In our October 2021 blog we ventured into our budget for full-time RV living by comparing our actual expenses after a couple of months that we had been fully retired to the original budget we compiled during the planning phase of our journey. At the time we thought it would be helpful to our readers as the main question we get from people who are considering this lifestyle is “how much does it cost?” While it was a small sample size the data still proved to be very useful for our readers and it confirmed that we were in the ballpark with our original budget plan. But how would it hold up over the course of a year? That was a bigger question and one that would have to be provided at a later date when we had more data, which brings us to this blog.
This blog post was originally going to published one year after our October 2021 post, but we decided it would be more beneficial to hold off until we had a full calendar year worth of data. This allows us to provide a more accurate accounting of what an actual year on the road costs. It also helps us see the impact that things like work-camping have on our budget.
Don’t know about you, but we are happy 2022 is over and done with! After working for a couple of months we were really looking forward to the holiday season and getting a visit from our son whom we haven’t seen since the summer. It all started out great with him arriving in town safe, and on schedule, for a week long stay. While he was here we enjoyed some time outdoors and just catching up on all that has happened since we last saw him. And we made sure to fill his tummy up with some homemade meals and his favorite delicious BBQ requests.
Then we got thrown for a loop when on Christmas day when Mrs. RVF woke up and was not feeling good. We did our best to enjoy the day, but fun came to an abrupt end when it was discovered we had contracted covid for the first time after dodging it altogether for the last three years. Thankfully our son was never infected and was able to get back home safe and sound. But we remained isolated for days and ended up missing a lot of our work schedule. This included the New Years eve party that was the one event we were really looking forward to working and being a part of! Instead we were locked down in our RV and in bed by 10pm as parties happened all around us. A fitting end to a rough year!
It’s been awhile since we last provided an update on our dividend portfolio. This wasn’t by design, but we really didn’t have much to report and our time has been occupied with our work-camping jobs and the never ending array of activities we have to prepare for.
Since our last update the markets have moved back up and now appear to be wavering ahead of the next federal reserve meeting which will bring yet another rate increase. Our portfolio has remained in relatively good shape, aside from the Weber (WEBR) debacle, and we continued to add shares to our existing positions as funds became available. And of course, we also reinvested all dividends received.
As for the Weber position, in our last update we discussed the options of either selling out of the position, since they no longer pay a dividend, or doubling down to get to 100 shares in order to sell covered call options and generate some income in leu of dividends. We decided to go the route of adding to our position and generate income, but soon after we wrote that blog the largest shareholder offered to purchase the rest of the company for a measly $6.25 per share. This put us in a bind as the shares were already trading over that price and our cost basis is also much higher than that. Not a great position to be in! As a result we did not make any purchases and our position remains the same as it has been. We would like to get to the 100 share mark, but we were obviously not buying above the bid price.
It’s hard to believe that we are heading into the last month of the year! While this year has been a great one for traveling the same cannot be said when it comes to finances. Maybe things will start looking up in 2023, but there are still some dark clouds on the horizon despite the recent positive turnaround in the markets. We need to remain optimistic, but at the same time we also have to be realistic about what is yet to come which is likely further economic decay at the hands of an out of step federal reserve.
We are now one month into our new work-camping jobs and it’s going fairly well so far. Some parts of the job are much more labor intensive than we were led to believe during the interview process and it can get a little frustrating because it often seems like we are doing a lot of manual labor instead of working events. On the bright side, we have been able to get more hours than are needed to cover the cost of our site fees and utilities and little extra cash never hurts.
Greetings from Arizona where we have settled amongst the snowbirds and will be riding out the fall and winter months in the warm desert sun.
In addition to being in a warm location we have started our largest work-camper assignment to date. We made a 5 month commitment at an extremely large RV/Mobile home resort. This is a 55+ resort and by the time December rolls around there will be approximately 3,000 people on site. Our job is in the entertainment / activities department and let me tell you this place has a lot going on and it gets very busy.
Our job involves everything from serving coffee and donuts to residents in the morning to setting up and decorating the entertainment halls for parties or headliner events. The calendar is jam packed every day of the week so we always have something going on. The best part is that we will typically only work 2 or 3 days a week and since we are considered residents we will get to enjoy all of the amenities and events too. And if we work ticketed events we get to enjoy the shows for free so we are hoping to get scheduled for some of the bands and headline events on the schedule.
Another month down, literally, and we are heading into the 4th quarter of what has been a miserable year for the markets. The questions is, when will this pain end?
Since our last update we have relocated from our beautiful spot in Tennessee to an amazing lake front spot in Oklahoma. This location has quickly become one of our favorite destinations since hitting the road. We have a pull-in spot and everyday when we open the shades we look out at the lake and enjoy the views and the wildlife. This year has been a disaster financially, but being able to live this life and wake up to these views and scenery almost everywhere we go has made these tough times much more bearable.