Current Investments

I wanted to go through my current investments and really what I will be sharing about and what I won’t be sharing about so if you’re reading, you know that I won’t add that stuff into my posts or if I do, it will be brief and won’t be the main subject of my posts.

First the ones I am not sharing about.

Not Sharing About!

So I have two items I won’t be sharing about: My 401K and my Stash Account.

401K

  1. So the main reason I won’t be sharing about this account is because it does not have any dividend stocks and I don’t gain any passive income through it and will ,therefore, not be able to add it to my passive monthly income number that accumulates.
  2. Reason number two is that it only has a handful of mutual funds/index funds available for us to invest in through our company companion portal. Therefore, research into specific companies is short and won’t be of much value to you guys or to myself in sharing.

However, I will say that I currently have been working for almost two years at my company and they contribute 3% if you contribute 6% which is pretty typical. I put in at least 6% because them putting in 3% is free money for me. If you have an employer that does a 401K and matches your contributions, yes, do it and hit the max amount you need to get all of their contributions. Sometimes that is $50 a paycheck and you get $25 from the employer. It is worth the sacrifice for this and because mine comes out before my paycheck hits my accounts, I don’t even see it or treat it like my own money in a sense. And I won’t be able to take it out for another 35-40 years, so I can’t really count it as a retirement idea until that age. I believe it will help once I get there, but it doesn’t pay my out or put money in my pocket now or consistently.

Stash Account

Now this one seems silly to exclude because I definitely can own dividend stocks and bonds or funds that pay my each month or quarter.

  1. The only reason I am not including it currently is because they don’t sum up your monthly dividends or payouts so I have to go in, calculate out all my pay outs for October, then November, then December. It is very possible that I will just decide to add this in and add the numbers I tally here with the numbers I add up from my main investing account, but right now, it is just a lot easier to focus on the second.
  2. I guess if there was another reason, it would be that my Stash account is a taxable account and currently I am focusing on my main account which is a Roth IRA. Every time I get a dividend from my Roth IRA, I get 0 tax on that payment and I can put it back in. In a taxable brokerage account like my Stash account, I will have to add up any dividends I receive and if I sell any stocks, I will have to add any gains to my taxes. Once I get to the point where I am maxing my Roth IRA, I may consider adding to this account. But, I would maybe just add any extra amounts to my rental property savings account.

My Stash account has under $1,000 in it which is mostly contributions and then about 9% of growth. Not much but not bad. And I will say, I do get a few dividends from my stash portfolio each month. It isn’t a bounteous amount, but it is okay. What is probably a good plan in this situation is to get my portfolio to the point that it is gaining dividends enough to pay for the $1 a month subscription. So far, I am probably close to that, but I haven’t done the numbers out yet. That might be a fun side project. Mainly that is because dividend companies pay out either monthly or most of the time they pay out quarterly. Quarterly doesn’t give me a monthly average but I will have to add things up and see where I am at.

Last year, earlier in the year, I was using Robinhood with a few stocks, Ford being one of them, Macy’s, AT&T, etc (all good dividend companies). I was in the app about 3 months, put in about $200 and made about $27 when I sold them. I was taxed on the $27 dollars and then I moved that money into my Stash account.

Sharing About!

I have two items here as well as I mentioned in my last post where I stated my goals.

Roth IRA

I started my Roth earlier this year with Fidelity. The platform is really good on the computer and it is decent as an app experience. I think it would be nicer if it move int he direction that M1 Finance is going with it’s multitude of charts, filing your stock/ETFs into sector or “pies” and their ability to trade with fractional shares. Recently, they just dropped off all trading commissions which is great! As a new investor, I was worried about making trades even up to $200 because I was like.. Well, I just paid 2.5% of my trade for a stock that i hope gets 2.5% of growth just to make up. Not anymore. Thank you Fidelity! and have yet to start making bigger contributions as I am putting a bigger sum of my paycheck to help my wife finish off paying off her student loans. Once I finish that here by the end of the year, I will be able to up my amount I do here and max out this bad boy Roth IRA. I hope. For now, I put in about $50 per paycheck. Not a great amount but it’s good that I’m starting out small while I get rid of my other expenses in my budget.

Side Note: I definitely understand the idea that investing while I pay them off could give me a better return. I definitely do. I am all about the numbers. The purpose of doing this now is that both my wife and I are working currently. If I can use this time of dual-income to get rid of a monthly expense, (even though we’ve paid it down so much that our next payment is scheduled for 5/24/2024) then when my wife gets to the point of raising our kids as her main priority, we will have less to cover each month and I will feel better about myself throwing more money into my investments. Some times you have to prioritize peace of mind which is the ultimate goal of all of this, right?

