Friday 22 December 2017

5 Weeks Without A Phone, and I Survived

So, my phone died on the 13th of November, and I waited until last night to replace it; yet, somehow I survived. But according to the “last login,” it was 43 days ago.

I was able to do what I needed to do on my computer or laptop, but finally it came to the point that I just needed to break down and buy a phone.

So, I bought my usual brand “El Cheapo!” as in the cheapest unlocked phone that I could get my hands on. 

I was able to get one for less than $200.00 down at the “Buy More.”

So far it seems to be a better quality phone that I had imagined, and I will see how things go with it. 

After all, all I expect it to do is to make phone calls and text messages. Anything more than that is gravy. 

I am excited to be going to the mountains for my Christmas Break and it was good to get all of my running around done last night (hence the phone).

I do look forward to a more prosperous new year with a focus on saving rather than spending. 

Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas / Wonderful Winter Solstice or simply all the best in 2018.

Remember, you don’t have to wait until new years to make a change in your life, any old day will do, to begin anew.

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

Thursday 21 December 2017

The Pre-Dash Rush

It is Thursday, exactly one day until I dash away to the mountains for my Christmas Break. 

I know that there will be more than a few other people trying to get out of town tomorrow afternoon. 

So, with this in mind I will want to dash to the mountains as soon as I can . . . as early in the day as I can. 

Yet, I still have some running around to do, what about that? You know: groceries to buy, mail to check, all that fun stuff. 

In order to get on the road as soon as possible, I have found that the evening before the big trip is the best time to do all this running around. 

Now, I still have to deposit my paycheque tomorrow, so I have to stop at the bank. After that I will be able to get on the road, and hopefully avoid the rush.

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

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Okay, So It Snowed

It snowed last night, or rather, yesterday: afternoon, evening and night.

So what am I to do about it?

When there is an impending snowstorm, I stay put where I am parked and just make do.

I have found that the best thing for me to do during these times is to not drive anywhere.

There have been a few times where I stay at my sleeping spot and walk to work (that 1km trek going uphill both ways).

There have also been times where I have stayed at my work spot (such as last night)

I know that things will die down in a day and driving after work today (that 1km trek going uphill both ways) to my sleeping spot will be much easier than driving last night.

I can’t stay in one spot too long, because not only is it rude to be hogging one spot too long, but also it attracts the attention of official types, with ticket books (and not the ones to Tahiti, either).

Yet, because I take my house with me wherever I go, I have the option to sleep wherever I can find a place to park.

This gives me the option to stay put and ride out a storm. For trudging through the snow is a whole lot easier than trying to drive through the snow.

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

Tuesday 19 December 2017

The Paydrop

It happens every year, so I know that I have to get used to it, but it still hits me in the gut, every January. The time where my paycheque drops suddenly, due to taxes.

Again, as I have said before, at the beginning of the year, more taxes are taken off of my paycheque than at the end of the year, significantly more.

This is due to the fact that the government wants their money sooner rather than later (go figure).

This also means that as I near the end of the year, as in the last quarter, my paycheques get steadily larger, even though my gross pay has not increased.

Woo hoo,

Yet, January comes and wham I am back to the highest amount of taxes taken off each year. This hits me hard and I have to suddenly go back to my frugal and miserly budgeting ways.

The only difference is that this year, I have significantly lower expenses than last year. So, if I have to cut back significantly, I am only cutting back on my savings targets.

While this is a bad thing, this is nowhere near as bad as not paying a bill or even a loan of some kind.

So, sure I am in a better position, but I am still worried about things moving forward and how that will go.

After all, I did not go through all this, just so I can survive on a lower income, I did this to leverage my current income and get myself ahead.

I intend to save as much as I can, or at least make my savings targets each and every payday. I will treat this as a debt, for it is a debt, it is a debt that I owe to myself, and my future family.

Yet still the payday drop is gonna hurt.

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

Monday 18 December 2017

Respect The Past, Accept The Present, Embrace The Future

It is a lesson that I keep need to learn, as it is something I still struggle with. There are times, particularly on the high holidays, when my thoughts turn to my life and my choices therein.

This is not an activity that I recommend by any stretch of the imagination, yet it is something that I do engage in, from time to time. 

I am getting my life back on track, starting with my finances, and working on from there. 

I try to not dwell on my failures of the past and more importantly not to blame them on others. I am trying to accept that has happened is what has happened.

There are things that I would like to have done, yet I must accept that if I did go back in time and make different choices, I would be a different person. 

I am who I am, for better or worse, because of my choices, and my past. I must just accept my life as it is and continually work to make my life better from here.

For that is all that I can do, try to come to some sort of peace with my past, to respect it for what it was, for how it shaped me. 

I must also come to terms with and just accept that my current condition is what it is. My life is in a holding pattern, and I am on my way to making my life better. 

It is to the future that I must turn my focus and hopes. For, while my past and present may shape me, I can shape my future. 

It has been said “The future is not set, there is no destiny but what we make for ourselves.” 

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

Friday 15 December 2017

One Week to Vacation!

This year is winding down, and I am looking forward to getting into the New Year! There are a number of moving pieces and things to do before this year is out.

Yet I am still committed, and excited to get into the savings phase of my life. This is really the building for my future. 

That, and I am looking forward to the one week vacation in the mountains. 

I am still trying to live as frugally as possible and I am remaining committed to my savings plan. Yet there are a number of expenses that are coming up next year.

All in all, I am excited for not only this weekend, but next weekend . . . and beyond!

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

Thursday 14 December 2017

Counting on the Flop

When it comes to the dance and balance between estimating what my paycheque will be and budgeting what to do with it, it is important to remember the flop.

What is the flop?

