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GR "Scott" Cundiff

Our 2019 Expense Sheet

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1 hour ago, jules2go said:

That's a big wowza reality check. Now how can I trim some of this fat......¬†ūü§£

Are you looking to trim the figures he posted or those that you have calculated? There are numerous ways that a budget can be trimmed, but you need to also look at things that will not cramp your enjoyment of the lifestyle. When we went on the road we were too young to get SS or our 401k so we began to do RV volunteer positions. In the course of that we discovered that it was the right lifestyle for us, once we expanded beyond the campground host positions. By volunteering, not only did we save the cost of RV sites and most utilities, but we also got to see places not open to the public and to have experiences that we would never have had in any other way. We got to do things like banding songbirds, doing a black bear survey, operate a water powered flour mill, and a long list of other interesting things. There are choice places to volunteer in every state so it needn't restrict your travels. 

Let us know what areas you are thinking of trimming and there is likely someone here who could make some suggestions.

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3 hours ago, jules2go said:

That's a big wowza reality check. Now how can I trim some of this fat......¬†ūü§£

There may be more room in the day to day expenses than in the camping expenses.  For instance, limit your eating out.  Or, from the camping side, travel less, stay longer, or, as Kirk suggests, volunteer for a campsite or work camp.  Also, we don't boondock - you can save a lot of money staying on BLM land.

As I've said many times, our purpose isn't to spend as little as possible - instead, it is to live on what we have to spend. 

 

Edited by GR "Scott" Cundiff

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I really appreciate your posting of your budget and also the extensive review of Thousand Trails parks. We traveled on a Thousand Trails zone pass for 3 seasons (not full-timers) before buying an Elite membership last Fall. 

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8 minutes ago, ToddF said:

I really appreciate your posting of your budget and also the extensive review of Thousand Trails parks. We traveled on a Thousand Trails zone pass for 3 seasons (not full-timers) before buying an Elite membership last Fall. 

Thanks Todd - We've stayed at a lot of Thousand Trails, glad to share our experience with any who are interested.

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We're pre-retirees (59/61) and watching expenses closely as we prepare for retirement. It's very helpful when other RVers share expense info...helps us validate our own figures which of course will vary from anyone else but still give us an idea of what costs to expect. Not planning to go fulltime. 

The major items I've noticed recently are as follows:

The pandemic forced us to eat "at home" 100% of the time with some take out orders. Costs for food have dropped dramatically since we are no longer paying $30-$50 for a meal plus tax and tip. When things return to normal, I plan to limit eating out to once a week. I really don't miss the whole process of looking for good restaurants (at least half are mediocre), driving to them, waiting for a table, getting food that isn't exactly what I want, etc etc. Also, I quit drinking 3 years ago, and while I don't miss it, a big part of dining out was often the wine and cocktails which of course add to the cost. We also eat much less now that we are seniors. Big restaurant meals often left us feeling bloated and frankly, sick.

Health insurance is the other biggie, discussed extensively in another thread. Medicare, whether it be at 65 or 60, will make that part of the budget much more predictable and affordable. We've built up separate HSAs so we'll have funds for all the things we know won't be covered. This might save us money on expensive supplements since we would have funds on hand for possible expenses, many of which wouldn't be covered by supplements anyway. (Dental, glasses, alternative therapies etc).

Since we upgraded to the Thousand Trails Elite membership, our camping fees have dropped dramatically. (It was $6,000 to acquire a "used" membership, pay the transfer and cancellation fees associated with switching from the zone pass). On this 3 1/2 month trip, over 100 nights will be in TT parks at no out of pocket cost. The annual membership fees for the Thousand Trails Elite program are about $625 (ours included Florida sales tax because the original membership was sold in Florida) plus the $299 for the Trails Collection. I budget $115 per month for these 2 items plus the fees for Escapees, KOA, Passport America, and Good Sam. I look at the $6,000 as a good investment and plan to pass it down to a family member when the time comes. 

In 2012, we bought a used 1999 Lazy Daze Motorhome and got heavily involved in the Lazy Daze owners group (online). Because so many Lazy Dazer's are full timers, I sort of leaned in that direction (in theory). After 7 years of camping part-time, going FT is not in the cards. Instead, I sold my 2nd home which paid off a mortgage and raised some cash for the Thousand Trails membership and the rest added to savings. I will never own 2 homes again! I is more than enough!  It's a long story about how it evolved, but suffice it to say, property ownership is overrated in my estimation. If Home #1 wasn't such a good deal, I'd look more at fulltiming as it really appeals to me (in theory). 

Home #1 is paid for and runs about $850 a month for everything including Association fees (no lawn or snow work on my end), property taxes, insurance, utilities, culligan service, security monitoring, internet, and $100 for a personal maintenance fund. We are blessed with low property taxes ($2,000 per year) for a 1800 SF townhome with an attached 2 car garage. I know a lot of full timers SELL their home to get away from much higher taxes and other expenses. Makes a lot of sense to me. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, ToddF said:

If Home #1 wasn't such a good deal, I'd look more at fulltiming as it really appeals to me (in theory). 

