Friday 29 April 2016

Persist and Prosper

We all get down, we all get frustrated. We all have days that it seems like the world and the universe is against us. We sometimes can feel like we are the ant on the business end of the sunbeam of a magnifying glass. I know that I have.

The thing to remember is that there will always be obstacles in your way, things that you need to deal with. The thing to remember is that these current trials and tribulations shall pass. 

If you need a bit of encouragement, I find that it is helpful to pause and reflect on your past and how far that you have come, how much that you have grown as a person. 

It is important not to stagnate, not to stay still in your growth and progress both as a person and towards the goals that you have set for yourself and the dreams you hold dear.

It comes down to this, if you stagnate, you will wither, if you persist, you will prosper. I send this message out not only to myself but to those out there who need to hear it. 

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

Thursday 28 April 2016

My Functional Extravagance

Okay, part of the reason that I am in a cash crunch is that I bought a productivity tool, that some might call an extravagance. I bought a “Keyboard Case” for my iPad.

I know what you’re thinking that this is silly and redundant, as the iPad has that keyboard on the screen that you can use. Besides, most of the time you’re not supposed to use it with a keyboard, right?

Well, I for one do a lot of things that need a keyboard. That and I have always hated that onscreen keyboard; I can use them, but I hate them. I also have found that since I have bought it, I use my iPad all the time, in fact much more than either my phone or laptop.

So it stands to reason that since I use it so much that I expand what I can do with it. I have found that with this new keyboard case (that arrived yesterday) my iPad is starting to function more like a mini laptop. 

I like the fact that the keyboard part of the case is removable and you can in fact use it in standard “Landscape” direction or in “Portrait” direction. You can even separate the iPad from the keyboard and use it on its own . . . as a typical “naked” iPad.

The case itself is metal and certainly robust but it does add some bulk to the iPad. 

The iPad is certainly well-protected in there and you can still remove it from the case altogether quite easily.

The flip cover that I was using for the iPad I found ended up getting smutz on the screen. Since you folded it down under then behind the iPad, the cover was sitting right on the table.  So when you closed the screen that cover pressed a bit of grime on the screen. Also, occasionally the laptop would fall back if you pressed a bit too hard onto the screen.

I intend to use this new keyboard more and more and in so doing, extend my resources and yes the functionality of my iPad. It is my hope that I will be able to hold off buying a new laptop, even if this current one dies in the near future.

For no reason whatsoever, here is your sunset pic.

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

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Ready For Action!

Now that the sub-zero temperatures are behind us (at least for now), the time has come for me to get out there and get more active! This means more bike-riding and more walking in general. 

I have taken to walking to the store more, meaning if I have some shopping to do, I will park in one central location and just walk further than before. In times gone by I would just drive from one parking lot to the other. 

I also want to get out there with the bike more, this is why a bike rack for the back of Wanda would be good.  Perhaps even if I could rig something up across the front of Wanda, as in on her hitch between the propane tanks and Wanda’s body. For now the bike upside-down with the tires removed in the back seat of Trea is okay. 

What would really be nice is a little corner of the world; some place that I could park and disconnect, a place to leave Wanda, a place to call home. All of my options are either too risky (as in just finding a forlorn piece of crown land and make camp) or are too expensive (campgrounds, trailer parks, etc).

I will keep things going and work towards my new goal of Total Debt Freedom, nineteen months from now. I can do this, I must do this, for myself and to prove that it can be done. After that, after I am totally debt free, then I can work towards finally finding that small corner of the world to call my own, without debt.

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

Tuesday 26 April 2016

My Budgetary Metrics Explained

Okay, so apparently my last entry was a bit confusing when talking about my budget, so today I will go over how I measure my financial health.

First of all, I expect to pay all of my bills within that exact paycheque. That means that my budget must balance, or be in a surplus situation. This is the cornerstone of my financial health, as in only spending less than what I make. 

Second of all, I expect that my bank balance stays at or above $1000.00 at all times. This means that at no point during my payday cycle (The length of time from one payday to the next) is my bank balance allowed to drop below $1000.00.

I also expect that my credit cards are paid off at each payday and that any bills are paid right away. The predetermined savings plan is untouchable and unalterable, that money goes into the Long Term Savings Account like clockwork.

So this has led me to having to dip into my contingency fund and run a deficit for this payday and the next one. Why? Simple, three large bills in quick succession: one that I gave to myself and two that came to me. 

The first bill was Wanda’s tires that needed to be replaced. The second was my decision to put an extra $500.00 into the Long Term Savings Account. Why? Well this way, come the end of December, I will have put in $1500.00 into that account each month. The last bill is Wanda’s insurance (due early next month). 

