Tuesday 31 January 2017

Goin’ For Broke

That is an interesting statement, as that is what could happen to me if things turn sour. 

I could end up sitting pretty, or scrambling to cover my hiney. I have been there before, so it doesn’t really scare me. 

Intellectually I know that it should, but I have developed a flair for adventure and kinda like living a tad dangerously.

I have been running the numbers and trying to answer the all-important question . . . how quickly can I pay off the Wanda Loan?

Well, the results have been encouraging, so encouraging in fact that I have decided to enact what may seem to be a wild and crazy plan.

I will leave what I have in my Long-Term Savings, keep my Mid-Term Savings funded to just above its minimum acceptable levels but the rest will go straight onto the Wanda Loan. 

Every last dime that I can spare, each and every payday (along with whatever donations . . . 

Hint, hint . . . sad puppy dog face . . . help save the children  . . . I’m somebody’s child  

. . . happens to come my way) will go straight onto that loan.

This will mean that I won’t be building up my savings at all, but it will mean paying that loan off faster (and thus freeeeeedooooooom). 

I could either be debt free much sooner or scrambling to get a job in a cratered economy, the likes of which Canada hasn’t seen since the 1930’s.

I figure that the chances latter happening because of a trade war between the US and China (thereby damaging us as collateral damage) is slim to none. 

(Famous last words I know.)

I know that this plan is crazy but I know that I just need this last part of this journey done. 

I want, no I need, to be debt free and then putting that cash into my bank as I build and work towards my future . . . I want my paycheque back!

I will keep you all informed on how things are going, but I won’t announce how close I am until the momentous day has arrived. 

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

Monday 30 January 2017

Be Willing to Zig, When Everyone Tells You to Zag

I have previously touched on what I will cover in today’s blog entry in greater detail. As I have said, I like my job, I like the company I work for and yes I like my Boss.

Three years ago, when I started this journey towards Total Debt Freedom, and Boss found out (through work conversations) that I was downsizing my life to take care of debt, he was amused.

Boss chuckled and said something along the lines of “that’s admirable,” and left it at that. Yet over time that attitude changed.

Boss has asked how things are going and what challenges that I am facing in my journey. Part of it was genuine interest, yet part of it was entertainment. 

As each credit card got paid off and the longer I stayed out here, living in my RV, Boss’s attitude grew more concerned, worried even.

It was somewhere in the dying days of Card #3, my largest and last credit card to be paid off that something Boss said, first triggered that perhaps Boss did not have my best interests at heart. 

Boss looked at me with a straight face and said “Not all debt is bad, you should keep some.” I looked back at Boss with a puzzled and disbelieving face and said nothing, but nodded.

After that, during last year, when I was building up my savings in the bank, Boss kept talking about the merits of home ownership. 

I mean Boss, was routinely talking about how great it is to buy a home . . . any home . . . any condo . . . anything at all, just for the love of god get a mortgage!!!!

Boss even suggested that I buy a one bedroom condo! Anyone who knows anything knows that the resaleability of a one bedroom condo is not good. 

Most people buying something want a two bedroom condo at least. One for them and one for the kids (present or future) or at least an office. 

I still remember the wide-eyed panicked expression on Boss’s face when I had mentioned in passing that I had paid off the truck (over two years early).

This year, as I focus on being debt free, there is a talk at least once a week on the merits of buying something and how debt is good. 

I just ignore this as I continue towards my goal of Total Debt Freedom, this year. I accept that Boss would like me to carry debt. 

My best guess as to why this is, is because that I will be more likely to stay at work and be less likely to go elsewhere. 

An indebted employee is more controllable and will put up with more crap. Doublely so if that employee is married with children.

To be fair and balanced, I also accept that it is possible that Boss is giving me what Boss genuinely feels is good advice, and the best course of action for me to follow. 

We live in a world which has taught us that everyone has debt and that nobody is supposed to ever be debt free. This is just a pipedream, reserved only for those who win the lottery, or receive a large inheritance.

I will buy something, but I will do so whilst remaining debt free. I have credit cards and I still use them, but I will not get into a large and crushing debt again. 

If I buy something on credit, there will be an end date, something similar to a car loan. Once I buy my freedom, I will not be so willing or eager to give it up again. 

This is me, and what I chose for myself. 

As always, dear reader, make your own choices and do what you feel is best for you. Never let anyone, myself included, dissuade you from doing what you decide is best for you.

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

Friday 27 January 2017

Self-Induced Stress, or Learning Curve?

Okay, so I will admit that when it comes to my finances, at least, I like control. I didn’t always, but I do now, I like to know exactly where my money is going and when payments are coming out.

I can measure that, I can plan for that, I can control that, or rather, I can control what impact those things have on: me, my finances, and therefore, my future.

