Friday 23 December 2022

Off To My Mountain Home!

At least I will be after I get this pesky thing called work out of the way today. 

Regardless, this is the day that I head to Banff (My Mountain Home) for my Christmas Break, one that I am greatly looking forward to.

I am already going over what I have to do after work, what to pick up, what errands to do and in what order. 

While I tried to push it off because of cash considerations, having this one week of a break is important to me. 

It gives me this one week to plop down and relax, and do so in comfort and surrounded by lovely scenery.

I don’t know what the future holds, what kind of year that 2023 will bring, but I do know that I will face it and make it the best year that I can make it regardless of what comes my way. 

Sleeping at work has been an odd experience and while sleeping on concrete is not fun, it is not as bad as it seems.

I have been spoiled by the heat . . . heat that I have not paid for. Though I would like to consider my “voluntary night-watchman” services as a fair trade for staying indoors.

I still plan to be in something, hopefully own, but at least renting an apartment somewhere by December 1, 2023. 

I have run the numbers and it is looking good that that will happen (major calamities economic, social or otherwise notwithstanding). 

All while keeping my investments and savings untouched. So ends theory.

Thursday 22 December 2022

Ding Dong One Card Is Dead (Paid Off)

Or, it will be . . . when I get paid today. Anyways, the first of the two cards that I have will be paid off today, as soon as I get paid. 

This is an oddity in me not having my paycheque before payday. Usually I get my cheque a day or two early and so early in the morning of payday I do my banking online.

So, ordinarily I would have already deposited and spent my paycheque by now. The money is allocated in the budget and I have it all worked out what goes where.

My best guess is the fact that it is the last payday of the year that Boss wants to make a bit of a presentation. 

Regardless, he has until close of business today to give me my paycheque. The one thing Boss has not been is one to play games with my paycheque, so I am not worried.

So, technically I haven’t paid anything off as I haven’t been paid yet . . . but I will.

With regards to credit and debt, the one point that I wanted to make was that one way to look at it is bringing future money into the present to spend now.

What that means is that when you spend on credit you are bringing money that you will make in the future into the present to spend on something right now.

At some point in you will have to send that money back to the past, in order to pay for that spend that you made back then. You do this by paying that debt off. 

That is why it is so much fun to buy on credit, as you get to spend now with money that you did not have. You get to have the spend and have it not impact your cash on hand.

Which is why it is so hard and so boring to pay off debt, you get the pain of the spend but you don’t get the fun of getting the item that you bought.

I use credit cards for two things, the first is for the ease of spending on my day to day things. 

I make sure to allocate the money to pay off each and every spend in the next payday’s budget right away, so I can:

See the pain of that spend

See how that spend impacts my next payday’s budget

Set my mindset that that spend will be paid off right away

The other thing I use credit for (these days) is to stock up my homestead supplies with what I deem essential, stuff that I must have. 

The prudent part of me wants to wait and buy this stuff over time, but there are things that I just don’t want to wait and risk it either not being available or going up in price.

I am trying to do this dance of being debt free (or as close to it as possible) and having the essential supplies I would need if I was somehow forced to start that homestead right away.

I have my savings, and investments, so technically I could pay both cards off right now. 

The thing with investments and savings is that you don’t dip into them unless you absolutely have to (or to enact that big spend you planned) . .  . such as buying that land/cabin/house/something  that I want to buy. 

None of the things that I am buying are what I call wasteful purchases, but it still aggravates me every time I spend on one of these items.

It is a dance between having what I need and paying off what I have already bought. 

I am doing okay, not great, but okay. I endure what I have to endure today so I can have a better future (so ends theory).

At least I know that one of my credit cards is paid off, and I only have the other “low interest” credit card remaining.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

I Cheated Last Night

Okay, so I did not sleep in Wanda last night . . . so . . . I guess my tough guy image is gone. I slept here . . . 

I slept at work, that is a nice little place between the shelves where I was able to lay my sleeping bag down and sleep. (On the carpet-covered concrete, but whatever.)

Here is why . . .

For added incentive, as I went back to Wanda to check on her as well as to pack my lunch and get fresh clothes, here is the temp inside Wanda . . .