So, all told I will be down to just over half-way into my Personal Overdraft once all this is said and done. At least my bills are paid and my savings plan is on track. So while it feels bad, and it should, my bills are paid, my savings is continuing and my credit cards are still at a zero balance.  All in all, I am doing okay, I could be doing better. 

One thing to remember is that most of my spare money goes straight into that Long Term Savings, where I don’t touch it. It is for my future, that’s why. I can manage and deal with minor financial dust-ups, as long as that savings plan stays on track.

I have come to realize that unless I: 1) gain a large windfall, 2) gain a cash-flow-positive woman, or 3) just stick it out and pay off Wanda now, that I will be paying for Wanda for a very long time. So while a house or cabin now would be nice, it is not wise, cash-flow wise.

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

Monday 25 April 2016

Recovery is Possible!

Okay, it is true that for this current pay-period and the next one that I will be running a deficit budget. Thankfully, after that I will be on the road to recovery.  So no, I will not be living in deficit financing for years on end.

I only have four paydays (June and July) to save up for my vacation which I have decided (unless I can’t get that particular time off of work) will be the last week of July and the first week of August.

The last payday in May will be focussed on getting my hinny out of my own overdraft. This is a pre-condition for me to start building up my mid-term savings again. My savings plan for my Long Term savings account is caught up and continuing on schedule. So, conserving and saving as much as I can, shall continue to be the norm for the next while. 

It is interesting to see how far that I have come in a relatively short period of time. I have gone from massive credit card debt to building up savings in a few years. Even better is that in a few more, I will be totally debt free, and that is appealing. I may splurge on another pair of long johns this year yet still tough it out. 

I have all but decided against buying a house at this time, so there is no point to get the mortgage pre-approval. While I am single and in my current financial situation, my cash flow does not let me comfortably get a house. 

I may, however, get that ultra-low rate credit card that I have been eyeing, just in case I need to carry a balance someday. 

I made more lunches this weekend and that pretty much was the high point of my weekend. It is not a nifty or entertaining way to spend my days, but it will have to do. Every penny that I save is a penny that goes towards buying my freedom.

Friday 22 April 2016

My Own Private Deficit

It is payday and as usual I took a look at my budget for this payday and the next one. The next two paydays will be, bad, as in put me in the red . . . sorta.

I will be “spending” more than I will be taking in during these next two paydays, but things will get better after that. This payday I was hit by not only the cost of Wanda’s tires, but de-winterizing and topping up my Long Term savings account as well. 

You see, with the possibility of me buying a place dwindling ever more, I have decided to put the $500.00 that I should have put in for January.  As it was, I only put in $1000.00 in there for January and not the usual $1500.00. 

This way come January of next year I will have an even $18K in there, and the January after that, I will have enough to pay off Wanda at the same time that the truck is naturally paid off. 

I shy away from buying a house each time I look at the cash flow crunch that buying a place at this point would put me in. 

I would be in the same stressed out, all income allocated for debts and obligations position I was when I started this Urban Nomad Journey.  

Even worse is that I would have no furniture or other financial resources to deal with any eventualities. I am not going back there again, if I can help it.

The hurt that next payday hits me with is paying for Wanda’s insurance.  After that I can pull my hinny above zero ($1K) in my Main Account and build up my cleaned out Mid-Term Savings. 

I will be okay, though as my credit cards are still at a zero balance and I am well on track on my savings plan. My trip to the coast may be delayed a bit (say into August) as I still need to save up for it.

I will save up for that trip and indeed take it, as I need the break and to visit people. I need my financial freedom more though, so that is where most of my money goes these days. 

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

Thursday 21 April 2016

Will Try For A Southern Home

The nice thing about the warmer weather is not running the furnace. This saves me two ways, both with regards to utilities. One is on propane, my last bottle lasted just over a month. When compared to the dead of a cold snap in winter, that bottle can last a week. 

The other way that I saved by not running the furnace is in regards to electricity. I run the generator much less these days, perhaps once or twice a week. When you compare that to winter where I need to run the generator once every two days . . . that is huge. 

I have heard of a parking lot in the south that may be RV friendly, we shall see how that goes. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will end up parking not far from work, but it is worth checking out regardless.

I do miss not having the space and this weekend I need to make another batch of lunches for work, so I really do need the space. One way or another, I will be fine and I will survive. 

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

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Shorts Days Are Here Again!

I enjoyed lounging around in my shorts again last evening, as I had yet another BBQ (because I could). It was a nice evening that I made sure to pause and enjoy. I am just about to put my Thermal Undies away (yet still within reach) for the warm season. 

