 3 Years!

Its hard to believe but three years a go on this date PiggyBankBuilder was launched. American PigI knew nothing about creating or running a website at the time, but through hard work and some trial and error I have built this place. My goal was the same then as it is now, help people explore their financial options and choices to make small changes that could help them save money and grow wealth over time.

In helping others I have managed to make changes in my own life that have benefited me greatly. By teaching and sharing I pushed myself to save money. Looking forward my sole goal is to continue this path and reach out to as many people as possible. To all of my visitors, thank you for your support.

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Tips for Getting What You Want on Prime Day

My first few hours of Prime Day and one word captures Prime2my experience perfectly, FRENZY. I have never while shopping online felt the same madness that I would in a busy store. One three separate occasions I missed out on items that sold out before I could even decide if I even wanted them. Here are a few pointers to prevent this from happening to you.

  • You have to know. This isn’t regular Amazon shopping where you compare items and read reviews. Many of the really popular items are gone with in a few minutes. You have to pounce.
  • Upcoming Deals is where you set your plan. This is the section where you can do your research and find what you are looking for. Each item has a count down that provides you with enough warning. Decide if you want something and wait for your opportunity.
  • Check back in. Items are popping up left and right. A pair of really discounted Bose headphones from the morning reappeared later in the day.
  • Don’t get caught up in the madness. Don’t just buy things just to buy them, resist your hoarder instincts.

I have noticed some social media backlash to the day. I can understand the frustration and I hope Amazon ramps up their deals into the evening.

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Prime Day – The Hype is Real

We are almost half way through prime day and I can attest that it is everything they promised it would be. Case and point:

  • This Samsung 8550 50 Inch UHD 4K TV and video pack could Prime TVnot be had for any less then $1700 dollars. As you may remember I spent months finding my TV and this model was one of my lead candidates( I did buy a TV and I will share the results in a later post). Right not, on Prime day that TV can me had fro $999! For the TV alone that would be amazing, but you get the added bonus of the 4K hard drive with an impressive assortment of preloaded 4K movies, very nice.

This is just one of hundreds of deals that are going on as we speak, but the madness is intense and things sell out in minutes. Stay nimble my friends.

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Prime Day is Coming!

In a few short hours Amazon is unleashing prime day“Prime Day”. What many are describing as Black Friday in July, Prime day is an event that offers huge sale prices on popular items to “Prime Members”. These are people who enroll in the $99 a year programs that gives them free two day shipping, access to the Amazon Prime video library, and few other temping perks.

Rumors are all over the web about what we can expect on sale. Among the most interesting are:

  • Bose headphones for the lowest price ever on Amazon
  • A 4K TV bundle for under 1000 bucks
  • 50% off select tools

The sale launches at 3:00 am eastern time. I will comb through the deals and share my favorites with you tomorrow. Until then keep your mouse fingers nimble and get ready for those deals.

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Free Pretzels! Auntie Annie’s App Offer

I love me some apps. Every one wants a piece of real estate on your phone and they are will to pay for it with freebies and discounts. Auntie Annie, the delicious pretzel maker, wants you to download their app and they are will to give you a pretzel for doing so. Here is how it works: Pretzel

  • Download the Free app.
  • After you make your first purchase you get a free pretzel.
  • On your birthday you get another free pretzel.
  • Every dollar you spend you nets you 10 points.
  • For every 300 points you amass you get a free pretzel.

 I can’t think of an easier or quicker way to earn free pretzels. The PreztelPerks app will also send you info about special rewards and promotions. So if you have a craving for free yummy buttery pretzels then this app was made for you my friend. 

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My Backyard Garden – Two Months Out

The Summer has really been flying by and my garden has been prospering. This being my second year of gardening, I have a better understanding of what to expect. As of today all of my crops are coming along nicely. Here is my take away thus far:

