Cost Considerations of RV Living in Retirement
Research your options by looking online and on YouTube. There are many YouTube channels dedicated to inexpensive ways of living in a RV (and not just living in RV parks).
CheapRVliving.com and the YouTube channel by the same name have options for living cheaply in a motorhome (without renting space), but also living out of a renovated van or other vehicles.
He discusses very inexpensive yearly passes to national parks, Bureau of Land Management places, and some Native American lands set aside by the Native governments to rent to vehicle dwellers, such as Quechan tribe land.
Many guests on Bob's videos help round out his 15+ years of experience living this way. They come from all walks of life looking for freedom and cheaper living options.
Since you have a year to plan, spend a number of months studying videos and websites to determine if this looks like the lifestyle for you and what type RV might be best before you buy. Also, learn what signs of problems (water leaks, mold, etc.) to look for when buying a RV and which RV brands have good reputations with customer care and which are not reputable.
You don't have to buy a $100,000 RV to live well. Many have spent $10,000-$20,000 or less on preowned RVs and used their remaining money to live and enjoy retirement.
editor's note: Visit here for more on the cost considerations of RV living in retirement.
Before You Buy: Appliances
My washer was on its last legs. We priced new ones at Lowe's and online and didn't like the prices we were seeing. Therefore, I started watching for used sales. I found a washer and dryer combination that was just one year old for half of what a new set would have cost. The couple was moving and didn't want to pay to move them. Next time I need any expensive thing, I'll check used before buying new.
Additional TDS Resource: Visit our library section on "Buying Appliances"
Before You Buy: Clothes
Unless you're really well organized, you probably have a corner of your closet with clothes that you haven't worn in forever. I needed to make room for the new selections, so I cleared out some stuff from the back. I found that there were a few things that I hadn't worn in awhile but I still liked. I gave away the things that I wouldn't wear, but added my old favorites to my regular choices. I didn't need to spend nearly as much as I thought on new clothes!
Before You Buy: Cleansers
Before you buy any household cleansers, you should read the labels. For instance, OxiClean™ does a good job of cleaning, but the main ingredient is dry bleach, which is super cheap. Why pay for the advertising? Most cleaners contain only a few chemicals that are readily available. I save a lot just by reading labels and buying the active ingredients.
Additional TDS Resource: Visit our library section on "Natural Cleaners"
In Case of Emergency
We all know to put our "in case of emergency" numbers in our phone, but that's not enough. My daughter-in-law gave me a little thumb drive that I have on my keychain. On the outside, it's marked "ICE." It has my vital information with all my current meds, allergies, and doctors listed. Also, I included my current insurance information and who to contact if something should happen. It's in a text file, so anyone can read it. It's also easy to update. I haven't had a need for it yet, but I'm glad it's there if I need it.
My Higher Interest Rates
Nobody likes paying high interest rates on credit card balances, but I've found a way to make a higher rate help me save money. Each month, I see how much interest I've been charged. Then I make sure I add that much to the minimum payment I make. It forces me to pay a higher interest rate, but it also helps me reduce the balance.
Additional TDS Resource: Pay off debts or save first?
Wedding Rehearsal Dinners
Our daughter was planning a medium sized wedding but didn't have a large budget. Both the groom's parents and my husband and I aren't in the position to do much to help. For the rehearsal dinner, we used the church hall (a community center would work well, too). We found a small, part-time catering company online. They did a wonderful job for a very small price. We're learning that the best way to save money on a wedding is to throw away all the rules and expectations. Just do what it takes to make the bride and groom happy. If friends and family truly care about the happy couple, they'll be happy too!
Additional TDS Resource: More inexpensive wedding rehearsal dinner ideas
Doing It Backwards
Sometimes starting at the end is the best way to save money. At least that's what we do in our house. We already were saving by sticking to a shopping list when we went grocery shopping. Then we decided to try something new. We created an "unshopping list," which is a list of things that we would NOT buy! Initially it was things like the Big Gulp and a treat at Starbucks, but we've expanded the list. The money we save has been going towards our credit card balance. It's coming down! We can't wait to get it paid off!
Additional TDS Resource: 6 easy ways to get out of debt
Back to School Buses
Every school bus driver will tell you that they find and turn in lunch boxes, backpacks, sneakers, and all kinds of stuff each week. Now is the time to make sure that you include your child's name in any item that you'd want returned. Do not include phone numbers. The school already has your number. Bad guys who might pick up the backpack don't.
Grandmama's Time Saver
My grandmama was a great cook. She raised six kids during some tough times. Before she died, she showed me some of her secrets. One that's worked well for me is the pressure cooker. It's not as fast as a microwave, but it does a much better job of not drying out foods. The new pressure cookers are so much easier to use than the one she had back when she was feeding a family. Another benefit is that the pressure makes even tough cuts of meat come out moist and tender, which is something that is not possible in a microwave.
Additional TDS Resource: More pressure cooker recipes & resources
A friend who installs carpet gave me this advice when we bought new carpet for our living room. He said that I should have a few pieces bound and use them as runners in front of the door. He said that it would save the carpet under the runner. Also, the runner piece would be a good patch if I ever needed to do a repair somewhere in the room.
Additional TDS Resource: More on cheaper carpet cleaning
We're getting a bumper crop of tomatoes this year. I'm freezing all that I can get my hands on. I put them on a cookie sheet where they're not touching and freeze overnight. From there, they go into a freezer bag for storage. When I have some time, I'll run them under hot water for a minute and then pull off the skin. After doing this, I will be able to easily make some tomato sauce.
Additional TDS Resource: Frugally freezing meats
My solution for storing excess stuff? It isn't to rent one of those storage lockers. It's to get rid of some stuff! It might just cost $80 a month, but that's nearly $1,000 a year! For that much, I can replace a lot of the stuff that I would be storing.
Additional TDS Resource: When you have too much stuff
My brother-in-law teaches high school band. When our son signed up for band, we needed to get him a trumpet. We were told not to buy the cheapest one we could find. He said that they often are harder to play for the student and need more repairs. He said that if we wanted to save some money, we'd be better off shopping for a good quality used instrument since so many kids play for a year or two and then give up band. We followed his advice and found a good used horn for our son.
Additional TDS Resource: More on buying instruments
We keep our chest freezer organized with plastic storage containers. I have one for beef, one for pork, and one for veggies. The containers make it easy to find anything without a lot of searching. Before I had the containers, it was impossible to keep organized. Every time I looked for something, I'd end up with everything once again disorganized. It got so I didn't even want to use my freezer. Now it's easy to find what I need and put everything back in its place.
Additional TDS Resource: What are the best containers for frozen foods?
Lawn Tool Storage
Here's a really cheap way to keep rakes, shovels, and brooms organized. Just put three cement blocks on top of each other with the openings facing up. Now drop your tool handle down into the openings!
Additional TDS Resource: Visit our library section on "Lawnmower Maintenance"
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