Three years ago, I was just used to giving all of my paycheque away to everyone else, that the thought of having a savings account was a laughable dream.

Now, the thought of not having one is frightening. I got used to that steadily building savings account, knowing and dreaming of all of the wonderful things I could do with it. 

Not the least of which is to survive a massive downturn in the economy. An Oops Fund, if you don’t have one . . . get one! 

So, this year, me giving approximately three quarters of my paycheque to the bank in order to pay down the Wanda Loan, is something I have to get used to again.

It is an adjustment and yet another change in my life that I will have to make on this journey to total debt freedom. 


Now that I know that the bank will take their sweet time to process these extra payments but that I can expect it to be done within a week, I’m good with that.

If I can make the payment at the bank, I will do that, because I like the control and doing things instantly, when I want them done.

They key here, is to learn, adjust and adapt in order to keep moving forward towards my goal: Total Debt Freedom this year.


On that front, I am on track to be totally debt free before the end of the year, even if you don’t count the $40.00 or so that the regular payments are taking off of the Principle, every two weeks.

So, as long as I don’t stop making those payments (for whatever reason) I will be Totally Debt Free before this calendar year runs out. 

(Go on . . . say it . . . you know you want to)

A thousand things could happen to delay or prevent that. Heck, a sudden and unexpected windfall could come along and pay that off much earlier (doubtful, but technically possible).

I will choose to see the positive in life and keep focussed on my goal, and beyond. 

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

Thursday 26 January 2017

Payment Peeves

So, as you all know, I got paid this last Sunday, so that means I made another large payment on the Wanda Loan. 

Well, sorta . . . you see in order to do the extra payments I can’t just process them automatically, as I do other payments. That would be crazy-silliness; no, they have to be ‘processed manually.’

So, fine, I think, sure have someone else look them over and handle the payment. 

Yet, I put that payment ‘request’ in on Sunday afternoon and here we are on Thursday morning and it still has not been processed. 

I get that Sunday was not a regular business day, fine. Yet here we are three full business days later and ticking into the fourth and still nothing has been processed.

I don’t know how to say this but I have too much money in my account. You see, they don’t even take the money from your account until someone ‘manually processes’ it.

Failing that I will phone the bank up and try phone banking to see if that can get it done right away. One way or another I will find a way to do this quicker . . . or exhaust all of my options.

I don’t really mind that someone has to look it over, fine do that, but do it swiftly. As we all know, banks sure are quick and efficient at taking cash from you when it suits them.

Yet, when you want to give them an extra payment, they are as slow as molasses in . . . well . . . this month. 

I will talk to someone at the bank on my next payday to see if I can have someone there ‘process it manually.’ I will keep you all posted on what happens and when this payment is actually processed.

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

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Banking on the Great Bluff

I will admit that this week, for a while rather, I have been stressed as I wonder and worry about my future. 

Factors outside of my control (such as a certain individual holding a certain influential office) could, almost overnight, put me out of a job.

As I have said before I work for a company which imports stuff from China (making sure it is top quality stuff that meets North American standards) and then exports them to customers in Canada and the US (mostly in the US).

So, as you can imagine, any one of a number of options taken by the new US administration could quite quickly lock us out of our overwhelmingly largest market. (Can you say sudden downsize of a company, anyone?)

If this were last year or next year, I would be much less stressed. As with each payday, a little more cash would be going into my saving account.

I could use that to live on as I look for other work. Not so this year with large fistfuls of cash that I am giving to the bank. (It still feels wrong to give most of my paycheque straight to the bank.)

I have to take solace, however, that with the intertwined nature of the economies of our two countries that limiting or hurting trade with/from Canada would hurt the US.

This is like cutting your nose off to spite your face or shooting yourself in the foot (pick your analogy). 

I am willing to bet (my mid-term fiscal future) on the fact that this noise and rhetoric is just pre-bargaining sabre rattling as the new administration down south looks for a good deal.

Personally I am inclined to strongly suggest that we recall our ambassador, expel their ambassador and cut off all diplomatic relations and trade with them if they do anything remotely to hurt us. 

The insult and shock would make the US Congress demand that the pres make things right, thereby putting us in a stronger bargaining position. (But I digress.)

This administration or at least most of the state governments and Congress knows how important free flowing trade is to them (and us), and won’t do anything to seriously jeopardize this.

They will, however want to ensure that we, as a trading partner, lose money in any and all trade with them. (If they even suggest this, do what I said earlier).

As fun as all that is to say, I am banking on this continued trade to keep the dollars flowing back and forth across that border (and thus me gainfully employed).

So, I will keep handing cash over to the banks and slowly buy my freedom by the end of this year. I will trickle-save what I can so I have a modest amount of cash on hand, just in case.

