Balance – I’ll take that with a dash of normal!

Last weekend we did something we haven’t been able to for a couple of months, we got out of town to go camping. For us, they just opened up the campgrounds with restrictions and since we already had a booking, we took advantage of it. Now I have to add a little context, our ‘camping’ is taking the RV which has not only a bathroom, but a stove, a shower, and most importantly air conditioning! I should adjust my earlier statement, we went glamping! It was a very nice change from being locked down in the house, we went hiking, cycling, and swimming. It was great! There was a distinct feeling of normal on our trip which was much needed. With everything that has been going on in the world a little bit of normal and balance were just what we needed. It got me thinking more about balance and Continue Reading

The power of small increments.

When you look at a brick wall, there is strength, power, and utility in it. If it’s part of a house it keeps the occupants and their belongings safe from the elements and potential predators. It is strong and whole; we see it as a unit unto itself. But if you look at the individual pieces, the bricks and mortar they become much less imposing. A brick is tough, but it can’t keep you safe by itself unless you are a very small creature. The mortar to starts off as nothing more than powder. But add enough bricks and a little mortar together and you have an imposing wall.  All of the small increments that we take for granted can add up to so much more. But we discount that all the time and when we stop adding these small increments we’re left with something very unimpressive. Add these small increments Continue Reading

Rise of the Machines – the appliances that fought back!

This is a woeful tale of appliances that decided to strike out at their owners, causing grief and strife at the worst times! Thankfully these appliances at least had the presence of mind not to do this all at once. Today I write as the last of our pretty new appliances has decided to stop working correctly, in this case, the clothes dryer has stopped heating. Let me back this up a touch and paint the full story. When we got and moved into our current house, we completed a significant renovation and rebuilt the kitchen getting all new appliances. This was just over 7 years ago. Just to make sure it’s really clear these were brand new appliances. We specifically didn’t buy the lowest quality ones, we checked reviews and while the appliances weren’t top of the line, they were supposed to be pretty good. For the first three Continue Reading

When Pandemics make Vacation plans for you!

As a child I always looked forward to summer vacation, it was two months of pure bliss. That bliss was largely because there was no school and we could hang out with friends and do a lot of nothing. As you get older this summer break holds true until you start working, though your choice of activities might change. Then as if by some cruel act of fate, summer breaks are cut short, pretty much at the knees. You have to squeeze them in, like fitting in pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The biggest challenge becomes convincing yourself to actually take the summer vacation. I look forward to my vacation, I plan for it months in advance but that’s because you need to book the best campsites early! My summer vacations are simple, we have an RV so we camp as a family most long weekends and if it’s possible Continue Reading

Expense Tracking (Part III) Adjustment and continuous tracking

One of the things that you will discover is I really like numbers and data, more so as I’ve gotten older and presumably wiser. I trust the raw numbers because there is an absolute truth to them; they paint the real story. That gets us to the next and final part of my trilogy on expense tracking first we started with collecting the data then the analysis and now we’re onto the adjustment and continuous tracking. But first a word from our sponsor, common sense! This last step has the biggest chance of failure. I say that from experience because if I run into issues it’s probably because I tried to adjust too much and didn’t track enough. Proceed with some measure of caution and you should be fine. Remember if you fail or something doesn’t work reset and readjust. Now back to our regularly scheduled post: Adjustment and tracking. Continue Reading

Expense Tracking (Part II) Analysis

There is a lot of truth in data, especially when it comes to expense tracking. Once you have the data the truth behind the numbers will start to emerge. In Part I, we covered entering data, and if you’ve entered everything you might start to see some unexpected realities. Some people will see exactly what they’re expecting, but most of us will have some surprises, I usually find one or two.  This part can be a little scary. I know that we spend money on things we don’t NEED to but do anyway. Seeing the reality of that can be a little daunting, especially if you haven’t done an exercise like this. When I completed this exercise the first time, I really had no expectations though I figured I spent too much on eating out, smokes (I smoked back then), and booze. It was a little frightening to see the Continue Reading

Dealing with car issues in a Pandemic

We’re not traveling as much as we used to, though I’m sure we all want to. Unfortunately, grocery stores aren’t always next door and if you’re buying for a week or two you still need that car. Probably more considering you want to get as much at once as possible. Naturally this is the perfect time for the car to breakdown, which is exactly what mine decided to do.  This started a couple weeks ago when I went to the grocery store. I got our groceries and the way back out I noticed that one of the rear lights was on. As I got closer to the car it turned out it was just a rear blinker light. The car wasn’t on, none of the other lights were on just one lowly light.  I was a little surprised but not shocked, as it had happened before in the winter in Continue Reading

Staying the course in turbulent markets

In North America we’re now into the 10th week of the pandemic lockdown and life is continuing on. It might not be the same as it was and it likely won’t be for a while, but we are generally making do. More importantly things will start to get a little easier as more things are opened up and we will find a new normal. Driving to the store a couple of days ago (yes, I went outside!), I heard an interesting thing on the radio; the announcer was saying that at the time the NASDAQ was still in positive territory for the year. This got me thinking about investing and my investments. I haven’t moved a single one of them during this whole situation even though we’re now in a financial situation where having some extra funds might not be a bad thing. It also reminded me of a conversation Continue Reading

The New Reality: going down to a single income

     Most of us are experiencing a new reality when it comes to work, working from home comes with many challenges, but it’s not the only new reality. Unfortunately, too often this new reality is one where there is less income coming in (layoffs, furloughs, pay reductions). I have now joined this group; we are now down to a single income where we had two and while we are fine a lot of people aren’t. Claiming Unemployment Benefits Today was a bit of a sobering day, I actually filed for unemployment benefits. The process was fairly painless and now I wait and see if there are any issues. My guess is that there won’t be any problems and the benefits will roll in. We as a family are in a position where we know we can weather this situation but it’s sobering none the less. Will we have enough to Continue Reading