Friday 20 December 2019

Only Work Stands In The Way

. . . between me and my Christmas Break! Yes, today is the day that my Christmas Break starts and I can’t want to flop down tonight.

I did my running around last night so that I am all done and ready to go. Even Wanda is packed up and ready to roll.

So, after work it will take just a few minutes before I am out and on the road, heading out towards Banff.

I am heading out in the early afternoon (shortly after 1 pm) so I have plenty of time to slow down if I have to.

There are a few reports of snow and weather in the area where I am going, but nothing I haven’t seen before. 

All I know is that I am ready and thankful for my Christmas Break!

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

Thursday 19 December 2019

To Shop Early Or Not?

So, it is that age old question . . . do I do my Friday Afternoon running around tonight (Thursday Night) or just wait until Friday Afternoon?

The advantage to do my last minute running around (such as checking my mail, my Payday Banking, Etc) tonight is that I get to dash out of town earlier than most and beat the rush . . . hopefully.

The downside is . . . well . . . I may arrive at the campground early and have to wait at the gate? Or hmm . . . not sure.

I have a few things to do, and most likely I will do my shopping tonight just so I can get in the truck after work and go!

I am looking forward to this Christmas Break and I hate being stuck in traffic, so dashing off early sounds like a smart thing to do.

Either way, if all goes to plan, I will be in Banff tomorrow night, finally plopping down for my rest and relaxation! . . . in warmth.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Groceries – Check

Okay, so I went ahead and bought my groceries for my upcoming Christmas Break last night.

I drove to Western Home and not only bought my groceries for not only the Christmas Break but enough to make another batch of my Mealstarter.

This is due to me having uninterrupted AC power which makes cooking for 4 – 6 hours muuuuuch cheaper when it is on my Hotplate with someone else’s power than my Propane.

As well freezing those Mealstarter packages will be cheaper because I can run the fridge and freezer nonstop while I am there (it takes days to freeze all of those packages of food).

Speaking of Propane, I also topped up my tanks of Propane, to ensure that both tanks are completely full before heading up to the mountains.

It is not that I plan on using a ton (quite the opposite) but rather that I want to have as much essential provisions as I can just in case I get stuck up there longer than I plan to.

Now I just have to check my mail, have my lunch and do my payday banking on Friday Afternoon before heading out in the early afternoon in hopes of beating the holiday traffic.

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

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Last Week Ticking By

This last week before the start of my Christmas Break has been ticking by. I had to remind myself that it was Monday Night and not Thursday Night.

I am doing okay, but I am certainly looking forward to the beginning of my break. I certainly need the rest and the chance to plop down and do little.

I am even thinking about doing my Grocery Shopping a day or two early, just so as to get myself ready to dart out Friday Afternoon . . . with the excuse of beating the holiday traffic . . . don’t you know.

Of course, if I do that, I’ll have to run the fridge . . . maybe (it has warmed up a smidgen this week) as in daytime highs up to a balmy 5C.

I have even taken to putting up a countdown clock at work (dry erase marker under the lip of my desk).

Friday will come in its own sweet time, but until then I will just take it one day at a time, until I can flop down on Friday Evening.

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

Monday 16 December 2019

A Different Kind of Savings

Okay, so this weekend was not payday, but still I did something which will impact my payday (this coming Sunday).

I decided to enact a different kind of savings, a kind that I don’t plan on doing so aggressively, yet will do more on a decidedly smaller, trickling scale.

I bought a considerable amount of books for my Homestead Archives. I decided that this payday would be invested in the books that I will need when getting my Homestead up and running.

I bought about ¾ of the amount that I usually put into savings, and in fact what I put into savings on a bad payday.

Again, this is not to be done all the time, but at least this one time I decided to considerably expand the knowledge that I will have invested in.

The tools and supplies can be gathered or implemented, but it is the knowledge that is the most important thing . . . knowing what to do what those scavenged tools and supplies.

So, I will have easily doubled the amount of books that I have in my Homestead Archives, or as I have previously called it “When You Need To Know It But Can’t Google It” archives.

I will move forward starting next payday (as in the one on the 7th) with my savings plan, but this payday was for investing in knowledge.

Some may call it crazy, but I call it necessary.

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

Friday 13 December 2019

The Grand (Interval) Plan

So, I have been thinking a great deal on just how I should carry out my Grand Savings Plan.

As in, I keep wondering just what I should do. Just how to save? In what way should I save (what savings vehicles/investments).

I keep going back and forth and revamping my budgets in this way and that, investing in this, that or the other and seeing how it would impact and affect my Grand Savings Plan.

I have come to the conclusion that with this much uncertainty in the world, the best thing to do is to take my plan one piece at a time.

I still have the goal in mind, as in to save up enough to start my Homestead and be able to run it until it gets going and can somehow earn an income.

