Monday 31 July 2017

Blow It, Then Bandage It

This seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life, blow my budget then scramble to make it balance . . . somehow.

This weekend there were a few items that I had to buy. No matter how I worked it, I just had to spend the cash. I couldn’t avoid it; I just had to do it. 

This is where having a small pot of cash reserves in my Mid-Term Savings would have helped. I could have either dipped into it, or not transferred as much into it this payday.

That is not possible this time, as (as I have previously said) I have to make all of my savings and Wanda Payment targets from now till October 22. 

Those payments and savings targets are as immovable as any other debt payment. There is no wiggle room or avoiding them around.

So, I will find other ways to save cash and make my budget work. I always do. I always find a way to pull things together, down the road.

I will only dip into my Personal Overdraft slightly this next payperiod and I am positive I will not get out of it next Payperiod either. 

I have a previously set mini-vacation coming up during this next payperiod that I will have to pay for on the payday of August 22nd.

I know that despite my best efforts the spreadsheet shall run red. I will carry on and make the day, though. 

I will make Total Debt Freedom Day for this is not the first time that I have blown the budget, only to have to turn around and patch it up again. 

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

Friday 28 July 2017

Budget Vs Necessities

My budgets are tight, my life is dull, but I will make it. If I keep doing what I am doing, I will be debt free by October 22 of this year.

As long as I stay on budget that is. Therein lays the problem: life doesn’t like sticking within budgets.

Certain things I can deal with, such as dealing with no propane in my main system. To fix it now would cost too much, so stick to the small bottles it is.

Yet there are other small things which need to be replaced, small things that don’t cost too much, but they do add up.

Such as the bottom sheet on my bed, it has a hole in it and this is not something that I can repair, I will need a new bottom sheet at least. 

Then there is the window washer fluid that I need to buy for the truck. Again, little things that can’t wait, yet are not in the budget.

I have no choice but to buy them and try to make my budget work. The real frustrating thing is that I don’t know what my paycheque will be until I get it . . . next week.

I do my shopping on the weekend and buy as it I am going off into the wilderness for the workweek. This is to conserve fuel (and eliminate unnecessary spending).

I will somehow make this work and figure out what necessities I need right now, and which ones I can put off. One way or another I will make Total Debt Freedom Day.

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

Thursday 27 July 2017

How To Pay Off All Government Debt (And not Cheat Anyone or Default)

So, I figured out a kinda “cheat code” to our Canadian Monetary System and I don’t know what to do with it. 

In reality, I don’t feel like writing a report, and sending it along just to get it laughed and ignored. 

It started after reading this document that is produced by the Government of Canada and is published by the Library of Parliament

In a nutshell the Government of Canada issues a bond, the Bank of Canada (which is a wholly owned Crown Corporation) holds an auction for that bond.

Any of the major banks then bid on and buy that bond. Yet it seems that none of them actually pay any cash for it. 

They just accept the bond, make an entry in their books and presto, the Government of Canada instantly has cash in their account with that particular bank. 

The bank has a bond that the Government of Canada must pay back with interest, yet the Bank in question essentially got it for free. (I hope I have that wrong, cause that is fraud on a massive scale.)

The Bank of Canada automatically buys 20% of these bonds, so 80% are held by private investors or banks. 

Yet the Government of Canada, (through taxation) must not only raise enough to operate the government yet also pay those bonds out. (This amounts to about 40% of the federal budget.)

Let’s assume that I am now the Governor of the Bank of Canada. It would have to be me, because no one else would be crazy enough to actually do this.

All others want to have a career in the banking sector and are Economists (or Indoctrinated Economists as I call them.)

So, here is my plan: 

(Feel free to find a way to get this entry in front of some politician . . . the higher and more important the better).

1) Quantitative Easing (the spewing of currency into the monetary system) stops immediately.

2) All governments across the country (all three levels of them) only sell new bonds to the Bank of Canada. 

3) An assessment is made as to what it would take to buy back/pay out all: bonds, Treasury bills, loans, debts etc for all governments across the country.

4) A meeting is held with the: Federal Government, all Provinces and Territories. At this meeting the following is agreed:

a.      Debt Management Legislation limiting total borrowing for all levels of government as well as setting time limits for any debt to be paid in full

b.      Passing on large tax break on to the average person (Say 20 – 50% decrease in payroll taxes?). (I just gave you back 40% of your annual budgets.

c.      In exchange all debts would be erased, overnight.

