Monday 31 October 2016

Stay The Course

I hate that phrase, it always irritates me, especially when others say it to me. “Stay the course,” “Keep calm and carry on,” etc, etc.

The frustrating thing is that those phrases are right, they are good, they are what most of us, myself included, need to hear from time to time.

The other is to be reminded that change is not quick, there is not montage to quickly go from novice to expert in two minutes or less; life is not like that.

The troubling thing is that we have to go through the boring and tedious bits in order to get to the end and achieve our goal.

The same is true for me, for while I can see and envision myself being totally debt free I am not there yet, in fact I am just over a year away, and that is a tough year of tight budgets. 

Then again, scrimping, saving, and economizing are not new to me, so I can and will do this. I will also be celebrating being totally debt free in one year’s time.

That will be a glorious day, something worth celebrating, and yes worth going through all that I have gone through.

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

Friday 28 October 2016

My Own Pilot Project

So, in my own style, I made a spreadsheet yesterday to try to figure out just how that new system would work in paying down the Wanda Loan.

It was quite a spreadsheet, it was complex, intricate and in a word: impressive. The results, however, were mixed and unclear. 

In the end, I wasn’t sure just how effective either the new system or the spreadsheet actually was.

I have decided, however, to just go ahead and see how things go.

For the month of December, I will charge on ahead and:

1. Pay my regular Wanda Payments.
2. Pay an extra $100.00 (on the loan) on the odd (or non-Wanda payment Thursday).
3. Pay $1300.00 each payday (on the loan). 

The revised spreadsheet will simply measure the results of what happened. I can already figure out how much of the payment went to the Principle and how much went to Interest. 

I can do this by simple math and by recording the outstanding balance on a regular basis. I do this just after each payment has gone through. 

Since this does not change until another payment goes through, I can then know what affect each of these payments had on outstanding balance. 

I wanted to get started earlier, even with the small Off-Thursday payments, but I simply can’t, my budget is just too tight until the first December Paycheque.

I will try to scrimp out a bit of cash so as to do the extra payment on the 1st of December, but we will see if this is possible. After all, I have other goals I must achieve before starting this.

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

Thursday 27 October 2016

A New Game

So, yesterday, or more specifically midnight last night, was one of my regularly scheduled Wanda Payments. 

This means that I can, through a simple calculation determine just what amount each of these payments is coming off of the loan. 

I use this to determine just how quickly these payments will chip away on that overall balance. 

Currently my payments are $122.38 bi-weekly (every second Thursday) and the difference that this last payment made in the outstanding balance was $43.08.

This means that as it stands now, only 35% of that payment was on the principle (the outstanding balance) and 65% of that payment was interest.

Sooo . . . this got me thinking about new and inventive ways to pay as little interest as possible, for a few reasons, but mostly just for the sport of it. 

Also, due to the fact that I spent approximately $50,000 over five years to pay back $17,000.00 in credit card debt for stuff that I don’t have any more, the thought of paying next to no interest on the remainder of this loan is veeeeerrrryyy appealing to me.

(That and the image of some fat-cat banker up in some concrete and glass tower having a complete hissy-fit over what I am doing and how I am “cheating the bank out of what is rightfully theirs (interest)” is also a happy thought.) 

So, what I will try out next Thursday (or Wednesday evening rather) is to make an extra payment of $100.00 and see what effect that has on the interest paid on the loan. 

This payment will sink me into my personal overdraft but the experiment will be worth it.

It should, in theory, cut those interest chucks in half, since I am paying an extra chunk and paying it early. 

The plan, as it stands now is to pay $100.00 on the off-Thursdays, as in the Thursday that is not my regularly scheduled Wanda Payment. I will also put those large chunks of cash on the loan when I get paid. 

The combination of all of this, should, keep the interest down to a minimum and thereby pay that loan off even faster. As well as cheat the bank out of as much cash as possible (evil cackle).

Unless, of course, there is some magic piece of fine print in which the bank can invoke to basically say that I am the customer and therefore must get screwed and always pay the maximum amount of interest. 

No matter what happens, I will blog about it here so that, as always, you can learn from my experiences, more specifically, my mistakes.  

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

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Wanda Paydown Estimator

Okay, so with the change in plans to pay off the Wanda Loan, this means there is a great deal of uncertainty as to just how this will unfold.

