Wednesday 26 December 2018

Grand Savings (And Vacation) Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!”

Before we do, however, I would like to say that I hope everyone had a good Christmas filled with love, friendship and cheer.

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .

That’s 14.8%

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 
That’s right things move up to 15.1.7% of my savings target. That means I put away 0.3% of my total Savings Target this payday.

As well, my calculated end payday was shoved forward a payday, back to July 7, 2022.

So, I guess that needs a bit of an explanation. 

The long and the short of it is that this last payday was okay but I was hit with a few “end of year” expenses and other last minute costs due to my vacation. 

Thus, there was less left over to put into savings. Yet I paid everything and I have not run any balances on any credit card, I am still debt free.

I am simply going to take this as a win anyways by looking at it as I did make 15% by the end of this year. 

I will also console myself with the fact that I am in a much better financial position than I was a year ago. I have my two year’s worth of living expenses put aside.

I choose to look on the positive and keep looking forward. I plan to keep putting cash away and building for the future rather than look at the negative and doom and gloom.

There has been a lot of speculation and predictions of a massive economic apocalypse that is just around the corner. 

I have no crystal ball, so I don’t know if one is coming next week or next century. All I do know is that I am not in a place to start my homestead yet. 

I just hope that the fiscal world keeps spinning long enough for me to buy that land and start that homestead/town. 

In reality, all I can do is keep working my plan and build my savings as long as I can. 

And, you know . . . 

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

Friday 21 December 2018

Christmas Break Almost Here!

So here it is, the final work day of 2018 and I am ready to head out to my Mountain Home for my Christmas Break! 

All I have to do is get through today, which is a typical Friday of a half-day of work, and then I am off. 

I did my final running around last night, so all I have to do is get a quick bite after work and then I am out to brave the highway in hopes to beat the holiday traffic.

I will not rush, as I will drive slow and cautiously, well, not painstakingly slow but not stupidly fast either, near but under the speed limit (and yes in the right lane).

I am once again looking forward to having my well-earned break and to have it, all I have to do is get through today at work and that drive to the mountains. 

I will be settled, I will relax, and I will be fine. 

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

Thursday 20 December 2018

The Double-Whammy Payday!

So, tomorrow is not only the day my Christmas Break begins (after work) but also Payday (sorta). 

I get my paycheque tomorrow (yet payday is actually on Saturday) and at the same time I will be handing Boss the last Timesheet of the year. 

You see this time of year is doubly-awesome because not only do I get my Christmas Break, but also because I get a double-payday! (Sorta.)

What happens is I get paid as I regularly do (on the 22nd) yet because my holiday lasts until after New Years, I get paid shortly after coming back.

This year I start back on Wednesday the 2nd, work three days that week and then on Monday the 7th I get paid again! 

Since I am up at my Mountain Home, I don’t spend a whole lot. There are a few things to get, but nothing that great. 

I tend to budget these two Payperiods together as one long Payperiod. It’s great!

It is also nice because the Taxman bites me hard again starting with that Payday of the 7th. 

I go from around 19% taxes being taken off (tomorrow’s paycheque) to 27.5% taxes being taken off . . . that part sucks.

Yet it is all part of life and all done because the Taxman wants their money sooner rather than later (go figure).

I will focus on the happy times of my Christmas Break and that Double-Whammy Payday!

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

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Christmas Break Shopping Done

So, last night I went out and did my grocery shopping, and other errands that I needed to do for my Christmas Break.

There were a few things that needed to be purchased, so I went ahead and bought them now, rather than waiting until Friday afternoon. 

This way, my drinks can have a few days in the fridge to get nice and cold, so they are ready for Friday evening’s festivities. 

I am really wanting to get a jump on the holiday traffic and so I don’t want to do any extra running around, if I don’t have to.

I still have to check my mail and get a meal before I head out on Friday afternoon. (Tip: never head out on the highway on an empty stomach).

I am feeling a bit better today and have a bit more energy, but perhaps this is the excitement of being this close to the beginning of my long-awaited break.

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

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Three Flops, Until the Big Flop

Okay, so I may be looking forward to my Christmas Break a smidgen. In fact I am already dragging my butt, a bit more than I was last week. 

I guess that I have been tired for a while now but just been soldering on, as I always do. So, now that a break is in sight, I am starting to slow down.

I know that I will be pretty much non-moving for the first week. It takes about that long to rest and recover, I have found.

This will leave me the last few days to actually get up and start to enjoy Banff. Ah well at least I will be rested for the New Year. 

Otherwise I am keeping going and keeping true to my plan as I live as frugally as possible.

But yes, I am counting the days until I can finally flop.

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

Monday 17 December 2018

Down The Home Stretch

Here it is, the final week before my Christmas Break. So, I am holding on and quite literally “Working For The Weekend!” 

But seriously, I am just pleased that my long-anticipated break is almost here. 

As far as life is concerned, things are going okay; could be better, could be worse . . . it always could be worse.

I will continue to work and do my job, as I always do, but I will be counting the sleeps until that glorious plop-and-rest.

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

Friday 14 December 2018

Accounting Bug Quashed

Okay, so this goes back to what I keep asking myself . . . “Do I need this?” The answer, in this case, is a simple “No.”

