Friday 30 June 2017

Long Weekend Savings

So, it’s the long weekend, not only that it’s the Canada Day Long Weekend and indeed Canada’s 150th birthday. 

For me, I will be spending it in my Western Home, puttering around the place and not doing a whole lot. 

Why? Because that is the most frugal thing to do. I had thought of going to some celebration, but I never do for two main reasons.

The first is the thought of trying to find parking for my truck and trailer (all 45 feet of it) anywhere near anything with crowds is frightening. 

(Almost as frightening as trying to drive in the congested streets anywhere near such events.)

The next natural and logical suggestion is to just park my truck and trailer elsewhere and take transit.

This brings up the other reason why I don’t do that. I just don’t like leaving my truck and trailer for too long. 

After all, everything I own is packed up in a nice and convenient carrying case. That thought sends chills down my spine. 

That is the very nature of my lifestyle though, and it is a risk that I take. I also take solace in the fact that a fixed address is really no more secure, we just think it is.

I will be fine, I will get ahead, and I will go to large celebrations again . . . just not anytime soon.

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

Thursday 29 June 2017

Goal-Setting and Goal-Getting

I have touched on this subject a lot, but that is because I know that it is only through Goal-Setting and then Goal-Getting that you can improve your life.

The way to envision this process is to see that life is a journey, and the paths in life that you take will lead you in different directions. 

You choose the path, and you set your pace. You can even make your own path and hack through the bush, where no one has gone before. The choice is yours.

There are two types of goals which come into play during this process. They work with each other in order to keep you moving yourself forward.

The first step is to set a goal, something large that you want to accomplish. This is what I call a Crossroad Goal. 

A Crossroad Goal is a goal that you set, that will make a large impact in your life, yet is not a pie in the sky. 

Keeping this goal in mind and what achieving it will mean to you, will help keep you motivated on your journey.

For me, my (first) Crossroad Goal was to be Totally Debt Free. 

As you can imagine, once I am Totally Debt Free, my life will not stop, nor will I be instantly on easy street. Life, and so must I, always moves forward.

That will be just the ending of one stage of my life, not the entirety of it.

As I stand there at that Crossroad Goal, I can then choose the next path and walk down it towards my next Crossroad Goal.

Yet, as you head on down that road towards a better life, how will you know that you are actually moving your life forward? That you are actually making progress?

This is where the Milestone Goals come into play. A Milestone Goal is a goal that you need to achieve in order to move yourself forwards towards your (current) Crossroad Goal.

These should be: 

Reasonable to accomplish
With a deadline date attached to it. 

The Crossroad Goals may or may not have a specific deadline date attached to it. 

As long as you are working on your overall plan and achieving your Milestone Goals, you will still be moving towards your (current) Crossroad Goal.

Through experience it is hard to set a specific date to your Crossroad Goal as you start down the path towards it. 

This date will move around a great deal . . . trust me. 

So, I recommend setting dates on the closer and more measurable goals of your nearer Milestone Goals, and get to the Crossroad Goal, when you can get to it.

For me, my (current) Milestone Goals are: 

1. Get out of Overdraft (Done)
2. Pay off Credit Card #1 (Done)
3. Pay off Credit Card #2 (Done)
4. Pay off Credit Card #3 (Done)
5. Pay off Truck Loan (Done)
6. Pay truck insurance in advance (July 7, 2017)
7. Pay off Wanda Loan (October 22, 2017)

Once I achieve all that, I will be Totally Debt Free, and have achieved my Crossroad Goal (of being Totally Debt Free). 

After that, I can then choose the new path for me to go down as I continually and steadily improve my life. 

I hope that some of you may use this method in your own life as you . . . 

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

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Comparison Shopping Works

Okay, so as you may know, a few weeks ago I started comparison shopping for my groceries. 

Each Saturday morning, typically the one right after payday, I have been going around two major grocery stores that are located in my Western Home.

One store has a lot of yellow packaging with plain black lettering it, inside and the other store prides itself on “rollbacks.”

I have a spreadsheet to not only record the prices for the items that I regularly buy and what they cost in each of the two stores.

