Health Insurance Whammy

Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler
May 2011

Full Time RVing – RVing at 3 NPS Parks

First Full Month in Desert View, Grand Canyon

May – Health Insurance Whammy 

Laura-n-Sasha's First Ride at THE GRAND Canyon!

Laura-n-Sasha’s First Ride at THE GRAND Canyon!

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 and September. After that, we are thinking of heading back to Lake Mead for the late fall through next winter. We shall see!

May 2011 – Where are we – We are in Grand Canyon National Park, Desert View in Arizona.

Expenses: For the Month of May: Not as good as April, but if you take out the health care, it is pretty good.

Expenses for May 2011

  • Food, Food and Household: $222.84
  •         , Provisions: $17.81
  •         , Farmer’s Market: $5.24
  •         , Out to Eat: $114.90
  • Clothing, Sasha: $84.99
  •              , Laura: $21.21
  •              , Both: $104.00
  • Transportation, Diesel: $257.75
  • Household, Propane: $0
  •                  , Laundry: $9.00
  •                  , Electricity: $1.00
  •                  , Rent: $0
  •                  , Tools: $0
  • Camper, Upgrades: $34.58
  •              , Maintenance: $61.91
  • Communication, Cell Phone: $33.59
  •                          , Internet: $116.29
  •                          , Hosting: $41.94
  •                          , Computer Screen: $80.00
  •                          , Postage: $3.07
  • Health, Insurance (L): $661.76
  •           , Insurance (S): $661.76
  • Recreation, Books: $24.43
  •                  , Fun Stuff: $234.50
  • Losses, Sam’s Club Membership: $43.78

Total Expenses = $2,736.36
Total Without Health Insurance = $1,512.84

Exploring Our New Home Means $$

OK, May is gone, but not forgotten. It was a cold month, and an exploratory month for us. We used the truck more to check out the Village (the main part of the Grand Canyon, as we are in the eastern part of the park, 25 miles away) and to check out Flagstaff, AZ, which is 85 miles away. While it is farther away than Moab was to Canyonlands, it is about the same amount of time as there are not as many wiggly roads.

Milk Prices HIGH! WHY??

Food: was about the same as last month, maybe with a slight uptick. Since there is now a small grocery in our area (with its expensive milk prices) we are paying a bit more for groceries. While we could freeze the milk like we did before, we would just be putting it in our freezer, not the visitor center’s freezer as they do not have one.

Sasha works at the visitor center in Desert View, and there is no break area really for him and his co-workers. But it is also close to home, so he comes home for lunch. The little office we share with them, has a small (college size) refrigerator, but not a freezer. So I guess you could say, we will have less frozen milk, and more expensive milk.

Sometimes when we go into the village, we get veggies. And while they are a bit more expensive, still, having tomatoes now is quite nice. Being in a state that has an almost all year round growning time is quite a nice extra feature. While the growing season here in the Grand Canyon might be short (like four months I think), the rest of Arizona enjoys a pretty long one. Maybe on one of our longer weekends, we might get down to an area where we can pick our own.


Love Those You Know, Their Stuff Even Less

Clothing: The boots we bought in Walmart were the cheap ones that he had worn out previously. So we took them back and he got some online instead. That is why they were so expensive. But we hope these will last longer.

It always seems as though each park asks its volunteers and concessionaires for different clothing. So Sasha got a job with Grand Canyon Association, which asks for khaki colored pants. So he has dark green for Canyonlands, and now needs khaki. So this time around, we get him two pairs of pants, and me a set of hiking pants too. Nice and long, they are like army pants I think, and should work very well. We also got some white long sleeve and short sleeve shirts that wisk the moisture away, good for hiking.

I also needed a watch. I was able to go without one in Canyonlands as we were in a certain area for a large block of time. But here in Grand Canyon NP, that is no longer the case. But the watch – well, I am very particular about a watch and it had to look good with the uniform. I do not wear the watch when not in uniform, there is no need. But this way, it looks like it should and helps me be on time when needed.

