Friday, 11 October 2019

How To Crazy Budget

So, I have decided to make my target of putting back into my savings what I took out of it by the end of the year. 

It’s a personal thing and just a way to end this year on a positive note. Again, I didn’t blow the money I took out of savings, I invested it, but investments are not liquid.

So, since I am building up my savings (my cash reserves as it were) I am building up the cash I stuff into the bank so that I can go start that self-sustaining homestead/town/thing.

In order to do that I have made a few changes on both the income and the expenses side of my budget. 

First of all I have suspended the book buying program. I will resume building up the Homestead Archives in January, but for now, I am stopping all unnecessary expenses.

I was going to stop getting my hair cut every third payday, but then I would start to look scruffy, or I would have to go back to buzzing my own hair and beard (and I don’t want to do that).

I have cut back on the refunding of my wallets to their minimum practical level. Meaning the cash (as in actual bills) that I put back into my wallets each payday.

I can still function and do what I need to do, but my budget is now smaller. Since wallets contain actual cash, if I do go over I will still be okay. 

If I spend more than I have allocated, I will just have less than what I expect to have in those wallets (again, until the new year).

The other thing I have done is altered my target income for the five remaining paycheques for this year. I have increased them by $100.00.

Meaning, I have moved my “Budgetary Minimum” line that I have set for what my pay must be up by $100.00. 

If my hours and my commission will not make this amount, I will take a bit out of my vacation fund (at work as the “Holiday Pay fund”).

Again, the only vacation I take is my Christmas Break (which I have to book still) so there is always extra cash in there to raid.

All in all, I can make it, I can make this target and get out of this year, on an even keep, back to where I was before. 

Though, I will still have that investment, so I will actually be ahead of the game.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 10 October 2019

The Annual End Of Year Push

So, it is that time of year when I look to my goals and see if I will meet them or not. As usual I am falling a little short of hitting them this year.

So, the question arises, do I enact a super-stringent budget in order to make those targets (yes, the book buying was part of the mess that I’m in). 

It is possible to squeak up to and possibly over the line to make those savings targets . . . possibly. 

Yet, do I need to? Since I am talking about savings and building savings over time, is it that important to hit arbitrary deadlines that I set for myself?

It is complicated, you see, my goal for this year is to put back into my savings what I took out of it in order to do the investment I did this summer.

So, for me, this time it is personal and I do want to make this target. I want to get back to “zero” as it were; back to where I was.

It’s not as if I blew the money I took out of savings, as it was an investment, but since it is an investment it is not liquid, and therefore not cash, so it is not savings.

Since I am building my savings in order to buy a land/home and develop it into an off-grid, self-sustaining, homestead (possibly town) I need cash, as in cash I can spend.

So, we shall see what happens and how the budgets and paycheques shake out, but I will at least give it my best try to meet this year’s target. 

How stringent my budgets will be to help in that effort also remains to be seen.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Another Day, Another Snow

So, yesterday it snowed, or rather it kept snowing, which was interesting to say the least with regards to the solar panels.

So, since my solar panels are on the roof of Wanda, they are flat, meaning that snow builds up on top of them. 

This makes things interesting when trying to keep them clean and clear in winter. 

As the clearer and unobstructed they are, the more light they get, the more light they get, the more power goes into my batteries. 

So, yesterday morning, before heading off to work, this was what the panels looked like.
   

I went back at noon and swept them off and I got a bit better, but they were still not clean. 

Also the batteries were still at 71%, meaning that effectively no charge had gone into the batteries all morning.

Yesterday was overcast and lightly snowing all day, so there was no heat to melt the ice. So they looked like this after the noonday sweeping.
   

By the time I got home it had stopped snowing only an hour earlier, but still I went up and brushed them off as best I could.
   

It is interesting to note that by the time I got home the batteries were up to 100%.

This is one of the reasons that I put as much solar panels on the roof as I could and got bigger batteries. 

Even with their diminished capacity (due to the snow and overcast skies) I was still able to get a full charge during the afternoon.

We shall see how the saga of a solar charging system in winter goes, but for now, it is working, it just needs a bit of elbow grease now and again.

As always: Keep your head up your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

More Snow, More Ice

So, there was another snowstorm overnight. Nothing too bad, nothing to worry about. Yet, with regards to me, it is a problem: ice under snow.

What happened is that it rained overnight turning to snow. This then meant that the snow would be wetter, heavier, this much I expected.

I had feared that the rain first and/or the mixture of rain turning to snow would turn into ice overnight, and it did.

This is what I was left with after I brushed the snow off of the solar panels.
  

I wonder if anyone makes fitted covers for solar panels? That way I could put a cover over them the night before and take them off in the morning. 

Thus no ice on them.

I am expecting that the heat from the sun will melt the ice long before noon. I will pop out at morning coffee break and at noon, if need be, to brush the solar panels off.

Ah well, more fun with solar panels in winter.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday, 7 October 2019

The Homestead Fund Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” (to build my "Homestead Fund")

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . .
 

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .
 

That is 12.1% (of my Savings Target).

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . .
 

