Government Shutdown Costs Us Money

Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler
October 2013

Full Time RVing – Cheaper RVing?

Fall Expenses for Later

October – Last Month of Working / Not Working for Forest Service

Laura's New Glasses

Laura’s New SunGlasses

Four months of Volunteering at Lake Mead, followed by working for the US Forest Service in Washington State: Mount St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument, then dealing with a sequestration and ultimate Government Shutdown, then headed to areas to boondock for the winter. A crazy life awaits for those who decide to say YES! I am up to the challenge! 

October 2013 – Where are we – Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Internet Land (Kelso, WA)

Expenses: For the Month of October: Buying now for later as we have no idea where we will be later except Nevada in November.




Expenses for October 2013

  • Food, Food and Household: $323.74
  •         , Provisions: $92.52
  •         , Farmer’s Market: $21.13
  •         , Out to Eat: $116.24
  • Household, Rent: $126.00
  •                  , Propane: $27.51
  • 5th Wheel, Upgrades: $29.22
  •                 , Campground: $475.00
  •                 , Maintenance: $373.94
  •                 , Registration: $125.50
  • Transportation, Diesel: $447.14
  •                        , Gasoline: $8.19
  •                        , Registration: $126.50
  •                        , Maintenance: $174.19
  • Communication, Cell Phones: $40.44
  •                          , Postage: $32.40
  •                          , Shipping/eBay: $16.85
  •                          , eBay/PP Fees: $23.26
  • Health, Both Insurance: $117.72
  •            , Eyeglasses L&S**: $220.48
  • Recreation, Gifts: $27.88
  • Fees, Membership: $69.00

Total Expenses = $2,997.99

Fall of Expenses during a shut down

The Government is shut down so we are trying to put a kibosh on our spending but we have to get things before we have no address for the next several months. So we bought a few things online that we normally would not get right now. They are for later, later jobs, later travel, later maintenance, and later eating and boondocking in the desert.

Trying NOT to Buy But Failing

Yikes! Much different than in the middle of the month. Traveling costs money. There is no doubt. Therefore, please realize we plan on traveling and spending money.

Sometimes I have a hard time realizing that myself. Until I look over each thing we paid for and remember, yes, that “item” was important – I used it for “xyz”. Or I will use it for a future need.

Food: We have been buying food every week rather than one big shopping trip every two weeks or so. It has turned into an expensive venture. We moved down to the RV park (Internet Land) to be closer to shopping but also to communicate better with family and friends.

We have been getting meat. Not much, but still the prices are not horrible if you get the lower costing meats which we slow roast in a crock pot and then make meals for longer periods.

As you can see, we have not gone out to eat very much. Although we still like Muchas Gracias and getting two meals from it is nice. We had a great meal from Stuffy’s Two – with each of us having a four egg(!) omelette filled with veggies, meat and cheese, plus hashbrowns and toast. I had a pot of tea and Sasha had coffee. We had gotten up so early (for us) to get the trailer wheel bearings re-packed.

Why should a trailer’s wheels be re-packed?

You can think of it this way: Trailer wheels have no motor. They go round and round in a circle, with metal upon metal. Metal that gets hot. When grease is added to the mix, there is less heat and no metal upon metal mashing. Grease as a lube allows better movement of your rig. An added expense now leads to no expense later.

October is apples and you can bet your bottom dollar that I picked around 19 pounds of them. However, I think we are on the tail end of the season, unfortunately, and the prices I remember in Virginia are not here in WA and OR. I can only assume the reason is there are towns and cities close to the picking areas, and so the prices are higher.

Present Day Laura: The prices in Virginia in 2008 were $0.50 a pound. In Washington State and Oregon, home of very tasty apples, they were $1.00 a pound. Very tasty but still not so good on price. 

In order to preserve apples, I use a dehydrator, organic pineapple juice and ground cinnamon. I made four batches of dried apple crisps until the motor wore out. We had to throw it away. We had that dehydrator since at least 2007. I will find a new one in 2014.

The dehydrator needs to use less energy and still have a high capacity. I know, hard to find unless you live in the desert and can make a solar dehydrator. But living in the desert usually means there are no you pick places where you pick fresh fruit, and can dry it that day. Therefore, I have to do some research this winter.

Clothing: No clothes bought but the Crack of Noon Club Shirts are still a great deal, and the Zippered Jacket is holding up nicely.

Sometimes Having Two Homes is a Pain

Household/Shelter: So I pay for rent – $63 each pay period, even though we were on furlough for 16 days. Therefore I do not know if we will pay the other two weeks of rent or not. of the paycheck hours. I have no idea how it is going to work without a second paycheck but IF I get paid, then the housing will come out. (As you can see, I was a little distressed by the furlough, but since I did get paid, I paid for housing too.)

We have $475 rent for the RV for the weekends. I know, it seems high but it comes with Electricity! and Wifi that actually works (most of the time). The electricity will come in handy for the drying of apples and heating the RV when there are cold snaps. And there is also a free mailbox so we can get mail, Fedex, and UPS.

Lastly, Registration is due on the Rig and Truck, so this time we only went for one year for each.

Maintenance stuff was for the shelving in the back of the rig. When we were moving last spring, one of the shelves came apart. Getting these days off to do chores has helped, and we now have a reinforced shelf for our motorcycle helmets and the hanging shelf for our coats and jackets.

The major maintenance was the trailer’s wheels being re-packed. Cost $284.17. Much higher than when we had it done in Virginia a couple of years ago. In VA, we paid cash and the guy came to the campground. In Washington we paid with a credit card, unhitched, went to Stuffy’s for breakfast, and got on the road much later. There was also a problem with a credit card. Annoying and still trying to fix in November.

Transportation: The diesel we got last month has so far been fine for this month too. We went down to Hillsboro, OR but we still have a bit in the tank. I am pretty sure, though, that we will be filling up both tanks by the end of the month.

Well, as we are going to be traveling far, we filled up. The mileage messed up because we did not fill up the previous time and it states 1.78 miles to the gallon! Obviously that is not true. Next one will work.

Sasha took his motorcycle out for a ride to make sure all was working well. He got a few groceries and gas. Then took a ride to make sure everything was running smoothly. He fixed the flat on the motorcycle too.

—-Side note: I think I used the scooter only once during this season. Sasha used it a little more than me, to go to work at Coldwater Science and Learning Center. I did not work there this season, and so no need to use the scooter to get to work – we carpooled. We shall see how much we use the scooter and motorcycle this winter. —-

Maintenance: Sasha bought fuel and air filters for the truck so that when we are boondocking, he can change the oil. You really can not do that in an RV park but out there, in the desert, it is not a problem. We do not get oil on the ground, and we take the old oil to a recycling place like Walmart or other store.

Registration for the truck for a year.

I Don’t Think Facebooking is a word 🙂

We are using the Campground for internet which includes Facetiming Family, Skyping when FaceTime doesn’t work, and Facebooking friends. We have a Pepwave Surf On-The-Go 3G/4G Router with WiFi as WAN (Wide Area Network = WAN). This allows us to pull in the Campground WiFi with a strong Radio signal securely. We use a secure hotspot so that financial, banking, selling, and buying are all safe to use.

Sasha sold our relatively new bumper hitch that we used when we took the Jeep to the west. The one we had when we went East to visit family (in 2012) did not work well, and so Sasha got a better one sent to us at my Parent’s house. We have no use for it now, so we sold it for $158.00. We had to pay for shipping, and we get reimbursed.

Then there are the fees for both eBay and PayPal. They have gotten pretty high lately, which is too bad. And don’t get Sasha started on the giving feedback on eBay. That has totally changed. The highest bidder waited until Sasha sent in a complaint, because he had not paid in 5 days! Crazed!

We paid postage on a gift we got my nephew for his birthday. I hope he likes it – short stories about nature told by Native Americans in a comic book format. He should get it on his birthday if not sooner.

Health: Thankful here too, just our normal expenses of health insurance and we have been healthy. But we decided it was time to get new glasses. I am trying out bifocals. I really have a hard time going between reading something (not computer) and looking out and I keep taking off my glasses to do so. If I had bifocals, I probably would be able to work better but I am not sure.

The reviews are in! We liked the glasses, but found Sasha does not need bifocals for driving, just regular Sunglasses and regular glasses. I decided to try out Progessives in both Sunglasses and regular glasses. With all of the coatings and shipping, the $220 comes out to $54.12 per pair. I’d say that is really good. I would have to go back at least 4 years to see what the last pair of glasses were but I KNOW they were more expensive. So thanks Zenni!

Recreation/Fees: We went for a drive to pick apples, and the costs were diesel, out to eat, and picking apples. I was good – did not get any wine, nor festival foods.

We did get a couple of gifts for our niece and nephew.

The fee was membership to National Association of Interpreters. We travel to the south and Reno, NV for the conference, but I made sure I was in good standing with the dues before we got there.

In the end, this month was not cheap. Sigh. Expenses for later or things we put off until now. That is the way it goes sometimes. Here is to hoping next month is less. I figure we will have high expenses for diesel, gasoline and propane, not too bad for food and meals to go, high expenses for fun stuff, and a little for campground fees.

We will be in Reno for 6 days, Las Vegas for at least 7 days, and then follow the sun. Some months it works like that and ultimately some months will be cheaper.

* Present Day Laura: Our Sunglasses and Glasses have worked well for us for over four years. I am hoping for five years of good eyeglasses and then we will change. Purple sunglasses are pretty cool. *




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