Just How Low Can I Go?

Don’t worry, people, I don’t mean in a mental way. Although last week was stressful, I’m talking about finances. When I get stressed about the unknown, or thinking and wondering to myself if I’m being unrealistic about possibly workamping next fall, I start to play with figures on a piece of paper. It helps me to see things in black and white, literally, on the paper in front of me. And not on a computer screen, I mean, the literal paper and ink.

Part of having a frugal lifestyle is to cut your expenses as much as possible, while still being happy with your quality of life. As such, I’ve come up with the following as being the bare minimum of expenses I think i will have next year when on the road (and hopefully working for Amazon next fall, so I can sock away more cash.)

$538 =bare minimum student loan (interest only payments on the federal  loans)
$55 = cell phone prepaid plan (currently through Cricket)
$160 =  groceries for me
$150 = pet food, and litter, etc.
$10 =  Kindle unlimited plan (since I don’t have TV, i do read a fair amount)
$100= RV insurance (I’m totally guessing on this)
$15=prescriptions (based on amount I was quoted for one of my anti-depressants if paying with cash, no insurance)
$13=zyrtec over the counter
$100= gas and propane (again, totally guessing)

$1086 total estimated monthly expenses

health insurance=??

Now, if we were to assume I would get a workamping job that paid $8/hour, that’s $1,280 gross, and when you take out 10% for taxes, you come out to $1152 as your net. Take $1086 from that, and it only leaves $66 as extra, for savings, for expenses, etc. That’s the bare minimum. I’d like to have a bigger monthly buffer than that, so I’m not having to touch (often) whatever cash I am able to stockpile this year while making a good salary. Not that I need to spend a lot of money on entertainment, because I don’t. I live a pretty quiet lifestyle right now (seeing as I work a lot), but do find pleasure in very simple things, such as sitting by the reservoir and hearing the geese call to each other, or going for a run, or spending time with my pets, or reading a good book. (Don’t ever discount the value of a really good book!  And yes, can you tell I’m a librarian??)  In other words, I’ve GOT to think of another stream of income.

I’ve downloaded a book onto my kindle app called Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Super Book by Lee Evans, and it has a lot of information on various types of companies who hire remote workers, even for things like data entry, etc.  (By the way, it’s part of the new Kindle Unlimited Program, so while it alone costs $3.99, I get it as part of my $10 monthly subscription.)  I do type pretty fast, so I could definitely do that, as long as I can get a decent internet connection. Might be worth it to go sit at Starbucks or a public library when needed.

(Granted, if I do get a position with Amazon next fall, I know I will volunteer for whatever overtime they offer and will save as much as I possibly can. They usually have you work a guaranteed 40 hour work week, with the option of working overtime, if it’s available, bringing your total hours to 60 for the week.)

Note, above, the items my lowest monthly expense allocation doesn’t include: internet, netflix, etc. For the beginning, anyway, I am going to see how I do without paying for mobile internet. (I currently pay $55/month through what used to be Clear Internet, but they’ve now become part of the Sprint network, I believe.) No netflix, because again, I’ll be doing the free wifi thing, and I’ve heard it can be hard to use in certain places, due to a lot of traffic. I’ll download books onto my kindle app whenever I can get my hands on a strong signal, at least that is my plan.

You might also notice that I don’t have rent costs included up above. In case you are not familiar with the term “workamping” you can usually (but not always, although I will only consider positions who offer it) have your campsite fees paid for. So that’s why it is not included in my above figures.

For those of you who have already been on the road, even part-time, do these numbers for gas and insurance make sense? I also don’t know what my health insurance is going to cost. I called my pharmacy the other day to find out what some of my medications would cost if paying for them without health insurance (just because I have no idea how some of these new insurance plans work), and was told one of my prescriptions costs upwards of $159 for a three month supply. (The generic of Wellbutrin, in case you are wondering.)

