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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Challenge – April Results

Recovery or into the red? Let’s crunch the numbers:

  • Krogers (KR) – Purchase price – $63.53, number of shares 23. Current Price: $69.80  a gain of $144.21
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $46.76, number of 32. Current Price: $46.28, a loss of $15.36
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $15.11, number of shares 99. Current Price: $15.77 a gain of $65.34
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138, Current Price $9.80 a loss of $140.76

I am holding on by my fingernails. The portfolio is up $53.43, a miniscule improvement over last month.  question-mark-1409010-mThe biggest loser this month was Krogers? My hero stock, my champion? It backslid into the 60’s. This appears to be a consolidation, at least that is my hope.

Microsoft’s recovery is going according to plan. Silver did literally nothing. It’s possible that silver is basing here. BlackBerry flirted with the 10’s earlier last week, I am optimistic that it could see 11 in May.

My caution from last month remains. My May prediction, that the portfolio will be up $200 dollars by June. My previous guess was 100 bucks shy of its mark. Perhaps I will do better this month.

 

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

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Challenge – First Quarter

March was a cruel month. How much so? Let’s take a look:

  • Krogers (KR) – Purchase price – $63.53, number of shares 23. Current Price: $77.07  a gain of $311.42
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $46.76, number of 32. Current Price: $41.72, a loss of $161.28
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $15.11, number of shares 99. Current Price: $15.77 a gain of $65.34
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138, Current Price $9.54 a loss of $176.54

I am still green, but just barely. The portfolio is up $38.92, losing about $70 in profits over last month.  lossThe tech stocks have really given me a beating, particularly BlackBerry which flipped from green to red.

Krogers is a juggernaut. I choose it for its slow growing stability and it has turned into a runaway train.  Microsoft is recovering from its massive February fall, I hoping it continues to climb back to even. Silver has been choppy and volatile, not sure what the future holds for it. BlackBerry was what I thought was going to be a company on the mend, but right not its hard to tell. I think it could climb back to even in the the next few months, but only time will tell.

Looking out to the rest of April I feel cautiously optimistic that things will resume a gradual up trend. My prediction, that the portfolio will be up $150 dollars by early May. We shall see.

 

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

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We Have a Winner!

With nearly 300 entries, the “PiggyBankBuidler Wednesday Giveaway” was a great success. As always I really enjoyed receiving your comments, follows, and likes. This contest is a great opportunity for us to extend our reach to new visitors. Thank you all.

And now for the announcement you have been waiting for. fridays gb 821The winner of our contest and the recipient of a $25 Fridays gift card is Neeharika from Lexington Kentucky. Congrats to her and better luck to all of you. Our next contest will launch this Wednesday and with it another opportunity to win.

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Freewheel Your Way to Savings

In the last decade nothing has changed more than the cell phone bill. Cell phone carriers used to charge by the minute. Then you could buy blocks of minutes. With the growth of smart phones, texting and data came into play.  Now it appears that we are in an all out price war.

Sprint has been heavily promoting their “Cut Your Bill in Half”plan. If you bring them your Verizon or AT&T bill they will sign you up for a Sprint Plan with unlimited text and talk for 1/2 the price. They also agree to waive the activation fee and buy out your old contract. This is music to a deal lovers ears.

All of that is great, I love seeing prices come down, but I want to share something pretty revolutionary. A move away from cellular networks and onto Wifi. Dump your voice, data, and text plans and save hundred of dollars a year. I’ve heard about companies trying such a move, but until recently I never saw the idea implemented.

A few days ago Cablevision launched their “Freewheel” service. Freewheel PhoneFor $9.95 a month Optimum subscribers can get smart phone service for a fraction of the price. This service includes unlimited talk, text, and data and requires no contract. They only offer one phone with this, The Motorola Moto G. It certainly isn’t on the cutting edge of cellular tech, but it seem like a competent day to day handset.

Is there a catch? Yes and No, its so cheap because its a Wifi phone. Most phones use Wifi whenever possible and the cellular network as a back up. With Freewheel you won’t have that, no Wifi, no service. It could be a problem depending on your location.

