Tuesday 31 July 2018

Curbing Trickle Spending

Okay, so I have developed a slight habit of raiding the next pay period’s budget in order to spend now. 

How I have been doing this is by just putting small charges on my credit card. When I was carrying a balance on the credit card, this was easily overlooked.

Yet, since I have paid off the credit cards (both of them) in full (yet again) this is harder to do. So, I have decided to just stop doing that.

I have a thing of always maintaining a positive balance in my Main Account (as in, over $1000.00 in that account). 

(FYI: Less than $1000.00 in the Main Account is my Personal Overdraft).

So, what I have decided to do in order to give me some of the “pain of the spend” is to force me to spend these little trickle spends out of that Main Account.

This will have the desired effect and I will be back on track soon enough. I am not doing anything crazy, just little bits here and there, all of which add up.

I am on track to fully funding my Mid-Term Account by the end of next month (August). 

After that I will start to build up my Long-Term Account (yet technically keep those funds in my Mid-Term Account until I have the minimum $5000.00 balance required before the bank will pay any interest.)

On any rate, we can all understand how these little trickle spends can drain your account and they have been the source of my fiscal destruction in decades past.

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

Monday 30 July 2018

New Progress Chart!

Okay, as I have said before, with these large and long haul projects, part of the problem is to stay motivated.

I have found that part of the secret is to see constant progress as well as reward myself regularly. 

I have also said that Milestone Goals are also important when working towards your current Crossroads Goal.

So, with all that in mind, I have created . . . this!

This is a chart of 100 squares arranged in ten rows of ten boxes in each. I start at the bottom and cross off a square for each percentage point of my total goal that I have saved.

That box at the bottom is for me to write in the currently estimated payday that I will be done (assuming that from that point forward I will put in 1% per payday).

It looks like this . . .

All it is, is a graphic that I have made that is 4 inches by 4 inches that I printed on a colour printer then had laminated. (Just like the first one). 

If you want a copy of either, message me and I will be happy to send you the graphic.

The idea is that if I stick to my target, I should be crossing off one box per payday, and depending on how the less than a full percentage points line up, I could be crossing off two.

This is a way of reminding me that I am making progress and to keep doing what I am doing. Again, mind games are the key to keeping you motivated on a project such as this.

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

Friday 27 July 2018

Rising Interest Rates Hurt the Indebted . . . Who Knew?

I read an article this morning about that very subject, the fact that rising interest rates, or the fear of them are causing people to cut back.

The problem is that they are cutting back on more than just extras but into essentials as well. 

This is where buying something for a toy or an extra turns into Debt-Slavery. 

As in when you are spending all or most of your income on existence and debt servicing and can’t get out from under it . . . you are enslaved by debt.

Yet, let us never forget that we ourselves are the ones who are the architects of our own enslavement by constantly buying stuff we don’t need, with cash we don’t have.

Sure, the: Marketers, Advertisers and the Salespeople play a part, but we still bought the stuff. 

Another part is the fact that wages do not keep up with inflation, and any suggestion to somehow link the two is met with cries of “All of Western Civilization will fall if you do, you commie bastard!”

Yet the fact remains that Canadians are carrying record amounts of debt, all of which are affected by the rising interest rates (which will cause the cost of borrowing to go up).

So, if you ever needed a jolt to do something about your debt, now is the time. 

You can do it, you must do it, you deserve to not only be debt free, but building your wealth on the other side of debt freedom. 

Here is a link to the article, read it while the link is still valid.

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

Thursday 26 July 2018

Perilous Gas Saving Method Still Underway

Okay, so this week I decided to try another way to save yet more fuel, and therefore save more cash.

Already I plan out my route when driving to make sure that I take the shortest distance and never double back, if I can help it.

I have a nice spot that I like to park in when I am at work. It is convenient and just half a block down a quiet street to work. It’s nice.

Yet, I don’t want to anger the locals, so I never run my generator there, as there are buildings on both sides and it may echo down the block.