So I’m planning on talking to my doctor and seeing if we can possibly wean me off of Wellbutrin over the course of next year. I think I’ve gotten beyond the stage of life I was in when I started taking it. The other one is Prozac (well, the generic.)  It’s been on the market so long in a generic form that it’s about $45 for a three month supply. The other one I take is Zyrtec, or its over the counter, store brand version. When you have as many animals as I do, and seasonal allergies (i.e. sometimes I feel like I’m allergic to fresh air), well, it’s a daily medication I have to take.  I take another medication called Singulaire, which is supposed to help with asthma, as I have allergy-induced asthma. But honestly, I feel like i can slowly wean myself off of that too. I have not had an asthma attack in oh…years. I’ve started cutting my pills in half to see if I notice a difference. So far, so good.

These are my plans so far – what do you think? Are they realistic? Am I dreaming, and you want to grab me by the shoulders and say, “wake up, Terri, this is never gonna work??” I know that things can go wrong out there. I know it’s not all going to be perfect. I’m 41, after all, not 5. 🙂  I really don’t want for much, and I know with having an RV, I can’t want for much, simply because of space considerations. But i do know, occasionally, there will be a “want” expense, like a good pair of running sneakers, etc. And occasionally, an animal may need to go see a vet, and that’s never cheap. It’s part of why i feed my guys and girls a good food like Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan, which is the high end of the Purina brand. And Bonkers gets his prescription diet, of course.

I have to admit, I’m stressed about the scooter, and in particular, being able to sell it. I’ve made a few calls to scooter stores, and they won’t take that brand in trade, or one-sided trade in, because they don’t sell it…grr….(and absolutely no hits as of yet on my Craigslist ad.) I have resigned myself to selling it at a loss, but I don’t want to lose ALL of my $3500 on it, including tags, title and fees.)

I’d really appreciate hearing your thoughts, and thanks for reading my drivel so far.

If you’ve liked this post, please hit lit or subscribe below. Or drop me a line. I really would appreciate any and all advice on this.

51 thoughts on “Just How Low Can I Go?

  1. Just default on the student loans and you’ll be ok =) If they try to garnish any wages, start working for cash.

    My take on workamping is that you could be working just as hard for a fraction of the money you’re earning now…You might be even more stressed out due to anxiety, money constraints, mechanical problems, extreme temps, etc.

    But if your heart is set on hitting the road, you can always give it a shot. If you fail, you can always go back to normal life.

    • God, I’d love to just stop paying on the loans, but unfortunately, they do follow you everywhere. Even into your social security years. My take on the workamping is that the jobs are less stressful than the one I am working now, responsibility-wise. A lot of them involve customer service, which mine also entails now (so does the front desk gym job I have) but when you go home at the end of the day, you literally leave the job there. For the most part, I’ve gotten to where I can do that at this job, but not always. But I do understand what you are saying – it could be trading one stress for another. I appreciate your thoughts. And yes, I guess I always could go back to normal life. Just not sure I’d want to at that point. 🙂

      • Oh I forgot that with some loans, you couldn’t run away from. I’m used to reading about people walking away from their upside down houses with little recourse….The workamping jobs might be less stressful but it might be more physically demanding like the Amazon gig. I’m used to sitting behind 2 computer screens all day =) Its going to take some adjustment.

        My corp job is slated to go away anywhere from 2 months to 1 year away. When one door closes, another one opens. I always wanted to get an RV and tour around the country. The plan is to get rid of all my stuff, get a decent rig and travel around for a year or longer depending on the rate of depletion of my funds. Then I will search for a job/new location (anywhere but here in Cali) or be a migrant worker.

        I’m in my mid 30’s and I feel if I don’t seize this opportunity to cut ties from the current lifestyle, I won’t ever get to do it or it will be much later in life.

      • Ramen, that is also my way of thinking, but I want to be able to do it for more than a year if possible. I have to be honest, I’m fine with physical exertion at a job. In fact, sometimes I prefer it. Having passed the corrective exercise science certification this past summer, i can tell you that all this sitting so many of us do at work all day, every day, it’s just not healthy. Gives you lots of lower back issues, tight hip flexors, etc. Migrant worker, huh? Would be cool to be able to see different parts of the country. 🙂 Oh, and I also plan on getting rid of most of my stuff too. I look around my apartment and think to myself “don’t need that…or that…or that….” Sorry to hear your job is going away but you are totally right. One door closes, and another one opens. Has always happened that way to me.

        And yes, isn’t it interesting how you really CANNOT get away from student loans, until you die?? Whereas everyone else can just walk away or default if they want to….

      • My plan is to tour most of the states for a year without doing any type of work. I need a break and I’ll live off of savings. That’s probably not the smartest of things to do but I’m making up for years of never taking a vacation anywhere.

        While on the road I’ll try to scout for things I can do as a mobile/transient/seasonal/temporary worker for after the touring period. I’ll be able to network with folks and can hone my skill set to adapt to that sort of lifestyle. I figure I’ll have plenty of free time to think it over then.

        I do need to get away from sitting all day plopped in front of computer screens. I think people are going to be in a world of hurt down the line from all of this excessive computer usage/poor posture. I’ve seen too many people around the office with wrist and back pain, most likely from decades of work in front of a computer. So you did put yourself in a good position with the corrective exercise science certification =)

      • I understand the feeling of needing a break, I really do. And yes, people’s bodies are in a lot of hurt because of our lifestyle. And our necks, from looking at our cell phones all the time – that’s not good either! Ramen, do you have a blog? I’d love to follow it if you do.

  2. Terri,

    You have done a good job of getting your expenses down to a bare minimum. I don’t see much more you can cut. In fact, you will probably need to add a few things to the list. There will be maintenance on any RV. If nothing else there will be tires, oil changes, etc. And there will be items you will need (or at least, want) from time to time. Things like a new computer sooner or later come to mind.

    Also factor in that there will weeks that you won’t thave income when you’re traveling betwen jobs.

    I live full-time by myself in my 12 year old class A motorhome. I’ve had to replace a refrigerator this year and a few other minor expenses such as renting a carpet shampoo machine about every six months. Not a big expnese, but non-budget expenses add up.

    I see your solution as finding a way to bring in a little extra income. Maybe have multiple streams of income. What I do is sell things on Amazon. I go to Walmart, Kmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc. and buy close-out items. If the items don’t sell, I have 90 days to take them back, so there’s no risk.

    I also buy items from China and use Amazon’s FBA program to let Amazon do all of the shipping. Of course, I can’t return the items I get from China, so I have to be careful what I buy.

    Here are a couple of other income streams to consider: Write books for Kindle and post videos on YouTube and monitize them. YouTube will pay about a penny per view, so 100,000 views will get you $1,000. I have a friend who received $4,000 in one month from one video. I don’t do that well, but every little bit helps.

    I enjoy your articles, thoughts and concerns, Terri. I also like your thinking and your writing style. Your words flow so smoothly and I can tell that a lot of thought has gone into your writing. Reading your articles is like we’re sitting down over a cup of coffee and talking.

    • Wow Jerry, what a lovely reply to Terri! All excellent points too. I’m right next door to my retirement years and am currently semi-retired. I would love to hit the road but it’s not feasible with my husband’s arborist business (too much equipment). Maybe in 7 to 10 years. Love hearing about how other people do out on the road. I’m sure you’re a great resource to Terri and others. Lovely way to express your enjoyment of Terri’s writing . . . I agree with your description.

      • Darris, thank you so much – I am just completely floored today with all the comments people have been living. So much knowledge, and so much time spent sharing it. I’m just, well, I’m amazed. And it has made my day (which started out with me being in an extremely grumpy way!)

