Friday 31 January 2020

The Ups And Downs Of Paycheques

Anyone who is paid by the hour and/or by commission knows that each paycheque is different. 

This is due to the number of hours/work days on your paycheque as well as the amount of commission/bonus that you have on that paycheque.

The amount of hours/work days is out of your control but the amount of bonus/commission may or may not be within your control.

As for me, the only control I have over my bonus is to do my job . . . as in process whatever orders comes in from our website.

I don’t talk to anyone, so there is no sales skills involved. I kinda like not having to talk to customers, though sometimes I do.

This next payday, as in the one on Feb 7 is going to be larger than budgetary minimum, but the next two after that will be decidedly not.

This is due to the number of days in February and how the workdays fall. I will be short hours on both the Feb 22nd paycheque and the March 7 paycheque.

That’s life. Even with my expected (targeted/hopeful) bonus I will fall short of budgetary minimum on both paycheques. 

This means that I will have to dip into my Holiday Pay (at work) in order to top up those paycheques. Either that or just accept less money on my paycheque.

Since I don’t take vacations, that holiday pay might as well do me some good when I need it. 

Sure I don’t have to have my paycheque make budgetary minimum but I refuse to make less than that. (Don’t get me started on no raises in five and a half years).

The point is that things are going to be tight, tighter if sales don’t pick up, and sales have been slow this month, slower than last year, and that is not a good start to the year.

One thing I do know is that I will somehow make it through and not only survive, but thrive.

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

Thursday 30 January 2020

Keeping Carrying On

The key to success in any endeavour is to find a way to keep going. Things happen and problems will arise, but you have to find a way to keep moving forward.

This is especially true when trying to eliminate debt or build savings. The process is slow (large windfall of cash notwithstanding).

You have to find little ways to keep yourself going. Find ways to keep reminding yourself of how far you have come, how well you really are doing. 

When you only get to make a payment or put cash into savings every two weeks or only twice a month, it can be very discouraging. 

Especially when that amount seems small when in comparison to your debt or target savings amount. 

Use the inertia of time to your advantage, just get yourself into a habit of paying a large chunk on your debts or putting what you can into savings. 

You will surprise yourself at how things will grow and progress . . . over time.

Have patience, perseverance and . . . 

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

Wednesday 29 January 2020

I’m Doing Okay

Not much to say, just trundling along. It is hump day and so by noon today, the work week will be half over, so that’s good. 

All in all, the weather is okay, I am able to still do stuff around the house and I have what I need to live. 

So, all in all, everything is a-okay. Life could be better, but of course, it could always be worse. No matter how bad it seems, things could always get worse. 

So, I will do my darndest to keep that positive attitude as I make my way in this world. 

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

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Feb-brrr-ary On The Way

So, with this respite of a warm-ish spell, I am getting kinda used to not freezing. I have been running the furnace to take the chill out of the air, and that is all nice.

With the advent and approach of this weekend, though, the cold weather is returning. Nothing like it was earlier (as in -30C) but cold, as in daily highs below zero.

Interestingly enough this is happening just as February rolls in. I also expect that this trend will continue all month and even edge into March.

It is that time of year, and me getting into Anti-Fall mode is a bit premature. I will always welcome the warm-ish weather and even grumblingly accept the not so cold weather.

I will always adapt what I do in order to get done what I need to get done. I always ask myself “what can I get away with in this temperature?” I act accordingly. 

So I will enjoy this week and tolerate next week. 

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

Monday 27 January 2020

Won’t Get Stuck Again

(At least when it comes to a dead truck battery.) You see, I bought a new pair of Jumper Cables, an extra long pair, as long as 25 feet long.

The idea is that if I need to jump start the truck again, I can just jump start the truck from Wanda’s batteries. Don’t believe me? 

Now, it may not actually reach, or if it does it will be a bit of a stretch, however I know that I will be able to get this jump start done. 

How? Well, I still have my original pair of jumper cables and so I can do the dangerous thing of connecting one set of jumper cables to the other in order to reach both batteries.

I will have to be careful to ensure that the clips that would be on the ground don’t touch. As in the jumper cable ends that would clip onto each other. 

This is because those clips would be live with direct and unfused battery power. So wrapping one or both in something non-conductive to keep them from touching would be essential. 

I may end up buying another set of shorter jumper cables (that match these new ones) as they are 1 gauge wire and the others are . . . old and I’m pretty sure not as thick of wire.

Anyways, the idea with this purchase was to be self-contained and self-sufficient so that if I happen to be in a place where the tuck won’t start, I can just jump start myself.

