Monthly Archives: March 2005

Water Selling Experiment

I enjoyed doing my lottery experiment, now it’s time to venture out and do something more practical. I took a look at some of my Make Money with No Money ideas, and I want to back my advice by actually doing them (I’ve done most, but not all).

The one I am leaning towards: Selling bottled water. I will NOT be obtaining a license for this, therefore I am limited to low-regulated areas. There happens to be an intersection right near my apartment which is relatively lowly-regulated (and in turn has lots of bums no matter what time of the day).

I will speak to some officers in the area, asking them about the legality of my experiment. I don’t want to be fined or arrested (although that would provide for some interesting journalism!)

I will try to turn about $5 into $24 by selling individual bottles of water on the side of the road. Some call this being a bum, some call it desperate, I call it learning.

It would actually be easier to make more money by increasing the hours I work, but this experiment is to prove that you can make money without a job or much startup capital.

If anyone has ever done this, drop me some recommendations for effective selling!

**Update: I performed this bottled water experiment already.

Gaining Mobility

One thing important to me right now is mobility. I am graduating pretty soon, and if an opportunity arises in a different state, or even a different country, can I attend to it easily?

I recently moved to a larger apartment right across the hall from my old one, and the simple move took much longer than expected. Since then I have got rid of some “junk” and started to unload some more bulky items like my monitors (I’m selling them on Ebay). My plan is to fit all of my posessions in two suitcases.

A drawback to this is a rather boringly decorated room:

Not winning any “best-decorated” reviews eh? After I send my guitars and piano back home, the only bulky thing I will own are my speakers. I am a high-quality-sound-fanatic and can’t yet part with my THX certified Klipsch speakers, no matter how many neighbors they annoy!

Other than that, I can pack up my clothes and Tablet PC and leave town whenever I want.

Meeting Goals

Look to your right. See that goal for 3-31-200 that states I should “Have made $6,500 since January 1st 2005″? Well, it’s far from complete.

According to this goal, I had 4 months to generate $6,500 and it doesn’t look like it will be fully met. Let’s predict I hit $3,000 by the 31st of this month. If I make only $3,000 every 4 months, I will be at an average of $12,000 per year. That’s only $2,430 over the federal poverty level!!!

What the hell. Even though I’m still in college, I need to make more money on the side. This is ridiculous.

The 3-31-2005 goal is to keep me on track for my $11,000 by 4-30-2005 goal, which is FAR from complete. As for meeting that goal in two days, I have some income coming in soon:

  • Approx. $250 check from work
  • At least $400 from Ebay sales ending in a few days.
  • Over $900 from my online business
  • $300 from web design project

So I have a minimum $1,850 of income within the next week. I will still have only accumulated $4,454 since the beginning of the year. To meet that $11,000 goal I really need to kick my own ass and starting making more money, even if it resorts to using my crazy business ideas.

So to sum up:

Tax Refund

I’m no “Taxamatician” (yes, that was a joke), but isn’t a tax refund simply a REFUND of money you overpaid?

This CNN article entitled 5 Ways to Spend Your Refund shows the sentiment in America to blow your refund. According to my knowledge, this is equivelant to:

Buying $5 worth of candy with a $10 bill. When the cashier hands you back $5 in change, you think, “Hey! Free money!” and go spend it.

When you overpay for your taxes and then get some of it back, you aren’t “getting” free money. If you are going to blow your tax refund, blow it on something CRAZY like paying off debt or starting a new savings account!

The Next Big Thing

Identify the “next big stock” or “next iPod” and get rich! Well, even Ms. Cleo can’t predict that, so an easier route is to spot upcoming trends such as the recent oil surge. Easier said than done.

I have been looking for a place to park some money for the long term, and I have come across a few trends which have the potential to explode in value:

1.) Water. Kirk absolutely loves water stocks, and for good reason. In scarce supply, drinking water is more valuable than gold, oil and money because it is vital to our existence yet taken for granted. With a rapidly increasing world population and a mass exodus of people moving towards large, condensed cities, Kirk’s long term positions on water make tons of sense. I have a feeling that water companies in countries with current severe water problems would fair better than American companies.

2.) Batteries. Battery technology has always lagged behind the technology sector, and everyone is just about fed up. We need some fuel supply for our mega-capable portable devices of today that can last for weeks, months, years at a time without recharge. On some phones the largest component is the battery. On laptops the heaviest component is the battery. As a laptop user I abhor “plugging in”. In a world which is getting increasingly portable, the market for long-lasting, reliable, relatively affordable power supplies is HUGE HUGE HUGE. Any advice on how to catch this wave? I am looking towards some fuel cell technologies and Energizer (ENR). Drop me some sector fund names if you know any that concentrate on portable energy.

3.) Nanotech. That term is so vague and can be applied in so many areas that it’s basically a crap-shoot trying to pick the right stocks without vigorously keeping up with the sector. Since that is not my plan, I will soon invest in a nanotechnology fund. Holding this for a long period of time (10-15 years at least) could prove profitable as new breakthroughs occur and people start pouring more money into the sector. The key here is to get in at a time when nanotech is not in the news for a while. BUT….nanotech has been a buzzword for quite sometime, and lots of people have lost lots of money investing in it so far. Start looking for companies who are turning their research into actual products, because companies that do only research make no money. Look for nanotech to appear in places you would never expect. Here is a Forbes article on best nanotech products.
Right now it seems sports products have caught the nano bug already, I expect to see it in the luxury goods area in a few years. Being creative, I imagine new nanotech fabrics, creams, materials etc. will start to appear in these places:

  • High end, ultra-warm yet THIN winter coats.
  • New, ultra-luxurious interior fabrics for luxury cars
  • All over the exterior of cars in the form of scratch resistant body panels, rain-resistant windsheilds, super-road-hugging tires
  • Some sort of new material to use on paper currency making it much more difficult to counterfeit
  • Ultra-thin yet ultra-effective insulations for pipes, cables etc.

