Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dividend Income: January


The end of January is here and what a month it has been. Although I haven't bought any new stock this month, there are still dividends that flowed into the account. Let's review them:

January 2016 Dividends:

WMT - Walmart - $7.84
GE - General Electric - $5.75
GPS - Gap Inc. - $4.83
- AT&T - $14.88

Total Dividend Income for January: $33.30
Total for 2016: $33.30

Make Money: Recycle

Good day followers,

Today we will be looking into making money through the act of recycling.

How to do it:

In many states, recycling is a process that involves loving mother Earth so much that you want to pay some company to come take the recycling products you've saved from the curb on a day that usually follows trash day. This presents a problem when you think about trying to actually make money off of it rather than paying someone to take them. So how do you go about it?

Lucky enough, some states bridge this gap for you. If you currently live in a state that has a bottle bill, the state will actually pay you 5-10 cents per bottle for you to bring them to one of many recycling centers. When you do the math, this can quickly add up to some serious cash. I was one of the lucky kids when I was growing up because I lived in one of these states. Whenever I needed cash, I would go to any park that was nearby and bring a nice big trash bag to fill up. This requires no money to do so there is no bar that limits anyone from doing it. If you collect the plastic bottles that are worth 10 cents rather than the 5 cent cans, you can make good money in a very short amount of time. Any park that has ball fields is almost guaranteed to have these bottles all over as sports teams are chalk full of them. If you collect 100 of the 10 cent bottles, you've already got ten dollars. In fact there were days when I was younger that I would spend an hour at the park and walk away with 20-40$ because each trash can would have hand fulls of bottles that I could grab at a single time.

If you don't know if you live in a bottle bill state, simply check the website - bottle bill.

If on the other hand you live in a state that doesn't have a bottle bill, you'll have to get a little more inventive. A great way to make some side cash by recycling in a state that doesn't have a bottle bill is to find metals to recycle and bring them to a scrap yard for cash out. The difficult part about this is that most people don't have a good idea as to what metals are expensive and which ones aren't worth much of your time. An easy trick to get around this without much knowledge is to bring a magnet with you when you are searching for scrap. If the magnet sticks to the metal, you've got a less valuable piece of metal. If it doesn't, you've got a pretty sizable return on your hands and you should bring it in if at all possible. You can find scrap metal in all places but a good tactic for finding it is to browse your city. If you find a home that is being renovated, try talking to the owners of the property. Offer to demo some of whatever their upcoming project is in return for being able to take the metal and gain on the recycling profits. That way they get some of their work done for them and you make a profit in cashing in the metal. If on the other hand you're in the country and there aren't as many home renovations around or places are few and far between, try searching for land that appears to be used for hunting or otherwise. A lot of large open land seems to be a magnet for owners to dump their metal or other house hold items in. Offer to dispose of it for them after finding out who the owners are and bring it in for the profit.

Lastly, if you have old clothes, corks from wine bottles, or even an old phone laying around that you no longer use, you may be sitting on some easily available recycling cash. This is especially true of phones. It's not legal to throw a phone away because of the material it's made out of. This means that many websites are available that will pay you good money for the hardware that's inside of them. Cash in on this! You will probably never use that old phone ever again anyway. As for the corks, try selling them on a peer to peer site such as Ebay or Etsy. You may not think they're valuable at first but there are many an artist out there that would love to turn them into their next project. Finally, your old clothes. If you're like me, you only try to clear out your closet of old stuff maybe once a year. If that's the case, you've got a lot of unused cash to tap into. Used clothing stores, swap meets, and even Ebay would love to buy your old clothes. Give it a try the next time you're thinking about tossing your old clothes or donating them.

**Note: if you normally donate your old clothes because you want to help people, you can still sell your old clothes and then turn the profits into things you can donate that are in better condition such as new pairs of socks (one of the most asked for items by homeless persons in my area).