My fiscal life is still quite simple: 

1. I get paid
2. I deposit my paycheque
3. I pay what bills have to be paid
4. I gas up
5. I fund my wallets
6. I put whatever is left over into savings
7. I spend the next two weeks trying to spend as little as possible.

That’s it, that’s my fiscal cycle in a nutshell.

So, I don’t need a fancy accounting system, as I am still in my uber-stingy mode. The difference is that instead of paying off the banks, I am building up my savings.

I am still doing what I have been doing, yet I am doing it for myself rather than the banks. 

So, all in all, while it would be nice to take a step towards the next phase of my journey, I don’t need to take that step just yet. 

After all, I still have four more years before I will be ready to start that phase of my life (lotto win or crowdfunding campaign notwithstanding).

Seriously though, I just need to keep focussed on the now as I build my future. I can do that with my current cascading spreadsheet budgeter. 

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

Thursday 13 December 2018

The Accounting Bug Returns

So, as the year ticks down and I am close to closing off the books for this year, I am pausing to think if I should upgrade my Accounting Practices.

My cascading spreadsheets system works well, and it does help keep me on track and focussed on this payperiod and accomplishing my goals.

So, for the most part it works and works well, yet it does lack hindsight. I can’t run a report and look at exactly what was my largest expenditure or where my income came from. 

I can’t look at the data and try to spot trends, not really. I can’t even easily figure out how much I made this year.

So, I am thinking, once again, if I should get some sort of accounting program and do my books with that. 

I may not go as far as a full-blown accounting system and set myself up as if I was a business, but . . . something.

I am still divided on this and not sure which way I will go, but the impulse is there.

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

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Christmas Break Zombie

I am pretty much just stumbling through until my Christmas Break. I am ready to start that break right about now. 

Yet, I still have to wait just over a week (a week this Friday evening to be exact) before I can start my break and finally flop. 

Okay, while I am tired, I am not exactly a “Zombie” so don’t be worried about me, and forgive me if I am a bit melodramatic on this issue.

I am simply ready to finally take a break after a long year. Yet, it is not time to rest, so I will do what I always do, keep trudging onwards.

Yet, I have already been imagining the view from my Mountain Home as I take in the serene beauty and quietness. 

Until then, there is work to do so . . . 

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

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Battery Experiment This Week

So, I am trying something out this week with regards to my batteries. What I am doing is seeing if I can work it so that I only run my generator once a week.

How? By not using any power during the week. 

So, here is what I am trying this week, I ran my generator on Sunday afternoon for three hours. 

Then, yesterday morning, after I drove over to my Eastern Home and parked where I park for the week, I disconnected my battery.

Well, after putting the trailer’s front foot down so as to take the weight off of the truck’s back axle for the week.

Sure I have no power in Wanda, but the batteries are charged and I really have no need for the power, as I can function without it during the week. 

After all, I am only there, up and around for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. Other than that I am either at work or asleep. 

The plan is that Friday afternoon, I will connect the battery up again and then I should have enough power to last me until Sunday afternoon.

Then, I will run the generator again and charge up the batteries. I may splurge and have power next week, as come Friday (of next week) I will be in Banff for my Christmas Break!

We shall see how this experiment works out. 

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

Monday 10 December 2018

Grand Savings Update!

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .

That’s 13.2%

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 

That’s right things jumped up to 14.8% of my savings target. That means I put away 1.6% of my total Savings Target this payday.

So, this is an important payday for me for more than the fact that I am on track to put away 15% of my target before the end of the year. (I am pushing for 16%, but we will see).

You see this last payday I did in fact put away two year’s worth of living expenses and yes that figure includes a healthy contingency fund.

This is a stress reliever knowing that I have a bit of a cushion, one that I am steadily building on as I continue to work my Grand Savings Plan!

The other important thing is that you will notice that the date (the calculated completion date) moved up one payday from July 7, 2022, to June 22, 2022. 

This means that I am edging closer to my goal date to complete my Grand Savings Plan of April 7, 2022.

I know that come the new year my progress will be grimly slow, due to the crushing weight of payroll taxes coming back into force and the slow sales that January usually has. 

No matter what I will continue to trudge forward as I tell myself and others: 

I have a plan, I am working that plan, and the plan is working.

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

Friday 7 December 2018

Slow and Steady Progress

So, today is Payday (yay) and as always I am looking beyond this Payday and on to the next one. 

This is because I have all but locked down my plans and budget for this Payperiod and so I must now turn my attention to the one to come. 

This is how I do what I do, how I steadily move ahead. I plan the next Payperiod’s Budget whilst implementing and obeying the current Payperiod’s Budget.

This is because actions taken within this Payperiod impacts the next Payperiod’s budget. How?

Well first of all, whatever cash I spend out of my Wallets (Petty Cash Departments) I have to put back (in multiples of $20.00) in the next Payperiod’s Budget.

The next is whatever I charge on a credit card, I have to pay off in the next Payperiod’s budget.

Then of course there is the Income side of the next Payperiod’s Budget, and that comes from my Paycheque.

I always estimate what my upcoming Paycheque will be while I am inside the current Payperiod. 