Well, since I am not as retentive to look up payroll deduction tables to get a more accurate estimation of what my paycheque will look like, I use a Percentage Deduction method. 

Basically what I do is take a guess, (usually by comparing my previous estimate with the actual deduction amount) of what percentage to lop off the top of my paycheque.

This varies throughout the year. More is taken off in the beginning and slowly less and less as the year rolls on. 

So I will start out the year taking off 27.5% and end the year taking off 21%. Again each percentage point makes a huge difference

This is why I keep tweaking my numbers to get as close an estimation as I can. I also remember to stay a bit on the aggressive side. 

I do this so my estimated paycheque comes in a bit lower than what my paycheque will actually be. 

So the Flop is that little bit of extra money, as in I am standing where my estimation says my paycheque will be but flop forward to "move" that extra bit forward (financially speaking).

I do this because it is much more fun trying to determine what to do with that little bit of extra money than having to cut in order to balance your budget.

This time around, I am actually counting on that flop to balance my budget, but one way or another I will make this budget work. 

For I am determined.

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

Wednesday 13 December 2017

New Year Fixation

As this month ticks down, I find my thoughts drifting over to the New Year and what that entails: savings building.

Sure, I am looking forward to my Christmas Break (starting a week Friday), but I am also looking forward to putting this year behind me. 

For, onward from here, I am focussed on savings and yes, building towards owning land (and homesteading on it).

For now, I am just trying to get out of this month (and year) with all of my goals achieved. 

I have new goals, and new targets, as we always must grow and move forward. Yet there are times when you need a nice rest, this is one of those times.

My “break” in October was busy, and so it didn’t feel like much of a break. 

One thing is for sure, I am looking forward to 2018.

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

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Goal (Check), Insane Budget (Check)

In my typical pattern of “I don’t like to admit defeat” I took another look at my budget in the hopes of finding that missing couple of hundred dollars.

With the help of a nice “Monday rush” of sales, my estimated paycheque was pushed within theoretical distance of making that Mid-Term Savings Target.

So, I rejiggered my budget, yet making sure that I would still be able to achieve my other goals, and found a way to make this last goal: my Mid-Term Savings Target.

Again, it is tight and it is offloading a couple of small, one-time expenses onto a credit card, but again, it is not much and will be handled swiftly in the New Year.

The trick, going forward, will be to entrench my savings targets (at least until the end of April). This is so that I can, once again, break this cycle of trouble and debt. 

And in so doing, finally breathe a sigh of relief.

So, as I go forward this week in the final days of this paycheque cycle for the last paycheque of this year, I will be trying to bring my budget back from the unrealistic and insane. 

Yet, one way or another, I will know that I have achieved all of my goals that I have set out for myself this year.

I will keep up my mantra: Dream for the future (Land ownership), Plan for the Mid-Term, (Saving up 2 year’s worth of expenses) but work on the now (this budget cycle).

I can and will do this, because where there is a will, there is a way, and I have a strong will.

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

Monday 11 December 2017

The Last Goal (To Achieve This Year)

As is usual, I have been keeping an eye on not only my Budget Spreadsheets but also my Paycheque Estimator. 

I have long since had a tab on my work timesheet/spreadsheet that estimates what my paycheque will look like. I originally called this my “Will I Make Rent” tab.

At the beginning of my Payday Cycle it looks bleak, as the only thing that is on that thing are my hours (no sales, you see).

Yet as time moves on and sales actually happen, that magic number at the bottom of that Paycheque Estimator keeps increasing. 

This will be my last Timesheet and so my last Paycheque of the year. So this is my last chance to actually make that savings target that I have set for myself (months ago). 

I have already achieved/will achieve the following Goals:

Reactivated my Personal Overdraft (Done)
Put my Target $ into RRSP.
Reactivate all of my Wallets (I drained a couple during the final push.)

My last goal is to put a Target $ into my Mid-Term Savings Account, so as to give me a leg up on funding that to my Two Years of Living Expenses.

(Otherwise known as the “I’m Not F@$ked Fund!”)

I will keep working at it and trying to find a way to make that last goal happen, while not jeopardizing the other goals.

I won’t really know until I get my paycheque (on the 22nd) but it would be a nice way to end the year. 

(So, oh look, more frugalness in my future . . . who knew.) 

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

Friday 8 December 2017

Budgetary Cycle Completed in a Day

Yep, I made all of my payments and did what I needed to do all in one day. 

This is a first for me, as there are almost always payments that don’t go through for a few days or a week.

Okay, so my budgetary cycles are always from one payday to the next. As in I count my payday cycle from the morning of one payday to the morning of the next one.

So, technically I have only just begun my Budgetary Cycle and it will continue for the next two weeks. I am just happy that all of my payments have already gone through. 

This is because all that I had to do was fund my wallets, buy my tank of fuel and transfer cash to savings and RRSP.

Seeing my savings greatly increase was a nice thing to see and something that I keep reminding myself as I keep looking at tempting, shiny new things. 

Once again, I need to break the cycle of: 

Trouble -> Debt -> Dig Out of Debt 

By building up and maintaining a decent savings account. 

Something I highly recommend no matter your fiscal situation.

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

Thursday 7 December 2017

I’m Declaring a Stingy Day!

Yep, this is it, this is a day that has been coming for about, oh ten years or so . . . this is a paycheque where I don’t have to pay anyone . . . ANYTHING!

Yep, other than my Operational Expenses (As in: food, gas, etc . . . you know, what I need to exist) I don’t have to give any company or organization anything . . . nope . . . nothing . . . not a dime!

Just so we’re clear, I will not:

Give you money
Pay your bills
Give to your charity
Adopt you
Let you stay in my trailer
Let you freeload off of me 

With that out of the way, back to your regularly scheduled blog entry.