I hope that this provided some insight into ways that we can all make more money by recycling. Take care everyone,


Friday, January 29, 2016

Watch List: Emerson Electric

Good morning,

Today I'd like to turn my eyes towards the evaluation of EMR - Emerson Electric. I'll shortly evaluate the company and then summarize whether I think it'll make its way into my portfolio at some point.

Current Portfolio

GE - General Electric

T - AT&T

Consumer Staples:
WMT - Walmart

Consumer Discretionary:
GPS - Gap Inc.
YUM - Yum! Brands Inc.

Why EMR?

The portfolio is still in the beginning stages of growth and that means that the primary focus still needs to be to further diversify to solidify. In the current portfolio there is only one industrial stock in the portfolio - GE. This needs to be remedied sooner rather than later because of the strong base that industrial stocks bring to multiple portfolios.

Company Breakdown

EMR is primarily an industrial company that specializes in the manufacture, sale, and design of electrical products. The company is based out of St. Louis, Missouri and was founded in 1890. The focus of the company per their investor relations is to bring technology and engineering together to provide solutions that fit the the customer in a perfectly tailored way for that specific need. The company is broken down into five different parts: Process Management, Industrial Automation, Network Power, Climate Technologies, and Commercial/Residential Solutions.


EMR has a strong history of investor satisfaction. The EPS has raised 9.02% over the last five years and their dividend has grown an average of 7.01% per year as well. In addition to this, the company has a fair P/E ratio of only 11.13 as I write this post. This is well within the range of the portfolio's target 10-20 P/E. The company has also raised dividends for the past 59 years running which places it in the Dividend Aristocrats list. With an annual payout of $1.90 paid quarterly and a strong and fair dividend yield of 4.41% currently, the stock proves that it has a strong history of providing their shareholders with a historically supportive dividend payout.


As of 1/29/2016, EMR is trading at the price of $45.23/share. The 52 week range is $41.25-62.75 and it's P/E as discussed above is 11.13. With that being said, the ex-dividend date has not yet been released for the upcoming quarter but their payout ratio is solid at 62.3% which means they still have room to continue their payouts and raise them as necessary. Being at the low end of their 52 week range, it appears to be a solid buy for the price.


Emerson Electric is an extremely strong choice for an industrial stock. The company has years of solid numbers and continues to rise to the occasion due to the solid foundation that many industrial companies have. The price is right and the numbers are strong. As soon as my budget comes out at the end of this month, my investing cash for the month of January is going to go towards EMR as long as the stock price doesn't raise too much in the next week.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Make Money: Write an Ebook

Good morning,

Today we'll be discussing how to make money by creating and selling an ebook via Amazon.

What is Amazon and how do they sell books?

Amazon, or Amazon Inc. is an American electronic commerce site that specializes in selling and shipping goods. In addition to their core business, they also have an eBook store where they sell books that have been written for the sale in electronic format to electronic reading devices such as Kindle (Amazon's best selling e-reader device). These eBooks can be bought or sold through the Amazon book store by people such as you or me with little to no effort. This is the key reason that Amazon has been so successful and why so many people love to use their business to sell their own books or eBooks.

How to make money with it:

Before you can ever think to publish a book and make money off of it, you'll need to make sure to have a good solid product first. This means you'll need to write a book, short story, or produce anything in writing that you believe others may want to read. This above all is the most important part.

With that being said, the key ingredients for a successful eBook are very basic but can easily be missed by someone who is stressing making money off of something rather than slowing down and enjoying the process and then making the money off of it. The first ingredient to a great eBook is content. The content in your book needs to be good - this means your characters must be solid, your grammar must be correct (or as close to it to fool most people), and it must above all keep readers hooked with a compelling story. We all grow up as kids either reading something in class, having our parents read to us, or doing reading on our own volition. Simply remember back to when you were younger and had a much smaller attention span. What caught your interest long enough to read without having to be forced to do it? Could you emulate the same style and would you enjoy trying to produce something along the same lines? That's a great place to start when you are thinking about what you may produce.