I currently hold a few stocks/ETFs right now as the start of my portfolio. My current portfolio is at about $550 with about… yep, $550 in contributions. I’ve only been at it a few months and I have a few stocks that are down a few dollars while my others are up a few dollars. Oh, well. I’m not concerned currently. In fact, the one that went down is the one that paid me a $3.10 dividend this last month. Not too bad for a few months in! That is worth a few pieces of fruit, right? or a hot cocoa at Starbucks? In any case, I want to state this as it will come up a lot as you research into investing: I haven’t lost any money yet. I would only lose money if the stock went down and I sold it lower than I bought it. It’s called “unrealized.” As long as I hold it, it doesn’t matter what the price of the stock is. Most of these companies I will buy into, I plan to hold onto forever. If I think a company is doing great and they are going to be around and pay my to hold their stocks, then if the price falls for a bit, that’s okay. In fact, if it falls, I can just buy more and it lowers how much I paid per share. So then, when it goes up, I now have more shares for a cheaper average cost than my original purchases and they all pay me the same dividends.

My Current Holdings:

Here are my current holdings listed out as well as some items about them. I’ll make it fancier as things go on. For now as I only have a couple shares of each (about $550 worth), I will just share the ticker symbol and the company/ETF that I have to give you an idea of the starting of stocks I have.

F: Ford Motor Company
I bought Ford mainly because when I first owned them, the stock price started at $10 and went up to $13 per share and right now, the share is somewhere between $7-$10 per share. Now, yes, that can mean that they had a bad year, they made some bad decisions. My experience with Ford cars has been really positive. We have had 3 so far and each of them have been very reliable. My wife just traded her 2005 Focus with 243,000 miles on it for a Ford Escape and we gave the Focus to my brother for college. Good luck, dude. Ford has a really high payout ratio right now. Something between 110% and 150% I think. So they will probably cut their dividends soon. They recently stopped production on smaller cars to focus on EV cars and bigger cars as most of their sales were from their bigger lines like trucks and SUVs.

We will see how this goes but in any case, I bought them again because they were a good stock before and they are very cheap as far as stocks go right now so I can at least get started. If they do end up slashing their dividends, then I can sell out of them without being taxes and put that money elsewhere.

JNJ: Johnson and Johnson
There has been some news recently that talks about lawsuits that JNJ is going through regarding their baby talcum powder. The company knew about it for a bit and decided to reach out first before they were on the receiving end of issues. As one of my favorite YouTubers right now, Joseph Carlson on Joseph Carlson Show, states (paraphrased): “This may look bad, but you have to look at the whole picture for JNJ. Even if they stop running the entire line of baby talcum powder, that would only be a percent or so of their entire production. They are so well diversified that they will be okay and will continue paying dividends.” He adds up their lawsuits and showed that even if they settled all of them, it wouldn’t hit their dividend payout for investors and after 56 years of continually growing their dividends, they are going to keep doing that for investors.

This is very interesting to hear, especially since my wife has a lot of JNJ products. I think they are a pretty good buy right now and I will probably buy some more here in the next week if things stay as they are. They pay out quarterly around the end of each calendar quarter so that adds to my portfolio!

VYM: Vanguard High Yield ETF
This is one I bought even though it is a little bit high. I wanted to start off buying ETF/stocks that had good dividends and I thought that Vanguard’s high dividend yield ETF would be a good place to start. They distribute a 3.16% dividend yield which is pretty good and holds companies like JP Morgan Chase, JNJ, Procter & Gamble Co, Intel, AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Coca-Cola Co to name a few. All good dividend companies from different sectors and ones that I will probably invest in at some point. This ETF is really just to get exposure to the dividend companies. I think they paid me $3.10 in the last dividend distribution for my 1 share! So that’s pretty cool.

VNQ: Vanguard Real Estate ETF
This ETF is similar to the High Dividend Yield ETF in that I am looking to get some exposure into these areas and get a feel for how they pay, how they perform, etc. Real estate is a good holding because of the growth and performance of the sector as well as the payouts being good as well. The groups of companies that are in this group range from Healthcare real estate companies to Public Storage, commercial property owners and residential real estate. This gives for a good variety and they pay out a 3.12% dividend distribution.

For those of you who aren’t really sure about specific companies, I am the same way right now. I don’t know what I should put tons of money into. What if Chase blows up again. What if I invest in CenturyLink and then their coverage goes out for 3/4 of the U.S. Will that affect how much I’m getting paid? These are all concerns I have as I am starting in as well and I think taking a little time to know about your companies will help you feel safer about putting money there. ETF will help you spread your risk in a sector that you like but you question who actually performs well, keeps their balance sheets in check and continues to pay their shareholders and grow their dividends.

Dividends So Far:

In August, I made my first dividend from my portfolio on Fidelity.

August: $0.04 cents. Oh joy.
September: $3.10 Not bad!

I will have more updates as October comes to a close!