These are the types of things I expect to see in the upcoming years. I can go on forever, but you get the point. Nanotech can be used in countless areas, some areas which most likely no one even knows about yet. Back in 1960, who would have thought silicon would become so widely used?

Unloading Monitors

So a little while back I bought two flat-panel LCD monitors for my desktop computer. It was cool while it lasted running dual monitors, but since I am never at home I have started to use my Tablet PC almost 100% of the time. Hopefully someone else could put better use to these monitors than I can.

Therefore, on Ebay I am selling my:

These two monitors should generate a little income for me also.

Lottery Experiment – An Itch to Scratch

Observation: Popularity of scratch-off lottery tickets remains high despite their low odds of winning. The attraction of exponentially increasing an “investment” of $1 with no skill involved draws people to these games.

Hypotheses: If a $1 scratch-off lottery game is played 100 times, the player is likely to lose money in the end. Most people playing the game will eventually lose money, only a few will gain.

Variations: A player can potentially win a large sum of money on the first play with some “luck” on their side.

Experiment: 100 Texas Lottery scratch-off “Amazing 8’s” games costing $1 each will be purchased. 20 games will be purchased from 5 seperate establishments. Amazing 8’s have odds of 1 in 4.65 games at least break even.
———————————————
———————————————

Step 1
I withdrew $100 in cash from an ATM and bought 20 Amazing 8’s from each of these five establishments: Albertson’s, Chevron, Diamond Shamrock and Exxon. The whole process took me an hour as some places I visited did not have Amazing 8’s.

Step 2
Counted and verified that I had exactly 100 Amazing 8’s scratch-off lottery tickets.

Step 3
Got my trusty tools ready: Two quarters. One is an American quarter and the other is a Canadian Quarter. I’ve found that Canadian quarters are much better for scratching mass amounts of lotto tickets!

Step 4
Start scratching! I would scratch and scratch until I found a winner, which would then be placed inside the “Winner$” basket.

Scratching 100 lottery tickets is NOT as exciting as I thought. It felt more like a boring job. Next time I do gambling experiments, I’m goin’ ta Vagas.

The “Winner$” basket.

Winner$ basket starting to fill up with $1 and $2 wins.

The real gem of the lot was this ticket which won $60! The chances of getting this are 1 in 1,500.

Step 5
Tabulate each amount won.

Losers were placed on the table, and the proud winners were put higher up on the stool (Just for a more dramatic metaphorical effect)

Step 6
Report the totals. I came out ahead with $102! A 2% return.

The proud winners in all their glory, especially our champion: Mr. $60!

After the experiment was completed, I went to the grocery store to cash in my $102. I then proceeded to the Bank of America ATM and deposited the cash directly back into my investment account. So I performed this experiment and MADE $2 and learned a little too!

Step 7
Conclusion. This “investment” of $100 was more of an experiment and should not be used as investment advice. Anyone who invests their money in the lottery for purposes other than mild thrills and entertainment is (according to the odds) just dreaming. The odds prove that if you play long enough, you will lose 75% or more of your money. Of course you can also win a lot of money, but it’s highly doubtful. I just happened to buy the right tickets at the right time for this particular experiment, but if I repeated the experiment again, I would most likely not make a profit or break even.

Hope you enjoyed the experiment, I sure did!

Stock Portfolio & Lottery

So I am going ahead with my plan to buy $100 worth of $1 scratch-off lottery tickets to test the averages. I will take pictures and tabulate the results by the end of this week.

My total net worth has slipped a little as my Ameritrade portfolio has been under some stress lately. These are all longterm holdings, so no selling is in sight (except maybe Syntel). Check it out:

Dynegy (DYN) – Just a few weeks ago I went up to a nice profit from a 25% loss, but it’s all slipping back now. This stock will be held onto for approx. 5 years.

Fortune Brands (FO) – Has steadily moved between a 6% and 11% gain since I bought it. I personally idolize this company for its diverse array of subsidiaries. Check out some of their well-known brands: Fortune Brands Website.

General Electric (GE) – A pretty stable stock that I plan to keep forever. I doubt this stock will go anywhere fast, up or down. It’s meant to be the “rock” of my portfolio.

Syntel (SYNT) – They are issuing a $1.50 per share dividend on March 31st which will add up to a nice $270 infusion into my account. If the stock hits above $25 I will sell. I have made money on this stock in the past.

Over the years I have finally taught myself to remove all emotion from stocks. Whether they are up or down for the day, I don’t even flinch. As I plan to hold these for many years, small changes no longer interest me. My heart used to speed up everytime I would log in to check my sotcks, I have finally developed a thick skin!

Odds

Well a lot of people are against the gambling idea! I will still give it a whirl to see what comes from it. If anything, it will be a nice $200 lesson for me.

I might also buy $100 worth of $1 scratch-off lottery tickets and display the averages of my winnings, this has been an experiment I’ve wanted to try for some time now. It would not only be educational as I would have to do a little research on statistics and averages, but it would also be kind of fun! Would anyone else like to see me do this?

I have another article in the Daily Texan tommorrow on qualities employers look for, I’ll post it tommorrow!