The next step is to make sure that your book is formatted correctly. There is nothing more irritating than when you buy a book through an eBook retailer and it won't open or it is all jumbled when you read it. Not only will this upset those who buy your book but it may stop people from ever buying your book in the first place as most people download samples first before actually purchasing the final copy. You have two options here. You can either pay someone a fee to do the formatting for you (fees can vary depending on who you find to do it) or you can simply learn to do it yourself. I myself tend to gravitate towards doing it myself. Formatting rules are simple when it comes to an eBook. If you've written your book on a word processing program such as Word, or Google's free word processor, you'll already have a good start. In order for it to be formatted correctly, you will need to make sure that the cardinal rules are followed.

1) Do not hit tab on your keyboard to indent your paragraphs. Use the ruler on the top to choose the length of your indent. E Books do not understand the tab command and therefore it will not format correctly. Pull the ruler out to how far you want it and it will then automatically tab out to where you need your paragraphs to start without you actually having to hit tab.

2) Justify your writing project. Set the alignment of your product to justified so that it shows how all books are typically read.

3) Use page breaks instead of hitting enter, enter, enter to get to your next page. Again, eBooks do not understand this coding. Anytime you look to start a new page of your book where you want the reader to move to the next chapter or next section, use a page break. This can be done at the top of the word processor that you use. Typically it is found under "insert" and then "page break".

If all of these rules are followed, your eBook should at least be 90% formatted and should be good enough to fool just about 99% of the e-readers that are on the market. That was pretty easy, right? You'd be amazed how much people will spend on formatting their eBooks when it really is that easy to have an e-reader understand how your book should read. Once you've done all the above, save your project under the format "HTML". It will then convert it to a format that you'll use to upload your book to the main site later.

**note: I made up the statistics above but you get the point

The next step is to make sure that you have a cover for your book. There are tons of sites out there, including Amazon that offer cover creators. This is where I would say that money can be well spent if you decide you want to get someone else to do a part of your book for you. There really can't be enough said when I stress that a good cover can make or break your book sales. Anyone who has spent anytime looking through a book store can tell you that the biggest reason they picked up a book was because they saw a cover that caught their eye.

A great site that can be used for creating covers is because of the ease of use and the great starting templates that they offer. They have a great section of free to use templates and then you can purchase further backgrounds/photos for them if the basics don't cover what you're looking for in your eBook cover. That should get you started in the right direction.

Now that you've got a book written and a cover created, you've got your product. The question then becomes who to actually publish your book with. For many authors, the question is quickly answered - Amazon. Amazon has by far the largest following of eBook readers of any other eBook publishing site. They also offer an extended program that is known as KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) that makes the process even easier as they will market your book for you. Simply go to Amazon and sign in with your normal Amazon account. After that, they will walk you through the easy to use process to pubish your eBook with them. You can choose to either market your own book but add it to Amazon's library and therefore keep your rights to publish it elsewhere as well or you can agree to make your book part of their KDP program. When you enroll your book through KDP, you agree that your book will be sold nowhere else but Amazon for the length that you agree to the contract with KDP and Amazon. The benefit to KDP is that they will market your book for you and therefore you may get more exposure. The downside is that the price of your book through KDP then ends up only yielding you whatever Amazon is currently paying to authors as part of the KDP program rather than based on what price you set your book as. This doesn't mean that you can't have others buy your book at your own price. KDP sells books to members of Amazon's Unlimited plan where readers can take out a certain number of books for their flat price per month instead of paying the full purchase price. This still equates to a good amount of cash flow to you for your book (a little over $1/download usually) but the people who are part of Unlimited will not have to purchase it for your preset price of whatever you choose.

The other option that a lot of people use is to upload their book via Smashwords. Smashwords is another large seller of eBooks but they work as a larger distributor that works with other companies to sell your book so it's not limited to just one website or distributor. Smashwords does not play well with Amazon however so you won't have your book sold through Amazon unless you publish through both by not choosing Amazon's KDP option. Both are great options and they give you their own benefits but it will ultimately be up to you to decide which you would like to go with.