Rental Property/Rental Savings

This is my savings account that I am using to store the money I will use as a down payment and other costs when purchasing a home or duplex as a rental property. Right now, I keep it in a high yield savings account that makes about 2% interest and has a $1,000 minimum balance. I have about 25% of what I am hoping to have saved for a down payment right now with the price of properties in my area for renting ranging anywhere from $100,000 to about $150,000.

Once I hit the numbers I want saved to cover the rental amount and the costs and a few months of rent, I will move on from there. For now, I add a few hundred dollars into it every month and I am waiting.

Mortgage Payments

Now this doesn’t sound like an investment. It sort of isn’t but if you understand that as my mortgage goes down, I have a lot of options open up to me.

PMI:

We bought our house when we were newly married and because we are going to be living in it, we got it with a 3.5% down payment. This causes us to have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) til the mortgage balance is down to 80% (or 78% for some mortgages.) So putting extra towards the house will ultimately get us to that point and allow us to drop that $68-$80 extra payment off of our total monthly costs.

Equity/HELOC Opportunity:

Now, I understand that if I build up equity in my home and then I pull out a HELOC I now have two loans which equal the full value of my house and I’m back where I started. Plus HELOCs typically hold higher interest rates. However, once I have enough to pull out a HELOC, that money can be used to make purchases on a rental property which ultimate will leave me positive on my investing if I do it right. Then, the cash flow from that and other items helps pay back that HELOC and we’re back at square one except I have a second house now generating monthly rental income.

Mortgage Payoff:

Eventually I will retire. When I do, if I still have a mortgage payment, than I still have a substantial amount of month expenses along with the typical utilities, food, gas and insurances. If I am able to pay off my mortgage faster, I can cut out a good chunk of my monthly expenses. This ultimate helps my monthly cash flow that helps my investing and moves me closer to that investing to pay for my retirement.

Student Loans:

I don’t have any student loans. BUT when I got married, my wife had about $10,000 in student loans. We have since paid for her schooling out of pocket which has helped to keep that were it is. In the past year we have paid those down to about $3,500 and plan to be done with them fully before Thanksgiving!

Now it has taken a lot of sacrifice to do that. We eat out but maybe once a week, if at all, and we don’t buy much extra furniture or other fun items. We have a TV that I got my from parents that is older and starting to dim. Our table chairs are from a thrift store. There are few things that we can really say that we splurge on.

Car Loan:

Yes, my wife and I have a small car loan. We got a 6 year old car and we decided to pay 75% in cash and take a loan out for the rest. Because my company works with the seller company, doing this allowed them to drop their original price by about $4,000-$5,000. Not a bad buy now really. This equated to about a $3,500 loan and currently is around $3,300. We are making the monthly payments and as I mentioned in the Student Loan section, we are throwing everything extra into my wife’s student loans. Once those are gone, we might consider paying this off more quickly. But really, as the interest rate is really low, I’m not too worried if I am paying 3% interest on a ~$75 car payment and putting the rest into my investments where, it is not too difficult to do better than 3%. If we were to only pay the monthly payment, we’d only be out $277.60 over the life of the 4 year loan.

One these two are gone, we will only have the house to pay off! Debt-Free baby!

Conclusion:

So you now have a pretty okay picture of where we are at. We aren’t atypical and I’m not pretending to just have gobs of cash, experience, or to be better than anyone else at this. I’m simply sharing where we are at and hoping that others can align and feel that they too can start the journey of investing, paying off debt, and understanding the need to start as soon as you can so you build up more and more as time goes on.

Please feel free to reach out, comment your thoughts below, or to follow me on Twitter @youngbudgeteer. Always happy to share in the struggle and the journey!

 

 

 

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

The Real Beginning of Investing for Young Budgeteer

P.S. There are no affiliate links in here. Not one. I linked to a few sites from time to time to show you where I search for information but my goal is to share what I do, not to get you to buy something so I profit. Have a nice day and feel free to check out anything without the fear of being sold. Also, the wad of cash is from high school when I used to drive food delivery for a small sandwich shop called Jimmy John’s? It seemed like a fun thing to reminisce with. Nothing special about that.

Okay, wow. Yes, it has been probably over a year since I threw something up. As my “main hustle” or some people might call it just, my job, started to take off, as well as getting married, buying a new house, becoming the HOA president (bad decision), and then having to remodel because of a freak accident in my house, I haven’t been able to write much recently.

Continue reading

Questions about 401Ks

I am trying a post to try and get some comments. I have questions and I’m testing this out. And there is a picture of my wife and I’s rings from our wedding a couple months ago. That is why I haven’t posted in a couple months. You can find her beauty blog at Katesimmonsbeauty.com

The Situation:

I have a 401K through my company that matches 50% up to 6%. So if I put in 5%, they’ll match with 2.5% and if I put in 10% they’ll match with 3%. Right?