I will be living in shorts for the foreseeable future (with the exception of work). After all, I do need to look somewhat professional and presentable. Outside of work, however, it is time to blind the world as I try to get some colour into my pasty legs.

The meaning of today’s entry is to make sure to pause and enjoy the nice things that are around you. If the weather is nice, have a BBQ, go for a walk, or just sit down and enjoy it. 

I have my stresses and financial matters to deal with, ones which I won’t list here, but you get the picture. There are always worries and troubles, and true enough, you do need to deal with them. 

Yet make sure to schedule some down time for you. I know that I for sure needed it. I have been frustrated and down lately, and these last few days are certainly what I needed to get my head on straight. 

Now I am ready to continue the struggle to get myself completely and totally debt free.

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

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Spring Cleaning and BBQ’s!

Two things I did this weekend (besides laundry and De-winterizing was to do my annual spring cleaning and have a BBQ.  In fact it was so nice, I decided to BBQ here, where I park, I had a BBQ yesterday.

On the weekend though, was my spring cleaning. What this means, besides a good cleaning is to pull everything out of every cupboard, nook and cranny and examine what it is, and why I still have it.

I recommend doing this with one area at a time, so as to not overwhelm yourself. This also gives you a chance to toss out what you don’t need and organize what you have. 

For me, it also reminds me of what I already have. I found myself saying “Oh, yeah, I still have that!” Not to mention, “Gee, that would have come in handy last winter.”

The warm weather is nice and once again I am lounging around in shorts as a light breeze drifts through Wanda. On days like this, living in my Trailer is okay, it is winter which is miserable.

I will continue saving and working towards the future, and yesterday, just for fun and curiosity I ran a budget for after everything is paid off. The results were shocking, as in I could easily double what I am putting into savings per month . . . double.

The other budget, the one looking at what things would look like if I bought a place is very dismal, as in, I would be in a similar situation that I was in when I started this journey, but I would be tied to that house or acreage; (and still have no furniture.) 

One is a path to love and a family, and the other is to solitude and freedom. We shall see what happens, but all I can do is keep working my plan and enjoy the lovely weather that has come at last.

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

Monday 18 April 2016

Wanda is De-Winterized!

Okay, in my last blog, I said that I could take or leave running water, and I can. I have been without it for so long, that I can just deal with it if I don’t have running water. 

With the weather forecast looking so great, I decided that the time had come to de-winterize anyways. So, on a whim I bought everything that I needed to de-winterize and booked a campsite which is year round, meaning that they had full hookups. 

I said before, that the process of winterizing is not that difficult, it is crucial, so I say leave it to the experts. In the fall, RV dealerships will typically have a winterizing special. 

I say just pay them the cash to make sure that it is done right. In so doing, you will be assured that your pipes and water-pump won’t freeze and crack.  

De-winterizing, however, is not all that difficult, so I will show you what I did and essentially what to do. 

First of all we need to know what was done during the Winterizing process. First of all, all of the water was drained from: the water lines, the fresh water tank, and the hot water tank. 

Throughout the water lines a special type of anti-freeze (water pipe friendly) is run to make sure that the water lines and especially the water pump doesn’t freeze up and crack, yet is not toxic to us. As well the hot water tank is bypassed and a special plug is removed.

So, the first thing I do is to look at the back of the hot water tank. Mine is behind this cover. 

You see the hole in the bottom, that is where that special plug goes. 

There is a metal finger which sticks into the hot water tank and it is designed to corrode, so that the rest of the hot water tank doesn’t. This should be replaced at least once every two years. 

You can see that the one on the left is corroded and the one on the right is new. The white band around the threads of the new metal “finger” or anode is Lithium tape. It is used to seal up the threads so that water doesn’t leak out from around those threads. 

The socket that I used was a 1 1/16” socket, this way I could secure that anode tightly into its home. Trust me, trying to use a spanner is next to impossible and turning this with a crescent wrench turning sideways is not fun . . . buy the socket.

Next you connect up the water and of course the sewer connection.

An interesting side-note, I recommend getting this clear section of straight pipe. It is essentially a clear extender, and what this allows me to do is to see clearly when the water stops draining. This way I am not guessing, if the tanks are fully drained or not. 

Back to de-winterizing, next we run the water from each tap, at every sink, both hot and cold (one at a time). At first the water will look pink, like this.

After a bit the water will run clear, like this.