I will just take this Grand Savings Plan, one year at a time and review (this time each year) just what the plan for the following year should be.

This way I can still move forward, still build up my savings, but I am not committed to a long term plan. I am just doing it one year at a time.

I will still end up with my savings built up to a point that I am comfortable with, I just don’t know in what Savings/Investment Vehicles it will be just yet.

Or . . . exactly when I will be done. As it stands now, I am hoping to be done by the end of June 2024, but I may be forced to push things until spring/summer of 2025.

Unless of course I win the lottery, or a spontaneous Crowdfunding Campaign raises the $150K - $200K that is my overall target 

(Even if only to just shut me up and move this blog on to the next and more exciting phase).

But seriously, this is just what I need to do, take this Grand Savings Plan one year at a time and review the plan each year. 

It’s just what I need to do.

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

Thursday 12 December 2019

Counting Down to Christmas Break

So, here I am with this work week half over, and next week being the last before my Christmas Break. 

I have 7 working days (including today) to get through before I begin my Christmas Break.

I am focussed on that as these two weeks wind down. It is funny, but my next two paycheques will be decided before my Christmas Break begins.

This Friday is the closing of my December 22 Paycheque. 

Since I don’t work for the rest of this month (year) after I leave for my Christmas Break, I only have next week to earn any commission.

If this week is any indication, that may look a bit dismal. The other thing is that the difference between these two paycheques will be large in dollar amount as well.

The paycheque on the 22nd has less taxes taken off and has more cash in it. As I am moving still taking cash out of my Holiday Pay at work (it is the last of the three that I did).

The paycheque on the 7th will have less hours on it, less commission on it and more taxes taken off. I will be back up to somewhere around 27% taken off rather than 20 -22% now. 

I will make do with what I get and continue to move my Grand Savings Plan Forward, no matter what I get in my paycheque. 

I will really enjoy my Christmas Break though (8 days away).

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

Wednesday 11 December 2019

So Far, So Good . . . Solar Wise

I have been running Solar Panels exclusively for my power generating needs out here on the prairies. I have been curious to see how things would go in winter.

Well, here we are closing in on the shortest day of the year and so far . . . so good.

There have been days when my power generation was low, due to darkened, overcast skies. This coupled with the fact of the shorter days meant energy conservation.

I never want to go below 50% capacity in my batteries and so far the lowest I have gone is down to 66%.

I keep an eye on what power I am generating and what my capacity is at during the day (when I am around the trailer).

When I am at work I just leave for work and hope for the best. I brush snow off of the solar panels before I leave, if there is show up there.

So far, it seems to be working, running solar panels to power my RV Trailer. 

The word of advice I would suggest is always go for more capacity than you think you will need. (More panels, and larger batteries.) 

That and consult a professional, someone who has read up and has experience in solar power on an RV. It was well worth the money spent in my case.

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

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Getting My Winter Groove Back

With winter now upon us it is time that even I get more accustomed to winter. As always I will and do adapt my ways to meet the changing weather conditions.

I will admit that I do tend to just hibernate with regards to the really cold, but I try to modify what I do so I now call it “Hibernating With Style.”

It is still essentially just getting home, having diner and just bundling up on the couch, but I listen to the radio and sometimes satellite radio.

If I can dare to brave the cold in the house I run the laptop and play around on it for a bit. I also do this in the mornings if I dare.

It is not glamorous but it is . . . what I do . . . for now.

As always my focus and my main thrust in this phase of my life is to live cheaply and funnel every dime is can save into my savings.

Not forever, just for now.

Though I do try to at least . . . tolerate . . . if mayhaps enjoy winter . . . now and again.

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

Monday 9 December 2019

Weirded Out Of Western Home

So, there I was, standing in Western Home after doing my Friday Afternoon Running around. 

I looked around at the big box retail store parking lot that I usually stay for the weekends and something was wrong.

I noticed that everyone was gone. Don’t get me wrong, there were cars and shoppers there, but there were no RV’s or camper vans.

I know the usual crowd, or rather I know the usual RV’s and camper vans that I expect to see there.

Every last one of them were gone . . . not there . . . even the ones who don’t move and haven’t moved in months . . . if not years were gone.

This made me uneasy and so I inquired inside the Big Box Retail store with the few staff that know me or at least know the look of me.

None of them could, or would, give me a straight answer. 

So, I fell back on one of my rules: “If I don’t feel comfortable in a certain location, I will move.” 

There are many places to park but wherever I park, I have to be comfortable enough to sleep there.

So, after finishing up my grocery shopping, I went back to my Eastern Home, as in back to where I park during the work week.

Nobody bothers me there and I can get reliable Wi-Fi, so there is that.

The downside is that I am parking on the street and so I can’t put my slide-out out or put my stabilizer jacks down.

