Friday 22 December 2017

5 Weeks Without A Phone, and I Survived

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 21 December 2017

The Pre-Dash Rush

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Okay, So It Snowed

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

So what am I to do about it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 19 December 2017

The Paydrop

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

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

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

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

Woo hoo,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet still the payday drop is gonna hurt.

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

Monday 18 December 2017

Respect The Past, Accept The Present, Embrace The Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 15 December 2017

One Week to Vacation!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 14 December 2017

Counting on the Flop

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

What is the flop?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For I am determined.

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

Wednesday 13 December 2017

New Year Fixation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Goal (Check), Insane Budget (Check)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 11 December 2017

The Last Goal (To Achieve This Year)

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

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

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

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

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

I have already achieved/will achieve the following Goals:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 8 December 2017

Budgetary Cycle Completed in a Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once again, I need to break the cycle of: 

Trouble -> Debt -> Dig Out of Debt 

By building up and maintaining a decent savings account. 

Something I highly recommend no matter your fiscal situation.

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

Thursday 7 December 2017

I’m Declaring a Stingy Day!

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

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

Just so we’re clear, I will not:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Celebration on a Budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Four Years And Counting!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last year’s goals were: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 4 December 2017

Back in Fall/Spring Mode (For Now)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 1 December 2017

Staying Focussed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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