I don’t have any other debts and I don’t have a great need to sock away cash in a savings account now that I have my emergency fund set. I was thinking that I would try putting in 20% or at least 15% for a while and see how it goes. Is that a bad thought?

I know the idea of compound interest and definitely understand the desire to build up a nest for when I retire around 60-70.

But what I don’t know is how it works with future… adventures?

Continue reading

Vacation time again for the Young Budgeteer. Saving your way to Hawaii.

Mala Pier

You have to know, when I say the Young Budgeteer, I could be talking about myself or I could be talking about all you young people ( of course including the young at heart ) that may or may not be taking a vacation in the near future and want to have a good idea how to save and a good example of how I am saving right now for my vacation to Kona, Hawaii in January.

In in this post, I set out to explain a few things:

  1. Why I have the goal of saving for Hawaii. (Which is to take my wife to Hawaii for the first time; with my parents. Again, why save money if it isn’t for something)
  2. My original idea of how to save
  3. My new way how to save
  4. Cost of the vacation (and how I did it)
  5. What the journey has been like from paycheck to paycheck

Continue reading

The Melt Review: Grilled Cheese Perfection

grilled cheese sandwich

Oh Boy. Oh my… Wow. Okay. Deep Breaths. This.. This is just too good.

These are some of the emotions it takes to write about something so tasty. Thick slices of bacon inside a homemade Mac and Cheese with jalapeno slices stuffed into a Texas Toast grilled cheese sandwich.

The Situation:

If you haven’t guessed it yes, this is an amazing meal to partake of. I was in my office having some casual conversation about food places to eat since I am still a bit new in town (although slowly becoming a connoisseur of foods here.) My co-worker mention this amazing place to get grilled cheese sandwiches that only stopped it food truck at certain places on certain days. Today, it was parked pretty close. Now to get the feeling that I had when I first heard about it, I will share this bit of information.

  • The company started about two months ago.
  • They open from 5:30pm – 8:30pm each night and are usually sold out within an hour or two.
  • After 26 ratings (and counting, it’s been two months remember) on their page, they still sit with a 5.0 rating. That means no bad rating, not even A- ratings. Perfect Ratings so far.
  • A personal reference that they are one of the tastiest places in town.

Hopefully I can be your reference in saying, if you ever get a chance to pass through Pocatello or go nearby, check out the link about the ratings to see where they are and when they will be open.

So back to the situation. I decide it’s time to call in the fiance and weigh in on our Friday night Date Night meal. She agreed after some convincing and we were off.

When we ordered our food, we didn’t wait in line very long. The people we talked to were very kind to us, made a few jokes, didn’t force a tip (which we gave) and then we sat on the lawn chairs outside until it was time to eat. and as the description above states, it was an amazing meal from the start to the finish.

delicious grilled cheese

Here’s how I would grade it:

The Verdict:

Food Quality: 10

If I could say 11 on a 10 point scale, I would. This was one of the best meals I have had in the area. The bacon worked so well with the Mac and Cheese, the jalapenos added some kick, and the Texas Toast was both fluffy and savory to give it the rest of the flavor it needed. THE BEST.

Food Uniqueness: 10

Anyone can make a grilled cheese at home. Only some people decide to put mac and cheese in it. These guys are willing to take a food truck to a business and throw huge slabs of bacon in them. Very, very unique.

Price: 6

This is probably the only big ding I could give. I paid about $10 after adding a small tip and we shared it. At the end I was a touch more hungry after only eating half, but I wouldn’t say it isn’t enough by any means. (And yes, I understand that all the other reviews are 5 stars, but I think this is important for different wallet sized players.) I just didn’t expect a grilled cheese place to cost as must as Texas Roadhouse.

Environment: 10

The day we went was actually pretty cool for a summer day. They provided a couple lawn chairs to sit in while you waited with a canopy above you and some cold water and squirt guns so you didn’t “melt.” It was kind of nice for a hot summer day.

Service: 9.5

A small small knock here. Not because they did something unplanned but because I didn’t foresee how long we would be waiting after we placed our order. It was probably another 25 minutes? Being a grilled cheese place, it was just not my expectation and that is sort of my own lack of understanding of the restaurant. Because their only informational page is a Facebook page, it is a bit hard to know what their menu is or where they will be on a night a few weeks out. Small improvements. Maybe I’ll make a website for them.

And the grand total is… Drum roll please… .. .. .. .. .. 45.5 or 9.1! Not a bad rating at all. Honestly, anything above like an 8 is almost a definite you have to try it.

More to come as I wrap up my trip from Seattle and all of the exciting things we did while we were there. Is there a niche company in your area that you think just blows it out of the water? Do you have a lot of food truck companies? and especially, Do you think you have a grilled cheese that’s good enough to take on this bad boy?