So, I drive the block and a half  (the long ones for an industrial area) to my spot where I typically have parked to sleep, it is next to a grassy hill, which is nice to look at.

Yet to drive there is 1 km each way, door to door, so to drive there and back takes extra fuel.

So, this week I thought that I would try parking and staying in my sleeping spot and just walking to work.

Sure the walk is nice but the problem is when I get to the major road that cuts through the industrial area that is my Eastern Home.

There is no crosswalks along this stretch, so I have to dash across the street (because stopping for a pedestrian when there is no crosswalk is illegal  . . . or for wussies . . . or something like that.

So I have to do this twice a day both during rush hour and both times with my bag and backpack on. 

It is a pain in the butt but it has worked as the truck hasn’t moved and won’t until tomorrow afternoon when I drive to my Western Home, where it will sit until I drive back.

I am also only running the generator for two hours at a time and only using Wanda’s batteries to run the fridge (control systems) and the water pump, when I wash my hands or flush the toilet. 

Otherwise I am using my portable radio with rechargeable batteries that I charge up at work. 

(Gee, without work I would definitely need a larger solar panel . . . that or go through more generator fuel . . . thanks Boss.)

Anyways, so while this is working it is a bit of a pain. Again, with gas prices the way they are (with little sign that they will drop down to reasonable prices anytime soon) I will do what I have to in order to make my fuel budget.

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

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Savings Priorities

Okay, so I have a few things on the go and they all revolve around putting cash away. 

The first of all is The Grand Savings Project, this is my Crossroads Goal. 

This is my drive to save up enough to buy the plot of land that I want and begin to found my town. Let me break that number down for you.

$50,000 for a Quarter Section of land (160 acres.)
$50,000 for Farming Equipment (To grow food for profit and to feed the population.)
$50,000 for supplies, living expenses and building materials for the initial, buildings.

Total: $150,000.

Again, this is an approximate budget but this is what I have and will go on. I plan to buy cheap and buy used whenever and wherever. 

All I have to do is just to get started and I can grow and upgrade from there. Anyone who has played any sort of “Strategy Game” (as in: Warcraft, Starcraft, or the like) will know what I am talking about. 

But I digress (as usual) the next thing I have going is to take care of the now, as in what would happen if I was suddenly unemployed (for any one of a thousand reasons, 9998 of them not my fault).

That is where I have two new milestone goals: 

1. To put $10,000 in my Mid-Term Account (to act as my personal line of credit). 
2. To put $10,000 in my Long-Term Account (to earn me a higher rate of interest). 
3. To save up 2 Years of Living Expenses.

I should be done Milestone Goal #1 by the end of next month (August) and be done Milestone Goal #2 by the end of November.

The combination of the tow of these will achieve my Milestone Goal #3, the one that has been there for a while. 

I will continue to build up my savings but until I have achieved all three of these Milestone Goals I will not rest easy.

I will be able to relax the further I pull away from those three Milestone Goals because at least with savings I will be okay (total collapse of the fiscal system notwithstanding).

This is another example of how Milestone Goals and Crossroads Goals work together and interact. 

For one marks your progress as you clomp on towards the other.

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

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Be Nice, Until it’s Time Not To Be Nice

Wise words, and more people in this life should remember them. I for one do my best to live by them, and for the most part I have been successful. 

I will be up front and say that this blog entry is based on second-hand information, yet it is still worthy of a learning experience. 

Okay, so it was Friday afternoon and I was pulling up to my Western Home and I noticed three things strange, yet I persisted anyways.

The first strange thing was that the Big Box Retail Store parking lot that I usually park in was full of various RV units, even the regulars.

The second was that the Empty Big Box Store’s parking lot was empty, except for my lone “canary.”  

The third was that a large tow truck was parked in the Empty Big Box Store’s parking lot, with its lights on (and perhaps engine running).

