Thursday, 26 November 2020

The Small Moments Of Today

So, if you want to build the future, a better future for yourself and those you care about, do something about it today.

For the future is built in what you do here and now, today. I have learned that the way to get debt free, and now build wealth is to manage my finances as best as I can today.

If I manage things well this day, this week, this payperiod then that will move me one step forward towards my goals.

The next payperiod is the same, and so I will choose to still manage my finances well during that payperiod and in so doing take one more step forward.

So goes the process, one step forward each payperiod, which is an agonizingly slow process, yet when you look back to where I started, you can see that I have come a long way.

The same holds true to any great and bold change that you want to make in your life and in your world. Do small things today to move yourself towards your goal.

Here’s the real secret . . . keep doing that . . . every . . . day . . . repeat until you reach your goal.

The future is uncertain, even in the best of times, so while you can’t control the future, you can control what you do today. 

Change builds on change and success builds on success, so set up a pattern of building towards your goals into your daily life. 

Then you can’t help but succeed, but determination and dedication are the key to success, that and  . . . 

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

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Still Marching Forward

So, with so much uncertainty out there, it is easy to get mired down in the muck of . . . uncertainty . . . fear, apprehension and other such emotions.

Yet the future is not built only in happy and stable times, but in uncertain times too, perhaps more so.

All you can do in uncertain times is to cautiously and carefully move forward while holding true to that old adage “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” 

That is true and never more so than in uncertain times.

For while most of my wants to boldly charge on forward willing the happy future to come into existence simply by the power of my hope and force of will, that is foolish.

For while I may find a way to bring about the happy future for myself and others, I have to be realistic and plan for almost any eventuality.

Yet as I do so I have to stop well short of being a “doomsday prepper” or some paranoid, delusional conspiracy theorist.

Somewhere in the middle, closer to reality rather, is where I must walk my path in uncertain times.

I do hope that everything will be fine and that it will all work out well in the end, but you can never know what will or won’t happen, so you have to be prepared.

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

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Credit Card Debt Freedom Anniversary

So, since my payday was on Sunday, and Monday’s blog was about the update on my Grand Savings Plan, today I get to talk about another, yet special anniversary of mine.

For it was on my payday of November, 22, 2015 that I paid off the last of my credit card debt. 

This was huge as I had been carrying a balance on 3 maxed out cards for years, about five years to be honest.

I was in perpetual stress trying to simply feed the beast that is credit card debt. Strangely enough, yet not unexpected I would suspect, paying of the credit cards was the hardest debt to do.

Credit cards are an unsecured form of debt, meaning that there is no big fat asset securing the loan, such as a house or a car.

What that means is that it is a greater risk for the bank. (Note you do not borrow money from the credit card company, but rather the issuing bank).

Since the loan is of a greater risk they get to charge more interest to make it worth their while (Usually around 20% no matter what the Prime Rate is).

That is why the minimum payments (which are almost exclusively interest) is so high, and why you never seem to be able to get ahead, because you are always paying interest, high interest.

So this is why I take a moment to pause and be thankful for paying off the last of the credit card debt that I had.

I still have credit cards, but I keep them at a zero balance, since I pay them off in full each and every payday.

Credit card debt is evil because there is no end date on that debt. With a car loan or a mortgage there is an end date, eventually. 

With credit cards, you can keep paying and paying and paying for years for a relatively small debt. 

This is why I always say pay off your credit cards as soon as you can and keep them paid off. Keep them, use them, but do not carry a balance on them. 

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

Monday, 23 November 2020

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 48.8% (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 51.6% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 2.8% of my total Savings Target this payday.

THAT’S HUGE! Now, that wasn’t all me, in fact it was mostly not me, sure I put away what I could, but that was eaten up by losses in one of my investment vehicles.

The other one went up like a rocket over the course of the past two weeks and not only crossed off three squares for me (49. 50, & 51) but also finished a line for me and got me over the half-way mark.

So, like I said, this payday update is huge!

Now, all of those gains and losses are unrealized, meaning they won’t be real until I pull money out of the market by selling investments, in either of my investment vehicles. 

Don’t go asking me for investing advice, as I keep saying, I am not a financial expert and my gains I consider to be dumb luck rather than my “mad investing skills.”

I will take the win though, and keep pushing forward on my goal to get to “Insane” before the year is out, as something tells me, I may need to run for the hills sooner rather than later.

I still choose to believe in the positive future for us all, and I will continue to work towards that. 

I may hedge my bets a bit, but I will always choose to be the beacon of hope (in my own way) in times of trials, rather than hiding out in a hole with a hoard of supplies, doing nothing as I watch the world burn.

But, today is a good day (to save). I will keep trudging forward as best and as carefully as I can. It is good news to get over half way to my savings target!

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

Friday, 20 November 2020

Getting Back Into Winter Shape

So, the cold weather is here, and the even colder weather is just around the corner. I know this from history and experience. 

I also know how to handle the cold and what to do to survive . . . I just don’t like doing it . . . I f*cking hate the cold.

I despise the cold.

I loathe the cold.

I . . . I could go on but you get the idea.

This time of year is the time where I get myself mentally back in the game of dealing with the deep freeze that is January and February. 

(These current temps are nothing.) 

It is only a couple of months and then things get back to being not so bad. I can do this, I have done this before, and I will do this again (deal with the cold).

Simply because this is how I can and will build for my future. Dealing with the cold is one part knowhow and one part the will to endure it. I have both. 

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

Thursday, 19 November 2020

The Mad Push to Insane!

So, I have set, or rather upped my goal for where I want to be (in my savings plan) before the end of the year. 

It is possible, but difficult to make, and if I make that target I will actually be in a position where I could go and buy the land (or acreage).

I would be insane to do so, but I technically could . . . and for now that is what is important, to finally have that off-ramp.

So, I will be redoubling my efforts to save as much as I can in order to make that day, to hit that target! . . . the target of finally being “Insane!”

(Meaning that I could to rush off and buy some land and/or an acreage, but I would be insane to do so.)

I will keep you informed as to how things progress, but for now, things look quite . . . possible! And I like making the possible happen! (However improbable it might be.)

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

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

The Cash Horde

So, there is a situation that is evolving that apparently people and businesses are sitting on a huge pile of cash. Unprecedented, apparently. 

We can all understand how and why this has happened, with the economy shutting down, people are spending less and less, and so saving more and more.

That is, unless your job was affected by the shutdown, which means that (hopefully) you are getting some sort of government cash. 

So the theory is that with more cash and less ways to spend it, coupled with greater fear of uncertainty it means that people and businesses are stuffing that cash into savings for a rainy day. 

Yet, while this is a good thing in one respect because it means that people are able to take control of their fiscal destinies and build up a nest egg.

Yet, what happens when everyone starts to spend that cash all at once? What happens when we get a vaccine, and the number of Covid-19 cases start coming down?

Hopefully the spending will be measured and careful with people actually holding on to their savings. Or have already paid off their debts. 