    • Jerry, wow, thank you so much for being so kind! Yes, I definitely need to have some other source of income coming in. I don’t want to pay just interest payments on a student loan – I’d rather at least some of it go to principal, so I don’t have it hanging over my head until the day I die. Thank you very much for the suggestions on writing Kindle books – before I saw your comment today, I was at lunch and an image popped into my head with which I could start a story. So, I wrote it down, and I’m going to see what I can create from that. I do like writing a lot, in fact. I’ve read many books on Kindle that I didn’t think were that great, but hey, the person got the guts to write something and then put the effort into getting it out there. I applaud them for that. And a friend of mine keeps telling me that I should start doing youtube videos too. Just need to get over the self consciousness that comes with my being on screen. Thank you for the encouragement!

      • Terri,

        You don’t have to be on screen to make money with YouTube videos. In fact, the most profitable videos are0nes where someone demonstrates Disney toys and you never see a person on the screen.

        Take a look a the link below and you can see the top profit pproducing YouTube videos. Looking at some of these videos might give you some ideas.

        http://SocialBlade.com/youtube/top/country/US

      • Thank you, Jerry! I have been told I have a good speaking/recording voice because I had to do some video tutorials for my job, so that’s good. Thank you very much for the link – I’m kind of a YouTube addict so that will be like going into a candy store for me.

  3. The most important thing your budget is missing is repair costs. If you need a new tire or a battery, or a major engine repair, you’re going to be stranded 😦 You need that emergency fund before you launch. I think your plan to bank as much as possible at Amazon is spot-on. Any other lump sum ventures you can do before heading out will add a comfortable cushion to the plan. Rather than hauling stuff to Goodwill, have a yard sale – even if you sell everything for a dollar (what I usually do) that’s just that much more to put in the fund. Old jewelry? Check at a coin/metal dealer before selling or giving away – the scrap value may be more. One doesn’t need many accessories on the road 🙂 If you sold your stuff now and rented just a room for the months before you head out, how much would you save in rent?
    Have you tried moving the scooter on any of the RV forums? You can “join” for free and then have access to thousands of others who are, or planning to be, on the road. Folks are always looking at alternatives for wheels when their rigs are parked. You could also post flyers at any local RV parks, campgrounds, etc. One other completely unrelated place would be colleges. Your little ride would be perfect for a full-time student!
    Making this work is an adventure all its own – have fun!

    • Jodee, yes, I knew the repair costs were just lurking out there and that’s what I’m not sure how to budget for, other than “a lot.” My plan is to have about 6 months of current living expenses saved up and to pay off my LAL loan before I go on the road. Also, my plan is to get a motorhome by next April or so, and park it at my friend’s house in the suburbs, so I can free up about $1050 in monthly rent that I currently pay. Also, that way I can get acclimated to the RV along with all the furballs. That’s one of the reasons I have not looked for a smaller space – I am incredibly lucky to be living in a place that will allow 5 cats and a dog, however small they all are.

      Thank you for the suggestions on the scooter. I work at a law school so a few students have listed my craigslist ad information on various facebook pages that they use. But I know I need to make up flyers and put them on the bulletin boards. I’m just worried because the weather will get cold soon, and then the riding season will end.

      • My plan for maintenance is to go with a late model Toyota truck (buying from family) and brand new toy hauler. I might get death threats but the Toyotas are more quality wise over the American counterparts. Should be less problematic. I can do basic maintenance on my own like brakes, electrical work and oil changes.

        I can probably fix anything wrong with the trailer myself if the situation arises. I can do all home maintenance and the trailer has similar components.

        Buying a used motor home was something I passed over because I am not familiar with Chevy or Fords. We only drive imports in my family. I didn’t want to worry about water leaks/mold, broken components, old tires, battery conditions, living full time in a used RV that had been used as a full time RV previously, etc.

        For the scooter flyer, you post a cost analysis and lifestyle benefit with the flyer. Maybe they weren’t looking for a scooter but came across the flyer. They could see that you can park it at certain spots and not have to take buses or Uber. List the MPG vs car, names of scooter groups that are in the area, photos of famous people on scooters, etc. You don’t have much time until winter comes =)

      • Those are amazing ideas for the flyer, thank you!! I am going to get cracking on this. This weekend! And I know, don’t remind me about the cold weather!!