I will do so resting somewhat easier that a trade war is unlikely (and that our Prime Minister would never do what I had suggested . . . as fun as it sounds).

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

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Not in the Budget

As I have said before, I am adjusting to these very stringent budgets that I have set for myself. 

Even as I sit here on the morning of the second day after payday, I am looking forward to the next one.

My budget is set, my expenses are taken care of and everything is on track. So all is well, right? Sorta . . .

You see, I have a practice that I typically do, which is to go to Banff (or some campsite) for every long weekend. 

Well, here in Alberta the next long weekend is the Family Day Long weekend from February 18 – 20.

Well that would cost me not only the camping fees but also the extra fuel to get there and back. This time, at this delicate juncture, I just don’t have it in the budget.

Thankfully, this winter, or at least this January, has not been that bad, so the need to go for a break in the mountains is not that strong.

I would still like to go, but I have other more important priorities. One is getting caught up on my Wanda Paydown Plan, and the other is building up my Mid-Term Savings.

I have a very lofty goal to accomplish this year, and for my peace of mind I need to build up my fiscal reserves, just in case that is all I have to live on.

After a year of steadily growing savings, I feel kinda naked without one. This is a balance that I need to strike between fiscal prudency and enjoyment.

I will most likely make a trip to the mountains the next Long Weekend. This one I have to skip, for the same reason I usually go . . . peace of mind.

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

Monday 23 January 2017

Trump Smump

I was asked why I didn’t blog about the incoming President (now current President) of the United States. Frankly, the answer is that I don’t want to think about him.

He is the President of the United States and so he is not my leader. I never did subscribe to the whole “Leader of the free world” thing. 

I know that since he heads up the largest market for our little company (the one that I work for and rely on) that his moves and decisions could have a devastating impact on it and therefore me.

Again, I won’t go into listing exactly how he could screw me over  as I don’t want to focus on it. Or get into politics, for that matter. 

The American people voted for him, so he’s in as the leader of America . . . not Canada. I don’t have to listen to him or pay him any mind, but I do need to keep an eye on him.

So, this makes what was already a stressful and uncertain year, that much more stressful and uncertain. 

I am now back to a phase where I am handing over large wads of cash to my creditors in order to buy back my freedom. 

Last year, I was putting the cash in the bank, saving it up and in so doing with each payday, I had a slightly larger cushion in case I was suddenly unemployed.

This year, I have a much smaller cushion . . . a pin cushion by comparison. This is where the crux of my stress over this man and his potential impact on my life lies.

I know that I can’t stop this paydown plan, as it is working and I am gaining momentum on my last and largest ever debt . . . the Wanda Loan.

I have a bit of cash here and there and that unused Vacation pay which will tide me over if I am unemployed. 

Then, if the company shuts down I will have that lottery ticket known as “Unemployment Insurance” who knows it may actually pay me something.

All I can do is keep moving forward and trying to do two things at once. The first is keeping up that Wanda Paydown Plan, and the other is to trickle save as much as I can . . . just in case.

I know that I will be okay, though, somehow, someway I will survive. I just don’t have it in me to just give up.

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

Friday 20 January 2017

Budget Constraints

Okay, so I got my paycheque yesterday. It was nice and all, but it doesn’t do me any good, because payday is this Sunday and so the check is dated for that day. 

I am sure that if I put my mind to it, I could figure out some little scheme to deposit that cheque early, but I am not that devious or desperate.

What it does do is let me finalize my budget for the upcoming payday, and this is where today’s problem lies. 

This paycheque was less than the minimum amount that I structure my budgets around. It was just a bit short of that, not disastrously short but short regardless.

I had already cut back to minimum on a lot of things to make this work as I had an extra expense to take care of. 

So, this means that I am faced with what to do with this budgetary shortfall. 

I could do the obvious thing and just cut back a little bit on the amount that I intend to pay down on the Wanda Loan. 

The trouble is that I have already done that last payday and this. As it stands I owe that plan an extra two hundred dollars to make up for the cutbacks this month.

I refuse to let this become a pattern or it will seriously derail the plans to become totally debt free this year. 

(Either that or I will have to drain all of my cash reserves to do so . . . no thanks.)

If I cut back any further in my budget than I would have to do something silly like just not replenish my wallets (which I use for daily expenses).

This, however, typically leaves me spending on a credit card or right out of the account to do what I need to do.

I have decided to just run a minor deficit this current budget with the promise to balance the budget next time. 

So, I will dip into my personal overdraft this payperiod but get myself out of my personal overdraft next payperiod.

This is kinda kicking the can down the road a bit, but as long as I make sure to restore balance to my budget and pay back that Overdraft next payday, all is well. 

In fact, that is what that Personal Overdraft is for, to tide me over when small paycheques come in or other large expenses hit me.