The other question is if I will still be able to make the day, while putting less on the loan than I had originally planned to save. 

To answer this, I made yet another spreadsheet: The Wanda Paydown Estimator. This one will model what will happen to that balance after each regular payment and my extra payments.

I have put each and every regular payment in there and each payday, all in chronological order. 

Each entry will take the current balance and subtract the payment and show the new balance. 

The amount of the regular payments will be what it currently is and use that going forward.

If the theory holds true and the amount being taken off for interest will drop, then that number will increase. 

This will then, in turn mean that the payments going forward will take a larger bite out of the Wanda Loan.

Like the savings estimator spreadsheet, this one will start out with all estimated numbers and get gradually more accurate as real numbers are added in.

As it stands it looks like I will either be paying the Wanda Loan off, either one payday early or one payday later than Total Debt Freedom Day (Nov, 7, 2017). 

What it really means to me is that it is still possible for me to make that day, and celebrate Total Debt Freedom on that glorious day.

There are a thousand things that could go wrong, or otherwise make my plans go askew, but I will deal with them like I have already dealt with all of the other challenges that have arisen. 

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

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Choose Your Mood; Define Your Day

I keep coming back to this, because I keep having to start again and refresh the concerted effort to be and stay positive.

How things affect you really is dependent on your mood. If you have a positive outlook, then things won’t bother you as much and are less likely to enrage you.

I start the day by making sure to tell myself positive things about myself and my life. I also declare to myself (out loud) that I will have a good day and that I am a positive person. Again, it may seem silly, but it works.

I also have to be on guard against the negative thoughts or those imagined imaginings of how things will go wrong and other people will screw me over. 

I have to stop myself and then again refuse to accept that negativity. I find that it is easy to get frustrated with the slow pace of positive change in my life.

This frustration can morph into negative thoughts and those negative thoughts can grow into a negative outlook. 

That negative outlook comes with you everywhere and clouds your vision like dirty glasses. All you will see is dirt and filth, yet it is just in your own personal perception, not life itself.

I have to remind myself how far I have come and how close a year is to be free, not just debt free, but truly free, free to chart my path and go and do what I want, when I want.

It is this vision and it is my decision, my choice to be a positive person that keeps me going.

I chose to be someone who not only builds myself up but others around me as well, and that is someone I can be proud of, proud to be.

The question I ask you is: who will you be, and will you be proud to be them?

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

Monday 24 October 2016

Trying For The Trifecta!

With this payday behind me, and the dust of this current Payperiod’s budget-crafting settling, I can (and have) look ahead to the next two Payperiod’s budgets.

Since this current paycheque was a little larger than expected (yay), I could rearrange things and take a larger bite out of my Low-Interest Credit Card.

This means that it will take an even smaller bite to finish it off next payday. That money saved means I can actually shuffle that over to my next goal: Building up my Mid-Term Savings Account.

I looked at my budget and with a bit of extra cash coming in from another source within two payperiods I can do something amazing.

I can (just barely) manage to:

1. Pay off my Low-Interest Credit Card
2. Put $1k into my Mid-Term Savings Account
3. Put $1k into my Long-Term Savings Account
4. Keep $1k in my Main Account

This will be, for me, the Trifecta! Meaning I will have at least $1K in each of my accounts. 

This is more of a psychological barrier for me as it will mean that I have, what I consider, the minimum amount in each account.

This is also so as I don’t see a large fat wad of cash sitting in one account and start wondering what toy or nifty thing I could buy with it. (Not that that has happened . . . nope . . . never . . . not yet . . . nu-uh.)

It is also a bit of a safeguard against being greatly financially “attached to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis” if either: my boss decides to pack it in and shut down the company, or I find myself “actively encouraged to seek other employment opportunities.”

This will, most importantly, mean that I will have $3K available to me for emergencies or for that last push to meet Total Debt Freedom Day (Nov, 7, 2017).

I plan, and intend, to stay above $1k in each of these accounts, but know that I may drain down on my Mid-Term Savings Account, in order to keep the Wanda Paydown Plan on schedule. 

I may end up dipping into my Personal Overdraft in order to put the $2K in the other two accounts. I will, however, pull my hiney out of my Personal Overdraft with the paycheque of December 7. 

