May 2021 Financial Update

May was a relatively quiet month which was a nice change of pace from what we have experienced over the last few months. It feels like we are settling into a new routine and we have been able to enjoy more time in the outdoors. We did a few hiking trips this month, two of which were in Bryce Canyon National Park, and I have been going up to our favorite lake a couple of days a week to fish with our son and my dad. At this point the most difficult thing to deal with is helping family understand we are not on vacation and we can’t go out to dinner every night or stay up late and play cards. Mrs. RVF still insists on continuing to work so we still have a schedule to keep for the time being.


Bryce Canyon National Park

Now that we are getting settled into a routine we starting to get a better picture of our living expenses and how they align with the budget we created. May was really the first month we have had since we started full timing where we really didn’t have any extra travel expenses or other expenses relating to our transition. We did have a couple of unplanned expenses as we needed to book a flight for our son to go back to school in August and we bought annual finshing licenses because it is cheaper in the long run than buying multipule licenses for shorter time frames. Also having our son home adds quite a bit to the monthly food bill. Despite these added cost we still managed to come in a few hundred dollars under budget.

The big wow moment comes when we compare our May 2021 expenses to May 2020. Year over year we have seen a 40% decrease in our expenses and we are really just getting started. Most of this decrease is because we no longer have to pay for a house and all of the expenses that come along with having that responsibility. But there are other things that are contributing to this nice decrease in expenses as well. We are no longer in tax happy California so fuel costs are much lower. Even after increasing the amout of driving we have done since we arrived in Utah and the fact that fuel prices are currently very high for the state it’s still alot cheaper than what we paid in California last year. Additionally, our food costs are lower than the same time last year even with our son home and despite higher prices due to inflation. The fact is life is just less expensive outside of California.

Aside from home expenses one of the biggest savings comes further down the ledger and that is vacation and travel expenses. In the past we spent several hundred dollars a month going out and camping in our RV because that is what makes us happy. Now we are living that life full time and because of that these expenses no longer exist. For example, we spent our budget amount for diesel fuel in May but now we are stationary for 4 months so we will not be filling the tank anytime soon. This is much cheaper than having to fill 100 gallons of deisel fuel every other week in California, who btw has the highest fuel tax in the nation, so we could go glamping. In addition you can say that monthly space rental took the place of weekend space rental, but it also took the place of our mortgage, HOA and utilities. Additionally you get a large discount when you book a spot for a month or more as opposed to partying for a weekend. Anyway you slice it the monthly savings is huge and this lifestyle is paying off both mentally and financially.

Here is where we ended for the month of May 2021:

Portfolio = $1,546,742

Portfolio Goal = $1,500,000

Amount Needed To Reach Goal = ZERO

Our Portfolio Increased By $14,486 or 0.95% From The End Of April

Year-To-Date Our Portfolio Has Increased By 25.58%

Net Worth = $1,577,099

Our Net Worth Increased By $18,537 or 1.19% From The End April

Year-To-Date Our Net Worth Has Increased By 9.36%

As we mentioned in our previous update April was a very expensive month due to traveling to South Dakota to establish residency, having to pay up front for new insurance for our RV and Jeep and double paying for a rental space so we could get out of the below freezing temperatures in South Dakota a few days early before a storm hit. We use credit cards to pay for as much stuff as possible so we can earn points or cash back and we ALWAYS pay the balance in full each month. Well that bill came due and we had to lay out a nice chunk of cash so our cash on hand went down a little and our monthly portfolio gain lagged because of it. But I will never complain about a positive month.

Towards the end of April I decided to start a mini dividend portfolio as both a side hobby and a way to generate more passive income. To fund this accout I am using money earned from this website from affiliate marketing and advertising. This will hopefully take passive income earned and invest it to generate more passive income, in essence creating a snowball effect. I started the month out with just a few hundred dollars that was dead money already sitting in my old trading account. I then went back and looked at how much money we earned over the last couple of years and transfered it to the trading account. At the end of May the account was up to $1,300 and invested in various stocks with an average yield of 4.2%. This will generate forward dividends of about $55. It will be fun to watch this account and the forward dividends grow as more money gets invested and the DRIP starts taking effect. It will be a slow process but that is half of the fun.

