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!