Let me know on Twitter @YoungBudgeteer and let’s, as they say, collab?

Serious Pie : Food Review

Alright. Today, we are going to talk about a very serious topic. That’s right. Pizza. Serious Pie in Seattle. Rated a 4.4 stars out of 5 and a description of their own like this one, we had to give it a try while we were in town.

Serious Pie, pizzeria with a bread baker’s soul, serves up pies with blistered crusts, light textured but with just enough structure and bite. Our attentiveness to each pizza in the 600 degree stone-encased apple wood burning oven preserves the character of house made charcuterie and artisan cheeses from around the world. -Serious Pie

And yes, I had to look up charcuterie which means the preparation of different special meats specifically from pork. And I have to tell you, this was a Seriously good pie. It was a bit more Italian and lacked the regular several cups of cheese that I enjoy, but having chosen what I think was the best thing on the menu, it was well worth it in every bite. I don’t even know that I would substitute it for a regular cheesy pizza.

After cooking in the 600 degree stone pizza oven, they let the pizzas cooldown/finished getting delicious under some red heat lamps like these ones before they bring them out and the party begins.

serious pie cooking

The Situation:

Here is a brief description of our experience. We had been at a conference all day. 7am-5pm. After the conference, we walked around the city, a lot. We’d never been to Seattle and wanted to hit some of the historical and most talked about sights. By the end of the night (around 9pm) we were hungry. After choosing Serious Pie, we got on the wait list for a table and about a half hour later, we were seated. Root Beer and a Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, Fresh Basil Pizza was ordered. My co-worker got one with fennel sausage but I actually didn’t have the taste for it even though it had meat and a good amount of cheese. Here is a picture of mine:

buffalo mozarella pizza

I honestly didn’t think that I would enjoy a pizza with tomato sauce and small bites of cheese but it turned out to be possibly one of the tastiest pizzas I’ve ever eaten.

The Verdict:

Alright so now the breakdown. How do we take pizza. Well in my earlier post about (link) Costco pizza (link) I talked about different factors so I will keep with those.

Food quality: 10

It really doesn’t get much better than this. Not only was the tomato sauce perfectly sweet to match the salty flavors of the bread, but the cheese was just as wonderful. Almost chewy and quite a nice complement to the rest of it. I can’t say I cared for basil but I didn’t even need it for this mouthwatering meal. Those of you who enjoy fresh basil, I’m sure it added even more to your experience.

Food uniqueness: 10

Unless you are out of the country or possibly in New York, you just won’t find a pie experience like this. As it states before, and let me quote this again:

Serious Pie, pizzeria with a bread baker’s soul, serves up pies with blistered crusts, light textured but with just enough structure and bite. Our attentiveness to each pizza in the 600 degree stone-encased apple wood burning oven preserves the character of house made charcuterie and artisan cheeses from around the world. -Serious Pie

Let the drool set in again. They take it to the next level. Okay, enough said. Let’s move on.

Price: 8.5

I’d say for a Seattle authentic pizzeria, this was pretty good pricing. Honestly, even though it was about $18, which I would have to spend living in Seattle anyways, this was the same price that I paid for that torta I had from Cantina Lena. But this pizza was no joke. It was the best pizza I have EVER had. So for that price in Seattle for my own whole pizza, I would say, “Bravo”.

Environment: 7

Okay, so it was a bar/pizza sit down type of place, so I understand the crowds. They sat us at a 6 person table and had 3 groups of two people across from each other. That wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t really notice the person next to me the whole time. The rest of what was going on was to be expected of a similar restaurant.

Service: 10

Before we were able to sit down, the host told us that it was a busy night but they would get us seated as quick as possible, got our phone numbers and texted us right at the 30 minute mark she has mentioned to us before for the wait time. As well, the man who helped us order our food, I think this name was Freddie, was one of the most personable people I have been served by. He laughed with us, he gave us some good suggestions, and he let us know the process of the food coming out so we would have a good idea. And it came pretty quick for a pizza. Maybe 10-12 minutes. Again, just a great team.

Overall, in the Young Budgeteer point system, it gets a 45.5 or a 9.1 average. I’m pretty sure it’s my #1 food place of all time so far. And I have to say, these guys really worked to get those points from me. It takes more than just good food or a good group of people to make a restaurant famous and exciting, and Serious Pie does a great job of all of it.

Make sure if you haven’t, to follow me on Twitter @Young Budgeteer and give me ideas of where to go next!

Cantina Leña: Food Review

Hey, Yo, Welcome! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I figured it was about time to step back into the realm of judging things since that’s the what I’m said to do best. (“You’re judgy” though I don’t think it’s a compliment)

I have been away trying to buy a house as a college grad, taking a Microsoft Certification, and having my initial review from my boss this month. It has been crazy and I can’t believe it’s been a month but I am back. I’ll have more on those subjects later as I’m sure you new college grads will have questions about that. It feels good though so let’s gets started here!