That’s right things jumped up to 12.8% of my savings target.

That means I put away 0.7% of my total Savings Target this payday.

Okay, so this is one of those paydays where I don’t get to cross of a square, because I am still in the same percentage square (12%).

The biggest news is that I have fully funded my Mid-Term Account and put some cash into my TFSA (Part of my Long-Term Savings).

I am also staying debt free and am committed to doing maintaining that as I build up my savings.

I am happy and a bit relieved that my Mid-Term Account is fully funded again, and that I am onto building up my Long-Term Savings again.

Yet as I do this I am wrestling with the notion of if I should spend $120.00 per payday on books or just do it on the payday of the 7th.

I have about %1500.00 on my wish list on an online book retailer that I would like to buy, so it will take time just to acquire those books.

I will chip away at it, again, over time.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday, 4 October 2019

Be Different. Succeed

It is long known that success is typically found in doing what others are not willing to do. 

This is a fact and part of the reason why I have succeeded in getting debt free, and I continue to succeed in building my savings (for my future homestead).

I can do this by significantly lowering my living expenses by living in an RV trailer year round while parking it on city streets or in big box store parking lots.

It is not a fancy way to live, but an effective way to free up cash in my monthly budget and thereby get ahead. 

(By using that freed up cash to either pay off debt or build savings. Trust me, if you use that cash to go on a shopping spree, you will not be getting ahead, just getting some shiny new things.)

Anyways, whatever it is in life that you want to do, if you want to get it, if you want to succeed, you have to work at it and be willing to do what others are not.

Those two things really are key to success: work hard, do what others won’t.

(But, for a better set of “rules for success” do a web search for “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 6 Rules for Success.” 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 3 October 2019

So Far, So Good

I don’t want to jinx anything, but so far the weather has been . . . and the upcoming weather looks to be . . . not all that . . . wintery.

This is the prairies, so anything can happen and one could make a lot of money taking bets on what the weather will actually be like in a week or three.

Seriously, I choose to look on the positive side of things, or I am intent on focussing on the positive side of things, so I will see the nice weather now and be happy with that.

I know that cold and hard times are coming, but I also know that the warm and wonderful times are also on their way as well. 

So, enjoy the now, look for the beauty and the good that is always around you, and just deal with the bad times that have to be dealt with (when they actually arrive).

As the old saying goes: Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I would add: but enjoy the now.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Ten Years Is Enough

So, I have been thinking, since Winter is coming again, and with it all the fun that it brings, how long I really want/should live this lifestyle.

For me, it has always been a means to an end, a way to free up cash in my monthly budget so I could get debt free.

At first it was the airy-fairy dream of getting credit card debt free (that was the hardest and took the longest, by the way).

Then it was to focus hard and pay off the rest of my debts so as to become totally debt free. I did that almost two years ago (two years as of the 22nd of this month).

I am still doing this so I can buy something, as in either land and build on it, or buy an acreage somewhere. In both cases I want to have some cash left over.

I could keep doing this indefinitely and keep putting ever more cash in the bank. For me, I am looking forward to that next step in the journey, of having a home, of having land.

So, I will make my current target by the summer (my best guestimate) of 2024, and in so doing I will have lived in my trailer, in Wanda for ten years by then.

I think that will be a long enough time to spend on this part of my life, on this phase of my journey. 

I will endure what I need to endure, but I will do so for another five years, and then I will move on (large crowdfunding campaign, lottery win, or large disaster fiscal or otherwise notwithstanding).

In all seriousness, to me that just feels right, as in to put an end date on this living in an RV, as I do want a home and land, I just don’t want the debt that typically goes along with it.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Winterizing Wanda

Okay, now let me tell you how the winterizing of Wanda went. 

On Friday afternoon, after checking my mail, I drove up and parked outside of the RV Dealership. I did this so as to avoid the snow that was predicted to fall on Friday night.

Well, the snow didn’t fall, but it’s better safe than sorry. 

The next morning, while I was having my breakfast the next morning (about two hours before the RV Dealership opened) the gates to the RV Dealership opened.

I was content staying outside until the proper time, but if they’re going to open early, okay, sure, that works too.

A few other RVs decided to drive in, and I was wondering what to do. I decided that I was not in all that much of a hurry, so I finished my breakfast first.

Then, I hopped in my truck and drove into the RV Dealership’s lot, thinking that I might as well go get in line as well.

Yet, as I was sitting in the truck, waiting in line, about an hour before the RV Dealership was set to open, an employee snarkily said to me “This doesn’t start for another hour, you know!”

All I thought was, “You guys opened the gate, what did you expect?” It’s not like any of us blew the gates and stormed the compound.

Anyways, about twenty minutes later I was direct to move to get in line as they were getting started early. 

I did what I was told and registered inside the Dealership itself. 

I looked around at the various RV’s there had coffee and a doughnut while doing so. 

It always makes me chuckle and shake my head that a camper that goes inside the back of a truck is $10K more than an RV Travel Trailer that is a little longer than Wanda!

Anyways, since Wanda was the first RV winterized, she was the first one done. So, I paid and was on my way to my Western Home, just before the time that the RV Dealership was set to open!

