Tuesday 31 October 2017

Bracing for Winter

So, with cold temperatures on the way in the next day or so, I am getting ready for winter. 

This means I am not only finding my cold weather gear and putting them in the Ready 5 Position, but I am also going through my winter routines.

I am doing the little things that I have to do in order to function in full-blown Winter Mode, just to remind myself of what I have to do BEFORE I actually have to do them.

A dry run or two is a good thing for a few reasons. For one it gets me mentally prepared for the frozen tundra that will be my life for the next few months.

For another, it will help me work out the kinks and force me to find this little thingy or that little whatsit. 

Again, the last thing you want to be doing is looking for a key piece of your cold weather gear when it is actually cold. (That really sucks, I this know from experience).

I have seen this all before and while I could afford to rent a room somewhere to avoid all this, I will not, for one very good reason . . .

I have frozen my tuchus off to pay the banks off and earn my freedom, and I’m worth freezing my tuchus off for one winter at least to give myself a head start on building my finances.

After all, my next goal is to fully fund my Mid-Term Account up to contain two years worth of living expenses. 

At which time it will be nicknamed the “I’m not F*cked Fund.” 

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

Monday 30 October 2017

Back To The Grind, Back To Winter Mode

I had a lovely vacation, but I am now starting back at work today. The weather was warm and the time was relaxing. 

I was nice and toasty inside Wanda, thanks to the campground’s electricity and my electric heater.

Well, all that took and abrupt nose-dive this morning, but such is life when you live in an RV in a Canadian Prairie town.

I got up this morning and before leaving the campground I dumped my tanks for what I guess is the last time until spring.

Why? Because I am now in Winter Mode. What is Winter Mode, you ask? Well, With regards to water and plumbing issues, I have there modes:

1) Summer Mode

Summer Mode is when I can get fresh water for my Fresh Water Tanks, and can dump my Grey Water (sinks & bathtub) and Black Water (Toilet), Tanks. 

This is because the weather is above freezing and I can readily get fresh water for the main tanks. This is usually between late May to early October. 

2) Sprint/Fall Mode

Spring/Fall Mode is when my trailer is “winterized” so as to prevent the freshwater lines from being damaged. 

I pay to have the RV dealership do this during their one day special that they hold in early October. 

For me this is winter insurance as I get it done right and I don’t have to worry about my waterlines freezing, cracking and causing considerable damage.

Yet this means I have no running water. I then have to use 5 gallon jugs of water that I can fill from a tap if I find one available or buy the water from a certain grocery store for $3.00 per fill.

I can still use my Grey and Black Water Tanks as long as the temperature does not drop below freezing. 

In the Fall, this mode lasts from early October until the weather dips below freezing and stays there. 

In the Spring, this mode lasts from when the weather goes above freezing and stays there until late May.

3) Winter Mode

Winter Mode is the least fun because it means that I can’t use any of my tanks, so no fresh water in the taps, no toilet and no using the sinks.

This is because once the weather stays below freezing, the valves to dump the Gray and Black Water Tanks are frozen shut until spring. 

So, to prevent me from carrying around blocks of ice and frozen poop, I dump one last time before this happens. 

Winter mode, as you can guess, lasts between Fall Mode and Spring Mode. So I am at the mercy of the weather on this one.

I dumped this morning because, by the middle of this week, the temperature will drop below freezing and stay there, for the foreseeable future at least.

Again, this is all stuff that I have seen before, and I know how to handle it. I grumble, sear, bitch complain, and whine, but then just accept it and move on.

This is because the one constant in my life is change and adaptation. I must always change what I am doing to adapt to the conditions that are outside of my control.

I do this not out of weakness but out of the resolve and fortitude to see things through and achieve my goals. 

I will endure this winter in my RV as I have endured the past three. 

I will do this because each day that I am out here, each night that I am in my RV I move myself that much further ahead.

Again, this is not forever, just for now. So I will switch to winter mode and continue to carry on, towards a better future for myself and those around me.

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

Friday 27 October 2017

Update From The Trough

Okay, so the budgetary dust has settled and I am now clearly looking towards the future. All in all, things are okay, but funds are still tight.

As I said earlier, after all is said and done and all of my bills were paid and expenses seen to, I have $29.87 in my bank account. 

(That’s actually $27.87, not $1027.87).

