The Finances of Living in a Stick & Brick – May 2007
Spring in a House – SOLD on May 5th, Out of the House and Into the Camper @PrinceWilliamForestPark! (Old Post)
Still living in the stick home, and volunteering 2 days a week, put the house on the market and Laura still has her own business while Sasha is working Full-Time.
So in May we moved to our spot in Prince William National Park, and we have a few pictures of the place and words because this is the START of our Full Timing adventure! Our expenses show that as well as we have a ton more categories during this time. We were also both working and I still had my business plus I was volunteering a couple of days a week at Prince William Forest Park. So the months were very busy.
May 1st: dealing with Radon – getting it installed.
May 4, 2007 – Sunny Beautiful Day – Glorious Day – Closing Day
Wake up early, took the last showers in the house, find out we have extra stuff in the basement that should have been taken/stored at work. (Laura – had a stressful moment, breath in breath out…almost over.) Throw out sheets and bedding.
Sold Smadar Levine piece!!! $500!! Talk about Last possible minute!
Load up Truck and Saturn with last of stuff. Walk Thru with Savinos and Realtor, Realtor says that we are very organized, we have all of the manuals saved and for the Savinos. Everything goes smoothly except Erlinda almost single-handedly moves headboard of queen bed and ruins my last minute work on bed re-enforcements!
Settlement with Hot looking Lawyer (Sorry Laura – you had the movers!) Settlement goes well except that we did not know that there would be no check at the table, would not get it until Monday. Firm Seems reputable so we don’t sweat it. Settlement has good snacks: chocolate, various chips, coffee and sodas…free for about $500 in fees.
Deposit $1000 from Savinos (for Bed, Kitchen table and chairs and filing cabinet), and $500 from Art work in bank.
Had a nice lunch ($$) at Paco’s in Reston. Sometimes sunny and sometimes cool, outdoor eating. Fire Alarm interruptions, but great meal.
Go Back to Rhyolite to pick up my truck, say good-bye to Kristina, shake hands with Phil who is getting new DBS Satellite installed.
Post Office, Costco Gas, then off to the park – but first big traffic on Route 28 South to Camping World for Misc. Supplies.
Take back way to Route 234, excellent road. Get to camp at approximately 4 pm, spend rest of daylight with power, water and sewer connections. Start organizing, not finished (Laura May 11th still not finished!)
Wonderful Dinner by Laura – Butter Pasta and Champagne outside under the stars. Lit the citronella candles outside with wonderful effect, cigar outside, in Adirondack chairs, see bats and stars overhead.
I LOVE OUR NEW LIFE & I love that Laura shares it with me!
(ain’t he sweet?)
After Move – Checking out the area!
May 13th, Mother’s Day: I volunteered that day and afterwards, Sasha’s Mom and Dad came into the park, saw our new digs and then we headed out for dinner. We had dinner at Applebee’s in Dumfries. I do not really remember too many times that we have gone out to eat with Sasha’s parents, we usually make something either at their house or ours. But as we did not have much food in the camper, it seemed best that we go out to eat.
May 14th through 18th – Local hikes in Park, great weather.
May 16, Checking out the sports clubs As we no longer have a gym to go to, we have been trying to figure out the gym situation around here. I must say, it is not good. We went over to Sport and Health in Stafford, and it was stifling, hot and in no way clean facilities. We would not be going back there. We did work out and took showers, and I found a tick on me that day…maybe that is also why I did not want to go back there again.
We had a nice dinner at King Street Blues in Stafford.
May 17, Gold’s Gym
Thursday night we checked out Gold’s Gym in Dale City, for a free visit. Very nice place after of course Sport and Health’s Stafford place, but they have no towel service. We would really like to have towel service but it is starting to look like that is just not available around here. Also too, the Gold’s Gym was very far off of the highway, and there was traffic to get to it. I do not think this will be one of the places that we would go to. We had Jerry’s Subs for dinner back at the camper.
May 18th through May 20th Parties for Mom, Dad & Aunt Tina
We went up to New Jersey for my parents 40th Anniversary and for my Aunt Tina’s 70th Birthday party. A great time had by all; lots of kiddies there, will have to post pictures soon.
The food was delicious, both Denise and Stephen (my cousins) cooked or helped with cooking. Actually, I think JoAnn (Denise’s partner) actually made the food, and Denise helped make it look good. And Stephen got the entrees together like he always does, and lots left over so we could take some home. I had brought the wine, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, plus Champagne and Karen and I got beer before the party. Of course, having the party at my parent’s house was a great idea, and it looked beautiful. Karen was so good at putting this thing together, to even suggest that we do it and get it done. She truly is a great organizer. Thanks Karen, Denise, JoAnn, Stephen and of course, Mom and Dad, Aunt Tina and Uncle Joe, for doing this.