I will do the same thing this upcoming weekend, except that I will buy my groceries in the area where my Mailbox is located in.

So, that will save me some gas, as I will drive less, so that’s a positive.

However, the next time I fuel up will be after my Christmas Break, so I expect to spend about three months in fuel in that one fill up.

It is worth it as I do look forward to my Christmas Break.

Ah well, in the new year I will see if Western Home is safe to return to. After all, I have seen these things before and currently the pendulum is swinging towards “Stay away.”

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

Friday 6 December 2019

The Philosophy Behind Westlock’s Fiscal Directives

So, this will cover briefly the intent behind my Fiscal Directives that I wrote. 

In a nutshell it starts with the understand and expectation that you are in charge of your fiscal system and current fiscal state. 

You’re and adult and in responsible for what you do and the results of your actions (or inactions).

I don’t believe in absolutes, as they don’t work, as life is complicated and for every rule you put in place there are a thousand situations that they should be broken.

Constitutions and other guiding documents (like my Fiscal Directives) are there to set out the structure and offer guidelines. 

Yet for each rule in them, there needs to be a way to override that rule. Yet overriding a rule should not be easy to do, possible, not easy. 

This is easier to accomplish in a Constitution than a simple list of directives, here there are warnings so as to give you a moment of pause.

The overall structure is intended to funnel cash towards your Mid-Term and Long-Term savings accounts and leave them there. 

Each budget is based on the Income that you receive during the period that the particular budget is in force balanced against the Expenses and Debts that you pay. 

Savings are not income, as your savings is not new money coming in to your fiscal system. (Your paycheque, sales, gig work, or other similar means are your Income.)

With regards to credit cards, sure, you should pay off the total outstanding balance each and every payday and it is strongly recommended.

I do so and I have a problem with carrying a balance on any credit card. 

Yet I know that life is complex and that there will be times when you have to carry a balance on your credit card. That is why the fiscal directives will let you do so.

You can also draw money out of your Mid-Term and Long-Term Savings Accounts when you wish. Simply because it is your money so do so if you want.

This is for large purchases that you plan for in advance, like buying a car, or buying a house/condo, etc.

If you were never allowed to run a deficit budget, then you could never take cash out of your savings, and if that was the case . . . what is the point of your savings?

(By the way at the point of “Enact Special Project Spending if desired” is the part where all of you people wanting to pay down debt would plunk a large payment on your debt).

If you are wondering how to free up cash in your budget, then just pretend that your income was just cut in half and find a way to balance your budget. 

I mean devise a plan where you could live on half of what you make and still pay all of your bills. 

You would have to downgrade your lifestyle, sure but just how would you do it? 

The next challenge is to summon up the courage to make that change now, and use that freed up cash in your budget to pay down (and then off) your debts.

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

Thursday 5 December 2019

The Urban Nomads' Sixth Anniversary

Today is the sixth anniversary of me starting out on this journey towards bettering my fiscal position. 

It started out as a journey towards the airy-fairy dream of “Credit Card Debt Freedom” then I continued on towards paying the rest of my debts off and gaining “Total Debt Freedom!”

After that (in October of 2017, this journey has been twofold. 

One has been to keep myself debt free by breaking the habits of running to credit in times of turmoil and buying unnecessary things.

The other thrust has been to build up my savings so as to be able to have a house and land and do so without any debt at all.

That is what I have called my “Grand Savings Plan!” my plan to build up my savings so as to get myself to a place where I can start my Homestead.

It is a Homestead that I intend to be self-sufficient and build it into a town that is dedicated to the furthering of: Science, Knowledge, Technology and Understanding.

It is a tradition each year to look back one year ago and review the goals that I have set out for myself and see how I did. As well I set out new goals for the new year.

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.

Here is a copy of my Fiscal Directives in a form that you can print, frame and hang up (should you desire).

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.

Okay, so those were simple goals and I will say that I have remained true to my Fiscal Directives and they indeed have served me well. (I do recommend following them . . . hint, hint.)

My goals this year are to remain true to those previous goals. 

I will continue to hold true to my Fiscal Directives, but I will also rededicate myself to my Grand Savings Plan.

For the past while I have been concerned about what is going on in the world and unsure of how much to save and in what form.

I have to remember that I do want to move on to the next phase of my life as soon as possible, and that is the Homesteading Phase. 

I know that to be successful I will need cash, so I am increasing my target amount and pushing back my target end date. 

I am now going to save up $200,000 by . . . well . . . let’s say summer (or at worst late) 2024.

I could keep going until the spring of 2025, but who knows. All I know is that I will be continuing to build up my savings in the bank for now and the foreseeable future. 

I will decide the details of what and how to move on to the Homesteading Phase closer to the time when I have enough cash to do just that.

I will also be investing in the books that I feel are going to be key to the success of The Homesteading Phase and the town that will be founded as a result of it.

