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Investing Ideas

I have always loved the idea of investing. I give you money, you use that money to make more money, then pay me back more than what I gave you; that’s investing right? Well obviously it can get a bit more complicated with stocks, options, 401k’s, bank cd’s, Roth IRA’s, futures, you name it, there are hundreds, if not thousands of investments types out there. The big question that’s on everyone’s mind is which is best?

Before I get into investing types I like, I have to tell you that I really do enjoy investing. It’s more of a hobby for me and anyone who is close to me has probably been roped into some sort of conversation about an investment that I really like. Luckily, I don’t think I’ve ruined any relationships yet over these recommendations. That being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Here are the few investments that I love and a bit about each one.

Lending Club

Lending Club is AWESOME! I’ve been a member since 2008. While looking for decent returns in a depressed market I stumbled on them. Basically it’s a place for good/great credit score borrowers to borrow money from normal everyday people. Loans are originated by Lending Club then put in a marketplace for investors to fund them.

For example a $5,000 loan for someone to pay down credit card debt could potentially be financed by 200 investors at $25 per investor. ($25 is the smallest increment Lending Club will let you invest) What’s also cool is you don’t need any money to start an account. I started with $25 and automatically put in an extra $25 per month.

I have averaged a total of 10% return on this investment. It’s consistent and pays you monthly on the interest which you can then reinvest.

I also love the idea that Lending club it essentially taking the banks out of the equation, and giving you the real returns you should get with your money. I plan to use Lending Club when I retire as a way to generate consistent returns regardless of the market. Lending club does charge a 1% fee for managing the loans but it’s subtracted from the return.

Also, if you are planning on immediately depositing $2,500 or more, ask me for a referral down in the comments and you’ll get a $100 bonus.

The Stock Market

I have found that when I speak with friends and family about trading stocks, people’s eyes glaze over and I can tell that I am more excited about the subject than they are. That said, I intend to elaborate more on my trading strategies in another post. The main thing about trading stocks is obviously to buy low and sell high. This is something that is much harder to learn than you think though.

Lots of emotion can get in the way of trading stock. Sometimes it’s a roller coaster ride and you’d better have a plan and stick to it no matter what; otherwise you will consistently lose money.

I lost a good bit of money over the years because I didn’t have a plan, then I started achieving avg market returns. This year I achieved higher than avg market returns. I hesitate to say my return publicly only because I don’t want to be thought of as a braggart. But I do want everyone to know what is possible in the stock market versus “normal” investing.

So far this year I have averaged over 45% return. (Even after this most recent downturn in stocks) I have executed 52 trades so far this year, some of which I lost money but mostly I gained. The investing I do in the stock market is with money in my 401k. My employer allows me to have a link to a brokerage account so I can do the investing myself.

To sum up my strategy, I use what’s called a conditional trade to buy stock in stable companies when their stock falls by a certain amount during the course of a trading day. This way I buy stocks at discounted prices and typically am able to sell the stock within a short amount of time for a small profit. I want to stress that I do make sure the companies I invest in are good long-term investments for when I have to ride a trade out longer than I would have hoped.

This form of investing is not for everybody, but is a great tool for those interested in learning and taking a more hands on approach.

Chances are that at some point in all of our lives we will have to invest money especially for retirement. What are some cool investing ideas you have? Please share them with us in the comments section below.

Jesse

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Monthly Meal Plan 2

Time for Monthly Meal Plan 2! Are you excited? Below you will find another 20 recipes to fill up your calendar. (Don’t forget to eat your leftovers, have Brinner, or treat yourself to a meal at a restaurant this month!)

 

 

Lion House Sweet & Sour Chicken

Mexican Chicken

Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes

Grilled Cheese with Pesto

Black Bean & Quinoa Chili

“Skinny” Fettuccini Alfredo

Baked Chicken & Spinach Floutas

Pizza Pockets

Butternut Squash Soup over Mashed Potatoes

Spinach Enchiladas

Chicken Salad Croissants

Honey Sesame Chicken & steamed broccoli

Tortilla Soup

Ceasar Salad & Egg Wraps

Chili

“Skinny” Buffalo Wings

Pretzel Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken Strips

Pesto Pasta

Teriyaki Chicken

BBQ Chicken & Black Bean Tostadas

Keep in mind that all of the recipes I use are pretty flexible. You can substitute certain ingredients to make them healthier, or change the taste. For example, if you are trying to cut back on canned/processed food, substitute canned beans for dried beans that have been soaked, or if you are like me and don’t care for the spice thyme, you can leave it out!

