Sunday, December 21, 2014

Recent Buy in CVX and CRWS

Over the holidays not much has been going on (especially since I didn't save much.)  I did have enough cash though to initiate to positions in decent companies.  The first is Chevron Corp. (CVX).  I wrote about them and a few oil companies  in one of my previous posts, Battlefield Oil.  The other is Crown Crafts Inc. (CRWS).  I had read an article about them and then did some research.  It was a small purchase for a small company.

Chevron was a no brainer.  Being the fifth largest integrated energy company in the world and a dividend champion gave me enough confidence that the dividend is secure and will continue to grow.  Their free cash flow is not so well but overall the last quarter's cash flow statement was in decent shape.  They will survive this bump.  I was able to pick up 9 shares at $109.04 and then watched it drop further.  Sometimes you just have to smile when that happens to you and keep your chin up.  It has rebounded recently so that makes me feel a little better.  The ratings from various companies all said sell or hold.  You know that is when we dividend investors buy!

Crown Crafts Inc.  Is a textile company dealing with everything from adult home furnishings through infant products.  My sister-in-law has bought their baby furniture and it is expensive and of high quality.  I could not afford it but there are allot of middle class families out there that can.  Sometimes they sell direct and sometimes through a subsidiary.  My entry criteria were all met.  Below are some of the highlights and are all good in my book.  They just started paying dividends in 2010.  The only downside is no dividend increase between 2013-2014.

Payout Ratio
Free Cash Flow TTM

So the buy was 18 shares at $7.44.  A very small investment that could go somewhere or nowhere.  Hard to tell but looking at the past (up 184% over the last 5 years) tells me they will keep going up and hopefully keep the dividend increasing.

Buy any small companies lately that pay dividends?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

November 2014 Dividends

A slight bit of increase (a whopping $6.78) from last quarter (August) in the taxable account.  In the IRA about the same with an increase of $10.88.  The largest payer in my taxable account was El Paso Pipeline Partners LP.  That was my final dividend from them.  December will show the transition to KMI plus some cash.  I look forward to owning KMI and the rising dividend they will provided me in the future. 

Below is a look at dividends for this year.  Whatever I end up with as a total for the year will be leaps and bounds compared to last year.  Next year I may actually set a goal to keep the increase growing.

Full Disclosure: Long on EPB now KMI.

Friday, December 12, 2014

November 2014 Budget

November was a normal month with prepping for winter in the beginning and then enjoying Thanksgiving towards the end.  I have much to be thankful for.  For one I have not gone in debt any further this year.  That I am proud of considering I took a 10% pay cut in February from a career change.  Another thing to be thankful for is my family's good health this year.  No broken bones, surgeries, etc.  Even with my insurance if something were to happen health wise I would have gone into more debt.  The reason being is I used my company funded HAS to get Lasik done on my eyes (another thing to be thankful for) and help pay for my son's braces.  Lastly I am thankful I had some money to invest this year by investing in dividend paying companies who raise dividends over the years. 

Expense Breakdown
In short I had a net loss of $425 dollars this month.  We will see in my expenses that car maintenance and fuel jumped again to 12%.  My wife's tires were bald and after she took a near collision from some ice it was time to hunt for a good bargain on decent tires.  

Food was a big help this month.  Over $200 less than last month.  This is one of those variables that helps me keep things in check.  Utilities remain high (water bill was over $300 and next month is $300+ sewer bill).  I have this leaky bathroom faucet I need to deal with this weekend.  Next year I am considering a water saving washing machine.  I think that is where most of the cost is.

I need to get this post more organized.  I think I like how I am breaking down categories like Miscellaneous.  What do you think?  Easier to read & understand my expenses?

Miscellaneous (8%)
Household is the high one in this category.  My wife was utterly thrilled to finally get a new vacuum cleaner.  I was able to pick up a $130 vacuum for $80 from Amazon warehouse deals.  It was a return/open box but other than that it was unused and in new condition.  No more dealing with taping up your vacuum to keep it together!

Childcare was up this month vs. last month from several clothing purchases.  This is the time of the year to pick up clearance on summer/fall clothing.  The only challenge is trying to figure out how much the kids will grow by next year and buying that size.

Vs. Last Month
Personal Care

Guilt Free Spending Money (10%)
I do not have a formal budget item any longer for this buy I still track it.  I have to correct last month still but the backpack blower I spoke of ended up being reconciled this month and not last month.  That accounted for half of the spending in this category.  Another 25% was dining.  A big chunk of that was in celebration of my son's 5th birthday.  For birthdays the kids get to pick their favorite restaurant. 

Everything was reinvested automatically.  You can see the year on my dividend page.  I will post about income for this month in my next post.  I think I am switching Windstream back to reinvesting until my portfolio income is over $500 a month.  Doesn't make sense to have cash just sitting there not working for me for months on end until I build up enough to buy something.

Well you need tires.  That is about all I will say regarding my savings rate this month.  I hope your rate was better than mine!

Savings rate for the Month = 0%!

Image By Mister GC and courtesy of (Yes I am lazy and reused the same image from last month)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Holiday Shopping Finds

The Christmas season is upon us and for the past week I have been sick.  I am behind on allot of things but not so much with the shopping.  My kids are done and I have just a few more presents to buy for the gift exchange with my side of the family.  Here are some of the better deals I picked up.

  • Old Navy - Who doesn't like $12 sweaters.  Stocked up for the family and spent $100.  With that I got $40 in Old Navy cash and another $20 Visa gift card for signing up for Visa Checkout.   Shipping was free.
  • Famous Footwear - Shoes were worn and giving me back problems.  Upon many recommendations I bought 2 pairs of Rockport's.  The sale was buy one get one half off plus another 15% plus $10 coupon I had.  So normally the shoes together would have been $280 and I got them for  $167 or $84 bucks a pair.  I have never spent this much money on shoes but my back has been killing me and I attribute it to poor work shoes.  My last pair were Walmart oxford's I got for $10.  I usually don't get anything (but my family) for Christmas.  This year was a big splurge.  Question is should I wrap my own present or just start wearing them?
  • Amazon - Most of my shopping is done here.  Love the store but don't own any stock in it.  I had $125 in gift cards to use courtesy of my wife and I racking up points with my work's health plan.  We were able to then cash out like 25,000 points for the cards.  Special thanks to my wife for doing 10,000 steps a day for months on end.  We did shop around online to make sure toy prices were the same or lower than other stores (like Toys R Us & Walmart).  Plus we did the free shipping and got $1 credits towards digital music and videos.
    • Lightning deal $11 Little Tikes T-ball set for my son
    • Computer Games for $10 - My kids want an Xbox but we have enough electronics in the house.
    • Hardback books my kids wanted for under $10

That is about it.  My kids don't ask for much and when I ask the wife she asks for nothing.  She does get presents but it is very hard to shop for her.  I recently bought her a new vacuum (another deal on Amazon) and new tires for her car.  My kids told my wife and I that was her present but I don't dare say that.  I have learned over the years that needs don't qualify as gifts. 

Recently I read an article that said to focus your gifts on experiences you can share with the person.  Those tend to make them (and you) the happiest.  The study showed material things don't make you as happy and are less likely to be remembered.  So I just need to think of something affordable in that area.

Have a good holiday season and shoot me a message if you have a frugal experience I can get my wife.