We shall see what the next years bring but I just know that I will be better able to face it with an ever increasing savings. 

Total currency failure/WW3 notwithstanding.

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

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Focus On The Positive

I don’t know about you, but I have to put a bit of work into being positive. I am not a negative person, but there are so many things that can get you down.

It is the accumulation of a lot of these little things that can affect your mood and outlook. I know this from personal experience.

I keep up on the news and current affairs, and . . . well . . . I can say, with regards to that that . . . ignorance truly is bliss.

There are a number of distressing and depressing things that are going on around the world and yet more which should give us here a moment of pause. 

I see a wide assortment of problems that may land on our doorsteps in the very near future, problems that we have not faced for a few generations.

Yet, waiting for the doom and gloom to come and obliterate me and my way of life is not a way that I want to live.

I know that bad things happen all the time, but good things also happen all the time. It is how we react to events that are more important than the event itself.

I will choose to look to the positive and see the potential in myself and the future in general, because that is the reality that I want to craft, despite what darkness may come.

With regards to all of those negative and bad things lurking just off the shores, I am reminded of an old Tanean (a fictitious people in a novel I wrote) saying . . .

“Through our Strength and Vigilance, we shall protect and foster our Peace and Prosperity.”

It is similar to the old British saying “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” 

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

Tuesday 3 December 2019

The Winter Predictions

So, the weather prognosticators have predicted a “milder and shorter” winter, and that is a welcome thing for me and all those who also live in their RV’s.

I can handle temperatures that are below -30C. I can live, function and thrive in those conditions, but I don’t like it . . . it sucks (don’t get me started).

So, the prediction that things are going to be milder and the winter temperatures shorter are a welcome sight.

I know that this complicates things for other people, industries and the natural cycle of things, but I am just happy to not be freezing my tucus completely off this winter.

I will deal with all of the things that come but the less than totally frigid temperatures makes life a little easier to get through.

When it is really cold, I tend to just hibernate and do little other than do what I have to but otherwise live in my sleeping bag or bed. 

It works, but it also is not all that health, I’ll admit that.

Warm winter or cold, this lifestyle is not forever for me, as it is a means to an end. I want to save up enough cash to begin The Homesteading Process.

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

Monday 2 December 2019

The New(is) Broom

Okay, so while some of you may not even have a broom in your house, a broom is a staple in my house and in my life. 

In the warmer months it is used to sweep the dust out of the house yet in the winter months it is used to eternally sweep the snow out of the house.

Not to mention the important part that the broom plays in keeping the snow off of my solar panels.

Yet, since I am . . . thrifty . . . I buy the same cheap . . . economically priced . . . broom. It is one with a hollow metal handle and plastic on both ends. 

The problem comes with the plastic end that screws into the broom (brush thing) itself. 

That part has cracked a few times from the accidental dropping to a hard hit in the frigid temperatures.

I tend to buy another broom due to the cost difference of just buying the broom handle of the . . . economically priced . . . broom.

This time I decided to change things up. On Thursday my broom handle cracked again when I was up on the roof sweeping the snow off of the trailer.

I finished sweeping by just holding and handling the broom brush thing itself.

I decided to not just buy another broom only to have it break again, I went out and bought a new solid wooden broom handle.

The old broom handle had a built in loop, large eyehole in order to hang the broom on a hook by the door (highly recommended in an RV).

This meant that I had to improvise a bit, and I decided to add another addition.

I screwed in a large eyehook into the top of the handle of the broom (as far as it would go without breaking or twisting).

I hooked onto that eyehook a wrist keychain. This is one of those coiled bracelets that you wear that has a key ring on it. 

I attached the broom to the bracelet like you would a key and voila, I have a way to attach my broom to my wrist.

Why? Well, now I don’t have to worry about losing my broom over the side of the trailer when I am brushing my solar panels off.

It hasn’t happened but it could happen since most of this brushing is done with me holding the very end of the broom and pushing.

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

Friday 29 November 2019

The Urge to Hibernate

So, here I am facing the first bite of real cold (for the current few days) and I am falling back on old habits.

I go to work, work, go home, heat up dinner, and then crawl into my sleeping bag that stays on the couch and eat my dinner as I listen to the radio.

I was going to use the laptop a bit last night and perhaps this morning, but I decided against it, as it was too cold.

My laptop might have shut down and the thought of using my laptop with increasingly frozen fingers didn’t sound appealing.

Neither did running the furnace as it would be a steady and losing proposition just to heat the place up for a couple of hours.

So, I just snuggled in and relaxed as I stayed warm on my couch before going to bed early. I got out of bed when I needed to get moving to get ready for work.

It is the way that I handle the really cold weather . . . I hibernate. 

I know that January and February will be really cold, after that it will start to warm up. I will adjust, I always do. 

The trick is to be able to do what I want/need to do, yet do so without costing me too much in resources or cash. 

As the whole focus of my life at this point is to save as much cash as I can, so I can move on to the next phase of my life (The Homesteading Phase) as soon as possible.

So, I will hibernate the really cold nights away, as it is just what I do.

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

Thursday 28 November 2019

Blast O Cold

So, it is a bit cold today and for the next few days, nothing too drastic and nothing I haven’t seen before. 

In truth it is a taste of things to come, because the one thing I know is that around where I live, January and February are always bitterly cold.

I just bundle up, adjust what I am doing in order to deal with the cold weather and keep trudging forward. 

The ladder issue was handled by bringing the ladder to work and letting it defrost in our office then warehouse. 

I let it sit in its partially open state for half the morning and then took it to the warehouse where I opened it up all the way and left it there for the remainder of the day.

That did the trick. How I handle this bitter cold is to essentially hibernate. I go home, heat up dinner, and snuggle into my sleeping bag on the couch as I listen to the radio whilst eating dinner. 

I stay there until bed where I sleep in until I have to get up. I don’t do a whole heck of a lot and not use the laptop, at least during the week, when it is this cold.

It is just what I do. I get through it, I handle winter, I endure winter, I do not frolic in it.

Again, but I am building up my savings for my future. Cold or no cold.

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

Wednesday 27 November 2019

The Lamentable Ladder

So, I have had a telescoping ladder for a few years now and for the most part have liked it, it is supposed to look like this . . . 

That is when it is all well and good, but here it is today . . . 

I am having troubles getting it to fully extend or fully collapse. The rungs are sticking together or not wanting to collapse in again.

This is due to the frost inside the ladder, in between the metal sleeves that slide in and out of each other. 

This is why I have brought it to work so that it can warm up all day hopefully be all find and good when it is time to go home.

I like the ladder for its easy storage yet still can be long, yet this little frost issue is a pain. The trick is to figure out how to deal with problems as they arise. 

For me and my Lamentable Ladder, it is just borrowing a bit of heat now and then.

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

Tuesday 26 November 2019

The Computer Saga . . . Continues

So, I had just spent a great deal of time setting up and moving into my All-In-One computer.

I was starting to notice that at various intervals it would freeze and then restart. I’m not talking about: freeze, give the blue screen of death and restart windows.

I’m talking about freeze and restart as if someone hit the reset button or turned the computer off and then on again.

Now, with Windows 10, I haven’t noticed it shaking its finger at me telling me “Windows was not shut down properly last time.” 

So, I don’t know if it doesn’t do that anymore or what, I just noticed that at various times, even if it was just sitting there, the system would reset.

My best guess (other than a hardware issue) is that this computer does not like the 
AC power coming from my cheap inverter.

It may be the fact that I would have to buy a better, more expensive “True Sine Wave Inverter.” 

In essence a power inverter (a thing that changes battery power to AC power) but does it in a way that is closer to what actual “natural” AC power looks like.

My All-In-One may be fine when I get to the property and can have it hooked up to better AC power. 

For now, my All-In-One is just not suited for my lifestyle for a few reasons. For one, it is a pain in the ass to setup and put away. 

For another it has no internal battery, so I have to run it on an inverter, and the power issue seems to be an issue (I will confirm this theory over my Christmas Break, as I will have real AC power at the campground).

I was going to push off buying anything new, but with all of the “Black Friday Sales, that seemed to be silly . . . that and I was going to miss my target anyways.

I looked at a few laptops and found one I liked that was expensive and way too much computer for what I need . . . but it was sweet.

I settled on one that was on sale, a good computer but not too crazy in power or settings. I insisted on getting at least a 500 gig SSD drive.

This is what I got . . . 

For you nosy nosersons, here is the sticker (so you can look up the model yourself]

Anyways, I will pay it off next payday (on the 7th) and continue moving forward with my savings plan regardless.

I use my computer a great deal and a laptop is better suited to my lifestyle. 

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

Monday 25 November 2019

The Homestead Fund Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” (to build my "Homestead Fund") 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

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

That is 13.3% (of my Savings Target).

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

That’s right things jumped up to 14.4% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 1.1% of my total Savings Target this payday.

Now, that was a great accomplishment but it is also one that will not likely prevail into the new year, as this is a large chunk of cash to put into savings. 

I am still trying to put in as much as I can into savings as before the end of the year. 

It is now out of a desire to build up my savings to a minimum level that I feel comfortable with, rather than reaching a predetermined arbitrary number (that I won’t reach).

I am still pondering what to do with regards to my savings. 

As in, in what ways and in what savings and/or investment vehicles should I put my cash into in order to build my savings?

I will keep thinking on this and not make any decisions until the new year.

I am still focused on putting cash into the bank for now . . . as well as my Christmas Break.

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

Friday 22 November 2019

The Anniversary of Credit Card Debt Freedom Day

It was on this day in 2015 that my first major milestone on the journey that I am still on was achieved. I don’t have to tell you that it was . . . paying off my credit cards . . . all of them.

This is the day four years ago that I eliminated all of my credit card debt, and that was a great day and a wonderful feeling. 

I remember thinking and feeling that I would never pay the credit cards off so don’t bother to dream about such nonsense. Well, I did more than dream I took action and paid them off.

It took just about two years on the journey to pay off the credit cards and I remember paying off the credit cards felt like it took the longest and was the hardest. 

This is in part because they were the first debt that I eliminated and my budget was still stuffed full of paying all of the other bills and debts that I was carrying. 

It was also the fact that the way that credit cards are structured they are the debt that keeps on taking. 

I paid back much more than I borrowed from them and it is maddening to think that the currency I borrowed was created out of thin air by the banks.

Anyways this is a happy day and another anniversary that I will take note of each year to pause and reflect on the small victories that I have achieved.

Not to gloat or brag, as that is not my style, but to remind myself that I have achieved things. 

I tell others so that they too may understand and accept that it is possible to become Totally Debt Free, and you don’t need to wait until you win the lottery.

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

Thursday 21 November 2019

Shortfall Getting Smaller

So, with tomorrow being payday, as it happens sometimes, I have received my paycheque a bit early. 

It is nice but it doesn’t mean that I have been paid as I can’t deposit my paycheque until tomorrow (Friday).

What it does do is let me know what my paycheque actually is as well as let me set my payperiod budget. 

Since my budgets are cascading, as in the output of one budget flows into the input of another, anything I do in one budget affects the ones to come. 

It is with this that I can plan ahead, and see if I will or will not make my targets. Well, my push to get back to my high water mark in savings is closer, now only $300.00 short. 

I was able to squeak in an extra hundred dollars due to how my paycheques ended up. I still have $300.00 more dollars to make up over two paycheques, but I have faith.

That faith is not arrogance but built up over time as a result of my previous successes. Those smaller successes have taught me that I can do what I set my mind to.

Such is the power of smaller successes. 

So, I will make the day, I will make my end of year savings target (and not give myself a massive bill to pay in January  . . . that would be cheating.

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

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Yesterday Was a Snow Day

. . . For My Solar Panels.

So, it snowed for 24 hours yesterday, so pretty much it snowed for all of yesterday, as in from midnight to midnight (I guess).

If this happened while I was around the trailer I could be up there brushing the snow off every half an hour to forty-five minutes. 

Since I was at work I could do no such thing . . . all I could do was watch the snow pile up. 

Even going back at lunch to brush the snow off wouldn’t help (much) because at best I would get forty-five minutes of energy generation.

So, I waited until after work to see how things were. This was what I found on the roof of my trailer.

I brushed the snow off the roof and was pleased to find that the batteries were still at around 70% when I got home. I was still very conservative with my power usage that night.

This was because I don’t want to drain the batteries too low, and come morning they were still around 70%.

I brushed the snow off of the roof again this morning before heading to work, confident in the fact that I should have a full charge in the batteries within two to three hours of daylight. 

This is why I have the larger batteries . . . all because of a snow day . . . for my solar panels.

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

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Weather Woes

So, I’ve had solar panels since spring and I have to say that for the most part they are great, but there are times when it is frustrating.

The most obvious of times is when there is less daylight, that means more times drawing out of the batteries and less times putting energy into the batteries.

The other times is during cloudy days as then you have that feeling of being cheated. You have daylight but not enough to put a charge into the batteries and run all of the stuff you want to run.

During the day, when there is plenty of daylight is when you get that feeling of “bonus power” as you are not only putting energy into your batteries (for when darkness comes) but you also get to run all of your fancy and cool electrical stuff . . . like the fridge . . . and the laptop.

All in all, having solar power is just another way my life is affected and altered by the weather. 

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

Monday 18 November 2019

The Laptop Is Dead

So, my laptop has died I used it on Saturday and come Sunday Morning it would not even post . . . let alone try to boot up. Just . . . nothing . . . dead.

Now, it has been giving me a few warnings that the motherboard (or let’s say the whole darn thing when it comes to a laptop) was on its way out.

A few times I would power it up and all it would do was say “No bootable device” on the screen in plain text. I would then power off the laptop, power it on and on it would go, booting as per normal. 

Now, I could go and buy another laptop, and this time of year is a good time to buy a laptop, but I won’t, not until January.

I am so close to actually making my end of year savings target that I won’t buy anything I don’t absolutely have to.

I have the all in one desktop computer that I can use, and it worked fine. It will take a few days or a week at best to get it updated and all of the software loaded up into it.