Yet I spent most of Saturday and Sunday climbing up my ladder to brush snow off of my solar panels.

On that note, I popped back to Wanda over my lunch break to find that all of the ice had melted and was water. 

I made sure to brush/push all of the water off of the panels, lest they freeze back into ice overnight and I have the problem of ice obscuring the solar panels the next day.

Remember, the less light that hits the solar panels means the less electricity that they generate. Which is why keeping them uncovered and out of the shade is a good thing.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday, 30 September 2019

Solar Panels In A Snowstorm

So, this weekend marks the first time I was in a snowstorm since having solar panels installed on Wanda.

After getting the winterizing done (I’ll tell you about that tomorrow) I drove back to Western Home to stay for the weekend.

I was overcast most of the days and snowing, which reduced the light hitting the panels. 

The problem was that with the snow, now covering my panels, that further reduced the light hitting them. 

Less light = less power

So I had to go up there and brush them off about every forty-five minutes or so. So much so that I had to put a new place for my ladder.
  

I grumbled but went up there to brush it off regularly anyways. It was frustrating but I was able to finish the day with a full charge in the batteries.

The bonus was that I didn’t have to turn my fridge on because the house was typically colder than 10C all day. 

I turned the furnace on now and again, to boost the heat a bit, but for the most part I relied on my tried and true methods of bundling up (including using the sleeping bag to relax on the couch).

I pulled all of my comforters out and put them on the bed so I was toasty warm, and yes slept in my sleeping toque this weekend.

The frustrating thing was this morning I went up to brush the panels off and found that there was a layer of ice on the top of the panels.
   

I am not going to brush them that hard, as I don’t want to damage the panels. What I will do is wait until the end of the day and brush them off again.

It is my hope that after the day of the sunlight hitting them, that the ice will be melted enough so that I can just brush it off.

At least that is the hope. If not, I know how to function with little electricity, so I will be fine no matter what for this evening and night.

All in all, I survived my first snowstorm with solar panels relatively unscathed.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday, 27 September 2019

Okay, Sigh, I’m Ready For Winter

So, it got a bit cold last night, nothing remarkable just . . . Fall-ish . . . and that was unwelcome.

This morning as I got up and heard the weather reports and weather predictions for this weekend, I did so with growling, grumbling protests.

I will admit that as I thought of the upcoming cold and yes snow, I had a mild hissy-fit. It’s tradition, that at least once I have hissy fit as the cold weather starts.

After that, I just sigh, and accept that the weather is getting cold, and start to adapt what I do in order to deal with it. It’s what I do.

I will still drive up to park near the RV Dealership, so I am there bright and early, and I also don’t have to drive in the snow that will fall overnight tonight.

I don’t want to risk it, if I don’t have to. I don’t have to because I am mobile, and so mobile I will be.

(Despite the cold and snow.)

As always: Keep your head up,  your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 26 September 2019

The Switch Is About To Be Flipped

Aaaaaaand just like that . . . summer’s gone. Yep, in true Alberta style, overnight tonight the switch will be flipped and we will be into fall, with a dalliance in Winter.

There will be cold weather (low single digests Celsius) with moderate sub zero temps overnight.

Friday will be a mixture of rain and snow, so that meant that Saturday Morning should be fun to drive on (rain, falling, turning to snow, then freezing).

So, I will be driving up to stay overnight near where the RV Dealership is, tomorrow afternoon. (I just don’t want to take any chances).

I am not pleased with winterizing, as I lose my running water indoors. This is just a fact of life, and I only use the water to wash my hands and flush the toilet.

I still haul in and store my potable water in my two litre bottles, even in summer. It is just a habit that I have, and I do it for most of the year, so I just continue.

This is all just a fact of life and another mark of the changing seasons. Just like de-winterizing is a sign of spring and summer.

Always be ready for and positively react to change. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Library Software Acquired

So, with the ever growing library that is The Homestead Archives, a way of organizing as well as keeping track of what I have is a necessity.

My first thought was to create some sort of database as I am skilled in doing this. 

The thought occurred to me that why reinvent the wheel? Someone else must have done this already.

After a quick web search I landed on this piece of software from collectorz.com. This is not an endorsement, per say, just a statement of what I ended up buying.

I still don’t like renting software, but this is licensed in one year increments, so I have a year to decide if I like it enough to pay to have it again. 

They have three options, one is web based, one is an app on your phone/tablet and another is software on your computer. I went for the software on my computer.
  

It has a number of features, but what I like the most is that I just type in and it retrieves and downloads all of the information available (including the front and back cover images) of the book in question.

Apparently there is a bar code scanning bit of software . . . somewhere, but I never found it, or perhaps it didn’t come with what I bought.

They have software to keep track of other types of collections: movies, comics, music, etc. 

There were a few books that the “about the book” entry was blank. So, I ended up typing in the paragraph on the back cover. 

Again, we shall see how it goes, but for now it worked well and was a seamless process.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

The Power Of Visualization

So, I had an understanding as I was looking my budget over this past Sunday. It was payday and I had just finished enacting all of the things that was in that budget.

