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!

Friday 25 September 2020

To Push My Luck Or Not

So, it is that time of year again, the time of year when I winterize Wanda. Yet, this year I am winterizing Wanda myself, rather than paying someone to do it.

So, as I look at the warm weather now and in the foreseeable future and I am forced to wonder if I might wait a bit before winterizing Wanda.

You see, winterizing means that I can no longer use the indoor fresh water plumbing in Wanda. 

I will still be able to use the sinks (to pour stuff into) and the toilet, but I will not be able to turn the tap and get fresh water out of them.

Also I will not be able to get a real shower, as in a regular hot water shower, in my shower. 

I can still do my jug showers (that I do all along) but I won’t be able to have a real shower. 

So, it is something to consider, exactly when (or if) to winterize, but full-timing it on the streets of a Prairie city is not wise to not winterize at some point.

Given the fact that the weather can turn on a dime and I can be in the deep freeze in the matter of hours and you can see why waiting to winterize is a gamble.

It is a gamble that I am not prepared to make. I am still remembering the block of ice that was my Black Water tank for months.

That and trying to winterize when it is cold and getting colder is not fun, neither is trying to find a full hook-up campground in the dead of winter just to winterize.

So, I will winterize this weekend, tomorrow actually, and just get it over with. I am used to living without running water in Wanda, so this is no big deal to me.

It is just something that I have to do in order to make my dreams a reality.

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

Thursday 24 September 2020

It Felt Good To Get Back At It

So, Tuesday was payday, and that is always a fun day for me. If it isn’t, you need to rethink and re-examine your finances.

Anyways, this past payday was the first payday in months that I was able to put most of my paycheque into my TFSA.

I have to tell you, that felt good. It felt good to getting back to building up my Long Term Savings Account (of which the TFSA is a part).

My Main Account is fully funded. My Mid-Term Account is fully-funded. Now I am working on building up my TFSA until it is fully-funded (late next year, possibly early 2022).

The point is that I am back on track with regards to my savings and that feels good. I have my usual accounts where they are supposed to be, so that means all extra cash goes into my Long Term Account.

I refer to any and all long term savings vehicles as my “Long Term Savings Account” even though it is actually (or will be) multiple savings/investment accounts.

I even squeaked out fifty bucks to buy a book and resume my modest adding to The Archives as well.

All in all, things are back on track and that feels good.

Yet this is 2020, so anything can and will happen . . . which is why it is more important than ever to have my accounts fully-funded.

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

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Scratt Paid Me A Visit Last Night

As Geoff mentioned previously, my apartment wetted itself on Saturday. The plumber finally came on Monday late afternoon to auger out the line.

Fortunately, after a brief scare that the pipe might have to be dug up, the line finally cleared! Not before I had to make a trip to the laundromat, though.

So, Monday night, I got home from the laundromat, got everything sorted, and went to bed, a little later than planned. 

I woke up out of a dead sleep at 3:30 am by a strange scratching noise - coming from inside the bedroom! 

I heard it move from the exterior corner to just behind the head board, and even move up the wall! I turned on the light, and tried to look, but I couldn't see anything. 

At this point, I decided to make a strategic retreat! I managed to grab a pillow and blanket off the bed, and removed myself to the couch to (try to) sleep the rest of the night.

The next morning (Tuesday morning), the landlord came back with the plumbers (this is when the plumbing was finally cleared), and he did a thorough search, but couldn't find Scratt. 

While I'm not exactly sure what it was, if it was a squirrel, you'd think it would be doing figure 8's around the room by morning, looking for a way out. A bat would have been found in a dark corner.

Maybe it was a mouse, hiding in the walls? We may never know. The landlord is dropping off some mouse traps later, just in case. 

Mice and such are a normal part of homesteading (and cheap apartments built in the 50's), however, it is a little disconcerting when it's right by your head, late at night!

Scratt, I wish you well, but, please, don't come back!

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


Tuesday 22 September 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 46.0% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 0% of my total Savings Target this payday.

Now, before you start judging me and shaking your finger at me, let me explain.

I did put cash away into savings. Granted it was lessened by the fact that I booked my Christmas Break during this payperiod (and so had to pay the Credit Card Bill today).

The problem was that both of my investments dropped at the same time. In fact, as a twist of irony, my investments dropped by the amount equal to what I put into savings.

