Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Being Nice Has Its Rewards: A General Update

Update Gremlin here. Asking nicely has its rewards for sure

Recently Share Builder (SB) offered me a promotion for its new Portfolio Builder type account, which is essentially building an ETF or mutual fund portfolio.  You set up what funds you want, and invest the amount you want divided the way you want.  Each trade is done for $18.95.  They offered me 1 free trade.

At first I misread the email, thinking I had a standard SB free trade I got excited and pondered how to use it.  Then I read the details, and despite being disappointed hatched a plan.  My plan was to ask SB if I could change the free trade into one for SB.  I figured they say 'no', but I asked as nicely as possible and made it almost seem like I had little idea what was going on.  Lo and behold, they replied with an offer of 2 free trades ($6.95 a piece) and asked if that was suitable.  I said yes and thank you of course and had one placed in each account (Roth and taxable).

This brings me to a total of 3 free trades for this year: 2 regular trades and 1 automatic investment credit that I will get for my birthday.  This addition of free trades also got me to thinking about pulling the trigger sooner on my next buy.  My next big buy should be shortly coming in my Roth account.  I have moved all the accumulated dividends and cash from my taxable account into my Roth in order to make this possible.  So look forward to seeing that.

In the mean time I have added more Unilever, UL via Loyal3.  However, I have not been able to add as much as I want because my car needs breaks and my wedding has a leftover cost.  My wife wanted me to get her dress dry cleaned so she can store it away clean.  You would not believe how much it costs to get that thing dry cleaned!

Long UL, see you soon.

- Gremlin

PS - there will be a sports update with the Superbowl and NHL all-star break around the corner.  I also have some potential leads on a side job, but hopefully that works out in the next few months.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Favorite Winter Beers

Partied-out Gremlin here.  I hope you all had a spectacular set of holidays.  Now it is back to the grind.  In some ways it is a good thing. I am looking forward to a year calm, without any wedding planning or serious expenses.  Although I might need glasses / contacts, but that is a whole other topic altogether.

Over my holidays I spent time in 3 different states: Virginia (where I live), New Jersey (where I grew up), and Tennessee (Nash Vegas baby!).  I witnessed some good sports; a great Winter Classic win for the Caps, excellent SEC losses in college football (go Ducks, quack quack), and excellent Barclay's PL action.  And as of now the Cowboys have lost, so all is right in the world.

Throughout this time I drank a variety of beers - some were due less to choice and more to situation.   Bud Lights and PBRs were drank in Nash Town more than anything else, partly due to cost.  With the families I drank what I brought (mostly wedding leftovers) or what was available.  All that time and  goodness consumed made me wonder, what is my favorite winter drink?

So I decided I must choose based upon them: being available in a 6 pack, the item must have a good ratio - $/% (The PS#) = $ cost per 6 pack (in local stores) / % Alcohol By Volume (ABV).  And that's enough rules.

So without any delay here are my top 5 winter selections, frost them well:

1 - Grand Cru Seasonal by Flying Fish (NJ)
Cost is $7.99 per 6 pack, ABV = 6.9%.  PS# = 1.158

A strong beer with a great flavor.  You can easily down 2 to 3 of these, which if you do will make legally unable to drive pretty much everywhere in the world.  I love this beer, not because its from where I grew up, but because it has that warming Belgian style taste and its heavy to the point of not needing dinner.

2 - Tidings Seasonal by Port City (VA)
Cost is $11.99 per 6 pack, ABV = 7.8%.  PS# = 1.537

Watchout, this will knock you down and make you stay there.  The amazing thing is one is all most people need.  It goes down smooth similar to the Grand Cru, but it also has some spicy qualities

3 - Evil 8ยบ by Blue Mountain (VA)
Cost is $9.99 per 6 pack, ABV = 7.7%.  PS# = 1.297

This guy is a nice chocolaty dark Dubbel.  Hits the nose as hard as it uppercuts your tongue.  This one could supplant a meal if you really want it to.

4 - New Belgium Accumulation (CO)
Cost is $8.99 per 6 pack, ABV = 6.2%.  PS# = 1.297

First IPA on this list.  This winter mix is much more of a light hearted Winter beer.  It is not so heavy as to punch you out if you have more than 2, but it still has a kick.  It also goes well into spring.

5 - Bell's Two Hearted Ale (MI)
Cost is $8.99 per 6 pack, ABV = 7.0%.  PS# = 1.284

Michigan has some great breweries.  Bell's always gets props because of its Two Hearted, which is good any time.  However, all too often New Holland is overlooked and they have some good stuff.

I think the lower the PS number the better.  Anyways, drink up its cold outside and you don't want to be there.