The danger in running a deficit budget is that it becomes a habit, or that you just slide into and start living in that overdraft. 

This is why doing this scares me, as I have done this before. I have mended my previous careless and spendthrift ways, however, so this is not that much of a fear, yet a fear nonetheless.

I am only allowing myself to do this because it looks like the next paycheque will be more than my amount that I budget for. 

Again, it is this dance of budgets and financing which allows me to move myself forward, despite what comes my way.

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

Thursday 19 January 2017

Wanda Loan Paydown Update

Okay, so today is Thursday, and not only that but it is a Regular Wanda Payment Thursday. Even more special is that this is the first Regular Wanda Payment after my first large payment on the Wanda Loan.

Okay, so as I have said, typically with each regular payment (Of $122.38) the amount that is taken off of the Principle (currently in the mid $40.00 Range) would increase by $0.10 (like clockwork).

With this payment there was a chance that nothing would change, or at least, nothing would change until the first of next month. 

I have noticed, however, that this is not the case. I noticed that this payment was indeed different and varied from the established pattern . . . to my favour.

With this regular payment, instead of what was taken off the Principle increasing by $0.10, it increased by $2.23! I expect this trend to continue and perhaps increase as I continue to make regular and large payments directly on the loan.

While this increase will not pay the loan off by June, this is a significant change. It also shows that this plan is vastly superior from just stuffing the cash in my Long-Term Savings Account and waiting until I can pay the loan off all at once. 

With the political uncertainty, particularly around trade issues in our company’s largest market and trading partner, the instinct to turtle in and bank the cash is strong.

I am reassuring myself that if for whatever reason I am suddenly unemployed (due to company shut down, etc) that I do have modest cash reserves and an ever growing pot of vacation pay that I don’t touch.

I have seriously reduced my living expenses and so, if it does come to that, I will be okay. I will continue to put large wads of cash directly on this loan as long as I can.

The cynical part of me expects a phone call from the bank telling me to stop. (Then I will revert to putting the cash in the bank until I can pay it off all at once.)

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

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Tempting Distractions

I will admit that this does feel like the home stretch of my long journey to Debt Freedom. I know, intellectually that I have longer still to go beyond being debt free.

Let’s face it, a year from now, sure, I will be debt free but I will also have very little cash. In essence I will be the indentured servant who has just bought his freedom: free, yet poor . . . yet rich at the same time.

Yet it is a milestone that should be celebrated and respected, for it is one that few achieve. It will also be a great stress relief for me, as I will be able to live on $500.00 a month. 

Yet something cropped up yesterday that I probably should blog about. As you may or may not know, I have been looking online for properties, on and off for the last few months.

This is so I know roughly what piece of property in what area of the country is going for what price. I want to have a sense of the land prices before I start to look.

One of my fears is running into a real estate agent version of a “used car salesman,” or perhaps worse, the kind that will only help you fill out the paperwork and not help in the bartering process. 

(Call me crazy but if you’re my Real Estate Agent, you work for me and my best interests, but I digress.) 

Anywhoos, I found myself looking for cheap properties in the city that I live in now. I was tempted to buy what looked like a steal of a deal on a mobile home for $15k.

The thought of buying something and gaining a measure of comfort as I continue down this path was, and is still, appealing.

This moment lasted long enough to be a fine and nice daydream before reality crept back in. 

The thoughts and memories of: Pad Rent, Utilities and the other bills associated with having a fixed address dashed that dream . . . for now.

I know it would be nice, and who knows, in a year I may revisit this thought again. For now, though, I must stay the course and keep doing what I am doing, or I will not be debt free this year. 

I am almost over the hard part: the dead of winter. After which, comes spring, then summer, and yes winter again. All of which I have seen before and all of which I know how to handle. 

The difference that a year will make is the fact that all of my paycheque (sans-taxes) will be mine alone and totally discretionary. That is something that very few can say, and is worth another year of living in my trailer.

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

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Happy, But Not Content

The weather is warmer and I can even get my trailer up to a decent temperature when I am home. I can even still have liquid water in my water jugs when I wake up (without taking extra measures). 

I even had to run my fridge today! (Woo hoo!)

All in all, things are okay, I am on track and I can see that I am making progress towards my overall goal of total debt freedom before the end of this year.

I know that the cold weather will return and yes, it is possible that I will see temperatures south of minus twenty again this winter.

None of that scares me, nor does it diminish my spirits, for I know that I can handle it; I know that I can weather anything. 

I also know that such a statement is tempting fate, but I will not let the cynic in me kill my confidence in myself. For I have endured too much to sell myself short again.  

Whatever does befall me, I will meet the challenge head on. I would even go so far as to say that I am happy with my life . . . happy that is, but not content. 