So, things came out to appear that I did nothing, but in fact I did. With more put into my TFSA, this means that the swings in its value will increase as well.

All I can do is to choose to look at this as a buying opportunity and keep putting cash into my savings each payday.

It will be okay, things will get better and my steady progress now will pay off eventually . . . at least that is the plan.

As I have said before: I have a plan, I am working the plan, and the plan is working.

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

Monday 21 September 2020

Kim’s Apartment Wetted Itself

So, there I was, working away, minding my own business when I heard a gurgling sound coming from the kitchen sink.

Being that it was an old house and I wrote it off as an oddity of the place. It was Saturday and Kim was at work . . . working.

I was at her place working away on my latest version of my Budgeter, more specifically a budgeter to track what credit card expenses I have within each payperiod.

I’ll talk about that in a later blog post.

So, as I said, I was working away and the gurgling sound came from the kitchen sink. It was somewhere after 11:30 I would guess. 

Somewhere shortly before noon I went up to go to the bathroom yet along the way I stepped in water. That was when I noticed it . . . the puddle.

You see, Kim lives in a basement suite that has a back room where the laundry and storage is. It is quite convenient, yet since it is the basement it has the main drain down there.

That was where this water, which was dark in colour yet had lots of laundry fluff in it, so I am going with drain water that was dirty laundry water.

That puddle had covered half of the back room and was already in the living room and growing.

The living area is one large (okay not that large) “great room” so Kitchen, Dining Room and Living Room all in one.

That area was flooding with this ever expanding puddle of dark water.

I thought about grabbing towels to sop it up but thought that blankets would be more effective . . . and they would, but one problem . . . none of that was mine.

The last thing I wanted was to use “grandma’s hope blanket” or some other family heirloom to sop up dark water when, at this point the damage was already done.

So, I grasped the mop and mop bucket and started mopping up as fast as I could. The full buckets of water I tossed out onto the law outside.

I started from the outer edges of the water and moped forward, trying to corral the water back into the back room.

I also tried to call Kim but since she was at work she decided to turn her phone off and put it away. So, she didn’t learn about this until sometime after two.

I worked away mopping up what I could and for the most part it was done and mopped up by the time that Kim made it home (after her one client).

At last report a plumber was finally due to arrive late last night (after I went home) to snake out the main drain.

For the remainder of Saturday and all day Sunday we were not able to use the laundry or shower. We were able to flush the toilet and wash hands but that was about all that we risked.

It was . . . challenging . . . I’ll say for the Landlord to arrange to get a plumber down. Since I don’t know, as I am not Landlord and I will not put words in their mouth, I will not say otherwise.

At best Kim raised an eyebrow accompanied with a sideways smirk at the suggestion of “staying at my place.”

That and we almost went to a Laundromat to do some laundry, as she needs to get some work laundry done for work tomorrow (today).

All in all it was hectic and I can only assume that it was dealt with, but that is for Kim to update (as it’s her place).

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

Friday 18 September 2020

Winterizing Wanda . . . By Myself

So, it is that time of year, the time of year when I think of Winterizing Wanda, and in this time of COVID (and 2020 being 2020) this year there is a snag.

That snag comes in the factor of the fact that this year the drive through winterizing special that the RV dealership holds (that I go to every year) is cancelled.

Even worse is the fact that they have jacked up the price and require that every trailer is “Quarantined” for seven days before any technician goes into said trailer.

Soooooo . . . that’s not happening.

That means that the time has come to winterize Wanda myself. I know the process, I know what to do, I just haven’t done it yet. 

I will buy the special antifreeze that goes in the pipes this weekend but not actually do the winterizing until next weekend (after payday, of course).

The winterizing will have to be done at a full-hook-up campground, and I want to do it before the one in town closes its hook-ups (if they do) for the season.

I don’t want to get caught with water in my tanks when and if a sudden deep freeze hits us (and it might, because 2020 is 2020).

This is yet another skill I have to learn and yet another thing I have to deal with on my road to my future. 

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

Thursday 17 September 2020

The New Budgeter!

So, I have been inspired and tweaking my Payday Budgeter in order to update it to reflect how I use it. Take a look . . . 

This means that I am expanding my section on my wallets, and giving them their own section. 