If I can actually achieve this, I will be in a much more relaxed frame of mind as I put those large payments directly on the Wanda Loan while at the same time trickle save into my Mid-Term Savings Account, building that up.

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

Friday 21 October 2016

The Payday Surprise!

As many of you know, the secret to my success lies in my (hard earned) ability to budget and stick to that budget. 

A wise man (or woman who knows) once said, the secret to budgeting is to overestimate your expenses and underestimate your income. Basically, that’s what I do.

Since my paycheque is based on an hourly wage, the number of working days within that payperiod, with a commission based on something out of my control, and you have a crap shoot as to what my paycheque will be.

I have an add on spreadsheet that I have tacked onto my timesheet spreadsheet that estimates my paycheque based on what I put into that timesheet spreadsheet. I call this my “can I make rent” spreadsheet. 

To estimate what taxes will be taken off, I have found that you can average about 24% of your gross will be taken off for taxes. 

What I have done with this spreadsheet is take 25% off for taxes. This way I think that my paycheque will be less than it actually is. 

I base my overall budget for the upcoming paycheque on a safe, lower number than what I might get. Why? 

This way, if I can make my budget balance (even if a bit tight) on a lower estimated income, then I have a happy moment when I open that paycheque envelope and find a slightly larger amount. 

I also avoid the shock and horror to find out that the actual number is less than I had estimated. Then I have to scramble to find a way to cut back and balance the budget, but in a negative way. 

The other way, I have the happy joyous feeling of “what will I do with this extra money?” (giggle-giggle). That, my friends, is the payday surprise!

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

Thursday 20 October 2016

Can Still Run To The Hills!

Since I am one to look ahead, particularly to my Christmas Break, I have been eyeing up the online registration page for my favourite mountain campground.

You see, my company shuts down between Christmas and New Year’s, so that gives me about a week break. Sitting around a parking lot in the dead of winter for a week is not an appetizing thought.

So, out of frustration, and  to plead my case to be allowed to sneak in the back way (I promise that I’ll be in my trailer, making no noise and pretend that I don’t exist) and use up an out of the way spot.

It turns out that this year, they won’t take reservations, but just go on a first come-first served basis. The usage is low at this time of year, so the risk is low that I will be turned away.

I do like to book ahead, though and make sure that I have a spot, particularly for something so important as my Christmas break.

As always, no matter what, I will be okay, I will survive, and I will thrive, regardless of whatever gets tossed my way. (And yes, I will be running to the hills this Christmas.)

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

Wednesday 19 October 2016

The Foot That Wouldn’t Step

So, wind the clock back to the weekend before last . . . (Canadian) thanksgiving weekend to be exact, more specifically 4:30 am on Tuesday morning.

I was packing up and pretty much the last thing that I do is to bring Wanda’s front foot up. You know this is what the “dolly-wheel” is on older, smaller and lighter trailers.

This foot is supposed to take the weight of the trailer, in cases of smaller trailers where it is possible to push it around by hand, this foot is a wheel. (Wanda is “big boned” so nobody is pushing her around by hand.)

Most of the older Dolly-Wheel or Front Foot are wound up and down by hand, not Wanda, hers is electric. Therein lied the problem.

I clicked the switch, and nothing. I tried it a few times, even in reverse and nothing. This was odd, because it worked fine going down but going up, it wouldn’t.

I didn’t have time for this so I pulled out the “just in case” manual crank and cranked that foot up by hand and off I went to work.

The week before last, I really didn’t have the energy to investigate this problem after work, so it became a Saturday project.

The first thing I thought that it could be was a fuse so I looked at my fuse box. Nope, not only was there no fuse blown, but no fuse allocated for the front foot.

I opened up the head of that foot and tried to see if there was voltage going to it, using my trusty Multi-Meter. My first guess was a switch, nope, no voltage anywhere.

So, next I traced the wiring harness back from the front foot to see where it led, and look what I found . . . .

That is an inline fuse, the bane of many a mechanic. This little device is designed to put a fuse in the middle of the wiring harness, so that you have the safety of a fuse, but it could be located anywhere!

Yep, the problem was just a blown fuse.

For those of you who may not know, the fuse on the right is blown and the one on the left is a good (not blown) fuse.

