Maintenance Madness March

Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler
March 2012

Full Time RVing – The Expensive Year

Spring Maintenance March

March – Maintenance High 

Laura and Sasha Hiking and Outside Enjoying Life

Laura and Sasha Hiking and Outside Enjoying Life

If all goes according to the plan, we will volunteer in the winter (which will only be a couple of months: January, February, and most of March) and work/volunteer for six months at a National Park. After that, we are not sure, somewhat thinking of going back east for the fall. We shall see!

March 2012 – Where are we – We are in Lake Mead National Recreation Area in NV and Grand Canyon National Park in AZ.

Expenses: For the Month of March: Always expensive as you get ready for a season, and moving to a new park.

Expenses for March 2012

  • Food, Food and Household: $28.74
  •         , Provisions: $587.01
  •         , Out to Eat: $70.57
  • Clothing, Sasha: $10.20
  •              , Laura: $5.50
  • Transportation, Diesel: $407.79
  •                        , Motorcycle, Maintenance: $36.59
  •                        , Scooter, Maintenance: $5.77
  •                        , Truck, Registration/Taxes $250.00
  •                        , Truck, Insurance: $$406.60
  •                        , Motorcycles, Insurance: $31.75
  • Camper, Maintenance: $188.59
  •              , Upgrades: $1,003.89
  • Household, Propane: $13.14
  •                  , Tools: $45.85
  • Transportation, Diesel: $396.38
  •                        , Gasoline: $191.89
  •                        , Truck, Maintenance: $570.88
  •                                   , Upgrades: $4,172.38
  •                        , Motorcycle, Maintenance: $28.91
  •                        ,                  , Upgrades: $1,530.39
  •                        , Scooter, Maintenance: $8.51
  •                        ,             , Upgrades: $26.92
  • Communication, Postage: $104.49
  •                          , Cell Phone (S): $33.59
  •                          , Internet: $59.99
  •                          , eBay Fees: $10.21
  • Recreation, Gifts: $10.19
  •                   , Fun Stuff: $93.70
  •                   , Camping Gear: $307.58

Total Expenses = $9,499.50

Hard to Justify the Spending, But… 

OK, March has come and gone. I guess you could say I was a bit embarrassed by the amount seen above. How frugal could we really be if we spent almost 10K on living expenses for one (granted full) month. We moved this month too, back to Grand Canyon NP for the summer season, but really how could we spend so much money? From last month’s expense page:

“Just so you understand, though, we have higher expenses in the winter time as we gear up for the new season. We KNOW that the more stuff we buy now, the less we have to buy in Arizona, as well as in a more expensive town (Flagstaff) and state. AND it is much easier to ship to Las Vegas when we need stuff to be shipped, as we have a dedicated PostNet store where our mailbox is located. That way FedEx, UPS and USPS can all be shipped to one place.

Once we move back to the Grand Canyon NP, we are looking at two places where people would ship to and double the confusion. So getting our stuff (maintenance, equipment, food, clothing, etc.,) is made easier when we live in a larger community. Once we move, I hope that the expenses will go down.”

I really do hope that the expenses go down. We had to take some money out of saving for the expenses we had this month. Thankfully we have good interest still on some CDs and bonds, and so that helps.

Crazed Provisions

Food: So we probably went a little hog wild on provisions this month, but I am sure it will be a good thing when we are really hankering for berries in July and the price of blueberries is sky high. We got enough dried foods to last us until we leave Grand Canyon in the fall, plus frozen foods to last at least until June or July. We also got another freezer (look in Upgrades for 5th Wheel) to fit all of the frozen goods, like berries, veggies, mangos, cheese, and meat.

We got a couple of small food grade buckets for some of the food, which we can then place below the sink (where we have lots of storage) but yet do not have to worry about a mouse getting in and eating the food. While we will need to go into town occasionally for fresh food like apples and oranges, lettuces, chips and other stuff, at least now we have a good supply of things that we will not need in a more expensive place like Flagstaff, AZ.

We did go out to eat a bunch this month, but it was with Sasha’s parents most of the time (see March Pictures) and then the only other times were when we headed to Grand Canyon and got a bite to eat.

Online Stores are Great for Some Things

Clothing: We spent some money on clothing at an Army/Navy online store for long underwear for Sasha and we went to a thrift store for me to get a pair of jeans. I just really need one pair to get me through a season.

You would think that Las Vegas would have some good thrift stores, but really, it does not. I got these jeans actually, in Boulder City. We have been in Boulder City area for three winters yet this is the first time I have ever thought to look there for a thrift store. And it was a pretty good one too.

Explanation of a Category Name

Household: Why I call one category household and one 5th Wheel? Well, I guess because I am really thinking of household as utilities but then we have tools that can be for the house and the vehicles, so household it is. So we bought propane for the season (hoping that there would not be the need for propane for heat! just for cooking) and got it from Flying J. We had not used very much this winter, and only need 4.3 gallons, but then I looked, and they put sales tax on it! What? I thought the tax would be in the price. if anyone knows why they do this, please send me an email at the address below and let me know.

We also bought some tools. I have no idea what they are, you will have to ask the tool guy…But he got them at Lowes, and they were important for some reason…

Fifth Wheel Costs

Maintenance: We got our cushions for our dinette re-stuffed with new foam. It took them a while to get the foam, but only a couple of hours to put the foam into the covers. They were a local place, so we liked that and the foam is really good, so we really liked that.

I got a new rug for the bathroom, so we don’t have cold feet in the morning, and new keys for our jammed back lock. I had unfortunately put a key in the wrong way when it was dark, and then tried to pull it out, and instead had broken the key! So we did not have a lock on the back door for a while. But then we got it fixed, Sasha put in a new lock and then we had new keys for it. All a part of maintaining the 5th Wheel.

