On Monday, we shared on our transaction page that a few days earlier we had bought $100 worth of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) at $68.28 per share. We also stated that we received $3.31 in J&J dividends and reinvested it in more shares (OK, a fraction of a share) on March 7. Many Drip readers wrote us to ask, "How did you know so soon that you bought your shares at that price? Usually it takes a few weeks to receive the account statement in the mail."

True, indeed! And usually we wait those few weeks before updating our online numbers. But not anymore. Our Drip account activity for two of our stocks is updated online in real time. This has been true for months, but we're slow, easygoing investors, so we haven't taken advantage of it until now.

To see when we bought J&J and at what price, we simply visited our account at http://www.equiserve.com the day after the trade was made. If you wish to do the same, first get your printed account statement in hand, then click to that site. Once at the site, click "Account Access" on the left side of the page. To access your account the first time, you need to enter your stock issue number (which is on your statement), your account number, and you need to create a password.

Once you enter this information, you can simply click to see your updated J&J account anytime. (Bookmark the page, if you wish.) Equiserve also lists personal Drip account information for many other companies that have Drips hosted by First Chicago Trust, including Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB).

Mellon Financial (NYSE: MEL) does not apparently offer your account information online. The most that it offers is the ability to request a duplicate account statement. This is offered by Chase Mellon, the company that sponsors Mellon's Drip, at http://www.chasemellon.com.

Surprisingly, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) does not offer your Drip account information online either. Its "host," Harris Trust and Savings Bank, will hopefully offer this soon, but when I spoke with a representative at the company today, she said she did not know if this was actually in the plans. At least Harris Trust does offer good access to your Intel Drip account over the phone. The phone number is on your Intel account statements.

Intel rose today and yesterday, by the way, mainly on analyst upgrades, it appears. One analyst "promoting" Intel yesterday was the same gentleman who downgraded the stock in April 1999 at around $60 per share, upgraded it later in the $80s, and now has upgraded it again. Whatever. We're glad to be Foolish rather than Wise. For a great overview about what Intel "is" and what it is becoming, don't miss Tuesday's Rule Maker column by Phil Weiss on Intel.

Finally, we offer a quick Foolish note about our dividend payments. As stated earlier, we received $3.31 in dividends from J&J last month. That represents 3.3% of one of our monthly $100 investments. Coupled with the recent $6.28 dividend that we received from Mellon Financial, we earned nearly $10 in dividends in the past month, or nearly 10% of one monthly investment!

Since dividends are quarterly rather than monthly, however, we're actually earning "only" about 3.3% of a monthly $100 investment in dividends from these two companies alone. That is still a large amount this early in our investment careers! It reminds me how powerfully dividends can grow over very long periods, as written about in 1998 in our article titled "Livin' on Dividends."

Yes, we're long term. Yes, we're slow movin'. Yes, we like it that way. We believe that we're going to succeed by being steady and methodical -- and we're having fun along the way. (Nice day today, for Drip Port, by the way. We're stomping the S&P 500 when dollar cost averaged. As always, the daily numbers are below.)

To discuss direct investing, simply visit us on the discussion boards linked below. Additionally, if you would like to see an investment topic discussed here, please suggest it! Fool on!

--Jeff Fischer, TMF Jeff on the boards.