So, all it took was to replace the fuse and the foot worked fine.

You may be wondering why anyone would put an inline fuse out here when there is a nice and central fuse box?

The answer lies in how these RV’s are made, they are build with off the shelf components in a factory.

As in the people who made Wanda bought that front foot assembly from someone who just makes those front feet.

To make it safe they put that inline fuse in their harness which is to connect up to the battery. This way it is safe just as it is, no matter what trailer you install this front foot assembly onto.

So, if you face something similar, never forget to look for that inline fuse.

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

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Bashed By Budget, But Bouncing Back!

So, with me being me, after setting my goals for the foreseeable future, I revamped my budgets to make sure that I could meet them . . . my budget laughed at me (figuratively). 

I had wanted to pay my Visa off by November 7, that’s doable. Then put at least $1500.00 into my now depleted Mid-Term Savings by November 22 (also doable).

So far, so good.

Then when I looked at the fact that I was missing a paycheque that magical one between November 22 and December 7, I was in trouble.

You see, the Wanda Paydown Plan starts (come Hell or high water) on December 7 and I just can’t push that date back any further, nor will I. 

Even if I start the plan on time, who knows if I will actually make the November 7, 2017 date to pay the Wanda Loan off.

Why? You see, my original plan (which is unworkable) was to put $1500.00 per payday into savings. I just can’t do that, and exist. 

If I wasn’t paying the regular Wanda Payments, I could do that. 

So, as it is, I trudge on ahead with my revised plan in hand and see what will happen with this Wanda Loan. 

The one thing I do know is that I will have a healthy Oops Fund, and paid off credit cards. So that is something, even though I will have less than a hundred bucks in my Long-Term Savings Account, and likely won’t for a year yet.

Regardless, I have a plan, and am working it, even if I keep revising it . . . improving it, rather.

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

Monday 17 October 2016

Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

There really is nothing more stupid than doing the wrong thing just to save face. 

I can’t imagine being in a frame of mind where I do something that I know is wrong, just so I won’t look bad, indecisive, or whatever.

I live in an RV, I sleep on roadsides or in big-box store parking lots . . . I gave up caring what people think about me or my lifestyle a long time ago.

What I am talking about is the fact that I have tweaked my plan, yet again. I don’t see this as a problem as one of my philosophies is that life is always in a state of revision.

We should always be looking at what we are doing and asking “How can I do this better?”  or “Should I really be doing this?” 

This is not from a mindset of lack of confidence or always thinking that I am screwing up or making a mistake, but rather from one of always looking to do better, to always improve.

So, when I revise my plan, I see this as a strength and a positive thing, not a weakness. 

I am not sure if I mentioned this, but I had planned to have my RV Dealership install a couple of solar panels on the roof of Wanda. 

The idea was to try to rely more on solar than on Jenny for my power and thus save money over the long term.

I also had the thought that this would make me ready to park Wanda on that piece of land that I plan to buy and pioneer and transform it into a home worthy of others. 

I had thought that the solar technology had improved to the point that this was viable, whilst this may be the case, the cost of installing them are still quite prohibitive to this venture at this juncture. 

I was talking with a friend this weekend about my plans to pay down Wanda by saving up the cash and making a lump sum payment and mentioned the solar plans to him.

He offered up wise words of sober second thought; I saw his logic.

The reason that I was talking to him because the couple of times I tried to talk to my bank about other options, all I got were “Microsoft Answers.” 

(As in their answers were: accurate, correct but not helpful at all.)

This friend spent some time in the financial sector so knew about loans, compound interest and so on, better than me. 

Apart from telling me to give my head a shake with regards to the solar panel idea, he had a few words to say about the Wanda Savings Plan. 

He advised me to put the cash that I was planning on saving right on the loan and not put it into savings. 

This would reduce the amount of interest I am charged and therefore shorten the length of time that it will take to pay the loan off.

Exactly how much shorter it will take is up for debate, so we shall all see what actually transpires. 

So, here is the plan, as it stands now. First I will pay off my Low-Interest card.

Then, the cash that I had intended to splurge on solar panels, I will use to top up my mid-term savings up to $1500.00 and put $1000.00 into my Long-Term Savings account.

This will give me a bit of a Contingency fund as I then put my targeted $1400.00 per payday directly onto the Wanda Loan. 

