Planning Our RVing Adventures

sunriseFirst trip we are taking is to The Arcadia National Park in Maine. It’s also the first place the sun rises in The United States, so at least one very early morning is in the planning stage. (Coffee thermos mandatory!) DH and I are going to spend a week there, right after Labor Day when ALL the prices for almost everything drops significantly. In-season our full hook up site rents for $86 a night. We’re getting the site for $65 a night.

I’ve given lots of thought to boondocking (camping with absolutely no hook-ups of water, electricity or sewage). I have no problem boondocking an overnight stay while on the road BUT anything longer than that and I am NOT comfortable with it, at all. I like my amenities. I like a good, hot shower each and every night. Makes sleeping deeply more profound (I love a good night’s sleep). I also like to prepare a good hot dinner and in the morning I like a good hot steaming cup of coffee. You can’t get any of that in boondocking, unless you use solar, generator or battery BUT you always have to keep one eye on the clock, and that to me is too stressful. Plus you have to tow gallons and gallons of heavy water and DH doesn’t like the strain that puts on the vehicle.

We have other things planned for us to do in Maine like lobster dinners, sailing jaunts, beach combing, bike trailing and major hiking. I’m dragging along my camera with its respective tripod, so start expecting A LOT of photos from yours truly.

tikiOnce we get down to Florida this winter, DH and I will be spending a few additional days in Key West. I adore Key West! It’s the closest thing to a Caribbean paradise in America without leaving the continuous 48 states. The site I rented mid-week includes our own personal Tiki Hut and pier (that we can jump off of and do our own private swimming). The waterview is spectacular and since its off-season, the price is reasonable. That’s the glory of retirement: we can do things when others can’t…..thus we save money AND IMHO have a better time.

Once winter is over and spring starts to bloom, DH and I will be setting out on our lifelong dream to the Grand Canyon. Again, because its off-season, I rented a full hook up site for a week, right outside the National Park for only $57 a night! DH and I are working and scheduling the sights and sounds we want to experience. The only thing left for us to decide on is which route to take! I prefer sticking to the coast line. DH wants more inland. We’ll probably compromise and take the route in the middle!

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How I Keep Myself Wealthy

587fd5f944027151941214bdFor over forty-five years, the giant supermarket, Shop Rite, has been offering its customers a twice-a-year (January 1st and July 1st) savings bonanza entitled ‘The Can Can Sale‘ (click here). I’ve been going to this bi-annual event since 1987. That’s thirty years of stocking up on the basic essentials, as long as it came in a can! On each visit, I would buy enough to last me for 6 months until the next can can sale. That meant healthy caned fruit juices for my kids, oodles of tuna fish, peanut butter, fresh pasta sauces, coffee, vegetables, fruits and beans (to name a few of the many items offered at steep discounts) If you live within driving distance to the store, it’s worth the can-can sale trip!

FullSizeRenderSince it’s just DH and me now, our hoarding has narrowed down a bit. I still get cases of Tuttorossa plum and crushed tomatoes, Botticelli Virgin olive oil, Bumble Bee tuna fish, assorted canned beans (kidney, chick peas and white beans), olives and a few more canned incidentals. Instead of going twice a year, however, we go once and buy enough to last us throughout the year. The sale usually goes on for two weeks. This week I bought one case each of plum tomatoes and crushed tomatoes, a case of assorted canned beans, some cans of Bumble Bee tuna fish (packed in water) and 6 cans of small black olives. That savings came to $36.24.

Next week, Botticelli virgin olive oil will be marked down by $3.00 to only $9.99 a can. Last year this was marked down to $8.88 a can but in all honesty, over the years I’ve seen these can-can sales dwindle in value. Nonetheless, we use about one gallon of olive oil per month and if you’ve ever checked out the price of olive oil, it’s very, very expensive. Shop Rite’s can-can sales still offer great values. DH and I are both Italian, so cases of plum tomatoes and olive oil are staples in our family. Stocking up on these items alone is a great value to us. (every Sunday is still pasta night in our home!) We’ll be buying a case of olive oil which will be another savings of $36.00.

Another way we have saved money this past week/month/whatever was by buying a new, left-over, heavily discounted RV all set up for boondocking. What is boondocking you might ask? Boondocking is the ultimate way for any travel frugalista to well, travel. Boondocking means you are camping for free! Boondocking has been so popular that websites, YouTube videos and smart phone apps have been dedicated to it. Our RV is set up to be totally self-sufficient, solar ready (to heat water, work the fridge, keep the lights and TV on) has a large capacity water storage unit just perfect for a daily Navy-style shower, has a back up generator and enough propane to heat the RV, heat the water, run the BBQ or interior kitchen two-burner gas stove.  In other words, DH and I plan on doing a lot of traveling throughout America via boondocking; meaning much of our travel expenses will be null.

I downloaded a free app off of iTunes for my iPhone called Park Advisor (vs $9.99 for All Stays). It lets me know where all the free campsites are located (Wal Mart, casinos, military locations, public state and federal parkland) as well as rest stops, RV campsites (KOA & Good Sam’s and other private camp grounds) the nearest gas station, restaurant and help center. If there’s a phone available, I just click and call for more information. Directions are just another quick click away. On the first night we got our RV we stayed at a campground that cost $60 a night, but I got a 10% discount with my Good Sam’s card. Nonetheless, we paid $54 for a full hook up. Next night, I used the app while we were on the road, the app found the closest Wal Mart AND gave us directions to the location. DH and I had a great nights sleep, for free. Got up the next morning, DH was able to brew us some coffee and we had a few muffins for breakfast before we were out on the road again.

Total cost: ZERO. Now, that’s the new way I like traveling. Times have certainly changed.

Another bonus on the road traveling: the discovery of Panera Bread cafe’s. It’s nice to get a good, organic, clean, chilled and healthy salad on the road. We joined Panera Bread’s frequent customer appreciation program and we will be getting some nice rewards (free food) on our many trails.

Plan on hearing some more good RV savings from me in addition to my landlubber savings. Retirement is all about keeping down expenses while doing more things, adding on more activities and more adventures. At least, that is what it is for me!

Live well and prosper, my friend. Lie well and prosper.