In order to pay off the Wanda Loan, I had to drain all of my bank accounts (other than my RRSP . . . seriously, don’t touch that one, the cash in there is no longer yours).

In order to pay off the Wanda Loan, for the previous two paycheques, I was doing everything that I could to keep as much cash in my account as possible.

This meant economizing as much as I could, but also putting my essential expenses on my low interest credit card. This is robbing Peter to pay Paul, but it worked and the Wanda Loan is done.

This next payday, the one on Nov 7, will see me pay off my credit card, and fund my expenses but leave me with little left over.

The payday on Nov 22, will see me officially start The Rebuilding Phase, for that is that payday that will see me fully fund my Personal Overdraft.

In so doing the phase of putting cash in my bank accounts for my: security, peace of mind and dreams will begin.

I have had savings over the past few years, this is nothing new. The difference is that even as I was building up those savings I knew that all of that cash was there for one thing . . . 

To pay off the banks.


Remember kids, your credit card company is not loaning you a dime, they just shuffle paperwork around for (approximately) 4% off the top. 

It doesn’t matter what kind of loan you have or from whom, sooner or later, you are borrowing from a bank.

I have been through a lot, learned a lot, and grown a lot. I am appreciative for the process of earning my debt freedom, and above all for what I have learned.

I also know and accept that it was my own choices and actions that put me in the place I was in the first place. I did this to me, not the banks.

It was also my own choices and actions that got me out of it (not the banks). 

Yet, even after all that, I am now standing on the ground, next to the hole that I have climbed out of. 

I am simply back to zero. I am back to where I started when I started my working life at 18 years old.

I must now traverse a narrow path for the next month before I can begin to climb the mountain, ever upwards towards my dreams and the lush plains above.

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

Thursday 26 October 2017

Start Your Own Journey to Debt Freedom!

Here are a few things to think about if you are considering eliminating your debt. 

I will not talk about “Debt Management” or “Debt Reduction” as those two phrases will still leave you with debt. 

Debt is a tool, something to use in order to help you get something now, that you can’t/don’t want to save up for. A good example of this is a house or a car.

Yet all too often what happens is that we start to rely on debt to live. We get used to making those monthly payments and just start piling on debt to get ever more stuff.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, the most dangerous position to be in is where you are just treading water. 

Treading water is when you are making your payments and you are not falling behind, yet you are not getting ahead either. 

Credit cards and lines of credit are good examples of this kind of debt, as with them there is no end in sight; you just keep paying and paying.

With a mortgage or vehicle loan, there is an end date. Yet most of us keep moving from one house to another and/or trade in the car once we pay it off . . . WHY?

So let’s say you want to eliminate your debt, or at least the rotating debt (lines of credit/credit cards).

Let me just say that I think that you should keep the credit cards and lines of credit, but pay them off and don’t use them (unless you have to). Why? 

Credit is something you get when you don’t need it, so you have it when you do. This is because when you do need credit, “they” won’t give it to you . . . because you need it (and are therefore a bad risk).

The first thing you need to do (if you haven’t already) is to stop the bleeding. Find a way to balance your budget. (If you don’t have a budget, make one, and stick to it.) 

You can only do two things (or a combination thereof) to deal with fiscal problems. One is to increase your Income and the other is to decrease your Expenses.

While it is possible to increase your income, you are unlikely to double it anytime soon. The more effective thing to do is to decrease your expenses.

We have all done some cost cutting, so this is nothing new. The trick this time is to look at everything you are spending on and ask yourself if you really need it and could you do without it? (Or do with less of it.)

To really get out of debt will require a radical downgrade of your lifestyle. Perhaps not living an RV, but certainly making do with less.

To help you picture what this will require, imagine for a moment that your income was cut in half. Take a look at your budget with that in mind.

What would you have to do, be forced to do, in order to survive on half of your income? This may take a bit of time, (and a few heated discussions) but you will find a solution.

It doesn’t matter what you make, there are people out there right now living on half of what you make. Their lifestyle may not be as nice as yours, but they are surviving.

Now that you have determined a game plan on how you could live on half of your income you need to ask yourself the big question . . . could you actually do it?

Again this is not a permanent downgrade of your lifestyle, just a temporary one. A short term measure, say a few years, in order to get yourself out of debt.

If you need a bit of motivation, think for a moment how freeing it would be to be out of debt? 

