Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 – End of Year Expenses Report

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Here’s our 2014 end of year Expense sheet…

I’m listing the camping related expenses as line item monthly averages. Then, I total everything else up and give just a general dollar figure. If you are researching fulltime RVing you already know what you pay for food, health insurance, etc. (or even if you don’t, my figures for such things won’t have any real world connection to what you spend on them). Also, by combining the non-RVing expenses I feel I’m better able to maintain our privacy.

During the year we spent four months paying monthly campground rates and, of course, our fuel costs those months is considerably lower.  The rest of the year was spent on the road as we traveled to the Pacific Northwest from and back to our winter quarters of Texas – one of the great trips of our lives.  Also, we own a small car that doesn’t travel with us.  We have it 4-6 months a year.  That lowers our diesel use and adds a gasoline line to our expense sheet.

Summary: These expenses are surprisingly in line with our 2013 expenses and with my estimated budget.  During 2014 we spent a lot of time at Thousand Trails, this, no doubt, kept out of pocket camping costs lower.  However, we balanced that away by towing the 5th wheel so many miles, over 6300, not to mention our “sightseeing/living” miles of about the same amount.   Also, due to the fact that our travel camping expense was often at the much lower Thousand Trails rate, we actually spent more paying monthly rates than we did when we were in travel mode!  Finally, note that we have no “free parking” that is associated with workamping.  That will likely change in 2015, as we have some assignments already lined up.

2014  Monthly Expense Averages
*Out of pocket Camping  $321.86 + **Camping Memberships $77.11 $398.97
Cell/Internet/TV $202.87
Diesel (lots of fuel during travel months, very little otherwise) $414.19
Gas (note: we only had the car with us about 5 months but this is a 12 month ave.) $24.63
Misc $48.68
RV Maintenance and upgrades $110.81
Vehicle Maintenance*** $197.81
Registrations/Vehicle Insurance (pro-rated to monthly) $168.27
Propane $6.20
Mail Service $8.75
TOTAL $1581.18
Non RV expense – food, medical, “just living”****                                    TOTAL $1794.50
MONTHLY GRAND TOTAL AVERAGE
$3,375.68

*Note 1: Includes 3 1/2 months of monthly stays, the rest much more mobile

**Note 2: Like Thousand Trails, Good Sams, etc. – prorated to monthly cost -but NOT including original buy in costs, if any

***Note 3: Last year’s high Vehicle Maintenance costs continue – some repairs, some maintenance (like flushing the radiator and servicing out the transmission), plus one more serious non-warranty repair

****Note 4: These expenses include items like: Groceries & Dining Out, Clothing, Hair, Medical & Dental Expenses, Charity, Health Insurance, and Entertainment – but not Income Tax and a few other expenses

PS: If you find this information helpful, please leave a short comment so I’ll know it is worth the effort needed to provide it. Thanks.

Backing your 5th wheel

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There’s an interesting thread on the Escapees Forum about backing a 5th wheel.  Here’s a synopsis along with some of my own thoughts on the topic.

  1. If possible, always back from the driver’s side – doing it the other way puts more pressure on the spotter to give good directions
  2. GOAL: Get out and look – at the beginning of the backup for sure – then anytime you have any doubt whatsoever about where you are and what is behind you
  3. Look up – don’t get so focused on the ground that you forget tree limbs, etc.
  4. Your spotter needs to know that if they can’t see your face in the mirrors that you can’t see them – if you lose them, stop and wait until you can see them again.
  5. Your spotter’s responsibility is what is happening at the rear of the rig, the driver is responsible of that is happening at the nose of the pickup – watch out for other vehicles, etc. as you swing the nose of the pickup around to line up the 5th wheel.
  6. Remember that the “superior” people who seem to be the most entertained by your backing in are likely some of the worse drivers in the campground and need you to have problems to make them feel better about their own shortcomings (after all the worse golfer in the foursome is everyone else’s best friend).
  7. Pull forward far enough – with my shortbed/slider hitch combination that’s putting the rear of the 5th wheel 5 to 10 feet past the campsite
  8. Watch the camper tires and turn just tight enough for them to clear the edge of the campsite driveway as you begin backing into the site
  9. Once you get the tires on the side you are backing from into the edge of the campsite stop turning and start “following” the camper into the site with the pickup – imagine the camper is pulling the pickup

Feel free to add your tips in the comments to this post!

Why RVs are better than hotels

Chuck Woodbury nails it in this video: