Our time with family camping in Door County was short as the weather decided not to cooperate, but it was still great to see everyone and spend a little time at the campfire and playing games. After leaving Door County after a month and a half, we headed south to do a night of moochdocking at my Dad's, get some laundry done and visit with the boys and my mom quick before we needed to head south to Goshen, Indiana for our first RV rally.
We got to Elkhart just at 4pm…um, Central time, ie. 5pm Eastern Elkhart time, which is too late to check in for the rally. We headed over to the Elkhart campground to spend the night. We weren’t alone though because there were several other Grand Design RV’s doing the same thing. We were planning on spending the night at our first boondocking site at a casino, however, with temps being well over 90, we would be running the generator all night long and it just didn’t make sense to burn through propane, when we could get closer to the rally site and have FHU pull-thru site with a Good Sam discount. We got a good nights sleep and were up early and over to the rally shortly after they opened at 10am to check in.
The Elkhart County fairgrounds is a gem of a fairground in every way. It is huge, has beautiful grounds and can accommodate around 500 RV’s. There are numerous FHU sites with 50amp, numerous more 30amp with water and the ability to create many more temporary sites with 30amp and water. Being that we were coming in the second day for arrival, we were escorted to a temporary 30amp and water site. Holy RV campground! It was a bit overwhelming to see over 375 RV’s and over 800 people milling around. The Grand Design rally started Tuesday with a hilarious “presidential” entry by the CEO of Grand Design and wrapped up Friday with an arial shot of all the participants surrounded by Grand Design RV’s, followed by a concert at one of the stages. This rally far exceeded our expectations and the organizers really did a great job organizing the events, meals, seminars, excursions, creating an amazing swag bag and just plain herding cats, i.e. attendees! Every day started with a full breakfast and announcements and then the day wrapped up with a full meal and fun event such as line dancing, campfire stories, concert and S’Mores. We, however, did not take part in all of the evening events as we met many new friends that we just plain hung out with at our RV’s and got to know one another. It was a very casual environment, with more folks stopping by to say hey or pull up a chair and sit awhile.
We signed up for the Amish Brown Bag excursion and spent the day touring Amish sites, with stops at a woodworking shop, buggy shop, quilt shop, E&S wholesale, bulk foods and a bakery. At each stop we received a gift for our brown bag. We scored Amish pretzels, popcorn, jam, and cinnamon rolls. We also attended an Amish Threshers dinner at an Amish families homestead. This was followed by a very interesting Q&A session with the owners on Amish life. Very interesting!
One of the benefits of coming to the rally is having the ability to choose 3 things you would like to have fixed while at the rally. Being that our RV is relatively new, we choose a couple minor things that we could think of at the time, which was 4 months ago. Additionally, they added our bent hydraulic jack to our list that we damaged in Door County. When we arrived we checked in with service to ensure they had all of our requests, including the jack and to let them know we were there. Within 3 hours we had a knock on the door from the tech and he was ready to take care of our items. He did a great job fixing those items as well as checking out a couple other items we inquired about. He also let us know that he would check to make sure the tech who would be installing the jack knew we were there. He came by the following day to install the new jack right at our site. Strangely enough, the last day of the rally, I went to open the microwave and it sparked and went dead. Dead as a door nail. Rick went over to the service desk and because it was the last day of the rally, they were unable to get a new microwave to the rally, so they will ship s a new one to our next destination. While there, Rick also got a couple packages of LED light strips for the outside lighting. Did I mention that all of this was FREE?!?!?!?! We were one of almost 400 RV’s there and just about everyone submitted a list of repairs of varying degrees, from minor things to larger items like awnings, leaf springs, jacks, etc. All were taken care of and then some. I can’t even tell you how many techs were there from Grand Design and Lippert, a major supplier of RV parts. Grand Design has a company motto, “We strive for nothing less than customers for life.” I think they definitely have a few!
In addition to Grand Design and Lippert booths, there were numerous other RV parts, supply and product vendors set up with booths and conducting seminars. We went to several seminars where we learned some new things and affirmed some things as well.
We also visited the vendor booths (insert large amounts of dollars leaving the wallet here). First, we found a fellow RV’er selling sink cover storage racks for an Amish gentleman who makes them and stains them to match the RV wood décor. They were very well made, including backer braces and I am always playing move the sink cover, while doing dishes, so this was something that would help to organize the kitchen area and reduce the clutter.
