Good Taxes and Bad Taxes

The Finances of Living in a Truck Camper:
October 2009

RV Living in a Resort

NPS Job for Laura & Sasha Volunteering

October – Good Taxes and Bad Taxes

Us & NPS

Laura & Sasha at Cape Hatteras

October – Oh My, How bad can it be?

The last couple of weeks at Cape Hatteras were long. While some parts were really cool, other parts were really boring. It is hard to have fun when it is raining or you are trying to get ready and things are not quite going the way you plan. That is also life, it is not always as planned.

Our expenses will be high this month as we are crossing the USA. We planned to get there mid-October, but that was not in the cards. Instead we will pay for the fifth wheel Toyhauler on November 1, 2009. Our RV set goes to a nice man in Idaho. It will be interesting to see if we can get all of our “stuff” into the toyhauler.




Expenses for October 2009

  • Food, Food and Household: $230.44
  •         , Provisions: $193.52
  •         , PYO & Farm Market: $19.61
  •         , Out to Eat: $139.18
  • Clothing, Both: $32.34
  •              , Sasha: $26.22
  •              , Laura: $26.42
  • Transportation, Diesel: $999.90
  •                        , Tools & Stuff: $295.93
  • Utilities, Propane: $75.44
  • Communication, Tool – Inverter: $35.50
  • Health, Insurance (L): $152.00
  •           , Insurance (S): $192.96
  • Recreation, Fun Stuff: $38.50
  •                  , Gifts: $25.00
  • Losses, Person Property Tax: $560.00
  •            , Bank Check Charge: $5.00

Total Expenses = $3,038.98

Taxes on Food? WHY????

This area jacks up the prices so that it is impossible to get sales on practically anything. I guess that is the case when you live in a resort town. But we don’t eat out very often, it just is not worth it.

I finally will not have to say that above paragraph after this month. But what is very interesting as we go across the country is the sales tax for FOOD! In some places it is pretty high, we were paying about 2% in North Carolina, but about 7.795% in other places. Idaho itself is pretty high for food or other things at 6% and their beer and wine are at 8.1%! That is even higher than Utah at 7.795% for alcohol (beer and wine!) Let’s just say that my expenses spreadsheet is pretty full with sales taxes throughout the states.

Sasha went to Walmart and gotten lots of stuff for the road, which was great – you know the snack that you hanker for when you are driving. We did have other good food of course, found a couple of health food stores with dried mango and interesting chips, but the best grocery place so far for me is the store called WinCo. This store is like an Aldi and a co-op grocery in one – lots of bins for bulk buying of stuff like dried foods, wheat and flours, plus the candy and granolas that are so common in the bin isles.  Let’s just say I could have gone crazy, but it is cash only there – so I did not. Present Day Laura: That has changed. WinCo is still my favorite store, but now they accept Debit Cards.

We did go to a couple of wineries, one of which was not just a winery, but they also sold apples and cider. Oh My God! The apple cider was so good. So we got a bushel of Pink Lady apples and a gallon of cider. So that was the farmer’s market “food”.

We also ate out more than we normally do. Being on the road, no matter what people tell you, you just can not have every meal in the camper. First off, a couple of times we did not have the camper with us (when we were with Bo in Utah) and sometimes you just do not want to cook after driving all day. We ate once at a Flying J restaurant, a couple of times at fast food joints, and that was pretty much it.

Clothing and Not Being Prepared!

Now this is an interesting topic for us: we have enough clothing NORMALLY, but in our infinitesimal wisdom, we figured (when I accepted the job at Cape Hatteras), that we would be going up the Fairfax County to see the folks one last time before heading out west. Well, in hindsight, that was the wrong thinking. We had our winter clothes at Sasha’s parent’s house. We did not get up to Fairfax, nor Williamsburg because we had to book it out to Idaho to get the rig…..HAHAHA – then wait for the hitch, but that is next month….

Anyway, we did not have our winter clothes. So Sasha went out to Walmart and got us hats and gloves, so that we would have something to keep us warm. We found a Cabela’s on the way, and Sasha got two pairs of pants, very reasonable prices. We also stopped at Sierra Trading Post and I got a wool sweater and a pair of hiking pants. We are hoping to get to warmer climes soon.

Transportation Across State Lines Expensive! 

