Fiscal Fitness Finale: 3 Stocks for Your 2 Grand

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Feeling a bit off kilter? Maybe you're thrown off balance by the weight of extra cash in your wallet -- $2,870.07 in newfound dollars, if you've been following our Fiscal Fitness daily money-saving tips all January.

Pat yourself on the back, even if you've only saved a small fraction of that total. You're way ahead of the curve -- as we've seen, most people are only now learning the art of saving a buck or two.

Now it's time to fulfill the final part of our 1 Month, 2 Grand, 3 Stocks event: Let's make that money you saved multiply for your future.

1 month, 2 grand, here's your 3 stock picks
Despite the recent turmoil, we still believe that the stock market is the best place to build wealth over the long term.

The timing couldn't be better for those with the cash on hand to invest while stocks wallow near their historic lows. (Aren't you glad you saved all that money this month?) We've singled out three stocks worthy of your newfound investing dollars.

Costco (Nasdaq: COST  )
Our first investment idea has been plucked from Motley Fool Inside Value's "Best Buys Now" list. This discount retailer is exemplary in every way we think is important: It has a straightforward business model, it's well run, it has an awesome brand and management team, and it has a strong balance sheet (a rarity among retailers these days). It's found a way to compete successfully with Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) . Alyce Lomax runs down the essentials of this business, which we believe is an ideal stock for beginning investors who want a company to have and to hold for the long run.

Paychex (Nasdaq: PAYX  )
The second company on our list has been the dictionary definition of "stability." Take a gander at this line from its 2008 annual report (fiscal year end May 31): "Fiscal 2008 was our eighteenth consecutive year of record total revenue, net income, and diluted earnings per share." Yup, it brings tears to our eyes, too, given the tumultuous times we're in. This company's right for anyone who's tired of the messes at companies like AIG (NYSE: AIG  ) and General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) and just wants to dial-down risk and earn steady, stable, long-term returns. Morgan Housel spells out five reasons why he thinks this company deserves a place in your portfolio, and why two of our services -- Motley Fool Inside Value and Motley Fool Income Investor -- have it on their "Buy Now" and "Buy First" lists, respectively.

National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV  )
For our third and final pick for Fiscal Fitness graduates, we find a company that we've long admired -- and that has been beaten up pretty badly by the fall in oil prices. Yet, while the energy sector has taken a hit from ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) on down, low share prices also spell opportunity. Toby Shute provides the investment thesis for this final pick, which is one of Tom Gardner's current favorite recommendations for our Motley Fool Stock Advisor service. For more adventurous types seeking to juice portfolio returns, this is a chance to invest in a strong company at an attractive valuation. The recommendation comes with a clear warning label: As he points out, this is a cyclical business that's most appropriate as a small position in an already-established portfolio.

We hope you've learned a few savings tricks these past four weeks, and we thank you for your participation -- particularly those who chimed in on the our Fiscal Fitness '09 discussion board.

Fiscal Fitness boot camp instructor Dayana Yochim owns none of the companies mentioned in this article. Paychex is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. Wal-Mart, Paychex, and Costco are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. National Oilwell Varco and Costco are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (50)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2009, at 4:04 PM, madmilker wrote:

    my stock is in American ain't chic and it cost America jobs...

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2009, at 4:31 PM, FinancialFellow wrote:

    I own GM. I bought it too soon - around $6 a share. It's been hovering around $3 for a while now. I have to say, this is the first time that I've heard anyone say anything positive about GM. I invested in them banking on a government bailout. Still, when the gov't bailed them out there stock price didn't bounce back up to where I wanted it to be.

    I believe over the long haul they won't be able to make it. They have all the overhead of the unions, a product that is still considered by many Americans to be inferior to foreign manufacturers, and a pile of debt. Just don't see how they will make it...

    That said, they were cheap and cheap stocks are aplenty right now. Online trading accounts such as Zecco ( are probably doing a brisk amount of business.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2009, at 9:36 PM, valari25 wrote:

    He didn't say anything positive about GM.....

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2009, at 9:43 PM, Rasbold wrote:

    You got it, Mad. Rebuild our own country first. You should by Ford, number two. They will pull through as the shining star of US Autos. I have committed a large percent of my portfolio to them between $1.95 - $2.22 per share and feel real solid about it.

    Buy and Hold, like Warren Buffet himself and your Dow will never Jones.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2009, at 11:44 PM, Ozcutty wrote:

    Buys Ford and GM, are you guys crazy!???!!!

    WB would not touch them with a 2 foot pole. He does not like capital intensive businesses and a look at the F and GM stock chart will tell you why.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2009, at 3:58 AM, Ironbob wrote:

    I don't see how anyone could recommend Costco and I'll tell you why. I won't be a Costco customer in November.

    I see no reason that I should be stiffed $50 a year so that I can buy a limited supply of merchandise in comparison to Walmart and pay the same prices or more than I'd find at Walmart or even Target for that matter.

    At the $30 mark I was ok with their membership but $50? Sorry but there's not enough toilet paper and shaving cream to make up for that ridiculous fee.

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