I have a number of things that I would like to accomplish and goals yet to be achieved. I will meet any target I set for myself (unless I move or change the target for reasons of my choosing.)

Yes, a partner on this journey and indeed life in general would make everything immensely better. (I said partner, not passenger or dead weight.)

There is that balance to be made between happiness with one’s life and contentment. Yet another balance is between confidence in one’s abilities and arrogance. 

I am trying to master a dual balancing act that I have not had to do in quite some time . . . and I like it, and indeed highly recommend it. 

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

Monday 16 January 2017

Good Weekend, Good Omen

Okay, so first of all, it was a warm weekend, and I was able to get my trailer up to a balmy Plus 15C! Oooh, all without trying too hard.

I was even able to melt some of my stores of water that had been frozen solid since new years. This was done by simply putting them in the sunshine all day. 

By the way, ice melts faster in water, than it does as a block standing alone, so when melting ice, don’t drain the water.

During the day the temperature hovered around or slightly above freezing, but at this time of year, that is as good as a summer’s day to me! (Ah that wonderful word: Chinook!)

All in all it was a decent weekend and I was able to stay in my trailer and get some writing done. True, it wasn’t in my Western Home, and so my slide-out was in, but you can’t have everything.

I was able to write and run the furnace because Wanda’s batteries do much better when they are not subjected to the deep freeze. (So I could run the laptop much longer.) 

What also aided the situation was the fact that my current laptop is newer, has better batteries and charges in about two hours. 

So, I could run on its batteries for a few hours and then plug in (with the inverter) and keep working as I charge the laptop’s batteries. I could keep doing this.

I also took breaks now and again and yes got out of the trailer for a few walks. I was even able to shed my thermal underwear and just lounge around in sweat pants and a T-shirt. 

All in all it was a nice break from the cold, and this break should last this week and then the cold returns.

How cold it gets is anyone’s guess, but according to the weather predictors “the worst of winter is behind us.” Again, this also shall remain to be seen.

One thing is certain, no matter what life tosses at me, I will take it in stride (or at least do my best to do so). If I can’t take it in stride, I will at least try to take it with some decorum and style (as I fumble, bumble, fail, getup and try again). 

Oh, what was that? What about that “Omen” I mentioned in the title? Well, you see when it gets below freezing in my trailer (as it did overnight) the windows freeze up. Sometimes I can see patterns in them. 

This morning when I was making my morning coffee, I saw this . . . 

You can clearly see a heart there, so to me that means that love is right around the corner. Yep, sure, indeedy!

Sure, sure, it is just a frozen pattern on a window so, technically it means nothing. It means as much as seeing shapes in the clouds.

I am doing my best to keep a positive attitude as of late and so far it is working. So, whilst I would not wish this lifestyle on anyone, it seems that there is a lady out there for me . . . who knows, I may just get my “s” after all.

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

Friday 13 January 2017

Budget Crunch Time

Okay, so with the wonders of how payroll taxes work, my paycheques are larger at the end of the year and smaller at the start of it.

Why? Well, this is due to the fact that payroll deductions are weighted heavier at the beginning of the year to ensure that the government gets paid in full and sooner rather than later.

So, whilst the last few paycheques of last year were (woo hoo!) bigger than expected because considerably less payroll deductions were taken off, now, not so much.

This is the end of the year where they take off more and the amount they take slowly declines over the year. This means that my paycheques will be on the smaller side for some time to come.

This is why I have a modest income amount to frame my budgets around. It looks like I may not even make that amount on my next paycheque.

This means cutting back even further than my already stringent budget that I have laid out.

I could easily just cut back on the savings plan a bit and just say I will “make it up later” but I know that I can’t do that. Once you start doing that, you never stop.

I have modelled it and I know that I can’t cut back a dollar in those payments or risk not making my target of paying the Wanda Loan off by the end of this year.

Scrimping, saving and economizing are things I know how to do, and know how to do well. I will weather this and I will set the pattern I need for success.

That pattern is being unwavering and nonnegotiable in the making my scheduled payments on that Wanda Loan. I can cut back anywhere else, but not that.

I have my: Personal Overdraft, Mid-Term Savings and yes my Long-Term Savings, so it is not that I don’t have cash, it is a cash flow thing. (As in how and where cash flows in and out of your hands.)

Cash flow is everything and the secret of my success. For once you master your cash flow and make sure that you pay your bills and are better off (fiscally) at the end of your payperiod than you were before your payday, then you will steadily improve your situation. How quickly this happens, depends on how well you improve your cash flow.

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

Thursday 12 January 2017

Wanda Loan Paydown Plan Update

Okay, so that experiment was much shorter than I had planned, but I did learn a great deal. I am reworking my plan to pay down the Wanda Loan (yet again). 