Since my canary was there, I decided to risk it and park in the Empty Big Box Store’s parking lot anyways. I could always move if someone told me to; I always have.

This Empty Big Box Store is located right next to Big Box Store that I usually shop in and used to park in. 

The Empty Big Box Store has been vacant for months, since the dead of winter, made known by the fact that their parking lot lamps turn on at 4 in the afternoon and turn off at 10 in the morning (approximately).

So, with the Big Box Store that I usually shop in having a snit fit and kicking everyone out, naturally people gravitated over here to the Empty Big Box Store.

Apparently either on Thursday or Friday, the manager/owner/person responsible for the Empty Big Box Store came out to finally cut the power to the store.

This is understandable as I have heard that a few people had found a few forlorn power plugs that still worked and were making use of them.

This individual, whom we will call the Property Manager (though I do not know who they were or their actual job title) came out swinging.

The Property Manager was demanding that everyone leave right now and that they were going to tow those who didn’t and put up large barricades.

One of the regulars apparently claimed some sort of squatter’s rights, and shouted that they had a right to be there, etc. 

This highlights two things wrong with this picture. The first is that if you come out swinging and shouting, generally taking a combative stance, you will evoke a combative response. 

This also bring up the other point, the parking lot that all of us, were parked on was private property, owned by some company for the purpose of retail (as in business).

Sure, I take up a few spaces, but I do so at the edge of the large parking lot, generally where nobody wants to park in anyways, and in return I shop at that store.

I stay for a few days, generally for the weekend the longest is for a long weekend. I fully understand that it is a privledge, not a right to be there.

So, the Property Manager had every right to kick everyone out, just as the Big Box Retail Store that I usually park in had the right to do the same, it is their property.

Even when I am parking on a street I have no right to be there, it is a city owned street, so it belongs to everyone and no one.

I always conduct myself, wherever I am, as if I am a guest on someone else’s land. 

I suppose that’s why owning land and a large amount of it means so much to me. It would mean that I finally have a place to belong and a place to set down roots . . . but I digress.

If the Property Manager had (and might have, I don’t know because I wasn’t there) had said . . .  

“Look, I can’t have you people here, so you can stay tonight but I need you gone in the morning, if you’re still here tomorrow night, I will have to have you towed,” 

They probably would have gotten a much better response and people would have been less likely to get angry in their face and get angry back.

People living in RV’s and vehicles, for the most part are not there by choice, or rather, it is not their first choice. 

There are some who choose to live in RV’s (like me) but for the most part it is poverty that has shoved them into this lifestyle.

At the end of the day, people are people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect until their conduct demands otherwise. 

This is irrespective of if the person is a Property Manager, or lives in an RV/vehicle.

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

Monday 23 July 2018

Grand Savings Update (Inaugural Edition)

Okay, so this is the first time that I will be doing one of these. 

In the interest of not only keeping me honest but also keeping me motivated (as well as showing progress) I will be posting my “Percentage of Target Saved” after each payday. 

This is simply because once the paycheque goes into the bank, bills get paid, cash gets set aside for expenses, and savings get tucked away. 

So, the question is, what is today’s Savings Target Number?

When last we met, the number was this . . . 

That’s right 3.4% (for those of you who can’t read my handwriting, or see the picture).

The new number is one that will probably never happen again, the numbers flipped . . . 

Yes, interestingly enough, the new number is 4.3%

Now, on one hand it is shockingly depressing to have so little of my target saved, but you have to remember that the plan is to steadily increase that number.

So, this number should steadily get bigger and bigger, thereby proving to me that my plan is working. 

Again, such games are important when keeping you motivated over a long, slow steady incline up towards your goal. 

(Seriously, winning the lotto is not a plan, but a dream and a faint hope.) 

So, I shall work my plan, even though it is a four year plan. (My current estimates put me at Freedom Day being closer to Wanda Day, but we shall see how things turn out.)

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

Friday 20 July 2018

Milestone Goals Help

For me they do, it may seem like fiction and fantasy, but it does help. So, let me be happy in my delusion, for I need it, if only for now.