  • The “Sugar Baby” Watermelons : The primary concern with watermelon plants is vine management.  These guys like to spread and they move fast. Once the roots take hold these things will grow almost a foot a day under the right conditions. I have to make sure that the don’t grow into other plants or onto my lawn. All it requires is moving the vines at the right time, but you have to stay on top of them. Baby WatermelonThey appear healthy, they have begun flowering and a few days ago I got my first baby water melon.
  • The Tomatoes: They come in three varieties, Big Beef, BrandyWine, and one that I can’t recall. I now have the taller plants caged and they are doing great. I do make a point to pure them back from time to time. This stops the branches from growing into and shading each other and it allows the plant to grow stronger and taller. All eight plants have little green tomatoes on them, I am hoping for a massive yield.
  • Binteje Potatoes: In the center bed closest to the camera are my potatoes. They are new comers to my garden Crops July 2ndand I am learning as I go. From as far as I can tell they seem to be doing well. The potatoes themselves grow underground, butt he leafy portion of the plant is growing strong and looks very healthy. As best as I can tell, so far so good.
  • Stowell’s Evergreen Sweet Corn”: I dropped the ball on these guys. In an effort to “help” the rows furthest from the sun I planted the three rows about a week apart. The thinking was that the younger plants wouldn’t shade the older ones. It was just dumb and now I have corn at three different heights and three different ages. The older corn is pushing the younger and the pollination is going to be so spread out that the oldest corn will not benefit from the younger. On the upside the quality of the plants themselves are top notch, strong tall and thick. Perhaps my corn will compensate from my poor planting strategy. 

Thus far I am very happy with my garden. I expect to pick some tomatoes in the next week and I will provide you with a yield count soon. As of right now I am expecting to beat last years totals.


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Made in the U.S.A. Monday – Round House Jeans

For me personally the “Made in the USA” movement began with my feet and then progressed to my jeans. I’ve owned several pairs made by “All American Clothing Company” and I found them to be excellent. I love their jeans and have continued to buy from them. Recently though I have decided to share the love and buy my next pair from another domestic jeans maker. At first I worried that this might prove to be difficult, but I was quickly proven wrong.

I actually feel bad admitting that. So many people fail to even try to buy American because they think their is nothing out there for them. I have tried for almost three years now to debunk that thinking, but it is so pervasive in our culture that even I will occasionally fall into that trap. It is wrong and I was wrong. I could buy my new jeans from the Hartford Demin Company, or Texas Jeans, both are great companies making great products.

I decided to go with one of the oldest jeans manufactures in America. A company that has been in the business for over 100 years, Round House. Based in Shawnee Oklahoma, these guys have been making jeans since before they were adopted by the public at large. Many of  Round House’s employee have been with the company for decades. Here is a short little video showcasing their operation: Seeing the faces of those workers and the care and quality they out into their jobs reminds me of why I decided to buy American in the first place. I looked through their site and found a pair of relaxed fit jeans that suited me just fine. I don’t go for skinny jeans or even slim fit. I like to be comfortable, I also like to be able to bend over with out sever pain or discomfort. I’m old fashion that way, but to each his own. The jeans I selected look great and the best part about them is that they cost $29.95.  I don’t know if I could even find a pair of cheap, foreign, child slave labor jeans for that price! Made in American jeans at rock bottom prices what a combo. I’ll write more when I receive them, but if you are looking to replace a few pairs of old jeans that need replacing you probably can’t do much better than Round House Jeans.

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The PiggyBankBuilder Porfolio Challenge – June 2015 Results

I’m starting to read some concerning things about the stock market and the economy. Let’s see how I fared and then I will give my final analysis.

  • Krogers (KR) – Purchase price – $63.53, number of shares 23. Current Price: $71.68  a gain of $187.45
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $46.76, number of 32. Current Price: $46.28, a loss of $25.28
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $15.11, number of shares 99. Current Price: $15.77 a gain of $13.86
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138, Current Price $9.80 a loss of $219.42

Well there it is, I’m in the red, I am down $258.33. july crashThat is a sizable fall from last month. Should I pull the plug? What will July look like? Some are saying that this market has been rising for over six years and its time for a consolidation. They are predicting that the market will fall 10, 20, perhaps even 30 percent. Such a drop would be healthy for an oversold market. Other are saying that the bill is due, that all of this global debt needs to be paid and that this is the beginning of another recession.

It hard to say, but I do know that on Sunday evening the Greek people are going to vote on their future. The outcome of this vote could set the tone for the rest of the Summer. The way I see it the Greeks are in a no win situation. If they leave the European union their banking industry will collapse if they stay the austerity restrictions they will face will damage their already weak economy. Only time will tell, I will be watching the vote and the markets reaction on Monday morning

***Please not that I am not and investment adviser.Please consult your investment adviser before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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