Thankfully I have my data backed up on the cloud automatically in two different areas. So my data was downloaded onto the all in one automatically as soon as I booted it.

Since I haven’t used it since . . . well, May I think I have a few updates to do. Again, we shall see how long it takes to move in to this computer.

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

Friday 15 November 2019

Raiding The Holidays

So, the holidays are coming but so too is the end of the year. With that in mind, I am closing in on my end of year savings target for my Grand Savings Plan.

I have increased the amount that I am taking out of my Vacation Pay at work, evenly spread over the remaining three paydays.

I have left enough in there to still be able to take a week’s payday. Keep in mind that 1) I never take vacations and 2) that fund is always building a trickle each payday.

Even so, I am still going to be falling short by a small yet substantial margin. I won’t take more out of the Vacation Pay because I want to have a bit in there for . . . unscheduled time off.

Also I have to factor in that I will also make commission on my online sales, and that have not been factored in. 

As well, my paycheques are always a bit larger than I estimate (by design) so there is still a chance that I will make my end of year savings target at any rate. 

As I have said before, this is an arbitrary number that I picked and so even if I miss it, it is not the end of the world.

These targets help in focussing my efforts to work towards my goal of building my savings. The real target, after all, is land and home ownership, as in  . . . The Homestead!

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

Thursday 14 November 2019

Accept, Adjust, and Carry On

So, as I said on Tuesday, My Grand Savings Plan has received a setback, when I accidentally contributed to my RRSP instead of my TFSA.

So, this got me thinking as to how to handle such situation?

For me, it is now automatic, but for some it may be less so. So here is what I do when hit with adversity.

1) Vent Frustration

The first thing I do is to let myself get mad and vent my anger and frustration for no more than two minutes.  After that, it is time to deal with whatever has happened.

2) Deal With The Immediate

The next thing is to deal with the aftermath of whatever calamity has happened. Take care of whatever has to be taken care of right now. (This can be done in conjunction with step #1.)

3) Figure Out Why It Happened

The next step is to figure out what happened and more importantly, why it happened. As in why did the furnace stop working in the middle of the night? (Hint: you drained your batteries and probably emptied your propane tank.)

4) Change Your Ways

The thing to do after learning what went wrong and why, is to devise and implement a change in what you are doing so as to prevent whatever happened from happening again. 

5) Let Go of The: Shame, Blame, and Anger

Things happen. Things go wrong. The things we think will happen, don’t always happen. Life is a constant state of dealing with the mistakes and misconceptions you made earlier. 

So you have to: Accept, Adjust, and Carry On.

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

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Planning Amidst Uncertainty

The one thing that nowadays does not lack in is uncertainty. It may be just me, but things seem to be so much more up in the air as to what will happen.

Any one of a thousand scenarios may unfold, all of which were prevented by the old rules of conduct amongst: nations, their leaders, and politicians.

Now we have a whole lot of people clamouring for change just for the sake of change and hoping it will be for the better.

We have the large and powerful nations looking to ever expand their power and influence over other nations: empire builders in the waiting.

We have groups of people wanting to break up nations and break down the bonds of cooperation that binds us together. 

Am I the last person to understand that we as humans, as people are always better together?

How this comes down to me is that with the political uncertainty boiling up in the area of the country that I am in . . . how to I plan for my future, when all things in the future are uncertain?

If the country splits up, and I am left in a new fledgling nation, my first question is . . . 

“What dollar are we using and does anyone seriously thing this new dollar will be worth the same as the Canadian Dollar is now? Or even close?” 

For that matter, if the country splits up, what will happen to the value of the Canadian Dollar? (Hint: it will go into the toilet). 

Even the rumblings of a serious possibility of the country breaking up causes the dollar of any country to take a nose dive (History is full of examples).

So, as I move forward, I am still left with an unsettling feeling of how to save and how to build for a drastically uncertain future?

This is a question I will have to answer, but I will push that off to the new year, as I have to rebuild my savings to minimum levels first.

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

Tuesday 12 November 2019

The Homestead Fund (Interim) Update

This is a special update on how I shot myself in the foot (so to speak) when it comes to my Grand Savings Plan (sigh).

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

For review, here is how things looked from last payday (as in the one on this last Thursday, November the 7th) . . .

That is 14.3% (of my Savings Target).

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

That’s right, things dropped to where they were the payday before (as in October 22nd) . . . down to 13.3% of my savings target. 

That means I lost 1% of my total Savings Target between payday (Thursday) and now.

How did this happen?

Okay so this will sound like a bit of “Rich Guy Problems” but bear with me.

So, when I put cash into my Long Term Savings Account, it is either my TFSA or will be another investment account, (or accounts). 

These kinda work like an RRSP, but you can access your cash without penalty 

Disclaimer Notice: There is a 30 day penalty if you take cash out within 30 days of putting it in there, but it is nothing like the massive clubbing you get if you try to take cash out of an RRSP.