This will let me make my list for each store while at home, and ensure that I get the best price for each item.

This week there was a first, one store was lower on everything. At first they were both even or one would be cheaper on some items and the other on some other items.

This week one store, the store that prides itself on Rollbacks, was cheaper on everything. 

To be sure that the products are the same I will also record the brand (or just generic) if it is the house brand as well as the size of the item (as in so many grams or so many millilitres).

You do need to watch and not trust the “sale” signs as more than once I have seen an item on “sale” that is more expensive than it was a week ago.

I will keep doing my comparison shopping and not just blindly trust that one will always be cheaper than the other, as that would be silly and naive. 

So, do your comparison shopping if you can for whatever you can, as it does pay off. That is, when there is actual competition and not collusion in a given industry. 

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

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Market Forces

So, there I was staring at the cashier in stunned disbelief. It was after work yesterday and I was doing something that I have done many times before: paying for propane.

At first I thought that the attendant who had filled out the paperwork for the bottle of propane I had just received, had just made an error. 

It had happened the last time that I had bought propane here, two weeks prior. He had written down the amount for a 30 pound bottle rather than my 20 pound bottle. 

No biggie, it happens . . . but nope, the cashier insisted on the $20.24 (I think) for the bottle of propane . . . I needed clarification . . . why? 

Because the bottle of propane that I had bought two weeks ago cost me $12.00, that’s why. This has been the average for the previous year or so.

I have been buying my propane at this truck stop in my Eastern Home for about as long as I’ve had Wanda. 

I also pay to dump here, and when they had their water working (over two years ago) I got water there as well. 

I have been a happy customer, because the staff is always friendly and professional and the prices reasonable. 

They have, up until now, been a great place to buy propane because they charge you for the amount of propane you buy . . . go figure.

They recently have changed to a “flat fee” for a bottle of propane because “they weren’t making much money on propane.”

Sooooo it’s my fault that the price of oil and therefore gasoline and propane have dropped? 

This is crap, of course because they are still making their few cents spread on each litre (or pound) of fuel that they sell. 

Volume dictates the amount of money they make, not the price at the pump.

This was a corporate decision, so I didn’t take it out on the clerk or the shift manager (person) who “reduced” my price to $18.00. 

When the shift manager informed me that a particular chain of gas stations also charged a flat fee (and have for years) I thought “that’s why I don’t buy my propane from them.”

Soooo . . . I am now looking for a new propane supplier, I have an idea, and will check them out on Friday, well before I have to fill another bottle of propane. 

I don’t want to cheat anyone, I just want a fair deal. Charge me for the fuel that I have actually purchased, not some arbitrary, inflated “flat fee.” (Imagine if they tried this for gasoline.)

I figure that two can play this game, so when my boss comes in today, I will inform him that due to economic pressures that I am increasing the rate that I am charging him for each hour of my time. 

(Retroactively to the beginning of the current pay period, of course.)

No, no, I am not going to ask, or even demand, a raise. I am just going to tell him that I have just gotten more expensive. 

There will be no discussion or haggling, after all . . . it’s not me, it’s just “Market Forces,” so it’s fair . . . right? 

Anyone want to hazard a guess how that conversation will play out? Yeah, I thought as much, the market forces can only shove me around, I can’t shove back. 

(Yeah, yeah, buying elsewhere is doing just that, but I am a but a gnat in the large scheme of things, how much will my shove affect things?)

I will survive though, I will find a new and reasonable source of propane, and keep myself focussed on October 22 and beyond.

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

Monday 26 June 2017

More Water Woes

Okay, so most of the weekend was fine and this morning I drove to my one RV dump station that is open to me, sorta. 

This is the one that is closing, but the tap is still working, or at least it was the last time that I was there. 

This RV dump station is attached to a busy gas station, one that is on a main highway and not far from another one. 

This RV dump station has always been free. I know this because I called up and asked a couple years ago and have never been bothered. 

This RV dump station was being closed permanently, so the connection to the sewer system (the actual dump station) has been padlocked. 