Upgrades: I consider getting a new freezer an upgrade. In a sense, it really is, we are upgrading to more storage of frozen foods. Frozen fruits and veggies and it works on 12 Volt or 110 Volt. We can connect it to our auxillary power supply in our truck or plug it in to an outlet in our garage. It fits through the door of both truck and trailer.

If we really wanted to, we could take it camping and have it as a refrigerator or as a freezer. We were planning to get one before this, but never found the time to do so. But since we have been on a healthy kick, where we have been using frozen berries or fruit in our shakes, it will come in real handy for extra food. It cost $900.

We also had heard reports that it was really cold in Grand Canyon, and since we were planning to be there a month earlier than last year, we decided we needed a flannel duvet cover. This way, we would stay a little warmer. We also got an extra container for some tools in the garage.

LaLaLa I am not Listening, Too High

Transportation: Lalala – yooza but this was the expensive place to be this month. Having three vehicles to maintain and upgrade can be slightly hard on the nerves and the wallet. But here it goes:
Truck: Truck first because that is our most important vehicle. If we did not have the truck, we would not be able to move our home. So it is extremely important to maintain and upgrade when necessary. Sasha did some extensive research on finding a reliable mechanic to put in an exhaust brake, similar to the one we had put in for the F350 SuperDuty. As a matter of fact, it was from the same company, Pac Brake.

So the diesel we got was on March 20th, as we knew it would be cheaper in Nevada than Arizona. And at the time, everyone was worrying about higher gas and diesel prices, so we thought we had gotten a good deal. $4.03 per gallon for diesel was cheaper than anyplace else that we looked. Less than 100 gallons this time, so how long will it last?

Maintenance: Seems high, but part of this was because of new tires. We got new tires put on the front as they were starting to get old. We also got a new supply of CO2 that is for not only the truck, but also the bikes’ tires. Sasha also changed the oil and filters in the truck (which we had gotten last month) but needed extra diesel for the oil change. And then finally, we needed a new bulb for the license plate. And they were a little hard to find. I think he got two, just in case another one burned out.

Upgrades: This is the high part. This is why we had such high expenses this month. Sasha found a great place to get the Pac Brake put on, plus some other parts too, including a large scale compressor. The compressor can help air up the tires on the truck or on the trailer (but how, I am not sure… it seems there is this tank under the truck. It is just of air, not CO2 like we have for the tank. Still if it helps slow us down with big hills and mountains, I am all for it!) We had to give a deposit and then the rest once we got the truck back. Thankfully they were able to do the job while Sasha’s parent’s were here, so we were able to use their rental car that week.

Motorcycle: Gasoline: Now the gasoline was not really all for the motorcycle, it was also for gas for the rental car we were driving around town (with the parents and by ourselves). Some of it was also for the generator, as we do have a gasoline tank on our 5th wheel. Last year we were able to use the gasoline from the 5th Wheel station all season long and did not have to fill up until we got to Lake Mead. It was much easier to use having it right there, and we did not have to worry about whether the price would go up or not. So when we filled up again, we did so at the Flying J. The only reason we go to Flying J now is because they have propane and gasoline, but their prices are not as good as other places. It is just that it is easier to maneuver than in other places.

Maintenance: Fuel filters and a spray for the moto, but the big expense was Upgrades: Sasha went a little wild with this. When you have a hobby or an interest and are full throttle ahead, you want to make sure you are safe and comfortable. So that is my justification for the expenses and that is how I wrap my head around it. If it makes him happy and he is comfortable and therefore safe, it makes me have less worry and in the end makes me happy. So some of the upgrades he did are now on a new page: SashasMoto.html

Transportation, Scooter: Thankfully the scooter does not need too much maintenance or upgrading, just a little oil change here, some fresh paint there, and that is about it.

Internet Slaves

Communication: So every month, we pay for internet. We are charged at like 3 AM on the first of the month. While the internet is great in Lake Mead, it is super slow in Grand Canyon NP. However, I would be lost without it. I use it every day, to check the weather, the sun, and the sky. And it is good to have to keep up with friends and family. I get reports from the scientific community and Sasha gets alerts from different news organizations. It works for us.

Sasha sold a bunch of stuff on Ebay, so we had fees and shipping to do. And this month we needed to up the minutes for Sasha’s phone, so that is what we did.

Science Rules for Paying Fools

Recreation: You would think we would not be doing too much recreating when we had such expenses, but when family comes out to visit, you will do some. Not only that, we wanted to get a few things for the season, including camping gear for Sasha. He plans on doing some riding to areas that I can not go with my scooter or with the truck, and so he needed a few things.

So the Fun Stuff first: I got a Galileoscope to check out the stars and moon, plus a tripod and an extra lens. This way I can have my own stuff to look at the sky when I want to do so.

We also went to Valley of Fire State Park with the parents, and our NPS pass did not work. That is OK, spending money at a State Park is fine with me, at least that way it can stay open.

Camping: So the expense really is not for camping, per se, it is for being safe. We got Sasha a Delorme InReach. What this means is that in the unlikely chance that he can not call, and he has problems on the road, he can text, Facebook, or email me his location. It is like having a satellite phone on the cheap end.

Then we got hiking sticks for me (two because it is better than one when going down steep mountains), and bags to place the hiking sticks in so that they are not flopping all around the truck. (Organization is Sasha’s middle name, did you know that? but only for some things….)

And we got a gift for our niece for her birthay next month. Since she has a birthday early in April, we wanted to get her something to remind her of Grand Canyon, and be able to send it to her before her birthday.

Present Day Laura: It still hurts that we spent so much money that month and totally wiped away any savings for the year.  

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