As I have said before, never be afraid to change what you’re doing in order to respond to the outcomes of what you have done in the recent past. 

I, for one, have often said “Well, that sucked,” and then promptly altered my plans.

Anywhoos, this past Saturday was Payday, and so I made my first bulk payment on the Wanda Loan. In so doing I have learned two key things.

The first of which is that these payments are not automatic nor are they instantaneous; heck, they are not even promptly processed. 

It took the two and a half business days (as in Wednesday, morning) for this payment to be processed. Apparently these payments are processed manually, and so take time (don’t ask me why).

The second thing I learned is that no interest was taken off of this payment, meaning that all of this extra money goes straight onto the outstanding balance of the loan.  

It is the combination of these two things which kills the plan that I had to pay an extra hundred dollars on the off week from my usual Wanda Loan Payments. 

You see, first of all, since no interest is being taken off of my extra payments there is no sense in waiting. 

Second of all, since no interest is taken off, I am not reducing the amount of interest that has accrued. 

Thirdly, since these payments are not prompt, they toss the plan to reset the amount of interest accrued into the dustbin.

So, what I will be doing, is simply putting the bulk amount that I had planned on the loan each payday.

I have modelled what would happen, and even if nothing changes in the way my regular payments are handled (meaning if I still pay as much interest as I do now) I will still be able to pay the loan off by December 22, of this year.

So, I can relax, somewhat, and just clomp on ahead. I am hoping that the interest portion of my regular payments drops significantly, meaning I can pay this loan off sooner.

There are still more variables that can throw this plan off, but at least I know what can happen, and that it is possible, really and truly possible (and probable) to be debt free this year.

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

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Seven Layer Night

Okay, so it was a might chilly, last night, in that it did dip down to somewhere in the mid -20 C’s. 

I layered up and yes abandoned the furnace early in the evening, but I am still here and everything is still attached.

I added an extra layer of clothes, so I ended up wearing seven layers of clothing along with my winter boots inside the trailer.

If you add up the quilts that was around me when I slept, then I was up to eleven layers above me and one extra layer below me (two if you count the bottom of the sleeping bag).

I was warm though, and made it through the night and could have handled it if the weather turns colder. (Not that I’m daring it to.)

For me the warning flags start to go up around the mid -30’s. That is when I would look for somewhere inside to stay (or someplace to plug in) and weather the weather.

According to some of the weather forecasters, this should be the coldest it gets, after this it should get ever warmer, if even by a bit.

As for me, I will indeed take this one day at a time, one night at a time and just make it through to the warmer weather when I can start to peel off the layers, eventually leading me to be in just shorts.

On a side note, my attitude has taken a beating but for the most part I am staying positive. I have my moments of frustration and general bitchiness, but they pass.

Mostly they pass with me focussing and forcing myself to calm down and focus on the positive things. It is a struggle, but for the most part I am winning.

I find that if I focus too much time on the future and that property that I plan to buy, my attitude takes a turn for the worse. 

This is due to the fact that I must, even unconsciously, look at the stark contrast between where I want to be and where I am.

It is frustrating when the progress I make, however small, is marked in small increments which only happen every two weeks.

It is like taking a walk and only taking one step forward every two weeks. You feel like you are getting nowhere until you turn around and see how far you have come.

I know that I am making progress and constantly remind myself of that. 

I will persevere, and I will make it. I will be debt free this year and then I will save up to buy that property that I want. 

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

Tuesday 10 January 2017

The Low Part of The Urban Nomad Cycle

This is it, we have officially arrived at the low portion of the cycle that is my life as an Urban Nomad: the dead of winter.

It’s okay, as I have been here before, so I know what to expect and I know how to manage; the cold doesn’t really bother me. I mean, I don’t like it, but I can handle it.

As witnessed by this exchange yesterday: 

“Damn, it’s cold out there!” My boss said as he entered our workplace from running his errands. 

He hadn’t been out there long; in fact he had just crossed the few feet from where his truck was parked right outside our offices to the front door.

“Meh, it’s not even minus twenty,” I replied with a shrug.

In my head I was thinking “You’re not even dressed for the weather; T-shirt and jeans? No wonder you’re cold.”

This told me that I am fully in Polar Bear Mode. This time of year is when I hibernate more, and just stay warm and do very little. 

I find myself spending most of my evenings in my sleeping bag, under the covers, staying warm whilst not wasting propane. 

I am okay, I am managing, and I know this cold will not last long.

This end of the cycle lasts for January and February; March and April is when it starts to warm up. As expected July and August are the high points of the cycle.

Hmm, warm weather: the door and windows all open (save for bug screens) a nice breeze blowing through the trailer and me in my shorts . . . good times.