Well there I was filling up my fresh water tank, as I have done many times before, and the lot attendant comes up and tells me that it is now $10.00 to dump. 

I looked at him and inform him that it was always free. He reiterates that it is now $10.00. I indicate to him that there is no sign telling anyone of this at all.

It was also at that point that I noticed that the padlock was off of the sewer connection. I didn’t dump because I didn’t need to.

Now, I have no problem with a business changing their policy and starting to charge for something they did for free (for years).

The problem I have is that as a consumer, I have the right to be notified of said change BEFORE I partake in said (as I understood it at the time) FREE service that you are now charging for. 

You do not walk up to someone half-way through a task and say “you owe me cash,” as at that point the customer can’t walk away. 

I let them know my protest in the strongest and most civilized way I could. 

So, I am now down one RV dump station and will stretch my water out and possibly switch back to Spring/Fall Mode until I can find another source of water.

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

Friday 23 June 2017

Four Months Out

Yesterday was not only payday, but also the second payday of the month. That means that it is the time that I drop down one calendar month towards my goal of Total Debt Freedom. 

It is now four full calendar months until October 22nd and furthermore tomorrow I will switch to: 3 Months & 4 Weeks until Total Debt Freedom. 

As tomorrow will be four weeks exactly until July 22nd and thus the countdown until the next “changing of the month” begins anew. 

It may seem like a silly thing, but it is one little trick that I use to keep me motivated and on track. 

This is just one way to remind me that I am making progress and that my goal is not all that far off, and is in fact coming steadily closer.

I also keep my goals posted up high, so that I can see them daily and so keep them in mind as I go through my daily routine. 

They work, or at least they work for me, as I am making steady progress, as well as learning what not to do. 

The one thing I can say is that working towards any goal is a constant state of evaluation and revision, as you keep clomping ahead, pretending that you know what you’re doing.

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

Thursday 22 June 2017

Wanda Payment Update

Okay, so today is not only Payday (Yay) but a Wanda Payment Thursday. This means that for the Payperiod of June 7, I had a Wanda Payment Double Whammy.

Why is this? Well, my Wanda Payments come out of my Main Account every second Thursday, like clockwork. 

I was last paid on Wednesday the 7th, but had a Wanda Payment on Thursday the 8th. Fast forward two weeks and here we are on Thursday the 22nd. 

I consider my Pay Periods to run from one payday to the next. Sounds simple, right? Not so much.

Specifically, one payperiod ends and another begins at the moment that I am standing in the bank depositing my paycheque.

Why is that? Well, because of cases like this, when some bill or payment hits my account overnight and throws the bank balance off. 

At the end of one payday cycle, I make sure to balance that budget. 

What I mean is that I ensuring that the closing balance in my budgeting spreadsheet (for each account) matches the actual bank balance for each account.

That way, as I move forward, my budgeting and forecasting is done with real-time and accurate information. This helps avoid the “whoopsies” of “oh, I thought I had more cash in there.”

(Not that that has ever happened to me . . . noooooooo.) We learn the most important lesson of all from our mistakes and failures: what not to do.

Anywhoos, this is why this morning’s payment on the Wanda Loan came out of the last Payday Cycle. 

With regards to the payment itself and how it has been impacted to my switching from making those massive extra payments on the loan to a much smaller extra payment, here goes.

I was seeing the difference in the amount taken off of the outstanding balance increasing by $3.00 or more with each regular payment. 

Now, that has dropped to $0.80, so a considerable drop, but it won’t make that much of a difference in the long term. 

The cash that was going directly on the loan is going into my Long Term Savings account to be put aside for in order to pay the loan off on October 22nd. 

Things are coming together, though, and I am staying focussed on the end date and “The Great Turning Of The Page” of going from Debt Elimination, to Wealth Building.

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

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Two Years Back, Two Years Out

Tomorrow is Payday, but not just any payday, the second payday of June. Why is this important? 

Because two years from tomorrow, is when I plan to start shopping for land.

(Spontaneous crowdfunding effort notwithstanding: $200k please . . . thanks.)

On June 22, 2019 is when I will contact a realtor and start to shop for land with the cash that I will have saved up.