I am aware and wish to apologize for the fact that all of Western Civilization will crumble tomorrow as a result of my stingy day today . . . so . . . sorry about that.

For today, however, I will pause, and reflect on the fact that all of my take home pay is mine and will stay in my account. 

(Apart from what I am using to pay for my Operational Expenses, you technocrats.)

This is a good feeling and is a day that I have been working towards for years now. 

With my next paycheque I will have to pay my monthly bank fees and my cell phone bill (yeah, and each 2nd payday of the month).

This is yet another turning point for me and I am still struggling with the impulse to buy this or that nifty thing. 

I keep looking at these various items and try to convince myself how they would help me and are needed.

In truth I am doing okay with what I have and I am saving up for my future. 

So I will continue to be stingy today, so I can have a better and brighter future tomorrow (and then be generous).

But I’m still not giving you cash, or letting you freeload.

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

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Celebration on a Budget

I was hemming and hawing as to whether or not to go out and celebrate, on the day, of my “Urban Nomad Anniversary.” 

On one hand things are tight, and I am early in my “Rebuilding Phase,” so there is that argument against celebrating.

Yet, important milestones need to be celebrated, yet you don’t have to go crazy. After all, this entire journey in my life is about economizing and saving cash. 

So, I did go out and “celebrate” . . . sorta . . . I went out for a reasonably priced, non-fast food meal from a restaurant that was within my Eastern Home.

Again, it wasn’t fancy, but it was enough to sit down and recognize this day. I will move on today and keep moving forward on this journey (towards the Homestead). 

I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and trudging forward. I will make my life and finances better, one day at a time, one paycheque at a time.

Yet, I will still take the time to celebrate these important moments as they come.

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

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Four Years And Counting!

Happy Anniversary to me! It is that time of year again, when I take stock and look back on this journey of being an Urban Nomad in order to improve my fiscal situation.

It has been exactly four years to the day that I have decided to do what I am doing. Exactly four years ago today I made the choice to seriously downgrade my lifestyle in order to get out of debt.

Even then, the concept of being Totally Debt Free was a concept that was so far away that it was inconceivable at the time. 

Without knowing how I was going to do it and with many, many more questions than answers, I set out to get out of debt.

Well, four years later I have made it and I am now proudly TOTALLY DEBT FREE! I am now at the ground level and starting to continue to improve my fiscal situation. 

Before we can move on to my next goals, let’s look back on last year’s goals and see how I did?

Last year’s goals were: 

1. I will, at all times, maintain a balance of at least $1000.00 in each of my accounts: Main, Mid-Term Savings and Long-Term Savings.

This I have done, and I have trained myself that $1000.00 is zero, so this explains why I am still a bit edgy about the fact that I had to drain all of my accounts to accomplish Goal #2.

2. I will pay off the trailer loan (Wand Loan) before the end of next year with a target paid off date of Nov, 7, 2017.

This is done, and proudly so done a payday early on the glorious day forever known as: TOTAL DEBT FREEDOM DAY!

3. I will maintain all of my credit cards at a $0.00 balance, paying them off in full each and every payday.

This I have done, with the exception of coming down the home stretch towards TOTAL DEBT FREEDOM DAY! This was a premeditated choice and one that I corrected as soon as the payday after TOTAL DEBT FREEDOM DAY!

Okay, enough with being annoying, here are my goals for next year: 

1. I will break the cycle of running to debt when fiscal problems hit me, by funding my Mid-Term Account with enough cash to live on for two years.

2. I will continue my policy of keeping $1000.00 in my Main Account and keep the outstanding balances of all Credit Cards to $0.00 each and every payday.

3. I will build up my Long-Term Account with whatever cash that I can spare. 

4. By the mid to late of 2019, I hope to have enough cash in there to buy a Quarter Section (at least).

Again these are simple goals that are building on my previous goals. That is a pattern, using my previous successes to keep moving forward to new successes.

This is why I am still out here and still freezing my tuchus off. I am doing so because 1) I know how to survive out here and 2) doing so will keep moving me towards my goal of land and home ownership without any debt.

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

Monday 4 December 2017

Back in Fall/Spring Mode (For Now)

With the weather dancing above and below Zero these days, I find myself back to being able to use my toilet. 

As you can imagine, it is quite an inconvenience to have to use public washrooms when I am in my Western Home.

When I am in my Eastern Home, it is not that much of an inconvenience to ‘water the local greenery.’ 

Again, I always adapt to what I am doing and I will take these little niceties as I can, where I can. 

I am certain that I will be dumping again ‘for the last time till spring’ . . . again sometime soon, but until then, I will enjoy one simple luxury. 

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

Friday 1 December 2017

Staying Focussed

I am focussed on my next checkpoint, with regards to my goals. That checkpoint is the New Year.

I have chosen the end of this month and this year to be a turning point, in regards to my finances. Yet not really, it is just nice to think of.

I am eager to get this year over and done with, because in the new year is when my savings will grow.

In reality, now that I am starting to see some cash actually go into my bank account and stay, I am looking forward to seeing more of it.

It is a great relief to finally see my finances start to grow, for me. I will admit that I am tempted to buy a few things, but so far, I have been able to resist.

My focus is and must remain on building up my shattered fiscal reserves. For until I do that, I will be at risk of living on credit again; that is something I refuse to do.

So, I will keep focussed on the long term, yet still set smaller, Milestone Goals along the way, to make sure that I am on track.

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

Thursday 30 November 2017

Winter Wallop Waiting

The warmer weather has been a nice respite, but I know what lurks just beyond the weather forecasts . . . real winter, that’s what.

I am enjoying the moderate weather now for January and February are coming.

