Monday 31 March 2014

It Has Been a Frustrating Week.

I have been less vigilant in controlling my spending this week. I have eaten out at fast food places; I have bought some groceries and a few other things for the truck. None of them are that large. 

The frustrating thing is that I am still in the overdraft, so I shouldn't be spending any money on anything which is not absolutely essential. The other thing is the feeling of “what the heck/what difference will it make?” has seemed to settle in. This is something that I am working to keep in check. 

The thing which may help kick me out of this frustrating doldrums is that I am still waiting for my tax refund. Tomorrow will mark a month since I filed it. I am still hopeful that it will come in soon and it will be a refund and not a bill, like last year. 

When/if it comes in I could pay a considerable amount toward one credit card. That would at least let me feel like I am getting somewhere and not just in the hole, barely paying bills, like usual. 

The other thing is that I hate winter and while the cold months are not that long this year, it seems that spring will never come. I am not one who embraces winter and tend to hibernate when it gets cold. I need to work on the whole playing out in the snow thing, if I plan to stay out here on the Canadian Prairies. 

The beautiful thing about living on the Canadian Prairies is that when the warm weather does come it stays nice for months. When it comes to the rain, it will rain intensely for a short bit or barely sprinkle. You never really have to worry about it, not like out in Vancouver where it can rain intently for days and weeks. 

I am looking forward to the warm weather so I can go for a bike ride, go camping, hiking or even maybe canoeing/kayaking without getting frostbite/hypothermia.  

Monday 24 March 2014

It Has Been Another Week of Treading Water

Well another week has come and gone.  I have spent this week like last week, work then home then trying to spend as little as possible.

Each morning I get up and check my bank balance in hopes that the tax man has been there. I wake up each morning and eagerly check my digital stocking, hoping that my tax refund has been deposited, each morning I am disappointed.

I am equally frustrated with the lack of progress on my bills. Even this paycheck (which I expect today) will not quite get me out of the overdraft. Yet my bills will be paid and I still have a place to stay.

 These things take time,  but at least if the weather was warmer I could go for a bike ride to take my mind off of things. Ah well, such is life.

Sunday 16 March 2014

I Spent $9.52 This week . . . That’s It.

It has been a slow week, and I did that on purpose. I bought a meal at McDonalds and a frozen pizza (different times). 

I spend so much on my truck last weekend that this week (and next week too) I have decided to spend nothing . . . or as close to nothing as I can. 

The reason is that I get paid this Saturday and with rent due and a few bills I can’t put off, I am not sure that I will have enough to pay all that and quite get my heinie out of overdraft . . . again.

I know that I have (or rather, hope) my tax refund coming. I never count on it, I always consider it a bonus, as anything can happen between the time that you file your return and the time it comes to you. 

Somehow it never is quite what I hope, last year my $800.00 tax refund turned into a $23.00 bill. As you can see, I am more that a bit sceptical for this year’s refund. 

In the end, I am thankful for what I have, a job and a place to stay. I know that things will get better. 

I will stay on track and pay my first credit card within a few months, who knows, maybe sooner if I actually get the tax refund that my tax software told me was due. . . (Stephen willing).

Monday 10 March 2014

I Like My Truck, but Hate My Bank Balance

     Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to sell my truck anytime soon. I know that I could trade my truck in for something smaller and more economical. Yes I would save on gas and yes it would be cheaper. 

     The truth is that when I get into those compact cars (like I have owned most of my life) I now feel a bit claustrophobic. I have gotten used to the space and size of my truck. 

     (I promise I won’t get into the whole Ford vs Chevy thing . . . yes yes Dodge, you make trucks too . . . . there is a rumour that other companies make some pseudo-trucks but that is another story.

     I have spent some time this weekend out and about. We here in Calgary had some beautiful T-shirt weather so I decided to clean and organize the back of my truck. 

     It took a bit but I made some light cargo tie-downs with some Keyrings and D-clips. Here, let me show you. 