What if people rush out and spend all that cash foolishly like a bunch of kids let loose in a candy store with two fistfuls of cash?

Hyperinflation, that’s what . . . that’s the real danger of all of that socked away cash.

What is Hyperinflation? Well, in a nutshell it is when prices rise drastically over a very short period of time (as in days or even hours) and they keep rising.

Why is that? Well, that is because the value of cash (as in the buying power) drops drastically due to all of that extra cash flowing around out there.

Think of toilet paper, hand sanitizer or face masks. A year ago they were easy to get, and nobody cared about them. In the early days of the pandemic, they were gold. Now, they are common place and even on special here and there.

Why? Their value has changed over that period of time. 

Cash is also subject to the laws of supply and demand and it isn’t really reflected in what it is worth in relation to the US dollar, but rather in what that dollar can buy you.

Think back twenty, fifty, a hundred years, the prices weren’t quaint because people were stupid, but because the buying power of the dollar was much, much greater.

I have no crystal ball, but that is yet another risk of the uncertain times that we are living in. I don’t want to freak anyone out, but rather just warn people.

Cash itself may be in trouble . . . or not . . . who knows, but things, other . . . stores of value will weather the storm of hyperinflation better.

Just food for thought, and as I keep saying, I am not an economist or other financial expert, just an average guy trying to make my way in the world.

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

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Financial Tools Available!

As many of you know, along my journey to becoming Totally Debt Free, I have developed a few spreadsheets that have helped me manage and master my finances. 

I have put them up on the new website and made them free for anyone to download and use. 

You don’t even have to login or give us any of your personal information, just browse over there and download the one or ones you like. 

This is not being done as a ploy to drive traffic to our new website ( but rather as a way to help other people who are having to deal with debt and financial troubles.

There is no magical solution and these tools will not fix your financial woes for you, but they will help you keep track of where your money is going.

It is through better scrutiny of your cash flow and managing said cash flow, (where you spend what you earn) that you can master your finances and beat debt.

I am talking from the position of one who has done it. Again, you don’t have to do what I did (live in an RV) but you can still find a way to master your finances.

I encourage everyone to at least take a look at the new site and those Downloadable Financial Tools. . . just go there ( you can’t miss it.

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

Monday, 16 November 2020

Bankruptcies Set to Skyrocket

So, with all of those nice programs of government cash and mandated debt deferrals ending, all of those people who were on the edge of bankruptcies before, and those pushed there during COVID-19, are now about to go over the edge of bankruptcy.

This problem was forecasted six months ago and yet nothing was done, other than sit back and watch this slow motion train wreck happen.

There is an article on CBC News that I am referencing, that I highly recommend people take a look at. 

You can find the article here: As COVID-19 relief programs wind down, bankruptcies are starting to spike again.

If anyone needed any further prodding to take a hard look at their finances or debt ratios, this should be that wakeup call.

To further prod, here is where we stand when it comes to household debt ratios.

This is a problem for all of us, not just those going over or about to go over the cliff of bankruptcy or insolvency.

The economy and the economic recovery will falter and fail if a good chunk of our population goes bust.

That will translate into a chill over the whole of the economy in the form of consumer fear, not consumer confidence, and nobody will spend on anything they don’t have to.

I am using this as yet another way to prod people to do what they have to eliminate debt, don’t just pay it down, pay it off. 

It’s your paycheque, keep as much of it as you can!

Build savings, not debt!

Prepare for your future with your own cash! 

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

Friday, 13 November 2020

The Tip Of Another Lockdown

Whether you like it or not, we can all feel another shutdown coming. At least I can. The wave of increased cases of Covid-19 has been spreading across the country.

Locking down is not good for the economy and it is not good for the average person for a number of reasons.

The main two are the mental strain and the financial hit. Make no mistake the cash handed out this time will be less and harder to get (if anything). 

I am not really for or against a lockdown, but I do know that one is coming. Sooner or later even the most lockdown resistant premiers will have to admit that a lockdown will have to be called.

How long it lasts or exactly when it is called is anybody’s guess. All I am saying is prepare now for like it or not, one is coming.

Either that or we just say, “live and let die,” it may be a cool song but as a life philosophy, it suck.

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

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Move From Survive to Thrive

So, in this time of Covid when all things are slowing down, it is easy to get focussed on just surviving. 

The point of today’s blog entry is to remind you to not stay in “Survival Mode,” and move beyond it to “Thrival Mode!”

We can get stuck in that mode of “I can’t change anything because what I am doing is working and I am paying my bills.”

Yet you are paying your bills with very little left over. That is Survival Mode.

That is doing what you have to just to survive . . . with nothing left over for you, no fun-time money, no savings, nothing.

The problem with that . . . with being stuck in Survival Mode is that you stay in that mode until you wake up one day with all of your debts still there, no savings and you are at the mandatory retirement age. . . . now what are you going to do?

So that is why I say always look at your budget, even in times like this, and have a plan to move beyond Survival Mode into Thrival Mode, where you are able to not just survive but thrive.

As in build your savings, PAY OFF your debts (don’t just pay them down to a “manageable level” GET RID OF THEM!)

To do that you simply look at your lifestyle and figure out a way that would seriously downgrade your lifestyle for a short period of time (a few years to ten years) during which time you would seriously upgrade your cash flow.

With that extra cash flow (a in having money left over at the end of the month) you can then move ahead and thrive. (Pay off debts, build savings, etc).

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

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Dreams, Ideas, And New Beginnings - The Grand Adventure!

Last week, we did some posts with a proposal for developing our off-grid community.

Some of you commented, and it did spark some serious discussions between Geoff and I. One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to turn a dream into something that is survivable in the Real World!

What may seem like a fantastic idea to us, may not resonate with other folks, and we completely recognize this!

So, we have made a few changes in our proposal, and we are happy to announce the creation of our new website:

Here are the essentials of the changes:

1)    We are not focusing on building a town, at the moment. What we will be doing is taking the 1/4 section, and offering 1, 5, and 10 acre plots for direct sale. Prices will be kept very reasonable, and part of the benefit is knowing that you have like-minded neighbours who you can call on for help if/when needed. But, it's going to be your own off-grid land.

There is a central 10-acre plot that will be reserved for the Incubator. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the plots will be used to develop the Incubator. Later on, we can purchase another 1/4 section, and build a properly-planned town, if we wish. 

2)    We will be forming two different, but connected companies. The land will be owned by a development company that we will form, and the Incubator will be managed by a non-profit company that we will also create and run. The 10-acre plot for the Incubator will be donated by the development company, which will also donate a portion of profits to help get the Incubator up and running.

3)    The Incubator will function pretty much as described previously, with community involvement. 

We have also reached out to the Agriculture Department of a university, which has a PHD program in rural development (among other related degrees). We hope to make a good connection, or even a partnership with the university, and receive advice on permaculture, rural planning, and so on. With any luck, we'll be able to help provide practical experience for their students, which would also provide us with much-needed guidance.