On the other hand, do you have Wifi at home? Do you have Wifi at work? I do, so most of the day I am connected. Most businesses offer free Wifi and more hotspots come online everyday.

Who is this best for? As I see it two types of people, those who don’t use their phone very often and kids. If you have three kids and they all have smart phones the bill can be up to hundreds of dollars a month. Freewheel offers you the ability to drop that down to $30 a month.

For example let’s say you monthly phone will is $200 for your three kids. You drop that and switch the Freewheel for $30. You save $170 a month or $2040 a year! That’s a short vacation or a giant TV, every year. All because you made one switch. The only other financial consideration is the $99 dollars for the phone.

Now I haven’t tried the phone yet, but I will keep an eye out and share any experiences that I have. If you are looking to shrink your phone bill you might want to consider Freewheel.

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The Three TV Finalists

My never ending saga to buy a new TV has yet to reach a conclusion. From the early trickery that almost fooled me into making a very big mistake, to the Super Bowl sales that failed to impress I have been waiting and waiting for the right price to make my move. In hindsight I probably should have bought on “Cyber Monday”. Oh well, live and learn. I fully expect or at least I truly hope that “President’s Day” will be my moment in the discount sales sun.

With that in mind here are the criteria for my three finalists in the decision for my next TV. They are all around 55 inches, I choose that size for two reasons. First is cost, that is the biggest size for my budget and secondly its bigger than the 40 inch I currently own. I find that men always want a TV one size bigger than the one they own. I’m buying a 55inch but the 65inches in the store looks so nice. Even if I had a 100 inch TV I would still probably turn to my wife and say “Not getting the 110 inch TV was a mistake.”

They are all 4K. I’ve been getting a lot of flack from friends about this, that no one really makes 4K content so why buy the TV. First off Amazon and Netflix offer content and a blu ray player that plays in 4K is in the works. Secondly, its ready for the future, so while it might not make sense now if will in 2 years and more so in five years.

They are all 3D. Again a lot of people seem puzzled by this. They argue that it is a frivolous gimmick. I will meet them half way on this, most 3D is nonsense, but Jurassic Park and Titanic are not. If you haven’t watched these films in 3D I encourage you to do so, amazing.

With the a fore mentioned parameters in place here are my three finalists.

  • The LG 55UB8500 55 inch 4K 3D Smart LED TV – This is my third place finisher, but that doesn’t really do it justice. LGThe reviews on Amazon are fantastic. According to professional reviews this TV has some of the best 3D viewing of any TV around. It also uses the WEB Os browser which has a clean simple layout that is innovative and intuitive. The smart remote  feels good in the hand and is easy to use. While I am not crazy about the stand I do like the thin bezle edge of the screen. My two concerns with this TV are black levels and support, some customers have complained that when they do run into trouble the LG customer support is weak. The current price is about $1600, if it falls to $1100 I will probably pull the trigger.
  • The Sony XBR55X850B 4K 3D Smart LED TV – The silver medalist, this TV was on sale in the Sony store for $1400 with a $400 in store credit the week before Christmas. sonyI was so close to moving on it, but I don’t like making snap decisions about such a large purchase, my loss. On the positive side, it’s a Sony. They have a well earned reputation for making quality products and this is no exception. The look of the set exudes style, the stand is simple and minimal. The color quality is very good, but to me, when I watched it in the show room the black levels seemed a bit off. I will need some more hands on interaction with it to make a final judgement.
  • The Samsung UN55HU8550 4K 3D Smart LED TV – The elusive champion, the TV I have been watching like a hawk for 3 months now. Before the holidays it was selling for $1500, then it dropped to $1400, then up to $2000 after Christmas, then down to $1600, 8550and as of now it sits at $1700. Can Presidents day get it back to $1400? I hope so because this TV is a dynamo. It is the number one ranked TV on Consumer Reports and CNET. It has a beautiful image, amazing smart capabilities, one of the best remotes in electronics, and a ton of connectivity options. My wife bought me a 4k up converting 3D bluray player, also a a Samsung, for Christmas and it just sits in the corner waiting for its mate. A sad tale to be sure.

This is a very fluid situation that I watch daily, sometimes hourly. I will share the developments as they unfold and report back to you with a review of the eventual winner.