Going forward into the Summer months I don’t expect much to change from what happened in May. There was selling in May but no one went away, in fact they all came back at the end. It seems everyone is in a wait and see pattern with eyes on inflation and the Fed. If this inflation is indeed transitory then the reopening rally continues as the Fed watches from the sideline keeping the status quo in place. If the inflation we are seeing becomes more consistent and continues then the Fed will have no choice but to step in and that could change the ball game completly as we move into a rising interest rate environment. Until there is more clarity the markets will probably be choppy and move sideways.

As usual we will stick to our long term invesment strategy with a side order of dividend investing fun. The lazy days of Summer are upon us.

Thank you for reading our blog. Follow us on social media for updates and photos as our adventure gets into full swing.

Until next time……………

Joe

RV Camping and Glamping Favorites

It’s been awhile since we have done a blog about products and gadgets we use. A lot has changed since we created our original lists of Favorite Gadgets, RV Essentials, Budget Items and Dog Essentials. Most of the things on those lists we still use but now that we are full time there are also some new items we started using and some other items we have considered purchasing that other RV’ers have recommended to us.

Since our previous posts are now a couple of years old and camping season is heating up it seems like a great time to do a blog with an updated list. In this blog we will list items we use or have used in the past as well as some items that are popular with other campers. If we do not use the product it will be noted to avoid any confusion.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Meaning, if you click on any of the links below and make a purchase we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We only recommend products that we currently use or have used in the past unless otherwise noted.

Weber Q Grill – This grill has been a staple of our camping/glamping lives for a few years now and it has never disappointed. It’s easy to use, cleans up easliy and stores perfecly in our basement storage. A camper can’t ask for anything more than this. We use the Q2200 but there are also smaller versions if you have limited space.

Pit Boss Portable Pellet Smoker – This smoker is a new addition to our family and we couldn’t be happier with it. We previously used a small charcoal smoker and decided to upgrade to a pellet smoker once we went full time. This smoker is compact so it stores better in our basement storage than our old drum smoker and having a bag of pellets is much better than storing bags of dirty charcoal and wood.

GCI Outdoor Kitchen – Another new addition to our outdoor experience is this excellent outdoor kitchen. We purchased this one because it was more sturdy than others we looked at and it has alot of counter space. This kitchen has a place for paper towels and you can add hooks for your utensils. FYI, we have noticed that more and more campgrounds are placing notices in sites that cooking items are not allowed on picnic tables so an outdoor kitchen is becoming a must have.

Outdoor Fire Pit (Wood Pellets) – We recently purchased this outdoor fire pit and it has been amazing. The air flow through the bottom limits the amount of smoke so you can enjoy the fire more. We opted for this one instead of a propane buring pit becuse we like the smell of a campfire as much as the experience itself.

Patio Mat – Every campsite needs a patio mat. We have been using this one for a few years and it still looks good. We recently upgraded to a larger size to get more coverage and ended up using both of them so now we are fully covered wherever we go.

Zero Gravity Chairs – What kind of chairs should we get is always a question I see asked in RV groups. The options are really endless but we personally love our zero gravity chairs. They are comfortable to sit in when thay are upright and they are amazing when layed back. The side table is great for holding drinks, cell phones and snacks. Perfect for camping or glamping.

Progressive EMS Surge Protector – If you are wondering if you need a surge protector the answer is YES. But don’t just buy any surge protector off the shelf based on price. With surge protectors you get what you pay for and the best way to protect your investment is with an EMS (Electrical Management System). What’s the difference? Glad you asked. An EMS will protect your RV not just from surges, Polarity problems and bad campground wiring but it will also protect your RV from Low/High voltage problems. A regular budget surge protector will NOT protect your RV from voltage problems and that could be bad news and an expensive lesson.

Water Pressure Regulator – Another must have item is an adjustable water pressure regulator. Adjustable is the key word here. Again, you get what you pay for and unfortunatly some people are excited that the dealer threw in a cheap “regulator” with their RV purchase. What they don’t tell you is those “regulators” are actually reducers that are manufacured at a fixed setting. They are pieces of junk and will not last which is why they give them away for free. Some campgrouds we have been to advise you to use a regulalator because they have very high pressure. Some campgrounds are not so nice and proactive towards their customers. Better to come prepaired and avoid potential disaster and most of all protect your investment.