This is so I have no great shocks when I hold that Paycheque in my hand. Shocks as in I overestimated what it would be and now have to slash and burn my budget. 

I prefer to be a bit on the conservative side and underestimate (slightly) what my upcoming Paycheque will be. That way I have the fun time of deciding what to do with extra money.

At any rate, by keeping my focus on two payperiods at a time, I can steadily progress onward and upward by using each Paycheque as a stepping stone to the next one.

If you master budgeting and cash flow, you can do wonders with your life, trust me.

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

Thursday 6 December 2018

$0.41 Vs $9.58

Okay, so this is a blog entry to say that it really does pay to look at how much your savings accounts are paying you. 

(Yes, they are supposed to be paying you to use your money).

This is the tale of two Savings Accounts 

1) Mid-Term Account

This is a regular savings account that was touted as a “High Interest” savings account when I signed up for it . . . it pays me 0.5% interest. 

The upside of this account is that I can transfer money in and out of it instantly with no fuss or penalty.

2) Long-Term Account  

This is actually my TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account). It is kinda like an RRSP but you can take money out at no penalty (well, as long as it has been in there for more than 30 days). 

I use a “High Interest Savings Account” in there that is traded like a Mutual Fund, yet is actually a regular savings account. It pays me (currently) 1.6%.

The drawback with this account is that I have to plan ahead to get at this money. 

For one, I have to stop putting money into it over thirty days before I plan to take any out. For another it takes two business days to actually get my money out of it.

So, why am I telling you this? Well, it’s not to brag, not at all. 

At the end of each month into each account is the interest that each account has earned. This is the interesting part. 

My Mid-Term Savings had more money in it, yet paid me $0.41 interest for last month. Yet my Long-Term Account which had less money in it paid me $9.58.

Again, not enough to retire on, but still enough to take notice and plan accordingly. This is why I keep enough money for immediate access in an emergency in my Mid-Term Account.

The rest I will put in my TFSA until it is maxed out. After that I will get a standard investing account and continue to put money in it in the same “High Interest Account/Mutual Fund . . . thing.” 

What I need is something where my balance is guaranteed, it pays me decent interest as I continue to put money into it, yet still I can access that money if and when I want.

After all, I plan on starting to spend that savings in four years. As in when I start the Homesteading Phase of this journey.

So, something to think about when you look at your own savings (however large or small it may be). 

You can get better than negative interest for your savings, but you just have to look for it.

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

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Five Years of This Journey!

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

In so doing and on that day in December of 2013, I started this blog with the intent to 1) force myself to do this and 2) let others learn from my mistakes.

Five years later I am still making mistakes and still making those mistakes public, along with a success or two along the way.

At this time of year I look back to see how I did with my goals for last year, and set new goals for the next year.

So how did I do with last year’s goals?

Last year’s goals were: 

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.

Okay, so this one I am claiming done, as this will be officially so, as of payday on this Friday (as in two days from now).

I have tweaked this so as to keep some of that amount in my Mid-Term Account, yet the other part of that in the Long-Term Account so as to lump it in with the cash for my Grand Savings Plan! 

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.

Okay, this one got off to a rocky start and I did carry a balance for the first quarter of the year. I also bought some things, larger ticket things, yet they were needed.

(Mayhaps that new desktop computer, but it is still nice to use, if impractical in a trailer.)

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

That one is for the most part on track, I did get myself going again, I would say from the second quarter onwards I have been doing this.

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

This one could be still held, as I would have enough to buy a Quarter Section, but even if I did, I wouldn’t have any cash to do anything with it.

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

My goals for the next year are simple, as I will: 

1) I will hold true to my Westlock’s Fiscal Directives.

These are the fiscal rules that I have put in place so as to prevent me from getting into fiscal troubles. When I hold true to them, I do well, when I don’t, I don’t.

2) I will work my Grand Savings Plan!

I still plan to have my target of $150,000.00 in savings before I head out to found that town of mine. My target date is April 7, 2022.

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.

It is a pattern that has served me well, and one that I highly recommend.

I am still out here freezing my tuchus off because I know how to survive out here and I want to found that town, so as to help others get ahead without them having to freeze their tuchuses off.

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

PS: For those interested, here are my Fiscal Directives.

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Determination or Delusion?

So, there I was rejecting what seemed like a good offer. It was almost second nature to me now, it’s just what I do.

You see, someone had a relative who was going south for a few months and wanted someone to housesit their house for them. 

I turned it down, because of a promise that I have made to myself. 

The promise is that I will live in my trailer until I move into MY house that I own on MY land. 

Yet, one must ask if this is Determination or Delusion?

It is because of that reason that I will not rent a room, even though I could rent one and still build my savings. 

Yet, if I were to do that, it would take much longer to achieve my goals of buying land and doing so with cash left over to start a homestead. 

All without any mortgage or debt.

For me, I know that my commitment to this promise is something that I need to do in order to shorten the length of time that I am living this Urban Nomad Lifestyle. 

Yet, now and again, it is perhaps wise to pause and reflect on why we do certain things and why others are so doggedly determined not to do. 

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

Monday 3 December 2018

The Protests in France

So, by now you should have heard about the protests in France, the “Yellow Vest” protests. This is interesting for a few reasons. 