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

Friday 24 January 2020

Budget Many, Spend Once

One of the advantages (and mayhap disadvantages) of my Payperiod Budgeter is that I can see what can happen many paydays in advance.

This lets me see patterns and explore what would happen if I saved in this way or I saved in that way. 

I can see what impacts a certain “savings philosophy” or course of action would have on my bank accounts and my overall savings goal.

Moreover I get to see how much would accumulate in each of my bank accounts and how fast it would do so.

I also get to see how tight my budgets would have to be in order to make this or that savings targets.

It is through this practice that I get to spend my money in many different ways before I actually spend it.

I can leave my budgets in one way for a few days as I think over if I like the direction that my budgets are currently taking me in.

If I don’t I can easily change them to go in a different direction. 

This way I get to decide what is the best way forward for me as I reach for my overall goal of establishing my homestead. 

So, budget many, but spend once, as it were.

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

Thursday 23 January 2020

Wanda Almost Frost-Free

So, I have been wiping down various surfaces in my trailer. You see with the warm-up comes the melt-down. 

What that means is that all of the frost that accumulates during a cold spell has melted and turned to water on every surface. 

So I have been wiping down water where I see it, when I see it. I mean I have had frost on the cupboard doors, ceiling, floor, you name it, there has been frost on it.

It has been a frustrating experience, but one I go through each time it warms up after a cold spell. That’s just life in a trailer.

You learn to adapt and do the things that others don’t have to do. Again, this is because I don’t heat my trailer in a cold spell, I have found it to be a losing battle (which is also a costly one).

So I bundle up, and hibernate my way through a cold spell.

With things being warmer and dryer in my house I can start to do things in my house again, and that is nice.

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

Wednesday 22 January 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 16.4% (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 17.1% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 0.7% of my total Savings Target this payday.

The important thing to remember is that I did get to cross off a square. It is also important to note that any cash going into my savings is a victory.

I am doing okay and the warm weather is nice. On a side note, I was able to start my truck on Monday Evening, after work. 

All it took was for the truck’s battery to warm up enough to recover enough juice in it to turn the truck over. It started pretty much right away. 

I had arranged for a jump start but decided to try it anyways just in the hope that it would start on its own and it did. 

I let it run for 45 minutes before turning it off. I then started it again (to make sure that it would start). 

I ensured that the truck ran for at least ten minutes as I did my darting out for groceries and checking the mail (that I usually do on Friday Afternoons.

So, all is well, but in the future I will ensure that each time I run the truck (for the time being) that the truck is running for at least ten minutes (so as to keep the battery charged).

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

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Debt Hopelessness and The Impending Insolvency Crisis

I read an article yesterday that said that half of Canadians are unsure if they can cover expenses without going deeper into debt. 

Here is a quote from the article: 

“The latest MNP Consumer Debt Index published Monday shows 50 per cent of respondents said they're within $200 of not being able to cover their monthly bills, and nearly an equal proportion of participants in the survey (49 per cent) said they aren't confident in their ability to cover expenses without going deeper into debt.”

The article itself can be found here (at time this blog entry was posted).

50% of Canadians face insolvency amid 'debt hopelessness': Survey

People keep saying that if you are in debt you got yourself there and so it is your fault. That said, so why should anyone or any level of government help you out.

What nobody talks about is the fact that it is expected and a “norm” of employment that nobody (except the rare few) gets a cost of living increase. 

We all know that the cost of living is steadily outstripping the raise in our wages. That gap keeps widening until people just can’t make ends meet anymore.

There are thousands of Canadians in the same boat (over half of the country). As the article said half of the country is $200.00 away from not covering expenses.

We are in a Debt Crisis, meaning that the average Canadian is mired in debt and have been so for so long that many feel hopeless that they will ever get out from under it.

The point of this blog entry is this: what happens if most, if not all, of those Canadians on the edge of not being able to meet their financial obligations finally do go bankrupt?

What if, since so many are in the same boat, a massive chunk, say, a quarter to half of the population goes into bankruptcy at the same time.

That would be an Insolvency Crisis, a crisis that could not be solved by outlawing or stringently regulating personal bankruptcies.

This would impact the financial sector like nothing else and might also trigger a housing crisis as well, as so much of that debt is tied up in mortgages.

I truly feel for the people who feel hopeless when it comes to their debt, for I was there and I truly understand how it feels. 

On a personal level, you can find a way to downgrade your lifestyle (significantly) to upgrade your cash flow. 

If you master your cash flow, you can tackle your debt, but it is not a quick or easy fix, it takes time and effort. Contact me, I can give you advice and a few tools to help.

