Keeping track of Expenses

We’ve gone over the numbers, did our due diligence and made our best guesses on what this lifestyle is going to cost, but until we actually experience it, we really don’t have any idea. We are going to try to be disciplined enough to keep track of all our expenses. The biggest expense, the motorhome, is already paid off with the proceeds of the house sale. Everything we read suggests going into this lifestyle with no debt and we heeded this advice.

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Some monthly expenses we are happy to see go away – mortgage, utilities, CABLE, lawn care, motorhome and car payments, (we sold our second car in the auction).

These will be replaced with camping fees, diesel fuel, Dish satellite.

Our cell phone bill with increase with the need for more data and additional sim chip for readily available cell and internet service. Our gas fuel consumption with increase due to sightseeing trips when we are parked and want to get around.

We will have maintenance on the car and motorhome – a difficult item to predict.

Our motorhome insurance will increase as we add contents and full timing coverage.

Our health insurance (ObamaCare) will decrease slightly as we take up residence in Columbus with our new mail forwarding service. And we will have some expenses associated with the mail service too.

Things that should stay about the same are our groceries and entertainment expenses (although some full timers find that they eat out more and are tempted to try local attractions and restaurants resulting in higher expenses in this category). We do like to cook, mostly simple meals and grilled items, so this should help.

Even though we’ve had the motorhome since June 2015, and 2 other motorhomes before this one, with the additional use in living in it full time, we felt we needed to replace and upgrade some items. Some one-time expenses for preparing to full time were:

A new tow bar for the toad- the one we had was 12 years old and not up today’s standards. We bought a new Blue Ox at the Newmar rally in West Virginia last year.

A Tire Monitoring System – We went with the Tire Minder System which monitors all the tires on the motorhome and car and alerts us if it detects a problem.

A new GPS unit specifically for RV’s we went with the Garmin RV760LM. The motorhome’s built-in GPS/Radio system is awful. We program our length, height and width and it takes all that into consideration when calculating the route. So far, so good.

Cell booster for voice, another cell booster for data, a wifi WAN router and antenna, etc. to stay connected. More about these in an upcoming post.

A new printer – the one we had was way too big for the motorhome (but the old one sold for $130 in the auction, which more than paid for the new one)

We are using a backup unit we already had and our Microsoft Surfaces as an internal computer system.

Various storage solutions – bins, hangers, organizers from Ikea and the Container Store.

A toaster oven – the oven in the coach is a Whirlpool convection/microwave which is noisy and takes forever to preheat. The Cuisinart toaster oven we purchased fits nicely on the counter and worked out great for us.

An additional fire extinguisher

A fireproof, waterproof safe for documents we may need with us. (We also scanned everything important and our daughter have copies on terabyte drives we provided them with).

An external water softener from Amazon since everything, from the sinks to the glasses and dishes, were getting spotty.

Still on the list are a new braking system for the toad, an extra fire alarm for the storage bays and a Bluetooth receiver for the radio.

So from time to time we’ll let you know how we are doing against budget.

Grandparenthood

Eleven years ago today, we became grandparents. Everyone had told us how wonderful it is but until it happens to you, it is hard to imagine just how great the experience truly is. When your babies have babies it seems your life has come full circle. Your children are still your children, but now your love expands to a whole new generation and your family takes on a new dynamic. Your children start to appreciate you as their parents when they become parents of their own children.

It’s hard to believe it’s been eleven years. We’ve watched that tiny bundle grow and mature into a young lady with her own hopes and dreams and a bright future ahead of her. We see so much of her mother, our daughter, in her – but as she grows older, she is becoming an unique personality and less and less a smaller version of her mom.

We love all three of our grands and are so happy we have another one on the way. We are delighted by their accomplishments and love to watch as they find their passions in life. Some people are sad to see their children and grandchildren grow up and long for them to be babies again. We choose to enjoy every new phase of their lives at just the point in life in which they are currently. We’ve seen Abby develop her math skills, have fun with gymnastics and become a blossoming actress. Luke loves sports, especially golf and football. He constantly entertains us with his goofy sense of humor. Mary, at almost 2 delights us with every new milestone and is already crazy smart. We’re sure the new baby will develop her personality and talents and make us equally proud.

