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
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.
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