Tuesday 5 December 2023

Ten Years On This Journey To Total Debt Freedom (And Beyond)

Today, marks exactly ten years since I have started this journey to Total Debt Freedom and beyond. 

It was ten years ago today, after work, that I had the realization that I had to somehow get my debts done or I would never get them done . . . yet still face retirement . . . with nothing to show for it but a pile of debts.

I was treading water financially; paying my bills, paying the minimum payments on my credit cards but little else. Then again, I have been in economic survival mode all of my working life (up until now).

In the days before that fateful day, I had been forced to wonder what would happen if I was suddenly unemployed (the boss had mused about shutting the company down).

I knew that if that happened, that I would have no choice but to immediately radically downgrade my lifestyle in order to meet the new financial realities of unemployment.

I decided to radically downgrade my lifestyle whilst I was still employed, and use the freed-up cash in my monthly budget to get my debts paid off.

I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do that, but I knew that I had to do something radical and live really cheaply: live in a camper or rent a room.

My original goal was to get, “Credit Card Debt Free.” I thought that my truck loan would end on its own, in time. 

It took a few years, but in late November of 2015 I paid off my last credit card and became Credit Card Debt Free.

As I look back on the credit card debts that were crushing me, I say, “that’s it?”

I have to remind myself that when you are also paying so many other bills, both large and small every month, that even small credit card debt can be crushing and take a long time to get rid of.

Fun fact is that my income is the same now as it was back then. I have recently got a pay-raise (this past Sept) . . . first one since July of 2014.

Yet that raise was not really a raise, as it was, “give with one hand but take away with the other.” So, in essence, I am no better than I was before that, “raise” . . . maybe a bit worse off.  

(Don’t get me started . . . seriously.)

Anyways, I continued to pay down debt and on October, 22, 2017 I became Totally Debt Free.

Since then, I have been: saving, investing and gathering up: tools, books, and supplies that I would need when I do get either that cabin or parcel of land on which to build.

My dreams are scalable, from a cabin somewhere, to building a town. 

That means that I want somewhere between a few acres to a Quarter Section (160 Acres) yet without debt . . . somehow.

In my mad rush to get the: tools, books, and supplies that I would need (the essential ones) and do so before inflation really kicked in or such supplies were no longer available, I have run up another pile of debt.

Fear not, that debt will be done by April of this next year, after which I can look to seriously work towards getting that . . . something . . . somewhere.

So, I will be in Wanda for at least one more winter . . . hopefully my last but who knows.

I am in a much better place than I was ten years ago, and I am so very close to getting that little patch of somewhere that will be mine.

At least, that is the plan. 

As we all know, many things can happen to upend those plans, but I will dream, plan and work towards that dream anyways.

As always: Dream for the future, Plan for the mid-term, but Work on the now.

Monday 23 January 2023

Another Week of Stolen Days

This week has been a week of nice weather, fantastic weather for January. January and February are the depths of winter and so I expect them to be bitterly cold.

As in hibernating cold, such as I did in late December. I know how to handle the bitter cold and what to do, not that I like to do it, but I know what to do.

So, to be here with eight or nine days left in January and no intense bitter cold snap yet, nor on the horizon (so far) I consider myself lucky and the days stolen from the depths of winter.

Yet, as nice as it is, this non-stop fall weather is annoying. It is like trying to take a shower in lukewarm water. It is not hot, nor is it cold, it is just blah, neither.

Again, it could and should be much colder and it still could turn cold, but I long for the warm days of spring and summer. 

When I can enjoy the nice breeze coming through the open windows. When I can not have to worry about everything freezing (myself included).

Again, I am lucky and am thankful for the weather, but I hate this limbo and non-warm weather. 

I know that I have two months left before things are expected to get less-cold and start to get warmer. 

I will just tough it out and try to use this as motivation for me to at least rent something by December first of this year.

I have my plan, I am working my plan, and the plan is working. 

But I still hate the cold.

Monday 16 January 2023

Still On Track

Okay, I had a setback last week, but I am still on track to make my day of April 7 for paying off the last credit card and becoming debt free again.