One of the biggest expenses that you see is diesel. We are going a bunch of miles, and usually averaging between 400 and 500 miles a day. Some days are less, not many are more. There is approximately 36 gallons in the tank (not much, we will be changing that in November), and we are averaging approximately 9.5 miles per gallon. So that usually means we are fueling up twice a day. However, we are not fueling up when we stay with others, so when we visited with Bo, we had just fueled up, and on that particular week, we had mileage of 10.3 mpg. So it all depends.

We also spent some money on tools. Sasha decided he should be able to change his own oil. I’d say that is pretty impressive. He did a great job with it, only managed to get a little oil on his clothes and possibly face. Not so good, but he washes up well, so it worked. So part of that price is the oils and other stuff needed for the oil change.

We also went past a place that sells really good cleaning supplies. So we got a container or two of that. The other expense in the vehicle stuff was the CO2. We need it for the tires. It is hard to go to a regular gas station and expect that the free air station will work for 110 psi tires. So in order to stay safe, we have a carbon dioxide tank.

Utilities of Only One Kind

Our only utility was the propane. As we are going into areas that are colder, we are using propane more often.

It was interesting of course, when we filled up in the Cape Hatteras area, it was way more expensive than anywhere else, at least 2.5 times more expensive! As you get away from that area, it has gotten cheaper, so much cheaper as a matter of fact, than staying at a campground for the night.

When we are on the road, we stop at Walmart to park for the night. Now, I know that campground owners will feel slighted by this, but in reality, I am not going to go to a campground at 8 or 9 pm, hunt around for a campsite, and pay $25 to get electricity and dump! One fill-up of our propane tanks was $24.06 and that lasts us at least 4 nights!

WHY would I pay a campground when my propane is so much cheaper? Now if they had a spot where it was dry camping, no hook-ups but was considered a safe place, well, I might do it.

We Convert to an Inverter 

This was not for me sending out applications (will probably be starting in November with that!) but for an inverter.

This inverter is for the truck, so that Sasha can charge his laptop and our cell phones. We truly are the gadget people: when fully loaded we have an iPod playing music or reading books, my Windows laptop on the Jotto desk connected to a DeLorne mapping system, the inverter for Sasha’s Mac book, and at least one phone charging at any time. Communication is very important and we want to always be able to communicate with our friends and family. This insures it for us.

Yikes, Health Insurance

Health insurance, well the same as it was before. We just have to stay healthy….Keep hearing horror story after horror story about not getting health insurance. Come on Congress, get us the health insurance we really need! ‘nough said!

Fun Stuff 

We went to Antelope Island with Bo, and that was fun. It costs nine bucks to get in, so we spent almost the entire day there. Lots to see and went on a few hikes, so that was quite fun and well worth it.

Regarding books, I went to the Lighthouse store and picked up an interesting book, Last Child in the Woods. I have not read it yet, but plan to before my next Ranger gig, as it has some great info about communicating nature to children.

Plus when we went to Craters of the Moon National Monument, I got postcards. I have been trying to send them to our nieces and nephews, so that they can see where we have been. The hardest thing is finding a post office. They do not have them on the highways, so it make it a little tough. Oh well, always trying.

One of my nephew’s birthday’s is in November, but since I got him an Amazon gift card, I wanted to send it out earlier, so that expense was in October.

Last But Certainly Not Least Property Taxes & Banks

One of the bigger expenses was the Personal Property Tax of Virginia. Yes, we were still Virginia domicile residents, and probably will be until the new year. So that number was for the taxes. Still not too bad, no like we are paying taxes for a house – this is taxes for the truck, camper, trailer, and motorcycle.

The other charge was when we got a check through another credit union. We have an account with Department of Interior Credit Union – must say, volunteering was a great thing to do in 2007, got me in with the Interior Credit Union. And since they have over 29,000 reprocitical credit unions, we just did a search, called them up to make sure and got a bank check for Norm for the 5th wheel camper.  When we had checks to cash as well, we do the search and find the banks. Great way to go. I would strongly suggest checking out a credit union rather than a bank, they just seem better in many ways.

Well, it was an expensive month, only going to get more expensive for November, when we get the hitch put on, buy the rig, and get new tires for the rig. But we will be having fun too, checking out areas like Idaho for a while, and maybe a few other states.

Check out November’s expenses are going to be high, as we buy the rig!




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