As far as governments and politicians are concerned, I strongly urge you to deal with this Impending Insolvency Crisis before it actually arises.

(No, don’t bail out the banks, help out the people instead.)

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

Monday 20 January 2020

What a Difference A Weekend Makes

I spent most of the weekend grumbling that I was promised a warm-up and wondering where it was. Thankfully, yesterday afternoon it arrived.

This meant that I had to scrub ice/water/slush off of the ceiling of my trailer. But that is to be expected when the weather warms up after a prolonged cold spell.

I have no idea how long this warm spell will last, but I am just enjoying the warmth that is happening now.  

This is but a break from the bitter cold as it were. January and February are the coldest months and so I expect cold to return before April.

The thing to do now is to arrange a jump start for my truck so I can go on a long drive to charge up the battery. There is not quite enough power left in the battery to start the truck as it is.

One problem at a time but I do plan to go on a nice long drive this evening (if I can persuade one of my co-workers to give me a jump-start).

At least it is warm.

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

Friday 17 January 2020

My Journey So Far

My Journey to Fiscal Stability has been a long one that has taken many turns. It has gone through many phases.

From when I started working, I have always been in “Survival Mode” working to pay the bills with little to nothing left over for me at the end of the month. 

Between December 5, 2013 to October 22, 2017, the only thing there was, was getting debt free. I mean, paying off every last debt that I had. 

After that, 2018 was about properly funding (and determining what level that was) my Mid-Term Account as well as starting to fund my TFSA (in my Long-Term Account).

The focus was to have some money set aside just in case I was laid off. That was the drive for 2018, building my emergency fund.

2019 was an expansion on that to truly growing that fund into the place where I could not only survive but also have land and a home.

2020 and beyond will be an extension of that, of building my savings to the point where I can establish that homestead. 

Exactly where it will be located, or what form it will take (my home or a town) has yet to be seen, but owning land and a home are still important to me.

That is the current phase of this journey. 

Yet with each phase of this journey, it had to start with me believing that my goal, whatever the current one was, was possible; that I deserved it.

You have to believe in yourself, believe that you can do it and then just start working towards it. 

You can figure out the details along the way, and don’t be afraid to fail or change your plan mid-stream. 

Just define a goal, determine a plan (even a loose plan) and get started. 

You don’t have to have all the answers to get started, you just need to know what you have to do, today, this week in order to get started.

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

Thursday 16 January 2020

The Warm-up Begins Tom . . . Saturday

So, tomorrow, was suppose to be the day that things warm up and turn around, and it kinda does. 

At least during the day it will be a smidgen warmer at -25C and during the overnight it will be -28C (so, again, a smidgen warmer). 

Saturday it will be -20C during the day and -23C overnight. So again warmer still and warming up. 

Sunday it will be -6 during the day and -10C overnight. All in all Sunday is the day to look forward to. 

I know that weather predictions can and will be wrong, and this deep freeze could stick around for some time yet. 

My point is that hope is what gets me through, hope and a dream to cling to. I have thought about possibly renting a room come the end of this year (2020).

I have also thought about buying/building a more appropriate portable house (like a tiny house trailer, yet perhaps built on the back of a delivery truck.

Sure that would be nice and make the current situation nicer, as it would have proper insulation and a wood burning stove to keep me warm on these cold nights.

Yet it would also take me further away from my real dream of land and home ownership. That is what really keeps me going, knowing that I will have that some day.

Cold weather will come and go and I know how to deal with it. I can survive it; I don’t like it, but I can get through it.

I for one will keep happy thoughts of Sunday on my mind as I bundle up and hibernate tonight. 

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

Wednesday 15 January 2020

Cooking In -20C Sucks

This is something I probably didn’t have to tell you, but hey, yeah, it’s true. It takes more time to cook things because everything you are cooking has been in a deep freeze.

So, there is that, that’s fun.

Add to that the fact that you are cooking in full outdoor gear complete with gloves. Yet now and again you have to take those gloves off to handle food or what have you. 

If your hands are out in the cold for too long you have to heat them up by putting your hands in the various hot spots of the human body (quite undignified looking).

Then when you start to eat you have to heat the metal utensil (fork/spoon, etc) before you touch it so you don’t stick your tongue or lips to it. 

When you are done you have to wash and dry REAL fast because water will freeze real fast to the almost clean dishes.

So you are then trying to “wipe” ice off of the “clean” dish. After doing your best you decide to just wash this stuff again when your house is not a deep freeze.

But on an upside, you don’t have to worry about leftovers spoiling . . . because your house is a deep freeze.