5) How this would happen is this:

a.      The Government of Canada would issue one last bond to the Bank of Canada. It would be a 99 year bond with an interest rate of zero to be paid in full at maturity for the required amount to pay off all government debt

b.      The Government of Canada would then.

i.            Pay off its all of its debts

ii.           Transfer the required monies to each province and territory to pay of its debts and those of the cities/municipalities within them.

6) After all this, the Government of Canada and the Provinces and Territories should craft a new monetary system, as this one is irrevocably busted (looooong before this plan let me tell you.)

Anyways, I just had to blog that somewhere, as it was rattling around in my brain. I will get back to regular blogging tomorrow. I hope you at least enjoyed it.

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

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Back to Leveraging

Life, and especially a journey such as mine must always be marked with constant revision and refinement. 

Don’t be afraid to change what you are doing. For what made sense a few months ago, may no longer make sense now. 

That’s okay, go ahead and change what you’re doing if it makes more sense to alter what you are doing.

On a side note, just yesterday I cracked three months until Total Debt Freedom. Yesterday marked officially 3 Months and 4 Weeks until Total Debt Freedom Day: October 22, 2017.

A few months ago, (the beginning of May to be exact) I stopped putting my large payments right onto the Wanda Loan each payday.

Instead I put smaller lump payments on the Wanda Loan and put the bulk of that cash into my Long Term Savings. 

I did this so as to have that pile of cash available in case of emergency, yet still earmark it to pay off the Wanda Loan.

Well, now that I have enough in there to live (in uber-frugal mode) for the better part of a year, I will now switch back to making those large payments.

I will now, and for the remaining three months, put those original large payments on the Wanda Loan. 

I will put what small amounts that I can salvage from my budget into my Mid-Term Savings Account and use that for emergencies, if I absolutely have to. 

Over the next three months I need to:

1. Hit all of my savings targets for my Mid-Term Savings Account.
2. Leave my Long-Term Savings Account untouched.
3. Make all of those large payments on the loan.
4. Stay out of my Personal Overdraft.

I can do this but this way I will be taking more out of the outstanding balance of the Wanda Loan with each regular payment. 

Sure, it is an estimated $3.00 more each payment rather than the $0.80 now but it this point, every little bit helps.

I am looking forward to turning the page on debt and entering my “Rebuilding Phase.” 

For now, I need to hunker down and just muddle through these next few months.

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

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Old Tricks to Stretch Food

I lived for two weeks on a food budget of $40.00, but I don’t recommend it: all I ate was grilled cheese. 

I will admit that thanks to that friend at work, my workday lunches have been taken care of. This time around, however, my food budget doubled. 

This was partly to do with a few items that I have to buy once every few months I needed to buy, and partly because I bought better food.

Not great food, just better than grilled cheese sandwiches (that doesn’t set the bar too high, I know).

I have resorted to an old trick that many of us have tried, out I’m sure: stretching out macaroni dinner (aka: KD). 

The way that I went with was to cook up a box of macaroni dinner, and throw in either a can of chilli or a can of beef stew. It will look like this (this was chilli):

This will give you a bit more nourishment than your standard macaroni dinner, yet not increase the cost all that much. 

The other upside to this is that you do not need to refrigerate either the cans of stew/chilli or the boxes of macaroni dinner. 

Superstore does sell macaroni dinner by the case for six bucks but the cans of stew or chilli was a buck and a quarter (I think) per can. 

Yet one of these mixed up fed me for most of each day Saturday and Sunday. I made one up for last night’s dinner and ate about half of it.

The other half I have saved and took it to work today, not for lunch, but for dinner. My plan is to keep it cool by putting it next to my container of frozen/defrosting lunch.

Then near the end of the day, I will heat this up in the microwave at work and eat it before heading home. I will then make a grilled cheese sandwich for the rest of dinner.

I will let you know how this goes, but with this plan I should be able to stretch my food budget yet still have the nourishment that I need.

I am still operating without a fridge and so far making it work. All in all everything is coming together to keep this last stretch towards debt freedom on track.