I paid what I had to pay and put into savings what I had decided to put into savings. Yet as I stared at the completed list, I thought to myself “Didn’t I already do this?” 

Now, on one level, and in one sense, I have; I do this every payday. Yet, what the sensation was that hadn’t I already enacted this budget.

That sensation was a result of me spending so much time during the previous payperiod looking at, and tweaking this current budget (the one that I had just enacted, and I am still inside of).

I realized that by spending time looking at and working with my future budgets with a thought and concept of “This is going to happen” I make those budgets happen.

Now, a word of caution is required here, as there is a temptation (yes I have fallen prey to it) to look at something and say “Oh yeah, sure, that’s going to happen, so I don’t have to worry about it or do anything to make it happen . . . it’ll come to pass on its own.” 

No . . . no it won’t.

You have to work at it. Visualize something, sure. Imagine that it has already happened, sure. 

In this case it is looking at the ending balances on the next payperiod’s budget and believing that I will make have that much cash in my accounts. 

Yet, you have to actually work on it. For me, it is controlling my spending. Looking for ways to live cheaply, do what I need to do, and do so without harming myself or my budget.

I do this in order to build my future, to have that piece of land yet do so without debt, and yes have a bit of savings to do something with it.

That is what keeps me going, it is that greater picture, that larger visualization that gets me through the tough times. 

It will come to pass, because I am visualizing it and working towards it, each and every day, through each and every budget I enact and work.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday, 23 September 2019

The Homestead Fund Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” (to build my "Homestead Fund") 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 
   

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .
   

That is 11.6% (of my Savings Target).

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 
   

That’s right things jumped up to 12.1% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 0.5% of my total Savings Target this payday.

Okay, this was expected because I am building my personal library, “The Homestead Archives”.

There will be another hit to the savings next payday as I pay for that next bunch of books that I bought to jump start my library.

I am still debating as to whether or not to buy $100.00 worth of books each payday, or each month (on the 7th). 

I have a long list of books that I want to buy, so another bulk buy will not do, so buying in small bits over time is the best way.

Anyways, the point is that while my savings took a hit, I still put something into savings while remaining debt free.

With those two basic principles in mind I will continue to venture forwards. 

On the upside next payday will see me fully-fund my Mid-Term Savings and put a good chunk into my Long-Term Savings (specifically my TFSA).

I use the term “Long-Term Savings” to mean the collection of bank accounts/investments that take more than a day to get money out of. 

Those are used for long-term savings and thus pay more to compensate for their lack of convenient access to your money.

I will continue to remain positive as I move forward as I build a better future for myself through my frugal ways.

As always: Keep your head up,  your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday, 20 September 2019

Last Weekend Of Running Water

It is that time of year and this year the event at the RV Dealership that I bought Wanda from has its winterizing special next Saturday (as in a week from tomorrow).

So, since I don’t want to do it myself, and it is cheaper to get them to do it (winterize Wanda) I will be saying bye-bye to running water until . . . May.

It is not all that much of an inconvenience as I use the running water for two things 1) washing my hands, 2) flushing the toilet.

I can do both things with the water that I pack in on my back. I can still use my Grey and Black Water Tanks until the cold weather really starts.

So, I will enjoy this last weekend and week of running water, and get ready for the coming of Fall. As that is what this winterizing means to me, the true end of summer.

Ah well, I will adapt and change what I am doing in order to not only survive but thrive. It’s what I do.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Water Is Life

So, it is that time of year again when the weather can turn cold, as in darn cold and become so on a dime.

So it is also that time of year when I have to be ready to deal with the eventualities of what to do about water . . . it freezes.

Something to remember is that first of all, the water (or liquid rather) that is in my Grey and Black Water Tanks can and will freeze. 

When they freeze they can and will cause a great deal of damage. Which is why when it look like it will go below zero, (nearing or dipping below -10C) I will dump my tanks.

This year I may go more of a wuss and dump my tanks at -5C, just to avoid trying to thaw out my Grey and Black Water Tanks enough to dump them (like last year). 

The other thing to think of is fresh water, and how to keep it liquid. What I do is to keep it in two litre soda bottles that I have rinsed out.

Those bottles are about the right size and weight to use an handle, yet I can also put them in my bed to keep them warm and prevent them from freezing.

Another trick to help prevent these bottles from freezing is to fill them right up to the tipy-top with water. 

The less air space there is, the less likely they will start freezing. That’s what I’ve found anyways.

Again, figuring out where you will get water, how you will store it and how you will keep it liquid are vital things to know BEFORE the cold of winter hits.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Mild Winter Expected

So, the weather prognosticators predict a mild winter in the part of the country that I am in. 

That’s a good thing, but given that I have been in my trailer through some cold and bitter winters, the weather doesn’t scare me.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love cold weather, I hate it, but I can manage with it, I can survive, and thrive all while still saving money.

So, no matter what happens this winter, I will be okay, because I know that I can handle just about anything that comes my way.

I also have the confidence in my abilities, experience, and resourcefulness that I can even handle the stuff that I haven’t seen yet. (Famous last words, I know.)