I know that the days of daytime highs in the mid teens (below zero Celsius) and overnight lows in the mid to low twenties (yes, also below zero Celsius) are coming.  

I know what to do and how to handle those days. (Mostly just bundle up and hibernate.) 

The added trick of keeping your water in smaller metal containers is also good. That’s so you can put it on the stove to melt it . . . but I digress. 

The point is that I am doing my best to accept the nice weather now, because I know that colder weather is coming. 

We are not out of the woods yet, we haven’t even gotten to the thickest part of the woods yet. 

The point today is to find ways to enjoy the day while you can. I am still living cheaply and still not doing much, but I am trying to find the positive in each day.

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

Wednesday 29 November 2017

I’m Not Alone, It Seems

I saw a news article today that said that fully employed professionals are having a hard time making rent.

Gee, who would have figured that the metrics that drove me to abandon renting have started to catch up to others as well?

There are many who say that if you can’t make ends meet, that is a failure on your part. To a certain extent this is true. 

The answer to a fiscal crunch is usually to downgrade your lifestyle. Yet, what do you do when the whole rental market (or real estate market) has gone insane with stupidly high prices?

You can only cut back so far before you are paying way too much for too little or you chuck it all in and leave, or move in to an RV (like me).

We as a society cannot ignore the fact that the cost of living is rising much higher than wages. This has been happening for so long now that when mentioned it is just shrugged at.

Perhaps we are starting to see a major problem being exposed when (I would hazard a guess) that a healthy portion of our society are house poor.

That means that the lion’s share of any income they take home goes to just existing. 

Am I the only one who sees the crash that is inevitable as the vast majority of our society stops all non-essentials? (As in rent, food, utilities and transportation.) 

Maybe it won’t get that bad tomorrow, but if this trend keeps happening, I will have a lot of company on the streets. 

Maybe I will have to found that “Economic Refugee Camp” after all. 

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

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Aim For The Stars, Hit The Moon

Okay, so I am now two paydays away from the end of the year. Time has just flown by. I now have a good idea on how my progress on my end of year goals is coming along. 

To make a long story: short, not great, but not terrible. I will achieve 3 out of four of my goals and only miss the last one by a couple of hundred bucks.

Thankfully, this last target is a savings target and just arbitrary number that I decided on. It will not affect anything in the long term. 

The point is that even though I have made my major goal of Total Debt Freedom, I still have goals that I work towards.

If you do not have goals then you are not going to go anywhere. I know this from experience, trust me.

I set goals that I see as a small challenge and work towards them. If I miss them, I get frustrated but I move on. 

What I also do is to take a moment to look back at what happened. I look at what I was able to achieve, rather than what I was not.

When you miss a goal that you have set, make sure to look at what you have done, rather than what you haven’t. 

Still set goals, still work towards them, for even if you miss you will be further ahead than you started. (And that is something to be proud of.)

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

Monday 27 November 2017

On An Upward Path

When you are at a low point, it is important to take a moment to look at what you are thinking and why. 

For it is only when you pause to take a look at your thought processes that you can see how ludicrous some of them are. 

It is funny how we can think certain things, yet not really know it. They sorta happen automatically, behind the scenes. 

Such was the case for me. While I won’t go into details, but I will say that I am, starting at least, on an upward path. 

I am learning more about myself, what I want, along with what I find acceptable. 

There are always ways to improve myself and my life. I would also love to have my plans accelerated, but that will not happen anytime soon; I have come to accept this.  

I seem to need to keep relearning the lesson of refocusing one’s mentality and outlook to a positive one. Let’s hope this time, this lesson sticks.

On another note, while I am not happy being single, I am content. I refuse to accept just anyone into my life, as I know what I am looking for and will accept no less.

This may sound arrogant, but it is just simply practical and, let’s face it, humane for all concerned. 

After all, what is the point of getting involved (with anyone) just to leave them not long after, all because they were not what you were looking for in the first place. 

I will be fair and saying that I do not exactly have a throng of women beating my door down, (not that I ever did). 

This change, however, is within me, and once again, it is within my outlook and how I see the world, and women. 

I am simply happy to be on this upward path, and look to climb ever higher as I continue towards my goals.

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

Friday 24 November 2017

A Work In Progress

It is now just over a month from the day that I achieved a great goal: Total Debt Freedom. 

This is a large accomplishment, and something that I should be proud of, and I am.

Yet, I have not relaxed, and this is not entirely due to the fact that I am now focussed on my next and larger goal, but rather due to echoes of the past.

I am still in Survival Mode. I am still weary of my precarious fiscal position and still vulnerable to a number of fiscal shocks. 

I am not settled and I am certainly not at ease. I am better off than I was, but I am still trapped on the hamster wheel of working for existence.

I have not broken the cycle of crisis and debt; not yet, but I will. 

Yet I also find myself battling the scars of a life of: privation, failures and dashed dreams . . . grand dreams at that.

I find myself battling: cynicism and futility.

I trudge forward because that is all I know how to do. 

I know that I will slowly see things getting better in my life and slowly the double act of dread (cynicism and futility) will drop away.

We can get taught what to expect by the repetitive outcomes of our past endeavours. This can be for good and bad; I have seen both. 

I will carry on, and I will endeavour to change my outlook and bring hope, real and true hope back to my life and outlook. 

In time my successes will mount and my hope and confidence in the future will mount as well. For now, it is enough for me to recognize that I am still gripped by the past.

I will endure, I will trudge on; always trudge on. 

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

Thursday 23 November 2017

Networking Night Out

No, this wasn’t a throwback to the “LAN parties” of a few years ago, this was a business networking event that I felt a bit out of place at.