Yep, that’s -25C in my house (I have to hang an "outside" thermometer in my house as "inside" thermometers don't go down cold enough) .

So, I slept at work on concrete in 18.33C (65F) at work rather than tough it out in Wanda.

Running the furnace just is not an option, at that temp, as the furnace will run constantly (draining the propane take more than likely)  and my batteries would be flatlined before morning . . . and it would still be cold in Wanda. 

Not only that but it would take days (it is Winter Solstice) to recharge Wanda’s batteries.

Today is Winter Solstice, which means that it is the shortest day of the year. For someone who gets all of my electricity from solar, this is a big deal.

This means that after today, every day is getting longer and longer. I (we) will get more sunlight each day (clouds notwithstanding) from now until Summer Solstice (June 21) . . . the longest day of the year.

The point that I want to make is that it is important to be adaptable, swallow your pride and just do what you have to do, what is necessary to get the job done. In this case, it is to get through the cold snap. 

Come Friday night I will (hopefully) be in Banff, plugged in and enjoying the view.

When I come back it (hopefully) won’t be this cold and I can continue sleeping in Wanda and get through this winter and into spring. I will be okay, though, one way or another.

Tuesday 20 December 2022

2nd Night of The Bitter Cold

So, it was below -30C last night and about -23C in my trailer last night . . . and I made it to morning. 

(Figuratively speaking that is, as it is still night when I am writing this, but tomorrow is the winter solstice so give me a break.)

Regardless, I am okay and while I did get a bit of sleep, I didn’t get as much as I would have liked, once again my feet kept me up.

If you are not comfortable, you will not relax enough for sleep. I have learned this much. I will take a look for my hot water bottle (which is somewhere in Wanda) after work tonight.

I am spending a lot of time at work both before work and after work. Again, work is heating the building up anyways (even though the heat is turned down for nighttime).

What is keeping me going is the knowledge that this cold snap won’t last forever, only till Friday morning and then it gets not sooo cold.

Heating the trailer is not an option at this time of night, and parking the trailer somewhere near a forlorn outside electrical outlet is not an option either., 

Both because stealing power is not within me and I am bared from parking actually on work’s parking lot. 

(The business condo association made that decree a number of years ago and I have respected it.) 

I have not yet brought a sleeping bag into work and slept at work, but I did think about it.

Just renting a place is not really an option as I would have to pause my debt paying plan in order to do that and this payday (the day after tomorrow) I will pay off my first credit card, and I won’t pause that.

I just have to tough it out and make it work and just move on. Again, I need to be debt free so I have the freedom to do what I want and choose.

Debt freedom gives you more options, and that is essential for what is coming (you will wish it was just a recession).

So, I will bundle up, find my hot water bottle and just make it work during these really cold bits, and grumble and bear it through the not so cold but still cold bits.

Monday 19 December 2022

Another Cold Snap Has Arrived

So, for the next few days, it will be south of -20C during the day and south of -30C overnight. Last night was “definitely a warm socks and sleeping toque” kinda night.

I did get some sleep but mostly my cold feet kept me up . . . not my reluctance or anything, my feet were actually cold. 

It was almost -20C in my house last night, so it was also a “turn the fridge off and prop open the doors to get the cold INTO the freezer” . . . kinda night.

I can do this lifestyle, I can make it work, but my desire to do so is quickly leaving me.

I still have the determination to push through and the willingness to do what I need to do to get through this winter, it is just that my want to do this has left me. 

Any sort of fun-factor or just take it in stride as left me. I hate the cold, I mean I really hate the f*cking cold. I can handle it, I know what to do, but I hate it.

Any thoughts of modifying Wanda so as to be more comfortable just seems like me making a long-term home out of Wanda, and that is not what I want.

I have depleted my cash reserves to pay my credit cards off, so “just getting a place” would require me to save up . . . which would take a month at least. 

That would put me getting a place for February 1 and . . . well . . . by that point, why bother screwing up my plans for that.

As with other cold-snaps this one will not last all that long, a few days. By Friday it should warm up to -18C. 

So I should be able to get the truck started so as to be able to drive to Banff for my Christmas Break. 

If I have to I can jump-start the truck with Wanda’s batteries . . . I’ve done that before.