4)    As the Incubator will be a non-profit organization, it is then able to receive both corporate and personal donations. This opens up the possibility to partner with a number of different organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity or other organizations which are geared towards ending poverty.

5)    We also decided to go back to the roots of this whole endeavour - helping people to reduce debt and end poverty-living. It has always been a focus, but, we felt that we had to push it to the back burner in order to make things more palatable, business-wise. As a non-profit, the Incubator can go back to this idea, and develop it properly.

In this theme, Geoff is making more generic copies of the various budgeting tools that he has used in his own journey, and he will be putting them up on the new website, for public download.

6)    Because the Facebook group is really more about the homesteading project, we will be re-naming it "Homestead Freedom" to reflect this. We have also set up a Homestead Freedom email, 

Please, check out the new website, look at the details of the proposal - both Stream One and Stream Two. If you have constructive criticism, please let us know. 

As always, come join us in reaching for the future, and getting off of the hamster wheel!

~ Kim

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Oh Look, Snow

So, it has snowed and we have a taste of the cold stuff this week. It will get warmer and it will do so in a day or two.

By “warmer” I mean less cold, but then again hovering between 0 and -7C in November is a good thing.

I know what to do, I know how to survive; I know how to handle the cold . . . despite how much I hate it.

But I do it so as to get ahead.

You do not get ahead by doing the same old same old or doing what most people do. That is how you just get along and sure you can live a comfy life.

But true success is not found in that. 

True success is found in doing what others are not willing to do and see it through until you get what you want . . . what you deserve . . . success.

However you define that.

So a little cold or snow won’t stop me.

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

Monday, 9 November 2020

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 47.8% (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 48.8% of my savings target. 

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

That is big and it was helped by both of my investments going up slightly, that and a bit of dividends are mixed in there as well.

The main thing is that my investments went up and I am inching closer to 50% of my goal.

It is always a big deal when I complete a row as it were, as in when I get to any percentage point ending in a “zero.” (10%, 20%, 30%, etc.) but getting to 50% is extra special.

I am just thankful to be able to put cash into my savings rather than have to pull cash out of it. So, any part of a percentage gain on that goal is a win in my books.

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

Friday, 6 November 2020

Winter-Mode Hath Come

So, it is almost fitting that a snow storm is about to descend upon me and my Wanda that I have declared that “Winter-Mode” has begun.

This is when I no longer use the: Taps (fresh water), Grey Water Tank (Sink/bathtub drains) or Black Water Tank (Toilet).

So, yeah, I am kinda camping out but not really using my trailer and most likely will be in this mode until April.

This is just my way of adapting to the weather as I always ask, “What can I get away with in this weather/temperature?”

I dumped my tanks last Friday, as I thought that the cold was going to hit us last night. It didn’t but I didn’t want to take the chance of having a block of “ice” in my Black Water Tank.

I have been here before and I do know how to handle things. I will adapt so that I can not only survive but thrive in all kinds of weather and temperatures.

I have the long-term goal of land and home ownership to keep me going.

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

Thursday, 5 November 2020

The Proposal, Part 4 (Final Part)

As mentioned in The Proposal, Part 1, we are trying to be prepared just in case we need to purchase land and start the homestead community sooner rather than later. This means that we are going to be doing some of our preparations sooner than we originally anticipated.

So, we are putting together a proposal for those are interested in joining us to consider.

We are actively seeking feedback! Please, let us know what you think! If you disagree with something, let us know, and give us some constructive criticism! 

Here goes the fourth (and final) part:

How Much Will It Cost?

    While we are still determining costs and initial lease amounts, here are some ideas that we are considering:

  1. We are not going to be sticking to a single size plot of land. We will be offering plenty of smaller plots, as we will be encouraging tiny homes and mobile homes, however, we acknowledge that the tiny lifestyle doesn't necessarily suit everyone, especially very large families or those who have family members with disabilities. So, we will be also offering a smaller selection of larger plots (exact sizes to be determined).

    Part of the value is that you not only own your own plot of land, but, you also get access to the community greenhouse, and other community facilities and supports.

  2. Looking at the smaller plots, for the sake of argument, we are considering each plot (roughly 66' x 33') to be worth $10,000, after development.

  3. Lease for that initial year, we are looking at around $100/mth for that same size plot. It is intended to be enough to only attract those who are serious about the lifestyle, however, not so much that someone who is leaving the city lifestyle could not reasonably afford it. This money would go directly into costs associated with developing the land for use of the community, including building materials, equipment, seeds and gardening supplies, initial set-up of off-grid utilities, etc.

    After that first year, we will re-evaluate the monthly cost to lease, however, the same principles apply – keeping it very affordable to live an off-grid, eco-friendly lifestyle, and we don't anticipate a huge change.

  4. We would like to point out that, while the community at large will assist with building your house, ultimately, you are responsible for it, including plans, materials and other costs (it's your house, you build it, but, you also get to take it away with you if you move, or sell it).

  5. Once utilities are in place (electricity, water directly to your house, sewer system, wifi), there will be a monthly cost for these, if you choose to hook up to it. As this is an off-grid community, it will be an off-grid system, privately owned and operated by the community.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

The Proposal, Part 3

As mentioned in The Proposal, Part 1, we are trying to be prepared just in case we need to purchase land and start the homestead community sooner rather than later. This means that we are going to be doing some of our preparations sooner than we originally anticipated.

So, we are putting together a proposal for those are interested in joining us to consider.

We are actively seeking feedback! Please, let us know what you think! If you disagree with something, let us know, and give us some constructive criticism! 

Here goes the third part:

What We Expect:

  1. Because we have a very strong community focus, we do require anyone over the age of 13 to provide the community with 20 hours per month of work in supporting food production in the community, as well as 20 hours in support of the community itself. These hours will be coordinated by the community, and will be geared towards the interests and abilities of the individual, also keeping in mind the needs of the community. An example of what this might entail could be: feeding chickens, hunting, communal cooking, minding younger members of the community, or helping in a “barn/house raising”. Those younger than 13 are not required to participate, however, are encouraged, based on maturity, desire, abilities, and geared towards what is appropriate for their age.

  2. We are also going to be a diversity-encouraging community. Racism and other forms of bigotry will not be tolerated. We will be accepting of alternative family arrangements, as well. The details of this will be discussed and agreed upon by the community, however, it will be based on the concepts of consent and “live and let live”.

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

The Proposal, Part 2

As mentioned in The Proposal, Part 1, we are trying to be prepared just in case we need to purchase land and start the homestead community sooner rather than later. This means that we are going to be doing some of our preparations sooner than we originally anticipated.

So, we are putting together a proposal for those are interested in joining us to consider.

We are actively seeking feedback! Please, let us know what you think! If you disagree with something, let us know, and give us some constructive criticism! 

Here goes the second part:

What We Offer:

  1. The initial year, we offer the lease of a portion of the land, where you can either build, or bring your own home. We encourage the concept of “less is more”, fiscal responsibility, and community living when you plan your home, and will be assisting with eco-friendly energy and heating options such as solar and wind power, as well as energy-efficient wood heating.

