Health Insurance & Food Expenses – Hog Wildness

Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler
November 2011

Full Time RVing – RVing at 3 NPS Parks

Fall in Two Parks

November – Health Insurance, Food Expenses and Hog Wildness

Could there be a longer name for a bridge?

Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, also known as the Hoover Dam Bypass

So the plan has changed a little bit: Volunteering in the winter (happened!) during January, February, and a little of March; working in Canyonlands National Park (sort of!) during a little bit of March, almost all of April; working in Grand Canyon National Park (unexpected!) during last bit of April, May, June, July, August, September, and October. After that, we are thinking of heading back to Lake Mead for the late fall through next winter. We shall see!

November 2011 – Where are we – Grand Canyon NP & Lake Mead NRA!

Expenses: For the Month of November: More expensive than last month but not too bad!

Expenses for November 2011

  • Food, Food and Household: $306.85
  •         , Out to Eat: $303.33
  • Transportation, Gas: $79.24
  •                        , Truck, Maintenance: $152.00
  •                        , Truck, Stuff $13.00
  • Household, Propane: $27.77
  •                  , Laundry: $0
  •                  , Electricity: $67.27
  •                  , Rent: $0
  •                  , Tools: $107.02
  • Camper, Campgrounds: $62.04
  •              , Maintenance: $70.00
  • Communication, Cell Phone: $67.18
  •                          , Internet: $62.93
  •                          , Hosting: $41.94
  •                          , Postage: $3.22
  • Health, Insurance (L): $669.17
  •           , Insurance (S): $669.17
  • Recreation, Books: $2.50
  •                  , Fun Stuff: $136.42
  • Losses, Gambling: $37.00

Total Expenses = $2,878.05

Truck, RV and Health Insurance Expenses

OK, November is now gone. It was an expensive month for a couple of different reasons. The truck, the RV, and the health insurance, all put us over the top. Then we went out and bought groceries and out to eat more.

So Let’s go over the numbers:

We Are Not A Red Meat Family But…

Food: Yowza, we spent a bit. Partly because we had no food really bought in October, when we were back in civilization again, we went a little hog-wild. First off, we got some stuff for on the road on November 1st, when I had to go into the Village to return the keys. I got stuff for the road.

Then when we were traveling, I got special stuff in a grocery store that we won’t normally buy from. Then when we got into Nevada, we went to Sunflower Market (I love that store, they have food in bulk, and the vegetables and fruit are just so appealing. And then we went to Costco…even though we did not buy much, we spent a bit. Sasha got a tip steak which we used for several dinners and a few stews. Having the crock pot to make our meals is a great way to go.

Then we went out to our old favorite casinos a bit, to see how they have changed since we have been gone. The prices have gone back up, a dollar here and there, and there are not as many specials. Sometimes there are, but the folks at the places don’t seem to realize the specials. Getting the newspapers (mostly free ones) tells you of some of these places that have good deals, but Las Vegas is not as good a deal maker as it once was.

We went out to dinner as soon as we got out of Grand Canyon and on the road, stopping first in Williams (this entire time we were in Grand Canyon, we never went to Williams!) It is a neat little town, totally different from Flagstaff, and I am sure it really depends on the tourist trade. But it was pretty quiet when we rolled in.

We went to Pine Country Diner, and it was tasty. Home cooked, but we ate too much, I guess because our eyes were bigger than our stomaches. So the meal was expensive because we got appetizer, meal and dessert. They are known for their pies, they said. And the pie was fabulous, very chocolate and raspberry. Mmmm good…

Then we went close to the Hualaipai Indian Reservation, without going in and found a place to stay for the night. But the next morning, we went to Peach Springs and ate at their restaurant. Very good food, we were too late for breakfast, so had lunch.

We got into Lake Mead on the 11/3 and went into Las Vegas on the fourth. While there, we went to Margarittaville Casino. We thought it was a new casino, but the guy said that it has been around for eight years, so I do not know what the deal is. The drinks were WAY too expensive for what you got, and we got a supreme nachos for our dinner. The price was still too high, and we do not plan to have too many dinners in Las Vegas strip area. It cost almost $40 for two drinks and the nachos…gasp! no thanks!

So we went to our old favorites: Fiesta Casino and Sunset Station. We try to go to the late lunch, usually a half an hour before dinner, and so can get the lunch price and eat dinner. We have been doing breakfast and “lunch” this way, no dinner. Probably not the best way to eat, but we stay up late and sleep in. I’m sure it will change.

So we have been eating out a bunch, but on Thanksgiving, we did not go out to eat, instead, had a great dinner of Irish stew and a hike.

Changing the Name of a Category

Household: I said in October expenses, we would be paying for Propane. We went to a Flying J in Kingman, and I have got to say it again, the Flying J’s have gone downhill since merging with Pilot. We had to get a new “membership” card, yet it did not work for the propane or gas that we got.

You have to buy 25 gallons of gas each time in order to get a discount! We bought 24 gallons, so no discount!!! It almost seems like there is no point going to them. We did not get diesel there, deciding instead to wait until December if we could. We figured we could go to a grocery store and get diesel for cheaper than at a Flying J. Scary but true. And we were so fond of them when we started off RVing.