As I have said before, when I buy land, it will be a cash sale, paid for up front, with no mortgage. 

This is because I can’t afford to buy any land larger than a postage stamp anywhere within commuting distance to where I work.

I also refuse to live in a condo . . . or within the city limits really, and so that leaves the country and a quarter section (160 acres) minimum (so sayeth the me).

That is the goal, or rather the next large mile marker on my journey, after Total Debt Freedom which I will achieve in October (Large Life Event notwithstanding).

This leads me to wonder . . . where was I two years ago? How far have I come?

Well, two years ago, I was living in Wanda full time and had been doing so for almost a year (I moved into Wanda on July 12, 2014). 

I had paid off my first credit card and had almost paid off the next largest credit card. I had also pulled myself out of my overdraft and was staying out of it.

I had even built up a small personal overdraft, one of $500.00 on my way to the one I have now of $1000.00. 

I still felt the weight of the debt that was crushing me. I did, and still do, felt that my paycheque was not my own. Cash flows through me and out to my debtors and just to live.

That will change come October, when this almost four year journey to Total Debt Freedom will come to an end. I started this journey, and blog, on December 5, 2013.

Today’s blog entry is to restate a simple concept: time is always coming and going. Days pass into weeks, weeks pass into months, and months pass into years.

The real question is, are you using this to your advantage? How are you making your life better by your efforts today? Are you treading water, or moving forward?

Do something to make your own life better. Set a goal, a lofty one, then make a plan to achieve that goal. 

Go on, I dare you, set a goal . . . such as my seemingly impossible goal of Total Debt Freedom from three and a half years ago.

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

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Comfort Vs Savings

A reoccurring temptation has come back to visit me. It is the one about living a bit more comfortably, Vs the maximized cash savings that my current lifestyle now enjoys. 

My steadily increasing successes over the course this journey has been made possible by focussing on one debt at a time, eliminating it in order to free up cash flow.

That journey towards total debt freedom shall come to an end this October 22. After that, there begins the phase of wealth building, of turning a corner so to speak.

I could, should, and most likely, will continue my frugal ways so that I can get my land that much faster.

The idea of renting a room, after I have achieved total debt freedom has returned to whisper in my ear. 

The idea is that I could then build up my savings, with a modest modicum of comfort. 

This of course would reduce the amount of money I could save and thereby lengthen the time required to save up cash for the land.

I will see what happens and how I feel on October 23rd for now though, I will keep on keeping on and continue with my ultra-frugal ways.

As I have said before, I have frozen my butt off for the banks the past three winters, why shouldn’t I freeze my butt off, one winter for me. The question is . . . should I?

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

Monday 19 June 2017

Water Trek Report

Okay, so I did head up north this weekend (well, north of the city) in search of a reported free RV Dumping Station.

I didn’t go until Sunday Afternoon, because . . . well . . . I didn’t feel like going on Friday afternoon. 

That and I would also have more water if I waited until Sunday afternoon.

So, off I went and in truth I didn’t have any trouble finding the place. 

It is called the Dickson-Stevenson Stopping House. As best I can guess it is a fancy rest stop with a bit of an eye for promoting tourism. 

More importantly, for me, I did find what I was looking for . . . 

Yes, it did indeed have an RV dump station and it was free of charge, however . . .

Coming here was not an original idea, as there was a line-up. Ah well, no big deal, I can wait and the line did progress swiftly. 

Eventually I made my way up the front and it was my turn to dump. It was at that moment that I noticed this sign.

For those of you who don’t know, that means that there is no water that is fit for human consumption. 

As in water that is clean (not contaminated) enough for you to put into a pot and cook with it (or drink, etc). 

I checked around the stopping house, yet there were no outside taps or even any inside taps I could attach a hose to.

Soooo . . . my trip up here was a waste, sorta. Sure I could dump, but I had no fresh water. I can pay to dump in my Eastern Home, at least for now.

I dumped anyways, as I was there, and I will keep this in mind if my other RV Dump Stations close up. Coming up here once a month or so isn’t bad, if I have to.