I am in a tenuous position, and I feel like I am standing here with my hiney hanging out. 

I have nowhere near my two years of living expenses that I want to have between my Mid-Term and Long-Term Accounts. 

That always makes me very nervous whenever I look at their account balances. Why? 

Well, let’s just say that life and history has taught me never to rely on anyone or anything that is outside of my control (including any and all social programs).

So, I draw comfort knowing that if all goes according to plan, I should have that Milestone Goal Target Amount in the bank before the end of this year.

As I have said before, large goals are Crossroads Goals, because when you achieve them, your life is at a crossroads. 

A good example of a Crossroads Goal is becoming totally debt free. 

Another is my current Crossroads Goal of saving up my Target Amount before Total Freedom Day (sometime in 2022, currently pencilled in for April 7, 2022)

A Milestone Goal is a goal that you achieve on the road towards your Crossroads Goal. They mark your progress, yet they are not a destination in and of themselves.

An example of a Milestone Goal is me putting two years of living expenses in my Mid-Term/Long-Term Accounts.

It is these smaller goals that help me stay motivated on the road to the longer and larger Crossroads Goal. 

So, my other Milestone Goals shall be each increment of 5% of my overall savings target. 

Again, it may be a mind game, but it is one that I need, to stay motivated and on track.

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

Thursday 19 July 2018

Troubles Staring Down The Long Road . . . Again

I have been having motivational problems as of late, all related to this new savings drive, my new Crossroads Goal.

As I looked at that spreadsheet with every payday on it in a nice grid format for this year through 2022, it was a bit disheartening. 

All of those empty boxes with space for where to put what I put into my savings accounts all waiting to be filled.

Each box would have to wait two weeks from when the previous box was filled in before its number would be entered.

Once again, a long slow climb, once again another lofty goal I have set for myself. Once again, I am staring down four more years of this lifestyle. 

It is also quite frustrating when I am mentally ready to go when it comes to the homesteading process. 

I am ready to start to tackle those problems of finding the right patch of land. Of then staring to establish a town and getting it ready for people to arrive. 

Yet I am four years away from starting that process, of entering that phase of my life. 

I will get there though, I just have to get through this fundraising portion of my life. 

I am trying to keep focussed on this aspect of my life, of keeping focussed on what I can do here, today to move me closer towards that goal.

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

Wednesday 18 July 2018

I’m At 3.4%

Well, it’s somewhere to start from, but that is where I am staring at. I am at 3.402% of my savings goal. 

I have made yet another spreadsheet to keep track of my savings. Not only does it do that but it calculates my current percentage of my savings target.

It is a way to track my progress but also remind me that I am making progress. So yeah it is an accounting and encouraging tool. (Message me if you want a copy).

Each payday I will update it with what I have actually put into (or taken out of) my savings: as in my Mid-Term or Long-Term Accounts.

At which point my Percentage of Target will change, and so I will see progress however minimal each and every payday. 

I expect to be at 5% by the payday on August 7, but I won’t be at 10% until the payday of Oct 7. 

Again, progress is slow and steady, as it has always been on my journey (large crowdfunding campaign *hint, hint* or lottery win notwithstanding).

I will close with saying that I am on track and on target to make my savings goal at some point in 2022 and that is what matters.

Whether or not I make the day of April 7, 2022 to reach my savings goal is another matter, and less important. Making the goal at all is.

(However slow the progress or how long it takes).

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

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Happy Anniversary To Me

Okay, so yesterday was the first day in a new payperiod. So, as the tradition goes, all of us employees (all three of us) put our timesheets for the just ended payperiod on Boss’s desk.

Typically closer to or even on the final business day before payday (typically on payday) Boss will create our paycheques and hand them out. 

Sometimes our paycheques will be waiting for us on our desks when we arrive for business on Payday. 

