Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler
Full Time RVing – RVing at 3 NPS Parks
Winter @LakeMead NRA
February – Food & Federal Money
If all goes according to the plan, we will volunteer in the winter (which will only be a couple of months: January, February, and a little of March) and work/volunteer for six months at a National Park. After that, we are thinking of heading back to Lake Mead for the late fall through next winter. We shall see!
February: Where are we – We are in Lake Mead National Recreation Area in NV.
Expenses: For the Month of February: Not as bad as January, but still above where we want it to be.
Expenses for February 2011
- Food, Food and Household: $260.44
- , Provisions: $247.54
- , Out to Eat: $226.19
- Clothing, Sasha: $91.00
- , Laura: $40.00
- Transportation, Diesel: $315.43
- , Truck, Maintenance $151.74
- , Truck, Upgrades $403.33
- , Motorcycles, Insurance $27.75
- Household, Propane: $0
- , Laundry: $3.00
- , Electricity: $0
- , Rent: $0
- , Tools: $234.53
- Camper, Upgrades: $120.60
- , Maintenance: $9.83
- Communication, Cell Phone: $16.09
- , Internet: $60.07
- , eBay/PP Fees: $48.57
- , Software: $55.90
- , Postage: $31.22
- Health, Other: $51.26
- Recreation, Books: $32.72
- , Fun Stuff: $2.11
- Losses, Federal Taxes: $930.00
Total Expenses = $3,362.31
Without Fed Taxes = 2,432.31
Ouch to Food and Federal Taxes!
OK, February is gone, and it was not as bad as January! It was still, an expensive month, but we were making more improvemnent to the truck and have started to fill up on provisions for Canyonlands. Let’s go through the categories together.
We Are Not A Red Meat Family
Food: Food was definitely more this month as we will not be getting to a WinCo while we are here. I tried to figure out a way to do it without spending too much in Diesel, but it just did not happen. We also went grocery shopping with my folks, and got stuff when they were out here, more name brand stuff, but as we loved having them out here, groceries are a small price to pay.
At almost the end of the month, we did some stocking up on some provisions, including going to Costco to get dried fruit and Oatmeal. We will do another strong push in March, and then hopefully we will get to a WinCo when we visit Sasha’s brother in Utah. Don’t know when we will do that, or if he comes to visit us, then hopefully we won’t get killed in the diesel prices.
We also ate out more this month as again, my folks visited. Seems fair, that we split the bills. Just is and does. We are all adults and it makes it better that way. We went to some really good places and some OK places, but I think we thoroughly enjoyed being together most of all.
I do not show the “was it worth it” column anymore, but I used to when we first started off with Your Money or Your Life. Each line item you had, you decided if it was worth it to have spent the money. We do not go line by line anymore as we figure what we do now is totally worth the money and time spent to make the money. If it wasn’t we’d be doing something else.
Buying Clothing 4 Work, A New Concept for Us!
Clothing: Sasha needs some pants and other clothing for the volunteering in Canyonlands. We tried really hard to get the pants that he had from TravelSmith, but they are always out of the sizes we need, so we went somewhere else. It is an Army/Navy surplus online store, that has excellent deals.
And while here in Lake Mead we can wear khaki pants, in Canyonlands, Sasha has to wear olive green pants. I have trouble understanding this, as green pants are definitely hotter to wear outside than khaki, but maybe they want to make sure they see you? Don’t understand it, just do it. So a pair of pants, a pair of shorts, and two wisk moisture away v-neck tees for Sasha, while I got a long-sleeve crew wick moisture away shirt and a short sleevel v-neck tee. Let’s just say that polyester shirts can be tough on your skin when it is hot outside.
Hiking More Means Washing More
Household: We spent a bit more on laundry – while there is a free dryer, you still have to pay for the wash, and we got dirtier for some reason in February. I guess we were hiking more, and therefore had to wash more often. Thankfully, we spent less in tools than last month, and so the amount went down.
Most of the tools were for the household, including a dremmel tool that is actually for health. I am not going to put it under health, because it was also used for the truck, but we will see its usefulness soon.
Maintenance and Upgrades to Our Home
5th Wheel: We did very little maintenance this month to the rig. The price you see is for two ink jet cartridges; one black and one colored. Unfortunately, the colored one did not work. So they are sending a replacement. I think it probably dried out, and they sent us an older one, so what can you do? But I can tell you one thing, we are not spending $45 for ink, that is just ridiculous!