I did get water by swinging by the RV Dump Station that I have been getting my water in the north end of the city. So, I’m okay . . . for now.

At worst I will just resort to buying the water at the grocery store and switch back to Spring/Fall Mode. Again, that is if I have to. 

I am on the hunt for another and fully functional RV Dump Station, or at least a tap that I can use (without stealing water).

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

Friday 16 June 2017

Water Trek

So it is that time again . . . Wanda’s back molars are floating (as in her Black and Gray Water tanks are almost full). 

So, that means that it is time to take her to an RV Dumping Station. It’s not bad, considering the last time I dumped was the May Long Weekend.

Now, there I an RV dumping station in my Eastern Home, so I could just dump there on my way to my Western Home. It may cost me $3.00, but at least I can get it done.

There is also the matter that I will need to fill Wanda’s Fresh Water Tanks by Monday morning, so I will need to travel to the northern end of the city to the one tap that I have access to, for now.

I could run to the hills and go to a campsite for the weekend, but that cost is out of the budget. 

Then there is another option . . . taking a trek north of the city to, what can best be described as a fancy rest stop which is reported to have a free and available RV Dumping Station.

While I can’t afford to make this trip each week (fuel cost) I will make the trek this weekend. I am doing this for fun and to make sure that it does in fact exist and is not padlocked.

I am still dithering on whether or not to go this afternoon, or Sunday afternoon. 

If I go on Sunday afternoon I can then still use my: fresh, gray and black water tanks this weekend and then arrive at work Monday morning with everything fresh. 

If I go today . . . well, it’s just getting it out of the way and just for fun, (no real benefit).

One way or another, I will go and post some pictures on Monday. 

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

Thursday 15 June 2017

Lunch Vs Resources

One of the problems with making my large batch of Hamburger Helper Goulash, is that it takes up more resources than I like. 

First of all there is the extra water that I have to use to put into it. This time of year it is not that bad, as I still have access to free water. 

Then there is the propane that I use to make it. After all, I have that burner going for at least two hours. 

There is the soup with veggies in it that I have to first boil and then simmer for half an hour. 

After that comes browning the 5 pounds of ground beef (one pound at a time). 

After which comes putting it all together and then bringing the large mixture to a boil. Then, once boiling, I turn it down and simmer it . . . for an hour at least. 

After that, the thing sits for 24 hours to let the flavours mix together. 

Then comes the portioning up and putting it in the freezer . . . then comes the most frustrating part . . . I have to leave the freezer running for at least 4 days straight. 

This takes up electricity and propane, (grrr).

Once this is done (and it should be nice and frozen by tonight) I can then go back to my 12 hours on and 12 hours off, routine that I run the fridge with. 

This will help me save on groceries and thereby cash in the future, however. Then there is the fact that I make sure to put a little bit of everything in these goulashes. 

So, I will be eating better, it is just a bit of a pain to get it to this point . . . the saving point. 

When I had a fixed address and a larger freezer, I would make a few different batches, all with a different flavour, so I would have savings and variety. 

For now, I will just enjoy the good food, and the savings . . . and the sun, always enjoy the sun and warm weather.

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

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Keep Your Head Down

It is always good advice to keep your head down when in dangerous situations, but for me it means to stay focussed on the here and now, and not think about the future too much. 

That doesn’t mean not to plan and work for the future, no no. What that means is that I need to keep my mind focussed on there here and now, as I continued to step towards the future, the future that I want.

The future is always coming and in fact arrives each and every morning. For today is yesterday’s tomorrow. 

What that means is that no matter what you do, you can’t stop time so first of all decide what kind of future you want for yourself. 

Then, ask yourself this question “What can I do today (or this week) that will move me towards that future?”

Then . . . do that.

For me, it is to continue to live as frugally as possible, finding new and boring ways to save both cash and resources, while doing what I need to do. 

I find little ways to splurge a little bit, but I am always mindful of my budget and my fiscal targets. 

This is my life, for now, and perhaps fiscal management will always be with me, but living on such tight budgets, I hope will not. 