Again, I know what to do, I can get through it, I just don’t want to. Having said that, it is only two months and then it starts to get better. 

January and February are cold, but things will start to warm up in March; by April we are back to Fall/Spring mode.

Again, I can do this, I will do this, I will get through another winter in Wanda, I will just grumble more.

Somehow, someway I really don’t want to do another winter in Wanda. Only time will tell and necessity will dictate if I will or will not do another winter in Wanda.

Just get through this next bit and deal with the future when it comes. Dream for the Future, Plan for the Mid-Term, but Work on the Now. (Just bundle up).

Friday 16 December 2022

Who Do I Choose To Be?

So, while my plan to pay off the last of my credit cards is well in hand (if I can resist the spending or “stockpiling” urge) my thoughts turn to what to do next.

Part of me want to just get a little place in the city that I currently live, continue working and just have a regular “normal” life (without crushing debt). 

Sure, I would have a mortgage, but I would also have my savings (that I still have) and so it would be balanced out, and never become a huge part of my monthly budget (I would make sure of it).

Then there is the concept of buying a nice Class A Motorhome, and live in that for the rest of my life. All in all stay mobile but do so in style and comfort.

The cabin in the woods also sounds like a nice little existence to me as well.

Yet, with what is coming, what I know is coming, what all of us feel is coming, economically and geopolitically, that does not seem like what I want . . . who I want to be.

I am not a selfish person, yet at this phase of my life I have had to be ultra-frugal and so ultra-selfish in a way. I have not donated to charity, nor I have not done things for others. 

I go to work and go home. I move my trailer once a week five minutes down the road to check my mail and buy my weekly groceries and supplies. 

I do this because that is the cheapest way for me to live and in so doing I can get through this phase of my life of paying down debt and building up savings.

Yet when all this chaos of what I fear is coming, actually comes, I don’t want to: hide in my cabin in the woods, barricade myself in my home/Dreaded Condo in the city, or stay on the run in my nice Class A Motorhome.

I would much rather be the refuge that others seek, be the place that people can gather around and get the help they need.

I don’t mean in a refugee camp kinda way, or even a hippie commune, no, not at all, more like in a “Gene Roddenberry future” kinda way, if you get my meaning. 

I certainly don’t want it to be a place where someone shows up, sticks their hand out and says, “Where’s my free stuff? I want my free stuff? You promised to fix all of my problems, a**hole, so just do it already!”

I mean that I want wherever I end up to be a bastion of civilization where each of person there has what they need to live, yet you are still encouraged (prodded) to contribute to that community with your skills and yea better your own lot in life. 

I see it being a place that is a mixture of capitalism with a safety net, with an overall focus on the pursuit of science and knowledge. 

To do that I would need a crapload of help and a tone of money and resources.

I’m not holding my breath for the crowdfunding campaign as that is not how help works . . . I am expected to help others, others don’t help me.

I’m on my own to start this, I know that.

So . . . unless I win the lotto, the start of it will not be much than a patch of ground that I can somehow scrape together enough cash to buy, but it would be a start.

I also see this going horribly wrong and descending into madness and anarchy in a Mad-Max sense as everyone tells me that this was I deserve for trying to help people. 

All while I stumble away from the burning inferno that was my home and all of my possessions in the bloodied rags that would be all that I have left in the world . . . so yeah, I have no fears at all in starting this at all .

Yet, with real fears set aside, that is the type of person that I want to be. I want to be someone who is the last bastion of civilization in a world gone mad, that beacon of light in the descending darkness. 

So, wherever I end up, I will fly a flag as high as I can fly it which will read, “Find Refuge Here, All are welcome.” (And hope for the best).

PS: Designs are now being accepted for just what that flag will look like.

Thursday 15 December 2022

Debt Freedom Setback

My Goal of being Total Debt Free again was pushed back yesterday, and it was as a result of my own actions.

My push to being Total Debt Free again has been a fixation of mine because I like the freeing feeling of being Totally Debt Free. 

Also with what is coming, in the economy and geopolitics, it is best to be debt free. 

This fear of what is to come muddies the waters with my desire to have a place of my own, but one thing at a time. Pay off the last of my credit cards (again).

So, I was on track to pay off one credit card (the card with a higher interest rate and has the smaller outstanding balance) by this payday (Dec 22) . . . that is still on track.