I will do what I need to do, yet I must make budget, every payday from now till October 22nd. That is no small feat, since most of my paycheque I have no control over.

I can, however, control my expenses, and control them I will. 

Yet frugalness needs to be balanced against necessity, in this case nutrition. (Yes, I know I could eat better, so no lectures.)

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

Monday 24 July 2017

More Neighbours (Not Good)

I was looking forward to a much less packed parking lot in my Western Home, this weekend.

You see, there is an annual large: festival/county fair/rodeo in the city that I live that takes place in July each year. It is quite a draw and the whole city gets swept up in it. 

I have noticed that in past years, my Western Home looks like it is an evacuee camp from some fictitious natural disaster.

There are always lots and lots of RV’s all over the place. So much so, that last weekend I was relegated to a side parking lot. 

Again, such is life and that is the way things go in this lifestyle. You take what space you can get, as nothing is ever yours. Nothing that you don’t cart with you, anyways.

This weekend, with the festival now gone, I figured that things would die down in my Western Home. Yet they haven’t, not by as much as I had expected.

What’s even worse is the fact that I am starting to recognize more and more people and RV units. Some of which have just never moved since last weekend (and weeks before).

I have seen people living out of their vans (some on road trips doing so) and yes, a few living out of their cars. To me, this is not a happy sight. 

I never wanted to be part of a growing trend. I have said it before that nobody should ever have to do what I am doing (living in my RV full time) in order to get ahead.

Yet, even that statement is not correct, I am not trying to get ahead, I am trying to get my head above water, in fact fighting to get back up to zero.

These people are all obviously doing the same thing, as there are very few, if any who would choose to do this lifestyle just for the “fun” of it.

Sure, some people RV for fun or for retirement, but they have cash and winter in Arizona or somewhere else in the southern states. 

I am talking about people who have little other choice but to abandon the traditional housing of a fixed address and live out of a vehicle (RV or otherwise) just to survive and perhaps, someday, get back up to zero. 

I do not see this “Urban Nomad” trend as a good and happy metric of the economy. Yet, like the rest of the “traditional homeless” this population is ignored and “seen, but not seen.”

I see them, I notice them, as I am one of them and I can guess with some level of certainly that they, like me, are out here due to fiscal and debt issues, not drugs or other addiction issues.

I have said it again, and I will say it again, the current divide between the cost of living and wages of the average person is not sustainable. 

More will come and join us in this lifestyle and it will not be out of desire, yet out of a way to survive. 

All while governments ignore the trends and metrics shoving people out of housing and into the streets, literally.

We, “Urban Nomads” are the canary in the coal mine, yet our warnings will not be heeded until the coal mine blows up. 

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

Friday 21 July 2017

Happy Anniversary To Me

It’s official, it was technically official on July 1st, but it has been confirmed today. You see, July 1st was two years, to the day, that my last raise went into effect.

This means that my second paycheque in July (as in tomorrow’s paycheque) is two years to the day as to when the last time I received a paycheque with a raise on it.

As it happens sometimes, the boss left my paycheque on my desk this morning. This is good as it allows me a bit of time to finalize my budget for the upcoming payperiod. 

All in all, I like my job and I like my boss. I do believe in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. I try my best to live up to my end of that bargain.

To me, this means that as an employee, it is my responsibly to be productive and somehow bring value to the company that I work for each day that I work.

In return, I expect to be fairly compensated. This is the company’s end of that bargain.

I will be fair and say that I do make okay money. That is not the issue, however, the issue is inflation and the ever increasing cost of living.

What is happening to me, happens to many employees, and I call it the “Amortization of the Employee.” 

In a nutshell, to Amortize something (as in an asset) is to steadily write it off over time.

In the case of Amortizing an Employee, what you do is not give them a raise, or not give them a raise which is in keeping with the regional increase in the cost of living (inflation).

As we all know, if you are not getting an annual cost of living increase, you are working for less currency, as your dollars can now buy less stuff.

Yet at the same time the employee (generally) is worth more to the company as time moves forward. The can do their job: quicker, with greater skill, and more efficiently.

This means that over time they return ever greater value for the currency spent on them. As well, it is much more costly to train a new employee, if you lose the experienced one.