This end of the cycle sees me in six layers of clothing when I am not at work, and constantly thinking about how long it will take for this or that to freeze (yes, even me).

It is because of this end of the cycle that I got into the habit of setting up my kettle and coffee percolator the night before. Usually they, and my water supply, are frozen by morning.

I still take home 3 x 1.5 litre bottles of water from work each day and bring them back each morning, even if they are not empty. This is so that they can defrost in the warmth of work during the day. 

I finally figured out why my deadbolt lock freezes up, and thus leaves me without the ability to lock up my trailer when I am asleep.

Typically I leave the roof vents open a crack at all times (except when driving). This allows the air to escape, fine. 

What happens is that in windy weather some of that wind is blown into the trailer through those roof vents. This then increases the air pressure in the trailer.

Air pressure must equalize, so the air must exit somehow, one of those ways is through the crack in the door, and past that deadbolt lock.

The problem, I surmise, is the fact that we have a very cold, frozen piece of metal that has moist air blowing over it. 

The moisture in the air then condenses on the metal and freezes, thus freezing the deadbolt in place. (Either in the locked or unlocked position.) 

The way to free myself is to light a candle and have it burning as close as possible to the business end of the deadbolt lock. After a bit, this usually heats up the lock enough for me to force the deadbolt open. 

To air the trailer out I plan to leave the door open and open the roof vents for at least half an hour each night. (Whilst bundled up for the outdoors . . . joy.)

Again, it is little tricks like this that I have picked up over the two (not counting this one) winters which helps me survive, and yes thrive during this time of year.

What also helps keep me going, is knowing that this is only temporary . . . this too shall pass. (It will warm up a bit by the weekend, so there is a reprieve).

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

Monday 9 January 2017

Old-School Countdown

In Eons gone by, to know the date you would look at a calendar, no not that app on your phone, but an actual printed out chart with days and weeks on it.

This thing would not automatically tell you what day it was, you had to, you know, figure it out on your own (horrible, I know).

So, since you were always looking at this thing when planning ahead, it would make sense to mark special days on this paper chart calendar. 

When counting down to special days, one would cross off days that have gone by so you can see the progress of time towards this special day. 

Why am I giving you this history lesson? Because I have marked up a calendar that I got for Christmas for that purpose. 

What I have done is started at the new Total Debt freedom Day of December 22, 2017.

And marked it up in the following format: “Months : Weeks” each week all the way from that day to today.

This way I get to make sure that my other countdown marker is on track and accurate.

For fun, I will cross off the days that I have passed by, as you can see by the January calendar page.

This is just another way to keep me motivated and on track for this next and my most aggressive goal yet: paying off the Wanda Loan this year.

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

Friday 6 January 2017

Plodding Towards Positivity

Okay, so this is day two of this “I’m going to be positive” drive, and so far, it is going . . . okay. 

Yesterday was, for the most part a good day, but I will admit that I did have a few down and frustrated moments, but overall I did have a positive outlook.

This blog entry is to let everyone know that changing your attitude is like changing any other habit; it takes time and consistent effort.

I have no idea if this will “stick” after three weeks, but I will keep at it, because, I like living with myself when I have a positive outlook.

I help things along by singing a silly song that I have made up and reminding myself that I will be debt free this year, not next year, or in a year’s time . . . this year.

That is something to something to smile about, as it will be hard won, and because of that, victory will be all the sweeter. 

For now, I will continue singing my silly song to myself as I then look for things around me and aspects of my life that I should be happy and positive about.

Dreams and visions of the future are also good motivators in this the darkest and coldest time of winter (January – March).

I will keep going and keep moving forward, but I will do so with a smile on my face and a positive outlook. After all, no matter where you are going, you might as well enjoy the trip.

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

Thursday 5 January 2017

The Essential Ten Minutes

One of the things that I am working on this new year, (not that I am calling it a “Resolution”) is to be more positive.

I have noticed a tad more negativity creeping into my attitude and self-talk as of late, and that has to stop. Mainly because I have begun to be a bit of a downer to live with.

I have noticed a secret which is essential to having a good day, or at least a positive outlook for the day. I will share that with you now, kids, so listen up.

That first ten minutes after you get out of bed, is key, it is vital and will help determine with what outlook you go through your day. 

Once you wake up, you are generally in bed, warm and all snugly, so . . . so far, life is good. 

It is once you pull back the covers and get out of bed, that things can go abruptly downhill and if you are not careful, pick up speed. 

In order to prevent this, you have to force yourself to decide to have a positive day. Yes, really, some of us don’t tumble out of bed all perky and oozing positivity.

I set my mood for the day by way of positive affirmations which I say out loud and proud, as I get out and get myself ready for the day.

This is corny, and I know it, but it works . . . trust me. (You may have to repeat this process throughout the day, too.)