The one thing I have never had to do is ask for/demand my paycheque or wonder if it will bounce. I still check the numbers on it to ensure that it is correct (it always has been).

So, imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, Boss issued our paycheques on this the first day of the new payperiod. 

Our cheques will not be valid until Sunday, but we at least have it in our hands. For me this means I can finalize my budget for the upcoming payperiod (starting on Sunday).

Yet, this upcoming paycheque is a special one in that it is now officially 3 years since my last raise. 

(Made official by the fact that my hourly rate on this cheque was unchanged).

Now, if there was ever a time when raises would be doubtful our current unstable economic climate would be it.

I will be fair and say that sales have ticked along and inched up, so my paycheque has lumbered along. 

Yet with my ever more reliance on my commission on sales (sales I have no control over) means that sales are becoming less and less of a luxury and more and more of a necessity (paycheque wise).

Inflation is essentially the cost of living, yet the one thing that never seems to keep up with inflation is my wage, and I know that I am not alone.

It does not matter what you make, if you are not given the cost of living increase (that everyone should get) then you are working for less.

Yet with your increased experience in your field and with your particular company, you are worth more to that company.

Sure, with my current lifestyle I can handle the steady increases in the cost of living. (for me the cost of fuel, propane and groceries are where I am hit the most).

Yet I did not start living this lifestyle to make myself cheaper for the company and Boss. I did this for me, to get my hiney ahead.

I will continue and persevere, for four years at least (or so the current plan states) until I can start that town in order to end debt slavery for all who come.

Until them I must continue to trudge forward, a freeman in a debt slavery land.

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

Monday 16 July 2018

The Reluctant Neighbourhood

When it comes down to it, a neighbourhood is a grouping of people who live in separate units gathered together in one place.

This is what my Eastern Home is shaping up to be. There were so many people there this weekend that a few units drove through and left. 

(Having found no space available that was large enough for them.)

There were the usual few, including my one “canary;” meaning if he is still there, then it’s okay to be there for the weekend at least. He’s been there for a year, or so I’ve heard.

A couple were large and wondrous looking coach RVs. Others were older models who had long since seen better days, and then there were the other vehicles: Vans, cars, pickup trucks.

Everyone seemed to know that this place would be okay, that you would not be harassed here . . . for now.

One such man living in a van was a man who was, shall we say, a year shy of being eligible for a government pension who had recently run out of unemployment benefits. 

He was and is still finding it hard to get a job, nobody wants to hire someone with that much life experience it seems, or so he said. Everybody has a story, they say.

I know that Stampede is on (a large and famous festival, the largest this city has every year) and so more tourists are coming.

The true test of if this is truly things to come will come in winter (if we are all still allowed to be here by then).

Winter is always the gauge of those who are here by sheer will (or blockheaded stubbornness as is my case) or those who are here by no other option. 

This place that has become my stop in my Eastern Home has become my true gauge of the local economy. 

It is a 60,000 square foot big box retail space in a large big box mall area. It should be filled by something, yet it has been empty since winter.

I still find it funny that the parking lot lights come on at 4pm and don’t shut off till mid morning.

I will still do what I always do, for I can do no less . . . keep trudging onward. It just seems that there are more and more people trudging on alongside me.

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

Friday 13 July 2018

Booked My Long Weekend Holiday

Things don’t always go as planned; this is a reoccurring theme in my life. 

Anyways, I had planned to book my August long weekend (August 3 – 6) after my next payday, as in the payday of the July 22nd.

This was because I have a standard rule to pay the outstanding balances of any and all credit cards off each and every payday.

So, if I wait until the 23rd to book my camping spot (for what Alberta calls the “Heritage Day” long weekend) I won’t have to pay for it until I get back on August 7.

One problem with this plan was that the campground in my Mountain Home was closed (for repairs/renovations) and so after a search I found only two sites available at a provincial campground . . . so I booked one.

Again, this puts a dent in my upcoming payday budget, but I can absorb it, after all everything is paid off and so I am into the building of my savings phase.