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

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Westlock’s Fiscal Directives

Okay, it was a busy day yesterday and I am still kept busy today, so much for a lazing around vacation.

With regards to paying off the Wanda Loan and what was left over let me say this. After all is said and done, I will have $29.87 in the account. That will have to last me until I get paid on the 7th.

I will be okay, as I make sure that I have enough to function without touching the bank account. This is just one of the secrets of my success. I shall now share a few more.

Now that I have paid off the last of my debts, I will now focus on savings and wealth building. 

In order to do that I have come up with 11 rules or “directives” which will help guild me as I move forward. I want to balance savings with spending a bit on things I want.

The lower the number of a directive, the higher its importance, or ranking you might say, on this list. 

So you should start at the top and work your way down fulfilling each directive, one after the other as you go down the list. 

Do this each payday, or as you build your budget of face financial decisions.

Here goes: 

1)  It is desired, but not required, that all Budgets balance.

This means that for each payperiod your total: Debts, Expenses and Savings should not exceed your total Income for that pay period. 

You can spend more than you bring in, but this should be a rarity which is thought through first and done for a very good reason. 

2)  Pay all Bills and Debt Service Payments.

These are the things that you have to pay, the bills that you have a contractual obligation to pay and you are usually expected to pay the full balance. 

EG: the power bill, rent, or a car payment.

3)  Whist it is not required, it is strongly desired that the outstanding balances of all credit cards be paid off in full, each and every payday.

This is for those folks who have been able to pay their credit cards down to nothing (such as me). 

This allows me to still use my credit cards but ensures that they will never get out of control. 

Yet it is worded in such a way that I can carry a balance on a credit card if I need to. Once again this should only be done for a short term and after careful consideration.

4)  Fund Operational Expenses.

Operational Expenses are the ones that you need to pay so you can go about and do what you need to do. 

If you drive, then you need gasoline. If you take the bus, then you need a bus pass. Don’t forget about food, you need to eat. 

Make sure you set aside enough in your budget so you can go about your business and do what you need to do. 

Not only that, but make sure that you can last until you get paid/get money again.

5)  Enact Special Project Spending (if desired).

Special Project Spending is a one-time, thing that you want to spend money on. 

This is usually something big, such as me buying a new mattress that I have needed for the past 2 years (I’m practically sleeping on plywood).

For those who are in debt, this is where you would put all the extra cash you have freed up in your budget towards debt elimination.

6)  Budgetary Deficits may be paid for with funds from either the Main or Mid-Term Accounts.

This means that I can run a deficit if I choose to. For small deficits, I can just dip into my Personal Overdraft (as in go below $1000.00 in my Main Account. 

For larger deficits such as buying that mattress or buying a new phone, those I could transfer cash out of my Mid-Term Account, so as to stay out of my Personal Overdraft.

7)  Top up the Main Account to $1000.00.

This is where that Personal Overdraft comes in. This means that if I dip into Personal Overdraft, I need to put it back, preferably the following payday.

For those of you working on debt elimination, I would recommend working on this first. 

As in get your hiney out of your actual overdraft and then put $1000.00 in your checking account and teach yourself that $1000.00 is really $0.00.

8)  Top up the Mid-Term Account to [two years of living expenses].

This is me building up my Mid-Term Account to be my own personal line of credit, as it were. 

As I have said I want to have enough in there for me to live on for two years, if need be. This will also serve me well if and when any financial emergencies come up. 

One key thing to remember if you are on a path towards debt elimination is to first stop relying on debt! 

Why bother to try to pay down your debt if you just keep racking it up? Plug all holes in your fiscal boat first before starting to bail the water out.

9)  Funds over [two years of living expenses] in the Mid-Term Account (in multiples of $10.00) must go into the Main Account.

This means that since my Mid-Term Account is a savings account it will earn interest (at some point). That interest in multiples of $10.00 will be transferred to the Main Account to serve as a modicum of income. 

10)  All Budgetary Surpluses (in multiples of $100.00) must go into the Long-Term Account.

This is where saving for the long-term comes in. Another name for the Long-Term Account is the Dream Account. This is where I put my money in order to one day fund my dreams. 

The Long-Term Account is an investment account that takes about two days to get cash out of it, so I had better plan ahead and really want to spend it. For me it is a TFSA investment account.

11)  Unless absolutely necessary, funds in the Long-Term Account must stay in the Long-Term Account.