So, I will do what I always do: Keep trudging onwards.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Indoor Towel Drying

Okay, so one of the issues I have is how to dry my towels when I’m at work. Sometimes just putting it back on the towel rack doesn’t quite do the job.

They need to be aired out, rather than bunched up on the towel rack. As for the tea towel, it hangs through the refrigerator door handle, (So, it’s worse off).

This was my solution.
   

How I did it was use those hooks that I put in the ceiling to hang the tea light lanterns from. 

What I do is use those monster paper clips to clip to the towel and hang it between two of the hooks.

This will work for a larger towel, like my bath towel, but for the tea towel I needed to do something more creative.
   

What that is, is a coat hanger with three of those monster clips on it. One is on the very top to allow it to hook onto the hook in the ceiling. 

There are two on either “shoulder” of the coat hanger in order to clip to either corner of the tea towel. 

Thus I am able to hang it up to dry out as well, all inside my trailer, while I’m away. Not fancy, but effective, a reoccurring theme in my life.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday, 16 September 2019

Expanding The Archives

So, part of what I will be doing as I move forward will be to storehouse information, information that will, or may, prove useful during the Homesteading Process.

This archive that I am adding to is what I called the “When You Need To Know It, But Can’t Google It” archive.
 

As in I want to have books on everything that I may need to build and manage that homestead, as if I was a pioneer, if necessary.

I don’t plan on throwing away technology to do this, quite the opposite, but I want to be ready to be able to build a homestead from scratch, if I need to.

So, I will be adding to this archive each payday, as I build my savings. I bought a bunch this payperiod and will buy another bunch this next payday.

After that, I will add about $100.00 each payday (enough to qualify for free shipping, of course).

I plan to have a good start on a library for the homestead and town that I plan to build. I will also start to archive as much free electronic books as I can.

The printed material of the physical library is important as you can read a book if your computer, tablet or phone’s batteries are dead.

Feel free to send me suggestions for books (links or titles, so I can find them) that I should add to this collection.

Tools I will wait until closer to the time of starting the homestead, as those are harder to store and should be easier to get a hold of (should be).

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday, 13 September 2019

Adapt And Change To Thrive

If there is one thing that I have learned in my journey of being an Urban Nomad, it is the importance of being able to constantly change and adapt to the current situation.

I mean change and adapt what I am doing, not who I am and what I believe. I have a set of directives, objectives, goals and beliefs that I cling to.

Yet, how I live, and what I do, those things change in regards to my current situation. I am always asking myself “what can I get away with?” 

What this means is, “how close to full summer mode, can I get?” I do enjoy relaxing around the house with the windows, vents and door open as a breeze blows through.

I can live and get what I need to get done in -30C as well. I grumble and mutter through it, but I still get done what I need to get done.

I do this so I can get ahead both with my goal as well as financially. 

For while I wish to build my savings, I am doing so, in order to own a house and land. 

All this is possible because I am willing to adapt what I am doing in order to do what I want and need to do, despite what is happening around me.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Mr Bold and Mr Fear

Each of us have two people within us, constantly talking to us, urging us to do this or that. 

More specifically one is urging you into action while the other is urging you out of action. The two of them are Mr. Bold and Mr. Fear, respectively.

Mr. Bold is the voice urging you to take that leap, take that chance, always telling you “You got this! Go for it!”

Mr. Fear is the ‘voice of reason’ as it were and always urging you to take some precautions and be careful.

When these voices are in balance, we are in balance in that we take appropriate risks, but are not foolish in doing so. 

In so doing, we can experience new things and get things done, yet not behave recklessly as we do so. 

Mr. Bold is a good part of ourselves as he urges us to explore and take risks, to do new things, to have an adventure now and again. 

Mr. Fear is also a good part of ourselves, as he urges caution and whispers to us the many and varied ways that the action that Mr. Bold wants us to undertake can go horribly wrong. 

If either Mr. Bold or Mr. Fear get louder than the other than we put ourselves at risk, either by taking too many risks or not taking enough. 

If we take too many risks we can injure ourselves or cause great harm and disruption in our lives. 

If we don’t take enough risks we stagnate, do nothing and live in constant fear of anything and everything. 

This is why these two voices need to be listened to, and are essential, yet neither voice can be allowed to be too strong . . . neither voice can be allowed to rule us.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Remember The Past, But Don’t Live There

Today is the eleventh of September, and I think we all know what this day means, so I won’t go into that. 

There are many things in my life that I would like to go back and change if I could. 

Yet again, even if I could go back and change those things which I am not proud of, I wouldn’t. 

We are formed by our successes as well as our losses. 

The glories of the past should propel you to even greater ones in the future. Do not linger and focus on them, for the future is not found in the past.

Likewise your failures and f*ckups are also things that should be left in the past. Sure, pause, reflect on them and learn what you can from them. 

Yet again, as with your glories and successes, do not dwell on your failures and f*ckups, for the future is not found in the past.

Move forward with the confidence gained from your glories and successes, yet with the hard-earned lessens of your failures and f*uckups.