I know that if I ask for a raise from my boss I will get a lecture on the trials and tribulations of a small business owner.

I will get a guilt trip on (between the lines) that I am being greedy, and perhaps thrown in for good measure “you don’t need a raise, you live in a trailer, your expenses are low.”

I downgraded my lifestyle so I could do more with less in order to get my finances in order as well as improve my life, both fiscally and practically. 

I did not do so, so I could save the company currency. I mean, I am a dedicated employee, but not THAT dedicated.

If I were to go to the boss and say “wow, my expenses just shot up because I bought a bunch of stuff, how about a big fat raise to cover that?”

The boss would rightfully say “your expenses are not my problem, you deal with it on your own.”

So I am not annoyed that this raise has not happened, not because I need the raise but that a (regional) cost of living increase (at least) should be the law, and automatic.

There are those who will say that such cost of living increases will just ramp up inflation and crash the economy. 

To them I say: why should the lowly employee always absorb inflation and constantly work for less, while steadily increasing in value to the company?

I will persevere and succeed regardless. I just wanted to shed some light on an issue that affects more than a few employees.

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

Thursday 20 July 2017

Wanda Payment Update

Okay, so today is a Wanda Payment Thursday, so that means it’s time for a Wanda Payment Update! 

I have been making my regular payments on the Wanda Loan, each payday. I have been making payments in two ways. 

The first is on the loan itself. Those payments have been much smaller than before, yet still much larger than just making an extra (regular) payment.

The second payment that I make is into my Long-Term Savings Account. I consider this a payment on the Wanda Loan, because that is what it is earmarked for.

I can’t touch that money yet it is still available and under my control. So, this cash is in a bit of fiscal limbo.

That cash reserves will be handy if I suddenly find myself out of a job. As that is the only reason that I would touch that savings account (other than to pay off the Wanda Loan).

This current payperiod has been brutal. This is due to me paying my truck insurance up front. I still did it, and managed to pay balance my budget and pay my bills.

I did this by pausing the payment into the Long-Term Savings Account. Sure it was the right move, as without it I would not have any Personal Overdraft . . . none.

This put me behind the eight ball, so to speak and put me in this precarious position with regards to the schedule to pay off the Wanda Loan, but I am still on track.

I also had to cut the extra payment on the Wanda Loan by a third, just to balance the budget. 

In order to stay on track, I will need to pay that extra third on top of a future extra Wanda Payment either on this upcoming payday or the next.

So as a result of this financial wiggling, the extra amount of balance that was taken out of the balance of the Wanda Loan by today’s regular Wanda Payment was $0.57, instead of the usual $0.80.

I will live, I am on track and I will make the day, somehow, someway I will be debt free, and then build up my savings and life, after achieving my freedom!

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

Wednesday 19 July 2017

Pleasant Surprise

Okay, so I have been using my single burner portable stove to cook and heat water. 

This is one of those single burner models that screws onto a small bottle of propane. The bottle then sits on a plastic base. Here, this is what it looks like.

I will say this, over the last week or so that I have been using this stove, it has been a better stove than my traditional stove.

I mean that this little stove has been a more efficient user of propane than the one that is in Wanda. 

That one pound bottle lasted me a week and a bit. It cooked food quicker and with a lower flame. 

I bought a second bottle of propane this past weekend before the bottle went out and before I figured out how to make my main propane system work again (I think).

I will use this bottle up and then switch to the main propane system, yet only turning the bottle on when I want to cook. 

I still need to replace the regulator and I only have one hose hook-up working, so I don’t trust the system to work unattended. 

Thus I won’t be using the fridge anytime soon. With my cash restraints I won’t be replacing that front regulator anytime soon either.

Again, I will make things work and stretch my resources and every dollar that I can. All in the name of Total Debt Freedom and yes Freedom itself.

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

Tuesday 18 July 2017

No Fridge, No Problem

It is a strange thing in this modern world for a home not to have a refrigerator. It is even stranger, not to miss it. Let me elaborate.

This all started when I discovered the leak in my propane system and had to shut down my whole propane system. 

Since my fridge runs on either 120 VAC or propane (and 12 VDC to run the control circuits) I need propane to run the fridge. Thus: no propane = no fridge.

