As we continue to prepare for our road trip, it is becoming apparent that we are in a tug-o-war between our desire to keep expenses low for this trip and the necessities required to have a great adventure.
We are less than two weeks from our scheduled departure date and our spending has begun to pick up. We have purchased several items off of our needed items list including an infrared temperature gun to measure tire temperatures, a replacement water pressure regulator for the RV and now a new bike rack. The first two items are necessary for safety and preventive measures. The bike rack however was something we debated over and over and ultimately decided to get it.
Our old bike rack was very cheap and hung on the back of our RV ladder. The problem was that it caused damage to our bikes and to our RV during our road trip last summer. We didn’t just fork out a small fortune for a high end RV to have it ruined by a cheap bike rack. At first we thought we would skip the expense and not bring our bikes with us on this trip. But we always enjoy riding our bikes to sightsee and to get some exercise. As we wavered back and forth over the past week, we had another stroke of luck. We had listed an RV stovetop on eBay that we had replaced with an upgraded model. The listing had been up for months and we were thinking it would never sell. We were getting to the point of finding a way to dispose of it so it wouldn’t continue to take up space in our garage. Well, wouldn’t you know, it sold at the perfect time! We were able to use that money to offset a good part of the expense for the new bike rack.
But we are not out of the woods yet. We still have a very long list of items that we need to purchase. The big difference for this trip is that we are actually taking the time to discuss things before we buy them. In the past we would have just ran out to every store and bought everything on our list without regard for price. We also would have probably come home with a few hundred dollars of merchandise that was not on the list but struck us as a must have at that moment.
So what are we doing differently this time around? We have already decided that we will not be spending much money on fast food for this trip. Our RV has a full size residential refrigerator so there is plenty of space to load up on food. Besides, what is better than bbq and/or anything grilled when you are camping? To get more bang for our buck, we will be purchasing what we can in bulk from Costco. The challenge there will be getting what we came for and getting out of there without a cart full of other stuff. It’s always been common for us to buy a lot of stuff we don’t need at this store, but I think we can handle it this time. Everything else will be purchased at Walmart or one of the cheaper grocery stores.
Additionally, when it comes to non-grocery items, we are doing a lot of comparison shopping to make sure we are getting the best price. A good example of this was the replacement water regulator. We were at a big box camping supply store and they wanted over $70 for this regulator. We held off and looked online at different places and ended up getting it for under $50. That’s a huge difference in price. We also saved a good amount on the bike rack compared to the first prices we saw when looking for one. We ended up buying the previous model of the one we liked and it was on clearance at a significant discount.
The way we are going about preparing for this trip is completely different than our past trips. That in of itself shows we have made significant progress in changing our mindset and behavior patterns. But the true test will be when we hit the road and how we handle things in the moment.
What do you do to cut spending and save money without feeling like you are sacrificing too much?
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