Category Archives: Earning Ideas

The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Trade Update

I mentioned it prior. I am cashing out of a position in my fake investing portfolio.  I am “selling” my OIH position. oilThis was my oil play and historically oil prices tend to peak in the summer months. I am happy in the performance, it has gained over 20% in just a few months. It may have more room to run, but I am content to lock in some profits. OIH is trading for  $56.99 for a total of $1481.74. I have no intention of letting that cash just sit there for long. I have another idea kicking around and will share to with you shortly.

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio 1/2 year Update

We are six months chartinto 2014 and  my educational fictitious portfolio is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s performing so well that I am kicking myself for not following my own advice, perhaps next year. Two quarters in the books and here is where things stand:

  • Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) – Purchase Price – $47.98, number of shares 26. Current Price: $57.68, a gain of $252.20
  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $18.29, a gain of $23.12
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $41.80, a gain of $142.89
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase Price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $20.29, a gain of $90.42

That is correct, not only is the portfolio up big, but all four stock are, for the first time, green as well. My fake portfolio is up $508.68, a hair over 10%! I can’t help but give myself a pat on the back. Last years portfolio was a failure, but I took those lessons and I applied them. I am feeling confident in the rest of the year, but I do plan to make some changes as we end the summer. Keep an eye out for my next big idea and please tell me what you think of my progress. 

***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 May Progress Report

May is over and it’s time to take stock of the portfolio. Please keep in mind that this is an investing exercise for demonstration purposes. Here’s how we’ve done so far:  

  • Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) – Purchase Price – $47.98, number of shares 26. Current Price: $53.47, a gain of $142.74
  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $17.55, a loss of $27.88
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $40.56, a gain of $101.97
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase Price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $18.28, a loss of $42.24

A gain of $174.59 or about 3%. winningThis is very exciting for a few reasons. First off, at about this time last year I shut down the portfolio due to losses. I took what I learned form that exercise and made adjustments, they appear to be working. Secondly, three percent is way better than you would get from a bank account. 

Lastly I feel good going forward. I have read some very positive articles about Microsoft which lead me to believe that the public is excited about the stock. Also from a technical perspective the stock is trading at 10 years highs and could trade up to all time highs of around 58 dollars a share. I see room to grow and I am pleased.

Silver and Cablevision have turned around a bit and OIH is doing exceptionally well. Of course anything can happen, all we can do is wait and 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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I Got Some More Crumbs

This morning I received a pleasant surprise in the form of an e-mail from BigCrumbs. A payout was being sent to my paypal account in the amount of $3.36. CrumbsThis was the cash back for one of my recent NewBalance sneaker purchases. I have nothing but great thing to say about BigCrumbs. I really like that I have the opportunity to earn cash back on things I was going to buy anyway and they do a great job of tracking my purchases and paying me out. It’s not a huge amount of money, but every bit helps. If you aren’t already a member, please check them out

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Month 4 of the “PiggyBankBuilder Investment Portfolio”

Another month is in the books our fictional portfolio is about 2% in the green.   

  • Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) – Purchase Price – $47.98, number of shares 26. Current Price: $52.06, a gain of $106.08
  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $16.78, a loss of $80.24
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $39.69, a gain of $73.26
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase Price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $18.69, a loss of $15.18

As you can see a large portion of this months gains have come from increases in oil prices. This is partially seasonal, oil prices historically have risen as we enter the summer months. The other driver of higher oil prices in my opinion is the Russian conflict. As the Ukrainian tension continues to escalate and fears of a Russian invasion grow the energy markets have reacted.  Strangely silver, which is a measure of fear or a harbor of safety has not reacted accordingly. 

Going forward I am very excited about Microsofts prospects. They just reported a strong quarter and the financial media is gaining interest. Between that and what could be a big potential spike in oil prices I suspect that the portfolio will have a very strong month. As always, 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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The Next Big Thing Is Actually Quite Small – Spotting an Investment Opportunity

One of the best investment strategies is to be early. ideaSpot a trend in its infancy and capitalize on what you believe will occur down the line. For example, I remember when I heard that Newark, NJ was going to get a new sports arena. I don’t how much you know about Newark, but chances are its probably bad. Riots, violence, crime, gangs, murder, Newark’s image is pretty bad and this arena was meant to revitalize the city and turn things around. 