First of all, for those of you who don’t know, there are protests going on in France. They are called the “Yellow Vest Protests” because the people protesting are wearing Yellow Vest. 

Why? Well over there, at least in France every car has to have a yellow vest in it, so you can wear it when your car breaks down. 

Since these protests started due to the high price of fuel, (driven by new and steadily increasing fuel taxes) thus it made sense to wear the Yellow Vests in order to signal that something is really wrong here. 

If all it was, was a group of people protesting over the high price of fuel, the world would just shrug and say “so what, get over it.”

Yet that is not quite it, there is more to it than just the high price of fuel. 

People are protesting due to the high cost of living, made ever more so due to the higher and higher taxes. 

People are protesting and saying that they have had enough, that they can’t make ends meet anymore and that something has to be done to help out Pat Q Public.

This is not a strictly French problem as we have these issues over here. I have routinely said that I should not be seen as a smart person for living in my RV. 

Being an Urban Nomad should not be the best and most effective way to get ahead in this world, yet it is. 

There are more and more people living in cars, RV’s and even tents, just because they can’t afford to rent a place. Or, as in my case they have realized that they can’t get ahead if they do.

The cost of everything goes up each month, yet wages do not (I haven’t had a raise in over three years). 

Employers look at employee wages as a charitable contribution that they can’t write off. 

As in, they should be seen as charitable and giving when they do pay and thanked for paying more . . . out of the goodness of their hearts.

When wage do not go up, but the cost of living does, that extra cost has to come from somewhere. That ‘somewhere’ comes from the Standard of Living that people enjoy. 

Slowly and slowly we cut back on the niceties and pay more and more for the staples and the essentials. Sooner or later, there will be no more niceties, and we start cutting the essentials. 

I see more people doing what I do, and yes a return to the land kind of movement, as more people try to be a self-sufficient as possible (until that is made illegal).

Well, take heart folks, only a few more years until I start my town, and then you can all move to my town, and in so doing, break that cycle. 

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

Friday 30 November 2018

Warm Clothes Out of Storage

So, it happened last night . . . I finally broke out my Thermal Underwear. Yep, the cold weather is actually here and so I can’t push it off any further. 

Winter is here and so I donned what will be my usual outfit around the house. That multi-layered thermal underwear outfit with an outer covering of sweat pants and a sweat shirt.

Glamorous, I know. Just like with the rest of my life, function overrides fashion or . . . “normalcy.”

The key is that it will keep me warm without heating the house, and that will save me cash as I use less propane and electricity. 

Again, all in an effort to put as much cash into my savings as possible. All in an effort to have a house and more importantly . . . land.

So, I will get through this and many other winters with my crazy looking getup. 

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

Thursday 29 November 2018

November Chills

Okay, this time the chills that I am talking about have nothing to do with the temperature. What I am talking about are sales at work. 

Things are work are still slow and it is not a good feeling. 

For one, I want to be busy and productive at work, you know, actually contributing to the betterment of the company. (I’m sick that way.)

For another, I know from experience that things can’t remain slow forever. Sooner or later things either have to pick up, we go in another direction, or layoffs start.

All I can do is do my job as best as I can and hope for the best. 

I am also thankful that this is not five years ago, when I was buried in debt and would have been in serious trouble if I were laid off then. 

As it stands now, come next payday I will have put two-year’s worth of living expenses aside in my savings. 

I hope to not have to draw on that, as I am still building those savings in my Grand Savings Plan! You know so I can buy land all with cash and without a loan or debt. 

I remind myself that all I can do is to manage this payperiod’s budget as best as I can and plan for the mid-term. 

I cannot tell the future, so I should now worry about it. I can dream about it, plan for it, and yes do my best to prepare for any negative eventualities. 

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

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Winter Hath Come

It’s going to get cold for the weekend (again) yet this time it will stay cold. Winter has arrived and will stay for some time to come. 

On the plus side, it doesn’t look to be getting all that cold, as in it will (apparently) stay north of –20C. So, that is something at least. 

It is a frustration and certainly not something that I like, but it is something that I know how to deal with (winter and cold).

I am in the process of just getting into that winter mindset and not caring about it. Currently I am at the sage of grumbling with a side of whining. 

Winter and cold is nothing that I haven’t seen before, and something that I will see again, that is for sure (well, as long as I am still alive that is). 

This is winter number 5 that I am entering into, and so, by this point I know what to do and how to handle it. 

I also know that the longer that I stay in my trailer and do what I do, the sooner that I will achieve my goals. (And thereby move out of my trailer and into my cabin/house).

As I have said to my doubters before: I have a plan, I am working that plan, and the plan is working. 

So, winter shminter, bring it on.

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

Tuesday 27 November 2018

From Failure Comes Opportunity

This is a hard lesson to learn, but one that must be taught. For, we fear failure, yet it is our greatest teacher. You learn to just accept that failure is a natural part of life.

I, for one, can personally attest that we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. 

So, to with failure we get the chance to pause and rethink what we were doing. We get a chance to start again in a new direction. 

(Why not, since you have to start again anyways.)

So with the closure of a large auto plan in Ontario, I see an opportunity for another manufacturer to come in and put that plant and its workers back to work.

Companies need to make a profit, yet at the same time, workers need to make more than just a living wage. 

