Winter has flown by...and it hasn't. The calendar is moving but I wish the weather here in WI would play along. We were teased with a day in the 50's and now headed back to the 30's. Come on Mother Nature, we have alot of work to do outside to get the house ready for selling in mid-April! Plus green grass would be nice for the real estate pictures! Drab brown with no leaves and no flowers blooming is just, well, drab!
We have been busy with inside work and the sorting through of everything! Even though we have moved a couple times over our married lives, we have still managed to accumulate stuff. Stuff that I am getting excited to get rid of and live more simply. Just the other day I was going through all of my office stuff and found a landline phone we used way back when we were first married...why??? To all my UnitedHealthcare peeps, I finally shredded the manual for the conversion to the new Facets claims payment system, well new back in 2011!!! LOL It just shows that we hang on to alot of stuff over the years that we never refer back to or use again. It really has been liberating to see large stacks of paper be eaten by the shredder and things we no longer use or will use in the future be put in the sale pile. I know we will get to stuff like the things the boys made growing up and such, that will require a box of Kleenex or two to get through, but I figure we can take picture of the precious things and they can keep what they want.
We have been interviewing estate sale companies and have had three stop by to look at what we have. We have narrowed it down to two and should be making a decision this week. We will have the sale three weeks after the house goes on the market, in mid-May, as it coincides with the annual village wide rummage sale here. Hopefully this will allow enough time to get an accepted offer based on the recent sales trend in the neighborhood, which have all been less than a week.
We have been receiving weekly updates from Burlington RV on the status of our upgrades and repairs and we are down to waiting on two parts to come in and be installed. We will be going to look everything over on Saturday and our hope is to bring her home Good Friday. Then the task of starting to pack everything in begins; optimizing the just over 400 sq feet of space and basement storage in our Solitude. I must say our basement storage is probably some of THE best for a 5th wheel and you would think we could pack it to the hilt with everything and anything BUT there is one tiny thing we need to keep in mind, and that is WEIGHT. The frame and suspension of the RV is rated for soo many pounds of additional cargo. Our Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW) is 14,200 and our Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is 16,500. This leaves us 2,300 pounds to play with. That means all of our belongings AND water and propane cannot exceed that. It may sound like alot but when you start to add up all of your clothes, food, dishes, computer, kayak, tools, camping accessories, etc. , not to mention that a gallon of water weighs just over 8 pounds and we have a 93 gallon fresh water tank on board, it can add up quickly. This means that the cast iron pans we love to use on the campfire will be limited to one and the awesome heavy duty Calphalon pans we use at home will need to find a new home. Bringing items along that are lightweight or multipurpose is the name of the game now. In fact, I found an all in one printer/fax/copier that alot of folks use on the road and it weighs 5 pounds, whereas the one I have at home is over 26 pounds! I even thought I could help the cause so I am loosing weight too! LOL
If we do pick up the RV on March 30th, that gives us two weeks to get it packed and move it off site for the house to be ready for real estate pictures and listing. My dad and stepmom are putting in a 50 amp plug for us on their property just north of us, so that we will be able to hang out there in between our camping this spring and summer and when we return to WI to visit family & friends. It is good to know we will have a place to land, that can accommodate our 42 feet of home when we are in WI. Thanks guys!
We also have been working on getting all of the medical/dental/vision squared away as well. I just had the PRK laser eye surgery done as a f/u to the Lasik I had done many years ago so I should be good for vision for awhile until I have to break down and get cheaters. Rick is scheduled for his eye exam and the boys are getting all their vision checks too. Dr visits are underway, prescriptions refilled and discussion with Dr's for refills down the road. Dental visits scheduled and poor Rick needs a root canal before we go, perhaps two. Ouchh!! As we get more acclimated to the full-time lifestyle, we will probably look into the dental and pharmacy benefits to be had in Mexico. I have read many blogs on their dental tourism and how wonderful it is and how cheap too.
That is all for now and I suspect our next update will be when we bring the RV home. Til then, Happy Easter!
Alright, back to our regularly scheduled blog. Thank you for indulging me on the last two posts. We have had alot of questions on how we would support ourselves financially as we venture into full time rv'ing and I thought it was a good time to share some of the ways we will make it happen. More to come on workamping as we get into our first workamping job, coming in July.