  2. That year of leasing is to ensure that you are suited to both the community and the lifestyle. Once this year is completed, then you can apply to purchase your portion, with community approval, or to continue leasing, or a rent-to-own option might be available.

  3. We also commit to helping to ensure that you have winter-safe housing before the cold weather comes, and will assist you with building your home.

  4. We also commit to providing community support for all members in all stages of life. This includes Mom Care, Elder Care, and general support.

  5. Part of the community will be communal food production. This will include a garden/greenhouse and basic animals such as chickens, goats and pigs. The community will be providing a communal kitchen and free access to produce and other food.

  6. Another important building that will need to be developed sooner rather than later is a communal workshop, as there will be many, many projects to be worked on!

Monday, 2 November 2020

The Proposal, Part 1

No, Geoff has not proposed to me (yet! 😉).  We are actually developing a proposal for you!

While we are still actively working towards being ready to go out and buy the land, and being prepared to start the homestead in 5 years time, we also take a look at the state of the world, and...  well...  we are trying to be prepared just in case this needs to happen sooner rather than later!

This means that we are going to be doing some of our preparations sooner than we originally anticipated.

We also recognize that, while we *can* do this on our own, we would much rather do this with other people. Not only to make it easier for us, but also because we are believers in the phrase "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts". 

So, we are putting together a proposal for those are interested in joining us to consider.

We have divided this up into a few different sections, and we are actively seeking feedback! Please, let us know what you think! If you disagree with something, let us know, and give us some constructive criticism! 

Here goes the first part:

What We Propose:

We are looking to create a new community. We believe in the principles of being ecologically-friendly, in permaculture, in being fiscally responsible, and, above all else, in Community! We recognize that it is much more efficient to work together, pooling resources to produce food, to help build, and to support each other. As they say, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

In order to accomplish this, we are purchasing land with the intent of building an eco-friendly community. Keeping this goal in mind, we also acknowledge and support the use and implementation of science, knowledge, and technology.

We also have a commitment that the town will be founded debt-free, and remain debt-free, so as to lower the financial burden on the community members. We (mostly Geoff!) have endured extreme personal sacrifice in order to do this, in our own lives, and while we wish to extend and expand this to include others, we also will be retaining ownership of our own portion, once the community has been created and is self-regulating. The overwhelming majority of the land will be owned and developed for the use of the community.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Risk or Hoard?

So, I have been saving like I always do, yet I am still more concerned about the future than I have been in a while.

I am trying to be pragmatic and keep going with my plan, but there is always that sense of doubt with regards to what the future holds.

None of us can know what the future holds, but we can do our best to prepare for it.

The trouble is . . . how does one do that exactly?

The best I can think of is to diversify my investments and hope for the best. 

Which is pretty much what I have done and I am continuing to do.

Though, with the state of the world, there is the temptation to stuff cash under my mattress as it were.

Yet, cash under the mattress does not earn interest or dividends, does it?

So you can either get out there and take a risk, or hide out and hoard your cash.

As pragmatic as one can be, investing is always a risk, even in good times it is a risk. I will take as cautious a risk as I can . . . so I can build for my future.

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

Thursday, 29 October 2020

The Unprepared March On

So there was a survey done recently with regards to people who are on some form of COVID financial relief. 

Apparently 39% of respondents had no idea what they were going to do once the COVID financial relief stopped coming.

No idea how they were going to pay their bills, let alone deal with their mounting debt.

The only “bright” spot is that the Bank of Canada has, as recently as this week, stated that they will keep their key interest rate near zero for the next couple of years at least.

So . . . sorta good news for the indebted.

COVID financial relief has been a great help to people but the one thing I can all but guarantee everyone is that it is not going to continue forever, nor will it shift and morph into some sort of Guaranteed Annual Income.

Politicians and business leaders just cringe at the thought as the belief is that if people get free money they won’t do anything or work . . . and in so doing, western civilization crumbles.

They will work, as they all need to pay their mounting debts.

My point in today’s ramble is this . . . do something now to pay off your debt. Do something now to plan for what will happen when all of the government assistance stops coming.

Just because you have your eyes closed as you walk doesn’t mean that you won’t hit that brick wall you’re walking towards.

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

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Properly Prepare

So, uncertain times are getting ever more uncertain. Things are moving towards the worse, not the better, at least for the time being.

The question is, what can be done about it?

What can be done is simply to prepare for the downturn that is coming. 

Further restrictions are coming and with it the economic fallout that nobody wants but everyone knows is the side effect of those necessary social restrictions.

All we can do is to conserve as much resources as we can (food, cash, etc) and just get through it.

We can’t stop this downturn that is coming but we can all do our part in following the social restrictions and prepare ourselves for the bad economic times ahead.

Here’s hoping that all of those preparations will be for nothing, but at least you have to be prepared, just in case.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, and do it now.

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

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Focus On The Future

My best advice when looking at the uncertain times that we are in and the ever worse times that loom ahead, is to focus on the future.

Prepare, as best you can, for the uncertain and dark times that are upon us, but look past them to the future beyond.

Every storm passes and every recession and depression does not last forever. Sooner or later those dark and seemingly unending disastrous times pass, and good times return.

So while you prepare for the worst (that is yet to come) hope for the best, that lays beyond it and work towards that.

Keep an image of the bright and wondrous future that awaits us all, you specifically, as we keep trudging on through the dark times that lay ahead in the near future.

This too shall pass.

The darkness shall give way to the light.

And we shall bask in the light on that day.

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

Monday, 26 October 2020

Fall Has Returned

So here we are in the end of the year when I watch the weather reports diligently. I look every day at the weather forecasts for the next week or two.

While it has been a blast of winter for the previous week or so, it is on the cusp of turning back to the warmer (above freezing) temperatures for the next week or so.

As with the other areas of my life I want to know what is coming down the pipe . . . as much or as accurate as predictions of the future can be.

All we can do is look at what is happening and make our best guess as to what is most likely to come.

We can be wrong and often are most times, but the trick is to be ready for the worst outcome yet hope for the best.

This is true when it comes to weather as well as other areas of your life.

For while bad things come, just as bad weather comes, bad things also pass, just like bad weather.

The sun will not always shine, nor will the rain (or snow) always fall, for life is a mix of the good and bad, for you need both to have the flavour or spice of life.

Too much of one or the other is also not wise or good for you.

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

Friday, 23 October 2020

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 47.0% (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 47.8% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 0.8% of my total Savings Target this payday.

So things went okay, and my investments pretty much went sideways. One went up and the other went down. 

This payday, when you combine their values my investments only went down only a smidge. 

So, I’ll take that and keep reminding myself that this means that my investments are in a buying position. (Buy low, sell high, remember.)

The main thing is that I am 1) still employed and 2) still able to put cash into savings. 

Again I am trying to put cash into my savings (investments) as much as possible so that I can get to “insane” as fast as possible. 

