Category Archives: Earning Ideas

The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Challenge – February Results

Another month in the books and I am feeling pretty good. How did I do? Let’s look at my results:

  • Krogers (KR) – Purchase price – $63.53, number of shares 23. Current Price: $69.98 a gain of $148.35
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $46.76, number of 32. Current Price: $43.28, a loss of $111.36
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $15.11, number of shares 99. Current Price: $15.57 a gain of $45.54
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138, Current Price $10.96 a gain of $19.32

February saw a stock market recovery and the portfolio benefited nicely. 2015 stockIt is now up $101.85 or 2% ! A year back my portfolio was up only about 40 bucks, so this is a sizable improvement. 

Krogers continues to be a steady grower and BlackBerry just released a new crop of phones that look very impressive. Looking towards the next month its hard for me to say where things are going. The market is at all time highs and investors seem happy. That makes me a little nervous, the market has been going strong for over 6 years. Sooner or later things will change.

 

***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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How Does Prosper Deal With Deadbeats?

For those of you who don’t know Prosper is a personal lending investment service. People come to the site looking for loans and you as the investor can choose to fund a portion of those loans for a share of the interest paid on them. What makes tprosper lendinghis appealing to you as the investor are the returns. While traditional bank accounts are paying around 1%, Prospers loans can yield anywhere from 5-12% depending on the amount of risk you are willing to take. 

I have been a Prosper investor for almost 18 months and the experience has been great.  I have invested into 39 different loans and my annual return is just shy of 10%. Prosper has done a solid job of making process of finding and investing very straight forward and the layout is simple and easy to understand. Once a month I  deposit funds and I invest that and the payment money from my existing loans into new loans.

As I said everything has been running very smoothly until one day it happened. Someone didn’t pay. For over a year everything was great and then I look down my  list of “current” loans and saw a delinquency. I’m not going to lie, it was concerning. Of course I knew such a thing was possible, you could even suggest inevitable, but I had gone so long with out a problem, then boom. I contacted Prosper about this issue and they responded with the list of actions. Here is an outline of their collection process:

  • 1-15 days: Prosper will make calls and send emails to the borrower.
  • 16-20 days: Prosper engages with a collection agency to collect on the delinquent note. A late fee is charged at day 16, 46, 76 and 106 days past due and is passed on to the Investors.
  • Delinquency reported to Experian and Transunion on a monthly basis at 31 days past due until the loan is charged-off.
  • 121+ days: The loan is charged-off and sent to an external charge-off collection agency.
  • Collection Agencies will charge fees (up to 40% any recovered funds, plus legal fees and expenses) for any recovered funds.  Investors in a delinquent Note will have these fees deducted from any recovered funds on a pro-rata basis.  If no funds are recovered, Investors do not pay any collection fees.

Fortunately for me, the late loan was paid up in a matter of days. It appears to have been just a simple error. Since then none of my other loans has been late. This reassures my confidence in Prospers screening process. Delinquent loans are bad for business. When I saw a late payment it alarmed me, if it went unresolved I might pause my investment in the site. I am sure this is a common reaction.

To their credit Prosper has and continues to do an excellent job. I recommend their service to anyone who is looking to create a passive income stream and has the extra capital to risk.

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The 2015 PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Challenge

This will be my third year conducting my educational investment portfolio. For those of you who are new to the site, I create a fictitious portfolio to demonstrate to my readers the potential of stock investment. In my first year I failed. Last year I gained about 12%. This year I aim to surpass that. 

Here are the rules, I have $5000 in fake investment money. I select four stocks and track their progress over the year. If I see an opportunity or suspect that a situation will change I will buy or sell a stock to take advantage of that situation.

  • Microsoft (MSFT) –  I am a big fan microsoftof this company and continue to believe that it was a bright future ahead. For many many years this company has been unfairly underestimated. The addition of their new CEO is a welcomed change and I believe will allow their share price to climb into the future. I still hold a 100 a share price target for this company. Purchase Price $46.76, number of shares 32.
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - It was once believed that BlackBerry’s days were numbered. Another victim of the Iphone. While this is still a very popularly held belief, a bbrygrowing number of investors see this company as either a turn around story or a potential buyout target. I think a $!5 price target is very possible for this stock and I am keeping it in my portfolio. Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – I have been wrong about silverssilver and it has cost me dearly. Yet I will still stubbornly hold on because I know that if I am right I will be handsomely rewarded.  Purchase price $15.11 , number of shares 99
  • Krogers (KR) - The only new edition for 2015. krogerThis is a solid growing company with a good reputation. Normally i would shy away from a stock that has run so much, but I can’t see a reason why they wouldn’t maintain their current trajectory. Purchase price $63.53, number of shares 23

So there you have my selection for the 2015 PiggyBankBuilder portfolio challenge. I think it offers a nice balance of risk as well as sound growth companies. I will also tell you that I plan to chase IPO’s this year. I will go into deeper detail as those events near. If you have any question please ask. Best wishes to all of you in 2015, I hope you have a healthy and profitable new year.

