The Finances of Living in a Truck Camper – June 2007
Spring in a Camper at Prince William Forest Park! (Old Post)
Volunteering four days a week and Sasha working full-time.
First off, June was the first full month of living in the truck camper, with Sasha commuting to work, 45 miles one way, or an hour and ten minutes one way. It was also my time to really shine at the visitor center, as I was on “Rove Duty” working Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Since Sasha could not work on Saturday and Sunday, he went with me on my Rove days.
We would start hiking around the park on Saturday morning around 9:30 – 10 am and bring a lunch, and then hike about 10 miles. We do not walk that fast, maybe 2 miles an hour, but we enjoy the hiking and get to talk to people on the path. I have a walkie-talkie and look official, with my volunteer hat and shirt. We both wear long sleeves, long pants, and hiking boots, as many of the trails are over-grown and there are lots of ticks and other bugs.
Sundays I might do the rove part myself, but sometimes Sasha would come with me. I did the Rove duty for about four weeks, and then I switched days to Monday through Thursday. So ended my Roving, and instead was doing work in the visitor center.
I started working on databases – in Microsoft Access and Excel. I am in charge of two major databases: a Mass Marketing Email database (we ask visitors for their email addresses to send them emails about the programs every week and about our newsletter that we send once a month.) So I go into that database and add names as well as take names out that have bounced. The other database is for ranger led programs. People write in to the park asking for programs, either ones that we have or sometimes new ones, like talking to the class about being a ranger, or history of the park, that sort of thing. So I started to work on those databases, and be a part of the team more often, getting to know the staff better.
Saturday June 16th,
I went with the Chief Ranger, Laura Cohen, and Jessica (a Student Conservation Association ranger) on a hike with a Geologist from Northern Virginia Community College. He was running his own program and Laura gave the history of the Pyrite Mine here in the park. Jessica went back with Laura for Lunch but I had packed my lunch so I stayed with them until the end of their time here at the park. I enjoyed the program, it was interesting and a good way to get back into Geology without really trying. Although I have not really thought about Geology for a while, I started to think about it more because of the program.
Planning and Thinking about Jobs with USAJobs.gov
Sasha and I also started to think that maybe I should start looking for a job with the NPS as a full-time job, to get rid of Sales Through Technology (my business) and get a full time gig with the government. I went onto www.USAJobs.gov and started understanding the ways of the government. There is definitely a lot to learn regarding getting a job with the government. I had to get my transcripts from both University of Rhode Island and Oregon Graduate Institute, then set up different search agents and different resumes. You have to answer questions – and can not be too wordy as some questions have limits. But at least I started the process. I know that it takes a long while to get it done.
Learning about Bonds and CDs
June was also the first time we really saw returns on the money in the bank from the house sale. I am still learning about bonds and interest rates, and how they all relate, plus setting up different bank accounts to get some CDs. Living on a National Park makes the process more difficult, as banks want you to be living in a place that you get an electricity bill, even though they are an internet bank.
Spending going down but not below $1000
We also saw the spending go way down on eating out, as there is not as many restaurants here as Loudoun County. And spending also went down for groceries as the prices here seem lower. Gas prices are also lower here in Prince William, although we are spending more in gas money because Sasha is having to commute. But NO money was spend on a mortgage, lawn care, storage, utility bills, HOA, newspaper, or taxes. It was quite a nice feeling.
One of my friends (Mary Beth Dunn) came to the park and stayed over – we have a canopy that stores our grill and table, so we took the things out of the canopy and she put her tent in there for the night. It was great catching up with her and Sasha made a nice dinner. The next morning, I did not have to work, so we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and then she left from there to go to New Jersey, and from there up to New York.
My Mom and Dad gave us an Entertainment Book last Christmas and so we started to use it more, to go to restaurants and to the movies. So we ventured out more this month, found a Five Guys burger and fries place, Mexican restaurant, an ice cream place called Bruster’s (unbelievable – outdoor seating only with hard ice cream in almost any favor you could want). Dixie Bones (I helped plan a “lunch” with Kaitlyn another SCA at the park – this food is to die for – BBQ with pulled pork, pie, and cornbread, expensive but goooood), Bob Evans for breakfast (very expensive I always forget how expensive it is), Carlos O’Kelly (Mexican with an Irish Bar) and we went to the movies too.