I will not go crazy but I do like to make a point to go to a campground for the long weekends, it seems like a nice time to run to the hills.

All will be well, one way or another. All you can do is remember to just roll with the punches and just adapt your plan to suit what is coming your way.

Analyze, Adapt, and Overcome.

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

Thursday 12 July 2018

Wanda Day Has Arrived Again!

Today is Wanda Day. This means that it was 4 years ago today that I moved into Wanda Full-Time! 

It is also on this day that I take stock of what I have accomplished in the past year. 

It was a year ago that I was on the home stretch of paying off Wanda (my last and largest loan).

If I remember correctly I was worried about not being able to make the day that I had set for myself to be debt free. 

The exact date kept moving around and in the end it was October 22, 2017. 

Here I am now on this auspicious day of the next Wanda Day and I am now focussed on the insane task of spending yet another 4 years in Wanda.

All for the hope, the chance to be able to break the cycle of lifelong debt slavery for not just me but all those who settle in my town.

Okay, perhaps that was a bit over the top but I am working on my salesmanship. The idea really is to start a place where people are taken care of and work without the stress of bills and debts as they assist in building a bright future for everyone.

Again, perhaps sounding a bit over the top but that is what I am working towards. I take stock that I have survived in Wanda for four years and four winters, and I will survive many more, if needed. 

All I have to do is . . . 

Keep my head up, my attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Clomping Forward in Uncertain Times

I have set an ambitious goal for myself and my future, yet I will admit that I am not sure that I will achieve it. 

It is not a lack of faith in my abilities or my timeline. I have long since accepted that the specific date of grand goals may not be reached. 

As long as the goal is achieved, the specific date is inconsequential. 

I am uncertain if I will achieve this goal of $150,000.00 in my Long Term Savings by April 7, 2022 (just under 4 years from now) due to the uncertain times.

For one the company that I work in imports products from China and exports most of them (70 – 80%) to the US.

With a global trade ware brewing, started by an administration that seems to be bent on “Fortress America” and all but stopping global trade, this puts my job and company in jeopardy. 

Regardless of politics and what you think of the current American administration, times are uncertain and I may find myself “actively encouraged to seek other employment opportunities” in the near future.

This does weigh on me, and I take solace in the fact that I am debt free and in the process of building my savings as quickly as I can.

It may be true that I may be drawing on those savings to live as I go in search of a job or some way to make money in the soon to be economic wasteland that would be Canada without global trade. 

Okay, perhaps that was a bit melodramatic, but my point is that things may go bad and soon.

The only thing I can do is keep on doing what I am doing and try to hedge my bets as it were. Prepare for the worst, yet hope for the best.

And . . . 

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

Tuesday 10 July 2018

An Important Addition to The Archives

Okay, so over time I have been adding things to my “When You Need To Know It, But Can’t Google It” archives.

This is the plastic box that I store books full of information I may need in case things go sour quickly. 

As in head to the hills and hide out until things blow over . . . or I get to the property and start the homesteading process . . . whichever comes first.

To add to that archive, I bought this . . . 

This is a map book, for those of you who don’t know what that is just imagine this as someone printed out “Google Maps” and put it in a book form.

These things used to be quite handy and revolutionary from the old massive fold out maps.

This one is different in that it not only has the entire country on it (Canada, eh) but it also has all of the back roads on it, as well.

The information may be a bit out of date (circa 2008, I think) but it beats dead reckoning when and if I am in an area where there is no internet or no Google Maps. 

I can always buy more maps but at least I have one map that covers the whole country, if I ever need it.

We rely on these digital and connected devices that we can’t imagine functioning without them. 

All it would take is one good and very large EMP (electromagnetic pulse) for all of us to learn how to do without them in a shocking hurry. 

That is one of the reasons why I buy books instead of download digital copies. This way the information is available even if my batteries are flatlined.