Just for reference “insane” refers to the fact that it would be technically possible to start The Homestead but insane to do so now with that little cash.

One step at a time and one payday at a time.

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

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Total Debt Freedom Day (Third Anniversary)

So, today is the third anniversary of the day that I paid the last and largest of my debts off: the Wanda Loan.

I always pause on this day to look back and reflect on that day and the journey that brought me here.

The other two days of reflection are December 5th (the day that I started the whole Urban Nomad Journey) and July 12th (the day that I moved into Wanda full-time).

This day is about looking back on that day of finally becoming Totally Debt Free, and reflecting on that achievement. 

Not so as to brag or be arrogant but to remind myself of that feeling on that day and to show to others that you can not only get Totally Debt Free, but also stay that way . . . and build wealth besides.

I still remember the stresses of wondering if my paycheque was going to be large enough to pay all of my bills.

I still remember the added stress of knowing that I had no savings and my credit cards were all maxed out. 

The kicker was that when I started this journey, I was in the bottom of my overdraft as in the real overdraft, the one the bank issues you.

All that changed but it did not change overnight it took a few years, just under 4 years of hard work and sacrifice to pull it off.

But I did it, and so can you.

The secret is to seriously downgrade your lifestyle so as to seriously upgrade your cash flow. 

How do you do that?

Simple. You imagine that your income has just been cut in half. 

Now, balance your budget, think for a moment what you would do if you had to live on half of what you live on now.

If you can answer that question, if you can come up with some crazy (yet legal, ethical and moral) scheme to live on a fraction of what you can live on now . . . 

Just do that and use the now freed up cash in your monthly budget to pay off your debts. I don’t say pay down, because that means you still intend to have them.

Keep credit, just not debt. Keep the credit card, just don’t keep the outstanding balance on it. (Pay it off and keep it paid off).

I could go on, but there are a few thoughts on how to do what I have done, (become Totally Debt Free) without necessarily living in an RV/Van while parking on the streets.

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

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

In Times of Troubles, Stick To Your Principles

So, as I have said, I am not unaware or unaffected in regards to the troubles and uncertainty that surround us these days.

I am still trying to figure out the best way forward, the best way to navigate all of this uncertainty. 

As I do that, I need to remove emotion from the mix and act on pure logic. As emotions will pull you astray and not be helpful in uncertain times.

So, I will do what I always do, I will fall back to my Fiscal Directives and just make my best judgment with regards to just what and how to save.

My first goal is to get to a place where I can buy the land and pay cash if I need to. That way at least I would have a place to start that homestead, if needed.

With regards to the long list of calamities that the current state of uncertainty may bring? 

Well, I will just make my best guess as to how to mitigate those risks as I move forward towards my goal.

I can’t and won’t do any rash or impulsive decisions as that is rarely a wise thing to do.

I just need to stick to my principles and move forward as I always have.

And resist the impulses to “run to the hills” or “stock up for the road warrior future.”

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

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Trying To Remain Stable In Unstable Times

The one overall thing I am trying to do is to make the best decisions for myself and those around me (so far just one other person).

Yet with so much uncertainty, uncertainty that seems to be unprecedented with many more problems that seem to loom on the horizon, one gets worried.

There are many reactions to such impending calamity which wants to pile on to the calamity that we are already in.

What I am trying to do is to navigate the best way forward so that I (or we) can weather this storm in the best way possible.

There is that little voice inside me that tells me that I (or we) may be forced to make the move to the property sooner than I (or we) had hoped.

This will of course complicate things and I (or we if said other is stupid . . . I mean brave enough to come with me) will be living like pioneers.

Meaning those “pioneer skills” books I bought will come in reeeeeeeal handy. And all of you folks who are laughing at me now, will be wanting to show up and help out.

And you’d be welcome . . . we just won’t let any lazy freeloaders stay, so be prepared to work and pull your weight . . . and learn a whooooooole lot of new skills.

But I digress, the point is that I am trying to not panic and just keep doing what I am doing: save for the future, but do so in the wisest manner possible.

Trying to hedge my bets as it were for whatever that comes this way is challenging in the best of times but even harder when all of this uncertainty is the new “normal.”

All I can do is stick to my principles, take my best guess and do what I can do today, this week and make my best predictions and choices for what tomorrow may bring.

And . . . you know . . .

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

Monday, 19 October 2020

Double Batch of Canned Concoction

So, this weekend, with Kim’s help, I made another batch of my canned goods large batch of stuff. 

Since I had access to the large pot and large burner, I decided to make a double batch. 

This was partly because I was worried that my canned goods would freeze with the cold weather approaching. 

So, I bought an extra pound of ground beef, a package of hash browns and made double the batch.

That is it freshly cooked. I let it sit for a day so as to let the solid bits soak up the liquid. This is it when it is being portioned out, after it has sat for that day.

As expected it came out well and produced a decent amount of meals for me.

A total of 46 to be exact . . . well 45, and 3/4 s of a meal.

This will last me for quite some time, especially with me only using this on weekdays that I don’t spend at Kim’s (Monday through Thursday).

Again, all in a drive to keep my food costs low, so I can maximize my savings.

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

Friday, 16 October 2020

The End Of The Year Push

So, it is that time of year again, and with the October 22nd payperiod over my thoughts turn to the last four Paycheques of the year.

I have submitted my timesheet for my paycheque on October 22nd, and as is typical I have not only started the timesheet for my next payday (November 7th) but I have started the one for the payday after that (November 22nd).

I do this so that I have an idea as to what is coming, I like to look at the payday that I am currently in as well as the next two, simply because I want to know what is coming down the pipe.

The last four paydays are the largest because there are less taxes taken off near the end of the year. 

The beginning of the year is less fun because there are more taxes taken off at that time of year.

I will be taking extra holiday pay on my cheques for the last four paydays of the year, so as to put the most I can into my savings, rather than waiting until January only to pay most of it in taxes.

I am still working on the push to get to 50% before the end of the year. This is 2020 so anything can and will derail my plans, so nothing is set in stone.

I can plan and dream all I want, but all I can do is do the best with what I have in my hand right now. All I can do is be as responsible and frugal with the payperiod that I am in.

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

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Adjusting To The Cold

Okay, so it is a bit chilly, but not that cold. I have seen worse, but this time of year is when the body, my body goes through an adjustment in what it expects to be “normal.”

We are dipping down to just below freezing, so cold but not reeeeeaaaly cold. Yet for me, when I am quite happy and used to above 20C it is darn cold.

Yet it is all relative, as when it was (and will be again) south of -20C, 0C now seems like summer in comparison.

The same is true when it comes to your situation, fiscally or otherwise. As you are working to steadily improve your situation you can feel like things are just off and wrong.

This is because you are used to things being as they were, in debt, no money, lots of bills. All that seems normal to you despite how much you hate it.

It is normal to you because you have let yourself be acclimatized to it. Change is unsettling and it is an odd feeling, but you have to keep going despite that.