I was on track to pay off the other credit card by the Feb 7 payday, this one has been pushed back.

You see, coming up (the week after next) is the week that my office shuts down. Since the office is shut, I can take a vacation . . . during this one and only time of year.

Now, I can legally take a vacation elsewhere during the year because the law says that I can. 

I can also technically take a vacation because Boss says that I can (and encourages me to do so).

Yet, operationally I cannot take a vacation because nobody wants to do what I do and there is a palpable sense of dread and fear of me not being there (to make things just “happen”).

Also, when I go on vacation I take at least a 10% pay cut because if I am not there, I don’t get commission on the online sales that I process.

So, I don’t go on vacation but I use my vacation pay to pad my paycheque throughout the year (when my paycheque would otherwise be smaller than what I term “Budgetary Minimum”).

But I digress, so, me taking any time off is a big deal and not something I do on a regular basis . . . for a few reasons.

So, this year I had pushed off and delayed booking my spot in Banff because it is costly for me: paying for the site, the extra gas, buying the Parks Canada Pass, and the extra propane, to name a few.

Yet, I just got to a point yesterday where I realized that this is my one and only vacation each year (such as it is) and just plain old, I deserve a break.

So, as a result, me being Totally Debt Free, has been pushed back by one payday to Feb 22 . . . but I still get my Christmas Break.

Deciding what to do about what kind of permanent home I will have will be decided after that date. (I am still undecided about that.) 

Wednesday 14 December 2022

I Looked At A New Motorhome

At least online . . . I was tempted . . . there were a few but this one seemed the most plausible. 

The main draw for it was that it was a way to drop out of the system. With RV’s, you don’t pay rent, you don’t pay property taxes, you are free to roam. 

The only utilities you pay are fuel and . . . propane (for heating/cooking) and then the prices for dumping your tanks. 

The freedom aspect was a nice thought for me, and I got to thinking that if I did stick it out in an RV for the rest of my life that I could live a decent life with little income.

That was the draw, the freedom and dropping out of the system was and still is the greatest draw of a Motorhome.

Yet I did not go to look at it and won’t, or wouldn’t until spring . . . but I most likely I won’t.

This is because the price that I would want to pay, in order to get a nice/decent one would be the price of a Dreaded Condo. 

At least with a Dreaded Condo I would have a place to belong and an asset that . . . goes sideways in value?

I also looked at my budget and saw that being debt free again is really not that far off, 4 paydays away.

So, I will get through this winter, get debt free again, then decided what to do after that. 

If I buy another RV, it will be because of a decision to stay in some form of an RV for the rest of my life. 

As I have said before, my life is in flux and I really don’t know what I am going to do.

All I really need to know is what I need to do in the Short-Term. What do I need to do today, this week, this payday. 

I can and will figure out the rest as I keep going.

Tuesday 13 December 2022

The Future Is Murky, My Plan Isn’t

So with all that is going on in the world, my plan to buy a home by this time next year is a bit murky, as in unclear.

I have actually given serious consideration building “The Armageddon Vehicle,” a “Monster Armadillo” of my own.

Something that is large, tough, self-sustainable, yet has all of the comforts of home; all so that I could stay mobile, yet stay comfortable.

Yet, that seems to be abandoning the future to be some “Mad Max” wasteland where you have to stay mobile and stay fast to stay alive.

I don’t want to live that way.

I still want my little place, wherever it is, whatever it is and have a place belong. Yeah, family of some sort would be nice ...  would have been nice, rather.

So, while the long-term outlooks is murky, due to factors that are way out of my control, all I can do is control what is within my control.

One of the things that I have learned is that no matter how murky the Long-Term looks, what I need to do in the Short-Term remains the same.

I need to: 

1. Get debt free ASAP

2. Build up a bit of Savings

3. Build up my Homestead Supplies

Then it gets murky . . . Do I:

Get some place? (Rent even?)

Buy a Dreaded Condo/Townhouse?

Buy a Parcel of Land?

Build The Armageddon Vehicle?

I really don’t know what is going to happen, but I do know that all of it hinges on doing the first three things on that list, at least the first two.