Next up was a extension pole and microfiber, double-sided mop heads for the wonderful Wash and Wax All I had bought Rick for Christmas. This stuff is amazing and allows you to wash and wax your rig in one step without water. Soo many RV parks today do not allow you to wash your rig with water in their park and with a Beacon wash running well over a hundred bucks a shot for truck and RV, this was a wise investment. Rick got to work on Sunday washing half of the RV. It works amazing and the mop heads clean up easily in the wash.
We then came upon the sign vendor that creates any type of vinyl monogram of sayings or pictures to put on anything, including your RV. We had talked about getting something for the back of our rig and after seeing all of the other great things they were producing, we succumbed to ordering ours. It really turned out nice and we put that on Sunday as well while we were washing the RV. Watcha think?
On Saturday morning we said goodbye to all of our newly made friends and as luck would have it, we will be visiting next week with one of the couples who are staying for a couple weeks, just 20 miles south of us when we get to our next workamping gig in Hanover, IN. We will meet up with another one of the couples when we get to our workcamping gig in Mesa, AZ next spring and will possibly be crossing paths with a couple others as we move to different areas and try to fit in some of the smaller Grand Design rallies held across the nation. Grand Design is definitely like family, everyone from GD staff, to techs, to fellow GD owners. An amazing experience!
We stayed at the campground through the weekend to avoid the mass exodus of RV’s and enjoyed a couple quiet days taking in the horse show and racing events. We were able to get most of the RV washed, our new rally acquisitions installed things organized and stowed for our travels.
During our time in the greater Elkhart area, we also had time to visit the RV Hall of Fame and Museum, some local eateries, the laundromat and of course Walmart. We also stopped at the Goshen Chamber of Commerce and picked up a CD driving tour of the area, including the Amish countryside. We split the CD’s up into two days and really enjoyed the wonderful things we learned about the area.
We left the fairgrounds Monday morning and made our way south to Hardy Lake State Park. This location puts us close to our next workamping gig, which we will travel to on Tuesday. This park is quiet with most of the campers checking out to get back to the daily grind after the holiday weekend. The campground here, as well as the park, is very well kept, clean bath houses and we even scored a 60ft paved site with 50amp electric. Rick was able to get the rest of the RV washed in the shaded area of the site, which was good because the heat index was 100! A quiet dinner and a relaxing night of TV was in order, followed by a good night sleep so we are fresh for our next big adventure on Tuesday.
SHOP AMAZON HERE
Have any Amazon shopping to do?? Do it from our Amazon link! We participate in the Amazon affiliate program and we appreciate you using our Amazon link above to make your Amazon purchases. It does not cost you anything additional and helps us to support our blog. You can even save our link as a favorite and use that whenever you need to make an Amazon purchase. Thank you!!!
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!
Have you heard of side hustles or gigs?? In this day and age of rapidly expanding technology, the gig economy is the fastest growing job segment.
Basically, these are different ways to make some extra money or make a part time living with many of these opportunities being short term job opportunities. You are basically working for yourself with the freedom to do what you want, when you want. The list of these contract or freelance type opportunities are endless! It could be anything from web developer, translator, social media host to on demand jobs like UBER driver, personal shopper, auto inspector, virtual test juror, mystery shopper to app based activities.
As we get closer and closer to taking this show on the road, I started to think about how we could make additional side money to fund this journey. In fact, I started thinking about this before I even retired from my full time job last June. That is when I stumbled on the intriguing idea of side hustles. I cannot tell you how exciting and flexible I have found gig jobs to be! You could certainly make a full time job of this, but I am looking to just do this part time. We also want to explore some of the "traditional" type of full time RV'er work camping jobs and these side hustles will allow us to do both! So for those family and friends who are not full time RV'ers, you will find that you too can benefit from this article.
In this post I am going to focus on those that I have personally done or researched at length and plan to do. If I did not narrow it down, this post could turn into a book! I am going to group these into categories: on demand jobs, mystery shopping, app based activities.
On Demand Jobs
The picture above only captures a small portion of what is available out there for on demand jobs and they are growing by the day. Below are some that I have personally signed up for.