It was Thursday and I gave into an impulse to make a sizable purchase for my Homestead Supplies.

I also reworked my budgets in a few different ways, all in an effort to somehow have it all: build savings, pay off debt and build up my Homestead Supplies.

After going through that process, I realized that it was not worth it as when it comes down to it, I don’t like carrying debt. 

I have been carrying debt for a year now, and it is time that I just pay it off. I need to pay off my debt, and in so doing get back up to zero. 

I have to get up out of this hole of debt before I am able to climb up higher and build savings and wealth.

It is true that I still have my investments, but again, I don’t want to touch them if I don’t have to. So, I am not in the same position that I was when I was paying off debt the first time.

I know that hard times are coming, which is why I want to build up my Homestead Supplies as quick as I can. I always fear that I don’t have enough.

I also know that I need to have no debt and a bit of savings when this calamity comes. 

If all I have to do is pay my current bills, then I am in a much better position if the economy craters and I am suddenly unemployed.

So, until now and April 7, when I finally pay off my last credit card and become debt free again, I have to resist buying anything that I don’t absolutely need.

It is a constant struggle, but one that I have to endure in order to build a better future for myself.

Monday 9 January 2023

The Stolen Days

As I have said, January and February are the coldest months, the months that I keep an eye on and the ones that are usually the hardest for me.

So, any day in January or February that is warmer than -20C is a boon and what I call a “stolen day” a day stolen from the dreaded depths of winter.

Such is the case so far this year, and I am quite happy about it. I know that things can get cold after the end of February, but for the most part, things get warmer.

So, with things being warm this year, I am quite happy with not having to go into hibernation mode or do my “Voluntary Night Watchman” duties.

Yet with Winter Solstice being not that far in the rear view mirror, I am still having to keep an eye on what power I use and always wondering if I have enough charge in the batteries to be able to write in the morning in Wanda.

So, sometimes I do go to work early, but it is for the power, rather than the cold. 

When Wanda’s batteries get below 47% the inverter gives me a low-power alarm and shuts down. 

The other systems work for a while yet, the furnace, fridge, radio, lights, etc, I just can’t run the inverter, and so the laptop. 

With modern laptop battery technology being as horrid as they are, they whine and refuse to work if the laptop is at any temperature below 22C. 

So, I have to run the laptop plugged in. That and I have also discovered that it takes the lowest amount of power to run a fully-charged laptop, rather than running down it’s batteries and then running it while charging it. 

Dealing with the cold and power issues are things that I know how to do. I will just plod onwards and do what I need to do to get through this.

I am looking forward to being debt free again on April 7, and building towards getting some place of my own by the end of this year.

Until then I will enjoy each any every day that I have stolen from the dreaded depths of winter.

Friday 6 January 2023

Thirteen Weeks From Today

I have begun another countdown, this one is a countdown until I can pay off my last debt. That will be thirteen weeks from Today.

I have to play these little games with myself in order to keep focussed, focussed on doing what I set my mind to.

In this case it is paying off this debt, which is much less fun than rushing ahead and buying all manner of things for my Homestead Supplies.

As I have said before, paying off debt is boring and so it is easy to get distracted and abandon paying off debt.

This week I have been battling impulses of buying more stuff for my Homestead Supplies, trying to convince myself to do so with all manner of justifications.

As I have said, I want to be debt free again, so as to be free to do what I need when I need. 

I want to be not only debt free but have a bit of cash set aside, so I can be okay if things go bad.

While I do still hope and work for a happy future, I have to hedge my bets against a darker one, one where I am suddenly unemployed due to the company that I work for shutting down without notice.

With the rumours of how the EI system has been changed, changed to ensure that you don’t claim it for long and are always in fear of being kicked off of it, it looks to be less and less of a safety net.

I will be fine no matter what, I just need to stick it out for the next thirteen weeks and then cautiously move forward with just what I have in my hand, rather than rush ahead on credit.