May 21-May 25th – Great Hiking weather, although it is starting to get warm.
May 21 and May 22, volunteered at Prince William since I had off the weekend before. Got the letter from the Superintendent stating that Sasha and I live on the park, so that we could get our addresses changed and get a PO Box in Dumfries for the regular mail.
May 23rd – day off from Volunteering – check out the area
I went to check out the area a little more closely, we really had not done so, and I wanted to see if I could get a library card and a new post office box. So first I went to the post office in Triangle (it is actually close to the Quantico base) and is very small. They did not have any post boxes available so I went to the one in Dumfries, which had several post offices available. And they cost less than Triangle. AND they cost about 80% less than Cascades!!! Now if all the expenses could be that much less than Loudoun, we would be very happy. I also went to Dale City to the library there. There is a library in Dumfries, but it is very small and I wanted to check out Dale City. SO I did. The library is very nice and clean. I showed the letter to the library person and we can now get library cards and check out books.
—Even though I belong to the Loudoun (Cascades) book club, I was able to get the book very easily at the Dale City library. When I had tried to get the book at Cascades library, it was either out or lost. But here in Dale City, it was available. Also as a comparison, Dale City and Prince William County have fines for their books (if you forget to bring it in or lose the book you get a fine) but Loudoun does not. I think there is more of an incentive to bring the book back to PW county and not to Loudoun especially when you get fined. That may be why there are so many books missing from the Loudoun County libraries – there is no punishment, I’ll bet.
May 24th – Great Day to Change!
I went into work with Sasha today so that we could get the addresses changed at lunchtime. We changed the DMV – there were NO Lines, unbelievable but true. Loudoun taxes, we had to change first at Prince William then we could change at Loudoun automatically. Citibank – that did not work, (well, it did sort of, for the credit card but not anything else), and Credit Union, worked great.
Since I volunteer at a National Park, I am allowed to have an account with the Department of Interior’s Credit Union, which is great, as they have really good interest rates on their CDs and money markets. Their rates are much better than most other banks, including Citibank.
Anyway, I got breakfast at Blimpy – several hot egg sandwiches…they seem to stay with you all day (that could be good or bad) and brought it back to Sasha so that we could eat breakfast together. Then he did some work, while I worked on my clients’ websites. We went out to lunch and got the rest of the chores done at the different areas (see above). We had lunch at the USGS (United States Geological Survey) cafeteria. After all those chores, we went to the Sport and Health Club in Dale City.
I had gone there on May 23rd and had spoken to Moe, the Membership Director. He was very nice and showed me around the gym. Most of the gym is weights but they do have a couple of exercise rooms and a long wall of cardio equipment. It was also very clean. So he had given me two free weeks – one for Sasha and one for me. So the next day, Sasha and I went to the club and found it to be very nice, and inexpensive ($49.95 for the both of us! that was cheaper than anyone else and no startup fees).
May 25th Friday – Memorial Day Weekend start
I finished up on Friday and found out that I would start roaming the park during the times that I was on, which basically means that you can hike the park and give information to people, because they do not always come into the visitor center. It is kind of like going out there to see the visitors, since they do not come to you. A great idea, I will probably go for the hikes in the morning and then be in the visitor center in the afternoons.
May 26th – Sasha finds a lost person.
So I was working in the Visitor Center and Sasha was hiking the trails and a report goes out that there was a missing girl from a group. It was right around the time that Sasha called me, he was at a trailhead and was going to go on the trail, and I ask if he saw this girl. And he said YES. So we managed to get the girl together with the group and high fives were had all around.
Expenses for May 2007
- Food and Household: $347.43
- Out to Eat: $419.23
- Clothing, Laura: $44.08
- Shelter, Mortgage: $0.00
- Utilities, Lawn Care: 0.00
- Utilities, Washington Gas (Natural Gas): $108.76
- Utilities, Virginia Power (Electricity): $124.25
- Utilities, Verizon Phone/DSL: $0.00
- Utilities, Water & Sewer: $44.20
- Utilities, HOA (Trash): $0.00
- Household, Repair: $122.92
- Household, Services: $1,718.00
- Transportation, Tolls: $70.00
- Transportation, Car Gas: $225.88
- Transportation, Diesel: $114.28
- Transportation, Camper Storage: $0.00
- Transportation, Camper Maintenance: $171.88
- Communication, Cell Phone: $66.94
- Communication, Postage/PO Box: $46.96
- Health, Insurance: $131.00
- Health, Other: $41.00
- Recreation, Fun Stuff: $26.25
- Recreation, Stuff: $41.98
- Recreation, Newspaper: $28.80
- Recreation, Gifts: $226.61
- StT Work: Marketing: $100.00
- StT Work, Hosting: $29.97
- StT Work, Client Expenses: $66.00
Total Expenses = $4,315.72
Explanation of Expenses
An expensive month, although not as bad as last month. Part of the reason? NO Mortgage. The monkey is off our backs!