SHIPT This is the one that started it all for me. On Demand Grocery Delivery. I cannot tell you how much I love this and how wonderful this company is! SHIPT is all over the US, partnering with many different grocery stores and now is expanding into Target stores, Costco and liquor stores. SHIPT was recently acquired by Target which will allow them to scale quicker and allow Target to get into the delivery service to compete with Walmart and Amazon. As a shopper, I make my own schedule, down to the hour, and can take off for any amount of time without having to get it ok'd by the boss. Awesome, huh? Plus, this gig is totally portable since SHIPT is all over the US. As we travel to new locations, I can go into the app and change my metro location and start shopping. It is just that easy! As a shopper, I go into the app and put myself on the schedule for any amount of time I want that day, by hour increments. Shoppers then place orders online and choose a time to have their groceries delivered. You shop the order with the app and check out with a SHIPT funded credit card and then deliver the order to the customer. For those looking for a job that will offer those feel good moments and a sense of helping the community, imagine delivering to an elderly, wheelchair bound customer, who is unable to shop for themselves or a new mom with a colicky baby who ran out of diapers and you come in to save the day. Pretty cool! The pay for this can be pretty good as tips are appreciated and accepted in cash or on the app. It is not unheard of to make up to $25 an hour, but know that it is on demand, so it is dependent on customer demand as are most all of these jobs. For more information, follow this link. Also, you can enter my referral code (referral code: 33323) on the application and I will get a couple bucks. Appreciate it!! If you do decide to sign up to be a shopper, you also are a customer and get deliveries yourself without paying the annual fee. However, if you think this would be a great option for you to get your groceries delivered, follow this link and you will get a discount on your first order.
WE GO LOOK This and the next gig are two that are on demand "Lookers" if you will. Think of it as someone, such as an insurance company or potential buyer, wanting to see a vehicle or property. They would contact one of these third party companies and they would dispatch one of their Lookers to go out and take app based pictures. The app is so easy that it is hard to screw it up. You can accept or decline the requests as your schedule dictates. You can also change your location so they keep up with your travels. You are paid via direct deposit in a couple weeks. Check it out here.
ONSOURCE This is another "Looker" type gig. Similar to We Go Look, you use an app to capture pictures. You also get paid via Direct Deposit. Check it out here.
The differences between these two? I would say I get more offers through We Go Look and they are pushed out via an app alert whereas Onsource calls you. Onsource pays a bit better and the pay is usually in my account in a week, where We Go Look is there in about 2 weeks.
Appen **12/11/2018- I am now also working for Appen, which is a great work from home type job that you can do anywhere. I am currently a Social Media Content Reviewer and am enjoying the flexibility this job provides. Here is my referral link to hopefully get you in the door quicker rather than having to go through FlexJobs. https://connect.appen.com/qrp/public/jobs/list?uref=453f0159695377e8cc6a122874ae37d7
Roadie This is a delivery service and could be local or if you are traveling, you can make some money taking something along and delivering to another city or state.
Postmates Their Fleet app lets you deliver food delivery from restaurants and stores.
Shiftgig This app is more of a way to find some short term work such as picking up a catering shift or working at a special event like a concert. Once you sign up, you are able to search the app for available gigs.
TaskRabbit This is an app that allows you to search for tasks. Things like, moving furniture for someone, yard work, personal assistant or helping with other projects.
Mystery Shops/App based company & product reviews
Mystery shopper/app based review type gigs are unbelievably abundant! This includes observing everything and anything. It could be anything from making a call to a university to review their customer service capabilities to reviewing the cleanliness and customer service of a restaurant, oil change shop or Walmart to conducting a mystery shop on apartment sales staff or window sales people. The great thing about these are that you are reimbursed for purchases or services. For instance, I rated a carpet cleaning business and got paid for my review and received $225 worth of free carpet cleaning. I also have received many free meals for rating restaurants service and cleanliness. I have done movie trailer checks to record movie goers response to the trailers shown before a movie. I also got paid for putting coupons on spaghetti jars and taking a picture of my work, which took me all of 10 minutes to do. Plus you choose which ones you want to do, when you want to do them. One word of caution, you must follow directions for each shop. You will be financially penalized or even perhaps not paid for a shop if you do not follow directions. It happened to me once and that is all it took! Newbie mistake! I now make sure to read the directions very carefully and make sure I get all the requirements.
Here is a list of those apps that I actively use with links for you to sign up for:
MarketSource There are two divisions of this company. One is the mystery shopper component and the movie theater component. You will need to sign up for each separately.
Presto InstaShops Some of these are quick ones were you take a couple pictures and you submit. They also have others that are more involved.
Secret Shopper This company has a variety of shops from evaluating YMCA tours to cable company customer service reviews. They list them by city or by map location.
IPSOS Mystery Shopping This group does alot of mystery shops for the postal service, which means you get reimbursed for sending packages and get paid. WIN!!
Gigwalk This is one of those apps you can check and do shops on the fly. Not alot of preparation necessary and you can pick these up and do them when you are out and about.