You need to reset and reshape what you see as “normal” just like in a few months you will be calling 0C T-shirt weather.

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

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The Ladder Is Out Of Storage

So, it snowed last night, nothing that bad, but enough to make me break out my ladder . . . so I could once again brush my solar panels off . . . all winter long.

So, this morning I got up and before heading to work I got my ladder out of the back of the truck and climbed up it so I could brush the snow off of my solar panels.

The weather will warm up today, so the snow should not last all that long, but enough to be annoying.

As well as to remind me that snow and cold has returned . . . sorta.

I will endure as this is nothing, nothing to worry about but colder temps and more snow are on the way.

I know what to do, and I know how to stay warm, as I have done this for a few years now.

It is just frustrating is all. 

But, life rolls on . . . with or without snow.

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

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

So, How To Begin...

As many (most) of you should know by now, it is Geoff's and mine goal to buy a 1/4 section of land and build a homestead - with hopes of then gradually developing the homestead into a town.

This ultimate goal is a life-long project, and may (or may not) be achieved in our lifetimes. 

Of course, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step (Lau Tzu). So, the question becomes, how do we begin?

The Grand Savings Project will be just enough to: buy the land, including closing and associated costs; build our first home, as well as a good-sized greenhouse; and have money to live on while we await the first crops, and our gardens and greenhouse, etc. begin to flourish.  This budget is very tight!

Geoff and I have debated this, bouncing ideas back and forth, and I believe we have come up with not only a reasonable idea, but, something that could also help us to attain our later goals, as well.

We will take one of the sub-sections, 10 acres (a quarter of a quarter, of a quarter section), and slowly develop that as we go. 

If need be, we can start with only ourselves in either a tiny home or a mobile home, with a single greenhouse, but we would much rather do this with other people!

If you look at the picture, you can see that this is also divided into quarters. Each section is also drawn at full capacity. In reality, we would be developing as we go, so there could very well be empty space. 

That space would find a use, whether it would be for simply green space, a small garden plot, or even play space for children.

The first detail I would point out is the hedge that surrounds both the entire section, as well as each quarter. Eventually, that would become a stone wall, however, it will likely be a metal farmer's fence to begin with, sandwiched between two layers of some form of hedge.

This hedge fence would be mainly for animal control, and would have gates for easy access. After all, you wouldn't want Yogi Bear looking in your fridge for things to pack his pic-i-nic basket with!

There would also be two roads with two lanes each that divides each quarter. Within each quarter, there would be single lanes, as transportation is intended to be either walking, riding a bike, or, possibly by golf cart. It will be wide enough for a tractor towing a tiny home or mobile home, though.

The residential section (bottom left quarter) has space for up to 21 mobile homes or tiny homes. It also has a small parking space for visitors. 

We shall be gardening mostly by greenhouse, which is reflected in the agricultural quarter (top left quarter). This quarter will also include a barn and yard for both chickens and goats. Both shall also be used in yard maintenance as well as providing fertilizer for compost. 

The commercial/industrial quarter (lower right quarter) is much more adaptable than it's name suggests. This quarter is, essentially, whatever we need it to be. Anticipated use is for manufacturing and offices.

The final quarter, the Community quarter, is the most interesting. One of the main purposes of developing a town, is to develop the sense of community, which is hard to do when everyone is busy doing their own thing.

One of the first buildings to go up in this quarter should be the Community Hall. With a commercial-grade kitchen, as well as enough seating to fit an old-fashioned pot-luck dinner, we anticipate that this will quickly become the heart of the town!

One of the key services we see a need for, and would like to develop, is the idea of "Mom Care". This is the concept of "it takes a village to raise a child", and therefore, providing Moms (and other parents) the support they need in order to not feel constantly overwhelmed while raising their tiny humans.

This could include everything from Day Care and drop-in babysitting, to providing meals, or simply some sound advice from the voice of experience and a shoulder to cry on.

Another building will be a basic school, with subjects ranging from Kindergarden to College-level instruction. Of course, parents will have the option of busing their children to their local school, but, this would be an option, and could be helpful for homework. 

It would also be a resource for adults who are looking to upgrade their education, or for us to host seminars on debt reduction and financial sustainability.

We also had the idea that, in the future we could also offer the service of being a "self-sustaining incubator", teaching others who would like to then purchase their own land for their own fiscally responsible, eco-friendly homesteads - but, that would have to be once we have shown success on our own!

The final building would be a combination of workshops and gallery for artists, for a variety of mediums. By being near, but separate, it provides enough connection to still be a part of the community, but have the quiet and privacy needed in order to focus on a project.

Now, this still leaves a great deal of space in this quarter. One of the practicalities of the entire quarter, is that people will be living and working there. While we are still looking at some eco-friendly options, it looks like we will likely be building a septic system. 

With a septic system, comes the necessity for a drain (or leach) field. This is where the partly treated water gets slowly drained onto a bed of gravel and sand, in order to clean it before it re-enters the water table.

You cannot have trees or anything with long roots growing above this field, so it is typically covered in grass.

We were thinking that we could have basement access to the septic collection tank from the Community Hall, and that we could use the main outdoor area of that quarter as the leach field. This would provide natural, underground irrigation, as well as fertilizer for the grass, which the goats could keep under control.

This leaves us with a large, open field, so, why not use it for recreation? With sports such as football, soccer, and even baseball in the summer, and flooding a section (or two) for an outdoor ice rink in the winter, this could be a very popular and active area!

As always, this is purely speculation until we actually have the land in hand. Ideas change and shift, depending on what actually happens. 

Ultimately, we would be happy simply having the land, with enough cleared for our own home and a greenhouse and barn, but we would much rather have a few good families join us!

As always, come join us in reaching for the future, and getting off of the hamster wheel!

Friday, 9 October 2020

Pulling Back From Social Media

So, like many people, I have found myself scrolling endlessly on my “social media feeds” just to see what I can see.

I have also responded to check out the notifications of “this person posted this” or “that person posted this in such-and-such a group.”

I have come to the realization that all of this is a giant waste of time and mostly . . . I don’t care.

I still want to know what people are up to and I still will post what I am doing on social media. I will just limit the time I spend on social media.

I will post what I post in the morning, and then not check my social media feeds until the next day . . . at the same time.

I have removed the apps for social media from my iPad (I never had it on my phone). I have kept the messaging app, so that people can still message me whenever.

I am just done with the endlessly looking at this cat video or that styled and looking for attention selfie.

And I’m okay with that . . . call me old fashioned if you wish, but I am just pulling back from social media, not breaking up with it.

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

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Somebody Needs To Tell Me Where To Go...

Some of you know that I am a Registered Massage Therapist. I have been doing this for almost 11 years, now, and I love what I do! It is, however, a little hard on the body, and it has been creating some chronic injuries. 

That, combined with the state of the world, and the need to pivot my career to add something that can be done on-line if need be (as well as something that will be needed when we depart), and...  I've decided to go back to school! 