I am not one who professes that these are the “end times” but I do believe in preparing a bit for the future, just in case. 

I have a saying, “Through my strength and vigilance I shall protect and foster my peace and prosperity.” 

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

Monday 9 July 2018

Playing With Solar

There I was, fuming mad at the injustice of it all. The truck’s fuel gauge was just off of full and yet I spent $53 on fuel. I spent $30 on generator fuel and $23 on fuel for the truck.

It just so happened that I had (on a whim) bought a solar panel with the intension of charging my laptop/iPad/phone with it (it was a 40 watt).

I got the idea to see if solar panels would do any good for Wanda’s batteries. It didn’t take long to get it setup and underway. 

I simply clipped the panel’s output to the battery posts.

This panel folds out, so it has easy storage and has a built in charge controller .

It worked in so far as it raised the voltage in the low voltage system of Wanda.

Here is the voltage level without the panel.

Here is the voltage level with the panel hooked up.

As the day got later I had to move the panel around.

I was even able to get it to charge my laptop (in the middle of the day).

All in all it was interesting and fun but not a practical solution (not that I thought that it would be. 

When I started Wanda’s batteries were flatlined. As in the radio display was off and the fridge wouldn’t work. 

This is usually the time when I would run my generator, but that day, Saturday, I decided to see if my panel would do any good.

In the end, while the panel was enough to turn the display of the radio on and run the fridge all day, it was not enough to put any charge into the batteries.

That next morning I had to repeat this trick to keep the fridge going until it was late enough for me to run my generator.

I also found that while my panel would charge my iPad no problem, it would not charge the laptop in the evening, yet while the sun was still out.

I have read somewhere the peak charging (and only useable solar hours are between 2 – 2pm. 

Who knows if that is true, but solar panels will not always kick out the wattage they are rated at all times. 

This is why you see large banks of solar panels in any successful installation. So, while this was fun and it will do what I had intended it to do (charge my main communication devices when needed) solar is not the answer for me.

This experiment reinforces for me the understanding that I would need to install a couple of high wattage panels 500 Watts minimum for them to make any difference to me.

I will find other ways to conserve electricity and fuel even further, but solar isn’t it, not until I get to the property and can install a large bank of them.

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

Friday 6 July 2018

It Has Come To This

So, tomorrow is payday, yet here I am, still looking for ways to economize. 

I was fortunate enough with this being a short week to not have to move Wanda until last night.

This saves gasoline for driving yet I had to run the generator, and with this being summer, I don’t have the luxury of not having the fridge running for even a day.

Thus, I had to move so I could run my generator in my sleeping spot (and in so doing upset nobody).

Yet, I didn’t want to waist the fuel to drive back to my spot where I work, so I just left Wanda in my sleeping spot and walked to work.

I will stay in my sleeping spot tonight too and so only drive tomorrow to check my mail, then go to the bank, and do my other payday running around.

I will end up at my Western Home at some point Saturday, probably early afternoon.

All in the name of saving fuel and therefore saving cash. 

It is partly out of necessity and partly out of practicality . . . but also a game.

Once again, I am trying to keep my bills paid as I race towards my first goal of 2 years of living expenses put away in my savings accounts.

After that the pressure is relieved a little bit as I race on ahead towards my target amount before I can move on to my next phase of my life (starting that town).

Yet, one thing at a time and even, and especially, in turbulent times all you really can do is ask yourself “what can I do today, this week, this payperiod to move myself towards my goals?” Once you answer that . . . focus on that.

For me, it is saving as much fuel and cash as I can. 

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

Thursday 5 July 2018

The Orphan Annie Budget

Okay, so as I have touched on, things are a bit tight now, in so far as sales at work have been slow as of late. 

This affects my paycheque as part of my paycheque comes from commissions on online sales (sales that I have no control over).

In “normal” times I can just boldly go forth with my expectation budget of expecting to make Budgetary Minimum during this payperiod.

Yet, in time like this, that method becomes rather depressing. 