 

***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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5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Finances in 2015

Day 1 of 365 in our new year. We are all setting our plans and goals, trying to turn our hopes into realities. Most people want to lose weight, some want to exercise more, somewhere on that list for many of us is “improve finances”. It can seem like a tricky one, kinda hard to gain a handle one. Eating better and exercising are pretty self evident. Managing your money,shrinking debt, not so easy. Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling. 

  1. Move your credit card debt to a 0% card. The average household has over $10,000 in credit card debt.slate That is a massive burden and the 20% interest rate is only making it worse. The road to debt free living leads through the 0% balance transfer. The interest cards alone on 10k in debt at 20% is $2000.00. With one simple step of moving it over you will save yourself almost $170 a month. That is money you could be using to dig yourself out of that hole. I would recommend the Slate card from Chase. It has no annual fee and a 0% interest rate for 15 months. It also has a no transfer fee which is very rare. 
  2. Switch or Bundle Your Insurance. A few year back I decided to ditch my old 1000 auto policy and shop around for a better one. I found a 700 policy and never looked back. A year later I got married and bought a house. We bundled our homeowners with our auto and saved even more, I went from paying over a grand to under 500 on my auto policy just by taking a few simple steps. 
  3. Renegotiate Your Cell Phone Bill. You can’t turn on a TV without seeing a commercial for one cell phone carrier or the other. Now I realize you might be in a contract, but if it’s near its end you have a lot of leverage and if you are going to bundle your plan with a family member all the better. I dropped my cell phone bill form $100 a month to $70, just by making a few calls. That was over a year ago and the switch has saved me almost 500 bucks! If youbillcutterzaren’t interested in the art of haggling you could hire someone like BillCutterz to do it for you. My buddy tried it and he was very pleased. 
  4. EBay It! You have too much stuff, we all do. If you are honest about it, you don’t need it all. Like that Xbox 360 that you haven’t played in years. Sell it and your library of games on Ebay. You might not get that much, maybe 100 bucks, but its money you didn’t have before. Not only will you get the cash but you will lose some clutter. 
  5. Work As a Secret Shopper. I’ve had some experience with the secret shopping app “Field Agent” logo FAand I was very pleased with the experience. Such an app could easy bring you a few extra bucks every month, perhaps hundreds of dollars a year.  

Everyone’s situation is unique, but if you pursued even one or two of these ideas the result could be very helpful. Best of luck to all of you in the New Year. 

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio – 10 Month Update

Two months remain in the year and my fictitious portfolio is chugging right along. Recently the stock market has taken a bit of a dive, let’s see how I did. 

  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $18.23 a gain of $18.63, down big from August.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $47.33, a gain of $325.38, up slightly since August. 
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $15.39 a crushing loss of $232.98
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $9.25, number of shares 160, Current Price $10.16 a gain of $145.60

So as things stand now, my gains shrank to $256.63 or just over 5%. As you can see much of the damage was done by silver, dollarwhile that is frustrating, my decision to dump oil and move over to BlackBerry has kept my portfolio green for the year. 

These are choppy markets, and no one knows what is in store. Will today’s election spook Wall Street? Will low oil prices help the economy? I hope so. Looking out over the next two months I feel good about my portfolio’s short term prospects, but only time will tell. 

***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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My Experience with Peer to Peer Leading – One Year Out

For the last year now I have been investing in peer to peer lending through my Prosper account. For those of you who may not be familiar with them Prosper pairs investors like myself with people looking for loans. I deposit money into my account, search the available loan listings for one that I find appealing, and select a loan to fund.  Once the loan is fully funded the money is released to the borrower and they make their monthly payments. Prosper pays me back that portion of the principal plus the interests every month for the life of the loan. 

So how did I do? Well in theScreen Shot 2014-09-24 at 9.30.58 PM last year I have deposited $1100 into my account. During that time I have earned $84.75 from my 29 loans, a return of nearly 8%. Now I realize the dollar amount is small, but you won’t find a return like that at any bank that I know of. My local federal credit union is currently paying 1.3% on a 3 year CD, if I had invested my $1100 into that my yearly yield would have been about $15. The only upside to CD’s is the extremely low risk, CD’s don’t default.

Going back to my loans, none of them, knock wood, have defaulted. None of them have even been delinquent. As you can see from the illustration the majority of them are rated “A” or “AA” by Prosper. I have chased the higher yield of riskier borrowers and so far it seems to be working out. My “AA” loans have an interest rate of about 6% while my only “E” pays an interest rate of 28.25% and he’s made all of his 11 payments on time. 

If I were to give this experience a grade thus far it would be an A-. The prosper site is very easy to use and the information they offer is very detailed. Their rating systems is an excellent tool and I will continue to use this site for my investing. Over the next year I would like to build the value of my account to $3000.00. As long as the economy remains stable that will be my plan. 

