Food Madness Now for Less Later

Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler
March 2011

Full Time RVing at 3 NPS Parks

Winter/Spring NPS & Traveling 

March – Food Madness

Liberty Bell Arch Hike Jan 2011 with Laura & Sasha

Liberty Bell Arch Hike with Laura & Sasha

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!

March 2011 – Where are we – We are in Lake Mead National Recreation Area in NV and Canyonlands National Park in UT.

Expenses: For the Month of March: Not as bad as February, but still above where we want it to be.

Expenses for March 2011

  • Food, Food and Household: $165.52
  •         , Provisions: 1,031.07
  •         , Out to Eat: $163.48
  • Clothing, Sasha: $35.26
  •              , Laura: $32.64
  • Transportation, Diesel: $433.60
  •                        , Truck, Maintenance $309.71
  •                        , Motorcycles, Gas: $34.82
  • Household, Propane: $27.06
  •                  , Laundry: $3.00
  •                  , Electricity: $0
  •                  , Rent: $0
  •                  , Tools: $13.99
  • Camper, Upgrades: $125.39
  •              , Maintenance: $5.25
  • Communication, Cell Phone: $0
  •                          , Internet: $60.07
  •                          , eBay/PP Fees: $2.00
  •                          , Postage: $73.45
  • Health, Other: $18.56
  • Recreation, Books: $1.96
  •                  , Gardening: $56.38
  •                  , Gifts: $28.22

Total Expenses = $2,621.43

Yowza The Food Was Crazed!   

OK, March is gone and is cheaper than February, but we are not going to do as much shopping as you can see we already did a bunch. We were stocking up on Provisions, because we would not be close to grocery stores. This was a provision month, with filling up on food, vitamins, household items, and toilettres before heading to Canyonlands. Let’s go through the categories together. And hopefully we will stay on a lower expenses trend.

We Miss WinCo

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 did another strong push in March, and bought enough I think for the season. We got lots of dried goods, plus vitamins and health items that will come in handy during the summer. We also got things like olive oil and cheeses that can be frozen, crackers and Ramen Noodles and other stuff. I hope that the next couple of months will see a reduction in expenses as far as the food is concerned.

We did go out to eat more, because we were living in a great community with other RVers and we would go out to eat once a week with them. Then when we got to Canyonlands, we went to Moab Diner – great place – and got Lunner (lunch & dinner) because it was too late for lunch and really too early for dinner. Good food, no alcohol so NOT like diners in New Jersey, but good wholesome food. I think it has become our favorite place.

Clothing For Work, Yet Again! 

Clothing: Sasha needed some new gloves so we got them at Lowes and also another pair at NV Compresser – where we get the compressed Carbon Dioxide for the tires. When you are putting the air into the tires, you need the proper gloves or your hands get really cold. I do not understand why this is, I just know you have to have the proper equipment.

I got some winter uniform items and I wanted to make sure they came in before we left for the Grand Canyon (now of course in hindsight, I did not have to do the fast delivery, but you never know) so $23 was for this “fast delivery” that took three days to get here. I got some extra socks and other clothing for my uniform plus some other necessities at Alco for day’s off.

Changing the Name of a Category

Household: We spent a bit more on laundry – while there is a free drier, you still have to pay for the wash, but at least we do no have to pay at Canyonlands, so it was less than last month. We did fill up for propane, hopefully all we need for the coming season as we will only need it for cooking.

When we were in the Grand Canyon, we had a new expense, for electricity, so we will really see what our electricity usage is, as we do not really know. At most parks we have worked or volunteered, the price of electricity was tied into the entire cost of the site. Anyway, it will be interesting to find out. Obviously, another cost, but hopefully not too bad.

Thankfully, we spent less in tools than last month, and so the amount went down.

Maintenance and Upgrades to Our Home

5th Wheel: The price you see is for two containers of motor oil for the generator.

We did get a couple of upgrades. Most of it was for wood, so that Sasha could do a few projects. He made a couple of shelves for our TV and the electronic components – a shelf for the iTouch and iPod, and an extra shelf for the computer so that it can be hooked up to the TV.

He also set up a cork board so that we could put up the calendar and my work schedule plus other cool things. And we got a new entrance rug, as the old one was falling apart and leaving small pieces of rubber on the carpet. Last of all, had to get a small heater as our other one stopped working. The one we have had since the beginning of RVing is still going strong – and what I don’t understand is that both were bought at Walmart – one works great and one died. WHY? Oh well. At least we are staying warm.

Stingy Advertising Means More Money

Transportation: Obviously, this is our expense, and it is high. We filled up the truck three times, hoping the last time we would not have to fill up too often after that. There was one time (during that three fill ups) that was really costly – $360 for one fill up. This was during the lovely mess in the Middle East where we thought the prices would skyrocket, so we got right before they did. But it is interesting, in Moab, UT the prices for diesel were LESS than Nevada! Who would have thought that? Anyway, we did get extra in Moab, filling it up for just in case.

The gasoline was for the motorcycles and possible generator use. Although we did not use the generator, I am filling up my scooter every week. I go back and forth to work 5x a week (so twice each day) at 3 miles each way. 6×5 = 30 miles, but then Sasha uses it to go back and forth to the laundry and other things. Actually, I think it was more like every two weeks, but I could be wrong. Will have to figure that out some day.

The maintenance on the truck was pretty minimal, except for the radiator flush = $272! But was needed as we did not have any records on when things were done to the truck. Sasha keeps such detailed notes and logs, but the previous owner of our truck did not, so we wanted to make sure everything was fine on the truck, and so had this done. Also part of the truck maintenance was the Compressed CO2 air. I figure, we will lose air on the way over or whatever, and mostly it will be in the truck tires. So that expense is put there.

We Learned From Past Mistakes, But….

Communication: Costs were for Verizon air card, Ebay fees – normally inside the thing that you are selling but for some reason we had to pay extra, postage for sending ebay stuff out, and we got some postage for our postcards and mail. I like sending postcards so that people know what is going on. I think kids especially like getting their own mail, it is fun. At least it was for me, when I was young, so why not for our nieces and nephews?

Health Insurance Finally Pays Off

Health: This is the third time that the health insurance was worth it. The Dremel tool we got for Sasha worked ok, but there was some blood.

Green Laser Pointer Creates WOW Factor

Recreation: We do not do much recreating, as we live in amazing places. However, one of the books that I use all the time for the star stories I tell was on sale and I had an Amazon gift certificate (because I answered a bunch of questions as part of the Dark Sky Rangers class this winter and got a $10 gift certificate.) So the book was only $1.96 which included the shipping.

I also hoped to do some planting once we got to Canyonlands, of seeds and re-do the potted plants. But when we were supposed to go to the Grand Canyon, I put off doing it as I figured I did not want to move the plants too much. But now it is almost the end of April and the plants are not yet sprouted, so I am not sure what we will do with the seeds. I figure I can wait until Grand Canyon.

Also, Lindsay Lawrence’s birthday was in April and I knew that I needed to get her gift to her – wanted to try to get it there before her birthday, alway tough when we live so far away. So it was also an Amazon purchase.

No Mess Ups This Month 

Let’s Hope for no high expenses for the next couple of months. Do you think it is possible for us?

Present Day Laura: While we cannot see into the future, we can look to the past and change our behavior. Hopefully that includes less expenses each month. 


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