Also I can specify how many of what denomination of bills I want to put into each wallet. This is so I can spend cash and not have to break a twenty.

Also I have added a column to note which credit card (if any) this line item (in either Debts or Expenses) is going on.

That way, the spend is marked as either an Expense or as a Debt, but it is not lumped into a massive line item at “Visa” or “Capital One.”

This way it more truly reflects what I am actually spending it on. 

It does mean that I have to add up those expenses to ensure that it matches the outstanding balance on the credit card. (Yes, I have another spreadsheet for that.)

There are a few other tweaks and updates, including font sizes and column widths and all that. All and all I am impressed with how it has turned out.

I have said it before, master your cash flow and you will master your fiscal destiny. Yes this applies to everyone, no matter how much or how little you make.

For it is how much and where you spend, not how much you make that is the true determiner of your financial success. 

(No matter what, there are always options, if you choose to look for them.)

If anyone wants a copy of this for yourself, let me know.

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

Wednesday 16 September 2020

The Day The Computer Died

So, this past Saturday, as Kim was working away cooking her shredded cabbage rolls batch, I was working on the computer I bought a few years ago.

I brought it over about a month ago deciding it would do more good at Kim’s place than in a box in Wanda.

So, I got it all setup and all of the updates done . . . all of that . . . got it running nice. 

And then the trouble started. What happened was that at random intervals (with a long gap between, so it didn’t happen all that often) the computer would freeze then restart.

I tried any number of things to no avail, we even tried to do a system restore but that didn’t work. 

Finally I did a fresh and clean install of Windows 10, got it setup and . . . it did again.

It confirms (to me) what I had feared all along, that it is a hardware issue.

Now, with typical computers you could open up things and replace components. One of the disadvantages of an All-In-One computer is that everything is on one board.

Sooooo . . . there is only one board to replace . . . the computer . . . as in the guts and brains of it . . . soooo . . . it’s hooped.

It is still put aside because it may, or the components thereof, may be used for an interesting project along the way.

But for now we are left with Kim using her laptop and part of the reason I wanted this computer setup at her place was so she could have a larger screen.

Thus, I improvised (after she asked to keep the ergonomic keyboard of the All-In-One)

That is us using the HDMI output from Kim’s laptop to use her TV as a massive monitor as she uses the Keyboard all setup on a impromptu table in front of the computer.

While it worked in theory, Kim says she probably won’t do this that often, as it is a bit of a fuss to do this. I just wanted to try to see if it would work, and it did.

So, the All-In-One that I got very little use out of is officially dead.

Ah well.

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

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Cooking Wars: A New Batch!


This past weekend, we (I) attempted another batch of my own bulk recipe, this time, Cabbage Roll Casserole.

My last attempt (at beef stew) did not work out as planned, partly because I have never made such a large batch before, and I feel I had to redeem myself (as well as show that I'm up to the challenge of making cheap food that is actually nutritious as well!)

Seeing as how I am studying Holistic Nutrition, I feel I should be able to put my money where my mouth is... so to speak!

Let the Cooking Wars begin! (Well, not War, so much as Challenge! )

Cabbage Roll Casserole is basically cabbage rolls, but, instead of being rolled in a cabbage leaf, the cabbage is sliced into strips and cooked with the filling. It's a lot less work, just as tasty, and takes up less room in the freezer.

This has been a staple in my kitchen for years, because it's very inexpensive, relatively easy to make, and it's actually fairly nutritious. 

Of course, the fresher the better, and when we get the homestead going, I plan on using fresh tomatoes instead of canned. 

Here's my recipe:

    1 large green cabbage
    5 tins diced tomatoes
    5 pounds lean ground beef
    1 cup red lentils
    2 large yellow onions
    1 bulb of garlic
    2 1/2 cups of long grain brown rice
    Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the beef, diced onions and garlic in a large stock pot until brown. 

Add lentils, rice and tomatoes and stir well. 

Add cabbage on top, along with salt and pepper. 

Simmer for an hour, then stir and simmer for another hour, until rice is cooked. Be careful not to burn the bottom!

This recipe cost $42.71 in ingredients, and we ended up with 33 meals, which we packaged and put in the freezer. Most of it ended up in mine, as Geoff still needs to deplete his canned goods before the weather freezes the cans.