Again, I must keep on keeping on as I build my future, a future of my choosing. But for now, I need to keep my head down, and keep on doing what I am doing.

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

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Waning Water

So, yesterday I found out in disappointing fashion that my main water tank was not as full as I had hoped . . . in fact it was empty (so no shower yesterday).

I did get cleaned up for work, don’t worry. It was after work that I had to do a bit of running around, part of which was to get water.

So, off to the north I went; to my lone RV Dump Station that is open to me and my lone source of water for my fresh water tanks.

Once again the RV Dump Station was padlocked yet the water tap was working. Still, there was no sign explaining why this was.

After filling my main water tank and my two 5 gallon jugs, I went into the store to ask why the RV Dump Station was padlocked.

The attendant told me that the RV Dump Station was being permanently closed and hinted that it was a head/regional office and/or corporate decision.

I can see why, they’re doing this . . . from their point of view. 

After all they are a company and the sole reason for a company to exist is to maximize profit for its shareholders.

An RV Dump Station which is not generating revenue is a waste of cash and resources, even if all it costs them is a little bit of fresh water. 

Charity and community service are not things which help maximize profit . . . not unless there is a bit of good press in it for them. 

So, this means that I am at risk of losing this RV Dump Station and will have to look for another source of water (and dump station).

For now, the truck stop in my Eastern Home still has their RV Dump Station active . . . or half active. 

I can pay to dump my gray and black water tanks, yet their water has been off for the past two years. 

The rumour is that they will close this RV Dump Station too. I can always buy water from the grocery store. 

This will mean that I will have to revert to Spring/Fall Mode, so I will survive. 

It would be nice, though, to have water in my main tanks and have a shower in my shower, for the few short months that I can. 

One thing is certain: I will get through this and make it to October . . . and beyond.

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

Monday 12 June 2017

Lots of Food . . . and Two Friends

That sounds like the making of a party, but that was spread out over the weekend. Let me explain . . . 

First of all, things started when I got a text from a friend who is on a cross country drive with her kids . . . (brave gal). 

It seems that the tent she bought had a leak in it and so she needed a place to wash and dry what needed washing. 

(As luck would have it she was passing through my town when this happened).

I was on my way to my Laundromat in order to do my once monthly laundry . . .

(Don’t freak I have enough clothes to last me, I just save cash this way.)

After that was taken care of, she followed me to my Western Home where apparently she needed to play Tetris with her minivan . . . again.

With a new cargo carrier for the roof and things repacked into minivan (including kids) she was off again by around 11am Saturday morning. 

So yeah I had: Me, Her, and four kids all in my trailer at once, we all fit with no bloodshed (or tears).

Saturday afternoon saw me making my stew/goulash creation, and that cost me about $60.00, but made me 91 portions of lunches . . . not bad at all.

(Each stack is a stack of 5)

It was on Sunday evening that another good friend of mine stopped by on her way through town, on back to her own town. 

We chatted and visited like the old friends we are over food and drinks. The excuse this time was the fact that it was my 47th birthday yesterday. 

Ah, yes, time does move forward and as it happens, it looks as though I won’t own any land until I am at least 49. 

(As in I plan to start shopping for land June 22, 2019.)

It is also most likely that I won’t move into/onto said land until I am at least 50. 

(I will need to save up cash in order to DO something with that land.)

Again, that is life but at least I have a plan to make my life better, and I am working that plan.

The key thing to remember is that I will have a land and a home someday, someplace to put down roots, until then I shall remain frugal and mobile.

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

Friday 9 June 2017

Weekend Ho!

I have a busy weekend planned and by the end of it, I hope to have not spent too much. 

I have just recently returned to a balanced budget state and I am looking forward to keeping this even keel, moving forward.

Yet, I do need to do something with the fresh veggies that I was given, and making another stew/goulash, makes sense.

This will more than likely blow the grocery budget, but I am hoping that I may save a bit down the road as a result of this. 

(That and I’m getting tired of sandwiches for lunch.)

I will do what I need to do without going crazy, a theme which comes back and again in my life. 

I will keep going, though, as I am looking forward to October and beyond. 