I will leave the regular, bi-weekly payments of $122.38 unaltered and just let them go on like clockwork. 

So, without further fuss, here is my new fiscal plan going forward:

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

Friday 14 October 2016

Self-Made Frustrations

As I begin this next phase in my journey, the homeward stretch to total debt freedom, I grow agitated with the process and just want it over with. 

I find my thinking shifting to what to do and life beyond this, of finally owning some land and yes, starting that science foundation (if even an incubator form of it). 

( if you’re curious.

I know that even to begin such planning, is a year away. I still need to be a good boy, keep doing what I am doing and finish what I started: totally eliminating my debts.

Only then, can fun-time really begin, because then I will be socking cash away to actually start my dreams. 

As it is now, even the cash that I am putting into savings, is not mine, not really, it belongs to the bank.

I need to calm down and re-learn a lesson I keep learning again and again: dream for the future but deal with the crash back to reality. 

The weather is getting colder, I still have 12 months and over 3 weeks until Total Debt Freedom Day. As such, I still have much work to do.

Yet, it would be fair that I have accomplished a lot and grown as a person during this journey. I just need to hunker down, and keep on keeping on. 

This is perhaps the hardest thing to do, to keep on when you are so close to your goal, yet it seems so far away. 

I write this to encourage others in a similar situation, to let them know that you are not alone, others feel this, and yes, just keep going.

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

Thursday 13 October 2016

Ahead by $2.98!

Okay, so today was a Wanda Payment day. This means (because I notice these things), that as of 12:01 this morning the outstanding balance for the loan dropped.

So, I checked in this morning and found out exactly what that outstanding balance was. I had recorded what the outstanding balance was as of the day before.

This means that through my Wanda Payment Estimator Spreadsheet I could calculate exactly how much that balance actually dropped. 

It dropped $42.98 instead of the guestimate of $40.00 the bank had told me not long ago. Why does this matter?

Well, this matters because it is factored in to each payment going forward. So, that means that all of those $2.98 adds up and chips away even faster at the outstanding balance.

This is good news, as it looks like that it will be a stretch to even manage to put $1400.00 per payday aside instead of my target of $1500.00 per payday aside.

If this holds up it looked like I was going to miss target of Total Debt Freedom Day of Nov 7, 2017. With this little nudge, it is looking possible again. 

It is important to note that this number will fluctuate over time, and anything this far out is a wild (if somewhat educated) guess, but I need a target to shoot for.

It has been suggested that I up those Wanda payments to take a larger bite out of the principle, and pay less interest. 

For now, I like having more control over my money. If I increase those payments, I have to assume that the bank will not let me lower them down again. 

This way, I will still have low payments if I find myself suddenly “actively encouraged to seek other employment opportunities.”

This way, the money that I have (will) saved up to pay off Wanda will be my financial cushion, if need be. Once I give money to the bank, they don’t like to give it back . . . funny that. 

So, as far as Total Debt Freedom Day is concerned, as long as it happens sometime before the end of 2017, I’ll be fine with that, and consider it a win.

I will still be me, however, and do everything in my power to make the day and pay Wanda off on that day. 

After that, I will look to manage and handle the many media interviews and yes, setup the speaking tour across the country . . . and book deal naturally . . . 

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

Wednesday 12 October 2016

The Frustration of Fat Feet

It’s official . . . I broke out the boots this morning . . . those boots . . . (Pause for a moment of silence.)

Last night I bundled up in my thermal undies, sleeping toque and yes indoor mittens and didn’t turn the heater on. It was okay, and I was fine, I even slept in this getup.

The reason I sleep in my warm clothes is so that when I wake up (and the house is at its coldest) I am still toasty warm and my warm clothes are “pre-warmed.”

Trust me, wearing pre-warmed, warm clothes makes it much easier to get out of bed when it is literally freezing inside your house.

Again, I have seen (and will see soon enough) much colder conditions inside my house, but I am trying to get myself, (and my body) back to being used to those cold conditions.

The boot-situation came about when it was time for my walk. Each day before work, and just after breakfast, I walk around the block for a bit of exercise.

My block is a standard industrial block so it takes about twenty minutes to walk around it. With my two pairs of thick winter socks, however, my now warm and toasty, yet fat feet were not going to fit into my favourite boots.