      • How did you learn to do all the home maintenance you are mentioning? Just while growing up? My fear is that I am not very handy, and believe me, I know it. I would like to learn some of the skills I’m going to need. If all goes well, and I can park my motorhome at my best friend’s place next summer, i am hoping to learn a lot from her dad. The man is like a living, breathing encyclopedia of information. Oh, toy haulers! They look really cool but are definitely out of my price range. I am hoping to find a motorhome that has been well taken care of, maybe by an older couple.

      • For the home maintenance, I always enjoyed watching the home shows on PBS as a kid/teen. This was before they had those HGTV and DIY channel. From watching, I was familiar with components of homes. With no father around, I had to learn how to fix stuff around the house. It might have taken me a while to fix, but I always got it done. Don’t be too scared of trying. I’m generally self-taught in everything. I’ll take a look at what is at hand and see how it’s held together. Maybe watch some videos on general maintenance of RVs so you can be familiar with the systems?

        For car maintenance/repair, I have a subscription to Alldatadiy for my car’s model. This is the same portal the car repair shops have and is what they use to determine pricing. It has the labor info like how many hours should be billed, part numbers and diagrams on how to swap parts/troubleshooting. The only difference is that the shops have a subscription that covers all cars while the consumer has to pay for each car model they want. It comes in handy even if you don’t do the repair yourself. You know exactly how many hours it will be billed for and which part it needs. Car repair shops here charge around $120/hour for labor, its good to be as informed as possible. It would also be good to keep a paper repair manual for the vehicle if you’re stuck somewhere. Even if you can’t fix it, someone else might be able to with the instructions.

        You’ll also need some basic hand tools. See if anyone has extras they no longer want to store. You can then build up your tools with stuff from Harbor Freight. The price is really good and quality is more than adequate for home DIY.

        The toy haulers I’m eying are in the $20k range so its not too bad. Make sure you keep an eye out for signs that the motor home wasn’t used for full time living previously. It will have more wear and tear on the insides. Search around for RVs parked on a pad outside of a McMansion =)

      • Ramen, you are just an amazing source of information – I hope you don’t mind if from time to time, I email you separately from the blog. I love watching those shows too, but somehow the DIY info doesn’t always sink in with me, probably because when I was married, my husband did that stuff. And before that, and since then, I’ve rented, so someone else has fixed it at their expense. But yes, I do agree, watching videos on RV maintenance is a good thing. My friend Dan, has a channel on youtube (WanderDano) and he occasionally has some videos like that. Nice on the toy haulers! What size? I know you said Toyota was what you were eyeing. And I also belong to some freecycle groups, I may just put out some “Wanted” posts.

      • Nope, don’t mind if you email. Feel free to drop me an email if you need something.

        Too bad you find it difficult to grasp these DIY things. But its something you never had to deal with so that’s understandable. You should be able to understand it better once you get your setup. It will be your own and you will have more incentives to learn.

        The toy haulers I’m eyeing are somewhere around 25’ in overall length. I don’t know how I would back the thing up if I were to buy a larger one. The Toyota Tundra truck would be 20’ long itself having 4 doors/long bed.

      • So today, I got to thinking about maybe looking at fiberglass rvs – I was originally thinking them before I started thinking of the motorhome route. Specifically, I’m thinking the scamp 5th wheel and then going with a smaller size truck like a Ford Ranger, because they are light enough that they can be towed by a smaller truck. I would have my bike in the back of the truck, I think, or could probably find a way to secure it inside the trailer when towing. Since I’m not thinking of driving all the time, that might work. And yes, I do expect to be learning more DIY stuff.

        I worked on the flyer over the weekend but am having problems adding in the photos of my scooter, so I might email that to you for your help, if you don’t mind.

