August is now over, and it’s time to see how my progress has been on Robinhood.
How I Choose
To recap, here’s how I choose what stocks to buy:
- Stock price must be affordable - under $100, maybe even under $50. This is because Robinhood currently does not support buying fractional shares.
- The company must be a company I believe in - in terms of growth, ethics, technology, innovation, etc. So, no Wal-Mart, no tobacco companies, etc.
- There is a slight preference to companies I use.
How have I been doing? Well, I’ve invested $392.97 via Robinhood, and my balance as of August 31 is $393.21. That’s up - a whopping 24¢ - , and up is good, but once you take out my bonus free stock (CHK), valued at $4.43 also on August 31, my balance is actually down about four bucks ($393.21 - $4.43 = $388.78; $388.78 - $392.97 = -$4.
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The stocks I bought in August are:
- Canadian Solar
- HP (Hewlett-Packard)
I like Wendy’s. I also like McDonald’s, but Wendy’s stock is much more affordable than McDonald’s.
Aramark is very much a behind-the-scenes company. However, they provide the food and other supplies a lot of smaller, local restaurants use, as well as schools, hospitals, stadiums, etc.
I profited a bit via Canadian Solar via options (see losing money with options below), and have also wanted to invest in some solar companies. This may not have been the best buy with Trump’s solar tariffs, but I’m investing long term. Trump won’t be President forever, and I doubt these tariffs are forever, either.
Honda is the third automotive company stock I’ve bought, after GM and Ford. My wife drives a Honda - she comes from a “Honda family” - although they seem to be getting into Toyota Priuses recently. Also, I used to drive a Honda, and they are good cars. On the negative side, however, it might not be a great idea to be so heavily invested in the automotive industry right now, since it’s future is more uncertain than ever.
Finally, Nintendo. I have a lot of fond memories of playing the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64. Also, despite Nintendo being almost completely an electronic entertainment company, they’re actually rather old - they were founded in 1889. When Robinhood they announced the ability to purchase global stocks that are not on US exchanges, I jumped on the change to buy a piece of Nintendo.
I received $0.59 from my single share of Verizon. Not too exciting, but it is my biggest dividend payout to date (on Robinhood, that is).
Losing Money with Options
I’ve also started playing with options. I’m starting small - right now, I’m trying to learn. Making money comes later.
The first option I successfully bought was Canadian Solar (CSIQ). I bought a $14.50 call for $10. A few days later CSIQ looked to be doing good - the same $14.50 call was going for $40. I should have sold, because then CSIQ shares dropped in price, and so did the value of the call. I sold the call for $20 - ten dollars in profit - before it expired. I do believe it ended up expiring worthless.
Since a CSIQ option made me some money, I bought a share of CSIQ. I also bought another CSIQ option (this time a $15.50 call), but the price never went that high, I couldn’t sell it, and so it expired worthless.
I bought a few more options that ended up expiring worthless. Here’s the complete list of options I bought in August on Robinhood that ended up expiring worthless:
- GME Put $14 8/10
- CSIQ Call $15.50 8/17
- F $9.50 Put 8/24
- F $10.00 Call 8/24
In total, I spent $15 on these options and lost it all (just like buying a lottery ticket, I suppose).
You may notice that I bought both a put and a call for Ford (F) that expired on 8/24. That’s because I thought it was highly unlikely that Ford would end up between $9.50 and $10.00. But it did, and I lost money.
Somehow, though, I still have more money in my Robinhood account than I’ve put in, so if I just look at my account balance, it doesn’t look as if I’ve lost money.
This money is money I can afford to lose - when I buy any stocks or options, I automatically assume a complete loss, at least as far as my budget goes.
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