Rhino Flex Sewer Hose – This item has been the one and only sewer hose we have ever used. It has been proven to be durrable and long lasting. The only issue we really had was the one we bought was short for some spaces but that was easily solved by buying an extension. Or you can just buy the 15 Ft. or two piece 20 Ft. hose to begin with.

Jayco Tire Pressure Gauge – There is nothing more important to your RV safety than making sure your tires are properly inflated. Tire blowouts are dangerous, scary and can destroy not just your RV but your family and the familes of other people on the road around you. Your RV tires should be checked before you get on the road every single time! Your safety and the safety of everyone around you depends on it. We have used this liquid filled guage for a few years now and woudn’t travel without it.

Blackstone Griddle – We are a grill and smoker family and have never purchased or used a blackstone. However, their popularity amongst campers is undeniable and therefor it must be included on any camping list. These griddles are versitile and come in a few styles and sizes. If you love cooking on a flat top this product is for you. Breakfast, lunch or dinner they are great products.

Telescoping Ladder – This item was one of our popular camping products and at the time I was considering purchasing it. Well we did purchase it and we are glad we did. It’s great to have a versitile ladder that also collapses to a size that can be stored in our basement storage. If I have one knock on it that would be that it might be too heavy for some people, but we use it regulary and its been a great addition.

Portable Firepit (Propane) – While we opted for the wood pellet burning firepit above there is no denying the popularity of propane firepits. They are more versitile than our wood pellet pit and can be used in more places because they are less of a fire hazard than wood. While we have not purchased or owned a propane firepit it has not stopped us from enjoying them a few times with friends in the campground.

Lucid Mattress Topper – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, RV matteresses are absolutly terrible! Because of this we added a 4″ Lucid mattress topper to our bed and it has been amazing for a few years now. Our bed is comfortable and we sleep great.

Elevated Dog Bowls With Storage – Here is one for the dog lovers out there. We discovered this item a few years ago after I kept kicking our dogs water bowl as I walked by. We like it because It gives you an airtight place to store pet food and more importantly it elevates the food and water bowls off the ground.

There you have it, our updated list of RV camping and glamping favorites. Again for the sake of clarity we use all of these produsct with the exception of the Blackstone Griddle and Portable Propane Firepit as was noted in our description.

We hope you find something on this list that will enhance your camping experience or just make you a little safer on your journey. Enjoy your camping and glamping season!

Thank you for reading.

Joe

Campground Review – Las Vegas RV Resort

In the second installment of our campground review series we will be discussing Las Vegas RV Resort, not to be confused with Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort.

This was the first time we stayed at Las Vegas RV Resort and we decided to give it a shot based on some recommendations and the fact it is a 10/10/10 resort on Good Sam. Additionally, the price was within our budget which is always a good thing and it is an 18 and older resort.

One concern we had prior to booking our stay is that the surrounding location is not in the best area of Vegas, but there isn’t really a great area of Vegas to park your RV these days so you have to give a little to get a little.

The campground entrance is off a busy street and is monitored by security 24/7. Security also drives around the resort 24/7 so you feel safe and secure at all times. One thing to watch out for on your approach to the campground is that it is located next door to a KOA campground so you need to make sure you don’t turn too early and go into the wrong entrance. The road in and out is easy and you will need to stop at the guard shack to show your pass anytime you enter the property. This rule applies whether you are in your RV, car or on foot so make sure you carry your pass with you anytime you leave the resort. Once inside the roads are very narrow, but you will be guided to your spot by an escort and they will help you pull into your space and make sure you are properly aligned with the utilities.

Las Vegas RV Resort Entrance

Amenities

Campsites – All of the campsites are paved asphalt with full hookups for 30/50 AMP RVs. There are a variety of pull-thru and back-in sites with either gravel or paved asphalt between the sites along with a picnic table in each site. There is no grass to be found in this resort and some parts resemble a large RV parking lot. This could be considered a negative since it’s not very “resort like” and it will also be very hot in the 110 degree Summer heat if you chose to stay during those months.