Why? Well if nobody is making anything more than they barely need to exist, who will buy anything? If nobody buys anything, then the economy will crater.

If this auto plant is really the fantastic place that it has been reported then it will not sit idle for long. Even if it is not making autos, it may make something else. 

So, from this closure, I see an opportunity for the community and this plant to renew and rise again, because from failure comes opportunity.

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

Monday 26 November 2018

Winter For The Weekend

So, it snowed and got cold over the weekend. It should warm up for the workweek . . . because of course it will.

It is just another reminder of the time of year that it is and that my thoughts and processes must change towards what I do in winter.

(Namely bundle up and hibernate).

But seriously, I simply roll with the punches and just adapt what I am doing in order to still do what I need to do despite the weather or temperature. 

This weekend I was in my Western Home all set up before the snow really started to fall. So, I was okay.

I know that this is winter number five that I am heading into, so nothing scares me by this point. 

I know what to do, and if I have to learn something new and adapt yet again, I will. After all, do not fear failure, for it is your best teacher. Learn from it and move on.

Yet there are those in my life who just don’t understand why I do what I do. 

One particular person seems to take delight in my “suffering” and is passively-aggressively discouraging of me. 

(As if I’m going to give up now.)

I take it all in stride and chuckle at their comments and otherwise try not to rise to their antics. Again, I left “normal” long ago . . . I know that.

So, I will continue to clomp on ahead into this winter and the winters beyond, simply because they stand in between me and my goals. 

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

Friday 23 November 2018

Grand Savings Update (And More)

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .

That is 11.8%

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 

That’s right things jumped up to 13.2% of my savings target. That means I put away 1.4% of my total Savings Target this payday.

This is one of those days when I “Stole a Square!” I managed to jump past 12%. This is because of how those .X% landed.

Well, that and the fact that at this part of the year, my payroll taxes drop off, so I get to keep more of my hard earned pay. 

Come January those payroll taxes will be back in full force and I will hit the wall. So, don’t expect these great numbers to continue. 

This is the “Woo-Hoo” end of the year where payroll taxes are approximately 18 – 20%). 

From January onward it is the “Stick-Em-Up” end of the year, where the payroll taxes take a much larger bite, as now they are approximately 27.5%.

One thing is clear, that I will continue to put as much as I can into savings to build for my future, regardless of how much I can put away each payday. 

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

Thursday 22 November 2018

I’m Ready to Start Homesteading

. . . but my finances aren’t. That is the trouble, is that I am ready for the next adventure, the next phase of my life. 

Yet the fact remains that I have not built up enough savings in order to go do that. I refuse (not that I would qualify) to get a loan or other mortgage.

If I did get a loan or mortgage, then I would have to pay that back, which means getting a job or pressure to somehow generate income immediately. 

The whole point of homesteading would be to provide a break from the debt-slavery that is the regular work-a-day world. 

(Don’t think you’re a Debt-Slave? Just imagine how far you would get if you stopped working. So, do you really have a choice but to work and pay your bills and debts? That would make you a . . . )

Anyways, I must understand and accept that patience is once again required, as nothing, no changes in my life, ever happen quickly (other than the bad ones).

This path is a slow, plodding progress towards my goals, not a fast, sprint. 

This is the true test of my lifestyle, enduring the almost glacial pace of change. Yet change is happening, and things are progressing, just not as fast as I would like.

I will survive, I will thrive and I will begin my Homesteading Process . . . just not for a few years yet.

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

Wednesday 21 November 2018

One Month and Three Paydays

It is exactly one month (and three paydays) from the start of my Christmas Break. I get paid tomorrow, (but I will wait to do my banking on Friday).

I also get paid on the 7th (as in two weeks from Friday) and of course on December the 22nd as in four weeks from Saturday. 

In that case I will withdraw my cash to fund my wallets on Friday the 21st and do the actual deposit the next day via the online banking app. 

What all this means is that I am excited to be closing in on my break, the glorious 11 day, 12 night break where I can just plop and rest in my Mountain Home.

It also means that I am closing in on the end of the year and my chance to make my goals for this year. 

All in all, those are looking good and that I will make them, but it all remains to be seen how it will shake out.

The important thing, when it comes to goals, is that you keep working on them, that you . . . 

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

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Why Do I Still Do This?

I got asked yesterday why I am still living in my RV Trailer even though I became Debt Free last year.

To me the answer is obvious and self-explanatory, but I will break it down anyways. 

I do this, still live in Wanda and freeze my tuchus off because I am worth more to me than just existing. 

I want more than to just pay bills, live comfortably and die. 

I am more than just a cash-sprinkler. (If you don’t get it right away, pause and think on that term for a moment, it will come to you.)

I froze my tuchus off to pay the banks off, now I am freezing my tuchus off in order to pay me . . . to build up savings.

I won’t do this forever, but I will do it so I can have what I want: a home, land, a community, and do so without debt.

I do this for myself, my future, my dreams and yes for those who will come to settle in my town in the future. 

Even if it is just me and my future wife (whoever she is) in a cabin somewhere, peaceful, remote, and beautiful, that will be okay too.