For one, I had no business cards to either hand out or put into the various draw bins. For another, everyone kept asking about what my business was.

The little devil on my shoulder (in the form of a certain friend of mine who resides in Toronto) kept telling me to keep making up some outlandish business that I had . . . “I run a spa for rabbits.”

I just kept saying . . . “I’m the guy from the news a month ago who paid off my debts by moving into my trailer.” That was always an interesting concept for people to try to understand.

For me, the evening did what it was supposed to do, get me out and mingling with people. I do need to break the hibernation habit.

Sure, it was not productive, but it was an interesting evening and I will look for more excuses to get out of the trailer. 

Even though parking was an issue, as always, I need a fair bit of space to park. Again, this is a manageable issue and hardly an excuse to not go anywhere.

I did meet a number of interesting people, but once again, I suck at taking photos to commemorate an event. 

I will add that I do feel a bit more relaxed now that I have my Personal Overdraft back. Just knowing that it is there and I have a bit of wiggle room in my budgeting is a comfort.

It is one concrete step on the journey to rebuilding my finances and yes, breaking the cycle of: fiscal crisis => debt => clawing my way out of debt.

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

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Made It To Payday

Today is a wondrous day for me, for today is the day that my Rebuilding Phase really gets underway. 

This payday I will actually begin the phase of rebuilding my finances. The first of which is to give myself back my Personal Overdraft.

Thankfully I have become so accustomed to having it that I have genuinely felt like I was in the bottom of my overdraft for the past month.

This will ease my tension a bit, but there is still much work to do. 

I have a few ambitious goals to achieve before the end of the year, and I am on track to achieving them.

The achievement that I am most proud of is the fact that I haven’t touched either of my credit cards since paying them off last payday. 

This is important, since I was in the habit of living on them for the previous few paydays. 

I am now getting back into the mindset of “don’t touch them” or rather, breaking that “loosey-goosy” spending trend. 

I still need to get my Mid-Term Account fully funded (to my two-year’s living expenses) before I can start to relax. 

That will break the cycle of running to credit and debt when fiscal trouble arises . . . and then getting tangled in their muck for the next few years. 

This day is but one more step on my journey to truly taking control of my finances and one day achieving fiscal independence. 

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

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Something About This Time of Year

As I look back on my life these past few years (on this journey) I have noticed something . . . November (for me) is a time of change.

It started in November of 2013, when I realized that I had to do something to eliminate my debt. 

I first focussed on my Credit Card Debt and that was taken care of two years later in November of 2015.

Then, a year later I was able to pay off my truck (okay that was in October I think). Here we are a year after that and I have paid off Wanda.

Now that I am debt free, I am focussed on building rather than eliminating; and that is a good thing. 

I am still digging myself out of the hole that I put myself in just to pay off the Wanda Loan. 

I am still nervous and fretting, as I have no cash reserves (yet). Yet is the operative word there.

For, it is with each passing payday that my fiscal situation improves ever more. With it my stress drops a little bit more.

As I start off on this new direction and new Journey (to land ownership), I do so in what seems, to me, to be my month (or months) of change . . . October and November.

Remember: there is never a good time for change, so if you need to make a change, just do it. 

It will always be an inconvenient time to make that change, so just do what you have to do.

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

Monday 20 November 2017

Had A Good Weekend . . . (I Wasn’t Cold)

Sure, I had a good weekend, but this was mostly due to the fact that I wasn’t cold. As I have said before, I get grumpy when I am cold (I’m working on it).

I think part of it is the fact that when it gets below freezing it is too cold to work the laptop. (The other part is “why am I doing this to myself?”)

Have you ever tried typing with bare fingers in sub-freezing temperatures? Trust me, it’s not fun.

I did run the generator on the weekend and use my electric heater to bump the temperature up a bit, so that was nice. 

Again, for me, it is all about getting used to the cold and just powering through it. Finding ways to stay warm and keep the frost from building up inside the trailer. 

My life is still about saving as much cash as I can. The difference is that now the cash that I save is going into my bank account . . . for me, and for my future.

So, I will keep up my frugal and freezing ways and do so to benefit myself. 

I was able to do a bit of work on that “Science Town” idea and that felt good. 

I was able to further refine the “zoning map” of the Quarter Section that I intend to buy to build the town on.

Slowly, I will start to work on the supporting documents, further getting the ideas out of my head and onto paper in some semblance of an organized manner. 

I will need to have a plan before I am able to get anyone to help me with it. First things first, get my own finances in order, then buy the land, and then found the town. 

I still firmly believe that  . . . If I found it . . . people will come. 

(Had to; sorry.)

Remember:  Dream for the future, Plan for the mid-term, but work on the now.

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

Friday 17 November 2017

Still Too Stubborn To Quit

I get frustrated, I grumble, I bitch, and I moan; but I get up and keep trudging forward. That’s me, that’s what I do; it’s all I know how to do: keep moving forward.

I have said it many times, I @#$% hate the cold. I can do it, I can handle it, but I hate it. So, you may be wondering why I am enduring this winter in Wanda, when I could rent a room somewhere.

A two bedroom apartment/condo in Canmore as I take the time to craft the plan and write the constitution for my town/new society in comfort and leisure would be nice. (A year of all expenses paid, of course.) 

(*Sigh . . .Back to reality.) The answer to why I am still enduring winter in Wanda is that I have greater and larger goals than just becoming Totally Debt Free. 

Now that that goal has been achieved, I have my sights set on another: Land ownership.

I have other Milestone Goals along the way, but the next Crossroads Goal for me is to own land (1/4 Section minimum). 

It is with that goal in mind that I keep going. I am going through this hard patch so I can get through to the other side. Not just into spring, but into my next goals.