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio – Eight Month Update

Eight months down and four to go. stocksThe year has been good to my educational fictitious portfolio which has been performing very well. Let’s see what August brought us. 

  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $19.07 a gain of $75.48
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $46.79, a gain of $307.56
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $18.22 a loss of $46.20
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $9.25, number of shares 160, Current Price $10.21 a gain of $153.60

So year to day, net gains of $490.44 or just a hair shy of 10%. Silver’s slide is annoying, but I still maintain that it is an excellent hedge against disaster. Microsoft continues to impress and I am excited about its future. Perhaps is will touch $50 soon. BlackBerry, the newest edition to the portfolio, has been doing fantastically. 

Summer is usually the worst season for stocks, if we get a nice run into the end of the year I could see some great gains. Time will tell, as always I remain cautiously optimistic. 

***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 – Seven Month Update

With month number 7 in the record books its time to see where we stand. The portfolio has seen some changes, a major change came in the form of me closing out a position. Today I will reveal my replacement pick, but firs lets see where we stand as of right now. 

  • Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) – Purchase Price – $47.98, number of shares 26. Sold on July 16th at $56.99 for $1481.74 a gain of $234.26
  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $18.17, a gain of $14.28
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $43.23, a gain of $190.08
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $19.17, a gain of $16.50
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $9.25, number of shares 160

A total profit of $455.12, which is down slightly from the last month. I attribute this to the stock market decline over the last month. Many are calling this an adjustment before the next leg up. I guess time will tell. 

As for the newest edition, blackberry.bbry I have been reading a lot about them, many investors had written the off for dead. I think otherwise, they have a great CEO and are poised for a turn around.  If my suspicions are correct, It think its possible that BBRY could rise to $15 a share. They have some new phones that should be releasing soon, much of the company’s success will ride on the quality of their new products. We shall see.

Going forward I maintain my cautious optimum. 

***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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BigCrumbs has Some Big Offers For You

I mentioned BigCrumbs in the past. It is a great site that offers users the ability to save money on items that they were going to buy anyway. Now they have sweetened the pot even further with two new offers. 

The first is cash ebay logoback on Ebay. I was a little shocked by this when I first saw it. A company like Ebay is so massive I didn’t think they would be interested in this type of promotion. The people at BigCrumbs are clearly a hard working, persuasive bunch. The cash back amount is .5%. Not massive, but every little bit helps. Like I have always said, if you were going to buy something anyway, why not save a little more. 

The other offer is on referral commissions.  As you may know, if you refer someone and they make a purchase using BigCrumbs you get some cash back on that referral. If you know some serious online shoppers who bigwould be interested in this service you could make some coin. From now until tomorrow, BigCrumbs is doubling their referral commissions.    

So if you have already signed up tell some friends, if you haven’t join now and then tell some friends. A few crumbs here a few there really starts to add up over time. 

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My Time as Secret Agent, err Shopper – Field Agent

At the end of last year I was introduced to “Field Agent” a secret shopper app that allows smart phone users to earn some extra cash by visiting a store, answering some questions, and submitting a few photos.  Each of these jobs can pay anywhere from $2- $12 depending on the task. photoI eagerly signed up and in the following seven or so months have earned $12.60. Alright, I realize that this is not very impressive. I’ve only completed three jobs, but to be fair I bought a house, which I moved into, and am in the process of lightly renovating.

Still I like this app very much and would recommend to anyone with an interest in making a few hundred dollars a year in extra income. I believe that this is possible if you have the time. Here is my break down of “Field Agent”.

Ease of Use: Very easy, you pull up the map and up pops all the jobs. You can preview each job to see how much it pays and what is required of you. Once you select the job you will have two hours to complete it. I usually pick jobs that are very close to where I am so it is never an issue.

What is a job like?: To be quite frank, its can be little weird. My first job was at a CVS, I had to take some pictures of the display stand that sat on the counter. It required me to answer a few questions and take a picture of the displays. The trouble was that the cashiers are right there. It was very awkward to take a photo of something while someone watches you, wondering what you are doing. My last job was much easier, it was in a Target, I was alone in the aisle and could answer the questions and take as many pictures as I wanted.

How Much do you think you could earn in a week?: That is an excellent question. If you woke up every morning and set out to just run jobs for “Field Agent” I would estimate that over 8 hours you could earn between $30 – $125 a day. This is a very wild guess, sometimes I look on the site and their are almost no jobs, lately it seems like they are ever

How do you deal with employees?: Simple, lie. Tell them that you aren’t sure if the product is the one you spouse wants, click a picture and pretend to text it to them. Most people can relate to this as such behavior is increasingly common. I know it feels bad trying to deceive someone, but in the big picture what they don’t know won’t hurt them.

Going forward I plan to try and get more jobs. The hardest part for me is trying to find jobs near me, driving 20 minutes out of the way just doesn’t seem worth it. Still if I could make $25 a month, pay for a couple of meals at work, that would be good enough for me. All in all I give it an A – .

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