So, when I put cash into my TFSA I have to first transfer the cash into the TFSA Account and then do something with it. As in, buy an investment of some kind.

What I do is buy a “High Interest Savings Account” that is traded like a Mutual Fund. It takes a two business days to get cash in or out of that account. 

What I have noticed is that any time I put a buy/sell order in, it is not processed until the next business day. That buy/sell order is not fully completed until the end of that business day.

So, here I was, with cash in hand (so to speak) to put into my TFSA, I transferred the cash into my TFSA, and put in a buy order for the Long Term Savings Account (mutual fund thing).

Or so I thought . . . 

What I had actually done was transfer the cash into my TFSA, but put the buy order in my RRSP. 

I didn’t realize my mistake until the order was processed. This meant that my RRSP was down, in the negative 1 full percentage point of my Savings Total. 

Now, what I could have done, if I was thinking was put in a sell order for that mistaken buy order (that was already completed by this point).

What I did was transfer cash from my Mid-Term Savings into my RRSP to cover it.

So . . . in theory my Income Tax Return should be a bit better than my usual 2 digit refund . . . but I have faith in the Taxman to ensure that I receive my usual 2 digit refund and nothing more. 

So, there you have it, I technically didn’t lose that 1% but it is in a place that I can’t touch (until I turn 65, at which point when I withdraw it from my RRSP, it will be TAXABLE income. (Do you see why RRSP’s suck yet?)

Anyways, I am frustrated and it will take a miracle (sales wise) or the near decimation of my Holiday Pay at work in order to make the day and make my Savings Target this year. 

How much will I miss my target by? By 0.8% . . . close but no cigar. 

It is not a disaster, as I am still putting a great deal into savings and any dollar that goes into savings is a success. 

It is just frustrating. We will see how this year and the next 3 paydays, the final 3 paydays of the year, turn out.

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

Friday 8 November 2019

Hello Winter Mode

It’s that time of year, this is about as far as I can push it before I have to dump for the last time until spring.

It is warm today and it was warm yesterday as well it was warm overnight. That means that I have a good chance of dumping my tanks (Grey and Black Water).

It will get very cold Sunday night (-22C overnight) and Sunday during the day doesn’t look that much better -13C as a high.

It will warm up after that and bounce around 0C for the foreseeable future. For me, that is enough to dump and not use my tanks.

The last thing I want is to get stuck with my Grey and Black Water Tanks half-full and then freeze. 

That risks them cracking but at the very least I would then be carrying around a lot of extra weight until Spring . . . you know, when they finally would defrost.

So, I will err on the side of caution and dump today, right after work and not use my tanks till Spring.

Again, I have done this before and so I know what to do. I don’t like it, but I know what to do.

It is all part of adapting what I do to reflect what I can get away with (with regards to the temperature and weather).

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

Thursday 7 November 2019

The Homestead Fund Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” (to build my "Homestead Fund") 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

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

That is 13.3% (of my Savings Target).

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

That’s right things jumped up to 14.3% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 1% of my total Savings Target this payday.

This is a big occasion and a task that is not likely to be repeated soon, or often rather, as it is more than I can typically put away.

Yet, I am able to do this by a combination of extra stringent budgets (on the expense side) and extra income on the income side (due to taking pay of my holiday pay at work).

This is all part of my great push to make my savings target before the end of the year. I want to get back to my high water mark of my savings before this year is out.

So, I will continue to work my plan, because my plan is working. 

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

Wednesday 6 November 2019

A Teaser Of The Next Few Months

So, yeah it got cold last night but not all that cold, only down to -14C (ish). It has and will get much colder, and stay there. That’s life on the prairies in winter. 

For me I just grumble, look to my goals in order to remind myself why I am doing this and just carry on. 

I may not do so as gracefully as I perhaps could, but at least I carry on. (Grumbling, muttering and cursing away as I do).

I can endure the cold and get done what I need to get done . . . but I don’t like doing it. 

I know this is an odd thing to say for someone who is seriously considering moving to Manitoba where it is cold and snowy for what seems like a frighteningly longer period of time. (Like . . . 18 months of the year . . . or so it seems).

I remind myself that dealing with cold and snowy weather will be easier when you have a house that you actually heat . . . (what a concept).

Again, yesterday and today will be cold but in true prairie fashion it will be 8C tomorrow and so the snow will star to melt.

I may dump on Friday as a precautionary measure because the weather seems to be dancing around freezing for the daily high for the next few weeks.

The last thing I want is frozen Black and grey water tanks, so I don’t mind dumping my tanks a tad early this year.

All in all . . . I can live in and endure the cold . . . I just don’t like to.

So . . . that means that I don’t have “Seasonal Affected Disorder” I have “COLD Affected Disorder.”

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