You see, things happen, they are not good or bad, it is how we see them, how we react to them which makes them good or bad.

If you have a negative attitude, if even the slightest bad thing happens to you, you will see this as yet another affirmation that the universes is out to destroy your life.

If you have a positive attitude you will just swiftly deal with whatever has happened and not give it much thought. 

For me, in the dead of winter, having a good outlook is essential, as it is quite easy to get negative when your house is a deep freezer. 

This is also my way to help keep me being a person worth being around, one who will help people and who people genuinely want to be around. 

Mainly, I am choosing to be the kind of person that I want to be and would appreciate being around. 

I am also doing this to keep motivated as I move ever forward towards my goal of Total Debt Freedom (this year!).

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

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Total Debt Freedom Day Pushed Back

This is one of the many things that I came to realize upon reflection over this Christmas Break. Call it a bit nerdy, thinking about my trailer loan, but there you have it. 

Now that the New Year has begun, I now can focus on paying off the Wanda debt, my last and by far the largest loan debt I have ever had.

Sure the payments are only 122.38 Bi-Weekly, but the overall, original outstanding balance was over 36,000.00, it now stands just over $34,000. 

This loan was structured like a mortgage and so it is to be renewed every 5 years but meant to be stretched out over 20+ years. So, me paying this thing off this before its first renewal date is big.

I ran the numbers and it doesn’t look good for me to make my previously stated total Debt Freedom Day of: November 7, 2017. 

With that in  mind I have pushed it back to the last payday of this year: December, 22, 2017.

So, here is the new and updated debt countdown . . . 

The key thing to note is that I will still be debt free, and it will still happen this year. I will have a better picture of exactly when that will happen, once this month is over. 

You see, I am measuring what is happening to the Wanda Debt with each payment, and is the first month of me making regular extra payments.

I will be able to see just what impact each of these payments are actually making on that loan. With that I should be able to make some predictions on the loan going forward.

The other upside of me pushing this date back is that if I pay the loan off early, great! If I have to take up to the new date (December 22, 2017) then that is okay too.

I know that this will impact my savings plan (for the property), which comes next, but that is contingent on paying this loan off. So the earlier I can do that, the better. 

The key thing to stress is paying it off: 1) at all, and 2) ASAP!

I just have to be realistic, and that is one thing that I keep in mind these days, that is to be Optimistic, yet realistic.

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

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Christmas Break’s Bountiful Bounty

My Christmas Break is over and so I am back at work. I don’t know about all of you, but I really needed that break. The time in the mountains really did me good. 

Sure, it got off to a rocky start by me being snowed in, in the city for two days. I didn’t even leave on my Christmas Break until Christmas morning.

I did get going, though, and I did get my favourite camping spot in the mountains. Not to brag or rub it in, but here are a few choice shots from that break.

I made sure to bring two power cords with me: 1) to plug Wanda in with and 2) to plug the truck’s block heater in with. 

This way I could avoid having to run the truck each day to ensure that it would start when the time comes to leave. 

As for the weather, it was not too bad, with the exception of the last two nights which dipped down to the mid -20’s overnight. 

For the most part, my electric heater was able to keep things warm and mostly things were up to a steady and stable 20C indoors. 

I will admit that it took at least two full days to thoroughly get the chill out of the trailer and up and warm; all without using any propane (yay). 

I am thankful that I packed up and got “road ready” before sunset yesterday. That way I didn’t have to try to work the slide-out or other mechanical mechanisms after they have been put in the deep freeze overnight. 

I just got up this morning, perked my coffee, got the remaining bits of the insides ready to travel and off I went. 

(And stairs . . . I folded up the stairs . . . I forgot to do that once before hitting the road . . . once . . . never again.)

The last thing I did, and something I highly recommend before hitting the road, was to stop, just at the gate of the campground and do another walk around.

It can happen that during the process of going over the speed-bumps and other obstacles getting out of the campground that something can jostle loose.

I actually had one of the equalizer bars from the hitch fall out and was dragged for a few kilometres down the road by its chain. 

I heard the metal being dragged sound and pulled over to investigate (thankfully).

As I was doing that walk around I was wondering why it was a bit nippy in the air. When I got back into the truck, I noticed this . . . 

When I got down off of the mountain, I noticed this . . . 

(Before anyone freaks at me for taking pictures in a vehicle I was pulled over and the truck was in park.)

As far as driving this morning goes, I was able to make it all the way back into the city fine and dandy with smooth sailing. 

On a major road in the city, however, as I was slowing down to get around an accident, I lost traction and jack-knifed a bit . . . go figure. Thankfully I didn’t hit anyone.

With the break over, and work set to start I am now rested, refreshed and ready to tackle another year and what is left of this winter. 

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

And yes: Have a happy new year!