~Janna

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Monthly Meal Plan 1

I have recently decided to make my meal plans a month at a time, instead of weekly, because I felt like I was make the same thing over and over again. Ever feel like that? Luckily, thanks to pinterest, I have found several successful & tasty recipes to add to my personal collection, and I am able to come up with a great monthly plan. Here is a list of what I made last month, with links included to their recipe. Good luck & happy cooking!

Enchiladas

Chicken Parmesan Wraps

Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

Chicken Pot Pie

Sloppy Joes

Zesty Crock Pot Chicken

Tacos

Vegetable Soup & Jiffy Cornbread

Fish Sticks (frozen)

Dirty Rice & Cabbage (boxed rice from ALDI called “New Orleans Dirty Rice” & add browned ground beef)

Orange Chicken & Fried Rice

Spaghetti

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Pepperoni Roll

Black Bean Soup

Taco Ring

BBQ Chicken Salad

Griddle/Grilled Sandwiches (Ham & Cheese, Avocado & Cheese, Fried Egg, etc.)

Sweet & Spicy Chicken & Biscuits

There are 20 ideas here, so I know that’s not a whole months worth. But we do eat out a couple times a month, we eat a lot of leftovers, and have Brinner (breakfast for dinner) almost once a week. (It’s a great Sunday meal that my husband can be in charge of. He makes THE BEST french toast!)

Also, I didn’t include many side dishes because there are several options. I usually include a veggie, like roasted veggies or when I am short on time, canned veggies topped with butter, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.

Stayed tuned for more monthly meal plans!

~Janna

 

 

 

 

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There is no getting around the fact that pornography is rampant in today’s society. At some point you are bound to see it, read it, or even hear it. Protecting yourself and loved ones from pornography needs to be a high priority. I believe the best way to protect me and my family is through filtering. At the Frei home there is a filter on anything that can get on the internet this includes laptops, desktops and phones.

I use K9 web protection services on everything, setup is easy and free. One problem with web filtering software that I always disliked was the ability to bypass the filter by using a different browser. K9 has fixed this; you cannot work around the system by using a different browser. (The one exception to this would be with the phone browser which I will address a little later.) You cannot uninstall k9 either without the password.

The password should be held by someone with that is physically present often, in case you need to make some adjustments. I asked that my wife be the possessor of the almighty password. I tend to think that by just being a guy you are at risk of getting entrapped by pornography; so guys, make your wife the designated internet key holder. There are numberless features that k9 offers to control internet usage on your computers at home.

Here are some of them…

  • Forced safe search
  • Compatibility with various anti-virus applications
  • The ability to block web access during certain times of the day or night
  • A detailed log of in depth information on the habits of all internet users. (that can’t be deleted for the history)
  • You can also allow a website for only a specified amount of time on an as needed basis.

I have an iPhone 4, I love it! I am also aware of the glaring danger that it can present to kids or adults that don’t want to be exposed to pornography. The solution is fairly straight forward, here is how you can filter your device (apple).

  1. First Download the K9 Browser app from the App store.
  2. Go to Settings>General>Restrictions. Tap Enable Restrictions
  3. Find someone else to type in a 4 digit pass code (make sure they can remember it too)
  4. Now you will need to disable Safari (Youtube is not a bad idea either)
  5. Also restrict Apps, in particular 17+ apps; this prevents someone from bypassing the filter by downloading another browser, all browsers fall into the 17+ category.
  6. Now you can take that k9 web browser icon and slide it down where the Safari icon used to live.
  7. You’re done!

 One thing I wish would get fixed is that if you are in an e-mail and click a hyperlink, k9 will not automatically open. Instead you have to press and hold until the copy button comes up, then you paste the web address into k9.

 

I believe that pornography is a real danger to our souls. It can derail what was once good relationships, and hurts loved ones. I can see nothing good about it. So if you are struggling with such a thing you need to ask for help from your spouse, religious leader, or a close friend. Even with all these awesome tools to protect ourselves and our family it needs to be understood that a person must exercise some level of self control because there will be opportunities in each of our lives where we are faced with a choice.

My hope is that with filtering we are able to practice the right choice enough so that when unfiltered opportunities are put in our path it will be second nature to not even think about it. It is my belief that our souls need to be fed good wholesome things to produce a good and wholesome life. My church, beliefs and communicating with God is a major part of feeding my own soul. I believe that we are here to live, joy filled lives and I cannot understand how someone can do that, with the harmful effects of pornography constantly weighing them down.

Here’s a video from our church on this particular topic.

 

What do you do to protect your family from stuff like this?

-Jesse

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