Now, school costs money, and I really don't want to get student loans, which means that I am (attempting) to do this by simply making monthly payments to the school. I also work at two different locations, and I have to be careful not to over-work my shoulder.

That means that I am: going to school 2 - 3 days a week, working at Location #1 (far SW of Calgary) 2 days a week, and working at Location #2 (far NW of Calgary) 2 days a week, plus one Saturday a month. 

Add in some doctor's appointments, project due dates, and, Oh! I am also volunteering for my massage therapy association... Let's just say that there's potential for things to go amok! 

Fortunately, I have a break right now, while the rest of the class learns anatomy and physiology!

So, with Geoff's amazing organizational assistance, we did a thing...

So, There's a large whiteboard calendar for the current month, with all of my shifts and school colour-coded, special days, appointments, etc. 

There's also a smaller whiteboard calendar for the following month, that only includes important discrepancies. And, a "To-do" board, so I can keep track of phone calls, appointments that I need to make, etc.

There's also a small cork strip running along the bottom of the main whiteboard. Many of you will recall Geoff's Goal Board, where he posts his goals, such as his countdown to the Grand Savings being fully funded. 

While mine is going to be a bit different, it's the same concept. I do have a couple of general goals, right now, although I need to work at drilling it down into smaller pieces.

I do like the look and function of my boards, and I think it will work very well. I've already had a few mornings where I had to pause in the car and figure out where I was headed!

Anything to help keep me out of trouble! 

As always, come join us in reaching for the future, and getting off of the hamster wheel!

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

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 46.0% (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 47.0% of my savings target. 

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

This is a huge deal as it was in doubt if I would be able to even put away what part of percentage I actually contributed to my investments.

You see my investments have been up and down, mostly down over the course since my last payday. 

The old story of one investment dropping and the other going up, more than enough to cover the losses of the other investment and bump me up to the next percentage point.

I will take the win, and as demonstrated by last payday’s moving to stand still, I can and will again, move backwards with regards to my savings percentage.

As once the cash is invested in the markets, it is all up to fate, chance and who knows what as to what will happen to my investments.

All I can do is save what I can when I can, how I can and hope for the best.

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

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Your Attitude Defines Your Existence

Not to get too esoteric on you, but that statement is true. It is your attitude that can either free you, or imprison you.

I have found in my own life that it was my expectation that kept me on that hamster wheel of work and debt, running to stand still.

I needed to reevaluate what my life was and rethink how it could be. I was living in a two bedroom townhouse with lots of debt and little to show for it.

I had stuff and a nice place, sure, but I didn’t have much savings. I felt trapped because I was . . . I was trapped until I realized that I wasn’t.

Nobody was forcing me to stay there. Nobody was forcing me to keep those debts. Sure they needed to be paid but they could be paid off.

It was all a matter of my perspective . . . of how I saw the situation and how I approached it. 

That was when I realized that if I downgraded my lifestyle (by living in an RV) I could upgrade my cashflow and use that newfound cash in my paycheque to pay down (then off) my debts.

Again, I was only trapped by my own perspective and my own attitude.

I was in fact free, just in a bad place. I needed to free myself by first changing my attitude and then changing my situation. 

The same can be true for you . . . as a wise man (in a movie) once said “Change your mind, your ass will follow!” 

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

Monday, 5 October 2020

Have My Cake and Eat It Too

So, with the focus back on building up my savings and investments, I am pondering, once again at how to best move ahead . . . once The Homesteading Process has begun.

The original plan was to max out my TFSA, then start some other savings account (or other investment account) and build that up until my Savings Target has been met.

Now, I am wondering (again) if I can somehow start this homestead/town, without touching the contents of the TFSA.

Perhaps I could just draw out of the TFSA the dividends from the investments that are in there and not touch the investments themselves.

A bit of (and I mean a bit) of income coming in every three months might prove handy. 

Then again, the amount of dividends coming out of it may not be worth it . . . and that cash could prove handy in starting the Homestead/Town.

Thankfully I have a few years to figure that out as I have to first build my savings before I spend them.

This is why I simply focus on what I am doing at this moment and not the details of the end game or what is supposed to happen in a few years.

Far too many things could happen between now and then . . . and will.

All I can do is: Dream for the Future, Plan for the Mid-Term, but work on the Now!

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

Friday, 2 October 2020

The First Glance of 2021

So, yesterday I took my first look at the year of 2021. Sure it was partly out of a desire to get out of 2020, but also to look ahead at what might be.

I setup my budgeter for the year 2021, and I must say that it was quite encouraging to see what might happen, if I remain a good and fiscal boy.

I know from experience that the further you look into the future (planswise) the less accurate they become.

You do not know what is going to happen, and 2020 has been a stark lesson in all of that. 

What you can do, is to be prudent and try to prepare for what challenges that may come.

What you can do is stick to your plan as much as possible. Stick to your principles or directives (as in my Fiscal Directives) as much as possible.

That way, with some guidance as to what to do and how you should be able to weather any storm that comes.

I will be the first to admit that 2020 has been a clusterf*ck when it comes to how my finances has gone.

I am still here and all the wiser as a result of it. I must remember another old adage that I have been reminded of lately . . . 

“The rich stay rich by living like they’re poor, and the poor stay poor by living like they’re rich.” While this does not apply to everyone, it is a wise adage nonetheless.

What I do know is that: I have a plan, I’m working that plan, and the plan is working!

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

Thursday, 1 October 2020

The Last Quarter of 2020

So, here we are, just beginning the last Quarter of this year that never was. It will be whatever we want it to be.

I am looking forward to this time of year, because this is when my paycheques get ever larger, due to the bite of the Taxman gets ever smaller. 

Only to have said Taxman’s bite to go back to its maximum bite in January.

Yet this next Quarter (October, November, December) has yet to be, so it could go great or it could go to crap. Who knows?

I will continue to do what I always try to do (emphasis on try) . . . namely keep calm, do what I can and hedge my bets as I move forward.

What does that mean? It means hope the best, but prepare for the worst . . . think of it as just being prudent.

There are all manner of calamities that may or may not befall us. You never know which one of the plethora of dooms may come to pass.

You cannot live in fear all the time . . . okay, you can, but you shouldn’t.

I, for one, will continue to move forward . . . prudently.

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

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

September Ends

So, today is the last day of September. This is usually the time of year when things start to get back to normal and “Things get serious.”

Why? Well the kids are usually back in school by now, and for those recent high school or college graduates, finally you are realizing that you are not going back to school . . . an odd realization.

Yet, here we are nine months into this Pandemic, and things are anything but getting back to normal . . . they are just about to get less-normal than before.

I, for one, do not appreciate the tone of governments (which are understandably frustrated) as to blaming people for spreading a virus that they may not know they have, nor may have ever affected them.

It is nobody’s fault, it just is. 

I still do my part, I wear my mask and I try to remember to sanitize things, but hey, there is only so much that I can do.

And while it would be the most effective to shut down the economy for months again, and I mean totally shut it down. It would be economically disastrous. 

