Monday, 5 December 2022

Make That Change Day!

Today is the day that you make the change in yourself or your life that you have wanted/needed to make for some time but have been putting it off.

This is the day back in 2013 that I started this journey towards Total Debt Freedom. In honour of that, I encourage others to make the change that they have wanted to make in their life but have been putting off.

It was in the evening and I had just arrived home from work. I pulled into the parking spot in the townhouse that I was renting and Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car was playing on the radio.

That song was the spark that I needed to start this blog and begin this journey to Total Debt Freedom. 

In essence, what I got from the song was that there was no good time for change, nor do you have to know how you’re going to make that change, just do it, just decide to make the change.

You do not need to know every detail of the plan of how to make the change that you want to make, just do it, make that change and figure out how to make that change along the way. 

Neither is there a good or convenient time for a change, there never is, it will always be a crappy time for a change, so just do it, make that change and make it now!

When I started this change, my goal was to become ‘Credit Card Debt Free’. I couldn’t imagine being Totally Debt Free; that was too lofty a goal for me to imagine at the time.

My original plan was to rent a room or buy a camper for the back of my truck, do that for two years and by the end of that two years I would be debt free and have a down payment for a house . . . I’m not kidding . . . I was that delusional.

The key thing that I learned along the way is that you will learn and grow along the way. Always adapt and change your plan to suit your new knowledge or situation. 

Always change what you are doing in order to better achieve your goals. Never keep doing something out of pride. 

Don’t beat yourself up too much over your mistakes either. You will make a lot of mistakes (I did, and do) but learn from them and use them as an opportunity to grow (I did, and still do).

So, go out there and make that change that you have wanted to make for some time but have been putting off . . . you can do it!

Friday, 2 December 2022

How I can Handle a Prairie Winter

It was quite cold last night and I didn’t even bother to turn my furnace on; I haven’t done so all week.

Yeah, that’s what dish soap looks like when it freezes.

My secret to handling winter on the prairies is twofold. One is doing some ‘voluntary watchman’ duties at work. (they know and don’t care).

What I mean is that I get up when I usually do, get out of bed, dress quickly in the clothes that I have laid out the night before (complaining as I do).

I then grab my lunch and head to work. There I do what I need to do in the hours before work, but I never turn the heat up until it is time to start work. 

Despite the thermostat at work being set at a lower setting overnight, it is a darn-sight warmer than my trailer (it was around -18C or so when I got up this morning).

I work my usual work and so on, on Monday through Thursday I then stay late and eat my dinner and putter around until it is time to head home and go to bed.

Friday is my early day, I finish work at one in the afternoon so I check my mail and do my weekly shopping on Friday afternoons.

Anyways, after work on Monday through Fridays I head home, pack my lunch, lay out my clothes for the next day, (in reverse order). 

This is so I can just grab the underwear that is on top, put that on then, and then grab the socks that is under it, and so on with the shirt and pants.  

I crawl into bed and complain about the cold (questioning my life’s choices as I do) and curl up in a ball (still wearing my toque of course).

The key is to keep your feet and head warm. The toque keeps your head warm. 

To keep the feet warm I rub them together with stroking the top of one foot with the bottom of the other. You start from the ankle and stroke down to the toes. Then switch feet and stroke the other. 

You need to do this because there is not a lot of meat on your feet so there is not a lot of blood flowing around them to keep them warm. Eventually your feet like the rest of you is warm in bed.

Warm socks don’t really help as all each foot has to get warm is just itself. If your feet are not covered they can bundle up together and warm up. 

The fewer clothes that you wear in bed the warmer you will be; I learned that early on. Your body will heat up the pocket in the blankets around you and that will keep you warm.

The thick mattress was a big help, as it stops the cold from coming up from underneath, which did happen in the thin foam mattress that I came with Wanda.

I have four or five quilts on the bed at this time of year and they keep me warm (just not when I get into bed).

With water I keep two two-litre bottles with me and keep them tucked into the bed. On the really cold nights like it has been this week, I will keep them closer to me, just like my phone, wallet, laptop and other electronics.

The real trick is to know that the really cold weather does not last all that long and this too will pass. 

So, I just tough it out and before long it is not all that cold again.

Which means that I can use my furnace again in the evenings and eventually have to turn my fridge on again (what’s the point turning it on when everything is frozen in it anyways).

I do what I have to do in order to get buy and get through this. I will do this during this last winter in Wanda. I will make it through, because I have a goal and a dream to motivate me.

Thursday, 1 December 2022

It Was -15C In My House When I Got Out Of Bed

And that’s okay . . . but that’s not okay. 

You see, I know how to live in my RV, even in winter. I’ve gotten used to it, I don’t want to be used to it anymore. 

After nine years I know how to handle things, what to do; what I can get away with, and what I can’t. I know how and when to keep water and “liquids” liquid.

This whole journey was about getting rid of debt, building up a bit of a nest-egg, so as to “correct” a few of my many financial mistakes that I have made in my life (and take ownership of).

It was never supposed to be a way of life for the rest of my life. I suppose that’s part of why I don’t want to renovate or modify Wanda so as to be comfy year-round: I might want to stay in Wanda.

The main reason I don’t renovate Wanda is that I don’t want to spend the money on something that is by definition temporary. 

Wanda is and was always supposed to be a temporary home, not a permanent home. Wanda has become my permanent home, of a sort, and I don’t like that.

In the spring, summer and fall, life in Wanda is fine and I get along quite well. It is in the depths of winter that things get challenging and test my resolve.