That makes it $1.29 per meal, making it roughly a tie with Geoff's canned stew/chili/KD concoction. Don't worry, though...  I'll bring him over to the Dark Side, sooner or later!  After all, I know how to make cookies...  😉🍪

Monday 14 September 2020

Changing Seasons And Surviving The Cold

Apologies, everyone - I had some technical issues which delayed this post, which is about camping on the Labour Day Weekend!

As Geoff mentioned in one of his previous posts, we went camping this past long weekend, in Banff. 

While it was definitely a wonderful, relaxing weekend away, it also had a purpose - to introduce me to life in a trailer.

Now, I'm no fragile flower who thinks camping is spending a weekend at the Hilton! I've done my fair share of camping in the past! Even last summer, I was camping in a tent with friends in Idaho.

I do have concerns, though, with managing life in a trailer full-time, year-round. The main issues have to do with access to both water and heat. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time this long weekend! 

Friday, we managed to be on our way by around 1:30 pm, and made very good time to Banff. I am starting to learn the routine of setting up camp, and I think Geoff and I made a pretty good team.

We were able to enjoy the rest of the day, and he even showed me his favourite spot for winter camping. The view was amazing!

We also discovered an "ancient artifact"!

Saturday, we played tourist, and walked around the town of Banff, itself. I had been there several times before, with friends, but it was great to see it from another perspective. The weather was sunny and hot at 27 degrees!

Unfortunately, summer came to an end Saturday night. Sunday was quite a bit cooler, though. We even had to turn on the electric heater overnight, and keep it on low throughout the day. We were still able to enjoy sunshine, and a walking tour throughout the campground. 

Monday was another story. With high winds and rain during the night, Monday was quite a bit cooler than the previous days. Monday morning even had the appearance of a bit of snow - although it never stayed long enough to accumulate.

Monday's weather wasn't bad enough to keep us indoors if we were determined to do something, but was enough to make it nice and cozy to stay inside with the heater on. 

The trailer was even warm enough that I felt comfortable in taking a shower, without fear of freezing to death! lol 

We did use a fair amount of water that weekend, but, with Geoff's ingenuity, an extra-long water hose, and a nearby tap, he made sure that we stayed topped-off!

All in all, while the weather did provide some challenges, we still had a great time, and I did feel very comfortable. Comfortable enough that I agreed to the ultimate challenge: Winter-time camping in the week between Christmas and New Year's! 😲😱⛄

Friday 11 September 2020

No, No, They’re Still Good!

So, I have a set of shoes that I wear around the office. I only wear them in the office or the odd time I have to take garbage out the back.

Here is what they look like . . . from underneath . . .    

Yes, those are sizable holes and this is just a way to demonstrate my dedication to saving money.

I have replaced them with slightly less comfortable shoes that I already had in Wanda.

I will buy better (more breathable) shoes later, but for now, this is what I will do.

As I clearly need new shoes, even though new shoes (even El Cheapo ones) are not in the budget at this moment.

So, I will compromise, be practical yet not break the bank . . . even to the tune of $20.00.

Some may say that I am a bit extreme but this is what I have to do in order to get ahead. 

First of all keep a hold on what you spend. If you can find a way to keep a penny, or a dollar in your account you have earned it twice. 

(Once on your paycheque, and once again when you kept it.) 

So, I will buy new shoes, perhaps after next payday, but for now, I will make do with what I have. 

After all, I have some serious ground to make up in my savings, and I won’t do that by giving an inch on my savings targets.

I will not only meet but surpass 50% (of my savings target) before this year is out.

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

Thursday 10 September 2020

To Cargo Van Or Not To Cargo Van

So, Kim and I have been debating about the wisdom of buying a cargo van and when to do so.

The thinking is that with a cargo van, we could load up the stuff we are going to bring with us to said property (to start the Homestead) in that cargo van.

You know, slowly acquire tools, seeds and equipment over the next few years as we are also building up savings. Then we can bring those with us in the cargo van along with our personal stuff.

Another thought is that that cargo van would tow Wanda as the truck would be used to run around town and/or be driven separately.

There is some thought about selling Kim’s car before heading out as . . . as nice as her car is (and it is nice) it is a small car and might not do well on back roads or the no roads of the future property.