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

Thursday 8 June 2017

Chill Out: A Lesson, For Me

I like to be quick and efficient when I do things, particularly when I know that there are people waiting in line behind me. 

This is because not only is it courteous, it also recognizes that they are busy and have things to do. 

It doesn’t matter where I am: the bank, the grocery store, and yes the gas station. 

Yesterday was payday, so part of my running around is to buy fuel. The place that I buy fuel from is always the cheapest place in town and so it has a line-up for every pump.

I have a system down where I can fuel up fairly quickly, and let’s face it I’m not buying much fuel, perhaps $30 - $50 worth.

Yesterday, one of the gas attendants who patrol back and forth amongst the pumps told me to not pull up to the front pump next time, but instead just the back one. 

Why? Well because I have Wanda on behind me, so if I pull up to the front pump I am blocking the back pump. 

If I do this then someone from behind me can drive around me and use the front pump. 

So, on one hand, on the surface, I see his logic. This sounds reasonable, right? Sure, except for one thing.

I have done this before and by the time the person has: 

Driven around me
Gotten out
Preauthorized his credit card (Pre-Pay Pump)
Started fuelling

I am already finished!

Then I have to wait, and blocking the back pump, while this person finishes fuelling up and leaves. Why?

If I was just in my truck or in a small car, I could drive around this person in the space between the cars at the rows of pumps.

With Wanda, however, I am way too wide to do this, so I have to wait. 

I tried only twice (and quickly) to nicely convince this gas attendant that my method was best and theirs was clearly wrong.

I am not an arrogant person, or always assume that I do the right thing (I have made some doozies) but in this instance, I know that I am clearly right.

As you can imagine, on the drive away from the gas station, and in the privacy of my truck, and then trailer after parking and setting up, I cursed up a storm.

Thankfully I was only shouting to myself and not to said individual, or this could have been a veeeeery different blog entry, made from a veeeeery bad place.

Yet, let’s review this situation shall we? We are talking about me wasting a few minutes of my time (and that of the people behind me) . . . that’s it. 

Sure, I am right, and I could pull said individual aside and prove it to them, yet I know the type.

They will never admit that they are wrong. They will instead just keep quoting the procedure and insist that I follow it or make up reasons why they are right.

This is one of those cases where it is just better to suck it up, follow the rules, not stress about it and move on with your life. 

We all have moments like this, we all face these situations, so it is best to remember the larger picture and pick your battles. This is not a hill worth dying on.

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

Wednesday 7 June 2017

One Month to Kill a Bill

As I sit here on the morning of Payday, I can’t help but notice how interesting it is that my plan is nudging forward, mostly on track.

There have been bumps and unexpected detours, expenses and yes mess-ups by myself, that is life. 

You deal with them and move on. You adjust what you are doing in order to get yourself back on track.

So, I sit here and reflect on the fact that one month from now the first of the two monthly bills that I have will be eliminated. 

I am talking, of course, about my Truck Insurance Payment. I will be sitting down with my insurance company and refiguring my Insurance as well as paying it up front.

I used to do this, years ago but stopped (somewhere in the early Clinton years). Since then I have always paid my vehicle insurance on a month to month basis. 

I am looking forward to finally stopping doing that and just paying it up front. 

One advantage in doing this is that I don’t pay any extra fees or finance charges. 

Another advantage is that the cash will stay in my account and over that period of time may earn enough interest for me to buy a chocolate bar . . . ooooo.

Earning any interest, however small, is better than paying interest. 

The main thing I am looking forward to is having one less bill come out of my account each month. 

The last two I will have (in a month from now) is my Wanda Payments and of course my mobile phone bill.

The Wanda payment will go in October, but the mobile phone bill will stay, but at least it will be at my discretion, and that is nice to know.

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

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Random Act Of Kindness

Another thing that happened on the weekend is that I was given free food. It was completely unexpected and totally unasked for. 

I was in my Western Home, just relaxing for the evening when two guys walked over and offered me what was left of their food. I was taken aback to say the least.

It turned out that they were from France and had taken a year off of work (something that you apparently can do ever six years) to travel across Canada in an RV that they rented.