It is for that reason that for the foreseeable future, I will be eating dinner at work. You know: microwaving, eating and cleaning up at work, in regular office temps.

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

Tuesday 14 January 2020

I Slept Like a Turtle

There really is no other way to describe how I ended up sleeping last night. It was -10C in my house when I went to bed, but -22C in my house when I woke up.

That’s not that bad, because it was the big bad -30C outside my house last night and this morning.

So, I slept with my sleeping toque on my head and two pairs of thick socks on my feet. I started out sleeping with my head on the pillow as usual. 

During the night I ended up pulling back under the sheets and making a tunnel of sorts to the “outside”, as it were, for fresh air.

I was curled up most of the night but I did stay warm and I did sleep well. At least I got enough sleep, because I feel fine this morning and everything is still attached.

It is all part of the plan to just get through this really cold snap any way I have to in the most cost-effective way possible. 

All because I want that house and that land, all paid for in advance, again, with no debt. That is worth curling up under the covers for a few nights.

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

Monday 13 January 2020

The Homestead Fund Update (2019 Review Edition)

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”).

This time we will be looking at 2019 as a whole. How? Well, I added a new tab to my Pay Period Budgeter.

This one takes the information from all of the individual budgets and compiles it on one large sheet.

This way I can see how I did in one year overall rather than just each individual payday budget.

I can ask the ultimate question (with regards to this budget) that is: How much of my Take Home Pay went into my savings accounts, this year, and stayed there?

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . .

For review, here is how things looked from last year (2018)
 (Data not available)

(Okay technically the data is available but, I’d have to manually compile it, and I don’t feel like doing it right now.)

That is X% (of my Savings Target).

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

That’s right I put 57.37% of my Take Home Pay into Savings.

That means that 42.63% if of my Take Home Pay was spent and did not go into savings.

I bought a few things and what have you but that number is not where I wanted to be. My Debts & Expenses were double what my target is (20%).

This is where real life and real numbers can and will deviate from what you intended and what you budgeted.

Do not get discouraged, I tend to focus on the fact that if I hadn’t budgeted and had a focus on savings, I would have spent a whole lot more than 42.63% of my Take Home Pay, I can tell you that.

I will use this tab to see how I am doing as the year goes, so as to try to keep myself closer to that 80% target (80% of my Take Home Pay going into my savings and staying there).

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

Friday 10 January 2020

I Broke Out The Sleeping Socks Last Night.

So, it got down to -20 or so, and it was somewhere south of -15C in my house when I woke up this morning. 

Needless to say I turned the air blue . . . or bluer as I was getting dressed this morning. 

Both things were things that I and my trailer have experienced before. Just because I have experienced them and lived through them doesn’t mean that I like doing it.

One of the things when it gets that cold is the fact that my feet get cold, even under all those quilts (5 of them).

So, I wear warm socks to bed, along with a toque on my head. My core is able to stay warm, but the extremities, (the top and bottom of me) need a bit of help staying warm.

Again, nothing I haven’t seen before, and things I know how to handle, but handle them I must if I am to make it through and keep my Grand Savings Plan on target.

So, I sleep with a toque and warm socks. It keeps me warm.

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

Thursday 9 January 2020

The Eve of The Cold Snap

So, tonight it is supposed to drop below -20C and pretty much stay there. At least for the next week, perhaps more, who knows.

I do know how to get through it, and I can sum my process in one word: Hibernate.

Yep, after work I go home, heat up my dinner in a pan (my meal starter). As this is happening I turn the radio on.

I then strip down to my skivvies and a t-shirt and get into the warm sleeping bag that is on the couch. I eat my dinner and listen to the radio as I warm the sleeping bag up.

It really is not a life, but it is an effective way to get through these cold snaps without spending too much. 

As things get warmer, I will do more, but for now, it is all about spending as little as I can in order to save as much money as I can.

As I always say: not forever, just for now (until I complete my Grand Savings Plan).

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

Wednesday 8 January 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 15.8% (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 16.4% of my savings target.

That means I put away 0.6% of my total Savings Target this payday.

Okay, so here goes, it is a new year and I am focussed on building my savings.

Since yesterday was payday that means that I processed my paycheque. This payday’s contribution could have been larger, but with the buying of the books put a dent in that.

What I mean is that some of the charges for the books didn’t hit the card until after the 22nd of December.

Since I can’t pay a bill someone doesn’t give me, those charges carried over to the payday of January 7th.

I am excited to build my possibilities by building my savings. Each dollar I put into the bank increases the possibility of what I can do in the future.