Yet even with regards to building up savings, I need to figure out how and where to put those savings and in what form they will take.

This is because the more I learn about banks and the financial system the less I trust them. 

Regardless, my point is that while I will keep an eye on the future, on the Long-Term, I will work on the things that I need to get done in the Short and Medium-Term.

Those are things that I can control and they are the first steps before I do . . . whatever I will do in the Long-Term.

I still want a place of my own and a place to belong. And yeah, a family would have been nice.

Monday 12 December 2022

Banking Shenanigans Coming To Canada

So, I was in my bank on Friday afternoon, waiting in line to see a teller so I could get a roll of loonies for my laundry that I had to do the next day.

A guy who was at the teller was having a conversation with the teller and someone who appeared to be a supervisor of some sort. 

He was frustrated and agitated but he was not angry or rude. The teller looked scared and the supervisor was calmly explaining that it was a new policy to hold bank drafts for a few days.

The thing is that bank drafts (as far as I understand) are as good as cash. So are certified cheques or money orders. You don’t need to wait for them to clear.

With modern technology, you can see instantly if the money is there or not, there is no manual processing or other such things that need to happen (as far as I understand).

I have heard of banks in the US doing silly things like this, making up any excuse that they can to delay you getting access to your money. 

In the incident with the guy at the bank, it seemed that transferring funds with bank drafts was something that he did all the time. 

He even had the receipt for the bank draft and that was not good enough for the supervisor. She just kept repeating that it was a new policy of the bank, to hold the funds for a few days.

This is being done because the banks themselves are having liquidity (cash flow) problems. They have also just been ordered to increase their cash reserves by federal regulator.

People keep saying that “our banks are fine” and snicker at the US banking system. They keep pointing to the fact that Canada weathered the storm of the 2008 Financial Crisis quite well. 

Well, here are a few things to consider:

1. Canada (publicly, privately and corporately) is way more overleveraged (in debt) than the US was when the 2008 Financial Crisis.

2. The Financial System (and banks) are much more interwoven around the world so if a crisis hits in one area, it will quickly spread to all other areas of the globe.

3. As a result of the 2008 Financial Crisis, we bank depositors are now considered “unsecured creditors of the bank.” All that a bank needs is the permission of cabinet (not parliament, not new legislation) to steal your money in your bank account and give you shares in the bank (a bank that at that moment would be failing) all without telling you or getting your permission.

Things are getting dicey and we here in Canada are not immune to the goings on in the world. 

Be careful out there and keep an ever watchful eye on the shenanigans of banks and corporations. 

All this is coming at a time when I want to look forward to buying a home . . . I am worried but I will move forward prudently and try to keep hope alive.

Friday 9 December 2022

Charge Ahead or Hunker Down?

My thoughts are always on the future: Short-Term, Mid-Term, and Long-Term. As I look to the future, I see murky uncertainty. I also keep an eye on the macroeconomic picture, and what I see coming is not good.

Yet, I don’t want to live in a dark world and have a dismal outlook on life. Yet at the same time, I have to be reasonable and realistic and every chart that I see, points to a massive downturn in the coming months and years.

So, while I do want a place of my own and will have that, exactly: where, what, when to buy, I will have something of my own, some home without wheels under it.

Again, my thoughts waver between charging boldly ahead with only a positive outlook and one that urges caution and waiting for the bad times to hit and then act accordingly. 

So as to whether I will hunker down or charge ahead? I will move forward cautiously. I will pay off debt, then build up my savings as I build up my Homestead Supplies.

Thursday 8 December 2022

Mother Nature Didn’t Help Much

Okay, so my plan was to let Mother Nature, AKA the weather blow most of the snow off of my solar panels . . . that didn’t happen . . . as in there was no wind yesterday. 

So, this was what they looked like when I got home last night . . . 

This brings up another point, one that will reveal itself once I brush the snow off of those panels . . . there we go.

You see that there are bits of ice still stuck onto the panels, now that is not a huge problem but it will decrease my ability to generate power from them.

Which in this time of year could be vital but in a sunny day, even in winter, that ice should melt away.  

The black colour of the panels do help in that regard, in generating a bit of heat from the sun. That is what happened and caused the ice to form in the first place.

The panels melted the snow a bit and then that water or wet snow then froze overnight and it became ice under the snow.