That was when the sad moment came and my winter boots came out of storage, as they are large enough to accommodate my warm and toasty fat feet.

This is a sad moment for me because it means that the cold weather is indeed upon us, yet I am hoping for a reprieve (or stay of refrigeration, rather).

Yet, I did bundle up and toddle on off for my walk around the block with my winter boots on and yes even earmuffs. I was warm, fine and yes grumbled along the way.

More grumbling and blue words were uttered when I was drying myself off in the balmy 10C temp of my moderately heated trailer (didn’t want to waste too much propane or coddle myself).

Again, this just means that winter is approaching, and soon enough much colder times are ahead. I have managed two previous winters in Wanda, so I will manage this one two.

Gee, any ladies out there want to freeze your butt off in Wanda this winter with me? Applications for being my Schmoopy now being accepted.

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

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Thanksgiving Weekend

All in all it was a good weekend, not a stellar one, nor a disastrous one either, so all in all, a good one.

The weekend started off right with me doing my one last errand before taking off for the weekend: depositing my paycheque.

Friday was payday so that meant that I made my bi-weekly trek to the bank. It also meant that I was going to have a talk with them about those automatic withdrawals that go to pay my now paid off truck loan.

Since I do not have authority to tell them to cancel those payments altogether what they could do was put a stop payment on them.

Sure this stop payment would be in force for a few months, but I am hoping that it won’t take that long for the other bank to realize I don’t owe them anymore money and stop trying to take money out of my account.

I will call that other bank later this week, say in a day or two to follow up. Who knows, there may be that nice “you’re free” letter waiting for me in my mail box.

The best news was the fact that the bank, my main bank, decided to wave the usual fee that would apply for that stop payment. Who knew a bank could be nice?

This weekend I essentially moved out of Dropbox. What I did was copy my data from the online storage service to two external hard drives as well as putting the data that I use all the time on my laptop.

One of the external drives I will lock away in my fire safe as a safety backup. The other external drive I will keep accessible and near my laptop so I can access the data that I don’t use all the time yet still might want to.

I have my few spreadsheets on the iCloud and a few key text file “Memos” on my Dropbox (as in my grocery list), ETC. I will also use the Dropbox to get the photos that I take from my iPad or phone onto my laptop.

I just don’t like paying for a service that is essentially not that secure. True my laptop, or any compute is not that secure, but if you really want my data you will have to come and physically steal it. (Not that there is anything worth stealing.)

I also dumped my tanks and yes flushed out that blackwater tank, something that was needed, that’s for sure. Something tells me that I will be in full-blown winter mode before too long.

All it will take is consistent temperatures (day and night) below zero for me to be forced to switch to Winter Mode, as in don’t use my sinks or toilet.

As always, I will survive and I will thrive. I am thankful that I am on this journey to not only fiscal improvement but improvements in myself and my outlook as well.

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

Friday 7 October 2016

New Wanda Payment Estimator

Okay, so now that the Truck Loan is behind me (save for tying up those loose ends) I can now turn my attention to the next great challenge . . . the Wanda Loan.

As it stands now, the outstanding balance for Wanda is $34,558.75. How do I know this so accurately? 

Well the bank that I deal with (my main bank) and the one that the Wanda Loan is with allows me to see what that outstanding balance is on the handy-dandy banking app that I have for my iPad. 

This then got me to thinking, I can see what that balance is just before and then just after a payment is made. 

With this information and, you guessed it, another spreadsheet, I can make a tool that will let me estimate what that outstanding loan balance will be over time. 

At the same time with that same tool, I can not only predict my savings but measure my progress, see if I am on target and also figure out what I will have to save each payday in order to get back on track.

So, here it is, the Wanda Payment Estimator!

If interested, you can download it here: Wanda Payment Estimator

On the left side is the status of the Wanda Loan and what it should be after each consecutive payment. 

How this is derived is by the simple subtraction in the box on the extreme right. The previous payment (as entered here) is subtracted from the current payment (as entered here) and the difference is the amount that my principle dropped. That amount is then used for the projections. 

Each time a payment is made I will check the balance from my banking app and enter it for the appropriate date entry. 

I could then also put those payment numbers into the formula on the right to see if the actual amount has fluctuated any. 