After you have done this we need to clear out the water pump. To do this, we need to put water in the fresh water tank. Before you can do this you need to put the plug back in. Attached to the bottom of the fresh water tank is the drain hose. This will let you drain that tank completely. 

During the Winterizing process, they will put two items in behind the water tank, one is the anode (metal finger) and the other is the cap. With more lithium tape, put that cap back in and fill the tank. Otherwise any water you put in the top of the tank will run straight out the bottom of the tank. 

Once this is done, turn the tap that is feeding your “city water connection” off and go inside. This will essentially disconnect your city water connection. This will then force the system to pull water from the fresh water tank when you turn on a tap (as long as your water pump is turned on). So, turn your water pump on and then run a tap until it too is running clean and clear again. 

Finally we need to get that hot water tank up and running again. As it is now, its anode is installed but the tank is empty. You need to find the other side of the hot water tank. For me, Wanda’s hot water tank is hidden behind this unassuming panel.

In my case there are four screws that I need to undo to remove this panel. 

What we will find back there is this arrangement of pipes.

The handle on each of those valves points in the direction of its valve, so if it is pointing down the pipe, it the valve is open, if it is pointing away from the pipe, the valve is closed.  

So in this configuration, the cold water valve going into the hot water tank is closed. The same is true for the hot water valve leading out of the hot water tank. Alternately, the bypass valve is open. 

So what is happening here is that the hot water tank has been bypassed and the cold and hot water lines are now one. What possible use is this? Well, apart from giving you a cold shower, no matter how long you leave the hot water tank on (Seriously not recommended to turn it on at this point) it will let that antifreeze run through the hot water lines as well. 

So what we do is open the hot and cold valves and close the bypass valve. This is what it should look like. 

Now the hot water tank will fill and in a few minutes you can turn it on and finally have that hot shower, you’ve been wanting to have (in your own shower) for months! 

I still don’t have a proper place to fill my water tank, yet but at least I can fill it and I am able to have a shower, wash my hands and simply get water from my taps. I will figure out the water situation yet, but for now, Wanda is fully operational again. 

It is weekends like this last one, which makes me like this lifestyle, the warm breeze, the spring cleaning, putting my warm blankets and clothes away. I know that I could stick it out, but I will see what I can see in the real estate market come August, but freedom and cheap living does look nice.

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

Friday 15 April 2016

Pondering Possibilities

Near constantly on my mind recently is the dilemma that I face, or rather will face come August: to buy a place or not to buy a place. The true answer to that will not be known until August, as I will keep to my word to at least look in August.  After all, there may be so great a deal that I would be a fool not to take it.

I do find myself checking the real estate website and app to see what is out there, if my favourite properties are still there and what new ones have popped up. Naturally I see what price people are asking for. 

After all of this pondering and mulling, while I have not come up with an answer, I have at least set out some guidelines for myself as I continue this foray into the possibility of home ownership:

1) I Refuse To Be House Poor: I have seen over and over again people just barely hanging on as they live in houses that they can only just scarcely afford. I have been in the situation where all of my money is dedicated to bills and debts. It is a land of non-stop stress that I don’t want to go back to. Even worse is that in this state, you are screwed if: interest rates go up, the house needs repairs or your income drops.

2) I Refuse To Live In Someone Else’s Shoebox:  I know that condos are the obvious answer for me, but I just can’t stand living in an apartment again. What’s worse is that you have all of the stresses of home ownership yet still have a landlord (of sorts) telling you what you can and can’t do with your own home . . . no thanks. If I buy, I want a place either with a workshop (or two) or space to build one (or five).

3) I Refuse to Live More Than an Hour From Work: Again, driving an hour each way to and from work is something that I have done more than once in my life. It is most assuredly not something that I am looking forward to doing again. Sure you have more time to think on the drive, but living that far out it would kill me on fuel. More than likely I would have to buy a small car to commute, unless I needed to take the truck into work that day. I would do this again if I had a family to go back to on said place out in the country, but this touches on item 4. 

4) I Don’t Want To Be In Debt, Yet Still Live Alone: I don’t see the point of living that far out, yet still having nobody (except maybe a dog and a cat) to go home to. If there was a family there, someone, some people worth that sacrifice, sure. Why do this, why sacrifice just to be alone, hoping that somebody may come along? I would have to wonder if now really is the right time to do this, considering the rewards of not doing this right now.

I will admit that this dilemma is in fact a conflicting of ideals and values. Do I want freedom over a place to settle down? I want both, but if pressed, I would say that at this point in my life, freedom is winning. If my romantic/family situation changed, and there were people other than me in my life to consider, then buying a place would make more sense.  Most assuredly the right woman would take care of a number of the issues listed above. 