For the future, for better or worse will be found when you . . . 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

It Was Decidedly Un-Warm Last Night


So, last night and this morning it was quite un-summery . . . and that was not nice. I know that fall is coming (or mayhaps be upon me) and that winter is coming. 

I also know how to handle it, despite my whining about it. I have the gear I need and know what to do to get through it. I just like being warm without bundling up.

It rained all night, and in fact most of the day yesterday, so . . . that reminded me of Vancouver. 

My life is always lived in a state of reacting to the weather and temperature. What can I get away with? What would be unwise to risk?

So, I had to put on my fall clothes, and hang up my shorts for the evening. Again, it is all good, as I was warm and I will continue to be warm.

I find ways to get things done regardless of what tries to block my way. I do this all while trying to spend as little as possible.

(Still crowing about $26.31 for a month’s worth of fuel for the truck.)

I will bundle up a bit now, and I will slowly pull my blankets out of their storage and put them on the bed.

I will slowly adapt to the chilling weather, as needed, and wear my shorts when I can get away with it. 

This is the nature of my life at this point in time . . . “What can I get away with?”

So, while I dislike the colder weather, it does not scare me.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday, 9 September 2019

The Homestead Fund Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” (to build my "Homestead Fund") 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 
   

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .
   

That is 10.7% (of my Savings Target).

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 
   

That’s right things jumped up to 11.6% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 0.9% of my total Savings Target this payday.

So, this is about as close to 1% as I am expecting to get on a payday, because this 1% of my current savings target is larger than my current average paycheque.

That’s okay, because progress is progress and any step forward, however small, is still a step in the right direction. 

I have that grid and that chart up there to remind me daily of my progress and to help prevent me from getting discouraged (and quitting).

The biggest news of this payday came in the form of how much I spent on fuel for the month of August (August 7 to September 7).

I spent . . . to replace . . . all of the fuel . . . that I burned . . . within that time frame . . . a total of . . . $26.31!

Yep, that’s it, that’s all that I spent in fuel for one month. 

It is small things like that which add up to help my overall savings project. It is also the sorta game that I have made out of savings which helps.

I just know that I will keep focussed on savings as I . . . 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Friday, 6 September 2019

Keep Calm and Carry On

It really is the best piece of advice that one can hold on to in the midst of a crisis. 

Panicking has never helped anything . . . other than to make whatever calamity that you are going through worse.

There are some issues at work which are impacting us and cast a shadow over us. The US tariffs on goods from China is one of them.

I could get all worked up and worried about this. I suppose, if it were six years ago, I might. Back then I was still buried in debt and blowing through cash to service that debt.

I know that there is nothing that I can do, Trump won’t take or return my calls. Even if could get through to speak to him, he wouldn’t do what I say, so why bother.

My point is that worrying about things that you cannot impact or effect is pointless and counter-productive. 

All I can do is keep doing what I am doing. 

1. Do my job to the best of my abilities
2. Keep building my savings
3. Offer suggestions as required.

All of this is “above my paygrade” as it were, so why get all tied up in a knot over them?

So really, all I can do is . . .

Keep calm, and carry on.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Don’t Take On Anyone Else’s Problems

There are people in this world who want you to feel bad for them and their situation. 

They want and need you to empathize and truly take on a bit of the emotional burden of what they are going through. Be careful with such people. 

All of us have problems and all of us need to talk to someone to vent about them. It is also nice when someone sympathizes with what we’re going through.

Yet there are those who want you to feel as if their problem is yours. Yet those same people will not show or care the same about your problems.

Always be aware of people trying to emotionally manipulate you. 

Always ask yourself if they would reciprocate the same level of emotional investment in you and your problems.

You have your own problems to take care of, problems that nobody else will fix for you. Sure, you can get help, get assistance, but your problems are yours and yours alone to fix.

I can listen, offer advice and when appropriate, offer assistance, to as much as I can help you with; but always know that your problems are yours and not mine.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Keep Your Head

When the world around you is unravelling, do not let yourself become unravelled. It is simple advice that is sometimes hard to put into practice.

The more we look at the news today (which is a reoccurring refrain) the more worried about the future we can get.

Panicking can lead to impulsive choices that may not be the best in the long run. 

The best adage is to “hope for the best, yet prepare for the worst.” It is folly to always think that everything will always work out fine.

Yet you will never get anywhere when you believe that things will always go bad. The paranoid may survive but they are also quite jittery and miserable.

It is with a calm head and a practical, pragmatic approach to an increasingly uncertain future, that is, and shall always be the best approach.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Dreaded Day Was Not So Dreaded

Okay, so the day where we count the inventory (at work) came and went without incident. It was just a job that was done with no shouting or freaking out.

This has me worried.

Either 

1. Boss has turned over a new leaf and decided to take a more chill approach.
2. I and my co-workers are so fantabulous at inventory control this year that there was little to freak out about.
3. Boss is too distracted by other larger issues facing the business to freak out now, but will get back to freaking out later . . . at a time of Boss’s choosing.
4. Boss is not bothered because Boss has plans for the business that may or may not involve much of a future for it . . . which may or may not involve us lowly employees. (sell/shut down/start a different business).