      • The scamp 5th wheel looks pretty cool. Reminds me of the horse trailers I see around here and sometimes get stuck behind on a 2 lane back road. You’re most likely going to need a smaller vehicle to get around to work so the smaller truck + fiberglass trailer route would be nice. If a small Toyota truck would be able to pull it, I would keep an eye out for good deal on one of them. They’re more reliable and hold their value better. Whichever car you get, make sure it has working AC =)

        Send over the flyer stuff if you need assistance, I don’t mind helping.

  4. FYI…

    Lifetime (over 10 years) Averages
    Amount per year
    Propane $224
    Diesel $2,118 (I travel 7600 miles per year on average)
    Gas $172 (when I borrow someone’s car, I always do a fill)
    Repair $2,471 (RVs are moving houses, and things break)
    Living $11,954 (food, fun, fuel, space rental, phone, optional stuff)
    Total $16,939 per year
    Ave/Mo $1,412
    Ave/Day $46

    This is the average of what I pay per year, month, and day, for living on the road in a 37′ Class A Diesel pusher RV. I sold my house and was able to buy the used RV outright so no monthly payment. I’ve been RV’ing for 10 years now, with no home base, so it’s a good average of life on the road only. Best part is no noisy neighbors, no lawn to mow, if I don’t like where I am, I just start the engine and move on.

    The rental amounts I pay to park my RV are included in the ‘Living’ expenses. As are all my monthly payments for services not provided by RV parks, like cell phone, Amazon Prime, etc. My medical is very low so I don’t separate it out. Any expensive medical stuff I have done in Mexico. Like dental work and the like.

    I usually eat in, follow good weather so seldom use my propane furnaces for heat, stay at friends or relatives houses for free or a very small amount to reduce my parking fees (not all year, just 2-3 times a year for a month or two at a time), and often volunteer at RV parks or State/Federal parks to further reduce my expenses. Nearly all give you a free RV parking spot with services in exchange for work.

    By living frugally, I was able to save up enough the last two years to visit most of Europe for two months this past spring. And this winter I plan on spending in Mexico, again.

    Good luck with your plans, keep plugging away at that debt.

    • Wow, Jim, thank you so much for taking so much time to write all of that out for me! I definitely appreciate seeing all of those numbers in black and white. I do plan on killing one of my loans before I go on the road – it’s a little under $15K right now but I think I can do it. I was also thinking the same thing, to go with the weather. I had heard about people going to Mexico for dental work but you’re the first person I’ve actually communicated with that has done it! My brother and sister in law have also spent a good amount of time in Mexico and they plan on returning also.

      • You are welcome. It was easy to come up with those figures because I keep a spreadsheet of all my expenses, (and I mean every cent, I keep every receipt) and have since I started full time RVing. Those averages are automatically computed for me by the free Openoffice program in the spreadsheet I created. There are several separate sheets: propane, diesel, income, medical, repair expenses, and of course the main ‘Living Expenses’ sheet. I have one set per year or I have multiple pages labeled by year. Then they are all linked to the main page and automatically fill in all the various categories’ expenses when I enter stuff.

        BTW, I have a near Android Tracfone that has 3X minutes for life that only costs me $20/month. I don’t seem to use it enough and I’ve accumulated 6,100 minutes from the rollover…and it has both regular and phone WiFi. Free texting too. Only bad thing is that this LG phone ($50) is missing a GPS. Has about the same coverage your phone plan does and is about $30/mo less expensive than your plan. Thought I’d mention it. Not sure you can live with 375 minutes per month though.

      • Wow, that is an amazing deal for a phone! Do you have web searching on it? 375 minutes would probably be fine for me, actually. I tend to text more than talk anyway. Wow, I thought I was organized but when it comes to receipts and spreadsheets, I’m like a newborn compared to you.