As it stands, if I stick it out until January, 2018, exactly 21 months from now, and I will be completely and totally debt free, with not only a tidy sum in my bank account but the ability to live cheaply. That means that I could finally go where I wanted and do what I wanted. That, my friends is freedom.

Yet it is also loneliness and solitude, two things that I have gotten used to, yet still dislike. I am alone, yet I don’t want to be alone. Yet, during this journey of debt elimination that I am on, it seems a necessity, at least for me, as I have no spare cash to do any sort of entertaining or dating. 

I will still see what happens and continue doing what I have said: Dream for the future, Plan for the Mid-Term, yet work on the Now. I will continue to conserve cash save up my targeted Down Payment and get ready to start looking for a place in August. I will hold true to the ideals that I have set out above (number 4 being negotiable). 

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

Thursday 14 April 2016

Slowly Emerging From My Cocoon

I am a type who does tend to hibernate during winter (I may have mentioned once or twice before that I hate the cold. *spit*)

During the cold months I tend to: dress, lounge and sleep in more than a few layers of clothes. The only time that I am not wearing clothes is when I am changing from one set to another. 

I do this not out of some ultra-modesty, but because I don’t like to have various parts of my body freeze and fall off. All kidding aside, it is a necessity during the colder months, that’s just life. 

So as things get warmer I tend to still wear layers, even when I don’t really have to, but because I am used to them. 

I always marvel at how adaptive the human body is when it comes to temperatures. Our bodies will regulate our temperatures, to a certain degree.

Why else could humans live up in the arctic and still be fine, and others live in the sweltering desert without sweating buckets all the time? 

As for me, I have found myself wearing my thermal undies when it is still 20C in my house. What this told me was that I was too used to wearing extra clothes, and so I had to start to wear less. 

I did this to see if my own body would heat itself up to keep warm, and it did. Sure I was cold for a bit, but then I got used to things just fine. I found that going for a walk was a good way to get the blood pumping and warm myself up.

I have even been sleeping while not wearing my thermal undies this week and that was an experience,. To feel sheets against me for the first time in months was a well-missed delight. 

All in all, things are getting better for me from here on out. Soon enough I will be living in: shorts, loose shirts and my sandals. For now, I am just trying to emerge from my winter hibernation. 

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

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Warm Weather, No Running Water, No Problem

The interesting irony of this time of year is that, barring a sudden cold snap, that I could de-winterize Wanda. 

In so doing finally be able to have a shower in my own shower and flush my toilet like a normal person (as in not pouring water down it). I can also have a real shower by now pouring warm water over me . . . from the same juice jug.

The weather is warm enough that I don’t need to worry about my water pump freezing up and cracking. I know that I could find a campsite with full hookups and do what I need to do to de-winterize. 

The trouble is, is that none of the few RV Dump stations in town have their water turned on (as far as I know) “because it is still winter” and they are still “afraid of their pipes freezing”. 

So, it looks like I will wait until my trip to Waterton Lakes to de-winterize, as there is no point to do so before then. That is, unless I can find a place to get water before then.

The odd thing, is that I have been without running water in my home for the last seven months. As it stands I will most likely be without it for a total of eight months. Even when I do get running water, I will only have it for four months and then I go back to no running water. 

This means that for most of the year I have anti-freeze running through my pipes, and for a good chunk of winter, I can’t even use my sinks or toilet, let alone my taps or shower. 

The strange thing is that I am used to it, I have just accepted it, it is “normal;” to me running water has become a luxury that I can take or leave. 

Each time I see one of those memes with a picture of remote cabin that asks “would you stay here for a million dollars?” I just shrug, laugh and say “where do I sign up?” 

This does not mean that I see myself as the ultimate bushman or some ultra-macho backwoods expert. Don’t get me wrong, there are a thousand things I don’t know about living in a cabin in the woods, I just know that I could do it, if I wanted to.

So for now, I will continue as I am, pumping water from my jug and doing what I have been doing. I’m thankful that I can wash my dishes in my sink and use my own toilet. 

Again, I try to see the little successes in life and where things are good. After all, as of this next payday, I will be over half way to my down payment savings goal.

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

Tuesday 12 April 2016

My Weekend in an Industrial Park

Let’s face it, as it stands now I work and live in the same neighbourhood . . . an industrial park. This is not as bad as it seems as there are no large black-smoke-spewing smokestacks nor are there loud 24/7 industrial operations. That and my commute is still 1 km door to door.

