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Robinhood - Free Stock Trading

April 24th, 2017 at 01:00 am

Anybody here using Robinhood? If so, what are your thoughts and review of this investing platform?
I just recently heard about it, and from what I have seen and read about it so far online, is that it is only available via cellphone app. So installing it on my laptop is a no go.

Although I am not a day trader, I do occasionally buy/sell stocks and ETF's. The idea of commission free trades is somewhat appealing, even though I don't trade that much. However, it would mean opening another account at another institution, which is not appealing.

Also, using a device that is smaller and harder to read isn't appealing for my old, tired eyes either.

Finally Paid Off The Auto Loan

April 3rd, 2017 at 12:29 am

Hello Everyone,

I have not posted in a really long time, but I have been keeping my pages up to date. The good news is that I paid off the car loan almost a year early. I had been making double payments each month for the past few months. Saturday, I decided to just pay it off with the overtime I have been working lately. I am now debt free except for the mortgage.

A huge life event will possibly be coming up this Fall. The decision is whether to retire. I turn 65 in October and will be eligible for Medicare. I am sick of my job, and am ready NOW to retire, but with a medical issue here and there, I will just have to wait. So I am just padding the ole 401k until I make the leap.

I have been using a few financial websites and their calculators to see if a comfortable retirement will be viable. I am borderline to okay. One of the biggest determinants is the unknown, which is how long will I live. And the corresponding biggest fear is outliving my savings. If only I had the sense to invest for retirement at an earlier age!

Looking for a Bike Cam, Advice

May 7th, 2015 at 04:02 pm

I bought my bike last July, so I have been cycling for almost a year. For all of last year I can remember only one close call with an automobile. It was a car that passed me and then cut in front of me to make a sudden right turn while approaching a stop sign. He did not bother to stop. Luckily I had already been slowing down for the stop sign, so I did not get hit.

But so far this cycling season, I have already had 3 or 4 close calls. These close calls have been like the above example of getting cut off, and of passing too close. My state has the 3 foot law that is supposed to be followed for safely passing bicycles. Most people here are courteous and follow that 3 foot law, but a few like to see just how close they can get to the cyclist while passing. One aggressive driver even yelled out of the passenger window of his truck, Get on the sidewalk!.

So for the purposes of documenting potential accidents and for insurance claims many cyclists across this and other countries have been buying these small high resolution cameras. They can also be used to just document scenic rides and as a journal.

Recently they have become really popular, and can get quite expensive. I would like to get a decent one that does not cost a fortune (under $300), but with a high enough resolution to read license plates, be able to mount either on the handle bar and/or the bike helmet. My rides usually last from 1 to 3 hours, so I need a battery charge to last that long. I looked at the Hero models, but I do not want to look like Wall-E or the Johnny 5 robot from the Short Circuit movies. They also are a little too pricey.

So my question to our fellow SavingAdvice bloggers is what cams do you use or recommend? Thanks in advance.

Laptop Finally Died! Hurray!!

April 28th, 2015 at 11:42 pm

This piece of crap, walmart special, with the much hated Vista operating system, that I bought in Nov.2008, finally quit operating. During the past month I noticed a blackening in the lower left corner of the screen over the start button, so I had an idea that maybe time was up for it being a thorn in my side. It was the bane of my existence, but not anymore.

As a replacement I went with a bigger and better laptop with a i7 processor, 12GB RAM, 1T Hard Drive and a 17.3 inch HD touchscreen. I guess the only drawback is the 8.1 windows operating system. However, I'm slowing getting used to it and it really isn't all that bad compared to the multitude of issues I had with the old laptop. And it did set me back about $1185.00, but I can pay it off within 24 months with no interest.

January 2015 Updates

January 2nd, 2015 at 12:32 am

I finally got around to updating my pages.
2014 was a pretty good year for saving and budgeting. My Savings Rate and Net Worth increased despite not yet completing the 2014 year IRA contributions. That remainder will just have to go on the 2015 saving rate, similar to last year.

2014 was also a great year for losing quite a lot of weight, 56 lbs. Since buying a bicycle last summer I have been able to keep off the weight with a continued sensible diet and exercise regimen. I'm still walking and trying to stick with a low carb, low fat diet. I have dusted off the old weight bench, and started doing some light-weight exercises during the cold months. Hopefully this will help strengthen my core muscles which will help my cycling. I did manage to get out on x-mas day to ride for 2 hours, because the weather cooperated. The weather won't be cooperating this weekend, so no cycling, unless I bundle up like Ralphie's little brother in "A Christmas Story".

Coffee Maker Died

September 21st, 2014 at 03:00 pm

My beloved Coffee Maker passed away during the night while in the Program Mode. It was about 10 years old. The Wake will be held at Noon today at the trash buggy on the carport. It is requested that in lieu of flowers please send coffee filters.

Early this morning before the caffeine withdrawals set in, I went in search of a replacement to the Chinese-American store, also known as Walmart. I could not find one Made In The USA!!! All of them were made in either China or Mexico. I ended up with another programmable Black & Decker for $32.80, which was made in China. This will be my third Black & Decker. The first one (not sure where it was made) lasted about 20 years. The last one (made in Mexico) lasted only about 10 years. I wonder how long this one will last!

I considered a Mr. Coffee brand, but it has some kind of water filtration system on it. I noticed the replacement filters cost just under $5.00. I decided I did not want that ongoing added expense. Besides, in my area we have great water.

August Updates

September 14th, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Yeah, I'm really late at updating pages for last month.

On the Investment Page my cash allocation dropped a couple percentage points because of two reasons. Equities advanced again for another month. I also added two small purchases, which continues my slow monthly increase in Real Assets allocation. I added a cheap steel producer and a base metals ETF.

I got three surprises / snowflakes in the mail. They were little mail-in-rebates of $6.44 twice and a $3.39. I added then to a local Credit Union Savings Account. They were from something I submitted last spring and completely forgot about. It's great getting money in the mail!

For the month of August my Grocery, HBA, and other little misc spending came slightly over budget, so it was a pretty good month for budgeting.

My sciatica is finally going away, and I am trying to get back on track with exercise and watching the diet. With the weather finally moderating I'm getting more bicycle time. I went out twice today and got in a couple hours of riding time.

July Updates

August 7th, 2014 at 01:38 am

I finally got around to updating My Pages.

In the Investment Plan Page my Cash stakes increased slightly for 2 reasons. First almost all of the equity positions dropped along with Mr. Market causing cash to increase a little. I also sold my POT in July. No, not that pot, but Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. It was a nice little 17% gain in nine months time. The proceeds will be soon used in a future purchase, probably another metals/miners or energy play.

My Weight Loss program got severely side tracked last month with a bad bout of Sciatica. The pain in my back and leg prevented any exercise at all. I'm surprised I only put back on about 2 or 3 lbs last month. Just this week I am able to resume walking and my physical therapy sessions will be done probably next week. Hopefully the doctor will let me back on my bike for some light weekend riding.

I did get the $200 bonus from the Chase Freedom card, but I have not decided what to do with it yet.

This month I will be finally paying off my new Central Heating and AC System. I've been paying on it for only 2 years but it seems like forever.

7-20 Weekly Spending and Sciatica Updates

July 20th, 2014 at 06:15 pm

My grocery spending was right on budget this past week. I was able to get out and walk through the grocery store Friday night and today without too much pain. I then went to Kohls today, but the pain in my back and right leg became too much. After sitting down on one of the little benches in the shoe department to alleviate the pains, I just decided to leave without making a purchase.