I endure what I have to endure because of that dream of having a place of my own, of home ownership without a mountain of debt, and yes that nest egg. 

Again, I can stomach a mortgage as long as I have a nest egg and my mortgage is not too crazy high. 

I like having cash left over at the end of the month. I like steadily building my savings and investments. I want to keep these things going even after getting a home of my own.

I will continue to do what I have to do as I move forward towards having a home of my own, even if it is a Dreaded Condo.

Hmm . . . dreaded condo or waking up to -15C inside my house . . . thinking . . . thinking . . . .thinking.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

One Last Hurrah

As I write this, it is November 30, 2022 but when I began this blog, and therefore my journey to better my financial life (and therefore my life) it was December 5, 2013. 

That means that in just over a year it will have been ten years since this blog and that journey started. 

Other than the half a year that I lived with Kim, and the initial few months renting a room, I have lived in Wanda that whole time. 

I have been parking on streets, or in parking lots if I am lucky, always having people walking right by my home. 

To them, it is just another vehicle parked on the street, to me it is a home, my home, yet not. It still bugs me to see someone walk past my window less than a foot away.

I want a home, a place to belong and that is either building my own RV to be as self-sufficient as possible (which I term “The Armageddon Vehicle”) or I get my own place, even if it is just a dreaded condo.

I want to do that, get a place that is mine, even if it is just a dreaded condo which will be a stepping stone to me getting the land and cabin that I truly want. 

I want to live in a place of my own (one that doesn’t have wheels under it) before my ten year anniversary of this journey comes up next year.

This past year or so, I have been building up my “Homestead Supplies” and buying a few investments, so I have run up or been carrying a balance on my credit cards. 

It is not anything that huge, and I have been working on getting them down paid off again, but funding investments and building up the Homestead Supplies is a good cause.

I hate debt, however, (but I could stomach a mortgage) and so I want them gone and paid off and I will do that by this coming March. 

That is, if I resist the urge to buy another investment or another whatsit for my Homestead Supplies.

I hate winter and I despise living in Wanda in winter, so I have run the numbers on renting an apartment or some sort of basement suite. 

Renting a room is out of the question as my Homestead Supplies already take up a 5 x 10 storage space. If I rent anyplace, I would want those supplies with me.

Besides, I ran the numbers and renting a room and renting my storage space would be the same as renting an apartment or basement suite. 

So, all this means that I have to endure yet another winter in Wanda in order to get rid of this last debt and build up enough of a cash savings to get that dreaded condo . . . or whatever I can manage to get. 

So, I have begun to blog again, in order to document my journey, the last of it to finally have a home of some sort . . . which was the point of this whole journey in the first place. 

Wish me luck.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Stockpiling Again.

I am stockpiling again, for the future that may come . . . don’t worry, no it is not weapons and ammo, it is food. I am stockpiling canned and dry goods once more.

It is more of a peace of mind than anything else. Who knows what can happen and I may try to rotate the stock as it were, and start to eat down on that cache of food.

For now it is just a bit of insurance and security in case this inflation does turn hyper. 

All in all, other than that it was an ordinary week. One that saw me getting back into the grove of things.

I will say that I am seeing more and more people out there living in RVs and vans. That means both in Western Home and here in my Eastern Home (where I work).

One can only hope that it is out of a positive reason such as a vacation or choosing to live cheaply rather than no other options. 

Once again, we shall see what the future holds.

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

Monday, 5 July 2021

A Settling In Staycation

So I had a four day weekend last week! I had both Canada Day (Thursday) and the Friday as well!  It all started well with me getting my second vaccination shot on Wednesday after work.

That knocked me on my butt for Thursday and I had to rest to recover Friday. So, that left Saturday to get to work to settle in to Wanda and do a bit of cleaning. 

The weekend itself was really, really hot, so I couldn’t even think of closing up the house to go to sleep until after 10pm each night. 

Again, as with all things I found a way to adapt and alter what I do in order to meet and beat any challenge, heat included.  

When I got around to cleaning the trailer and finding a home for what I decided to keep with me in Wanda, it didn’t take all that long, as Kim and I had done a good job cleaning not that long ago. 

I didn’t have all that much stuff with me, as I was able to get a good deal on a storage locker (5 foot x 5 foot) that I have put the stuff that I want to have but don’t  want to carry with me all the time. 

It is across the city from where I work, but it was a good deal and the place looked secure and stable.

The storage locker is an extra cost, but it is a wise one, as the extra weight is not good for the truck or trailer.

Anyways as a result of this cleaning this is what Wanda looked like now.

Yes that is a new duvet cover.

Things are looking up and I am settling back into my routine of living in Wanda . . . just with less stuff in and around me. 

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

Monday, 28 June 2021

Back In The Saddle Again

So, I am once again single and living in Wanda as I work towards my goal of financial independence and home ownership. 

Things with Kim didn’t work out and so this past Sunday (yesterday at the time of publication) we ended things and I moved out of her place.

That is all that I will say about that as I don’t gossip, nor do I hate or begrudge her anything, it simply didn’t work out. 

So, here I find myself looking around my home on wheels and taking stock of what I have and what I need, both in the literal and philosophical sense.

I don’t have specific savings targets or other exact goals, just a general sense to trudge onwards and build up my savings to the point that I can buy something (house and/or land) and be okay on it.

I still feel a bit lost with all that has happened, but I just know that I have to build my savings and work towards my goals of home ownership and financial independence.

We shall see how things go and what happens. 

For now I will be doing this blog once a week until things get more exciting in my life.