In essence, I am freezing my tuchus off now (in Wanda) so I can freeze my tuchus off on my land . . . in Wanda . . . as I start the Homesteading Process.

In times of hardship and trouble, it is important to keep in mind why you are going through what you are going through: your goals.

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

Thursday 16 November 2017

Still Adjusting

I am still getting myself into the mindset of having to deal with winter. I know what to do, I can do it and I will, most certainly, manage winter.

The problem is that I am still getting used to the fact that my life, in essence, hasn’t changed despite the monumental milestone that I have achieved (getting debt free).

I still live in my trailer, still park on streets and I still deal with all that entails. 

I still have grand plans for the future and each time that I take the time to look at them, I am left with the frustrating disappointment that my vision is not my reality.

I know that I am at least two years away from taking the next step towards making that vision a reality. One thing at a time, one step at a time, I know that.

My becoming debt free was one step on the path to making that vision, that town that I want to found, a reality. I know this too.

I will plod forward and do what I can, with what I have.

I also know that my frustration is a reality centred on the lack of any fiscal reserves. Alarm bells are going off with the current state of my finances, I know this too.

Things will steadily get better, things will steadily improve, I know this too.

I, as always, just have to keep trudging on forward . . . through the now, in order to get to my future.

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

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Meal Starter Made!

Another thing I did over the weekend was to make a batch of what I call my “Meal Starter.” 

This is essentially a large batch of ground beef, mixed vegetables seasoned with taco seasoning that has the sauce thickened out with hash browns. 

Why hash browns? Well, what are hash browns? They are: peeled, diced, frozen, potatoes. I used them all the time for this purpose. 

I was able to try out a new toy, that I picked up for twenty bucks . . . my hotplate.

This is essentially one burner of an electric stove in a small box with an electric cord on the end of it. 

I can run this with my generator, if I keep the temp to the minimum setting. 

I bought it so that the next time I am at a campground I can cook with their electricity rather than my propane. 

I bought an electric kettle for the same reason. The next thing I want to buy is an electric toaster, so I can have actual toast, rather than toasting bread on a frying pan.

Anyways, back to the Meal Starter. This stuff simmered for over three hours 

After that I let it sit for a day. This is in order to let all the flavours mix, and the stuff to cool down enough to put it in bags for the freezer.

I use sandwich sized Ziploc bags and just squeeze the air out. This way they store easy and defrost quickly. 

I use this stuff to add nutrients to any meal, but mostly I make a mean “grilled cheese, manwhich.”

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

Tuesday 14 November 2017

The Phone is Dead, But Not My Resolve

The perplexed look on their face was both frustrating and perplexing. This was the salesperson who was supposed to be the expert on phones for the store.

They knew their craft, or rather how to sell phones with plans. The concept of someone just buying the phone and not get a new plan was foreign to them.

I spelled out what I was looking for:

Cheap (as in less than $100.00).
All I want it to do is phone and text.
No contract renewal.

In essence all I wanted was a cheap phone to tie me over until I decide to buy a fancy new phone. I just wanted to put my SIM card in the new phone and go.

I didn’t want to sign up for a new contract, just to get a “cheap” phone. Why? For one I already have a contract, so I just need a phone.

For another, that phone is not cheap or free. You are just financing the portion of the phone that you do not pay for up front . . . over the term of the contract.

Since your phone company is not telling you the cost of financing, and they are not competing for your phone financing business, I can only shudder to guess what that phone will actually cost you.

Even more infuriating was that I had to explain this to the salesperson and even then they did not believe me. 

Again, this is due to the fact that this was not in their sales training manual. I can’t imagine why the mobile phone providers would want to hide this from people.

They kept insisting that she could keep my monthly payments the same or less. Again, this was not my concern, I just didn’t see the need to sign up for another term.

I had to squawk to get to tier two customer service just to get this plan . . . I highly doubt that you, in the store, can do better. 

The other thing is that I actually want to know the details of what I am agreeing to, not just the bottom line cost. (I’m that annoying kind of customer.)

Then there is that thing that I like the freedom of not being obligated to stay with a particular phone company. I like the knowledge that I control this relationship, the company doesn’t.

Why was I shopping for a phone? Well, Saturday morning my phone that I bought brand new in October or November of 2012, just decided to not boot up anymore (go figure).

I was tempted to just buy a phone and be done with it; put it on a card and carry a balance. Then I mentally reviewed my budget and dug in my heels. 

I am still in The Trough and have to spend nothing and just get through this. 

Sure, last payday I was able to put some cash aside, but that’s it; it was put aside and not for me to spend.

I still have to get through to next payday before I can have any wiggle room in my budget. 

That is when I will have my Personal Overdraft back, until then I only have $20.00 in my bank account and that concept scares me. 

An old friend of mine came through for me and is in the process of sending me one of his old phones. 

That is fine for me, as I just want it to phone and text. All of the nifty things I do on my iPad.

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

Friday 10 November 2017

Actual Debt Freedom Day!

Today is the actual day that a dream that I have been working towards for years now has truly been realized.

My last payment on my last debt (credit card) has gone through and been posted. I am now, as of this morning, officially debt free.

It is a relief, yet I am not celebrating. No, this is not due to the fact that I am overly goal oriented. 

Sure, I am looking to my next goal, but that is not the reason. I am debt free, sure, but I have no cash reserves. 

At this moment, if some large fiscal calamity were to happen or if I were suddenly unemployed, I would be at risk of starting this cycle of debt again.

I would have no choice but to live on my credit cards again, as I have no other option.

That is why I am living as frugally as I can (within reason) and put as much cash into my savings account as I can. 

I want, no I need, to break the cycle of money and never-ending debt. I will continue to move forward and build my savings for myself and my future (and future family). 