Now, I am not about to take an ice scraper to my solar panels to get that ice off, as I don’t want to risk damaging my solar panels.

Besides, at this time of year, during the week, I don’t use that much power, as I can’t and won’t run my laptop in the trailer in this weather. 

But I did run the furnace a bit last night as it was around zero when I got home. This was nice as I was able to get a bit of the frost that had built up inside melted away. 

Again, this time of year is about getting through it and doing what I can with what electricity that I can glean from the sun.

So, yeah I should have actually gone up there and brushed off my panels yesterday morning . . . ah well.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

I Didn’t Bother Brushing Off My Solar Panels

Okay, so it snowed, it snowed for the past two days. What that means for me is that my power production from my solar panels is seriously lowered.

Even if it is just overcast, that kills power production for that day. This is because I have less hours of sunlight from which I generate electricity and those hours give me less sunlight.

This is a problem when the only way that I can produce electricity is from my solar panels. So on snowy and overcast days I will conserve my power usage.

Electricity is the lifeblood of Wanda, with propane being a close second. Water is the lifeblood of me but that I can pack in and get elsewhere, so that is less of an issue for Wanda.

Yet, at this time of year, I only really care about electricity levels on the weekend. It is cold so I stay at work more and use the electricity and heat there. 

Even with work’s heat turned down at night, it is still much warmer than Wanda . . . -15C inside last night.

The weather is supposed to change and the temperature is supposed to rise greatly over the course of today, as in up to zero (yes I said that ‘up’ to zero Celsius).

What I have learned is that kind of weather change usually means wind. Wind is good, as it will typically blow most of the snow off of the roof of Wanda.

I will still go up there and brush the snow off of Wanda tonight, when I get home, but I will let Mother Nature brush most of it off for me first.

At this time of year, the only thing I need electricity in Wanda for is lights and that I can use flashlights or even candles for. 

Heat is for the weekend and having enough electricity to run my laptop is something for during the days of the weekend, if I am lucky.

On the weekends I do run the furnace and do warm the place up, but during the week there just seems to be no sense as all I am doing is: packing my lunch for the next day, laying out my clothes and crawling into bed.

When it is not so cold, such as the next few days, then I can and will do more in and around Wanda. 

In the bitter cold, however, I just hibernate. It remains the most cost effective way to just get through winter . . . at least during this last hurrah. 

Tuesday 6 December 2022

To Pay Down Debt Or Prepare

I face a conundrum that I feel most of us face: do I pay off debt or do I build up my Homestead Supplies? 

If I pay off debt, then I will be in a better position to weather whatever storm comes: financial, societal upheaval or otherwise.

FYI: My most aggressive possible completion date to pay off my debt is February 7.

If I build up my Homestead Supplies, however, I will be in a better position to start a homestead somewhere and live like a pioneer. 

Not that I want to live like a pioneer, but my philosophy has been, “I want to be able to live like a pioneer if I have to, because I can always better myself and my situation from there as I live sustainably.” 

The other reason that I put: tools, food, seeds, books and other things away into the storage locker that I call my Homestead Supplies is so that I can be able to do something with that plot of land that I want to get (even if it is just a plot of land).

Yet, I can tell you that Debt Freedom is Freedom itself. For if you only have whatever current bills that you have to pay, that and feeding yourself, then you are truly free.

If you are Debt Free then you can go where you wish and do what you want, all you have to do is cover your necessities of life: however you define that.

There are some who say that I should just stock up the Homestead Supplies and rack up the debt as much as I can and not care about that debt.

The concept there is that as hyperinflation picks up speed, then I would be able to pay off my debt with dollars that are worth less and less. 

The belief is that wages will rise and rise in order to keep up with hyperinflation (and keep workers). So, I will then be able to pay off my debt with my fistfuls of dollars that I will have.

The problem with that is that wages don’t keep up with regular inflation, what makes you think that it will keep up with hyperinflation? 

Even in normal times wages don’t and never will keep up with inflation . . . by design . . . by conscious forethought and design. (Ponder on that).

So, I will force myself to pause building my Homestead Supplies as I eliminate my debt (debt that I built up while stocking up those Homestead Supplies).