This means that unless there is a major fiscal emergency, or I am actually enacting my dream (such as buying land) any cash that goes into the Long-Term Account should stay in that account!

There you have it, my fiscal directives, feel free to copy them down and even modify them to suit your own needs.

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

PS: if you want a copy of the directives for yourself, here they are:

Westlock’s Fiscal Directives

1)  It is desired, but not required, that all Budgets balance.

2)  Pay all Bills and Debt Service Payments.

3)  Whist it is not required, it is strongly desired that the outstanding balances of all credit cards be paid off in full, each and every payday.

4)  Fund Operational Expenses.

5)  Enact Special Project Spending (if desired).

6)  Budgetary Deficits may be paid for with funds from either the Main or Mid-Term Accounts.

7)  Top up the Main Account to $1000.00.

8)  Top up the Mid-Term Account to $15,000.00.

9)  Funds over $15,000.00 in the Mid-Term Account (in multiples of $10.00) must go into the Main Account.

10)  All Budgetary Surpluses (in multiples of $100.00) must go into the Long-Term Account.

11)  Unless absolutely necessary, funds in the Long-Term Account must stay in the Long-Term Account.

Monday 23 October 2017

It Is Finished!

It is done and I am free. I have paid off the Wanda Loan, but once again I prove the need for a woman in my life to . . . to take pictures and record such events. 

I was a little distracted with a side project that was going on at the time, but I am now totally debt free. 

Okay, to be honest there is one credit card that has had a balance for the past six weeks, but that card will be paid off in full next payday. 

I now no longer have any contractually obligated payments. I only have my cell bill, that’s it!

I have no: 

Power Bill
Gas Bill
Water Bill
Car Payments
Mortgage payments

You get the idea. 

This means that I can now live on approximately $400.00 - $500.00 a month BEFORE ECONOMIZING! 

This means that most of my pay will be going into savings, you know, for me to do with as I please and build for my future. 

As far as the emotions go, it hasn’t really hit me yet. I am still doing my running around errands after payday.

I am sure it will hit me later on, but for now, I am off to get some groceries before hitting the road to Banff for the week. 

I will relax and celebrate achieving this Crossroads Goal this week. I will then get back at it and start my journey towards my next Crossroads Goal: Land Ownership.

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

Friday 20 October 2017

Got The Historic Paycheque!

Boss has always been good at making sure that I have my paycheque before payday. I have never had to worry about that, not once. 

Sometimes cheques are distributed at the end of business on payday itself, but I am always paid on time. 

Then there are times where I will find my paycheque waiting for me on my desk when I come in to work; today was one of those times.

Sure, payday is not until Sunday, and so that is the day of the cheque. So I can’t cash it until Sunday, and even if I could, I don’t want to. Payday is payday and not a day before. 

Since my bank is now closed on Sundays, the wondrous day of TOTAL DEBT FREEDOM DAY is now Monday. 

I did get a look at my paycheque, though, and the happy news is that I will have enough to pay off the Wanda Loan, even if the interest due is higher than I had expected.

That is a load off of my mind, knowing that I am one step closer to making this a reality. One more variable has been looked after, one more detail nailed down.

I will work today, my half day, and then enjoy a quiet weekend in preparation for the big day on Monday . . . TOTAL DEBT FREEDOM DAY!

I will blog on Monday, but it will be later in the day, after the loan has been paid off. After that, off I go to Banff for the week! 

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

Thursday 19 October 2017

The Same-Same Frustration

I am merely days away from paying off the Wanda Loan, the last and largest loan that I have ever had. 

Yet, as I draw close to close this chapter in my life, I am left with the frustrating sensation that very little is actually going to change. 

There shall be no large banquet held in my honour, the mayor will not present me with the key to the city, and there is no house or parcel of land waiting for me . . . 

No prize for me to claim, other than my freedom.

I shall go to Banff, relax, unwind and then come back and carry on. I will still live in my trailer, still park and live on quiet industrial streets or in parking lots.

I will carry on, but this time it will not be to pay the banks their pound of flesh, it will be for me to build my future. 

That will sustain me; it has to, for I have more of the same coming after finally turning the page on debt. 

First things first, first I pay off the Wanda Loan, then I pay off the credit card that I have been living on (of sorts) these past few weeks, then . . . then and only then I shall start the rebuilding phase.

Whist doing more of the same.