So then we also had to pay for October’s electricity and Sasha had so much fun (tongue in check here) getting disconnected from the electricity. We had found out from some co-workers, that one of the rangers that left early, was still paying for electricity from this company. It seemed she did not call over and over again to make sure the electricity was off. So that was what Sasha had to do.

And lastly is the tools. We got a new electric drill. Sasha’s old one (and I do mean old, he got it in 1994 or some such time!) finally kaputed on us when we were at the Grand Canyon. So we got a new one. Usually almost two times that price, but it is a later model, so cheaper price. Of course they put it right next to the next year’s models, and I think Sasha was like, but look, that is the new one, why aren’t we getting that one. Because, the old one works just as well. And it is cheaper.


Maintenance and Upgrades to Our Home

5th Wheel: One of the nights that we were coming home in the dark, and we had forgotten to leave lights on outside of the rig, I went to put in our key and I could not get it out. I had put in the wrong key. And it should not have gone in, but it did.

A couple of days later, we had a guy come out to repair the door. Getting the key out was easy, but he also asked us for $50 just to come to where we were. So, we have learned the lesson, have your own tools to get a job done without the added cost and embarassment. Because we were embarrassed, we could have done it ourselves.

We also stayed two nights in a campground. When we were headed to Lake Mead, the turbo power stopped working in the truck. We had a huge hill to go up, and the truck was only going at speeds of 5 to 10 mph! That was no good. So we were able to find a Campground: Fort Beale RV Park in Kingman, AZ, unhitch, and bring the truck to get it fixed.

Stingy Advertising Means More Money

Transportation: Like I was talking about before with the Propane, we got gasoline at the Flying J. This should last us until we leave for the Grand Canyon in early spring. We only use the gas for my scooter and Sasha’s motorcycle, as we do not need to use the generator all that much. We only turn on the generator once a month to keep it lubed and make sure everything is working well. So we only use it when we travel.

Maintenance was not as bad as I thought, but part of it was for a truck and RV wash. While the wash was not that bad, we got charged more than what they said on their boards. Then the internet was not as speedy as we would have liked, and hard to get onto. But while they did not clean the roof, they did make the truck look really good.

We also, like I stated with the campground expense, had trouble with the exhaust brake. This is not the exhaust brake we put on with our old truck, but one that came with our new truck. So they found out that it was stuck closed, which is kind of like having a brake on all the time.

What they did was make the exhaust brake stay permanently open. It is a brake that is especially good with hills both towing or not, and is not needed, but is helpful to have. So next year we will have to get a new exhaust brake. Not this year, next year. So they did not charge us an arm and a leg, which was nice, only $95 for an hour’s worth of work.

We had to get our driver’s license records going back three years again for Lake Mead, so we did, and that is the “Stuff” that you see in the table. We do not mind, as we also get to use government vehicles which helps us out tremendously. We have checked out the Recreation Area more this year than the last two winters combined.

We Learned From Past Mistakes, But….

Communication: So, we sent off some packages to our friends for such a great time together. We also paid for internet from Verizon, even though it is slow, it still works for us. But we plan on changing in December.

And this month was when we pay for hosting. We pay every 6 months. The price has creeped up, but it is still a good deal as we get residual income from the ads we have on these pages. The ad money usually gets us ~ $100 a year, so it pays for our hosting. And when you buy anything from Amazon (on any page within the website) we also get a residual income from that; ~ $20 a year if we are lucky. We can not buy from it ourselves, as Amazon can track us, but if others like to buy on Amazon, please do so with our link. Thanks!

Present Day Laura: Our residual income has gone up a bit – ~ $250 a year: $100 from Google and YouTube and around $150 from Amazon. Thank you. 

Health Insurance Around $130 a month each

Health: As you can see, we paid for our health insurance this month. It is good for 6 months and it pays for being part of the Association of National Park Rangers, a good organization that allows us cheap health care. It is for catastrophic health care, like if we have something wrong with us and we usually do not use it for checkups and other stuff. But it works.

Green Laser Pointer Creates WOW Factor

Recreation: The books are not books but newspapers, as Boulder City and Henderson have newspapers that tell you what is going on in the area. So I like to get them and read what is happening. We were able to see a free preview of Happy Feet 2 that way.

Then we did some cool fun stuff – we went to a show and saw Blue Oyster Cult. It was a nice show, I think I was one of the youngest in the crowd, but hey, it is cool. And I like some of their stuff. I think Sasha really enjoyed it so it was worth the $79 for two tickets and seeing a 90 minute show.

Sasha got a map subscription to Delorme so that we could have as many maps as we wanted for the GPS and the computer. This will come in handy for us when we are hiking.

And I got an extra boost for my Free Farm Game, to help me win on that game. I have been playing it for several years now, and it is still pretty cool to play, but occasionally you have challenges and I want to beat others playing, and so you have to get some of these boosts to do so. Crazed, I know, but for the enjoyment of the game, not too bad.

A Mess Up Costs You Money

Losses: And lastly, we are in Vegas, Baby, and we did some gambling. Not too much, but enough to put a dent into our wallets. That is why it is under losses, because we did not make serious money here. If Sasha won, well, I lost and visa versa. But mostly we lost.

Present Day Laura: I should probably put the Online Game as a loss too, but I consider it fun, back then. 


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