If you follow all of the steps I've set above, you can successfully and easily post your own eBook for the world to see and start making some extra capital for you to invest or do whatever with. I would however like to leave you with a few extra notes about how to be successful with your eBook.

Extra tips:

  • Price your eBook fairly - if you wrote a short essay and didn't spend much time with it, don't price it too high. You likely won't get very many sales and the ones you do get will likely lead to bad reviews which can't be erased on most eBook sites. 
  • Share your eBook all over social media. Social media is the grand master of exposure that you likely won't pay anything for unless you want to pay them to do it for you. Remember, many small parts are better working than one large part that can shut the whole business down if it fails. 
  • Write what you write based on passion rather than money. Once the book is done and written, then focus on the monetary side of it. 

Now it's your turn:

Have you ever written an eBook? What were your successes or failures with it? Did it generate a little working capital for you or did it flop?

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Make Money: Youtube

Hello readers,

In today's article, we'll cover the topic of making money on Youtube.

What is Youtube?

If you've been living under a rock and you are unsure what Youtube is; Youtube is a video sharing website where pretty much anyone can upload and share their videos. It is an extremely successful site and with it comes the opportunity to score some cash that could mean an even earlier retirement as you can utilize that cash to flow even more funds towards your dividend portfolio. 

How to make money with it:

In order to make money with Youtube, you'll have to first create an account. This is an easy first step. You can simply go to Youtube, sign up for an account (usually a button on the top of the page) and within minutes you'll have a functional channel that they set up for you. It's bare bones but you can start posting videos immediately. 

The next step is to start thinking about what kind of videos you will be uploading. It's important to try to revolve your whole channel around a core idea so that those who find you are more likely to not only watch a video you post but also will be interested in other videos that you have posted other than the one that first linked them to your Youtube space. Once you have your idea, customize your channel with pictures of what you'll be blogging about as your main channel picture and also add a small description to your channel of what you'll be posting. This only serves to further your connection to your target audience. 

Once you've set the channel picture and included a friendly description of what you'll be posting, it's time to start creating content. If Youtube works as it currently does (1/7/2016), you'll be limited as to how much you can do with the channel until you reach a certain number of hits but you can still earn from the channel. Regardless, pick up your camera and see if you have any videos already on it and see if any of them fit the bones of your channel description. If any of them fit the mold and they don't violate any of the code of conduct for Youtube, start posting them to give a good body to your channel. This will help others understand who you are and give a face to your channel. 

After you've done this or even if you don't have any videos at all previously at your disposal to add to your channel that you yourself have filmed, you'll want to think about new content that you'll be adding. A great first video that lots of people upload is simply a video of yourself introducing yourself and explaining what your channel will be about. If you have other ideas that are better than that, simply shoot them with your camera and upload them. Remember that you're going to want to attract others to your channel in order to make a steady revenue from Youtube as pay will be based on how many hits your videos gain once monetized. 

You can bring in more people by remembering to use the tags that Youtube allows you to use on videos. This is what others will use to find your videos as they are used as search words in search engines and on Youtube's search function in order to show others your videos. Fill that bar up with as many words as you can use to describe your videos and channel to attract as many people as possible to your videos. Anytime someone searches on a search engine and types in any of those words, they run a chance at finding your videos. 

If your content is good or you blast them all over your Facebook to attract others, you'll soon have even a small following. Now it's time to get your channel to make you money. As I mentioned earlier, your cash flow from your channel will depend on how many hits or how many people view your videos as they will be creating revenue for Youtube by watching ads that companies have paid Youtube to have as advertisements on your videos. These ads will not begin playing on your videos unless you first monetize your channel. 