I do this to not only prevent myself from falling into the trap of never-ending debt again, but so I can truly move forward towards my next dream: 

Founding a self-sufficient, off-the-grid, town, whose overarching goal will be to further: science, technology, knowledge and understanding.

First things first, break the cycle of never-ending debt (then build the future).

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

Thursday 9 November 2017

The Changing Is The Hardest Part

Over the past few days I have noticed a pattern. I am fine when I am in whatever mode that I am in. 

If I am in my work clothes, I’m fine. If I am in my warm weather clothes, I’m fine. If I am in my sleeping bag, I’m fine. 

It is when I am changing from one mode to another, that I am not fine. 

Okay, a good portion of this is because at that moment I am stripped down to my skivvies in a deep freezer. 

A part of it is also the fact that it is at that moment that the comfortable becomes uncomfortable. That, in itself, is the essence of why we resist change.

Before we change we are comfortable, perhaps not happy or well-off, but comfortable. After we change we begin to become comfortable, comfortable in our new reality, our new situation. 

It is during the change, during that time of turmoil and upheaval that our world is thrown into a tizzy, that we are most certainly not comfortable. 

So, what this comes down to is that our fear of change is really our fear of being uncomfortable; of the unknown that a change can bring. 

A few things to think about the next time you are resisting making a good change.

(I still hate winter and I still hate the cold . . . but I can manage in it.)

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

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Getting Back Into The Groove

Okay, so whilst I will never frolic in winter, I am once again learning to deal with it. I am once again getting back into the Winter-Mode Mindset.

Again, how you deal with things is greatly contingent on your attitude towards it. You can fight it and try to (in my case) will winter away, but . . . good luck with that.

You do need to just get to a point where you just accept what is happening and deal with it. I am not quite there yet, but I’m working on it. 

I still swear up a storm and rail at the injustice of it all while I am changing into and out of my warm clothes in sub-zero temps.

It’s a process.

I am happy to note, however, that I have officially paid off my credit cards, so I am now completely debt free. 

One card may take a few days to register the payment but I have handed them the cash so I’m considering this one done.

I will be on the lookout for the “Bounce.” The bounce is what happens when you pay off a credit card that you were carrying a balance on.

You still must pay the interest that had accrued from the beginning of your payment cycle to the time that you paid the credit card off. 

(This will show up a few days after you pay the card off.)

This is one of the reasons why I check my bank and credit card balances daily. Not only to ensure that there are no funny transactions going on but to pay this off.

So, in a few days I expect to see a balance of a few dollars pop up on both of them. I will pay it off instantly, as in that day. 

This is the only way to get rid of it all together. If you wait until you get paid to pay it off, then the interest will still accrue and you will have a balance of less than a dollar.

As for me, I am starting to shift my focus and mindset away from debt elimination and towards savings. 

This is a happy moment for me, and I am truly in the process of finally turning the page on debt.

All of this life shifting is a process and I am doing my best to get back into the groove.

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

Tuesday 7 November 2017

The Rebuilding Phase Has Begun!

So, today is payday and I was able to pay my bills and put a little bit into savings. 

This means that I am officially not only completely debt free (the credit cards will be paid off tonight) but I am now building up my savings.

This end of the year, at least for me, means that my paycheques are bigger, and no this is not due to the generosity of Boss. 

My paycheques are smaller at the beginning of the year and start to get slightly larger towards the middle and even better at the end of the year.

This is due to the amount of payroll taxes that are taken off of my paycheque. More is taken off my paycheque at the beginning of the year, with very little at the end of it.

The government wants to make sure to get their share and get it early, go figure.

At any rate, for me on this auspicious day it means that I am able to officially shift into savings mode. 

Woo hoo. 

For this is what The Rebuilding Phase is, it is the phase of my life where I rebuild my fiscal reserves up to a point where I have established as my new minimum acceptable levels. 

$1k in my Main Account
Two years worth of living expenses in the Mid-Term account

Once that is done then I will shift into The Dreambuilding Phase. This is where I will put my savings into the Long-Term Account and so doing, build up towards my dreams.

For now, though, I will keep trudging forward and take solace in the knowledge that each paycheque not only moves me further ahead, but further away from destitution (should I lose my job or other fiscal emergencies arise).

All because I downgraded my lifestyle so I could upgrade my finances. Now, whilst I am still adjusting to endure the cold temps, I am filled with a sense of pride and yes, freedom.

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

Monday 6 November 2017

The Winter-Mode Mindset

Reminding myself how to bundle up is one thing, accepting that I have to is another. This is the challenge that I am now facing.

I got through this weekend just fine; I have everything still attached, and no, I did not get frostbite. 

I was, however, very frustrated and grumpy with the pace of things freezing. I cursed up a storm every time I had to strip down to change into or out of my warm clothes.

Again, this is a mindset issue, something that I need to adjust to.

I have been here before I have been through the winter of (AKA beginning in): 2014, 2015, and 2016. I can get through the winter of 2017.

I have said that I have frozen my tuchus off to pay the banks back, so I will freeze my tuchus off to pay myself, and I will do that.

I am not sure, however, if I will do the winter of 2018 in Wanda. I may rent a room before then, so I can start to have some semblance of a life. 

I will still be cheap, however, and still put as much as I can spare into my savings. Yet, I will do so with a modest measure of comfort. 

As it stands now my life is a life interrupted. I am just existing, I never feel comfortable enough going around socializing. 

Parking is an ever issue, so too is leaving Wanda anywhere that is too far from my eyesight. Thus I am a creature of habit and boring habits at that.

For now, I know that I just need to trudge on ahead and adjust to the new normal of living in a freezer. I have done this before, and I can, and will, do this again.