I know that a really cold snap is coming, but I also know that it will pass and that I know what to do, how to handle this cold snap. I am not worried.

This part of my life, the savings building part, will pass, and I will begin the Homesteading Phase soon enough (four or five years, but that time will come).

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

Tuesday 7 January 2020

New Year, New Budgeter

So, this is the day when I change from one “Budgeter” to another. Meaning I am now officially, and fiscally, into 2020.

You see, each of my Payday Budgets runs from the morning of one payday to the morning of the other. 

As in, from the time that I deposit one paycheque, to the time that I deposit the next.

So, since this is the morning of January 7, this means that my Payday Budget Cycle for the paycheque of December 22 has officially ended and the Payday Budget Cycle for the paycheque of January 7 has officially begun.

So, this means that my Payday Budgeter for 2019 is now in the digital archives and I have moved into my Payday Budgeter for 2020.

With all of the uncertainty in the world I am still uncertain of the wisest course of action, with regards to building my savings/investments.

I am still going to continue on the boring path of putting cash in the bank so that I will finally be in the place where I could buy land and a home if I wanted to (and do so by paying cash).

Next year is next year, and I will decide what next year’s plan is next year. For now, I will be just putting cash in the bank (as much as I can).

I still reserve the right to change my mind if the realities of our unstable world changes significantly.

For now, I am focussed on building my savings and in so doing, building the possibilities for my future.

And doing so by using my new Payday Budgeter.

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

Monday 6 January 2020

The Homestead Archive Grows

Okay, so a healthy portion of the books that I ordered before I left for my Christmas Break has arrived.

There are a few more but this bunch doubled what I had in the Archives already. This bunch filled the storage tub that I bought specifically for these books to be stored in.

This means that if and when I buy more books, that I will have to buy yet another storage tub. 

This brings me to another point; I will hold off on buying more books at least for now. 

Also I am looking forward to spring so I can have another spring cleaning and turf a bunch of stuff that I am carting around yet don’t use.

I will be ever more vicious this time, and get rid of everything that I don’t need. I am carrying around too much weight, I know that.

My needs change and what I need changes with it. Fluffy, extras are not needed right now and there is very little in my life that holds sentimental value to me.

My life is about weight and necessity as I get through this ultra-frugal phase of my life in order to finally have that home and land that I want. 

The home and land that I want to be generous with as I help others (I’m twisted that way).

For now, I will celebrate having about the minimum books that I feel are necessary to have in my ever growing Homestead Archives.

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

Friday 3 January 2020

Back At It

So, yesterday was the first day back to work for me. It also marks the first day of what I consider to be the real winter. 

For me, January, February, and a good portion of March, is really cold. After that it does, sorta, get warmer, sorta.

I know that while the weather looks nice and not so cold, that the real cold stuff is coming, at least at some point over the next couple of months.

This is also the time of year when the “I don’t want to do this anymore,” impulse kicks in. I remind myself that all I have to do is get through the next two to three months and thing will get better.

After that is the warm(er) season and that means that I will be home free until next winter. 

I further remind myself that this year marks the first of the real savings building. 

The building of savings for last couple of years marked me putting my “emergency fund” aside. As in, allowing me to live for a year or two on my savings if I have to.

Now, I am getting to the point where I am building my savings to the point that I can actually have a home and land of my own.

So, I will keep going and I will keep building, and in order to do that, I have to keep living in my RV, even in the depths of real winter (yet to actually arrive).

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

Thursday 2 January 2020

New Year, New Opportunities!

Okay, so Christmas Break is over and it is time to get back to work. This means, for me, the same-old, same-old, but I’m okay with that, because I make money doing the same-old, same-old.

The New Year is also a time to look back on what you have accomplished over the past year and set new goals for the New Year ahead.

For me it is a renewed focus on my savings, as I want to get to a place where I could buy either my Acreage or my Quarter Section of Land before this year is out.

I call it my “first exit ramp” strategy. While I may not be able to buy an acreage or quarter section of land anywhere near the city where I work (not even close) I want to at least be able to buy it.

It will be nice to know that I could, if I chose, go out and buy that permanent home that I am working towards. 

I know that I will need more cash than just enough to buy land or an acreage, so further savings will be needed.

It is just nice to know that within this year, will be nudging towards a place where I won’t be totally screwed if anything should happen to my job.

I still feel like a spider looking up and around for that large shoe to come slamming down on unsuspecting little me.

I do try to be positive, as I try to head off any problems before they arise, and deal with the problems that do.

Now is not the time to think of such things, however, as it is the time to look forward to a year of new opportunities!

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