So, I will keep focussed on thirteen weeks from this today and make a new plan after that. Lest I max out both credit cards again.

Thursday 5 January 2023

What Is The Homestead Supplies?

It has been asked just what my Homestead Supplies are? What is this ever growing collection of things that take up a storage locker that I continue to rent month after month?

Well, I do want to have a bit of land and a modest homestead, a small-scale sustainable farm where I can live off the land, off-grid and most importantly, cheaply.

While it would be great to buy a farm or other such place all setup and ready to go, that is most likely not going to happen.

Yet if a few things bounce my way, it is certainly possible that I could end up with a house/cabin on a patch of land or even a small farm already to go.

If that happens, then I am laughing, if not, that is where my Homestead Supplies come into play.

What my Homestead Supplies are, is everything that I can think that I would need in order to build a homestead from scratch.

I have:





Food (Canned/Dry)


Again, pretty much anything that I can think of that I would need in order to make a homestead out of just a patch of land.

I don’t have the lumber, screws or other supplies to build a house, but I do have the various books on how to do it, the tools to build it.

When it comes to actually building the Homestead, I will do it with a book in one hand and a tool in the other.

As I have said, I want to be able to live like a pioneer, but I don’t want to have to live like a pioneer. That is the essence of the Homestead Supplies.

When I get my own place, I will make sure that there is a space set aside so I can store the Homestead Supplies with me until such a time as I am able to actually start my homestead. 

So ends theory.

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Staying Focussed Whilst In Chaos

To say that I have many different impulses coming at me during this chaotic and turbulent time is an understatement.

If you say, “What chaos? What turbulence?” part of me wants to say to you, “stay there in your happy delusion” as it is safest and happiest there.

Yet, the truth is that there are many different emerging dangers, WWIII and a Depression to dwarf the Dirty Thirties are but two (both of which seem just around the corner).

There are many other dangers as well, but those are the larger two. Even saying that makes people say that I’m . . . a little, “touched” in the head and just a, “Conspiracy Theorist.” 

To them I say, “stay in your happy delusion and enjoy life while you can.”

My point is that in my head I have a long list of things (that keeps growing) that I want to get for my Homestead Supplies and a strong urge to buy them all now (thus maxing out my credit cards again . . .both of them).

Yet, I have halted that (okay, after buying a bunch of supplies) in order to pay off this last credit card with the promise to myself that I would stay debt free from here on out.

I do that by envisioning that goal, in this case it is my Mid-Term Goal of paying off that last credit card by my April 7 Payday.

It really is best to have a date attached to a goal, and focus on the Mid-Term ones as you keep the Long-Term Goal(s) as dreams that you imagine coming true.

So this Mid-Term Goal of paying off this last credit card is actually a Long-Term Goal of getting debt free again.

As you can probably figure, out I loaded up both credit cards by buying Homestead Supplies and jumping on an investment this time last year.

I digress, my point is that I have many impulses to spend that I justify to myself as being essential supplies that I will need when building that Homestead. 

I resist those urges by telling myself that I will be better served facing whatever calamity that comes my way being debt free.

For debt freedom is freedom, I can’t put it any simpler than that.

So, I will focus my thoughts and efforts on this goal that I decide is more important to me than loading up on Homestead Supplies, throwing caution to the wind.

If the unthinkable happens, I will make do with what I have and build and grow my capabilities from there.

I will leave you with the thought that should motivate and one that bears repeating:  debt freedom is freedom.

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Back To Reality

Okay, so today I am back at work and so last night and this morning were a shock as I was back at it. 

Last night was not all that cold, but I was not happy waking up to it being -5C in my house as opposed to it being 10C in my house.

I had gotten used to having my electric heater going all the time, yet turning it down to the lower wattage range setting overnight (so as to not trip the breaker).

I also got used to having my slide-out out, meaning that I had more space. It was nice, as well as that view from my front door all Christmas Break.

I decided to run my furnace at an unheard of 20C when I got back and all was well . . . that is until twilight approached and I noticed that my batteries were down to 71%.

