Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Sweet Smell of Good Planning

I have been fortunate in that I've had several house sitting jobs over the last few months that have allowed me to kind of "test drive" the whole living in an rv thing.  I'm on the last job and had to do a bit of planning for this one.

My friends live at the top of a very steep hill.  Very steep.  I emptied my tanks and stocked up on food before tackling it, knowing there would be no quick trips to the grocery store for snacks or whatever I might run short of.

It was a little unnerving when the ToyHome continued slow down as I drove up, but before I hit 0 mph I hit the top of the hill.  Nope, not driving up that again - I'm here for the duration.

This longer-term (two and one-half weeks) sitting job has taught me two very valuable lessons:

1) Three weeks is too long to go without having fresh cat litter, and

2)  It doesn't take much to stink up a small space.

It's not that I'm not cleaning the kitty potty, but as the litter is removed, the odor absorbing abilities decrease and the whole thing gets smellier.  Ah well.  A couple more days and I can clean the whole thing out.

The other nice thing is that most homes come with a ladder and I had the chance to seal the solar panel installation points and tape the vents and things on the top of the roof.  I think I can sleep without fearing the rain now.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Financial Reckonings

I really dislike discussing personal finances but I found it frustrating while reading other blogs that many folks don't talk about costs.  Everyone starts from a different financial springboard and how can you know if your plans are realistic if the only numbers you see are for people working on the road and spending $2000 to $5000 a month to live?  I can't do that with having to work, and the whole point of this is to not work any more.  So for other cheapskates exploring ideas, here's the breakdown so far:

'Rigadoon:  $4000 + $450 for tax and license.
She came with an excellent engine, new shocks and new tires.  All the appliances worked when they had the rig and so far each one I've tested has worked for me.  I did have to shell out $45 to get the belts tightened and have a bracket thingy replaced on the tailpipe.

She has no generator, air conditioning or tv - and this is exactly what I wanted.  Generators are noisy, air conditioners require shore power and I've got piles of dvds to keep me entertained without trying to manage finding tv stations.

Solar:  $450.  Includes 2 100-watt panels and an mppt controller.  I estimate that this is twice what I'll need, but it's only a guess based on other peoples' experiences.  They sell these things as kits for your rv so really, there's no excuse to not get one.  Installation can be pricey, I've heard, but the Main Man (MM) will install this one when I head back to Western WA,

Inverter:  $160.  1000W Pure Sine Wave.  Since I will mainly be using it for computers and other finicky electronics I wanted the more spendy pure sine wave type to protect my stuff.  The 1000W I estimate to be 4X what I'll need, but the MM pointed out that you can always use less, but if you need more, you're in trouble.

Sealants:  $120.  Includes a variety of supplies.

Toilet Seat: $51.  Yes, a FIFTY DOLLAR cheap-ass plastic toilet seat.  Makes me mad every time I think about it but the one in the rig was both broken at the hinge and cracked on the seat.  I would have happily duct-taped it to the bowl to keep it from sliding, but sitting on cracked plastic is just not something I'm prepared to do in support of frugality.  Curiously, the broken seat has the remnants of self-stick Velcro on it.  I just can't imagine what they were doing...

Upgrades and small fixes: ~$50.  Includes led lights, new porch light cover, adapter so seatbelt doesn't smack me in the neck.

Foam pad: $90.  The over-cab bed is very firm and has a few bumpy spots where the cab-cover is.  I ordered a custom size slab of medium-soft foam to put on top to make it more comfortable.  It comes tightly wrapped in what seems like six rolls of plastic wrap.  Remove all that and it springs back into shape like magic.


Assuming I've forgotten a few things, my total so far is right around $5400.  Less than the cost of a used car and far less than paying rent in Seattle.  'Rigadoon gets around 15mpg so she's also my only vehicle.  Insurance for full-timing in her is about $27/month including towing - less than what I was paying for the Chevy S10 although with a bigger deductible.