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Since fulltiming for 18 months, I have found our monthly costs are virtually the same as when we lived in a S&B, minus the house-specific costs.  

One time I told my wife that if we needed to save money, we would stop eating out so much.  That is a large, and easily controllable expense.  We eat out (usually lunch) about 5 times a week.  

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6 hours ago, ToddF said:

We're pre-retirees (59/61) and watching expenses closely as we prepare for retirement. It's very helpful when other RVers share expense info...helps us validate our own figures which of course will vary from anyone else but still give us an idea of what costs to expect. Not planning to go fulltime. 

The major items I've noticed recently are as follows:

The pandemic forced us to eat "at home" 100% of the time with some take out orders. Costs for food have dropped dramatically since we are no longer paying $30-$50 for a meal plus tax and tip. When things return to normal, I plan to limit eating out to once a week. I really don't miss the whole process of looking for good restaurants (at least half are mediocre), driving to them, waiting for a table, getting food that isn't exactly what I want, etc etc. Also, I quit drinking 3 years ago, and while I don't miss it, a big part of dining out was often the wine and cocktails which of course add to the cost. We also eat much less now that we are seniors. Big restaurant meals often left us feeling bloated and frankly, sick.

Health insurance is the other biggie, discussed extensively in another thread. Medicare, whether it be at 65 or 60, will make that part of the budget much more predictable and affordable. We've built up separate HSAs so we'll have funds for all the things we know won't be covered. This might save us money on expensive supplements since we would have funds on hand for possible expenses, many of which wouldn't be covered by supplements anyway. (Dental, glasses, alternative therapies etc).

Since we upgraded to the Thousand Trails Elite membership, our camping fees have dropped dramatically. (It was $6,000 to acquire a "used" membership, pay the transfer and cancellation fees associated with switching from the zone pass). On this 3 1/2 month trip, over 100 nights will be in TT parks at no out of pocket cost. The annual membership fees for the Thousand Trails Elite program are about $625 (ours included Florida sales tax because the original membership was sold in Florida) plus the $299 for the Trails Collection. I budget $115 per month for these 2 items plus the fees for Escapees, KOA, Passport America, and Good Sam. I look at the $6,000 as a good investment and plan to pass it down to a family member when the time comes. 

In 2012, we bought a used 1999 Lazy Daze Motorhome and got heavily involved in the Lazy Daze owners group (online). Because so many Lazy Dazer's are full timers, I sort of leaned in that direction (in theory). After 7 years of camping part-time, going FT is not in the cards. Instead, I sold my 2nd home which paid off a mortgage and raised some cash for the Thousand Trails membership and the rest added to savings. I will never own 2 homes again! I is more than enough!  It's a long story about how it evolved, but suffice it to say, property ownership is overrated in my estimation. If Home #1 wasn't such a good deal, I'd look more at fulltiming as it really appeals to me (in theory). 

Home #1 is paid for and runs about $850 a month for everything including Association fees (no lawn or snow work on my end), property taxes, insurance, utilities, culligan service, security monitoring, internet, and $100 for a personal maintenance fund. We are blessed with low property taxes ($2,000 per year) for a 1800 SF townhome with an attached 2 car garage. I know a lot of full timers SELL their home to get away from much higher taxes and other expenses. Makes a lot of sense to me. 

 

 

Sounds like you have done a good deal of research.  That's what we did too - I didn't want to jump off a cliff and then try to figure out what came next!  I think this thread is one of the best real world budget information to be found anywhere: http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=120595

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On 10/11/2020 at 3:01 PM, GR "Scott" Cundiff said:

There may be more room in the day to day expenses than in the camping expenses.  For instance, limit your eating out.  Or, from the camping side, travel less, stay longer, or, as Kirk suggests, volunteer for a campsite or work camp.  Also, we don't boondock - you can save a lot of money staying on BLM land.

As I've said many times, our purpose isn't to spend as little as possible - instead, it is to live on what we have to spend. 

 

That makes a lot of sense and pretty much sums it up. Thank you. 

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On 10/11/2020 at 1:16 PM, Kirk W said:

Are you looking to trim the figures he posted or those that you have calculated? There are numerous ways that a budget can be trimmed, but you need to also look at things that will not cramp your enjoyment of the lifestyle. 

Let us know what areas you are thinking of trimming and there is likely someone here who could make some suggestions.