Common Areas – The common areas are well maintained and they have a nice pool and spa area. There are also restrooms, laundry, a small fitness area, recreation room and a separate meeting space. We didn’t use any of them during our stay so we can’t really give an honest assessment. The pet area is nice and large and the best part is that it is divided into four separate spaces so you are usually able to have your pet separate from others unless you don’t want to. There are also smaller pet areas all around the resort so you can take your dog for a walk and not have to worry about finding a space for them to do their business.

The Wi-Fi at the resort is set up as a plan. You can get pretty good reception with just the free plan which is what we used. It probably gets better once you go onto the paid plan if you so choose to do that.

Las Vegas RV Resort Dog Park

Cleanliness

The resort is kept clean with plenty of trash areas and regular pickup so there are no overflow problems. The pet areas are gravel so they spray and put water on them daily to keep the stink away. Although we didn’t use the facilities at the location we were told they are also very clean. The one knock in this department is that there are a lot of long term people at this resort and some sites are not the most esthetically pleasing to look at. Most of them are perfectly fine but there are a couple of interesting spots that could use tidying up.

Las Vegas RV Resort Guest Services

Customer Experience

The staff at Las Vegas RV Resort were great to us. This was the resort we were heading to in March when we were involved in an accident. Read about that here. They could have been sticklers for the rules and kept part of our prepayment or even the whole thing because of our last minute cancellation, but instead they issued us a full refund without hesitation. It is because of this great customer service we decided to book another stay with them. They showed professionalism and understanding during a very tough time for us which we really appreciated that.

During our stay, this resort continued to grow on us every day and we really enjoyed our time here. Our concerns about the surrounding area never dampened our mood or factored into our daily life. The staff and the people visiting the resort were great and always seemed to be in a great mood. Being in Vegas we expected to get some noise or loud people but that never happened. Overall it was much better than we had expected.

Las Vegas RV Resort Pull Thru Sites

Cost

The rates for Las Vegas RV Resort are very reasonable and because of this we booked another site for the entire Winter. The monthly rates range from $587 to $858 plus electric and the daily rates range from $32 to $62. All of these prices include tax. This might seem a little expensive to some but it really isn’t when compared to a place like Las Vegas Motorcoach resort which starts at $2k a month. Sure it’s not the same luxury resort but there is really no difference between the two when it comes to the amenities and services you can get, so you are just paying for esthetics and maybe a golf putting course.

Conclusion

We found Las Vegas RV Resort to be a much better place to stay than we expected. In fact the longer we stayed there, the more we liked it. Between the great staff, friendly environment, full amenities and just being in Vegas, we really had a great time. And while there is not much they can do about the location itself, they do take every precaution to make sure the resort stays safe and secure. Again we enjoyed our stay so much we booked an additional three months.

As for the city, it really goes without saying, but there is no shortage of things to do in Vegas and there is certainly no fear of getting bored while you are there. You really can do as much or as little of EVERYTHING when you are in sin city. But if you just want to lounge at the pool or out in front of your rig this is a great place to do it.

Bonus

One of the things we love about Vegas resorts is that they make everything so easy. Low on propane? No worries. Vegas propane will come right to your spot and fill your tank. Want your RV washed or detailed? No worries. They have approved services that will take care of that in your spot too. Oil change needed? They have someone for that too. You just schedule an appointment. Want to fuel up before you hit the road? Yeah they got someone for that too.

Sure you pay a little extra for this convenience but when you are in a city and don’t want to pack everything up and navigate the Vegas traffic and craziness to get your RV washed or propane filled, it’s worth the price.

We hope you enjoyed our review. If you have any thoughts or questions about a resort or campground we review, please feel free to ask in the comments below.

Joe

April 2021 Financial Update

The month of April came and went in what seemed to be a flash and we are happy it is over. The month began with us still being stuck camping in a bodyshop parking lot as repairs continued on our RV. Once the wonderful folks at M&M Coach completed the work it was time for us to head to South Dakota so we could complete the process of becoming residents.

Of course everything we hoped to avoid on our journey to and from South Dakota ended up happening. And why not since Murphy’s Law seems to be our copilot and trial by fire is the gauntlet we apparently have to run through in order to live this amazing life.

