Monday, May 18, 2015

Cost Comparison

This is what our winter in the USA cost us compared to the previous winter when we drove all the way to Florida and back. Here are our major expenses.

2013 - 2014
2014 - 2015
Fuel Motorhome
Fuel Car
Service/Repairs Motorhome
Service/repair Auto
Dining Out
Groceries (incl. liquor)
Camping Fees
Travel Medical Insurance
$24,628  or
$18,779  or

$4,107 / month
$3,130 / month

EDIT! I forgot to include our travel medical insurance! This changed things substantially!

By staying put in Palm Springs, CA and Mesa, AZ we saved almost $6,000 or $1,000 per month. This savings was almost all in gas and vehicle service and repairs. This year we bought tires for the motorhome, last year it was replacing the slide topper and parking brake system in the motorhome as well as repairing the damage to the rear ladder and vent as a result of the close encounter with a tree branch. Car repairs consisted of repairing the air conditioning.

Dining out was down by $720 over last year but groceries were up by $336. I sure missed that Cajun food!

Camping fees were down, but only by $500. This is surprising because we paid the cheaper monthly rates most of the winter. But then again we boondock a lot when we are on the move. And last year we spent a lot of time parked on our friends property in Florida where we just contributed to his utilities.

Did we enjoy ourselves more this year by staying put? In a word - No.

We are not "joiners" and do not really enjoy all the pre-planned games and events in the RV parks. We prefer to make our own fun and explore new places as we travel. Many times this year we went for days at a time without leaving the RV park. Last year we were exposed to much more variety in food and culture and we really enjoyed meeting a larger variety of people. We did go out for meals but dining out is so much more expensive in California and Arizona compared to "the South" where travel dollars go much further. We had more fun in Savannah, GA by parking in the visitor's center parking lot for four nights than we had in four months in Palm Springs.

The weather was much better this year. Dryer and warmer. I have to give it that.Different strokes for different folks. One way is not necessarily "better" than the other it is just that we want different things out of our travels. It is not just a matter of money for us but more a chance to see and experience more places, people and cuisine. We like stopping at each place we pass through but only for a few days, not months. We sample the food, meet some people and by then our feet are itchy to move on.


  1. I agree, I'd go crazy sitting around the same park for days on end. We are not joiners either.
    Elaine in Saltair,BC

  2. Same with you we are fulltime and love to keep moving about, not joiners either. So on the constant move as much as possible. We tried a couple times to stay and month or so, in our first couple years, but again not for us.
    With our memberships it costs us around $2,000. a year for camping fees and about $2,500.00 a year for fuel in our coach, we don't dine out very often so very little spent there.
    Moving around the country we agree is much more fun.

  3. We spent $15,439 this winter. So, pretty much the same as you did! But, that was over 7 months, and included 8 different airplane rides.

    1. Kevin, you are much more frugal!

    2. was all about getting the most value for our dollar. Or peso. Or won. :-)

  4. Right, I´m not into potlucks, shuffle board, euchre and bingo. Too much to see and do on the road. Hope to see you guys in Mexico this next year.

  5. Funny thing is we've been in a park for 4 years and never played bingo, or cards or shuffle board, hardly ever gone in the pool, and we've been anything but bored. Our interests lie in hiking, cultural events in The Phoenix area, softball and racquet sports. We meet new people every year, make new friends and see different sights every trip down and back. To each his own. mind you a half dozen Potlucks a year IS too many :)

  6. Not a joiner either ;-) Just about 100% boondocking last winter. Spent $9. on camping fees, and that was 3 nights at $3./night at Hot Well Dunes. Don't eat out much either, other than fast food when on the road. Did a couple pot lucks and pools when visiting friends/relatives in parks.

  7. No doubt your stay in Hope added to the increase in the liquor budget.

    1. It did that Bill! But worth every penny!

  8. Your theory this winter was sound (stay in one place longer to save money), but your execution (staying in places where you weren't engaged) was flawed. If you had stayed at a park within walking distance of a happening city with tons to see and do (like being at Mar Rosa in Maz's Golden Zone or that $$$ RV park in the French Quarter in New Orleans), you would have had a more enjoyable and bloggable winter. Looking forward to seeing what you do next winter.

  9. And how much did Lucky Norma's substantial casino winnings offset your costs? Stay in Vegas for the winter and they'll actually end up owing YOU GUYS money at the end of the winter :)

    1. I tracked it poorly. Plus, she only tells me about her winnings and I suspect more goes into the slots than she admits to.

  10. I hope this doesn't mean that you won't be back in Mesa next year. I know this park isn't exactly a swinging place, but I did enjoy spending time with you guys.

    1. We will be back in Mesa for the weather and the pizza! As well as the excellent company! Say "Hi" to your mom from us!

  11. Nice to hear there are others out there like us. We were looking for a settling place this winter but after a week or 2 we were getting restless and moved on. There are so many place to see and explore and also so many people to meet. We are definitely travelers. So different then when we are at home in our stick and brick house.

  12. And how much was the liquor bill? ;)

    1. Hard to track Don. We buy it with the groceries and I try to remember to separate it out when I enter it in Quicken but a lot slips through. Plus, Norma sometimes picks up a bottle or two of wine when she is out by herself and forgets to tell me. Quicken shows $192 for the six months but I suspect it is higher than that, maybe $250 or $300. We didn't drink it all ourselves. We entertain and we brought some home.

  13. Email comment from Al:

    Hi Croft:

    I thought that I would put in my $0.02 (devalued C$!) worth on the issue of staying in one place or moving around during the winter. Early in our retirement we moved around each winter (including Mexico), the last few years we've stayed in southern California for 3 months but we spend a month moving to and from California from Ontario, so that's our "move" portion of the trip, we enjoy the state parks and cities and towns we stop at en route to and from California.

    We've found a resort in California that has minimal activities (which we don't take in) and no mobile homes but has great people, and the town has good eating spots and it's quietness suits us (and if we want more activity, Palm Springs is close by).

    Suits us well!