This is just a period of adjustment of getting my mindset in the game of toughing out winter in Wanda . . . again.

For me, it is mostly just talking tough to myself and looking at my budget and goals. That is always a good motivator. 

I do this to remind myself why I am out here, of what good can and will, come if I go through this hardship now.

I will adjust, I will get through winter, and I will push on into spring, and summer beyond. As with all things: this too shall pass. 

(After which I can start to defrost all of my belongings.)

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

Friday 3 November 2017

Winter-Mode Wear

Here are some tips on how I manage in -15C weather without a heater. For those of you who are long-time readers, this will be a review.

With the sudden drop in temps and the snow in my neck of the woods, I thought it would be prudent to pass along a few of my tips on how to stay warm without a furnace.

First of all, what I have found is that your body will generate as much heat as you need to survive. All you have to do is keep that heat in. 

How and why is this? Well, the thing to remember is that trapped air is what insulation essentially is. The trapped air will be heated by your body and thus help to keep your body warm.

With that in mind, let’s start with my lounging around the house wear. First of all, throw fashion out the window; it’s function and comfort all the way.

I start by wearing 4 layers of thermal underwear. How I do that is I bought four sets of thermal underwear; each one is1 size larger than the previous one. 

So, since Medium size fits me, that is the innermost layer, then comes Large, then Extra-Large, and finally Extra-Extra Large.

To make taking them on and off, easer, (easier is a relative term) I have sewn the cuffs together so they are all one unit (sorta).

I layer them by tucking all 4 layers of the tops in between the middle two layers of the bottoms. 

There may be a bit of pulling on the sleeves to eliminate the bunching up or “ringing” of the cuffs at the wrists. You want them nice and smooth, not lumpy.

Then comes the socks, 3 pairs of wool socks, with the outer layer being a knee-high pair that I bought at a hunting store. 

They key here is to buy larger size of socks, so they are not tight enough to cut off circulation in your feet.

Tuck one layer into each sock.. As in tuck the thermal underwear pant bottoms into the innermost sock.

Next tuck the inner layer of sweat pants into the next layer of sock, and so on. This helps keep the air and heat trapped in.

Finally comes a pair of rubber (or plastic) soled slippers. This allows me to walk around the trailer or pop outside, yet still keeping my feet warm.

Remember to get them a few sizes larger than you normal, so as to accommodate the three or four layers of wool socks and not cut off circulation.

Now comes the head, I have a wool toque that has flaps that comes down over the ears and a string to tie the flaps together under the chin. 

Not fancy, but it works, and I can sleep with this on, as my head pokes out of the covers all night, so otherwise it would be cold.

Then a simple pair of thin yet well insulated gloves to allow me to do most tasks around the place without taking my gloves off.

Now I can and do add more layers to my body by simply layering sweatshirts and sweaters on top and layering sweatpants on the bottoms. 

My record is a total of 8 layers. 

The trouble with adding layer after layer is that it becomes harder to do things, as each time you bend your arms or legs you can cut off circulation in your outer limbs. 

So holding a phone to your ear becomes a task of switching arms every few minutes. 

Again, you do what you have to do, so I recommend adding one layer at a time and wait a minute or two before adding another. 

For those of you braving the cold, I hope this helps.

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

Thursday 2 November 2017

Winter Hath Come

. . . and I don’t care. It dipped down to -10C last night; so what. I got dressed up in my thermal underwear getup and I was fine and warm all evening.

I may break down and break out my -40C rated sleeping bag for tonight . . . we shall see. I was a little chilly, but not all that cold. (It’s more of a pride thing.)

The point is that sure we got a skiff of snow last night and there is more on the way for the next few days, but I will be okay. 

I have been here before (three winters and counting) in Wanda and so I know what to expect. I don’t like it, but I can handle it.

I don’t frolic in winter, but I don’t wimp out either. There are those who are trying to convince me to rent a room, or otherwise stop living in Wanda, if only for winter.

I keep telling myself that each day that I am living in Wanda and doing so as cheaply as I can, I am moving myself one step forward. 

That has never been truer than now. For, as I move forward I am putting ever more cash in my bank account, each and every payday. 

That is something worth going through all of this for. After all, I don’t want to live in Wanda for the rest of my life, just as long as is necessary. 

One thing that keeps me living in Wanda until my dreams are fulfilled is the promise to myself that I would not rent again. 

After moving out of the room that I rented and into Wanda, I promised myself that I would go from living in Wanda to living in my house on my land.  

So there is that . . . I guess it is a pride thing after all. (I can be stubborn, but in a good way.)

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

Wednesday 1 November 2017

The After Vacation Payday Gamble

One thing that I have noticed is that after a vacation, it is hard to guestimate what my paycheque will actually be.

This is due to a few factors. For one, the replacement daily rate seems to sometimes not quite be what my actually daily rate is.

Then there is the complication of me not earning any commission on online sales (since I am not here to process orders).

Add into the mix the fact that at this time of year, fewer taxes are taken off, and you have a wide range of possibilities of what my paycheque on Tuesday will actually be.

The good news is that thanks to a few good days (in sales) and two extra days in this payperiod I should make at least my targeted minimum. 

Even if that is the case, I will still be able to pay off my two credit cards . . .

(Don’t yell at me, the second one was due to two automatic charges that hit it at the same time.) 

. . . and balance my budget all the same. 

The nice thing is that if I make more than my budgeted minimum, I will be able to actually put cash in my bank account . . . to stay!

This will mean that my Rebuilding Phase could . . . possibly . . . hopefully . . . just maybe . . . begin in less than a week.

We shall see what actually happens, as things could still take and abrupt nosedive. No matter what happens, though, I will persevere and continue to move forward.

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