There is a duck pond just down the block and I am parked next to a nice large grass covered hill . . . okay it’s a dump, but a de-commissioned one, or at least one that is all sealed up (the lack of sea-gulls tells me that). I was treated to the sound of songbirds as I awoke this morning.

Since I had to get Wanda’s tires replaced I didn’t go anywhere this past weekend, I just stayed in my spot next to work all weekend. This means that I wasn’t able to put my slide-out out, and I actually had to plan and think hard before going to the grocery store, as it wasn’t just outside my front door. 

I did enjoy the silence and relative stillness of this neighbourhood over the weekend. Sure, a few dedicated people came in to work on Saturday and even fewer were around on Sunday. Apart from one yahoo who roared his supped-up old truck screaming his engine right past me, it all was fine.

I even went for a bike ride around the neighbourhood. This was partly because I should go for a bike ride, but also to see if there was a place where I could park and put my slide-out out. 

I found one serious possibility, but it was right across from a tank farm (as in a site with lots of gigantic storage tanks for oil). One can only guess how freaked out those folks would be to see me parked right across from them, so I won’t chance it.

There was a second possibility as it in on a quiet corner and there is that spot just at the corner that may be wide enough for me to park and put the slide-out out, who knows. Certainly too dangerous to park in winter, as I would risk someone sliding into me, but in summer it may be worth a chance, maybe.  

On a positive point, I did enjoy a nice sit in the sun on both days of the weekend. I will most likely break out the BBQ for a cookout on a patch of wild grass right beside where I park this weekend, if not before.

The point of this blog entry, is that I am making the best of it, I am continuing to look for the positive points of what is happening to me. I am endeavouring to look at the bright side of life and keep my own attitude positive. 

I will keep looking and thinking of a nicer place to park over the weekends, but for now, this patch of asphalt, grass and sidewalk is home.

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

Monday 11 April 2016

Wanda’s New Shoes

One of Wanda’s tires has had a slow leek for the past month or so and true to my style, I have been ignoring it. I would just keep pumping air into it, but not go and get it fixed. At first it would take a week to deflate but as of Friday morning it was clear that it was now deflating in a day. I now knew that I had to deal with it; I had no choice. 

I have had other flats on Wanda before, and this is the third tire to get a puncture. Even worse is the fact that Wanda’s tires are worn down and need replacing anyways. The aggravating this is that they are newer (only two years old) with less miles on them than the tires on my truck!

This is just another aspect and symptom of how you could sum up the entire RV industry: “How cheaply can you make a box yet make it look good.” Don’t get me wrong, I like Wanda and she is my home and takes care of me, but there are aspects here and there that indicate she was made with a capitalistic mentality and not a craftsman mentality.

The tires that new trailers come with are the cheapest ones they can get their hands on. So when you buy a new trailer, be prepared to replace them, and soon. I recommend replacing with decent tires them soon after you buy your RV. 

I have known this and was putting off dealing with the tire, for this reason. The cost of replacing the tires was not an expense that I wanted to face. I thought about just getting the flat fixed, but one hard look at the tires told me that this was not wise; they were worn and just needed to be replaced. 

I went to a tire place that has opened up in the neighbourhood near where I live and work. I went there before and I was pleased with their service. I also wanted to support a local business, so I went there after work. 

They didn’t have the tires that day but could get them for the following morning. So, back I went Saturday morning to get Wanda, her new shoes. I made sure to get decent tires, yet not insanely expensive. Here they are, Wanda’s new shoes. 

They gave me a great deal, and did the work promptly and properly. I put the charge on Card #1 so I could get a few reward points. In truth I needed the time so I could mull over what to do with this charge. 

One option was to just leave it on the charge and chip away at it over the next few months. Another option was to pause my savings to the contingency fund until this was paid. 

Both of these options left my contingency fund untouched. Sure this was my vacation fund but this was, after all, my in case of oopsies fund. The primary purpose of this fund is to be used to take care of these unforeseen and/or unplanned expenses. (Tires are one thing, laptops are another.) The whole idea of having this fund is so that I don’t pay any extortionistic interest of a credit card. 

I decided to do the sensible thing and not hoard that cash in that contingency fund, and pay the card off in full next payday. Thankfully, with a bit of budgetary magic, this will only put a $200.00 dent in my contingency fund. 

I should still be able to pay for Wanda’s insurance next month and for my vacation in the summer. 
As usual, it will be tight, but I should be able to manage it. As far as what to do come August (to buy or not to buy) I am still flip-flopping back and forth, as the lure of being totally debt free is appealing.

As it stands if I keep this up, by August of next year, I could pay off Wanda in full . . . and then the following January Trea will be paid off. Then, I switch to the living really cheap mode, and that is something to ponder . . . being able to live on $500.00 a month (think about that).