Happy 11th birthday Abby! We can’t wait to see what other amazing things are in store for you. We hope to have many years to continue to watch you grow. Mum and Pop love you, and love being your grandparents.

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RViewToday – the birthday girl

Embrace the Pace

Embrace the Pace is is the motto of the little town of Nappanee, Indiana. I posted before that we were headed to Nappanee, the home of Newmar, the manufacturer of our motorhome. There is a large population of Amish and Mennonite in this area and we were welcomed by a horse and buggy as we entered the town.

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RViewToday – lots of buggies

We arrived on Saturday and by Sunday night the main parking lot was full and a couple coaches were parked in the overflow lot awaiting the early Monday morning knock on the door from the service technician. Sunday we managed to find a church in nearby Bremen and attended Palm Sunday services and ate breakfast at Nettles Restaurant. We split a haystack – a local dish consisting of hash browns, eggs, sausage, biscuits, gravy, and bacon. We’ve seen other variations on the ingredients. Breakfast cost just under $10 for both of us.

 It’s cold up here in northern Indiana and there was frost on the car Monday morning when we woke up at 5:30 to greet the Newmar tech at 6 am. Breakfast was at the Dutch Pantry within walking distance from the lot – but it was too cold to walk, not to mention still dark.

 Newmar supplies a nice customer lounge with wifi, tv, puzzles and a place for comradery. You can take a factory tour to see how the motorhomes are made, which Tom did on Tuesday morning.

 We also visited Coppes Commons, a complex of stores in an old warehouse, and ate at the Deli there on Monday.

 Wednesday, we drove to Shipshewana, about 50 minutes away, and checked out the antique auction. We definitely did not allow ourselves to start accumulating ‘treasures’ after we just purged ourselves of 40 years’ worth of such. In season, there’s a giant flea market at Shipshewana also. We visited a few of the stores to look around and when we got back, our motorhome was finished. Well, they said it was finished, but we still had a few more items on the list that will have to wait until the next trip. We ate dinner with a nice couple we met here at El Cielito Lindo in downtown Nappanee. A decent Mexican meal.

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RViewToday – Shipshewana Antique Auction

 

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RViewToday – More Treasures Check out the Auctioneer

 

The best part about “Camp Newmar” is meeting the other Newmar owners. You compare “war stories” and ask each other “So, what are you in for?” (sounds a little like prison, huh?).

 We plan to stay until Friday and make our way to Indianapolis to visit family.

Cabinet Latches

Caution – this post contains hardware installation instructions.

Fingers crossed this solves an annoying problem.

It seems to be a common problem with the pantry that, while driving, the drawers slide out, hitting the door causing it to swing open. Newmar’s solution was to place a few more latches which worked, but made it very difficult to open the door. We had installed a sliding tray in the under sink cabinet in order to have better access to things stored there and this cause the same problem with the door opening while in transit.

Our solution was to install some 1st Alert safety latches which are intended for baby proofing. These latches open and close using a magnetic ‘key’. We purchased them from Amazon for a cost of $16 that included a 4 pack of latches with one key.  We need to purchase an additional key in case we lose or misplace our one and only key.

 Latch

Here’s how we did it and how it works:

The process involves the installation of the latch on the inside of the door and the lock plate on the frame. This is accomplished with the furnished templates, a drill with appropriately sized drill bits, and a Phillips Head screwdriver. Please take a few minutes looking through the instructions and playing with the mechanism to feel comfortable with how it works. I have to admit being skeptical of the installation procedure (but that is normal for me). So rather than using the supplied double sided tape templates to mark exact hole locations, I used Scotch Tape first to test the process. It worked well enough that I used the prescribed method on the second door. A word of caution though. Since you will be drilling a couple of holes in the back of the cabinet door, make certain you check the drill depth so you don’t drill through. I do that by wrapping the drill bit with some tape to indicate proper depth.

So how do they work once installed? There is a push button on the latch that allows the lock to engage or not. For us in the Motor Home, we only have the lock engaged while driving. Once at our new site location, we hold the magnetic key against the front of the cabinet door over the latch. This pulls the actual lock back into the latch allowing the door to be opened. Once opened, we push the button to disable the lock allowing the cabinet door to be used as normal. With limited use so far it has worked great and has solved the issue of sliding drawers pushing open the pantry doors while traveling.

 

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