Well, they were heading back the next day and didn’t want to see their food go to waste. So, they looked around and saw me.

I graciously accepted the food and chatted with them for a bit, and it was interesting to bump into someone from the other side of the world here in Calgary.

With this extra food I plan on making another batch of my “Goulash” . . . stuff, for use in lunches as well as for evening meals this weekend. 

It is healthier than I have been eating lately and I am due for a change in diet. So, thanks to this random act of kindness I shall put their food to good use. 

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

Monday 5 June 2017

Good Weekend, Rocky Finish

All in all it was a good weekend and there were a number of things to be happy and positive about. 

So, I choose to focus on those things rather than the frustrating way my weekend ended.

For one, I was able to get my favourite spot in my Western Home. As I have said before, we all have our favourite places to park or visit, I am no different.

For another the weather was not all that bad and so I was able to enjoy the light breeze drifting through the place as I relaxed.

I did get some considerable work on a novel that I am writing, (which I am unsure if I will ever publish, even if given the chance) . . . long, odd story.

The way things ended was this morning with me driving north to that RV dump station that I used all summer last year.

This is where things get frustrating . . . the RV dump itself was padlocked, but the water was turned on.

???? Why ????

I thought that perhaps they had decided to charge now, and were going with a simple system. One good look around found that this was not the case as there was no sign, even hinting at that. 

Perhaps they just haven’t gotten around to unlocking it yet, perhaps a phone call this week can shed some light on this.

If this is the case, I am not totally hooped, as I can still dump at the local RV dump station (yet this one does not have water and hasn’t for the past two years).

So, I need to find a local source of water in order to fill my main tanks and just pay to dump when the Black and/or Gray water tanks get full.

Once again, I will scratch my noodle and figure out a solution to this problem. Ah well I can always just revert to Spring Mode (with faucets working) if needed.

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

Friday 2 June 2017

Feeling Fiscally Better

These past few paydays have been a bit rough and it seems like I have been constantly draining cash out of my Mid-Term Savings. 

This is quite frustrating and not the direction that cash is supposed to be flowing in, yet not. 

You see, that Mid-Term Savings account is there for me to dip into in order to smooth out the rough patches. 

You know, so that I can still do what I need do to, despite lower than expected paycheques or that larger than expected expense.

I have had both this past while, but this past payday I was finally able to get things back to what I consider normal. 

As I move forward (as long as I am not stupid or life tosses me a curve ball) I will be able to have balanced budgets and put cash into that Mid-Term Savings account again. 

Until a month from now when I pay my truck insurance off in one fell swoop, which will completely drain that account . . . but that is planned and an expected expense.

Yet, as I move forward I am happy and confident that things are moving in the right direction. 

I am less worried about my finances, though this has just been downgraded to “concerned” . . . so all is “normal.” 

The point is that I am feeling like I am back on track and that things are moving forward towards that goal of October 22 . . . and beyond.

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

Thursday 1 June 2017

Water Conservation . . . Again

As predicted and expected, my water in the main tank did not last until I can next fill up on Monday morning. (I got seven showers out of it . . . not bad.) 

Or at least when I hope to fill up Monday morning, as I don’t know if the dump station that I have been using the last couple of years is active or not . . . who knows.

I will find out early on Monday morning, as I make a detour to it after leaving my Western Home in order to head for work. 

For now, I am back to jug showers and using the water in my last 5 gallon jug of water. 

Again, this is nothing new and so I am doing what I always do: adapt what I am doing in order to better suit the current situation. That really is the trick to this lifestyle. 

When faced with a situation, just ask these three questions: 

What can I safely get away with? 
What can I possibly get away with, but would be risky?
What can I not get away with?

That should help you spell out our options and your better judgment, along with experience, and your risk tolerance will help you determine what the best course of action is. 

For now, I will just use the remaining water in my main tank to wash my hands and flush the toilet. I will use my 5 gallon jug for my sole water and just make it through until Monday morning. 

If for whatever reason in can’t use my usual RV dump station, I will figure out what to do then. The one thing I won’t do is roll over and die. 

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