You see, I have a tab on my timesheet spreadsheet that guestimates what my paycheque will look like right now. (As in, if no more sales are made).

As the days tick on I check that tab to see how close I am to my target. These days I am limping along, yet always looking like I will fall far short of my Budgetary Minimum.

Now, these days I am far from where I was five years ago, where I would be in serious trouble if I did not make my Budgetary Minimum.

So, I have decided to change things around. I will start from the most depressing number of my estimated paycheque (as in at the start of the timesheet with no sales in there) and watch that grow as the payperiod goes forward.

This way I get to see my paycheque grow each day rather than watch my paycheque shrink as I cut my estimations further and further.

I always balance my budget, so this will not screw up my future payperiod budgets. If my paycheque is smaller, all it means is less money going into savings. 

This will push my “Freedom Day” off a bit, but that is all. My bills will be paid and I will have food to eat and be able to live. To do that still only requires around 10 – 20% of my take home pay.

So I will go forth with this “eternal optimist budget” named after a certain redheaded orphan. 

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

Wednesday 4 July 2018

I’ve Been Ordered to Subsidize A Large Corporation’s Losses

I’ve been told that it’s fair, that it’s just “Market Forces” and all that. I have no choice, after all someone has to make up those losses, so it may as well be me, right?

What am I talking about? Well, it is truck insurance time and so I got my renewal notice from my insurance company that I have been dealing with for a number of years.

It was $200.00 higher than last year despite that I cost them nothing and am no greater a risk than I was last year.

Last year’s insurance went up to, with the same explanation “We’ve experienced a large number of claims and so our rates have to go up to cover that.”

Translation: “We’ve lost money and so you have to make up for that.”

I have shopped around with the help of an Insurance Broker friend of mine to see if I could get anything cheaper elsewhere . . . nope. They’re all doing it.

I guess it isn’t collusion if the whole industry (or all insurance companies are doing it). That’s just the MARKET FORCING all of us to pay more when it is not justified.

I have incurred no tickets, speeding, parking or otherwise. I as an individual do not deserve to be charged more when I have done my part and not incurred them any extra costs.

They’ll drop their rates once they make their cash back . . . right?  . . . right?

Of course not. That’s because the “Market” can “Bear” to pay more. either that or not drive, and let’s face it, our cities are not laid out to live economically or efficiently without a motor vehicle.

So, I will pay the increase and just hope that the pendulum swings the other way, that I may get a break sooner rather than later.

The one thing I will not do is go on the monthly plan for insurance again. Let me let you in on a little secret, you are financing your insurance through a bank.

Look at the fine print, you are paying somewhere around 7% or so to a bank for the privledge of borrowing the amount for the full year’s worth of insurance.

Save the interest, save the cash and pay for it up front, if you can. (After all, you have to save cash wherever you can.)

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

Tuesday 3 July 2018

It Only Took Two Klonks on the Head

Okay, I’ll admit, I can be a bit of a procrastinator, I push things off that I don’t want to do. I do what I have to do but some things I take my time getting around to.

I have been propping up my bed with a lone table leg.

This has not been affixed, I just lift the bed up, grab this leg and position it so that it is propping up the bed. For the most part it has worked out okay.

It has happened (twice) that the leg has let go and the bed has hit my head on the way down.

Now, this is not the mattress that has hit me, but the plywood lid of he under the bed storage compartment.

The second time was this weekend, so, in response I did this . . .

More specifically I did this . . .

I found four screws that I had lying around the place and finally screwed that leg bracket in place.

I then used a hacksaw blade (just the blade itself) to saw off the pointy bits of the screws that poked through the other side of the plywood storage lid.

Now what I do is lift the mattress up, hold it up with one hand as I grab the leg and screw it into place with the other.

(It has yet to fail but time will tell how secure it is.)

I still treat the under the bed storage area as if I am putting my head in a crocodile’s mouth. (As in: carefully, quickly and with a cautious eye.)

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