The Situation:

We fly into Seattle and we are looking for something with that Seattle taste to fill us up. The hotel recommends some of the local stores: American Kitchen, Mexican, and pizza. I think my co-worker was thinking something more fancy but he chose the mexican place which turned out to be a spanish bar called Cantina Leña. We sit at the bar and get horchata to start with our waters. It’s a good chill place with pretty much the same bar attitude that you would expect anywhere.

So we order our food. He gets cod tacos and I get something just called a Torta, with about 20 ingredients including shredded pork, guacamole, melted toasted cheese and a bunch of herbs and pickled vegetables. We grab some chips and guacamole while we wait for the rest of the food.

The bartender took our order, mentioned a few things but other than that, never talked to us except of course to take our payment. The environment was slow. I felt like I was drunk just by sitting there without even drinking anything alcholic cause I don’t drink. It was a bit depressing. Couple in the rear arguing about a breakup one of them had, old movie with subtitles on the TV; nobody was happy.

Our food comes and wow. This thing looks good. Pre-amble first, the chips were really well made and the guac was alright. Anyone with a knife and some salt and lime could probably match it. The Torta though, was something special.

torta

Just look at that meat and extras! Lots of flavors, lots of goodness. I was only able to eat one before I was super full. That always bums me out. I’ll have to toss it now that we’re leaving because that kind of stuff just doesn’t heat up well, especially without a microwave. It was juicy and the pickled onions are new to me. Some of the ingredients fell out while I was eating but all in all it was delicious!

The Verdict:

I have to say if I were to judge this place, here is how my breakdown would be:

Food Taste quality: 8.5

The torta had a lot of flavors, sometimes delicious and sometimes pickled onions which I can now say, I’m not the biggest fan of. Other than that, they did a great job of blending the pork with the guacamole and tomatoes on a nice sandwich bun.

Food uniqueness: 9

I think a 10 here would mean that you couldn’t have eaten this anywhere else. Although this torta was not that, there was something to be said for this bar having a very put together Seattle tasting meal.

Price: 5

This torta came out to be about $17 bucks. I understand that Seattle is a little pricier than other cities, but I don’t think that the other factors made me feel like the price was worth it. I feel like I would take a less unique sandwich for $10-12 and feel overall much happier. Because in the end, your satisfactory with the meal includes (or should) the aftermath of wallet depression and how that weighs on your mind.

Environment: 5

This seemed to be the typical bar scenarios. We sat at the bar and the bartender got us some water and horchata, gave us menus and then besides taking our order and our money, didn’t really talk to us much. And he stood there cleaning glasses almost the whole time we were there not doing much else. There was loud music and a silent movie going and just much feeling of relaxation.

Service: 4

I mentioned this in Environment but our service was nothing to be desired. No real conversation, nothing witty or fancy. I gave it an extra two points because our food was out to us pretty quickly.

 

I’d have to say, for my first meal in Seattle, it was just average. I wish I could say it was fancy, but at the end of the night, I went home full of food but not with things to tout. That is not to say that it is not worth going, but I would say to switch out the torta and go with the cod tacos.

I’ll be up and posting more and more as the new month starts and I have better access to internet and my life slows down a bit. (Wedding in 37 days!) Follow me on Twitter @YoungBudgeteer and we’ll talk more fancy foods!

It’s cheesy how much I love this place. Costco Pizza Review

costco pepperoni pizza

I talk about these guys all the time. You would think they were some of my best friends, my crew, or family but really when I say that, I just mean this place in general. I actually have no idea what anyone’s name is at Costco, nor have I thought to ask. Though there are many things that I could talk of in Costco, many of them are exclusive member deals and opportunities that you can only get if you pay the annual club membership.

But my kind of deal is a little something for everyone. Say hello to the Costco Food Court, also known just as their Food Counter.  That’s right. A store within a store. And you would think, “Eh, it’s just them trying to bank off of their membership and bulk sales.” But it’s not. Their selection and quality of food is something to be talked about. So let’s talk about it!

The Situation:

I work about a half mile from Costco. When I used to work in Salt Lake City, my brother and I would go out to Costco every week or so for certain reasons. For example, you can get a huge hot dog/polish dog WITH a refillable fountain soda for $1.50. You can get a churro for $1 or a big cup of soft serve ice cream for $1.35. but really what I am talking about is their pizza. Not only can you get a slice with any amount of toppings for $2 that is about a 1/6 of an 18″ pizza, but you can get an entire 18″ pizza for $10!! That was a good time that I got to spend with my brother.

The Verdict:

I guess the thought is, “Yeah, anyone can get a lame piece of pizza for cheap. That’s what Little Caesar’s is for.” But let’s see what Business Insider says about Costco and it’s pizza.