So we were only in the house for 4 days, but the Utilities were for the previous month but paid this month. Anyway check it out below.
Spending a bit on food, as we are getting used to having a smaller refrigerator. I am also going out and finding other grocery stores in the area rather than buying food in Loudon County. Prince William County has cheaper food but we are buying more of it. Also, I am getting more food for Sasha for his work, so that he has it there. But again, lots of fruit.
Out to eat: This month was more meals out, some for very special occasions – like SELLING the House! and Anniversaries and birthdays. We also found a great ice cream place near where the RV is parked, called JoJo’s so several celebrations later, we had plunked down money there. But there were also lots of little meals going on $4 here and there.
I got another pair of shoes and a pair of shorts from Target. Probably for the warm days ahead 🙂
NO MORTGAGE! But Gas, Power and Sewer for the last month. Thankfully those will be over next month and our power, water and sewer is paid for by the NPS for our site.
Stuff: We got some more stuff at Camping World – which was near-by our site at Prince Wiliam and then we got some things at Target – combo locks and paper towels. What we got at Camping World, I have no idea, but obviously important, we did it on the same day as our Closing Day, so it was probably having to do with sewer pipe, or hoses or something like that.
So an inspection was done on the house, back in April. And they also had a Radon test ($114). And they found high levels of Radon. Lovely. So we had to have a fan system ($675) put in and another radon test done before the closing. It turned out fine, but we had to have the installation done. Stupid as Radon is naturally occuring and we were down in the basement tons, but WHATEVER, we are out of the house!
Last cleaning was a doozy – at $130 as opposed to $95 but that is the way it goes. And we paid partially for movers to bring down furniture for my parents (who bought our dining room set as they loved it.) They had it moved to a storage area where they would get it later, for the house that they were going to move into down in Williamsburg. So that moving price was expensive at $798 but at least part of it was paid by my parents.
Tolls: We reupped for the EZ Pass and put in a bunch of money as we were going up to New Jersey and would be going through lots of tolls.
We had to pay for gas of my car and diesel for the truck. So Sasha was using the car more for driving back and forth to work which was now bunch more miles. Gas was now at $2.90 to start the month and went up to $3.06. Diesel, I do not have the prices for that, but we just filled up twice, yet we tried not to use it very much, going up to NJ with the car.
The maintenance was for the oil change for the car as we were putting more miles on it now, as well as for a car wash, emissions test of the car, and then the DMV license and registration in Prince William County.
And then the Camper:
Since we were going to be living in it during the summer, we needed to get an AC unit. When we had bought it back in 2005, we had done so in Colorado. A place were you do not need AC. But here in the Washington DC suburbs, you definitely do. So $862.19 later – we got the AC / heater unit put in by Camping World. They would try to stick us with an extended warranty, and we said no. And after working with them for this unit, I would suggest not buying anything from them again. They make their money from those extended warrenties more than from anything else.
Was for my phone, my cell phone that I used for work. It was also for shipping out a few more things, and the post office box that we got in Dumfries, VA. Only $42 for a year.
I pay for my health insurance, as a small business owner I do not have a group plan and it is cheaper to do it as my own health insurance than go on Sasha’s plan. We also got haircuts – one for Sasha and one for me. His price went up but mine stayed the same.
The fun stuff was maps for Sasha. Which maps? I have no idea. But he likes maps.
We also bought some stuff, basically some cigars for us – to celebrate the closing.
May was Mother’s Day, my parents’ anniversary, and my Aunt Tina’s 70th birthday. So there were lots of celebrations, and therefore lots of gifts. Mostly of wine, but hey, not too bad a way to go.
We also had gotten the Washington Post automatically charged on the credit card. So Sasha cancelled it, and we got a significant portion back.
Trying to cancel the Verizon phone plan was another story, really hard to do and finally Sasha told them that we were moving to someplace in Alaska that did not have service with Verizon. But it was really hard to cancel that one.
Sales Through Technology, my work: Most people separate out the expenses of their business with their home expenses, but as you can see, I was not spending all that much. I was figuring that within the next 6-9 months, I was not going to have a business anymore, as the real estate market was not doing so well, and I was already seeing clients that were not going to be around for much longer.
I was hosting a site that was the website of our house. 47651RhyolitePl.com was the website. So I paid for the hosting for that. I had virtual tours, pictures galore, and write-ups about it. Anyway, a good expense.
And I did marketing for my company that month, some social event, but do not know what it was. Oh Well.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20. But I am glad we saw the writing on the wall when we did, and decided to do something about it.