I am choosing to go with Number 2 as to why . . . after all I’m not just good, I’m Westlock Good . . . yep . . . I said it.

Anyways, the point is that I got through a challenging day and I am none the worse for wear as a result. 

I will continue to move forward and look to achieving my next Milestone Goal on October 7, just over a month away (12.5%).

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday, 30 August 2019

The Dreaded Day

So, it’s that unhappy time of year: Inventory at work. The end of August is the end of the our corporate year end. So that means that our stock must be counted.

Now, the act of counting and recording the inventory is not that bad and so the work itself I don’t mind. It’s Boss’s behaviour that makes me dread this day.

You see, without getting into too much, the way we (Boss) orders stock leaves a lot of room for error within the inventory system.

So, when it comes time to count that inventory, and count the stock on the shelves, it can be way off. 

Which then means you have to take into account stock that is on the books but hasn’t arrived yet. (Don’t get me started).

So when there are times when the count is off by more than one or two, Boss freaks out and blames me and the sales guy.

I dread and resent this as while I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect, I take multiple steps during the processing of each order to ensure accuracy in inventory and invoicing. 

So to have Boss rant and rave about all this and blame just about everyone but Boss themselves, grates. 

Yet, as always, as a small business owner, Boss is the one who suffers for the mistakes and fumbling of their idiot staff (I’m paraphrasing).

Anyways, that gives you a taste as to why I dislike this day, and this time of year, as I usually end up counting the inventory three times.

I will endeavour to keep my calm and try to just not let anything bother me. I will try to look at this as just another ordinary day and I just need to keep a better frame of mind about it.

(And just get through it, but it is Friday, which means it is an early day).

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Old Folks Working in Retirement

I am not one to say that people over a certain age should not work. I am saying that people over a certain age should not HAVE to work.

There is a difference. 

Before I started on this journey towards Debt Freedom (and beyond to wealth building) I always joked that I was on the “Freedom 85” retirement plan.

(A twist and satire of the “Freedom 55” package from some mutual fund company.)

In all seriousness, most of us don’t really think much about retirement. We, or rather myself, are (or were) too busy dealing with surviving today to think about post age 64.

We tend to think that things will take care of themselves. Now, a company pension has all but gone the way of the Dodo. (If you’re lucky enough to have it, good for you.)

So, for those of us without pensions, we keep getting told to build your RRSP, and save for your retirement. 

Yet we are still just trying to be able pay for today, let alone to be able to put away for retirement. 

People have become conditioned to believe that carrying debt is normal and acceptable. 

I will say that having a mortgage is fine, as it is for your house and there is an end date (but being house poor is not).

Yet, if people do this, carry debt until they retire, what happens when they get escorted out the door of their job (kicking and screaming that they still have debt)?

What then? Is there some magic law or loophole that says that debt evaporates at age 65? If there is, I haven’t found it. 

No matter how old you are, the banks are going to want their money.

It is one thing to get part time job in retirement to fill the day and for a little extra cash. 

It is quite another to now somehow to try to deal with the pile of debt that you never dealt with when you were working.

That though alone should scare you into doing something about your debt. You too deserve to be not only debt free but have a nice savings account.

You can do it, if you want some advice, message me and I will offer what advice I can, at least let you know what has worked for me. 

(For starters read this blog from the beginning to now, as it chronicles my successes and mistakes.)

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

The Next Few Milestone Goals Set

So, with me focussed on “refunding” my savings to their minimum acceptable levels, I have set a few of my basic milestone goals.

This is yet another little game that I play to keep my focussed and motivated and moving forward. 

If you just look at the overall goal, you will be discouraged at the meagre progress that you have made and are making and will give up.

Or you will go slower as you feel that nothing makes any difference. 

So, I set smaller goals, goals that are along the path to the overall goal. 

The grand goal that I am working towards, I call my Crossroads Goal (as when you get there, your life is at a crossroads as you figure out where to go from there. 

The smaller goals along the way, the ones that measure my progress to my Crossroads Goal I call them Milestone Goals (as they measure my progress).

So, the next few Milestone goals are as follows:

1. 12.5% : Mid-Term Account Fully Funded
2. 15%    : Long-Term Back to, Minimum Acceptable Level
3. 17.5% : Savings Back to Where I was before Investing Project
4. 20%    : Next “zero” marker (as in multiples of ten)

Again, I find it is these small little mind games that keep me motivated in the here and now and working in the here and now towards that lofty goal that is years away from being achieved.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

The Frustration of The Illusion of Stagnation

Very few things are more frustrating than the feeling like you are stagnating and not getting anywhere. It is quite aggravating and can lead you to get negative and give up.

Such is the case for me, as due to a recent investment opportunity that I took advantage of, I had to raid my savings a bit. 

So, as a result I am now going over old ground in building my savings back up to where it was before.

The most aggravating is having to refund my practically decimated Mid-Term Account. 

Fiscal alarms are going off with that thing not being up to where I consider it to be fully-funded.

Yet, it was not like I blew my cash on an epic weekend in Vegas or otherwise wasted it, it was an investment. 

Yet, as a result of that investment, it put a dent in my savings. This kind of thing can make someone feel like they are getting nowhere.

We have setbacks all the time and while this is not really a setback, more like a sidestep, the lesson is the same.

Look back at where you have come, take stock of what you have and what you have accomplished. 

I am sure that you will find, that like me, you have accomplished more than you thought that you have.

I know that I will continue my savings and my wounded Mid-Term Account will be fully funded by the October 7 Payday. 

I will be back to where I was, savings-wise, by the end of the year. So, all in all things are fine and things are moving forward.

I have to just remind myself that I have done more than I give myself credit for.

Not to the point of being arrogant, but to stave off the negativity, self-doubt and depression.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday, 26 August 2019

Vancouver . . . The Treading Water Champions of Canada

So, I read an article the other day that made me shake my head. It said that Vancouver, as in the people of Vancouver, have the highest average credit scores in the country.

Great . . . congratulations, I guess.

It went on to say that this is because Vancouverites have found a way to meet their financial obligations.

Great . . . I guess.

The metric that I would like to see is not the debt ratio (as in where do people have the most or least amount of debt in relation to their annual income).

I would like to see the debt freedom index. Where are people the closest to or totally debt free.

(Pause for every business pundit and economist in the country to gasp in horror.)

What this article tells me is that the people in Vancouver have found a way to keep making the minimum payments on their massive debt. 

Great, now tell me people of Vancouver, how do you plan to pay off that debt?

Why worry about that?

Let me ask you this: how much do you think it pays to be a Walmart Greeter and how many of them do you think Walmart will need?

What’s that? You don’t have to worry because you house is now worth a bazillion times more than you paid for it and you can sell it, pay off all of your debts and retire early?

Let me ask you this? Could you afford to buy your home as it stands now? 

Could you scrape up even the 5% minimum down payment needed? Could you afford to make the mortgage payments on your house, if you bought it now?

How many foreign investors do you think there are out there and do you really want to risk your financial future on the bet that they will still be there when you are ready to “cash out?”

My point is this, the banks and government think everything is fine because you are paying their bills, you are paying them. 

Why don’t you find a way to get rid of your debt and start paying yourself? Being buried in debt is not the way you were meant to live. 

Banks have made it “normal” because it serves them and their interests, not you. 

Do something about your debt before you are standing on the threshold of retirement still buried in debt and unable to pay it off or even keep making the minimum payments.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Friday, 23 August 2019

The Homestead Fund Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” (to build my "Homestead Fund") 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 
   

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .
   

That is 9.9% (of my Savings Target).

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 
   
 

That’s right things jumped up to 10.7% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 0.8% of my total Savings Target this payday.

Okay, so that may seem a bit depressing as it is less than a full percentage point, but this will be the norm moving forward.

This is because this target is larger than my previous one, yet I am clomping on ahead anyways until I fully fund The Homestead Fund (to 100%). 

I have proved to myself that when I set a goal, I can hit it, so I will hit this goal (fiscal apocalypse notwithstanding).

The big moment this week is that I have hit the Milestone Goal of 10%! That’s right, I have crossed off the first row and so, I am now working on that second row!

I will keep going, as each time I move that percentage marker forward, I am moving myself closer to finally starting that homestead!

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Plan For The Mid-Term

It is one thing to have a goal, an airy-fairy dream that you want to have. It is another to say that you’re going to take daily action towards that dream.

Yet, a key factor to success is to keep planning the near future. Always look 3 to 6 months out and map out the steps and places that you want to be at that time.

What smaller goals will you have wanted to accomplish by that point? How are you going to get there? 

What steps do you need to take to make sure that those smaller goals are met? Most importantly, will accomplishing those smaller goals move you closer to your larger goal?

Since my goals (at this point) are financial in nature, I look at the budgets for three payperiods at the same time:

1. The payperiod I am currently in
2. The next payperiod
3. The payperiod after the next one

I like to keep an eye to the future and see what troubles are coming down the pipe, so to speak.

I focus on the payperiod that I am currently in, as that is the only one that really and truly matters, as this is one reflects what I am doing with my finances right now.

I focus on the one after my current payperiod because that one is my next paycheque, and I always have an idea as to what it will look like. 

This estimation changes each workday, as my estimation on what that paycheque is going to be changes daily (daily sales affects my paycheque).

So, as more or less income is projected or expenses are projected, this will affect and impact that payperiod’s budget.

I focus on the one after that to take a first cursory look at how it may or may not shape up to be. I take into account any estimate expenses and income and adjust it accordingly.

I look at these budgets daily, including the ones yet to be, in order to help make them real to me, as in convince myself that this is going to come to pass.

It is by standing on the top of one payperiod budget and climbing up onto the top of the next one that I continually improve my financial standing.

I also do these budgets for years in advance, knowing that they will be changed before I come upon them.

I do this so that I can see, I can glimpse at a possible future of what I can have, in a year or two, if I continue to be fiscally responsible in the here and now.

So remember: Dream for the future, plan for the Mid-Term, yet work on the Now.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!