Can you believe it is already March? We have been busy getting the house ready to sell next month. We painted and put new flooring in a bathroom, started to declutter and stage but still have alot more of the packing away and organizing to go! Alot of discussion about getting rid of everything. We have had family come through and pick what they would like and now we are looking at options of getting rid of the rest. We are leaning more towards having an estate sale company come in and take care of all the "stuff". With loading the RV, selling the house, moving and getting the boys settled, Rick still working full time and Brady graduating, I am thinking it might be a bit more than we can manage to have a couple rummage sales to try and get rid of everything. Having a company come in and take care of it sounds great! Although, they charge a hefty price, I am leaning more to it being money well spent. Perhaps a combination of both.
We have also been looking at some things that we still need to purchase. These are requiring a good bit of research since they are more expensive purchases. A tire pressure monitoring system(TPMS) is a must. One of the worst nightmares of an RV'er is to have a blow out going down the road while you are pulling your house. We already have a TPMS on the dually F350 truck and could expand that system to include the trailer monitoring. Definitely a strong option. We are also then looking at stand alone systems and have done a good bit of research and scoured the full time blogs and Facebook groups for tried and true recommendations. One of the contenders is the TireMinder Smart TPMS system which works with your smartphone. This would mean we would not have to have another monitor in the truck and could monitor it off of our cellphone. This system has repeatedly been recommended by current RV'ers as very dependable and easy to use. We could hook both the truck and RV up to it or even just the RV and save some money. Still doing a bit of research here but we really want to have this in place before we start our camping in April.
Another item we are wanting to get is a backup camera. Even the best of the best RV drivers wouldn't mind having this helpful tool. Rick and I have had many a "friendly discussion" while trying to back up the camper. Now imagine backing up a 42 ft RV into a tight spot. We have a backup camera in the truck and I have one in my Explorer and I rely on that regularly. We have friends who have one and love it. In fact, they have one with an observation camera and love that they can see traffic behind them on the road while they are traveling as well. I think this would come in very handy to ensure we have plenty of room to make lane changes and the like since it will require a bit more planning than with just a truck. Again, after a good bit of research, the Furrion Wireless Observation System is the front runner for an observation camera. We already have a Furrion adapter installed on the back of the RV , so it makes sense.
The other big ticket item we are looking at is a tool box for the back of the truck. If we can put the tools in the back of the truck, it will take precious weight out of the RV that we can use for our household items. Not like we are bringing everything and the kitchen sink, but it is amazing how everything adds up quickly on weight and we only have a certain amount that we are rated for. In the future, we are looking at perhaps upgrading axles or making modifications that will allow us to carry a bit more as we can then add solar too. BUT that is a big investment and we need to get out on the road first before we even think about that. This toolbox will need to be one that is low clearance as we have a trifold bed tonneau cover. The other factor is that it will need to fit behind the fifth wheel hitch in the bed. There are ones like this that fit in the back of the bed by the wheel well and then there are ones like these that sit behind the cab. We still need to do some more research on this before we pull the trigger. We also need to take some time to pull all the tools together that we will be taking so we can make sure whatever we choose will be able to hold everything.
As we are working on things at the homestead, Burlington RV is busy working on our new home while it is being stored there. They are working off our list from the PDI walk thru in the fall, changing out some shades, adding a battery and a Maxx Air cover. It was a slow start and some miscommunication, but they now have their master tech assigned to our RV and we are getting weekly updates on progress. The great thing about having the master tech on the job is that he has seen it all and is lending his critical eye and has come up with a couple other items he feels need to be addressed. They have been working with Grand Design and things are moving along. In less than a month we go to pick it up.
As we wait, we have been trying to think of names for the truck and RV. I guess Rick doesn't like me referring to the RV as Big Pig anymore. Some RV'ers have such great names for their rigs and we are just not coming up with something that we feel fits. Hey, if you think of something, let us know! Until then, Big Pig it is!!