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

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Hump Day To End All Humpdays!

This is the middle of the week before I pay off the Wanda Loan and go on vacation. This week has been going slowly, yet not. 

I am trying to keep things moving forward by keeping track of the half-day increments that each day ticks forward in. 

(For example today starts with 2.5 days to go, but will end with 2 days to go.) Take a moment to grumble and snort in my direction at 1:30 Mountain Time each day this week. 

I am also focussing on work to keep me occupied (and, you know, stay employed and thereby keep the cash flowing in.) 

Which would be good, considering I am about to enter The Trough.

What is “The Trough?” It is the span of time from when I pay off The Wanda Loan (October 23rd) until the payday of November 22nd.

During those four weeks I will have little money, as the two budgets this upcoming payday’s and the one on November 7th are both tight, but necessarily so. 

Such is life, and nothing I haven’t seen before. The thing to remember and what keeps me going is that The Rebuilding Phase officially begins on November 22nd.

That is when cash starts flowing into my account to stay. That is when I officially start to rebuild my cash reserves and therefore my life.

I am still focussed on this Monday though, as paying off the Wanda Loan is paramount to all of that happening. 

So I will be a good boy and stay frugal, and get through this . . . yet I will pause to celebrate and reflect . . . once in Banff, of course.

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

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Countdown To When I Stop Annoying My Co-Workers!

It has begun, since this is the last week before my vacation (and . . . you know . . . TOTAL DEBT FREEDOM DAY!) I have been counting the days . . . half days actually.

Yep, I have been counting down in half-days, the time that I have left until the weekend.

Why half-days? Well, you see I work four full days and one half day (8:30 – 1:30) on Friday. 

Soooo that means that I don’t have 4 full days to work (today included) until the weekend but only three and a half-days. See?

That is under the front lip of my desk at work and for the past few months now I have been writing on there (with a dry-erase maker) the number of Months : Weeks to go to TOTAL DEBT FREEDOM DAY .

Yesterday morning it switched to the number of days before the weekend. Shortly after 1:30 in the afternoon it switched to the number of half-days before the weekend.

While my co-workers know that this upcoming Monday is TOTAL DEBT FREEDOM DAY, I have been keeping things quiet from Boss, as I don’t want to rock the boat.

Time will march on and the weekend will come and Monday after that . . . after all . . . you know . . . Monday is . . . TOTAL DEBT FREEDOM DAY after all.

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

Monday 16 October 2017

In 0 And 1, I’ll Be Done!

IT IS EXACTLY ONE WEEK TO TOTAL DEBT FREEDOM DAY! (Not that I’m bragging or anything . . . that would be uncanadian).

I am still keeping a weather eye on my bank balance as I go through the last week towards paying off my last loan.

Next Monday is a momentous day for me, and I am looking forward to making the day and paying the Wanda Loan off on that day.

I have heard back from the bank and they tell me that the only extra charge will be the interest that has accrued since the last payment.

This means that there are no-last minute, or surprising, fees or penalties in paying out the Wanda Loan.

I can live with paying the accrued interest; that is fair, and manageable.

For me, this week is all about the ticking down until that great day, the day four years, seven years really, in the making.

For I have been carrying debt non-stop for the last seven years. Forgive me if I take a moment to celebrate this great day of finally being rid of them . . . a day of freedom.

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

Friday 13 October 2017

One Week To My Vacation!

Things are happening quickly (yet also slowly at the same time) as it is now one week before I start my vacation.

Okay, for the weekend that my vacation starts, I will be in my Western Home. I have to wait until that Monday, to do my banking and pay off the Wanda Loan.

That’s fine with me, as it lowers the cost of the vacation, yet I will still have seven nights in Banff. I am okay with that.

I am just taking this moment to note that I only have a week to go, before I can begin to relax. 

For it is important to pause and celebrate the achievement of goals; the large ones are easy to see the need to celebrate.

Celebrating the accomplishment of all goals, especially the small ones, will help set up a pattern of success and drive you to steadily improve your life.

I am eager to start my vacation and yes, finally turn a page on debt.

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

Thursday 12 October 2017

I Have My Freedom Number!

Today is a Wanda Payment Thursday . . . THE LAST WANDA PAYMENT THURSDAY! 

Yes, this is the last regular payment (unless the bank forgets to stop taking payments) that I will ever make! 

The next payment will be my last, and that one will be my made the 23rd (Payday). That will be the payment which will pay off the Wanda Loan.

That means that I will be paying off the outstanding balance. Over the course of the loan that outstanding balance has been affected in two ways.

The first is when I make those large payments on my paydays. 

Those are easy to calculate the effect they make on the outstanding balance. What I pay is how much the outstanding balance drops. 

For the regular payments, those have been harder to predict. 

This is because there has always been a constant shift between the amount that is taken by interest and the amount that reduces the outstanding balance. 

(64.80% of each payment went to interest when I started tracking the loan, to 20.17% of today’s payment). So, yeah, those large, extra payments really made a difference to the outstanding balance.   

I figured out a bit of a formula and used that to predict what the drop would be each time. Well, this time my prediction was spot on. 

(Not bad, if I do say so myself.)

I won’t say the number because the exact number is irrelevant. To some it would be less than they spend on office supplies in a month, to others it may be more than their annual salary. 

The fact is that I know what I need to pay off the loan, and my budget says that I will have that much in my account come payday, (and very little extra).

So this means that what the outstanding balance is today is the amount that I will pay to pay off the Wanda Loan.

Now, it is possible that there may be some sort of fee or other penalty in paying the loan off early.

It is my understanding that there are no such penalties with regards to the Wanda Loan, but I have an email in to the banker I have been dealing with, just to check.

(I hate surprises with regards to finances.)

This is another step towards Total Debt Freedom, and it is good to see that things are falling into place. 

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

Wednesday 11 October 2017

So . . . This is a Thing This Month

I will admit that ever since I broke the one month to go to Total Debt Freedom that my eager anticipation has kicked up. 

(I apologize to everyone for being a tad annoying on this point.)

Ever since I turned the page (literally) on the month of September and looked at the month of October, Total Debt Freedom Day has been staring me in the face.

I seemed to need more of a thing to do . . . daily . . . so I’ve started doing this . . . 

Yep, ever since the second of October, I have been crossing off the day before on the calendar. That way I can see how many days are done and how few are remaining.

I also get the satisfaction of crossing off a day and telling myself that that day is done one down, so few to go.

I use this and other little games to keep me occupied and my spirits up as the clock ticks down on this long journey towards wresting control of my paycheque back from the banks.

I will turn this page on debt, so what if I chose to make up silly little rituals to keep me motivated (and thereby preventing me from doing not do anything stupid).

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

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Less Than Two Weeks To Go!

It is official, I have broken the two week mark until Total Debt Freedom Day. 

It is less than two weeks before I am totally debt free and living in Banff for the week to celebrate. 

To be honest, today marks exactly one month until the 7th of November when I will pay off my Low Interest Credit Card and thereby technically pay off my last debt.

Yet with the Wanda Loan being my last and largest debt, and my last contractually obligated monthly bill/debt, I am calling this one done. 

Since the credit card will be paid off on the following payday, I am considering it to be under the heading of “current expenses.” 

But, by all means ignite a large debate over social media over this and thereby driving a tsunami of traffic to my humble blog.

Anywhoos, I am starting to let myself get a bit more excited, yet at the same time I am cautious. 

I am trying to walk that line; letting myself enjoy this, yet not get to careless, cocky, or sloppy, and in the process, sabotage my efforts.

I am still going over my checklists and budgets; ensuring that I am doing what I need to do to pay off the Wanda Loan. I am doing my due diligence.

I am starting to plan for life beyond Total Debt Freedom Day, however. I am putting my goals in order on what I want to, by when and how . . . all after Total Debt Freedom Day. 

As I have said before Total Debt Freedom Day is a Crossroads Goal, not a destination. 

You do not stop at a Crossroads, you: pause, reflect, and move forward, ever onwards towards your next Crossroads Goal, in the never ending quest to continually better yourself and your life.

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

Friday 6 October 2017

Payday Update

This is the last payday before the payday that I will pay off the Wanda Loan. This means that what I do with this payday will directly affect whether or not that will happen.

This payday turned out to be marginally better than I had expected. I stress marginally, as in a smidgen better, nowhere near budgetary minimum, let alone WOO HOO territory!

I still have to hedge my bets so to speak against how bad my next paycheque will be. I can’t just fund everything and stroll merry along. 

What if the paycheque turns out to be worse than I thought? What then? Well, as a last ditch effort I will do the unthinkable before the unconscionable. 

I will take a cash advance on my credit card (the unthinkable) before pushing paying off the Wanda Loan one payday (the unconscionable).  

So, I have funded my groceries wallet with what I need to exist (including what is left in the wallet). I have been draining the wallet recently, instead of funding it back to its budget (as in: what should be in there). 

This is a tactic that I use in such cases, one measure to stretch my dollar and still live. 

I put less back into the wallet then I spent out of it, thereby saving a bit of cash. You can only do this for so long, however. Remember kids, indefinite deficit spending only works if you’re a government and we’re not.

My one treat meal a week will go on the credit card, and I won’t buy gas this payday.

I have more than enough gas to make it through, so I won’t even put the gas on the credit card. That I may do next payday, if needed; (I stress if needed).

All of this will be made right on the payday of the 7th of November when I pay the credit card off in full. After which I shall begin my Rebuilding Phase. 

So, all in all, I’m still on track to pay off the Wanda Loan come next payday!

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

Thursday 5 October 2017

The Lesson Of Two Bad Paycheques

I checked . . . these next two paycheques are my worst this year, perhaps longer. This got me thinking . . . what if this had happened 4 years ago?

I am now standing on the cusp of being able to live on approximately 10% of my take home pay (base on my budgeted targeted minimum).

Four years ago I was paying for: 

A 3 bedroom townhouse (had a roommate, but I was “the responsible one.”)
Truck payments
Credit card minimum payments ($500.00 a month)
Truck insurance payments
Power and gas (for Townhouse)
Gas (for truck)

I had no savings and was living near the bottom of my actual bank overdraft. I would have had found it hard to live on 90% of my budgeted minimum.

I was so maxed out and stretched thin for so long that it was a way of life. To me it was just “normal” it was just what people did. 

It wasn’t until the chill went down my spine when I realized that unless I changed things, I would be facing mandatory retirement age with the same bills and no savings.

While things are tight for me now, they are tight because of a self-imposed deadline. I am doing this to myself and I could easily relieve the pressure by just calling this whole endeavour off.

I can take a hit like this in my budget, a hit that I could not take four years ago (again an approximate 10% drop in take home pay for both paycheques).

Yet, I did not go through all this so to save the company money and be able to take a pay cut. I did this for me, I did this to salvage the cash from my own financial system to put it to use for me.

(Okay, point of clarification here. To be clear, my pay was not cut, it was just a combination of the number of work days within these two affected payperiods, and the fact that sales have slowed. It is just one of those random things that happen beyond our, or even our boss’s, control.)

Let this be a lesson and hopefully motivation for those of you out there who are in a situation that I was in 4 years ago, to actually do something to turn your financial situation around. You can do it, I am proof of that.

I know that things will turn around for me; one way or another I will make sure that they do. 

Sales will pick up again and that there will be payperiods with more working days in them. Things will bounce back.

The one key difference starting three paycheques from now (Nov 7) is that I will be entering, what can only be called . . . “The Rebuilding Phase.”

I have torn down my life and lifestyle to its bare minimum in order to eliminate debt. Once that is done I will start rebuilding my life and finances . . . starting with my finances.

After all, I want land (160 Acers minimum) to start a town which will help break this vicious victimizing fiscal cycle for its residents.

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

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Adjusting To The New Normal

I have my goal, and I have a plan. I am working the plan and the plan is working . . . it’s insane, but it is working nonetheless.

Every penny I spend, whether it is cash (out of a wallet) or out of the bank account (via debit card) or on the credit card is now under intense scrutiny. 

Now, more than ever before I am asking myself “Do I really need this spend?” 

Yes. It has come to that.

My budget is tight, but even if my more conservative paycheque estimates come to fruition, I will still make the day . . . and the day after (Nov 7). 

You know, the day that I will pay off (in full) the even increasing credit card balance on the sole credit card that I am using.

I know that the more I put on that credit card the further I go from being able to call Oct 23rd “Total Debt Freedom Day.”

For me, despite how stringent your definition of “Total Debt Freedom” is, Oct 23rd is still the day I consider that I will finally turn the page on debt. 

This is because it is the last of my contractual monthly obligated debts; no more obligated regular payments to anyone. The remaining ones I control (credit card and cell bill).

Over the past two days I have been going through a myriad of emotions: from anger and frustration to downhearted with a healthy dose of injustice, and on to indignation, determination and yes hope.