A colleague was willing to take my frozen lunches and stuff them in his freezer at his house. Each day he brings me my lunch (thanks, Bud).

So this means that the main reason for my fridge (to keep those lunches frozen) is no longer valid.

Since I am on the economy drive to beat all economy drives, and I have nobody but little old me to take care of (or nag at me for my bad food choices) I can eat cheeeeeeeeeaply (and so I will).

If I had others to look after, I would make different choices, particularly if there were little ones running about (and I’m not talking about a cat or small dog).

As it stands now, all I have in my fridge is a few condiments, margarine and cheese slices. They seem to be fine . . . so far. 

I do buy items in smaller amounts so they don’t hang around long enough to be a problem. So, that modern mess of chemicals and preservatives seem to be helping me out.

I may look at reactivating my fridge when the weather gets cooler and thus I wouldn’t have to run it 24/7 just to keep things cool.

For now, it is an added (and unnecessary) expense, and since I am in ultra-scrooge mode, I will manage for now.

All in all, it has been an interesting experience to do without something that has been seen as an essential element to life: a refrigerator. 

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

Monday 17 July 2017

Squeaking Down The Home Stretch

I always keep an eye on my budget, this is just a fact of life and the major tool that I use to ensure my constant fiscal success. 

Without it I would not have been able to accomplish all that I have accomplished. It allows me to plan future spending as well as record current spending. 

All with an eye to keep me on track and steadily moving towards my goals, fiscal and otherwise.

As I have said before, I typically look at three payperiods: the one that I am in now, the next one, and the one after that; mainly the first two.

Every once in a while, I will take a look further down the road and continue to balance my budgets for each payperiods, steadily towards the one for October 22 (Total Debt Freedom Day.)

What I have feared has finally come to pass: I am down to the wire and in danger of missing that date. 

I mean that I can make the date, but I will have less than $20.0 in each of my three accounts (Main, Mid-Term and Long-Term).

So, as it stands now, I can make October 22nd and pay the Wanda Loan off . . . but I will need to do the following: 

1) Eliminate all non-essential spending from now till then (3 Months, 1 week away.)
2) Make my targeted minimum take home pay for each Payperiod.
3) Incur any unexpected and/or unnecessary expenses.
4) Don’t do anything stupid (no pressure).

Even if I have to push Total Debt Freedom Day back one payperiod or even take a cash advance from a credit card for one payperiod, that would not be so bad. 

I have set that date as my line in the sand and even set up budgets and target after that fact . . . as in planned out the Rebuilding Phase (estimated to take until Feb 22, 2018). 

After that comes the Savings/Wealth Building Phase! 

I will get this done, but it will take me digging deep into my bag of tricks to conserve every last dime that I can, in order to make that date and in so doing, buy my freedom.

After all, that is what this journey is all about . . . freedom.

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

Friday 14 July 2017

Act Now, Don’t Delay

It has long since been accepted and “normal” to carry debt in one form or another. When interest rates dropped to near zero, it seemed stupid not to.

Now that the interest rates have increased for the first time in years, the era of cheap cash is beginning to end.

The effect of the rate hike won’t hit home until you get that letter stating that your rate has just gone up, or that first statement saying your mortgage payment just went up by a hundred and so dollars.

So, where does this leave the individual who took advantage of all that cheap cash? What do you do when you have: a mortgage, line of credit(s), auto loans, and credit cards?

Just relax, one pundit says . . . you can absorb the increase in payments. To that I say, sure, just eat less . . . maybe drive less . . . or just . . . well . . . who knows.

The thing to keep in mind is this . . . this is the first of a few steady rate hikes that are coming. 

The time to do something about this is now, not the third or fourth rake hike when you can’t make your payments, but now. 

Sit down, figure out what you owe, and make a plan to Eliminate Debt, don’t “Manage Debt.” Managing Debt is just making the payments, those just keep taking. 

My best advice is to start by cutting costs and increasing income, such as you can. Then focus on getting rid of the smallest debt, then work on the next highest debt. 

Freeing up room in your cash flow will allow you to focus on getting rid of your debts and finally take back control of your paycheque and your financial life.

Sorry for the rant, but I just wanted to offer a bit of advice on this issue before it really starts to hurt people in a big way . . . and hurt a lot of people. 

