Mistakes and Crazed Credit Cards

Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler
September 2011

Full Time RVing – RVing at 3 NPS Parks

Astronomy Rocks! 

September – Mistakes & Crazed Credit Cards

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!

September 2011 – Where are we – We are in Grand Canyon National Park, Desert View in Arizona. But wait, there is more to the picture!

Expenses: For the Month of September: Expensive month at the end, but for a good reason!

Expenses for September 2011

  • Food, Food and Household: $640.94
  •         , Farmer’s Market: $25.70
  •         , Out to Eat: $152.52
  • Clothing, Sasha: $8.72
  • Transportation, Diesel: $361.90
  •                        , Motorcycle, Gas: $11.69
  •                        , Scooter, Maintenance: $122.88
  • Household, Propane: $0
  •                  , Laundry: $12.75
  •                  , Electricity: $133.23
  •                  , Rent: $150
  •                  , Tools: $12.56
  •                  , Motels: $73.50
  • Camper, Upgrades: $70.72
  •              , Maintenance: $34.11
  • Communication, Software: $135.59
  •                          , Internet: $62.44
  •                          , Skype: $10.00
  •                          , New Phone: $9.50
  •                          , Sasha’s Computer: $1,086.25
  •                          , Postage: $1.88
  • Health, Dental Stuff: $21.89
  • Recreation, Books/Postcards: $8.35
  •                  , Gifts: $13.31

Total Expenses = $3,160.44

Food High We Find Out Why 

OK, September is gone, so, I will put the explanations in as well. This month is less expensive than last, but not by that much. However, you can see there is a reason for it, a new (refurbished) computer for Sasha and health reasons for Laura, so overall, not too bad.

Becoming Gluten Free

Food: Alright, we it looks like we spent a ton in food costs because I am trying out a new way of eating. Basically we (but mostly me) are trying to eat with less wheat in the diet. It is sort of working out, but the gluten free food costs so much more than the regular food.

Just to prove a point: regular pretzels $3 Gluten Free Pretzels: $8! SO I think I am going to try to stay away from comparable types of foods and just eat more of the whole foods that we have always ate. The biggest problem is bread, and I like sandwiches. So we have been getting rice cakes, but it just is not the same.

The expenses for eating out were not as high as last month, even though we probably ate out more. But they were less expensive places, including quite a few from airports. The last week of September was filled with airports or going out to eat “snacks” when we were not close to home. While we can always cut down on those costs, they were needed during the time, so I see no reason to cut them out. But there were at least a dozen meals that were eaten by just one of us, as opposed to the four meals out together.

Who Knew There Was a Season for Sweatpants?

Clothing: This month Sasha got a pair of sweatpants. We really had to scrounge around to find them, as it is still not quite the season. But at least he found one pair.

Motels and Mistakes

Household: Spent a bit with the household, partly as some of it is rental, some laundry, and electricity. The electricity seems high until you realize that it is for two months. It seems that the cycle happened so that we paid twice in September, once on the first and once on the thirtieth!

Sasha spent a night in a motel while traveling down to Phoenix to drop me off at the airport. While it had internet, it was intermittent, I guess we should have gone to a place that had it better, because he ended up using our Verizon card to do some downloading. We will be getting a larger bill next month.

I also had an extra night at Acadia NP, and that cost $35. But it was well worth the cost, as it was a nice place with a good bed and bath, plus a full kitchen (where I made my dinner of shrimp and rice!) and enjoyed high speed internet. Too bad I did not think to upload pictures then. I found out from Sasha that there were no pictures from July 2009 through October 2009. No good, thankfully they are uploaded now.

Tools this time around were not expensive, but still needed, a heating pad for me to try and make my stomach better. At least it feels good.

Maintenance and Upgrades to Our Home

5th Wheel: Sasha went to Ace Hardware and got some hardware. What this is for is beyond me, but might have to do with our cabinets. One has a broken hinge, and of course there are no places in Flagstaff that carry it, so he had to buy it online. Plus a belt for the vacuum cleaner. That way we can continue to use this pretty old one, that Sasha had before he married me. It still works. And the couple of upgrades were for some electronics (an inverter and a camera case) and some for our closets (more hanger – I just do not understand how they could break, they are pretty thick plastic, but what can you do…At least we recycled them.)

We also got Space Savers. I have summer clothes that can be put away. I’d like to get them under the bed, and squished down as much as possible. So hopefully these will help me out.

Finally, we got some more vacuum bags and a vacuum belt, an extra one so that in case one breaks, we have another one.

Crazed Credit Cards

Transportation: Then it was time to fill up the tank for diesel. Remember back in July, we had filled up? And remember the hassle we had? Well, it took us two months before we had to fill up again (using the scooter and motorcycle makes filling up on the truck less, which we like.) And unfortunately, we thought, for sure we will not have the problems we had before, we had told them and they had PROMISED no more hassles with filling up such a large tank.

Well, that was not to be. This time we threatened with changing credit cards and that we wanted a $40 credit for the hassle and embarrassment when the card was declined. Well, we got the credit. I am hoping that we can go somewhere else though, the next time we fill up for diesel. The hassle is not worth it.

We also got gas for Sasha’s bike when he went for a ride. He fills up at Desert View, as the Village does not have a gas station.

And then, my little scooter. So I have had this scooter for almost one and a half years. And I had never changed the tires. They were starting to get bald and even though I only go 3 miles one way for work, having good tires is important. So Sasha bought new tires a long time ago, but we had to wait until the ramps came in, so that we could get the scooter into the bed of the truck. Once the ramps were here, then it was not a problem to get an appointment and get the tires put on.

While Sasha can get his tires on and off, mine are a little harder to do. They have a lift and other ways to make the cost seem reasonable, especially the fact that when I ride it again, the wheel will not fall off.

New (to Us) Laptop and Skype Calls

Communication: OK, well this is the place that got the highest amount of money this month. As you can see, we bought a new laptop (actually refurbished) for Sasha. He was able to sell his old one for ~$600, so the resale value is much better for an Apple than for a PC.

The Operating System that came with it was the latest and greatest, Lion, and so he downloaded it (which is why we will have such a large bill next month) and then found that his Parallels software did not work with it. So we had to buy a new one. And then the one he bought was an upgrade that did not work, so he had to buy the full version. So hopefully we will be able to get money back for the upgrade.

While we did not get more minutes, Sasha was getting a new phone, the same as he had before. The reason, his old one got wet and while it still worked, the backlight stopped working. So a new phone was ordered but while we were waiting for the phone to come in, the AT&T cell tower fizzled for a couple of days. This was when I was in Acadia, and so we needed to get in touch, so I got Skype. It worked well, and so now I have it too. It has cheaper minutes than our phones even, and as long as you do not do video, then you do not use as much bandwidth.

We also had some postage, and some other fees and the Verizon amount does not reflect the overage from downloading Lion. We shall see that next month instead.

Snail Mail and Books 

Recreation: I went to Hermit’s Rest, an area in Grand Canyon that is the farthest east you can go while still using our shuttle system. I had not gone at all during my season, so I decided to go on September 22nd, my last day of work. So I got some postcards that I plan to send out in the next couple of weeks. I also got the stamp on them. And we sent out a card to my sister, for her birthday.

Then Sasha got a book called the Wrecking Crew, and he got me a gift for my birthday. So I had to go in on October 7th to do some updating to the website.

Present Day Laura: Somethings still make no sense to me even with living on this earth for a while now. Seasons for Sweatpants, Crazed Credit Cards, Expensive Gluten Free Food! 

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