Thursday, June 12, 2014

Forget everything you ever learned about the stock market...

For those who don't know, I graduated from William and Mary with a degree in Finance. What I really meant to do was get a degree in Accounting, but by the time I realized my mistake I was a junior and it was too late.

I remember very clearly my first finance class. I had just completed the last of my business administration classes (the gen eds of business) and we were now beginning to take major specific classes. In our first class our professor told us a story about an experiment that had been done. In this experiment, one person threw darts at the stock section in the newspaper and randomly chose what stocks he would purchase based on where his darts landed. The other person used data, research, and carefully valuated each company (using various valuation methods that we would be spending the next two years learning) before choosing which stocks to invest in. In the end it was a wash. Sometimes the dart method would win, sometimes the research method.

So basically, I left the  first class of the rest of my college career with the knowledge that the next two years would be pointless, the stock market will always be a great mystery and yes, I should have majored in accounting.

So, based on the epiphany I've done my own sort of experiment over the past five weeks. Despite the many valuation classes I took, I have my own simple theory on how to make money in the stock market.

Step 1: Create an E-trade account.

Step 2: Visit the Yahoo Finance website each morning at about 9:30. This is when the markets open. If you follow the link here you find a section entitled "market movers". Take a list at this section and pick a stock that has a high % increase for the day.

Step 3: Go to your etrade account and type in the symbol for the stock you picked, look at the 52 week range and see if your stock is on the "low side" of that 52 week range. Yep, that's as technical as I get. If it is on the low side, go ahead and buy it. Then continue to check the stock throughout the day, once it goes up enough for you, sell it. Sometimes it might take a day or maybe even a week or two before it goes up enough for you to sell.

That's it. On April 30th I started with $1000. In the past five weeks I have bought and sold four times and as of today I now have $1,197.92. That is a 16.5% increase over five weeks! Not. To. Shabby.

It's important to know that it E-trade will charge you $10 each time you buy and sell, so you'll really need to start with about $1000 to make it worth your while. The 16.5% includes the cost of buying and selling.

So, there you have it. That's how you make money in the stock market. Now, I never lost money with any of the transaction I made in the past five weeks but I'm guessing it will probably happen one keep that in mind :)

Below are the details on what I bought and sold.

April 30th Buy 26 shares of Twitter at $38.155$992.03
May 1st: Sold 26 shares of Twitter at $40.47$1,052.22
Profit Made$40.19
May 1st: Buy 145 shares of MACK at $7.12 each$1,032.40
May 23: Sell 145 shares of MACK at $7.41$1,074.45
May 27th: Buy 520 shares of IHT at $2.03 each$1,055.60
Sold IHT on 5/27 for $2.23 a share$1,159.60
May 28th: Buy 32 shares of Twitter at $34.64$1,108.48
June 12th: Sell 32 share of Twitter at $36.88$1,180.16
Total Stock Value$1,197.92
Percentage Increase16.52%

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mountain House Update

Well, we've finished the basement! Here are some before and after pics!


And After!

What a difference right? Here's what we did

  • Painted (Everything)
  • Installed maple laminate wood flooring
  • Installed baseboard trim
  • Refinished the countertops
  • Cleaned 
That's it! It took a lot of work but those were the only five things we did. It's amazing what paint can do.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mountain House Update

Well, we've made it to the final room. And we definitely saved the best (or worst-depending on how you look at it) for last. This is the house's large basement. It's probably about 450 square feet and has a large bar, plus separate sink area.

Originally it had indoor/outdoor carpet on the floor that was curling up on all the sides and had no padding underneath. The walls were painted fire engine red and the ceiling wa black. All the trim was black also. And the doors were red. The room had no baseboards or trim and the bar was tiled with 12 inch black and white tiles on the top. There was also a ton of mold and dirt on the walls and it smelled horrible.

Here are some before pictures to remind you of just how horrible this room was.

During our last trip we (my dad) painted the ceiling and walls. It now has a white ceiling and light green walls. Much. Better. We also painted all the trim and doors white. We've removed the carpet and will be installing maple laminate wood floors next weekend and new baseboards. This weekend we tackled the countertops. I painted the bar a green like the walls instead of the natural wood paneling. We decided to use a the Rustoleum countertop transformation (java stone) on the counters. These cost about $250 at Lowes or Home Depot. We used this on the kitchen counters upstairs and liked the result so we did it again. It was also the easiest thing we could think of in this situation since we didn't want to remove the counters and tiles completely.

So, here are a few pictures so far. Remember we still need to put in the floor and decorate...but for $100 in paint and $250 for the countertops....I feel like this is quite the transformation!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Little Elbow Grease...

It's amazing what a little elbow grease will do. Well, elbow grease, some paint and some really hardworking parents.

This weekend we went to to "The Mountain House" as Lilly has dubbed it and started working on the basement. To bring everyone up to speed we bought this home in August of last year and have spent the last few months renovating it. We've completed the upstairs and are now working on the basement. The basement consists of a large family room and a bathroom.