As I continued to think about ways to not only make money on the road, but also save money, I found some really great ways I could put my phone to work with some money saving apps. These are some super simple ways to either get cash back or build points to cash in for some great gift cards. Below are ones that I use with links for you to sign up. Some of them come with some incentive points just for signing up, so follow the links and enjoy!
ibotta This app gives you cash back on your savings from your everyday shopping. They have a long list of items that you could be reimbursed anywhere for 25 cents up to several dollars. You upload your receipt, identify which items you have purchased and the credit your account. Alot of the items are for name brand items, however, they even have just generic items such as lettuce or cereal and then you get credit for any brand, even store brand. I am in the routine now of just checking the app before I go grocery shopping for an awareness of the items they have listed and then when I am done, I upload my receipt. When I want to cash out, I can do that right on the app and it is paid via paypal or venmo or you can purchase gift cards. Follow this link to sign up and get $10 welcome bonus!
Checkout51 This app is similar in concept to ibotta, however, they send checks in the mail when you cash out. You can start to cash out when your account hits $20. I like how Checkout51 is organized. I can quickly scan through their items, sometimes they are the same ones as ibotta, which means double savings! Another great thing about them is that you can link your store loyalty cards for some stores and it automatically identifies your items and deposits the savings in your account without you having to take a picture of your receipt. You can sign up here.
Fetch Rewards This app is another one that give you points for purchasing certain brand items. You again scan your receipt and the credit you points for certain brand purchases. Then you can redeem your points for rewards, such as gift cards. One thing I really like about them is that you don't need to identify the brands, they are automatically identified when you upload your receipt. So you literally snap a picture of your receipt and they match them for you. Sometimes you might need to verify some if they can't match them, but they make that process super easy. You can sign up here and if you put in my referral code (ref code AT2XU), you will earn 2000 points when you upload your first receipt.
SavingStar This is another app that rewards you for purchasing brand name products. You can also link your loyalty card for some stores and have the savings automatically deposit to your account. The savings post to your account in as little as 2 days and you can cash out once you have $5 in your account. They pay via paypal or bank account. One different about this app is you will also need to scan the UPC of the product. Check it out here.
Receipt Pal This app is a bit different in that you just upload any of your receipts grocery, gas, restaurant, etc. and you earn points which you can redeem for gift cards and sweepstakes entries. Super easy to snap a picture and effortlessly receive points. You are even able to earn points for your online purchases. All you need to do is connect your email address and when the receipts come in to your email box, they consider that for points. Sign up here.
Receipt Hog Catchy name huh? This app is really cool and makes saving fun. Some types of receipts earn you a pull on their slots for more points. This is where I won enough points alone to purchase an $80 Amazon gift card!! This is the same concept as ReceiptPal in that you take pictures of all your receipts and earn points to redeem for rewards. This app is soo popular that some people have told me they were placed on a waiting list, while others are able to sign up right away. Go figure. You can also connect your account to your Amazon account and your Amazon orders earn bonus points and sweepstakes entries. Sign up here.
Shopkick This is another fun app that not only gives you points for things you purchase, you also can accumulate even more points when you scan items in the store as you shop. There are even some stores that you can earn points just for walking in the door and having you app open to acknowledge it. Shopkick also provides points for online shopping as well. You can also add loyalty cards here as well. Sign up here and you will get extra points just for signing up.
So there you have it, some great apps to start saving some money! You may think that this is alot of work, and I thought that too, but now I have gotten in a rhythm and it is pretty easy. First, I have put all of these apps on one screen on my phone. Then I line up all my receipts for the last couple days on the counter. I then start with the first app and start taking my pictures until I get to my last app. I then hang on to the receipts for a couple more days, just in case there is an issue with my upload. I have redeemed for several gift cards and have cashed out for some cash as well. Another good point to make is that these apps have anonymity statements where your personal information will not be used. I love these apps and hope you will find them useful in saving money as well!
But wait...there's more!!!
I forgot two very important ones that my friends were waiting for, so here they are.
ebates Yes I love ebates! I always find deals there, not to mention when I purchase something, they give me a % back. Sign up and share in the savings!
Last and certainly not least is Earny!!! Earny has saved me some serious cash! This app watches purchases made with your linked credit cards and if he finds a lower price within the price match time frame of your credit card, usually 90-120 days, he automatically goes and gets you that money back and it is credited to your card. Within a 2 month time frame, Earny has earned me just under $100 for 3 items! Sign up here to start saving too!
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