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

Thursday 13 July 2017

Limping To Payday

We’ve all been there, in that situation where we are trying to just survive until payday. I am in that position, yet it looks as though I will make it.

Not, this payday, of course, but next payday . . . (August 7th). You see, I remain focussed on two payperiods at once, the one that I am in now, and the next one.

My main focus is on the one that I am in now, this is so I stay on track and make sure that I don’t spend too much, so as to do what I need to do, yet balance my budget.

As I have said before, I have certain rules for maintaining my fiscal health. They are: 

1) Keep $1k in my Main Account at all times (This $1k is my Personal Overdraft)
2) Pay off all Credit Card Balances (in full) each payday
3) Put any extra cash that I can into the Mid-Term Account.

There are times when I do put something on a credit card. When I do, I know that I am really stealing from the next payperiod, as that paycheque will have to pay for it.

It is a bit of “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” but it works (sorta). 

I have a spreadsheet attached to my timesheet at work which lets me guestimate what my upcoming paycheque will be like. 

This started years ago and I call it “can I make rent this month” sheet. There is always the depressing feeling when I look at it, at the start of a payperiod.

This is because my bonuses that I earn from online orders haven’t been factored in. 

Due to the number of days in a given payperiod combined with the unknown factor of online orders (neither of which I control) my paycheque is unpredictable. 

Due to the number of days in this current Payperiod I will not make my Budgetary Minimum. 

My Budgetary Minimum is the number that I have set for myself as the minimum amount of take home income needed to make my budget. 

So, unless there are some historically high online sales today and tomorrow (very doubtful) I will not make that number.

The cruel irony is that due to the fact that I have paid my Truck Insurance up front this month, I will still be able to meet my previously stated objectives.

This is because of the cash that had been freed up due to the Truck Insurance Payment that I never made this payperiod.

So this has helped, just not in the way that I had wanted. I will still make the day, and still balance my budget and do what I need to do, just barely.

All that I have to do is not spend a dime that I don’t absolutely have to. (So . . . same old, same old).

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

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Three Years In Wanda!

Today is July the 12th so this marks three years to the day that I have been living full-time in my trailer. 

I still remember that Saturday morning three years ago when I loaded up the contents of the room that I had been renting into Wanda. 

Talk about second guessing the wisdom of what you were doing! I did it anyways and have not looked back. 

(Grumbled and wondered why a few times, but looked back . . . no.)

After leaving my room for the last time, I drove to a campground where I could sort through what I had and find homes for everything in Wanda.

It was hard going with lots of failures and mistakes, all of which had do just deal with and learn from. 

There was no course, after all, of how to do this lifestyle, there was just experience and what I could learn on my own. 

If I could go back I might change a few things, but I know now that I am a result of the choices that I have made. 

I am who I am and know what I know what I know not only because of my successes, but also because of my failures. 

I don’t know how many more years I will live in this trailer, but for me, it is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

I do not love living in this trailer with no place to call my own and traffic constantly whizzing by, two feet from my window.

I deal with is because I have a goal . . . Total Debt Freedom, is a Crossroads Goal, not an end destination. 

Neither is getting my own land, that too is a Crossroads Goal, for I have many goals and dreams.

I still wish to establish a town that focuses on: science, building the future and yes helping people, not tearing others down to build myself up. 

(I would make a terrible Ferengi

First, I need to get debt free, then I need to buy the land . . . after that, plant my flag and see who salutes. 

I will do this by living in my trailer full-time . . . for some time yet.

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

Tuesday 11 July 2017

The Bleeding Has Stopped (Partially)

So, it is official, I only have two bills in the Debt Column. That’s it, only two bills that I am contractually obligated to pay each and every month. 

The first is my cell phone bill, but I have long since outlived the “you must be with us for X years” requirement. 

(For some reason I haven’t met them ensnare me again.)

I like to think that I have the cell company a bit nervous in so far as I am in a position that I can leave at any time without penalty. 

(Cause they’re terrified of little old me leaving them . . . oh yeah . . . sure.)

I have already done the “squawk until you get to Customer Service, Level 2” where you talk to “Customer Retention” department where they give you something closer to a fair deal. 

I checked this morning and no Truck Insurance Payment went out of my account, thereby leaving me finally free of this monthly bill.