 You will note, no steel "Bull Testicles" here

 Organized yet functional 

 Yes, the snowbrush never leaves the truck . . . it is a prairie tradition

 This is a fold-up stepstool, for sitting or yes helping those with short legs get in the truck.
 This is one of those things you keep with you just in case.

 This holds all of the handy things in one protected place.

 These cables I added make sure it does not slide/roll around the box.

 These are the Cargo anchor points I added.

 These Pop up "Bull Rings" I bought long before but they are handy proper cargo tie-downs.

     These are attached to the underside of the clamps which hold on the side rails for my Tonneau Cover (It covers the truck box but can roll up out of the way).

     This will allow me to clip Cargo in place yet off to the side. I don’t intend to use these as vital Cargo Tie-downs as if push came to shove the side-rails might come off with the cargo. These are to help stop cargo from shifting while driving or keep stuff out of the way.

    The plastic Tub is there to hold my Rope, Ratchet straps, Bunge cords, truck hitch, and other truck niceties. 

     This week also saw me implement my accounting system, and I have also updated my filing system for this year to keep all of my receipts straight. 

     While I like my hitch which I bought and installed this week, I hate the fact that doing so pushed me back into my overdraft. I don’t regret buying the hitch, as it is something that I have wanted and is practical . . . I just regret the timing of it. 

     I should have waited until I was further ahead so I could buy it and stay out of the overdraft. I will be out of the overdraft by my next paycheque so in truth no real damage was done. 

     As well if my tax refund comes in and is by some miracle what the tax software said it should be I will be right back on track and my first credit card will be paid off (with some extra help from me). 

    I will wait until I see the amount in my bank account before I will consider it mine. I am funny that way, don’t count your chickens before they hatch and all that. 

     Still, I will use this situation as motivation to stay out of my overdraft in the future. 

Wednesday 5 March 2014

OOOh Gotta Love Pie Charts

Now I can see my financial situation in graphs, charts and pictures . . . mmm charts. I bought a pseudo accounting software. While this is not full blown accounting software it is close. 

The nice thing is that I can download my statement in a special format and dump it into this software and it figures out what is what. 

I can then go through and change what item actually goes into what category (ie: Groceries or gas purchase). All in all it does a good job. 

I got the statements and started this from the January 1st of this year. This is so this will track the whole of this project of mine.

I did this so I can get a more accurate look at what is going, where my money is actually going and what my financial picture actually is. It sums it up in my “Financial Net Worth.” 

Right now I am worth more alive than dead because all I will leave is a pile of bills . . . Can I bequeath my bills to the government? 

Right now all of my net worth and debts chart is a sea of red. (not pretty). 

The idea is to see how things are and slowly see how they improve. The interesting thing is that about half of my money has gone towards my truck (ie: Payment, gas, insurance, parts etc).

Now that I will be getting my trailer hitch installed this Friday, and I spend so much on it. I am tempted to rent something to tow, just to tow something. 

But seriously, I am looking at using some of my tax refund (Stephen willing) to buy a used trailer. That is so I can actually, you know, enjoy my truck this warm season.

Monday 3 March 2014

I had a Setback, but a Cool One

Okay, there’s no nice way to say this so I will just come out and say it . . . I bought a trailer hitch. I know what you’re saying and I did rally against such purchases but you have to understand  . . . . 

1) It’s practical.
2)     It's Cool.
3) It will raise the resale value of my truck.
4) I got a good deal on it.

Alright so it will put me back a bit and since I bout it online I now have to figure out how to install it. Installing the hitch is not the problem as it is a bolt on hitch.  

In truth it is a more solid and substantial hitch than I needed (Class 4 vs a Class 3) but the extra cost wasn’t that much more so I decided why not get the better one. 

Installing the Electronic Brake Unit (to run the electronic brakes on whatever trailer I haul) is also something that I can figure out, yet I am shying away from. 

What really has me concerned is running the wire from the Electronic Brake Unit to the back where the trailer plug is. That is what has me concerned. 

So unless a mechanic decides to give me a hand, I will probably pay a Trailer hitch place a hundred or so bucks to install this for me. The truth is that I don’t want to muck this up.