      • Well, Tracfone.com is a place to start. Then enter your zip code. It’ll show you a page with all the phones they have…the phone I have cost me $50 3 years ago but it’s still available with 3X minutes for life and it’s only $40 now. If you sign up, go for the 125 minutes per month, no contract plan. That comes to $20 or so per month. At least that’s all I’m paying for it…pretty sure you’ll find the same plan with some searching on their site. BTW, their phones don’t work in Mexico so I have to wing it when I’m there. Which means I don’t have a cell phone down there. I’m not worried. I have a computer and tablet with Skype.

      • I will definitely check that out. Right now, I have the iphone 4S and it was a replacement phone from last fall, so it cost me $50 (had the Apple insurance) so I was planning on keeping it for a long time. I am not one of those people who has to have the newest and greatest phone. By the way, Mexico kind of scares me for the reason you mentioned – kidnappings. You are very brave!

      • I use electric toothbrushes these days (Oral B’s) and they are so efficient that I haven’t needed any extensive dental work in years. But years ago I did need some work when an old maid in my popcorn broke a tooth. I went down to Mexico for the crown work and they found a couple other things that needed to be done. Cost me $350 for what I estimated would have cost me $1500 in the US at least. Unfortunately, 2 hours after I left that dental clinic, the owner was kidnapped. I checked periodically, but he was never heard from again. I did go back to finish the work that had been started though. I’ve also had a cleaning done in Mazatlan. Very well done and inexpensive too. Most of the dentists in Mexico are American dental school trained.

      • Oral B isn’t that expensive. I found a rechargable on sale for $9 and it’s slowing down a little but still holding a charge 6 years later. Then, for my European trip I bought a non-rechargeable battery type…that one was $13. The lower cost type are usually on the bottom shelf. Sometimes it’s hard to find them at all. Some stores in some areas (upscale) don’t even carry them.

      • They usually hide them on the bottom shelf. And many stores don’t carry them because there isn’t as much profit. The $30 type really only have 2 extra heads and a fancy bubble package you throw away anyway.

      • Yep, I’m familiar with that bubble package! I’m going to check this out next time I’m in CVS. And thanks to you, I’ve decided I’m going to be better about flossing, no matter how tired I might be at night. You’re right, there is so much of your health that it affects.

      • Dental floss. Great stuff for saving your teeth if you use it every day and a strong thread for repairing things and sewing.

        Saving your teeth is the important use.

      • Or you can cut cheese with floss. Or bologna. Works as fishing line too.

        Oh, and the essay thing sounds interesting…you’ll want to do that for a while before you get on the road of course. So you’ll have a handle on it when you run into a situation with bad WiFi at a RV park. But these days, it’s fairly easy to find a park with free WiFi. More often than not it’ll be a private park rather than a federal or state.

      • I figure if I can’t get good wifi at the campground, I will just go to a starbucks or public library and use their wifi if needed. I will be able to do it before I leave, too. The folks take the bar exam during the last week of July. She said she would contact me in April so I could discuss training and certification requirements with her. Most bar review courses start around the middle of May (right after graduation, literally), so it would be about two months worth of work.

      • A good electric toothbrush is a worthy investment. Anything to prevent getting fleeced while at the dental office =) I use a Sonicare unit. Some of the lower priced Sonicare handles can use the brush heads made for the higher end model….Don’t forget to floss, its just as important. I use floss and a water flosser that connects to the bathroom faucet. Its called the RediBreeze. Its kind of satisfying seeing little bits of food shooting out =) I’ll be installing one in my RV when I get one.

        Speaking of phones, I plan on getting a satellite phone as an auxiliary phone for emergencies. I’m looking at the SPOT Global Phone. Phone cost $500 itself and $300/yr for service. But it does come with some free minutes each month. I do try to keep risk taking to a minimum but there could be any number of things happening to you while on the road or out in the bush.

  5. Moving your life to a little house on wheels is a big step but not that big once you’ve taken it! Your home is with you, it just parks in different places (as long as you want to park in different places). If you want to stay someplace you might find that renting a space to park & hook up your home makes for some of the cheapest rent you’ve ever seen and at the end of the day this is “your” home.