So, in short, I still live in Wanda, because I choose to, because I can, and because I am building my future, after having paid off my past . . . and bought my freeeeeedooooom!

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

Monday 19 November 2018

Winter Mode Testing

So, all in all, it was a good weekend, a bit cold, but nothing that I could not handle. I bundled up and made do with what I had. 

It was a precursor to what I am to expect when the real winter hits, you know the sub -20C stuff. 

I have my warm clothes. I have my sleeping bag. I have my nice new mattress and thick blankets. All in all, I am warm, I am just not all that fashionable.

I don’t like winter, I don’t frolic in the snow, I tolerate it, I get by. The one thing I do know how to do is to survive and adapt.

(No, I am not claiming to be ‘survivor man’ or anything like that). 

I mean that I just know that one way or another I will figure out what to do in order to survive and yes thrive no matter what comes at me.

So, it will get cold, so what, I will adapt what I am doing in order to still do what I need to do. That is, after all, the essence of what I do: adapt to survive.

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

Friday 16 November 2018

Trading Comfort for Cash

Okay, so it snowed and got windy last night . . . oh yeah, and it got cold. It will continue to be cold today, but again, this is nothing that I haven’t seen before.

I have been spoiled with the way that things have been recently, and I know that things will get much colder.

One thing is clear . . . January and February will always be bitterly cold. That’s just a fact of life. 

Yet, all this is stuff that I know how to handle. Last evening I was snugly warm in my sleeping bag on the couch as I listened to the radio.

I spent the night in my bed all warm and cosy. All in all, it was not bad, and nothing I haven’t seen before. 

I do this because I have to, because I choose to in order to get ahead. 

I am trading comfort for cash. In that I will give up a good deal of comfort in order to gain cash that is freed up in my monthly budget. 

Cash that I can do what I want with, like pay down debt or build up savings. 

Just ask yourself how much and what kind of comfort would you be willing to give up in order to free up some cash in your monthly budget? 

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

Thursday 15 November 2018

Back In Black

So, with the resolution of the frozen Black Water Tank taken care of, I can turn my attention to the closing weeks of this year and my financial goals for this year.

Since I do not have to pay for service or hotel stays or weeks long stays at a campground in order to deal with this issue, I can get back to what I do best . . . save money.

I will be doing my best to stuff as much cash into my savings as I can in this golden time of year when the payroll taxes drop off (I hope). 

I am now focussed on putting at least two years of Living Expenses into my savings before the year is out. 

Then there is the seeing how much of my Savings Target I can put into savings. 

Again, it may not seem to be the best, most glamorous or exciting life, but it is only one small portion of it. One that I am happy to give up in order to get myself ahead. 

After all, the goal is to have: Land, a Home and a Town, all without debt or a mortgage. 

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

Wednesday 14 November 2018

I Got Lucky (Not That Kind)

Okay, so all through work yesterday I was going through various scenarios, things that I could do to solve this problem of my full Black Water Tank with cold weather approaching.

I need to dump it because in the dead of winter, without me plugged in somewhere, I will not be able to keep it from freezing solid and cracking that tank. 

(That’s bad and an expensive fix, by the way).

It was warm yesterday and so after work I decided to risk it and take a chance on seeing if I could actually dump.

You see, what was preventing me was a frozen blockage, a plug if you will in the middle of the pipe that leads down from the Black Water Tank (aka where the toilet stuff goes into).

I opened the valve (with a garbage bag over the opening to catch anything that may come out) and a few slush chunks dribbled out. 

I poked at the blockage with a sacrificial broom handle, and I found that it was soft, soft enough for me to take a chance.

So, of to the neighbourhood truck stop I went to try to dump my tanks. 

When I finally got things ready and in place (as in got my drain pipe all situated and ready to accept anything that would come out of said pipe) I poked at that blockage.

It took but a few prods to poke a few holes in it to cause (let’s call it ‘water’) to flow out.

I quickly pulled the sacrificial broom handle out and connected the drain pipe up and watched. 

This is my inspection pipe and I highly recommend it because it lets you see what is actually flowing out. 

Now, that may be strange, but it will let you see, as in this case, that darned blockage be eroded and flushed down the pipe by ‘water’ that was flowing around it.

It also lets you know when the tanks are completely drained and when you are flushing your tanks you can see when your tanks are cleaned by only seeing clean water run out.

You can get that inspection pipe at any place that sells RV accessories.

As for me, I was just happy to see the tank finally drain.

So with that, a potentially very large hole in my budget was closed up and I am now in full-blown Winter Mode.

I will not use my toilet or sinks until I can be sure that the tanks will not freeze solid. I do not want to be caught out like that again.

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

*Mental Note to Self: Need new broom.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Nice Extended Weekend . . . It Didn’t Work.

Okay, so I will call this past extended weekend (from Thursday Evening to this morning (Tuesday) a nice weekend in the forest. 

My primary goal (to dump my tanks) was not a success. Yet, I was able to get (what I could tell) most of the tanks defrosted, the essential bit is still frozen. 

I don’t know the exact term, but I will call it the downpipe. This is the pipe that leads from the tanks down on an angle to the connector for the drain hose. 

This two foot stretch of pipe is still frozen, despite the heat tape on all that time and the heat cranked in the trailer. 