This is because I am forcing myself to keep in mind that, “I have what I need, not what I want.”

What I need, for my own peace of mind is to be Debt Free once again. I will get there, just one more winter to go, then onto another adventure.

Monday 5 December 2022

Make That Change Day!

Today is the day that you make the change in yourself or your life that you have wanted/needed to make for some time but have been putting it off.

This is the day back in 2013 that I started this journey towards Total Debt Freedom. In honour of that, I encourage others to make the change that they have wanted to make in their life but have been putting off.

It was in the evening and I had just arrived home from work. I pulled into the parking spot in the townhouse that I was renting and Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car was playing on the radio.

That song was the spark that I needed to start this blog and begin this journey to Total Debt Freedom. 

In essence, what I got from the song was that there was no good time for change, nor do you have to know how you’re going to make that change, just do it, just decide to make the change.

You do not need to know every detail of the plan of how to make the change that you want to make, just do it, make that change and figure out how to make that change along the way. 

Neither is there a good or convenient time for a change, there never is, it will always be a crappy time for a change, so just do it, make that change and make it now!

When I started this change, my goal was to become ‘Credit Card Debt Free’. I couldn’t imagine being Totally Debt Free; that was too lofty a goal for me to imagine at the time.

My original plan was to rent a room or buy a camper for the back of my truck, do that for two years and by the end of that two years I would be debt free and have a down payment for a house . . . I’m not kidding . . . I was that delusional.

The key thing that I learned along the way is that you will learn and grow along the way. Always adapt and change your plan to suit your new knowledge or situation. 

Always change what you are doing in order to better achieve your goals. Never keep doing something out of pride. 

Don’t beat yourself up too much over your mistakes either. You will make a lot of mistakes (I did, and do) but learn from them and use them as an opportunity to grow (I did, and still do).

So, go out there and make that change that you have wanted to make for some time but have been putting off . . . you can do it!

Friday 2 December 2022

How I can Handle a Prairie Winter

It was quite cold last night and I didn’t even bother to turn my furnace on; I haven’t done so all week.

Yeah, that’s what dish soap looks like when it freezes.

My secret to handling winter on the prairies is twofold. One is doing some ‘voluntary watchman’ duties at work. (they know and don’t care).

What I mean is that I get up when I usually do, get out of bed, dress quickly in the clothes that I have laid out the night before (complaining as I do).

I then grab my lunch and head to work. There I do what I need to do in the hours before work, but I never turn the heat up until it is time to start work. 

Despite the thermostat at work being set at a lower setting overnight, it is a darn-sight warmer than my trailer (it was around -18C or so when I got up this morning).

I work my usual work and so on, on Monday through Thursday I then stay late and eat my dinner and putter around until it is time to head home and go to bed.

Friday is my early day, I finish work at one in the afternoon so I check my mail and do my weekly shopping on Friday afternoons.

Anyways, after work on Monday through Fridays I head home, pack my lunch, lay out my clothes for the next day, (in reverse order). 

This is so I can just grab the underwear that is on top, put that on then, and then grab the socks that is under it, and so on with the shirt and pants.  

I crawl into bed and complain about the cold (questioning my life’s choices as I do) and curl up in a ball (still wearing my toque of course).

The key is to keep your feet and head warm. The toque keeps your head warm. 

To keep the feet warm I rub them together with stroking the top of one foot with the bottom of the other. You start from the ankle and stroke down to the toes. Then switch feet and stroke the other. 

You need to do this because there is not a lot of meat on your feet so there is not a lot of blood flowing around them to keep them warm. Eventually your feet like the rest of you is warm in bed.

Warm socks don’t really help as all each foot has to get warm is just itself. If your feet are not covered they can bundle up together and warm up. 

The fewer clothes that you wear in bed the warmer you will be; I learned that early on. Your body will heat up the pocket in the blankets around you and that will keep you warm.

The thick mattress was a big help, as it stops the cold from coming up from underneath, which did happen in the thin foam mattress that I came with Wanda.

I have four or five quilts on the bed at this time of year and they keep me warm (just not when I get into bed).

With water I keep two two-litre bottles with me and keep them tucked into the bed. On the really cold nights like it has been this week, I will keep them closer to me, just like my phone, wallet, laptop and other electronics.