This way the further I go down this side, the more accurate my predictions will become, for they will further and further be based on actual numbers.

The savings side has each of my paydays for the next year or so outlined. On the left column of this side is the target, as in that $1500.00 per payday that I am hoping to put aside.

On the right column is the actual side where I will put in my actual balance of my Long Term Savings each and every payday. 

This side is also full of projections, yet they are based on different projections for my two different paydays. 

The first and second payday of the month has different things coming out of them, so I may be able to put a little more out of the second payday than the first. 

This way I can see how my actual savings plan is going and forecast when my savings will overtake that ever decreasing Wanda Loan Balance (at which point I can actually pay the Wanda Loan off all at once).

The column of check boxes is there for me to tick off that a certain payment or payday has happened. This lets me know where exactly I am in this wall of numbers.
If you can use this to help predict a savings plan to eliminate a certain debt, by all means, feel free to download and use it. I will add this to the downloadable tools on the side of this blog, if you change your mind.

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

Thursday 6 October 2016

Running Around Before the Runaway

It is usual that I do some errands including fueling up the truck (and generator gas can), buy groceries and what have you all on payday.

Well, since this payday is the Friday of this long weekend, I decided that I would run around a day early on Thursday, instead.

This seemed like a bad idea, because the oil companies decided to jack up the price of gasoline by about 13 cents a litre, because . . . they could.

So, that meant that I did my running around yesterday after work, with the first stop, you guessed it, my favourite and place that is most reliably the cheapest place in town to buy fuel (a large warehouse store that requires a membership to shop there).

I ended up in the slowest lane and the lineup reminded me of crossing the border into the US when I lived on the coast.

Since this was not delaying me from getting to my campsite, it was not that big a deal. I did manage to get my gasoline at the “cheaper” rate.

This way, I can relax tonight and then as soon as work is finished on Friday, I only have to stop by the bank and then I can literally run for the hills!

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

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Low-Tech Solution to a High-Tech Problem

One of the other things I did this weekend was finally solve the puzzle of how to write on a Laptop that does not have a backlit keyboard in the darkness of early morning.

I am sure I am not the only person to have experienced the problem of trying to type in a darkened space on a laptop that doesn’t have keys that are lit up from underneath.

This means that the only light in the space is that coming from your laptop screen itself. If you have a word processor open, that is a large blast of white light.

You would think, this itself would solve the problem, and in a way this can work. If you tilt the screen down so that it is facing the keys more than you, sure. This leaves you looking at the screen on an angle, which is just a pain and is not a long-term solution.

I have tried various things to shed some light on the issue (literally) that does not waste Wanda’s main batteries. So, while the simple solution is to just turn on a nearby light, that is not advisable, or  a long term solution.

I have been through two winters before so I know that in the dead of winter, every scrap of electricity is important and not to be wasted. In the dead of winter, electricity is mostly reserved for running the furnace fan.

One of the things I tried was a clip-on bright LED lamp. With small led lamps, while they are bright in the darkness, they can’t compete with the light from the screen.

What happens is that your eyes get used to the extra light but still they dominant light is from that screen. In the end, after a few minutes, you see nothing much more than the screen. 

After all that, you still can’t see the keys, despite having more light around.
The solution I came up with is indeed quite low-tech, but quite effective, let me assure you.

The candles are quite bright and with the two of them, they do the job perfectly. I can actually see to type without wasting electricity. The candles and candle holders I got at IKEA, and both were not that expensive.

Just remember to be careful with open flames that candles are, otherwise it is worth a try if you face a similar situation. I do a lot by candlelight and find it a practical source of light.

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

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Ooops, I Did It Again!

Yes I did it, I did it . . . I did it, alright . . . with malice of forethought I did it. I’ve done it before and by gosh I’ll do it again . . . I paid off another bill!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I paid off my truck last night, after work.

It all started a few weeks ago when I was trying to get an answer to two key questions, for my budget:

1) What would the amount needed to pay the loan out on October 7 (Payday)
2) How exactly do you actually pay a car loan off early?

Being as I have usually either traded in a vehicle for another before the loan is paid off (not advisable) or just let them run their course until paid off, I wasn’t sure on these two key details.

Okay, so they answered #2 fine: bank draft made out to the bank that holds the car loan, in the amount needed to pay it out, and on the memo line put the account number of the actual loan.