We hit below freezing temps, snow and heavy winds pretty much every single day in Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota. Just the week before these same places were enjoying sunny 80 degree days but now it’s snowing in the middle of April. We made sure to fill our water tanks every chance we got because several campgrounds were unable to turn on their water due to the risk of the pipes freezing. This also meant we had to ration water because getting more would require breaking down camp and driving the RV somewhere in snowing conditions to refill the tank. No thank you!

Continue reading “April 2021 Financial Update”

Becoming South Dakota Residents

To us one of the essential parts of becoming full time RV’ers was to establish residency, or domicile, in a state other than California. This is something most full timers do if they no longer intend to have a permanent residence or home base in a state. There are several reasons both financially and logistically to take this step and although it takes a little bit of work it is a fairly easy process and well worth the time.

When it comes to full time travelers some states are more beneficial than others. Have you ever noticed that many RV’s on the road are to be registered in South Dakota, Texas or Florida? This is because these three states are considered full time friendly states and make it very easy to become residents even though you don’t intend on being in the state most of the time. Another thing these three states have in common is they have an income tax rate of ZERO!! That’s right, if you are a resident of one of these three states you do not have to pay a state income tax. Contrast that with California who has one of the highest state tax rates in the nation and you can start to understand our motivation for getting out of the state. Continue reading “Becoming South Dakota Residents”

Living The Dream For 30 Days

There is a common understanding in the RV community that the full time lifestyle while amazingly liberating, can also be extremely challenging and frustrating. The mantra that you have to take the good with the bad is repeated adnausium in social media groups. There is no going into this way of living without knowing that you will eventually face your share of challenges and adversity. Well, after one month of living the dream, consider us fully christened into the realm of taking the good with the bad! Continue reading “Living The Dream For 30 Days”

Campground Review – Pechanga RV Resort

Welcome to the first edition of our campground review series. This is something we wanted to try doing as we travel the country and visit campgrounds. We know that there are a ton of sites where people leave campground reviews. However part of the problem we find when doing research is that most of these reviews are based on unreasonable logic or even flat out anger. Let’s face it, happy campers are also less likely to leave a review because they are not looking to vent. Sure people have the right to be angry and/or dissatisfied when they have what they perceive as a negative experience. But when you leave a bad review for a resort or campground because they are trying to maintain a certain standard for ALL of their customers or because their FREE Wi-Fi doesn’t let you stream movies and work on your computer all day long you are being an unreasonable person. Continue reading “Campground Review – Pechanga RV Resort”

February 2021 Financial Update

We are one week into living the RV life and to say the last month has been a whirlwind would be a drastic understatement. After getting everything loaded up and driving to our first stop we looked around and saw a giant mess. It looked insurmountable at first, but once we started tackling each area of our storage we became more encouraged as we cleared out bag after bag of our belongings. It turns out we had a lot more stuff left than we realized but after a week of organizing and adjusting to a new routine we feel a lot more at home. Continue reading “February 2021 Financial Update”

New Beginnings On The Open Road

We did it! After years of planning, saving, investing, researching and pandemic delays we are finally living in our RV as full timers. There is still a lot to do but the hard part is done now that we took the leap and made it to the other side. It’s wonderful to say we actually achieved a long term goal and hopefully our journey will help inspire others to do the same.

We all have goals in life. Some people write them out or track them in one form or another while others just keep a mental note of things they would love to do and call it a goal. Typically those that track their goals are actually working in some fashion to achieve them while those keeping a mental note are mostly just dreaming about it. I call it the “maybe someday” syndrome, which is something we suffered from for many years. Continue reading “New Beginnings On The Open Road”

From House To Home

We are entering the final week of living in our old sticks and bricks house. It’s been a great place, but we knew it was never going to be our final home. The excitement of finally living in our RV full time far outweighs any emotions of leaving the house and to be honest there really aren’t any emotions about leaving. It’s a great house in a great location but it’s just not us and never has been.

It’s amazing what we have been able to accomplish in the last three weeks. We have sold nearly all of our possessions including our furniture, dishes, cookware, everything in our garage including a car and some of my musical equipment. There have also been some bumps in the road along the way but we have managed to figure out a solution and move along. Continue reading “From House To Home”