So, then Kim would either drive the cargo van (driven separately) or drive my truck, if the cargo van was pulling Wanda.

I am leaning towards having the cargo van not pull the trailer, as both would be loaded down with stuff.

Yet the question is, when to buy that cargo van and if it is bought early, as in within the next few months, what to do with it in the meantime?

Yet if we wait too long, then we are in a rush to buy a cargo van and may not get a good deal or leave only to discover that there are repairs that are needed.

So we are both left with the question: do we buy a cargo van now, later or never?

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

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Switching to Cash

So, down the homestretch of this year, and as I barrel towards making 50% before this year is out, I will have to change how I have been spending.

Spending less is one obvious way, but in order to do that, I will be returning to an old, yet effective solution . . . my wallets.

I will enact what spending I have to on payday, but otherwise I will spend what I must out of my wallets and pay cash for it.

Then on payday I will put the cash back into the wallets.

This way I can keep a greater control over what I spend and what goes into savings.

It is far too easy to just “put it on a credit card” knowing that I will pay it off next payday.

I do, my credit cards are kept at a zero balance, each and every payday, as I refuse to carry a balance.

Yet as I do that, it steadily eats away at what I can put into savings. 

People look at me and some say “what a nice bit of savings you have” I simply reply that my money, my savings does not belong to me, it belongs to the future.

It is not available now, it is put away so I can build my homestead and have a nice, sustainable life and help others.

I do what I do for the future, not for the now. If I were living for the now I would buy a condo or some other place and just have a nice life now as I try to pay it off before retirement. 

I want land and I want space, and I don’t want to have debt when I do.

Thus, I will need to put as much into savings as I can now, so I can get there sooner. Thus, I will turn to my wallets.

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

Tuesday 8 September 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 45.4% (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 46.0% of my savings target. 

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

So, that may not look all that impressive, especially when you think that most of that is the rise in the value of my investments.

It was the old song, one type of investment went down, but the other type of investment went up, enough to compensate for the loss and then some.

I was able to get back to a “natural” or “neutral” state, meaning, I am fully funded in my Main and Mid-Term Accounts.

As well I was able to put something into my TFSA, again for the first time since June 7th payday. Which, in my budgeting world seems like forever!

Worse still was the fact that my Mid-Term Account has not been fully-funded (achieved last payday) since March.

So, while there was a bill, and those trips to the campgrounds were not great for the savings, it was worth it, as the warm season is winding down.

I am still on-track to make it to 50% before the end of the year, which will mean that I could (if forced to) run out and start my homestead/town.

Again, this would be in the “insane” range of staring the town, but technically possible but it would mean buying the land, some seeds, and some hand tools . . . that’s about it.

So, I could do it, but I would have to have no other choice. It would still be nice to be able to go out and start something.

So, every penny that I can put into savings from here on out is important, as it is moving me one step away from “insane” to “doable!” to finally “let’s do this!”

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

Friday 4 September 2020

Last Weekend of Summer

So, here we are, the Labour Day Long Weekend, the weekend that is the last long weekend of the warm season. 

I also take pride in taking my gal out to my Mountain Home, where I get to show her Banff and hope that she can appreciate why I love it so much.

Also we get to spend another weekend together and do so out in nature which is a good thing.

We will be touring Banff as well as enjoying our time as tourists in the tourist town.

Anyways, because I did do my running around last night we will get to dash off right after work . . . sorta.

You see, I got a surprise when I was heating up water for breakfast and my morning “Jug Shower.” 

The water was taking longer than usual to boil. It turns out that the flame under the kettle was out.

I knew at that moment that the propane tank was out. So, I had to switch the tank over and that means that I have to fill the tank that I just drained.

Now, I could wait until later, as in next Friday to fill it up, but I don’t like waiting to fill the tank, that and I do not like going up to the mountains with just one propane tank.

Just in case we get delayed there for any one of a thousand reasons.

So, I will be filling the tank up along the way which will only delay our departure a few minutes.

All in all, it looks to be a great weekend.

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

Thursday 3 September 2020

The Day Before The Dash-Off

So, this is the second weekend in a row where I will be heading out into nature to go camping. I will even bring my Darling Dearest with me . . . this time to my Mountain Home . . . Banff.