For now, here is a sunset shot that I got while visiting a friend this weekend.

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

Friday 8 April 2016

All Packed Up And Nowhere To Go

I will start off with a bit of housekeeping and an apology. I learned a couple days ago that Facebook, unbeknownst to me, filters out messages from people that you are not already “Friends” with. 

This means that I have been “ignoring” messages from people wishing to contact me; that is not my style. I always welcome anyone to contact me, even if it is to just to say hi, send me a comment or a criticism. 

In order to alleviate this, I have put a simple contact me form on the side of the blog that will always be there. I will get and read every email and do my best to respond to each one. After all, it is only fair that if someone takes the time to message me, I should message them back.

* * * Now back your regularly scheduled blog entry * * *

Part of the reason why I went camping last weekend was because I was not ready to face this . . . a weekend without my Western Home. I have been thinking of where I can park and what parking lot I could park in, but none come to mind.

This is a bit of a big deal for me, as parking in a parking lot and not on a street means that I have a bit of space around me. It also means that people are not zooming past my house doing 60 – 80 KPH. What I really like is that I can put my stabilizer jacks down and put my slide-out out. 

This all adds up to a bit of “Normalcy” that I don’t experience during the weekdays. I also lament the fact that I knew where everything was in my Western Home. To me, it was a place that had been my weekend home for the past two years. 

I will think try to think of some out of the way, quiet little spot where nobody will mind me parking for the weekends. I may even try to find some place just out of town, who knows. 

I have to do my laundry and then a bit of grocery shopping and then this problem will really come home to roost.  After that, I have no particular place to go. No matter what, I will survive and keep looking, to find a new little weekend place.

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

PS . . . here is your sunrise shot.

Thursday 7 April 2016

Budget Shortfall

Okay, even as I did it, I knew that it was a bad financial move, yet it was something that I had to do, for me. I am referring to the decision to go to Banff for the weekend, of course.

I am now left with a hole in my upcoming budget which means that I am facing some tough decisions this payday. The hole is not that large, but it does leave me facing a possible deficit budget this time around which simply underfunding my wallets won’t cover.

Sure, I have blogged on this subject before, but I will do so again, because I am facing it again. I have a few resources at my disposal now, so I can do a few different things to deal with this problem.

1) Run a Deficit: This means just fund everything fully and dip into my personal overdraft and top it up next payday. I don’t like doing this because I only want to dip into that overdraft in emergencies.

2) Carry a Credit Card Balance: This means to not pay the credit card off, and just pay the minimum on it, if anything at all. This option is less desirable than the previous one, because of what I went through just to pay my credit cards off. 

3) Dip into Savings: This means to just borrow a bit of cash from my mid-term savings or my Long Term savings. Again, the hole is not that large and things are not that bad.

4) Cut back on Savings Contributions: This means that I simply put less into my savings than I had planned. Thankfully I am on the savings side of the debt paydown hill, and so I do have this option. 

I had planned on topping up my Contingency fund up to my target of at least $1K, but that won’t happen this time. 

I have decided that I will run a balanced budget, unless in times of economic emergency (as in job loss, etc). I have also decided that my credit cards will continue to be paid off each payday. 

The last thing that I have sworn to myself is that my long term savings contributions are not to be missed or messed with. 

This pattern is important to me, as I need to see the immediate impact of my financial decisions. It is important to train myself that no matter what I must live within my paycheque. I will not carry credit card debt, unless I have to. 

I will do whatever I have to (that is: legal, ethical and moral) to leave more in my bank account at the end of the pay period than was in it at the start. 

I also plan to do more camping, say one trip a month, as for me, going to a campground is a luxury. This is important, for me, but I need to keep my savings plan going as this is for my future, whatever and wherever the future takes me. 

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

Wednesday 6 April 2016


I was checking on Facebook today and was faced with this new feature of “Share a memory from the past” where they show you a picture that you posted on this day in a year or more gone by. Well, today Facebook showed me this pic.

This pic is one that I took while living in my room that I had originally moved out of my townhouse and into. I still remember the apprehensive and nervous feelings I had while living in that little room. 

It was such a big change for me, and while I was hopeful for the future, I was still unsure if I was doing the right thing. I was also frustrated that things were going too slow for me; the credit card paydown was not going fast enough. 

I also remember feeling like a constant house guest, and that was difficult for me to take. It was a large adjustment for me to make but it would have been an even harder adjustment had I gone straight from the townhouse and into a trailer (in February). 