MaritzCX This company does alot of gas station audits. I have done several of these lately as they pay pretty good and once you get the flow down of what a brand (i.e. Mobil, Shell) is looking for, it gets pretty easy to get the evaluation done quickly.
Field Agent If you want to just get a feel for the review process with some quick shops, this is the one of the apps I would recommend to start with. They are on the fly gigs but do have a 2 hour completion time frame from the time from the time you accept the shop. If you shop Target and Walmart, this is the gig for you!
Survey.com This company offers a wide range of gigs such as standard mystery shops, merchandise resets, product demos, stock products or promotional displays. I am currently doing a gig for them where I stick some coupons on a product. This is another great one to earn some big money for some of these gigs!
iSecretShop This company has gigs anywhere from mystery phone shop, web evaluations, to checking out certain fitness programs, hardware store and restaurants.
EasyShift Just as the name suggests, this is another one that is a quick grab and go mystery shop app. Easy quick shops.
GigSpot This group has a wide variety of mystery shops. I have done several phone shops for them as well as an in home window replacement mystery shop. They have several groups underneath them that they organize mystery shops for so there is always a wide variety of gigs.
JobSpotter Finally, these last two are a bit different than the others. This gig is actually run by Indeed, the online job board. Everyone has seen local businesses hiring for help these days. This gig would be to take a picture of the help wanted sign and upload the picture on the app. This activity earns you wallet points to purchase gift cards.
eJury This is an interesting concept of having virtual jurors to prepare for trial. I am signed up but have yet to get a virtual assignment. It just goes to show, you could do just about anything virtually!
Again, these are the gigs that I personally signed up for. A couple reminders ... these are 1099 jobs so you do not get a W-2 for so if you plan on making a full time job out of these, you may want to look into the tax planning portion. You also need to make sure you pay attention to detail and instructions. Most all of these rate their shoppers and better ratings mean more shops!
These gigs are plentiful and completely flexible, so why not get started and dabble in some today! They are fun and fit any lifestyle! Who couldn't use a couple more bucks in their wallet!
Fast forward to late 2016...
We started to uncover answers to alot of our questions about the full time RV'er lifestyle.
How would we get mail? Well, come to find out there are several mail forwarding companies that cater to the full time traveler. My Dakota Address, America Mailbox, St Brendans Isle and Escapees, just to name a few. They also have several levels of service they could provide from simple mail forwarding to scanning all mail to a site for you to review.. You also can have mail sent to a general postal address and pick up your mail at the local post office, if they allow. Who knew!
RV Insurance-How is it different if you live in your RV? There are specific policies offered by several companies such as National and Geico that insure your vehicles, RV and personal belongings as full time RV'ers.
A big one for us, what do we do about health insurance? There are a couple options for Full Timers including buying a policy on the exchange, starting with a COBRA policy, even exploring faith based sharing programs.
All of these questions and more all funnel up to an important decision of determining where we establish residency. For FT RV'ers, this is one of the most important things to determine. It seems there are a couple states that, for a variety of reasons, float to the top. They are Texas, Florida and South Dakota. As of the moment this blog is published, FL seems to be our front runner as they are the only ones to have a national network for their marketplace insurance option with BCBS. However, that could change so we will monitor that closely.
Next we move on to the all important topic of money.
We met with a financial planner and found we could make this dream a reality, thanks in part to hard work, good investing and the ability to workcamp as we embark on our journey. That was the exciting part! We were going to trade our corporate life for jobs like cleaning fire pits, checking people into their campsite and many, many other camping life type jobs. It also gives us the opportunity to use our current skills to make a living too. If you've read our ABOUT US PAGE, you will know that Rick is a chef and he is really looking forward to making some food at an RV resort for a couple hours and then retiring to the RV. No more staff to manage, corporate clients to please and budgets to meet. Who knows, maybe cooking classes at an RV resort. The possibilities are endless! As for me, I am exploring all sorts of passive income opportunities, dabbling in this blog and other online jobs. I am getting pretty good at being a Secret Shopper, Shipt grocery shopper, etc. You would be amazed at what is out there! I am also now signed up to be a virtual juror. Crazy!!
So at this point, the plan is starting to come together. We still have some unanswered questions like, what are the boys going to do, what kind of RV are we getting, do we have a tow vehicle to use for local drives, etc.
Up next, some big purchases coming in our future.
Shop AMAZON Here
By shopping through our link, you help to support our page and allow us to keep bringing you more exciting updates of our travels.
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies
Try building your own Weebly site!
Proudly powered by Weebly