We did get a couple of upgrades. Since we got the TV, we need a wireless keyboard because we attach a hard drive to the monitor (the TV) and then watch the shows. This is similar to the set up we had when we had a stick and brick home.
One other thing that is for the camper is really for me. I needed a new lunch box as my old one was shredded – I used it so much! So what does not shred, tear, or lose its shape? A stainless steel, 3 tier, food carrier. It even comes with a small stainless steel container for your salad dressing or snack and its name is Happy! I have been looking for this for a LONG time, and we finally ordered one. I can’t wait to get it!
Stingy Advertising Means More Money
Transportation: We were still making improvements to the truck. When we got the truck, we noticed the stereo – there was a tape deck! and CD player, plus they had connected satellite radio. (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) We have a better collection of music than most satellite radio stations, so there is no way that we would pay monthly for a service. So $130 later, we have a new stereo which uses our iPod for the music, has a little stand for it. No CDs and definitely NO tapes!
We also got our monthly diesel, right before the prices went sky high with the trouble in the Middle East. Got the diesel for $3.39 a gallon at Smith’s grocery store – the cheapest anywhere, including truck stops. It really is a shame that the best prices for diesel have to be at neighborhood stores rather than on the road. This means that to ship anything cost more.
Sasha is planning to do an oil and filter change before we get into Canyonlands, so he had to get the supplies needed before we left. He will probably do the change in March. So that is the maintenance amount for oils and filters.
The insurance is for the motorcycles – both Sasha’s and mine. Considering it is for a half a year, that is not too bad a price.
For the truck upgrades, we had a few things besides the stereo. Last month we bought a spare tire, but it looked so ugly, Sasha got a spare cover (it is really so that it does not wear out too fast!) There was other stuff that Sasha got for the upgrades, most of which I again do not quite understand. But he will be doing a bit of work on the truck come March, and it will be by himself, learning and understanding how to do it, so I figure, let me do it.
We Learned From Past Mistakes, But….
Communication: In February we took a nice hike, and from there we went shopping. Somewhere between shopping in two different places, I lost my phone. Thankfully, it is a cheap phone, so I got another one. I was able to transfer my minutes and phone number to the new phone. This new one has a color display and is a little thinner than the other one. Too bad, as I really liked the old one, a Nokia candy bar shaped phone. Present Day Laura: The link shows the “Retro Phone”!
Our internet costs were back down to normal this past month, we made sure not to go over this time. And Sasha had to send a bunch of things back, so that is the postage for them. I really think the postage might have been higher than the price of at least one of those items!
Health Insurance Finally Pays Off
Health: This is another time that the health insurance is worth it. We pay two times a year, to get emergency care. This time Sasha went to the doctor’s office in November, and the insurance company finally paid most of the bill (we were originally billed $400 and then finally it got down to $15!). This was again for lab work.
We also had gotten flu shots back in October. The nurse said that we would not have to pay – HAHA! Insurance only paid for $6, we had to pay the rest. The last part was for a Dremel tool piece so that we can buff Sasha’s big toe. I guess when he went back in November, this is the exact tool that the doctor used. He showed Sasha how to use it, and now….wait for it….Sasha wants ME to do it for him. We shall see. Present Day Laura – That never happened, no way, no how. He does it himself. I can cut his hair but not that, please not that…
Living in Amazing Places Walk Outside the Door
Recreation: We do not do much recreating, as we live in amazing places. But I occasionally like to learn more than what is on the internet, a book to read the geology or about plants, so I got two really good geology books this time, one of Death Valley National Park and an updated book about the Geology of Nevada along the roadways. Hopefully it will be go for next year.
We got some postcards which I still have to mail out. So lame, but oh well.
A Mess Up Costs You Money
Last thing on the list – Losses: The main reason why our expenses this month are so high is from paying Federal Taxes. We do not do quarterly taxes on our income, first of all, because we do not have much income, and second of all, because most of it is tied up in CDs. So while those CDs are compounding monthly, and we cannot get the money out of them, the IRS says HEY, you are earning a nice interest income. Give us our money too! Supposedly there was a penalty because we did not take enough out. So we are having to change around our payments for taxes so that we don’t get so slammed next time.
However, I think it is much better to pay rather than to get. The money that we did not pay last year earned 5%, while getting it now would earn less than 1% which is ~ $46.50. I think I can deal with that.
Present Day Laura: However, while we did not take out enough that year, we waited until Sasha was working more than part time to take more out of our income.