Time flies though and it is hard to believe that that was two years ago. Next month, on the fifteenth will be my 2 year anniversary of owning Wanda. Naturally it stands to reason that on July 12, will be my 2 year anniversary of living in Wanda full time.

This also raises the temptation of keeping going, of staying in Wanda until at least everything is paid off. After all, January of 2018 is not that far away and it is possible to be totally debt free by then. That is a very tempting thought indeed, so too is the thought of home ownership. 

I will take a look around in August, as a steal of a deal may come along. I already know that I can make it, that I can tough it out in this trailer. So the choice is mine to make, as in . . . do I stay or do I go? 

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

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Success and Failure Inventory

One of the ways that I keep motivated is by reflecting on how far I have come and where I want to go. 

I know that I have said this before, but it is a point which bears repeating. Your attitude is everything. This is because how you react to and deal with situations is governed by your attitude. 

If you are down and feel crappy about yourself, then you will more likely cave in and be defeated. If your attitude is positive and you are confident in yourself and your abilities, then it is more likely that you will stand up and face whatever it is that you have to face. 

To help with this, every so often stop and take a look back and where you have been. Pause and remember the pain, frustration of where you were at your starting point. 

Then pause on how things are in your life now. Hopefully you will see that things are not as bad as they were. If things are in fact worse than they were, perhaps it is time to rethink and retool your plan (and life).

Finally, pause and think on where you want to go. Envision yourself already there, doing what you can do once you have achieved your goals and dreams. Take a moment and truly see yourself already there.

This little trick should help motivate yourself to keep on keeping on doing what you need to do. This is what I do, and it does help. Your attitude is key to your own success.

Besides, if you have a negative attitude, you’re not a nice person to be around. Since you have to live in your own skin with yourself, you might as well be someone you can live with.

As always, keep your attitude positive and keep moving forward.

Monday 4 April 2016

Frugal Vs Miser

One of the easy parts of being poor is the fact that you don’t really have much choice on where your money goes. It has to go to bills and other forms of debt servicing. 

Sure, sometimes you play “Bills Roulette” but hey who hasn’t. Bills Roulette is where you decide which one of your bills is not going to get paid this month, because you don’t have enough money to pay them all. 

Ever since I started this Urban Nomad Journey I have been watching every dime that I spend, even before then. As I am working towards getting a house I am still watching every dime. It has become a habit, so much so that I question any and all expenditures on myself; any expense that is not absolutely necessary. 

Sure, it has had its uses and still does, but it also has its bad effects. I don’t take the time to spend on me. Like this weekend I did break down and go to Banff, but I felt guilty going. 

I am on budget, and on track to making my savings deadline, I will be above my target in my Contingency fund this next payday, so why do I do this to myself? The answer is that a part of me still doesn’t see my paycheque as mine; it still belongs to someone else. 

The other, and more likely reason, is the fact that any penny spent, is a penny not saved. With that August deadline that I have set for myself coming, I know that I need to save ever last dime that I can. I also need to allow myself to treat myself once in a while. This is hard to so, especially for someone who has never really treated myself or spend money on myself. 

I did go to Banff, and I did enjoy myself and made sure to have my first BBQ of the season and revelled in the peace and quiet. Nobody buzzed my house, so that’s good. Here are some pics.

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

Friday 1 April 2016

The Balance of Failure

I will admit that despite how much I say that we should do this, that I still have a problem doing this all the time. I try but there are some failures that still sting, the one that is attached to April the first is one of them. 

You see a few years ago and before I had started on my Urban Nomad journey, I had made a bold proclamation one fine April day that come the following April the first that I would start filming a movie that I had written. (For that matter, neither has the book version been published.)

Well, as you can guess, the following April the first came and went and no movement had been made on making that movie. To this day the project is still stalled and in limbo, but I digress.

Since that dark April 1, when the full weight of the failure to achieve that goal hit me, I have hated this day. It stares me in the face and reminds me that yet again, one more year has passed and that movie has not been made.

I am in no place to make such a movie, but I would do it in a heartbeat, if the opportunity arose. The point is that I just need to let the sting of that failure go, yet it still lingers, it bugs me, still to this day, years later. 

I have had many successes, my proudest, so far is my victory over credit card debt and the one that will top that is my upcoming home/acreage ownership. My life is moving in the right direction, but still the failures of the past continue to haunt me. 

While on one hand I need to use the stinging of failures to motivate me forward, and I do, I do not need to dwell on them, to let them control me. 

That is the delicate balance that we must strike when it comes to the memories of our failures. Use them to learn from and move away from, but don’t drag them with you. 

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