Youtube currently uses Adsense as their way of monetizing videos. When you upload a video, there will be an option on set up that asks if you would like to monetize your videos. Simply click yes and enable your AdSense account to Youtube. If you don't already have one, you'll want to go to Google AdSense and sign up for one - given that you're able to (IE: of age, tax info, etc). Once completed, every video you post will have the option given to quickly tie it to your AdSense account which will generate cash for you based on how many views your videos get and how many people see the ads that you've enabled on your videos. 

Now you've successfully created a channel, posted content, and have started making some cash with your AdSense account. That was easy, right? Making money with Youtube is extremely easy but making a good amount of it is the hard part. You'll have to spend time trying to market your videos around the internet via link posting on various other websites around the internet to really bring in people to your videos. If they catch on, you can quickly find yourself knee deep in some of that good ol' fashion internet money. 

Ways to make MORE money from Youtube:

If I haven't given you enough yet and you want more tips on how to maximize the gains from your Youtube account, here are some other helpful tips. First off, make sure that every video that you post is posted to Facebook. Facebook is such a great tool for marketing and the best part is that you don't have to pay anything for that exposure. If a video is liked by a few of your friends, they'll likely quickly repost it and bring even more people to your circle of views on your videos. The degree of separation on Facebook is incredible and this gives you the ultimate chance at a large market. 

Eventually, if your videos really catch on, you'll be given the option to become a Youtube Partner. At this current time, this requires you to have a cumulative view count of about 15,000 on your site. Anyone can apply to become a Partner with Youtube but usually only 15,000 view channels (typically having to be made within 90 days) or higher are approved for the access to other content that can be used to really "spiff" up your channel. 

If you are on the quest to quickly obtain partnership, you'll need to be on top of your marketing. This means not only posting your videos to Facebook but also to other sites such as Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, Myspace, and other avenues for views to come into your channel. These websites are the keys to the castle in many ways. First off, it helps your video be seen by multiple people who may like your videos. Secondly, it gives you the chance to connect with your audience. These various sites all enable you to respond to comments that your audience wishes to give you regarding your videos. This could be good, bad, or simply constructive. The important part is to actually listen to what your audience is asking for and make changes for the better if you feel they are required. 

Now it's your turn:

Have you ever given Youtube a try? In what way has it worked or not worked for you?

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Watch List: Johnson & Johnson

Good morning, 

This morning I'd like to review a potential investment into JNJ - Johnson & Johnson. With that being said, let's start with a quick review of what we're already into in the Dividend Monster Portfolio. 

Current Portfolio

GE - General Electric

T - AT&T

Consumer Staples:
WMT - Walmart

Consumer Discretionary:
GPS - Gap Inc.
YUM - Yum! Brands Inc.

Why JNJ?

JNJ is in a separate sector from what I previously own in the DM portfolio but that's all the more reason to be keeping an eye on it. With the youth of the portfolio, it has lots of room to grow outwards into other sectors to diversify it and attempt to ensure its future profitability and dividend growth if one of the sectors decides to tank. 

Company Breakdown

Johnson & Johnson is one of the largest holding companies in the USA. It's chief products are in the health care field as they are consistently researching and developing and therefore selling a range of medical products. JNJ's most recognizable brand appears to be the baby lotion, shampoo, and washes that believably most of us grew up with. That gives it a ton of brand recognition. This is only further extended by other products that they manufacture and distribute such as Tylenol, Listerine, and Band-Aid. The company is broken into three main parts: Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, and Consumer products. 


JNJ has an EPS of 5.32% annual growth over the past five years and a revenue of 3.73%. In addition to this, they maintain an average growth per year of 7.42% for their dividend payouts. The dividend has been on the rise since 1963 which equals to 53 years of dividend growth with only a 48.5% payout ratio which gives them lots of room to grow their dividend further and ensure payouts. Although their dividend yield is smaller than the base that we are looking to fuel our dividend rocket ship with, it still boasts a fair 3.02% dividend payout that is paid quarterly. 