I have been through worse and I will yet still go through worse. If my past has taught me one thing it is this . . . I can do this . . . I can and will make the day.

I just have to spend as close to nothing as possible over the next five weeks.

Why five weeks and not three? Well, it’s three weeks to Total Debt Freedom Day and another two to Nov 7 and the official beginning of the Rebuilding Phase.

I will be okay. I will get through this. I will make the day. I am too stubborn not to.

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

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Duelling Shrinking Paycheques

We’ve all had it, a bad paycheque, one that does not meet your hopes or expectations. Somehow you have to adjust your plans and budget accordingly. 

Well, I am about to have two bad paycheques in a row . . . and it seems that they are trying to see who can outdo the other in underperforming. 

At the worst possible time, no less.

These two paycheques are the last two before paying off the Wanda Loan. Actually it is the one before it (Oct 7) and the one that I will pay the Wanda Loan off with (Oct 22).

These paycheques along with the contents of my bank accounts are all that I have to work with. 

So that means that my savings and Wanda Payment Targets can’t be mucked with. I can’t stray from the plan. 

Simply put, I have to continue saving and paying what I had already planned to do, or I will miss Total Debt Freedom Day.

Whilst doing that, I still have to find some way to exist. 

How do I know this? Well, yesterday was the start of a new payperiod. So it is also the day that I put in my timesheet for the upcoming payday on the 7th (Saturday). 

With my best projections, it looks like I will fall short of my “Budgetary Minimum” (the amount that I base my budgets on) by at least a decent night out for two . . . with drinks.

On this day I also prepare my next paycheque’s timesheet and estimate what that paycheque (as in the one after this one) may look like. 

That one looks like it may miss by as much as a nice dinner for three. So I am now hoping to only miss by a nice dinner for two. 

(That is what passes for hope in my life these days). 

The easy answer would be to just shove the day that I pay off Wanda back one paycheque. Sure, bring logic into this.

I will somehow make this work and make the day, for more than the reason that I have already booked my celebratory vacation week.

For me, this is somehow beyond personal, this is my line in the sand. This day (and me along with it) have been shoved around so many times, that I am planting my feet.

This is the day, and I will make the day: October, 23rd, 2017.

I have already made the budget work by doing some minor tweaks like . . . tossing out the grocery and treats budgets . . . small stuff like that. 

I have less than a dollar to spare, but I have made it. I will continue to keep as much cash in my bank as I can between now and the 23rd. 

The trade-off for this insane budgeting is that I will pay the Visa off in full on the 7th of November. I will use the money that I had earmarked to rebuild my Personal Overdraft to do so. 

PI will then continue with my RRSP and Mid-Term Savings plans and just trickle save up the Personal Overdraft with the cash that was earmarked to pay the Visa Card off.

The Paying off of the Wanda Loan does mark a change and shift in the phase or chapter of my life that I am in. So for me it is still the monumental day.

Is it actually Total Debt Freedom Day or is the day really November 7, 2017? I will let others say what they want and argue the semantics. 

For me, October 23rd will always be the day things shifted and I finally turned the page on debt.

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

Monday 2 October 2017

In 0 and 3, I’ll Be Free!

Today is exactly three weeks from the morning that I will walk into the bank, and pay off the Wanda Loan. 

Sure, it’s snowing and I have winterized Wanda over the weekend, none of that matters, for I will be free in three weeks.

With the winterizing of Wanda, my fresh water tank and plumbing is now deactivated for the winter. 

This means that I don’t have to worry about my pipes (or water pump) freezing and cracking, which could cause a great deal of damage within Wanda.

It also means that I can’t turn the tap and expect water to come out. This will be the cause until spring, perhaps even the may long weekend.

Again, this is just something that I have come to adjust to. Even through summer I still carted my water in bottles home with me. 

I use my 5 gallon jug with a spigot (tap) for my fresh water all year round. It is just something that I am used to.

Well, in the dead of winter I have to forgo the jug due to freezing concerns. I end up bringing home just enough water to get me through until I can get more. 

All of this will finally be worth it when I finally become debt free. 

Again, in the interest of being honest, I do have some expenses on a Visa card, but that card will be done before the end of the year and is manageable.

All I know is that we have entered the month that contains Total Debt Freedom Day . . . 

And that is something worth celebrating!

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