I will be okay today through to Thursday during the day, after that, once night falls on Thursday, I am in trouble again. 

For Thursday night it will dip below zero and stay below zero for all of Friday. And after that I won’t get warm enough during the day to thaw that pipe out.

What I really need is a warehouse or other indoor space large enough to park Wanda in for a few days to get heat in from the outside.

If I can’t dump my tanks this evening, (or that warehouse magically makes itself available) I will have to contact the RV Dealership.

I will have to have them finish this thawing and tank draining that I started. I just can’t risk it any further. 

Sure, this means extra cost in the repair bill, as well as staying in a hotel for the better part of a week, but it is better than the repair bill for a cracked tank(s).

One way or another I will make this work, I will solve this problem and keep going. I simple can do no less; it’s just what I do.

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

(And yes, always dump your tanks BEFORE the freezing weather hits.)

Thursday 8 November 2018

Grand Savings Update (And More)

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 

That’s right things jumped up to 11.8% of my savings target. That means I put away 1.7% of my total Savings Target this payday. 

The other cool thing is that the "Estimated End Date" moved up one payday to July 7, 2022. 

So, this is partly due to the fact that my taxes have started to drop off, coupled with my savings mentality. 

We shall see how things go, but I may make my target of at least 15% by the end of the year (17% preferred).

With regards to winter and my still almost full Grey and Black water tanks, things are looking dicy. 

Did you ever have one of those days where all of the little things went wrong? I had one of those evenings. 

It started out hopeful, I could get those valves open (in order to dump). So I went to the local truck stop and just paid to dump. 

I didn’t get a discount that I had expected and paid nearly full price, all to find out that there was some ice further up and that was why neither tank would dump. 

Naturally, the place would not give me a refund.

I call this the “Geoffie Level of Customer Service” As in the level of customer service that I usually get which can be summed up by the statement “Why are we talking? We already have your money?” 

Anywhoose, I decided that since I was moving, I may as well do my payday running around. This despite me depositing my paycheque yesterday morning over the app because I didn’t want to run around. 

So, I did my shopping, bought gas, etc. 

My plans are to now go to McLean Creek, yet I plan to head out for tonight and take tomorrow off. 

This way I will have an extra day and an extra night to plug in and try to defrost my tanks, at least enough so that I can get most of the water out of there.

If this is not enough I will look at finding a campground that is local and open over winter to plug in and thereby continue my defrosting efforts.

Again, one thing at a time, I will try this, as I don’t think those tanks are anywhere near fully frozen yet, just frozen around the outsides.

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

Wednesday 7 November 2018

A Dump Delayed

Okay, so we’ve got a bit of a blast of cold weather currently. I still have my nearly full Grey and Black Water Tanks. 

Currently in the trailer it is still hovering around freezing, if a little bit below. So, this is good, because it will take a while for the black and grey water tanks to freeze.

Yet the problem is that the end where I actually connect the hose to dump the tanks has a couple of valves out there in the cold.

They have frozen shut, or at least as far as they have done so currently. No pipes are cracked but I can’t open that valve, yet.

A bright spot is the fact that it will warm up to 6C on Friday, and that should be enough, with the warmth of the sun, to warm up that valve enough for me to be able to dump.

Again, we shall see, as if I can’t open those valves, I may have to go to a campground so I can apply some heat to the insides of the tanks (by way of internal electric heat tape) and an external electric heater.

Either way, I will dump this weekend, I would just rather not risk the budget in order to do that. (By going to the campground).

All in all, one way or another I will deal with this and get it solved.

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

Tuesday 6 November 2018

With a Wisp of Winter, I Hibernated

It got cold, colder than “Ah, it’s a bit nippy” as in below freezing, so I just turned in early. 

We go a bit of snow and with that I just turned around and tucked into my bed, early and stayed warm. 

This morning despite the fact that it was already below freezing in m house (okay, -2C) I turned the air blue.

Again, I am not all that proud about this, and it is a process I go through, when winter actually arrives, the mentally getting into Winter Mode. 

As in getting ME into Winter Mode.

I have done this before, for four winters behind me, I can certain handle this one. I know what to do, I know what to do in order to get through it.

Again, I do this, I endure winter so in my RV that I can get land a home, (without a mortgage) all that much faster.

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

Monday 5 November 2018

Long Weekend Dilemma Again

So, this weekend (the upcoming one) is a long weekend, at least for me. As it is the Remembrance Day Long Weekend. 

This is due to the fact that the actual Remembrance Day is on Sunday, but the day off is on Monday.

So, as with all things, I am considering heading to a campground for the long weekend. This is mainly for the free-flowing electricity (ooooh luxury).

I can also cook up my next batch of Mealstarter and enjoy the peace and quiet. 

Yet there is also the fact that it is an unnecessary expense and we are in the closing days of this year and the rush to 15% (of Savings Target).

Sure, it is easy for someone else to tell me “go, enjoy the weekend, don’t worry about the expense.” It is quite easy to be generous with someone else’s cash.

I will decide what to do later on, but either way, I will still cook up my Mealstarter. After all, I have had the ingredients for the past two weekends.

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

Friday 2 November 2018

One Week to Winter Mode (Probably)

So, as is normal this time of year, I look at the Weather App to see what may come this way. 

