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!

Tuesday 5 November 2019

From 6 to 2

No, that’s not my work schedule, that is my water bottle count. No, that is not the number of hot water bottles I have in my bed at night.

That number is the number of 2 litre bottles of fresh water that I have currently filled.

You see, in warmer weather, I like to have 6 of those two litre bottles filled in the house. So, I will take the empty ones to work and fill them.

Of course in warmer weather I am taking my jug showers in my bathroom. In cold weather I am taking a bachelor’s bath . . . elsewhere.

In the cold weather, as it will be for the next day (and a bit) I am down to just two of those bottles because that is all that I need overnight. On the weekend I may go back up to 4 bottles or even 6.

During the workweek, however, all I need is a bottle or maybe a bit more to get me through to the next workday.

Let me be clear, I take both bottles to work with me, full or not. This is because the bottles will freeze during the day while I’m at work. (Particularly when it I south of -10C). . . . Fun.

Again, it is these small ways that I change and modify my routine which helps me not only survive but thrive no matter what the weather or season.

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

Monday 4 November 2019

Still Working On Peace

So, it is a work in progress, making peace with my current lifestyle. I am finding that I am not liking living in my little trailer. 

I want to move on to The Homesteading Phase of my life. That is not happening for four and a half years at least. 

I know that this current lifestyle is the path to getting that life that I want: land, home, family (maybe), and all that. 

I know that I must keep doing what I am doing, and in the summer time, in warmer weather it is fine, it is easy. It is in the cold that I grumble.

Yet, running away to a room for four months (minimum) is not an option, because: 1) to me it would feel like a cop out, and 2) it would seriously detract from what I could put into savings.

I am okay when I am outside of my trailer, it is just waking up and coming home that I get the grumbliest. At least that is the pattern that I have noticed.

This is yet another thing within myself that I need to work on. It is, as we all are, a work in progress.

Quitting is not an option, as I am fixated on getting that land and that home . . . somewhere and when I do, it will be paid for before I spend the first night there.

As I remain committed to staying debt free.

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

Friday 1 November 2019

Balancing Savings and Wallets

Okay, so I am in a massive drive to meet my savings targets before the end of the year. 

In so doing I am spending out of my wallets and not refunding them, at least not as much as I am spending out of them.

This is my own version of “Deficit Budgeting.”

Yet at the same time, and because of it, I am able to make my savings contributions as planned. I am on track to make my end of year savings target of 17% (of my savings Goal).

Yet, I don’t like not funding my wallets, as I like to have them fully funded (just in case). 

So, I have begun, or rather with this upcoming budget for the payday of Nov 7, to refund those wallets again. 

I am putting aside what cash I can manage to put back into those wallets. I hope to have those wallets back to a fully funded state by the end of the year.

It is a dance that I am trying to dance and in fact one that is being funded by the “Vacation Fund” at work (the one that I only use to top up my paycheques).

One way another, I am and will continue to build my savings (my wallets and my bank accounts) for my future.

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