As always, if you are about to pay a loan off, check with your bank and see what YOU actually need to do to pay off YOUR loan. Always double check your facts and never take my (or anyone’s) advice as the truth, make sure.

Back to paying the truck off, at first they said that they couldn’t give me an answer because it wasn’t October yet. There was a glitch in the system that wouldn’t tell them what it was unless we were in the same month as they pay out date.

Fine, so I called on the 1st after the whole winterizing thing. They said they couldn’t tell me because it wasn’t a business day (another glitch in the system).

So, I called yesterday during coffee break at work and they said that they could only tell me the buyout amount for today.

Stellar staff and computer system at this bank, I am thankful that it is not my main bank. I was so frustrated that I decided just to go down to the nearest branch of this bank and talk to someone in person.

Then it twinged . . . if I was going down there, why not just pay it off today. I had enough cash in my accounts, all told, sure it would dip me into my personal overdraft, but this is what it is there for.

So down I went and double checked with the teller what to do and exactly the amount. There happened to be a branch of my main bank across the street. So, over I walked, got the bank draft and returned.

Not long after that I walked out with receipt in hand. The truck is paid off, so that’s that, right? Wrong!

There are three things that need to happen to close this off, so I need to be vigilant and stay on top of them to make sure that they happen.

The first thing is that the bank needs to send me a letter saying that the loan is actually paid off and they are happy (as happy as banks get).

The second thing that needs to happen is that those automatic payments pulling the truck payments out of my account need to stop.

It may come as a shock that while banks are fantastically efficient in STARTING to pull money out of your account, they can be a little slow to STOP pulling money out of your account.

I will stay on this, and phone this bank next week. The next payment isn’t due until the 15th so there is a bit of time.

I really don’t want to have to wait six weeks in processing and so forth for them to mail me a cheque, thank you very much.

I will talk to my bank on payday to see if they can put a stop to those automatic payments. I will bring in my receipt as proof of payment so it doesn’t look like I am trying to pull a fast one.

The last thing that needs to happen, is that lien on the tuck needs to be removed. The bank that the truck loan was with has a hold on the truck for the amount of that truck loan.

With it, they can repossess the truck if they want (Highly unlikely and would be a media fiasco if they did, trust me).

The main reason for concern is that I can’t sell this truck or use it as collateral in another loan until that lien is removed. 

Typically these things happen automatically and are done by the bank, but I need to be aware of them and stay on top of things and ensure that they are done. If I don’t, it could hurt me in the future.

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

Monday 3 October 2016

Winterizing Went Well

On Saturday I drove up to the RV Dealership to their annual “Winterizing Special” where you drive up, hand your keys to someone and their staff winterize your RV for you.

In a nutshell what “Winterizing” an RV is, is draining all of the water from your fresh water tanks, hot water tank, as well as your water lines (both cold and hot).

They open a valve which bypasses the hot water tank so that your hot and cold lines are now joined into one.

Then a special kind of antifreeze is (pink stuff) is run through your water lines so that no matter what, your water lines won’t freeze.

Trust me, this is important as when water freezes it expands and when it expands in a pipe or water pump, it causes expensive damage. The first winter, not doing this cost me my water pump, I was lucky.

So, in reality this past weekend was when I officially kissed my indoor running water goodbye, but since I can’t get any fresh water at any of the dump stations, there really is no point not to winterize.

When I was there, I picked up a couple of roof vents as the one over the bedroom is cracked and so I decided to replace them both so that they are both “tinted” and match each other.  I will do this repair when at the campground this weekend for Thanksgiving.

I also bought a stick on, outdoor thermometer.

This way I can see what the temp is outside my window while still inside. Thus, I can do the self-torturous thing of knowing just how cold it is outside at any given moment.

(See, it actually got to freezing overnight).

After putting it on the window I soon realized that I had to take it off and do a bit of modification.
You see, since this thing is made in the USA, and they only recognize the Fahrenheit system.

So the large blue numbers are in useless Fahrenheit, the tiny white numbers are in Celsius. So I had to take it off, write the Celsius in black felt and stick it back on.  No, America, Celsius and the metric system is not a communist plot, it’s just a scientifically based measuring system, that’s all.

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