As of 1/26/2016, JNJ is trading at a price of $99.33/share. Its 52 week range is $81.79-105.49, its P/E is 18.47, and it has announced its ex-dividend date of 2/19/2016. If based solely on the idea of market timing, we would want to wait to add this to the portfolio to see if we could get the price to be a bit lower before jumping into the waters with the company. However, the P/E would suggest that the price is still within a reasonable range (10-20) to be comfortable with the purchase and the upcoming dividend payment could also help balance out the cost. 


Johnson & Johnson appears to be a very strong company, well worthy of being added to the portfolio. The company has strong financials, a steadily raising price over the many years it has been around, and the P/E would suggest that it is not too far over valued to place money on it. With that being said, I would like the price to drop at least a few more dollars before I would be wanting to place my cash in their basket. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Money Saver: Walmart Shopping

Hello readers,

If any of your are in contact with me, you know that my wife and I love Walmart. We live right across the street from one and that makes it incredibly easy to think of as an outlet whenever anything is needed in the household. Whether it be a loaf of bread, almost empty allergy medication bottles, or a battery for an practically dead smoke alarm that decides it wants to remind you every five seconds with an annoying beep, Walmart has it all. Now, in a perfect world this would be great because one would assume that you would just pop over to Walmart, grab only the items that you need and presto, life's smaller problems are solved. Unfortunately, the black hole of Walmart has other ideas (this is a huge reason why I've invested money in them...).

Once my wife or I drives to Walmart to grab said items, we end up with at least a few extra items that may not be necessary but all too often need to find their way into our basket. This presents a huge issue for saving! In fact, when my credit card statement comes in each month, I've been astounded to realize just how much we're spending at Walmart and I would argue that most of it is completely unnecessary to our own well-being. Let's move on then to the next steps - how to make this work to our advantage to save money without it really feeling like we are pinching pennies.

Recently, we have found started going about our Walmart trips a little differently. First off, we've changed to the once-a-week Walmart trip. By only going to Walmart once a week maximum, we insure that we make less trips and have less chances to spend that extra cash, even if this were the only step we decided to make to fix the problem. So much money is saved by just making that change that my pants feel slightly heavier with all the cash that has found its way back into them. Let's break it down.

Prior to this change, when we would make our way to Walmart, we would find ourselves going at least four times per week (credit card statements don't lie about Walmart). On average, we spent about $28 per trip. It doesn't take a mathematician to realize that the numbers then add up to $84/week and a nauseating $4,368/year. That's a boat ton of cash that Walmart is ever so happy to take from us. By simply moving to the once per week maximum and assuming that we actually do go only once per week instead of stretching it to once every two weeks or more and not spending more, this already brings our new amount to $28/week and $1,456/year. That's a huge savings of $2,912/year.

When we first started attempting to make these changes about two months ago I was skeptical if we could actually make it work as I thought we may just move the savings over to a bigger cost on each of the single-day-a-week shopping trips but we've actually managed to stick right in the ball park of our previous average per trip. Where the average was $28/trip, 3x/week, our new average is about $36/week with our once a week visits. This brings the new total spent per year to $1,872 which still yields us a huge profit of savings of $2,496.

With all of this being said, my family unit is currently very small. It is just my wife and I, no pets or children, and we can cut the budget very easily with just one step such as the one we've moved to above. If you have the same problem that we've had with Walmart because of their incredibly smart business model of having everything all in one place and you know you can't swear it off, try moving to this strategy and see if it can save you some cash so you can smile a little more at your credit card statement rather than frown over how you're going to even pay for it.

Dividend Monster

Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome to DM

Hello everyone and welcome to Dividend Monster. As this is the first post, there isn't much to go over. I've spent the time setting up this blog so that it can grow outwards and not inwards. Each post that I publish will contain useful information on my portfolio, money saving tips, life updates, or fun things that can give life a bit more spice! I hope that you all enjoy and I hope that you're prepared for the good things that are to come.