My parents came with us this weekend and were such a huge help. My dad painted his butt off and my mom spent most of the time babysitting Lilly and Charlotte (which in my opinion was the much harder job). That way, John and I could get a lot of work done.

Between the three of us we primed the entire basement (the walls were originally fire engine red, with a black ceiling and black trim) The ceiling is now a beautiful white, the walls are a soothing green and the doors and trim are a crisp white, instead of black and red. We also deep cleaned an incredible disgusting bathroom. Seriously, this was the grossest bathroom you've ever seen. Here are a few before shots:

The close up photo is what everything in the room looked life. There was a deep layer of dirt, stains and grime EVERYWHERE. After a deep cleaning we ripped up the disgusting linoleum and replaced it with large 18 inch vinyl tiles (we had left over from our kitchen). We painted the walls a light green color, took out the old toilet and replaced it with a crisp white new one. We cleaned the tub surround and hung a new rustic bronze rod. We also added a rustic bronze towel rack, toilet paper holder and hand towel ring. The original light fixture was a shiney chrome which I'm not a fan of so we had some rustic brown spray paint and sprayed it to match the other hardware in the room. We also cleaned up the vanity and added new rustic brown knobs.

If you had originally seen this bathroom you would have thought it just wasn't worth was too disgusting. Now it looks like a million bucks. I purchased the shower curtain, rug and towels from Target.

Next time we go we will finish the Basement. All that's left there is re-finishing the countertops and installing the hardwood floor. THose will be some amazing before and after pictures too :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

New Recipe Friday

Today's recipe is from the Six Sisters website again. We all loved it! And I'm pretty sure Doritos are like Bacon...they make almost anything taste better. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

And the winner is...

Jenny Kinter!! Congratulations! You win the $25 Amazon Gift Card!!! Message me your address and I'll have the gift card sent directly to you.

Now onto other things...more controversial hot topic things that is...because as I'm sure you're's Hot Topic Tuesday!

Today's topic...Lent. Now, in case there's confusion...I'm referring to the 40 days prior to Easter, not the stuff that grows in your belly button or can be found in your dryer.

Before attending the church I'm currently at, I'm not sure I'd ever heard of Lent. If I had I probably considered it only a Catholic thing and I didn't pay much attention to it. I'm now attending a non-denominational church and they practice Lent as well as Ash Wednesday. I've read a number of articles in the past week or so regarding Lent and the practice of it. Most have been judgemental towards those who practice Lent, saying that giving up certain things like chocolate, isn't exactly what Jesus had in mind. Because of all the attention I've seen this topic gaining through social media, I thought I'd take a stab at it.

So, what it Lent?

The idea is to remember the time that Jesus spent in the desert (40 days and 40 nights). During this period he didn't eat, despite his frequent temptation...this is why many Christians "give something up" during the period of Lent.

So, what is an appropriate thing to give up?

Well, in my's really up to you and God right? I don't think someone besides you and God can say whether or not what you've decided to give up for Lent is right or not. In the same way, one Christian shouldn't place judgement on another Christian who doesn't celebrate Lent at all. It's totally their decision.

Jesus spent 40 days fasting from food, he was tempted during this time, he overcame the temptation and spent the time without food drawing closer to God. This can be paralleled in our lives many ways.

Whether you fast from food, chocolate, facebook, or will feel the hurt in your life. Only you knows what is the most tempting for you. If it's chocolate, then go with that. If it's gossiping, then go with that. Either way you're going to have a moment every day where you want to do that thing. Hopefully, you'll overcome the temptation and spend that time in prayer or at least contemplating what Christ went through in the desert.

And for some Christians, Lent just won't be something they practice. And there's nothing wrong with that.

I think what's most important is to respect the other person. There's too much wrong with this world for Christians to be arguing about who's doing the right thing in regards to the practice of Lent. Seriously. There are bigger fish to fry.

Colossians 3:17: And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I think this about sums it up. Love God and love others. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ideas for your Toddler's Easter Basket

I always loved opening my Easter Basket as a kid. My mom always made her own Easter Baskets, none of those store bought baskets in our house! I am the same way. I'm excited about putting together Lilly's Easter basket this year and I want it to include a variety of items. Here are some good ideas I've found that I hope you enjoy as well! I'd love to implement all of these into Lilly's basket.

1. A Toy: Every kid wants a toy in their Easter Basket. Here is one option. Lilly's favorite saying right now is: "They Match!" She's also become quite addicted to The Cat in the Hat, (which I've now read 1 million times). So I think this will be an excellent option for her basket.

2. Candy: It is Easter after all. Kids need at least SOME candy. I would suggest purchasing some of those plastic eggs and filling them with Jelly Beans or Robin Eggs.

3. A Craft: Toddler's love crafts and I thought this one was adorable. You can put all the supplies into your little one's Easter Basket and then once they've opened it you can do the craft together. Fun!

4. Something Educational: I like the idea of a book, especially something that mentions the real meaning of Easter. Here is one option I found on Amazon:

Some other ideas could include: Side walk chalk, bubbles, crayons, or play dough. Hopefully this helps in your Easter Basket planning!