The economic fallout will already be bad and it is just around the corner, riding that second wave that we can see in the distance.

All we can do is carry on as best we can and just do our part. Wash our hands, wear a mask, sanitize stuff and just carry on with our lives.

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

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

The Eye of the Hurricane

Today's blog is going to be a bit different from previous ones...

So many of us are eager to "get back to normal" and are looking at the enticing ads out for new vehicles, new houses, new everything, and I feel you. I really do! 

I am just as eager for things to return to "normal", and it feels like that is just an arms reach away. Unfortunately, I really don't feel that this is the end, it's only a pause, like the eye of the hurricane.

We have a brief pause, time to catch our collected breaths, but, unfortunately, we are in a financial hurricane, and we are about to be hit by the tail. 

Even if Covid-19 has no further effect on us, even if we wake up tomorrow and there's a safe, effective vaccine, or they've discovered a complete cure, we are about to be hammered.

Back in March and April, an epic number of people lost their jobs. An even larger number of people started to arrange deferments on their credit cards, vehicle payments, and mortgages. 

We have become a society that, instead of using credit as simply a convenience, we have become reliant on it, not only as consumers, but our entire financial system is now so reliant on consumer credit that if everyone suddenly were to pay off all of their debts - our financial system would collapse! 

This is why Geoff calls our society not Capitalism, but Creditism.

We are not considered to be "living an adult life" unless we have a house, an updated car, and at least 2 or 3 credit cards. That comes along with a mortgage, a vehicle loan, and who really pays off their credit cards every month? (aside from Geoff, that is!) 

Often, in order to be able to pay all of those monthly payments, we also have student loans. A standard bachelor's degree is now estimated to cost $42,600 ($94,000 with expenses), and most students end up financing, as their parents now don't have the ability to contribute much to their education. 

Combine that with a lack of jobs that actually offer a livable wage, and add in a global pandemic, and you have a recipe for a financial hurricane.

It's an easy enough trap to fall into, and it's why many of us have more month than money, and end up drowning in debt. It's this realization that is why so many of us are looking to alternatives, such as being an Urban Nomad.

It's about to get much, much worse, as those deferred payments are about to come due. 

So, whether you are an Urban Nomad or not, now is a good time to look at reducing your expenses as much as you can, and put as much into savings or debt reduction as you can. 

For debt reduction, one method is to pick something small (like your smallest credit card, for example) and pay that off as quickly as you can. Then, you have the regular monthly payment for that account to add into what you can use to pay off the next largest account, and thus it builds.

However you do it, keep in mind that the more you are aware of your own finances, the better able you will be to both see and deal with disaster if it comes your way. 

I'm sorry for the "doom and gloom" today. Recognizing potential problems is not being "pessimistic", though. It's really about being prepared and ready to deal with whatever the future holds for us.

So, time to batten down the hatches, keep your heads down, and weather the storm!

As always, come join us in reaching for the future, and getting off of the hamster wheel!


Monday, 28 September 2020

Winterized Wanda . . . In My Signature Way.

So, first I want to say that when it comes to winterizing . . . or just about anything that you read me doing on this blog, do your own research and/or consult a professional.

This blog is and will always be a story about my journey, about what I have done, what I am feeling and what happened as a result of my actions (or inactions) so that others can learn from my experiences.

So, with that ominous warning, let’s begin the tale as to what happened when I tried to winterize the trailer myself.

I went to a full-hook-up campground in order to do this. The reason was that I needed the drain and fresh water that comes with it . . . mainly the RV dump station.

So, first of all I bought two jugs of “Water System Antifreeze” each jug was around 10 Litres, and I wanted to be sure that I had enough.

So, the first step was to drain both of my tanks, as in my Black and Grey Water Tanks. 

Then as I always do when I am at a Full Hook-Up Campsite I flushed out my Black Water tank. 

I did this by putting my special washing hose down the toilet and into the black water tank. It spins around and kinda pressure washes the inside of the tank.

With that done the first step was to drain the fresh water tank. There is a small hose that sticks out of the bottom of the RV and is marked to do this.

You simply unscrew the cap and water comes running out.

To be safe, I drained the water lines, too. There is a separate pair of hoses sticking out from under the trailer that allows you to do this. 

To help this I opened up the faucets in the trailer so as to let air into the line so as to let the water in the lines out.

As that was happening I isolated the hot water tank. There are a few valves that I have switched to un-isolate the hot water tank.

Here are the valves in the Un-Isolated position. As in when the hot water tank is in use and part of the water system.

Here is are those same valves in the Isolated position, as in the hot water tank is not part of the water system.

The one last thing you need to do in order to finish winterizing the hot water thank is to remove the “anode rod” (I think that’s what it’s called)

It is a rod that sticks into the tank so that it will be corroded and not the tank itself. It is to be replaced when it gets too corroded. 

I forgot to get a shot of it removed, but here it is.

Next (once all of the water has drained from the lines and water tank you put the caps back onto those little hoses sticking out of the bottom of the trailer.

After that you pour the antifreeze into the fresh water tank. This is where it gets interesting, finding (or making) a funnel arrangement to make it work.

This is what Kim and I came up with.

It worked, it was a funnel into a funnel into a hose, and then into the opening for the fresh water tank.

This is where life took an abrupt “2020” turn . . . 

What is supposed to happen is that you turn your water pump on and run the taps (both hot and cold) until you see pink stuff flowing out of the tap.

You do that for each faucet in the trailer, both hot and cold and you are done . . . yay.

For us, for Wanda, after the tank was dry and the antifreeze was in the tank, all that would come out of it was air.

Fortunately, Kim knew a guy who was a Mr. Fixit of all thing who offered to help if we brought Wanda to him.

We did, the one thing I learned was where my Water Pump actually was . . . inside the pass through storage in the front, under the bed. . . on the passenger side.

This process took us all afternoon, as I didn’t start do winterize Wanda until just after one in the afternoon.

I was frustrated and frazzled as nothing we did would make anything come out of the fresh water tank (we confirmed that there was something in there by trying to drain it).

We also confirmed that my pump was working as we had it pumping some water (I think) and we also couldn’t get another pump to draw anything out of it.

The one thing we did do was (inadvertently) connect the outside “tester” water pump to my water lines and try to draw water out of them.

The one thing we confirmed was that my water lines were bone dry . . . as was my hot water tank . . . so . . . Wanda was winterized . . . in a sense . . . no water in the lines means no water to freeze up.

The pump was bone dry, so nothing could get further damaged over winter.

Our best guess was that somehow, by fluke the hose/pipe going down into the tank must have dislodged and disconnected, thus why the pump was drawing no water when it was working fine all morning.

That would mean a lot of disconnecting and taking things apart . . . something I didn’t want to start at 5pm on a weekend when I still live in Wanda.

(I’ve seen this movie before, it rarely ends well, and I am afraid to tempt fate in 2020)

So, Wanda is winterized, though not how I had planned. Again, in my signature style “not fancy, but effective).

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