At the urging of some of the contributors here, I have started some stretching exercises yesterday and this morning. I am going real slow with them, and starting out very conservatively. I also was able to do a couple of very short 15 min. rides on my new bicycle yesterday and today without hardly any pain. Because the pains have not completely gone away, I'm afraid of aggravating that dang sciatic nerve. I imagine the road to recovery is going to take some time.

07-13 Past Week Spending

July 17th, 2014 at 01:03 am

My weekly spending was way under budget this past week mainly because I was blind sided with a bout of sciatica. It caused a halt to most shopping, because of the pain shooting down from my back into my right leg.

The pain became so unbearable, it caused a trip to the Emergency Room, then to two other doctors. Hopefully, the new meds I am taking now will help it subside. I am just now getting able to go back to work after missing a week. Fortunately I have already met my medical deductible and annual out of pocket caps, so the 3 doctors, six x-rays, and the ER visit won't cost me anything.

But this has also interfered with my diet and exercise regimen, and temporarily put a halt to riding my new bicycle. Hopefully, I'll be back in the saddle soon.

07-06 Past Week Spending

July 6th, 2014 at 10:03 pm

I went over budget on groceries this past week for a couple reasons. I usually have a hard time staying on budget during the Kroger Mega Sales. I need to slow down on contributing to the stockpile, and really need to continue depleting it.

The 4th of July Holiday has an impact on the grocery budget also. I had relatives over for a great cookout. As a consolation I now have enough grilled meats and various salads for lunches for at least a week.

I also had to do some extra spending for some bike accessories. I spent about a $100 at a sporting goods store on a new helmet, a pump, and a lock, etc. I did manage to use a $20 off $100 store coupon.

And speaking of my new bike, I am really loving getting back into riding again, even though it's just in the big neighborhood next to mine. I'm getting plenty of exercise and slowing increasing my endurance.

6-30 Investment Plan Update

July 5th, 2014 at 01:28 am

For June I sold one health care stock into strength for a nice little 18% gain over a short 7 month holding period. I will probably soon redeploy the proceeds into more Real Assets, either another energy, commodity or precious metals holding.

This will continue my monthly addition into this asset class, which has been on the rise lately as inflation and the war cycles ramp up. My allocation into these holdings has risen mainly on price appreciation over the past few months. We may be in the beginning stage of another long term rally for some of these beaten down sectors especially the miners.

There were no other major changes in my core allocations.

My Plan and allocations can be found in the Investment Plan page in the sidebar.

New Discover 5% Cashback Bonus

July 3rd, 2014 at 12:50 am

I just got an email from Discover about a new 5% Cashback Bonus that is good until July 31. This would be in addition to their current quarterly 5% at Gas Stations.

"New! Earn More at a Store You Choose!"

"Sign up to earn 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $500 in purchases now through July 31, at your choice of one of these great stores.
Select ONE only to sign up instantly with just one click!"

Amazon.com.....Best Buy.....Kohls

6-28 Weight Loss Update and New Bike

June 29th, 2014 at 01:08 am

It's been six months since I started my diet and exercise regimen. Today I stepped on the ole bathroom scales and weighed in at 165 lbs. This equates to a 55 pound weight loss since Xmas Day. (My Weight Loss Progress Page can be found in the sidebar). Now the quest is to keep the weight off.

So as a reward I bought a new bicycle. It will supplement my exercise routine. It's my first one in about 25 or 30 years, and it's amazing how bikes have changed. I researched them on the internet, and visited several sporting goods stores, big box stores, and dedicated bike shops. I decided not to go with the cheapest or the most expensive either.

The mid range model I chose after test riding several today is the JAMIS Citizen 1. I charged it on the new CHASE Freedom card with the current $200 Bonus for charging $500 in the first three months, so that $200 will help pay for it.

I don't know how to upload and post pictures, so here it is on the JAMIS website:

http://www.myjamis.com/SSP%20Applications/JamisBikes/MyJamis/consumer/bike.html?year=2014&model=Citizen%201&cat_grp=recr_1