Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Making Sense of Cents -- Mar 1, 2016

March 1st!  I'm into the countdown days now of leaving my winter spot!  People are starting to slowly trickle out of the BLM....not a big surge yet, but soon there will be a noticeable difference when I look out over this huge area.  I've made a tentative plan for summer travels, but need to veer away from that initially and head up to Scottsdale to put stuff in my storage unit (since I'm evidently never going to get it cleaned out!) and maybe head back up to Payson, AZ to help a friend out with some things.  Just have to see how it works out...nothing carved in stone quite yet.

People ask me....."So how do you afford to live this lifestyle?"  "How much does it cost?"  Not unusual questions at all!  Some parts are easy to answer, others not so much.  But it's a lot less than living in a house, I can tell you that...especially if you take the "boondocking" approach!

This perfect site cost me absolutely nothing!

Here's an overview of my particulars. Skip this entire section if you have unlimited money resources! Personally, I have about $500/month in "fixed expenses". Those expenses include RV insurance, health insurance, the storage unit, a credit card payment, and Verizon...they are the same every month.  These fixed expenses would be different for everyone, so that's something you would have to calculate for your own particular situation...you may have a car payment and/or an RV payment, for example, and also, I am just one person.  Start with that.  The other thing to try to start with when considering this lifestyle as a full time endeavor would be no debt.  Now that I'm on a totally fixed income, I keep a spreadsheet of all my expenses.  In addition to the fixed expenses, my other expense categories are:


As you see, I have no "RV Park" category.  It may happen that one day I might need to stay in an RV park or other "pay" area, but it's not something that is a constant, reoccurring cost.  You may want to include it, however, if you plan to do something besides boondock.  My goal has always been to "stay for free"!  Side note:  I did just receive my "Senior Pass" (I can't really be a "senior" !!! ACK!) which entitles me to 1/2 off for life at any federal-run park.  That would include National Parks, national forests, etc.  Cost? $20.  Period. So, I may utilize that here and there.  

Most of the above categories are self-explanatory.  Nonfood consists of items like paper towels, soap, batteries, duct tape, postage, general household items...anything you buy that you don't eat! Entertainment consists of something like a book, or magazine, McDonald's fish sandwich - because "eating out" - anywhere - is "entertainment" for me!...most anything that you buy that is not a necessity, but a bit of a luxury (for me, maybe a "pay" area), is what I consider "entertainment". Cash - I carry very, very little "cash".  But occasionally I think I should have a few dollars in my pocket, so I'll get $40 when I check out my groceries.  I do not account for where this money goes.  $40 in cash lasts me a  long time....like weeks.  Nikko - Nikko's dog food, treats, and if there are any, vet bills. Medical - anything not covered by insurance, including your initial deductible.  Gifts - we don't exchange gifts to any great extent in my family...we're almost all adults, so this category sees few entries.  You will include at least some of these categories in your spreadsheet, and perhaps others.

The last column on my spreadsheet is "Savings".  So far, I have actually been able to save some money back out of my fixed income check....which is just an average amount....nothing to write home about.  Now, having said that, I have not been driving hardly at all over the winter.  That will change very soon, so my gas column will see more entries and my savings column won't be accumulating at it's current rate.  But that's all part of the plan.  I can calculate a rough estimate of what my mileage might be over the summer...I know I get 7.4 mpg, I can research the average gas prices....so therefore, I can get an idea of what I might spend in gas coming up. Thank goodness gas prices are so low now!

All sound like too much work????  Well, it takes a few minutes to make the spreadsheet entries, but it's worth it to be able to live this lifestyle on a minimal fixed budget and not wonder why you have no money for gas or food.  So, there you have it.  This will be of utmost consideration if you are planning for fulltime RVing.  Let's stop talking "shop" now!  Here are a few miscellaneous photos....

Remember my Mexico post with the vendor making something by hand for me?  

Here's what he was making....totally from scratch..15 minutes...
with just a few skeins of heavy threads:

A bracelet for my great nephew, Ryan...for his 13th birthday!  He liked it!

A few interesting campers have come and gone from the BLM...
This very cool Airstream, for one!  I think he was here a few weeks last year, too.

This next one is really different!  The owners, Becky and David, are from Andover, Illinois and purchased this camper last year.  These train car campers are made by Glenn Wallin in Dixon, Illinois.  This was his 12th creation.  No two are alike as each one has a different theme.  #13 is a Pullman car style.  They are built on a Coleman Camper pop-up frame and are 11' long.  A fellow camper saw the inside and said it was flawless - meticulously designed and constructed!

We had our little 9-hole golf tournament over at Coyote Ridge...part of this BLM area.  There were four teams.  My team came in last, but I did make a par to try to help us along!  Here's one hole of the course....see the little white flag?  Very hard to find your ball with all the trees and brush!  Very different than where I play most days!  Afterwards, there was ALOT of food!  All in all, a fun day!

That's about it from here for today!  Except for a few signature sunrise and sunset shots!

As always, thank you so much for shopping Amazon via my blog link!
Time to start thinking about  "spring gardening"!

So long for now, from me and Nikko!

"Let's see some new places!"


  1. Good insight into off-grid life and expenses. I can see that a budget is necessary.

    Weather sounds great! Safe travels when you leave!

  2. I would like a show of hands on those that "Skip this entire section if you have unlimited money resources" :)

    I wonder if you use gasbuddy.com when you hit States or certain cities? This has saved me a LOT of bucks over the years.

    Keep the blog going.... a part of my life now....

  3. Happy to hear your are still enjoying the blog! Yes, I use gasbuddy.com religiously! It is a huge help especially when you are out in the "boondocks" and not passing very many stations! And....since my gas gauge doesn't work at all I'm more than aware of the miles I've traveled since my last fill up!