So I had to shut the furnace off (I can’t run my laptop lower than 47%) in order to save power for what was important, the lights, radio and fridge. 

(Weirdly enough unless I let my house turn into a freezer, I need to run my fridge in the dead of winter.)

When I got up this morning I was warm and toasty in bed . . . then I got out . . . and grumbled as I got dressed and situated so I could write. 

I turned the furnace on to the acceptable compromise setting of 10C and then got my morning coffee going.

Once I was in my sleeping bag on the couch writing away I was okay. I know how to handle it but I was spoiled in Banff. 

I am still committed to getting the last credit card paid off by April 7. After that I will most likely try to mix building up savings with building up my Homestead Supplies.

That is a matter for another day, and I will deal with it after I have achieved my Mid-Term Goal of paying off the last credit card.

After that is accomplished, I will set another few Mid-Term Goals and work on them at the same time. 

I keep my focus on my Mid-Term Goals because those are within reach and accomplishing them moves me closer to my Long-Term Goal.

I just need to get back into game shape again and just endure the cold. I will say that the weather that we are having and expected to have over the next bit looks nice and warm-ish.

Warm enough that I don’t have to hibernate or do my “voluntary watchman” duties at work, so that is a plus and each day that I can do that is a day stolen from the dead of winter . . . and that certainly is a plus. 

I can do this, I’ve done this before, and I will do it again.

Monday 2 January 2023

The Dawn Of A New Year!

Here we are on the first day of the first workweek of 2023 and it is time to look ahead and set goals for the new year.

I have had a good Christmas Break, and while I am technically not back to work yet, that is tomorrow, I am back at blogging.

As I look to this year and set goals I have three categories of goals:

1. Short Term (1 – 4 weeks)

2. Medium-Term (2 – 6 Months)

3. Long-Term (7 Months +)

This is a general gauge but you get the idea. Typically my Short-Term Goals are for this payday or the next one. 

These are goals that I can have a good certainty that I can get them done (baring the unknown).

My Medium-Term Goals are the ones that I am focussed on and striving hard to get done, as these ones are also within the realm of possibility of getting done.

They take more than a few paydays to achieve, so the level of uncertainty increases with them. 

When you meet a Short-Term Goal, set a new one that will move you towards achieving your Mid-Term Goal.

When you meet a Mid-Term Goal, set a new one that will move you towards achieving your Long-Term Goal.

One thing to keep in mind is that the longer that you go into the future with your Goal Setting, the greater the uncertainty.

My Long-Term Goals are goals that are more aspirational in nature. They are goals that I am working towards and certainly want, but achieving those goals are uncertain.

These goals are so far out into the future that so many things could get in the way of my achieving them, or just plain, my goals may change.

It is important to have those Long-Term, Aspirational Goals, as those are your dreams that you want to have happen, those keep you motivated to keep going through the hard times, when you want to quit.

You need to focus on the here and now, this week, this payday, your Short-Term Goals as you move towards achieving your Medium-Term Goals while you keep your Long-Term Goals in mind.

As for me, with all of the uncertainty that I see this year, my Long-Term Goal of having some place by next winter remains foggy at best. 

I still want it, but with housing prices still elevated and rent in the stupid and ludicrous range, this all remains to be seen.

Add to that the economic uncertainty and if you have been paying attention, you have an inkling, a fear of how bad things might get, and getting a mortgage in the midst of all this might now be wise.

So, I will focus on my Medium-Term Goal of paying off my last credit card by April 7.

That date has changed as I have bought more tools for my Homestead Supplies. There is always more that I want to get, but I am resisting buying more just yet.

With uncertainty on the horizon this year, I want to face it debt-free and with a modest amount of cash in the bank. 

I really have no idea what this year will bring, but every fibre in my being tells me that something wicked this way comes. 

I will continue to work towards some sort of happy future as I prepare for the worst, hedging my bets as it were.

I will also do my best to resist the urge to purchase ever more tools and supplies for the ever growing Homestead Supplies.

So, Dream for the Long-Term, plan for the Mid-Term but work on the now.