Today is the day before I head out, so there is always the contemplation to do my running around a day early as in tonight, so I can be ready to just book it tomorrow after work.

Since it is a long weekend, it would be advisable to leave as early as possible  . . . as in *cough* . . . *cough* not feeling well for tomorrow *cough* . . . *cough* . . . sorry Boss. 

(It is mathematically and technically possible for me to actually call in sick . . . sometime . . . when and if i am actually sick . . . possible but not likely.)

Yet, having said that, leaving in the early afternoon as in “Wheels Rolling” by 1:15 at the latest is also a good thing.

This way, if I do my shopping tonight, I can take my time to leisurely do what I need to do and not rush around madly tomorrow in an effort to get things done ASAFP!

The main thing is to get to the campsite as soon as possible, so as to enjoy the weekend with my gal in my favorite place . . . Banff.

(So I most likely will be running around tonight).

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

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Mid-Sized Meal Mash-up Measured

So, on Monday after work I made another batch of my Mid-Sized Meal Mash-up. Yesterday I portioned it out into meal-sized portions.

This time I didn’t just leave the batch in the pot and scoop out a bowl full for meals and then freeze it when it had been in there for a week. 

This time I portioned it out right away, as in after the stuff had been in the fridge for 24 hours. 

I ended up with 15 meal-sized 10 ounce portions and one almost there 8 ounce portion. 

Not bad, all told. Again, the recipes will get better once a certain someone who is studying Nutrition and likes to cook gets involved. 

That and when I have a proper deep freezer again.

For now, this is about the right size of a batch for me to make, as I can store the ingredients in dry storage (canned goods or dry pasta).

I then make a batch up and it does not overflow my little freezer. 

All in all it is a good balance between those two desires: storage space, vs. a large number of meals per batch (thus lowering the cost of each meal).

So I can and will make this a couple more times and then I will be on to a different style of meals that are frozen and ready to eat.

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

Tuesday 1 September 2020

A Weekend Adventure Where Nothing Was As It Was Supposed To Be, But It All Worked Out, Anyways

So, we went camping again last weekend, this time with a very good friend of mine and her husband and son. It ended up being a comedy of errors, but still ended up having a great time!

We went to one of the campgrounds in Cypress Hills (just outside of Medicine Hat). Our adventure began with a journey that ended up being a lot longer than expected! It was still beautiful, though.

When we finally arrived at the campground, Wanda had to have a dump (literally)! lol  So, I learned the finer points of dumping the black and grey water tanks. 

We went searching for our camping site, and ended up on a very "cozy" lane, and a camping site that was not really designed for trailers - certainly not at 11:30 at night! Here is a picture of the spot, taken the next day:

Yup. That was the site. What you can't really see are the scars on the trees from when previous campers had tried (and failed) to back in! We ended up driving back to the (closed) Registration Office, and boondocking in the parking lot overnight.

Fortunately, they were very considerate of us, and left us alone until we were ready to get up in the morning (which was around the same time as the office opened, at 9:00 am). They opened up an emergency site for us, which just happened to be within walking distance from my friend's site!

This was a MUCH better site, with power and water! It was a lot more comfortable for the remainder of our stay! I must say, though, with Wanda being completely self-sufficient as she is, she was perfectly comfortable that first night.

The rest of that day (Saturday) went by just fine. We visited with my friends, enjoyed a fire (propane, due to a fire ban), and had burgers and fries at a Lion's Club fundraiser. 

Unfortunately, at that point, it started to get quite windy and chilly, and, instead of sitting by the fire having a few drinks, we ended up calling it an early night and heading back to our site.

We had decided to leave on Sunday afternoon, instead of attempting the return trip early Monday morning, which Geoff would normally do, as it was quite a lot further away than we would normally have travelled. 

We had a leisurely day, visiting with my friends again, before they headed out earlier than we did. As we were cleaning up, getting ready to go, our final calamity occurred. While washing out an insulated cup, the scrubber got stuck inside it! 

Of course, after we had stopped to buy a new one, we managed to get the old one out! While it's done a good job these last 10 (yes! 10!) years, it was time for a new one, anyways. You're welcome, Geoff! 

All in all, it was still a great weekend. There's some things we would definitely do differently next time, but, we still didn't argue...   

That seals it! I think we're really doomed, Geoff! 💏

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