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The PiggyBankBuilder Wednesday GiveAway Has Returned!

Our giveaway used to be a regular feature on this site. I took a break from the giveaway last Summer when I bought my home. Now I have decided to bring it back.

The rules are simple you can earn entries several ways and in the case ofridays gb 821f tweeting you can earn entries daily. The prize is a $25 Friday’s Gift card, depending on your appetite this should cover two people for a nice evening out. The contest ends in one month and one winner will be selected using a randomizer. Best of luck to all of you!

 

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Made in the U.S.A. Monday – The Tide Is Turning!

PiggyBankBuilder has been highlighting American made products for almost two years now. I personally started consciously buying “Made in America” stuff almost seven years a go. When I first told people about my goal they were very skeptical, many people still wrongly believe that “we don’t make anything anymore” or that “American made stuff is junk”. Unfortunately too many people still hold this view, but it is slowly starting to change.

About six months back I stated to notice that it was easier to find American made products for my articles. In stores I also began to notice more “Made in the USA” labels and stickers on products. Now remember I have been on the hunt for the better part of a decade. If they were there all along I would ave seen them.  I honestly believe that stores are recognizing the value of our products and the fact the people want to buy them.

My “ah ha” moment came right before Christmas last year. I was researching a few products for my weekly article and I stumbled on to this page. It is the “Made in America” section of the GE website. As I am sure you are aware GE has been and remains one of the biggest companies in the world. For them to take notice for this trends and embrace domestic manufacturing suggests that the public is calling out for these products. Here is a quote from their page:

“By investing over $1 billion dollars in new plants, equipment and technology, insourcing the manufacture of many of our new products and upgrading employee training, we have recommitted ourselves to making great American-made appliances, and, in the process, created over 21,000 new American jobs–3,000 at GE and 18,000 at our U.S. suppliers.”

Insourcing! Is that even a word? According to my spell check it isn’t. If a giant like GE is looking to bring those jobs back just imagine what other companies are doing? Now customers looking to buy American can select from an impressive list of refrigerators, ranges, wall ovens, dishwashers, washers, dryers, and hot water heaters. 

Five years ago many people speculated that by this time you would not longer be able to find and American made appliance. As we can see today they were wrong. American made is growing and we should all do our best to help it continue to succeed.

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Red Bull Gives You Cash!

As I have mentioned previously I am a new cameraman. People in this profession are no stranger to the double shift, the 14 hour day, and the short turn around. The news is unpredictable and when things are at their worst long hours often follow. It can be a grind and it will slow you down. red bullYou need a boost, some turn to coffee. I don’t care for it. In the past I had turned to “Red Bull” for my pick me up because as they say, “Red Bull gives you wings”.

As it turns out that catch phrase is misleading, so much so that it lead to a class action lawsuit, a winning one at that. As part of the settlement “Red Bull” has agreed to give anyone who purchased one of their products from January 1st 2002 and October 3rd of 2014 either $10 or $15 in Red Bull products. To claim this settlement all you have to do is click on the following link and follow the simple instructions.  It’s limited to one per house hold and you have until March 2015 to enroll. If you bought a Red Bull in the last 12 years, 10 bucks could be yours.

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Drum Roll Please…

WOW! This time around we had 380 entrants for our contest. This is far and away our largest turn out. Thank you so much to all of you, seeing this level of participation is very exciting. Selecting a winner for our giveaways is one of my favorite things about running this site.

And on that note, fridays gb 821the winner of the “PiggyBankBuilder Wednesday Giveaway” is Terri from Buffalo NY. Congrats to Terri, enjoy the gift card. For the rest of you, please come back soon for our next give away. 

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Who Will Be Our Next Winner?

Just over a week to go and out current giveaway is really  heating up. That $25 Friday’s gift card could be yours, all you have to do is enter. Just ask Kobi, Winnerthe winner of our last contest. Here she is, prize in hand. Another congratulations to her and wished of good luck to all of you.

I have offered you several ways to enter, including a daily option in the form of tweeting. So please, increase your odds of winning, rack up multiple entries with your tweets. Time is running out, don’t miss your chance. 

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