    There are a lot of different workcamping jobs out there, camp host, the sugar beet harvest, Amazon at Christmas, oil field gate guards and amusement parks just to name a few There are a number of folk, not retired who live this way.

    Workcamping, budgets, repairs & insurance. There is a lot of information on these things on people’s blogs.
    As a side note as you’ve mentioned student loans, they never go away.

    A few examples from the blogs.

    http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2013/01/08/final-camperforce-review/
    http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2014/01/17/camperforce-earnings-2013/
    http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2013/03/08/the-cost-of-full-time-rving-by-stages/

    http://observations-on-the-road.blogspot.com/2013/10/adventureland-workcamping-review.html
    http://observations-on-the-road.blogspot.com/2014/09/adventureland-workcamping-review-season.html

    At http://www.wheelingit.us/ if you search thru Nina’s older blogs she talks a lot about the nuts & bolts of full timing & has a good look at medical insurance, the internet & a wide variety of other things.

    In the comments I noticed Jodee mentioned maintenance/repairs, that is a very good point! http://www.cheaprvliving.com/ has a lot of good information, one of the points Bob Wells makes (and other blogs of full time travelers) is have a chunk of money set aside for when something major goes wrong.

    There is a lot to be looked at in all of this, homework IS a fact of life! 🙂

    • First of all, I love Becky’s Interstellar Orchard blog! She started putting together the Useful Stuff page after I started asking her a whole bunch of questions! 🙂 I have seen a bit of the wheelingit.us blog but will take a closer look at it. Wow, I can’t believe how helpful the RVing community is.

      By the way, my full time job is at a law library, so believe me, I don’t mind looking things up – thank you SO MUCH for all of this. Really.

  6. WOW! These response ought to make you feel all that much more inspired Terri! You’re all so supportive it makes me want to do life on the road!

    You’ve been working in this direction for some time now Terri . . . you’ve been working on whittling down your debt and doing a remarkable job. I agree with what others here have said about an ’emergency fund’. You know I’m into my second half of life and a bit of what I’ve gone through so this is from lots of experience. Stash the cash! Paying yourself first isn’t just a popular mantra, it’s good sense. Looks as if you have gathered a good supportive community willing to help you along the way, which is huge. So you keep on girl, you’re doing great!

    • Thank you. 🙂 It’s comments like yours that are keeping me going on days like today. This morning, I just felt “tired, tired, tired” before I even left the house. And it’s a long day of working two jobs, but I’m making it through. I know it’s for a reason. Just have to keep focused on that. And yes, right now, I’m trying to bank away as much cash as I possibly can. Never thought it was possible to save this much before, honestly.

    • ‘Emergency fund’…Thats what credit cards are for. More debt! I’m joking of course. But having some cards for a last ditch resort could come in handy in a sticky situation.

  7. So, I got some good news today on an online source of income. Come next April/May through July, I’m going to be certified (in as many states as I can) to do essay grading for people prepping for the bar exam. People can do practice essays and get graded as they would for an actual bar exam, so that they know where they stand. I’m told I don’t have to be admitted to the bar in a state as long as I go through the certification training. You get paid per essay that you grade. Will likely be less than $10/essay, but I will do as many as I can! It will be nice to use my degree for something like that.

  8. Pingback: Little Things for Which I am Thankful | Chasing Simple Dreams

  9. Your rv insurance should be much less than $1200/year. I pay $650/year with Progressive but that’s for my class b. Had a Casita years ago and the premiums were minimal. Of course I wasn’t full-timing. RVSue is another full-timer’ s blog who publishes her living expenses.

    • I love RV Sue – I have to read up and catch up on her blog again. I read when Spike died and it just made me so sad. My heart broke for her and Bridget. That is great to know about your RV insurance – I honestly had no idea. Living in the city like I do, it’s ridiculous what just regular car insurance runs (which is why I no longer have a car.) Thank you very much for the comment! (Oh, and I love your class B, by the way, it’s so beautiful!)

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