I, therefore, only have one monthly (bi-weekly actually) bill that is unavoidable . . . the Wanda Loan Payment.

Each payday I am still putting a smaller sum directly on the loan each payday, and putting as much as I can into savings. 

All with the plan to pay the Wanda Loan off on October 22nd of this year. After that I will be totally debt free. 

I say this because the only monthly bill I will have, my cell bill, I have total control over, I can cut it off or switch companies at any time.

I will continue and do what I can within my stringent budgets. Each day I have to make decisions as to what I can afford and what I can’t.

I have to continue my savings plan, yet maintain a balanced budget and zero balance on my credit cards. I will not get into that mess of out of control debt again.

In order to do that, I need to continue to my frugal ways of dealing with the cash that flows through my fiscal system. 

With interest rates now going up, all those people who have been living on debt, particularly lines of credit, or wore, credit cards, will start to feel the pinch.

I may have more company in my Western Home yet . . . either that or I may have to actually start that “Economic Refugee Camp.”

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

Monday 10 July 2017

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Okay, so I did pay my Truck Insurance up front. That means that I saved the 4% of interest that I would have paid over and above the principle amount.

I have also saved the monthly payments so my cash flow will be freed up of that payment. 

Since today is when one of those payments is scheduled to come out, technically the first of the new pay cycle, I am partially expecting them to still take the payment out. 

We shall see what happens tonight, (the payment happens at midnight). I shall hold on to the hope that the correct buttons were pushed to prevent this.

At any rate, I shall chose to look at the positive side that my truck insurance is paid in full for the next year.

The step backwards is that I have no propane running through my system because I got things halfway fixed, and need another part. 

The long and the short of it is that I had thought that the problem was the hoses that connect the propane tanks to the regulator.

So fine, I bought two new hoses with brass fittings rather than the plastic/brass fittings that were on there before. This was to ensure a better seal between the hose and the propane tank.

I got the old ones off and got one of the new hoses attached. The problem was that somehow I damaged the threads on regulator where the second hose would attach. 

So, this means I need to buy another regulator, something I may do this Friday. I am still weighing my options as I just don’t want that extra cost just yet.

I am doing okay, as I am now using my single burner “backup” stove. It uses one of the small propane bottles to burn and with it I can do what I need to do.

I can: cook, boil water, and all that good stuff. I just can’t have showers (as no hot water) nor can I run my fridge, or main stove. 

(So, I am back to Jug Showers for the time being.)

My reason for fiscal restraint is the fact that this budget was tight due to the large expenditure of the truck insurance. 

This, coupled with the fact that my next paycheque looks to be disastrously short is why I am shy to spend. This is mainly due to the limited number of days within this payperiod. 

For whatever the reason, I will likely fall a couple of hundred dollars less than my “targeted minimum” pay. (IE: The minimum amount of income that I need to make, so as to balance my budget.)

I am still surviving and still maintaining my savings targets and keeping my credit cards to a zero balance each payday. 

This will pass, I will get things fixed and I will continually move forward. After all, as of this past Saturday I am now 3 months and 2 weeks away from Total Debt Freedom.

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

Friday 7 July 2017

Bye Bye Truck Insurance Payments!

Today is the day that I pay for my Truck Insurance (for the year) up front. Today is payday and so I have a busy day of running around to do.

There are a number of errands to do today and thankfully Payday falls on Friday, so I have some time this afternoon to get all of that running around done.

Not the least of this is the fact that I am going to pay for my truck insurance up front. I have been paying monthly for vehicle insurance for years . . . as long as I can remember really.

This is a big day for me and I am looking forward to reclaiming $130.00 a month of my cash flow. It is a small amount, but what I have learned is that every little bit counts.

I will try to adjust the coverage to lower my payments, since there is no loan on the truck anymore. There is probably some coverage that I don’t need and can drop.

Yesterday was a Wanda Payment and the amount of increase for the bite that is taken off of the balance is holding steady at $0.80 for each regular Wanda Payment.  

This is good, as it means that my projections for the Wanda Loan are holding. 

This is key as it is those projections that told me that I can pay down and save up enough to pay the Wanda Loan off by October 22 of this year.

One step at a time, one payperiod at a time, but all in all, things are looking up (propane problems notwithstanding). 

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

Thursday 6 July 2017

Propane Problems

So, good news/bad news . . . the good news is that I will be saving on propane, the bad news is that I have to shut my fridge down.

Let me explain and sum in up with this statement . . . I have gone through two tanks in a week and a half. I definitely have a leak in my propane system somewhere.

In order to save my food, specifically my frozen food for lunches, a colleague at work has agreed to put my frozen food in his freezer. (And bring on each day for my lunch).

I will fill both of my propane bottles up yet not leave one “on” all the time, as per usual. I will keep both tanks cranked down, or shut off all the time.

When I want to cook or use propane, I will open up one of them, cook or do what I have to do, and then crank down that propane valve again.

This means that I can’t run my fridge at all (unless I am connected to the grid all the time and I can run it on AC. Either that, or run the generator a few hours each night. 

For me, other than my lunches (which will be safe) I really don’t have all that much that has to be refrigerated. I like cold stuff and it is nice, but not essential . . . for me.

I will do my best to find where the leak is using the old soap and water method. This is where you spray or pour soap and water over the pipes and valves and look for bubbles. 

My suspect is the hoses that connect the tanks to the regulator and perhaps the regulator itself. I don’t know, but I will see.

This is because of all the removing and replacing of the tanks in the front that I have done over the past month (for BBQing) and of course over the almost three years that I have lived in Wanda

This is yet another expense at a time when I don’t need another expense. I could put Wanda in the shop and have them fix her, but there are a few problems with that scenario. 

For one, it takes a month to get an appointment. For the other, every day that the trailer is in the shop, I am in a hotel. 

So this is an expense on top of an expense, all at a time when I am coming down the home stretch to Total Debt Freedom.

Somehow, someway I will make it. So I have to forgo my fridge for the time being, so what? Come winter my whole house will be a fridge, then a freezer.

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

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Water Solution Found

Okay, so the other thing I did over the long weekend was to look around to see if I could find a working RV Dump Station.

After a bit of phoning around I found one which not only was open, but had water as well. This was defiantly worth driving out there to investigate.

Since they were open 24/7 I thought about going there in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, before work. 

I had never been to this place before, though, so trying to find it in the dark was not advisable. 

Rather than try to do this on Monday afternoon, I went on Sunday Afternoon. Why? Because I didn’t want to deal with the coming home traffic after the long weekend, that’s why.

So, I went there and the staff was nice, but the way the dump station was placed on the lot meant that I had to park in an awkward manner. 

I did get to dump, though, and I did get my water, all for about $6.00. This is what I would spend on filling my two 5 gallon jugs of water from the grocery store, so that’s good.

This station is out of the way for me and so I don’t want to make this a weekly trip. I will do this once every two weeks and just stretch the water out for that second week.

This may mean a few jug showers during that second week, but it is the best option.

After all, I am on the home stretch to Total Debt Freedom, and nothing will stop or deter me from making that day.

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

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Havin' a Heat Wave!

Okay, so the city where I live is in the midst of a heat wave. On one hand, I am thankful that I am not freezing my butt off; instead, I am boiling my butt off.

I try not to complain, but my only recourse is to open all the windows, both vents and the door as I hope for a breeze to blow through the trailer. 

The other thing that these days of 30C temps and overnight lows about 20C is that I have to run my fridge 24/7. 

This means more I am going through more resources, as in: propane and more electricity. 

More electricity means more fuel for the generator, to run those batteries. No problem, it doesn’t mean all that much more generator time, perhaps once more per week.

More propane, however, means that I have to spend more on propane at a time when the price of propane has been artificially inflated.

I still remember the plain face when the attendant told me that the price was $1.20 a pound for propane (as in $20 - $25 for the tank).

I actually scoffed laughed and left. I have one place to try that said their price was $16.00 to fill the tank. 

Either way, I have no choice but to buy more propane, as I don’t have a place to plug in so I can just use electricity from the grid. 

Again, that’s life and how it goes with this lifestyle. There are times when I go through more resources, just because the situation demands it. 

It is at those times that I find ways to try to conserve those precious resources where I can, when I can. 

I also keep myself focussed on my goal and remind myself why I am doing all of this . . . as in Total Debt Freedom (and beyond).

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