We also found a thrift store close to one of the grocery stores, and I went in and found some good socks for myself. Only $0.50 so not bad.

First Time Paying for Electricity at a Park

Household: Laundry, we are paying for it again. It is $0.75 for the drier and $1.25 for the wash. For an extra quarter in the drier means an extra 10 minutes of drying time. So usually it is $2.25 for a load. My uniform pants and shirts are hung to dry, gets the wrinkles out better that way.

We only paid a dollar for this month as we were setting up the electricity bill from our checking. I am not sure, but I have a feeling this might not work. We might have to have them take it out of our checking as opposed to us sending it to them. Slightly confusing but what can you do?

We Don’t Like Mice in Our Home

5th Wheel: We were having some mouse problems, and so we bought a few mouse traps. Thankfully Sasha – the great man that he is, took care of this problem. But I got something for outside of the RV – called Shake Away: Critter Repellent – Bobcat Urine! Does not smell, and once we put it down, we had a visit from a REAL bobcat, who made a hole in our yard, but has not come back. Hopefully he won’t but the mice are now gone!

We also have a picnic table here at the site, and decided that we are going to use it. As it has splinters and peeling paint, we got a couple of tablecloths to make for the table and benches. We taped the area down as well as using industrial strength staplers to keep the cloths on. Now we just have to use the table for more than a place to hold stuff. Maybe when it is less windy and nice weather…whenever that may be.

Checking Out Area = More Diesel = More $$$

Transportation: We filled up in early May, totally filling up the external tank. Like I had stated before, we were on an exploratory month, checking out Flagstaff and the village multiple times. Which of course, adds up to more diesel. We will see how long it takes to fill up again.

Pay for Coming AND Going

Communication: This time with the internet, we had to pay Frontier for leaving early, sigh, and for also using Verizon. At least we know next month can not be so bad!

Sasha got more minutes on his phone, at $33.59 for two months, is not a bad deal. The prices are increasing slightly I think to taxes, but still ~$16.50 for a month of cell phone usage is not a bad deal.

We also did some mailings so there was postage. And the $80 was for my new to me, screen for my computer. My screen broke when we were moving, so Sasha was able to buy a new screen and put it in for me. Love having that guy around, he is so handy with that sort of thing!

And lastly, hosting. While it has gone up a little (a dollar a month) I find it is still a great deal. We typically get ~$100 a year from people clicking on the ads, and while it is not a money maker, it still allows us to have this website hosted for “free” to us. Even with a small amount of taxes, it still comes out on top. And I still enjoy the website, and helping people out, so I’d say, not a bad deal all around.

Health Insurance Payments The Same

Health: Obviously, this month is the expensive one because of health insurance. But look – we both are paying the same amount for health insurance. It does not matter what age you are, just that it is for extreme health insurance. You get rushed to the hospital, thankfully you are insured. You try to make an appointment for a wellness exam, you are not covered. It is health insurance for that, just in case sort of problem. Hopefully, that never happens to us, and we continue to be in the best of health.

We Use the Library Too

Recreation: Books and maps – since Sasha is working for Grand Canyon Association (GSA), he gets a 40% discount! Nice, for me as I need geology books and maps to understand the area better. So we get a few, plus postcards and a trails map. Sasha also needs a new backpack, for when we go hiking, so that was the fun stuff as well as two new LEKI hiking sticks. Now if we could only go hiking somewhere…

A Mess Up Costs You Money

Losses: The last thing that is on here is payment for Sam’s Club. As there is no Costco here, we became members of Sam’s as well. This way we will be able to buy somethings in bulk that we need. It has already come in handy and it is less than Costco. But I think Costco has some better deals, but when a Costco is hundred’s of miles away, it is better to save now.

Present Day Laura: While we cannot see into the future, we can look to the past and change our behavior.  

High Sierra

%d bloggers like this: