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!