It’s fairly close to Pizza Hut’s cheese pizza in terms of taste, which is a welcome surprise considering Pizza Hut’s pizza won our cheese taste test out of the three major delivery chains. It’s salty, greasy, and a tad chewy — but those are three qualities that makes cheap pizza taste so good.

They also remark that Costco is the 14th largest pizza chain in the U.S!

And I agree! It’s so good! It’s definitely worth trying out. We would switch it up to hot dogs sometimes, but it’s hard to resist the pizza at that size and price.

The next step, getting a Costco card so I feel like I’m important to them. (haha)

If you’re wondering if it’s worth it, just go try it. Even if it’s just with your husband or wife, it’s quite the cheap and tasty $5 date. Plus, there can be ice cream after!

Have a great week and if you haven’t yet, follow me on Twitter at @YoungBudgeteer!

Finally Selling My Stocks. 4 Steps I Took When I Bought To Make Major Gains.

Macy's Stock

(Disclosure: There is an affiliate links in here. This means that if you click through the link and set up an account (which is also free for you in this case), I will receive some sort of compensation. In this one, we both get a free stock.)

Yep I did it. June 7th. I had recently talked about my dividend income report and I don’t have any plan to stop doing that. I am simply selling while I think my stocks are high and then I’ll buy them again probably when they drop a bit.

I am very happy with the outcome and even if the ones I sold go up and up, I was happy with the deal I got. I mean, pshh.. I made almost 20% on some just in a week.

So because there isn’t much to tell about my selling strategy, (besides, I guess, timing and why) I will talk about each stock and why I chose it and why I sold it.

The Situation:

Here was a short list of the stocks I had:

  • Ford – 5 stocks
  • AT&T – 1 stock
  • Macy’s – 2 stocks

Very simple but I’m not trying to say I’m the best or catch the eyes of the big investors. I’m trying to teach to those who are looking to learn about stocks and investing and maybe dip their feet in. If I make you cry with my measly small number of stocks, there are plenty of big shot investors that are glad to tell you that they’ve won and lost thousands of dollars. But I haven’t. I’ve only gained dollars.

When I bought my stocks, I bought each stock at a certain price as I thought it was going down.

Ex. Ford: I bought it at $10.70 which finally put my skin in the game.

And guess what happened? It went down! My first investment. What a way to start, right? But remember, I said I never lost money in it. You only lose when you cash out below what you bought in.

It continued to go down and when it hit what I thought was a low point, $10.15 (It went to $10.14 and it’s only gone up from there), I bought another share. This means that my average cost was around $10.42ish. So as soon as it went back up past that $10.42, I was making money.

As it continued to move up and down for a bit, I bought a few more stocks and then I held on. Ford eventually went up to $12.00 in under two months and my stocks, which I paid an average of $10.65, made an average of $1.35 per stock.

Bonus: While I had the stock, it paid out dividends and I made $0.15 for every share I had. (5)

The Verdict:

I put in about $200 and with Ford and Macy’s I made 18% and 20% respectively. My other investment of AT&T made about 4% which brought down my average but it was only one stock.

Honestly, this was really fun. My 4 learning points that I would share with you if you feeling like trying it out are:

  • Take time to look at how things move up and down for a while, maybe a month even. We sometimes want to dive in. “If I want to invest, I should just invest, right?” Wrong. Investing in stocks is different then putting it in savings or a CD. It isn’t about having extra money. It takes a little bit more work because your hope is that it will work harder for you than a CD. Watching how a certain stock moves will give you an idea of how it moves and it gives you time to read about the company and some of the news that happens. (One article wrote that Macy’s just gave out a dividend that was way higher than expected. They then said that Macy’s would probably go up to around $40 when Back-To-School sales happened. It was at $29. I bought it at $33 while it was shooting up and it DID go up to $40! $7 in 2 weeks!)

 

  • I always look at the P/E Ratio and I tried to pick ones with under 15. The advice given by most experts is to try and pick under 15 P/E Ratio. So what is P/E Ratio? Price to Earnings Ratio. That means the stock price people are paying compared to the earnings of the company. Basically, if I am a stock with a 20 P/E and you give me 20 dollars, at the end of the year, you should expect that in a year, you will get 1 dollar extra back. High PE usually means that investors think that the stock is in high demand and they think that the stock is going to increase as time goes on and the price now will be worth it. Low PE means that a stock price is a good value for how much the company is earning. Sometimes though, this is seen as the investors not having much confidence in the company’s growth. So pretty much P/E Ratio is how a company’s stock is valued. Is it possibly overvalued? (High P/E) Or is it undervalued? (Low P/E, possibly a good price.)