I'm in the early stages of researching, and so was commenting more about ways that I might be able to save because I know I won't have much to live off of and don't have much in "savings". But I'm not even there yet to know what I would want or need to trim. Your volunteer positions sound so lovely. I foresee that I would be doing similar things, work camping, etc. I can't wait. I'm working three days a week and can do all remote work and make enough to live, but it's a hard job and I'm feeling really burned out. Every time I come home from my mini trips (3-4 days) to be back to work it gets harder and harder to do. But having the remote job is part of the equation so that part is solved in some ways. Thank you everyone here for so much great info and support. ...I think I need to find the forum page here for psychological support ;)

 

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If you visit Kirk & Pam's Great Adventure you will find a lot of information about volunteering and while some parts are a little bit dated, most of it is still pretty valid. While we did mostly unpaid but there are also paid positions in the commercial RV parks and they vary widely in what you get in return. We stayed with the volunteer positions because we wanted to be selective in what we were willing to do, while most paid positions in RV parks require a lot of cleaning and things that we prefer not to do. We typically traveled for 3 weeks to a month, then sat at some volunteer location for between 1 and 4 months, then moved on again. Many volunteers find 1 or 2 places that they really enjoy and then just travel between them but we were looking for opportunities to see more of the country and to experience new things so we usually didn't go back to a place that we previously had spent time. We did receive a stipend at two of the places we were in our first year or two but those have pretty much gone away due to the budget problems of most government agencies. In most campground host position with public parks, you are mostly an information source and litter patrol. Some do require cleaning of toilets and such but we did not accept those. We found that we soon became bored in host positions do didn't do many of them but if you were working via the internet they could be a good choice. For us it was as much about the new experiences and things that we learned as it was about the budget, even though the result was that we spent very little for campsites in our 12 years and sometimes even had propane supplied. 

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On 10/11/2020 at 2:01 PM, GR "Scott" Cundiff said:

<SNIP>  Also, we don't boondock - you can save a lot of money staying on BLM land.<SNIP>

 

 

Greetings,

Would you define BOONDOCK and "BLM land", please?   As a true newbie, these terms don't mean anything.

Sorry and thank you,

Smokier

Edited by Smokier

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11 minutes ago, Smokier said:

Greetings,

Can you define BOONDOCK and "BLM land", please?   As a true newbie, these terms don't mean anything.

Sorry and thank you,

Smokier

The easy one: BLM in the RV world stands for Bureau of Land Management - public lands where RV camping is allowed - sometimes disbursed and sometimes in campgrounds (without any hookups) - mostly in the western US -  https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/camping

You can have a lot of fun around the campfire with "Boondocking."  Some people think it is staying anywhere without hookups (including Walmart or in a rest area).  More commonly, it means camping in an area without designated campgrounds or hookups (often on BLM land but not necessarily) - check out the most famous boondocking area Quartzsite, AZ.

Have fun in your research.

Edited by GR "Scott" Cundiff

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5 hours ago, Smokier said:

Would you define BOONDOCK and "BLM land", please? 

Welcome to the Escapee forums!

We "older" folks tend to say dry camping for staying somewhere that has no hookups(like in a parking lot or truck stop) and reserve boondocking for staying in areas that are remote and have no campground such as the BLM land that Scott has referred to. In recent years the term boondocking is commonly used for both. 

Just on the subject of BLM, another common acronym used here COE meaning Army Corps of Engineers which has many campgrounds around lakes that they manage. Let us know if you run into other terms that we toss about or anything else that could be helpful. 

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Greetings,

Thank you @Kirk W and @GR "Scott" Cundiff for the responses and definitions. We (the bride and I) are in the pre-retiree category (58/59).

We have dear friends who are FT'ing it now and having a blast.  We hope to join them in a few years.   Our goal is to sell everything, and go with a HDT / 5th wheel combo.   My task is to learn, plan and study the do's/dont's and watch out fors.   Your Budget sharing and experiences help tremendously.

Thank you,

Smokier

 

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3 hours ago, Smokier said:

Greetings,

Thank you @Kirk W and @GR "Scott" Cundiff for the responses and definitions. We (the bride and I) are in the pre-retiree category (58/59).

We have dear friends who are FT'ing it now and having a blast.  We hope to join them in a few years.   Our goal is to sell everything, and go with a HDT / 5th wheel combo.   My task is to learn, plan and study the do's/dont's and watch out fors.   Your Budget sharing and experiences help tremendously.

Thank you,

Smokier

 

Best of luck in your planning!  You'll find the best HDT information available here on this forum.

So far as budgeting information, I imagine you'll have to look at people's pre-2020 information to find anthing useful.  2020 has been such an atypical year that I doubt there will be much that will be helpful.  In fact, I won't publish my expenses this year. 

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5 hours ago, GR "Scott" Cundiff said:

Best of luck in your planning!  You'll find the best HDT information available here on this forum.

So far as budgeting information, I imagine you'll have to look at people's pre-2020 information to find anthing useful.  2020 has been such an atypical year that I doubt there will be much that will be helpful.  In fact, I won't publish my expenses this year. 

This year's expenses could still be helpful by indicating what could happen when you can't travel for one reason or another. Personal or vehicle illness comes to mind.

Linda

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