So here you are its 2002 and you have just read in the newspaper that Newark is getting this massive state of the art arena. What do you do? What is the smart move? I met a man in 2006 who capitalized on this. As soon as he heard about the arena he bought an empty lot two blocks away and built a big beautiful bar. He was told the arena would open in 2007 and he had his place up and running the year before. He knew that the Devil’s would call that arena home and his place would be packed with hockey fans or concert goes many nights a year.  His place was so close that people could park near by and would pass his establishment on there way to the arena. He saw and opportunity and grabbed it. 

The stock market works the same way. Right now social media stocks are on fire. Two years ago you could have bought Facebook stock for 18 bucks, now its over 50. In the 90’s internet stocks exploded. Google IPO’ed for 80 dollars, look at it now. In almost every case the news came out as a trickle and then turned into a flood. If you pay attention early on you can beat the crowd.

That’s all good and fine, but where is the future. Looking back is easy, where is the next trend. I believe from what I have heard and read that the future is so small that you can’t even see it, Nano technology. Smaller than a cell Nano technology aims to fix big problems using tiny solutions. It may be possible to dramatically increase the capacity of a battery using Nano particles to improve its chemistry. Sounds complex? Let me simplify, with this technology you could improve your smart phone battery so much that you would only have to charge it once a week. What is that worth? 

Nano particles could be used to detect and treat disease, improve the strength of building materials, making cars lighter and safer, cleaning up chemical spills. We are on the cusp of a revolution. It has been identified, we are early, now we have to figure out what to do. Who are going to be the leaders of this radical new technology? The answer to that question is going to make some people very wealthy. Right now, time is on our side, we are ahead of the crowd. The best thing to do is to keep your eyes open, keep that word “Nano” in the back of your mind and when you hear it pay attention. Be ready to seize the opportunity. 

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The “PiggyBankBuilder Investment Portfolio” 3 Month Update”

Month three is  in the books and the portfolio is mostly positive. Silver gave back some green and CVC shaved off some red.

  • Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) – Purchase Price – $47.98, number of shares 26. Current Price: $49.45, a gain of $38.22
  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $16.57, a loss of $94.52
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $39.56, a gain of $68.97
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase Price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $18.96, a gain of $2.64

The three month progress stocks upso far is a gain of $15.31. This is a slight dip from last month. Almost all of the ground that was lost in silver. I find this a bit confusing because historically precious metals have done well during times of uncertainty. Despite the turmoil in Ukraine and bank runs in China silver and gold continue to slide in price. I am going to hold fast, I still like silver as a hedge against disaster. The other three stocks have continued to improve with Microsoft looking pretty strong. 

The portfolio is slightly green which is much much better than I did last year (a loss of over 500 dollars). One quarter in and I am feeling pretty confident. I guess will see how that pans out next 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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Tracking My Prosperity

Five months ago I made the decision to invest in peer to peer lending. With many investors achieving returns of over 9% such an investment seemed like a good opportunity. To put things in perspective my savings accounts offers me about a third of one percent interest. Prosper is offering me nearly 30 times that amount and as a result investing two thousand dollars with them would yield the same amount of interest as if I had invested $60,000 into my savings account.

The trade off is risk, theses are personal loans, to people. People are not always reliable, they can default and leave you holding the bag. My credit union isn’t going to go out of business and even if it did my funds are backed my the government. Very little risk.

To their credit, Prospers vetting has been very good. ProsperI current have money invested in 22 loans and none of them have fallen behind even once. I have $900 dollars invest do far, about 20% of the way to my goal and things seem to be moving very well. Prosper offers and automating investing option, but I have chosen to select the loans myself.

I feel that it’s important to comb through the loans offerings and select ones that I believe will offer the best value. Here are some of the things I look for:

  • No past delinquencies. My thinking is that if you haven’t been late with a bill in the last 7 years it stands to reason that you will pay me on time. 
  • A steady job. Teachers and cops tend to have long consistent careers. I look at the applicants job and ask myself, “Will this person be okay if the recession worsens?”
  • Three years, not five. I prefer the shorter terms, if you can see the end of something you are more likely to finish it. With the five year loans I am concerned about the borrower getting sloppy in the final year. This might be especially true if they have gone into debt with other obligations. 

I will also try to mix in “B” “C” and “E” rated loans to chase yield. As the pie chart indicated the majority of my loans are “AA” and “A”, but they offer lower returns. My one “E” rated loan is paying me over 28%, a few months in and everything seems to be going well. If it doesn’t default it will pay me as much as five “AA” loans when its all said and done.