The real trick is to know that the really cold weather does not last all that long and this too will pass. 

So, I just tough it out and before long it is not all that cold again.

Which means that I can use my furnace again in the evenings and eventually have to turn my fridge on again (what’s the point turning it on when everything is frozen in it anyways).

I do what I have to do in order to get buy and get through this. I will do this during this last winter in Wanda. I will make it through, because I have a goal and a dream to motivate me.

Thursday 1 December 2022

It Was -15C In My House When I Got Out Of Bed

And that’s okay . . . but that’s not okay. 

You see, I know how to live in my RV, even in winter. I’ve gotten used to it, I don’t want to be used to it anymore. 

After nine years I know how to handle things, what to do; what I can get away with, and what I can’t. I know how and when to keep water and “liquids” liquid.

This whole journey was about getting rid of debt, building up a bit of a nest-egg, so as to “correct” a few of my many financial mistakes that I have made in my life (and take ownership of).

It was never supposed to be a way of life for the rest of my life. I suppose that’s part of why I don’t want to renovate or modify Wanda so as to be comfy year-round: I might want to stay in Wanda.

The main reason I don’t renovate Wanda is that I don’t want to spend the money on something that is by definition temporary. 

Wanda is and was always supposed to be a temporary home, not a permanent home. Wanda has become my permanent home, of a sort, and I don’t like that.

In the spring, summer and fall, life in Wanda is fine and I get along quite well. It is in the depths of winter that things get challenging and test my resolve.

I endure what I have to endure because of that dream of having a place of my own, of home ownership without a mountain of debt, and yes that nest egg. 

Again, I can stomach a mortgage as long as I have a nest egg and my mortgage is not too crazy high. 

I like having cash left over at the end of the month. I like steadily building my savings and investments. I want to keep these things going even after getting a home of my own.

I will continue to do what I have to do as I move forward towards having a home of my own, even if it is a Dreaded Condo.

Hmm . . . dreaded condo or waking up to -15C inside my house . . . thinking . . . thinking . . . .thinking.

Wednesday 30 November 2022

One Last Hurrah

As I write this, it is November 30, 2022 but when I began this blog, and therefore my journey to better my financial life (and therefore my life) it was December 5, 2013. 

That means that in just over a year it will have been ten years since this blog and that journey started. 

Other than the half a year that I lived with Kim, and the initial few months renting a room, I have lived in Wanda that whole time. 

I have been parking on streets, or in parking lots if I am lucky, always having people walking right by my home. 

To them, it is just another vehicle parked on the street, to me it is a home, my home, yet not. It still bugs me to see someone walk past my window less than a foot away.

I want a home, a place to belong and that is either building my own RV to be as self-sufficient as possible (which I term “The Armageddon Vehicle”) or I get my own place, even if it is just a dreaded condo.

I want to do that, get a place that is mine, even if it is just a dreaded condo which will be a stepping stone to me getting the land and cabin that I truly want. 

I want to live in a place of my own (one that doesn’t have wheels under it) before my ten year anniversary of this journey comes up next year.

This past year or so, I have been building up my “Homestead Supplies” and buying a few investments, so I have run up or been carrying a balance on my credit cards. 

It is not anything that huge, and I have been working on getting them down paid off again, but funding investments and building up the Homestead Supplies is a good cause.

I hate debt, however, (but I could stomach a mortgage) and so I want them gone and paid off and I will do that by this coming March. 

That is, if I resist the urge to buy another investment or another whatsit for my Homestead Supplies.

I hate winter and I despise living in Wanda in winter, so I have run the numbers on renting an apartment or some sort of basement suite. 

Renting a room is out of the question as my Homestead Supplies already take up a 5 x 10 storage space. If I rent anyplace, I would want those supplies with me.

Besides, I ran the numbers and renting a room and renting my storage space would be the same as renting an apartment or basement suite. 

So, all this means that I have to endure yet another winter in Wanda in order to get rid of this last debt and build up enough of a cash savings to get that dreaded condo . . . or whatever I can manage to get. 

So, I have begun to blog again, in order to document my journey, the last of it to finally have a home of some sort . . . which was the point of this whole journey in the first place. 

Wish me luck.