 

  • I don’t invest in companies that don’t have a dividend. There are 3 reasons for this:
    1. Dividends mean that if I buy a stock and hold it til the next pay out, (every quarter and sometimes every month) then I get free money for owning a part of that company. In my case with Ford, their Earnings Per Share was $0.43 cents of which I got $0.15 for each of the shares I had. If we’re talking simple thinking, it’s like my stock went up $0.15 but it went straight to my account instead of being on the market still. Added Bonus: My stock can still has the potential to go up that $0.15 and earn me that much more. It’s just icing on the cake. Which makers the dividend analogy like a baker giving you some icing without taking it off your cake! (I crack myself up sometimes)
    2. I understand that a company wants to put it’s extra earnings back into the company or it wants to give every a raise in the company. I think that is great. But personally, they made the decision to fund their company on the backs of the investors. Companies that go public say, “You can own a part of my company and if the company grows, your money grows.” But when they get their earnings report each quarter, they made some $100 Million in earnings. You don’t get a take of that even though you partially funded that by owning a share of the company. A portion of that should be yours! So I think it is selfish and I wouldn’t participate in that.
    3. Lastly, and this kind of goes along with 1 and 2, you have to keep your money A.K.A. your skin in the market to hopefully realize the gains. If the company decides to make a stupid decision, (you know, like having their airplane engine blow up or switching their name from pancakes to burgers) then you will suffer as well and your money would have been better spent buying yourself an ice cream that you now kind of need.

 

  • I look at the 52 Week High and the 52 Week Low and I look for items closer to the 52 week low. Now, as I’m writing this, I have the voice in my head of others that say, “But that means it’s gone down from a higher point.” You’re right. In fact, that’s my favorite kind of stock to buy. Why would I buy something that is at the highest point it’s ever been at for the year? By buying near the 52 Week Low, along with my other tips, I know that there is potential for the stock to grow.

The nice thing about the Robinhood app I was using is that it shows all of these indicators in one nice box.

Macy's Price

Macy's Stock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So if you’re looking at Macy’s with my 4 tips, I’ll walk you through what these mean and how they actually play a part in my decision.

  • Take time to look at how things move up and down, maybe even a month. On the left side, there is a picture of the 3 month view of Macy’s stock price. You are able to change it from 5 years, 1 year, 3 months, 1 month, 1 week, and then the current day (which is what you’ll probably be following once you buy.) As you can see, Macy’s had a few ups and a few downs. Right before the upward line that I am highlighted up, they had announced their dividends (and their respective earnings) to be higher than speculated by analysts. There was also an article saying that after seeing their Earnings Call, (where they announce how much profit they made) that the value would go up, (that P/E Ratio) and people would want it more, so they would pay more for it. The article also talked about Back-To-School, a Macy’s super sale, that would probably push their stock price to $40 or more. When I read this, I was almost ready to buy it at $29, but there were a few other things to check.

 

  • What is the P/E Ratio? Looking at the screenshot on the right, we see that Macy’s P/E Ratio is right where we want it. 7.141 shows that if I put in 7.141 dollars now, I should expect growth of 1 dollar in a year. That’s a nice growth of 14% assuming that holds. But in any case, the P/E Ratio of 7.141 is under our mark of 15.

 

  • I don’t invest in companies that don’t give out dividends. This one is easy as well. Looking at Macy’s we see the div/yield of 6.067. That is great. You usually don’t see numbers above 2 and 3 so anything over 4 or 5 is gold. That is another green check for this. For me, this shows that the company cares about it’s stockholders.

 

  • Let’s look at the 52 Week High and 52 Week Low. Sooo.. with this one, I can only see what I screenshot as of now, but before it had the high of $41.33 it was closer to $37 or $38 I think. The low is $17.40. So Macy’s which was around $29 was actually more in the middle. Not the best, but after hearing that the earnings call did amazing, it was worth a shot!

So there is my analysis. For this buy, I had 3 and a half out of my 4 checks and the ones that were green lights, were super nice. In the end it ended up growing about 20% for me before I decided to sell ONLY 2 WEEKS LATER. And how has it done in the last week since then? It’s gone down $3 a share. That was a good time to sell.

Reason for selling:

Honestly, I’ll keep it short. I like when I can trust the market and how things are going, but when people get upset about how things will go with different political things, I figure I won’t let other people’s fear affect my growth so I pulled out. And I’ll be back in in no time at all I’m sure.

You’re welcome to give it a try. I’ll get you a free stock to start if you do it through my personal link here. I have more information on it in my other post about when I bought the stocks and my fears of doing so if you want to check it out.

And that’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed it! Let me know what you thought of my analysis and what I could do to be more clear about certain subjects that I am learning and teaching about. I love feedback and even more, I love sharing what I am learning as I try things out. If you’re anything like me, you are just starting into your new life as a college student or a graduate and you need tips from people going through the same issues and things in life that you are. And I hope I was a good help for that.

Follow me on Twitter to get more of the action @youngbudgeteer and I’ll see you next time!