Movies and Movie Food
Movie food is way too expensive, we had forgotten how expensive it was as we hadn’t gone to the movies in a long while. The movie itself was good, the seats OK – but next time we will eat a full dinner before we go.
Like I said in the previous month, we will get the finances put into a format and then will show you the spending habits of living in a truck camper, while one of us is still working full-time, and another is volunteering and working part-time.
Expenses for June 2007
- Food and Household: $299.92
- Out to Eat: $272.33
- Clothing, Laura: $31.87
- Clothing, Sasha: $16.72
- Household, Supplies: $71.29
- Household, Services: $23.00
- Transportation, Car Gas: $189.29
- Transportation, Truck Maintenance: $1.25
- Transportation, Camper Equipment: $20.21
- Transportation, Trailer Equipment: $128.46
- Communication, Cell Phone: $130.74
- Communication, Postage: $8.97
- Health, Insurance: $134.00
- Health, Other: $39.95
- Recreation, Fun Stuff: $12.00
- StT Work: Transcripts: $17.00
- StT Work, Hosting: $89.88
- StT Work, Client Expenses: $101.00
Total Expenses = $1,587.88
Explanation of Expenses
Nice month, Very inexpensive. Part of the reason? NO Mortgage nor utilities as well. The monkey is off our backs!
Anyway check it out below.
Spending a bit on food, as we are getting used to having a smaller refrigerator. I am also going out and finding other grocery stores in the area rather than buying food in Loudon County. Prince William County has cheaper food but we are buying more of it. Also, I am getting more food for Sasha for his work, so that he has it there. But again, lots of fruit.
Out to eat: This month was more meals out, again some that were large amounts but there were also lots of little meals going on $4 here and there.
I have no clue as to what it was we bought. But we were hiking a bit, so maybe it had to do with that. But no clue. 🙁
NO MORTGAGE! NO Gas, Power and Sewer, NO Cleaning or Lawn Service! NOTHING in this category for a while!
So we had to get some hoses and tubes at Walmart. And then we got a hair cutting kit (which should have been put in health but was not and who am I to change it now?) And we also got Cell phone minutes. So While I have a cell phone, I think, possibly, Sasha got a cell phone at this point. Because we went to Costco and got cell phone minutes. Hard to know what we did back then, all I have is a paper (ha ha – digital) trail.
So our services now are that we have to go to a laundromat, so anywhere from a week to two weeks. I think that is why we got more clothes, so that we would not have to wash them as often. And usually we would go out to eat or read a book during that time.
We had to pay for gas of my car and diesel for the truck. So Sasha was using the car more for driving back and forth to work which was now bunch more miles. Gas was now at $2.80 for the low and went up to $3.09. Diesel, we did not fill up this month. If we could use the truck less, that is what we plan to do.
The maintenance was for windshield fluid. Large gallon for it as we were probably using it quite a bit – lots of bugs in the summer.
And then the Camper: Sewing kit, spray bottle, and chair. Trailer? Bunch of stuff from Costco and Home Depot. What they were is unclear but probably for the inside, making shelves and extra places for clothing or food or something like that.
Was for my phone, my cell phone that I used for work. And the postage was really for Forever Stamps. (I still have a bunch of those Forever Stamps from 2007!) As you can imagine, we do not send out checks, but do our banking online. No checks to send out.
I pay for my health insurance, as a small business owner I do not have a group plan and it is cheaper to do it as my own health insurance than go on Sasha’s plan. We broke down and got a health club membership, which I talk about above as well. We did this so that we had a place to work out and take showers. Not that we couldn’t take a shower in the Camper, but it gets wet every time, and that is not as much fun to use. Besides, we needed to work out too.
The fun stuff was we went to the movies. Imagine those movies – $6 for an adult for movie night! Not bad. I think it is something like $15 a person now.
Sales Through Technology, my work: Most people separate out the expenses of their business with their home expenses, but as you can see, I was not spending all that much. I was figuring that within the next 6-9 months, I was not going to have a business anymore, as the real estate market was not doing so well, and I was already seeing clients that were not going to be around for much longer.
So I am not sure why I had hosting, except I think that I was doing this for other people, so hopefully I was getting a cut. Don’t know, not sure. The cell phone expense was high too, something not so good with a cell phone as your only phone. Health Care went up only a couple of bucks, but still it is the principle of the thing, you know?
And transcripts that I got for both University of Rhode Island and Oregon Graduate Institute. Showing that I have a great scientific background for those USAjobs.