So far it is saying that the weekend will be decent (as in 10C) high for the weekend. So, that’s good and I’ll take that positive.

Yet in a week it looks like the daytime high will drop below freezing and stay there. 

This is always my sign to stop using my Black and Grey Water Tanks. Meaning, I can’t pour things down my sinks or use my toilet. 

This is because the valve that I have to open in order to drain those tanks will freeze shut. As well all or some of the contents of those tanks will freeze. 

I don’t feel like carrying around a block of ice and/or frozen poop for the next four months. 

So, it is a precautionary measure that I do, I dump for the last time and just don’t use the sinks or my toilet. 

Maybe I could push it a bit longer, but for me, it is not worth the risk. 

I will just take things one day at a time and do what I need to do right now in order to get ahead. 

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

Thursday 1 November 2018

It’s Silly, But it Works

So there I was going through the motions of getting ready for the day and paused to realize how silly I must look most times.

After all, there are some silly things I do, silly things that work. I have long since abandoned the idea of “looking cool” or otherwise “normal.”

I do what works, not what is stylish. 

For example, I: 

Putter around in the dark with only a flashlight strapped to my head for light.
Work on my laptop by candlelight.
Listen to a portable radio when the radio in my trailer works fine.
Dress in the same multiple layers of clothes every day when around my trailer
Sit in a sleeping bag on the couch to stay warm without turning the furnace on.
Pack my water in on my back daily.
Live in an RV Trailer on a street in an industrial park.
Weekend (and look forward to) in the parking lot of a Big Box Retailer.
Pee outside in the dead of winter.

Those are a few of the odd things that I do, just because they work. It is in doing these little odd things that helps enable me to get ahead. 

Conformity to what society expects is what really holds people back from doing what they need to do to get ahead. Think about that. 

What “odd things” are you willing to do in order to get yourself ahead?

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

Wednesday 31 October 2018

The Eve of a Pivotal ‘Timesheet Day’

So, today is the end of the month, the end of October. Yeah, yeah, Halloween and all that. 

For me, in my world this is the last day of this payperiod, the one that will produce the November 7, paycheque. 

Why is this so special a paycheque? This should be (emphasis on ‘should’) a larger than average paycheque and the first of four such in a row. 

This is because, at this end of the year, the payroll taxes drop off, and so, I get to keep (for now) much more of my paycheque than before.

This will impact the next 4 budgets and so when I finally get my paycheque (you know, a week from today) I will see where exactly that number lands.

As in exactly what percentage of my paycheque do they keep? 

Why is this so big a deal? Well, that number slides from 27.5% of my paycheque in January, to around 18% of my paycheque in December.

So, for budgeting purposes, it is nice to know what to expect.

I just want to know if I will make my savings targets or not.

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

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Cold Weather This Way Cometh

Okay, so while it is not exactly -40C, it is going to get decidedly colder. 

Once again, I have seen this before and it is nothing that I can’t handle, but it is what it is. 

I may end up in full-blown-winter mode before too long, perhaps in two weeks, then again it could take longer, nobody really knows. 

All I know is that my shorts may be packed away before long and those long johns may be coming out of storage soon. 

I just sigh and go oh well, it is what it is and it will be what it will be. I have been here before so I know what to do. 

I am nothing if not determined and I will get through yet another fall (real fall) and yes, another winter.

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

Monday 29 October 2018

Relaxing and Unproductive Weekend

So, the weekend was nice and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t accomplish much. 

I had wanted to cook up another batch of my Mealstarter. I even bought the ingredients, but never got around to it.

I did some writing, even watched a bit of TV, went for walks, you know relaxing stuff.

All in all it was a good weekend, if a bit slow and boring. 

Yet, it was just what I needed.

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

Friday 26 October 2018

A Modicum of Encouragement

So, Boss, like a lot of business people leases a vehicle through their business for both business and personal use. 

What Boss does is when the lease is up, will typically pay the lease out, then turn around and sell the vehicle, typically making a bit of money along the way. 

Okay, why not. This way Boss always has a new (or a year or two old) vehicle to drive. Again, why not. 

It has come to that time that the lease is up, and so this cycle will continue again . . . or will it? 

With the challenges facing the business, will Boss continue with the expense of leasing a vehicle or go with another more fiscally prudent option?

You see, as I see it there are a few options Boss could take:

Return/buy out and sell the vehicle & lease a new one. 
Buy out the vehicle and keep it.
Buy a used vehicle.
Carpool/share an existing family vehicle (technically could happen).

It goes without saying that we, around the office were interested to see which way Boss would go? 

If a fiscally prudent option was employed then we would see this as a sign that Boss’s confidence was waning in the mid to long term future of the business, as it stood now.

If a new vehicle showed up, then that would signal that Boss had every confidence that things would continue as normal.

So, what did Boss do? Boss leased a new, yet not quite as fancy as the last one, vehicle. 

So, all in all, this signals that Boss is pretty confident that the company will keep operating and that at least Boss, will remain employed.

After all, Boss has laid off the entire staff at least once, possibly twice before as Boss retools the company in a new direction . . . as a “one man operation.”

So, with a new truck, there is hope around the office . . . sorta.

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