So as I enter my six month of investment in personal loans I can say that I am very pleased. I hope that by years end I will have between $1600 to $2000 invested. I will update you on my progress in future posts.   

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The “PiggyBankBuilder Investment Portfolio” – So Far

Nearly two months of 2014 have past and our investment exercise is moving right along. upFor those of you who might not be familiar, I am conducting an exercise to demonstrate the wealth building potential of stock investment. I have taken 5000 fictitious dollars and bought various fake shares in four real companies. Here are the results of that decision:

  • Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) – Purchase Price – $47.98, number of shares 26. Current Price: $47.87, a loss of $2.86
  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $16.41, a loss of $105.40
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $37.75, a gain of $9.24
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase Price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $21.00, a gain of $137.28

So two months in and I am up $38.26.  Not too shabby, especially when you consider how choppy the market has been recently. I still think oil prices will rise going into the summer(OIH). With Time Warner and Comcast merging I think Cablevision is a great buyout candidate and should help its stock. Even though I was wrong about Microsofts CEO I like their selection and see blue sky a head for them. And with all the conflict and uncertainty in the world I could easily see silver rise back up to 30-40 dollars and ounce. So far, I give this experiment an A. 

*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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Got Extra Time? Have an Opinion? Need Cash?

According to a recent Nielsen survey, the average American spends 34 hours a week watching TV. Think about that. That means that they spend almost as much time watching television as they do working. Of the seven days in a week, the average American spends over one of them watching TV. It boggles the mind.

I make this point to suggest that most of us have extra time in our day and how you use it can make a huge difference. What if you took 14 of those TV watching hours, two a day, and put them towards an activity that could put a little money in your pocket. I am referring to online surveys. Sites that will pay you to give your opinion on various topics. A few bucks here a few there and before you know it you are making some serious cash.

I want to demonstrate the possibilities with a few sites, I have tried to do this before, but in the months leading up to my wedding spare time was in short supply. Now, a new year, big plans, lets see how much money I can make with my opinions. Here are the 5 sites that I plan to use:

  • SwagBucks: I really like this site, it gives you multiple ways to earn points or “SwagBucks” swagbucksas the site likes to call them. You can watch videos, answer surveys, try free samples of products. Each activity has a value associated with it. The only downside is that many of the activities only offer on or two points as a rewards, but if you really put your mind to it I am sure you could earn  a lot of “Swagbucks” in a very short amount of time.  Once you accumulate enough Swagbucks you can redeem them for rewards. You can even get cash when you select the Payapl option, 2500 SwagBucks gets you $25. I think that for most people this is a very achievable monthly goal. 
  • Opinion Place: I love this site! opinion placeOf all the opinion websites I have used so far this one is the best. Why? Simplicity. They offer you one survey every few days, you do it and you get paid. No points or 25 cent surveys. Today I did a 5 dollars survey, it took a few minutes and I was done. I choose the Paypal option for payment. You can also choose Amazon e-gift cards or America Airlines miles. I expect to ear between $8- $20 a month with this site. 
  • MySurvey:  They have a lot of surveys,mysurvey but lately I haven’t been able to qualify for that many of them. It is a little frustrating. That being said the layout of the site is very easy to use and they are the only one on this list that offers a mobile app. They offer several payout options including Paypal. I can’t say how much I expect to earn on this site at the moment, I guess I will have to figure that out as I go.
  • BigSpot:  I just joined this site, I was awarded $5 for doing so. I like that. They offer a large section of survey, but you have to be fast. Once the survey fills up it closes  and you are out of luck. They have two primary ways of big spotpaying you out Amazon gift cards and Paypal cash. I suspect that I should be able to earn about $25 a month on this site. 
  • e-Rewards – This site is a mix of bad and good. erewards logoThey have plenty of surveys and I often qualify for them, but the redemption of your cash is weird. By weird I mean kind of a rip off, like buying a $10 Best Buy gift card with $30 e-reward dollars. I am going to give them a chance and see how this plays out. 

So by my rough calculation I should be able to earn around $125.oo a month with these five sites or over 1000 bucks annually. This is money I could use for investments, to pay for a vacation, or buy Christmas gifts at the end of you year. You could use it to pay down debt or as seed money for your own small business.  It has the potential to be an additional revenue stream for you or I. All we need to do is to take some of that TV time and put it to better use. 

I will up date my progress in a month. Wish me luck. 

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