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Money Things in RVing Life
Sharing what I know and do with money


Introduction
In this story, I'm sharing what I know and do with money in my RVing life. The internet is essential in this story. Without being connected to the internet, I could not live this fulltime vagabonding RV life.

In the last section below, this story goes into details of money spent. Some things in my budget may seem odd, or excessive. The amount that is spent on MsTioga's maintenance for example. Also, internet connectivity expenses.


Credit Cards
I use two credit cards. Two are necessary because from time-to-time, one of them will become unusable. Cards become unusable because they expire and a new one has not been received. One of my cards was suspended because the credit company suspected fraud. There are a number of things that could happen when you are out on the road, and having a second card makes good sense to me.

I don't use credit cards when I am in Mexico. My credit cards require that I inform them before going to Mexico. I've found that using cash in Mexico is much easier than credit cards.


ATMs
Getting cash from ATMs is so easy. Even in Mexico and Canada. There appears to be a maximum cash withdrawal in Mexico of $5000 pesos [$500US]. Mexican banks charge 1% for their ATM service and Bank of America charges a flat $5 fee. So, I am paying a 2% charge for my cash. This is OK with me.

When I am traveling inside the United States, I may also obtain cash by using my ATM card for purchases and asking for cash back.




PayPal
Having a PayPal account is useful. PayPal pays interest on the money in my account. My bank does not, or pays much less.

I am able to transfer money between my bank account and PayPal account. These transfers are free, and take about 2-3 days to complete. PayPal allows sending cash to any person or company with an email address.


Paying bills
My two credit card companies allow me to access my accounts via the internet. With this access, I may check my transactions to make sure that everything is OK. Paying off my balances each month is very easy, by transferring money from my checking account to the credit card account. At this time in my life, I pay my credit card balance off every month.

Even MsTioga's annual vehicle registration fee may be paid online now. This means that I may be in Mexico, away from the U.S. Postal Service, and still be able to pay vehicle registration.

Each year, vehicle insurance must be renewed, and the premium paid. I use a broker as an intermediary between myself and my vehicle insurer. I've found the personal service given by my insurance broker to be very valuable. When it comes to paying the annual insurance premium, I allow my insurance broker to use my credit card to make the payment.


Quicken accounting
Everything that I buy is entered into Quicken, even cash purchases. I've been using Quicken for many years, and am still using Quicken 2001, which works very well for me. Many banks and credit card companies offer transaction downloads in Quicken format. Using this feature allows you to enter your transactions electronically. My son David has been using this feature for years. I am old fashioned, and enjoy entering my transactions manually.

Quicken allows me to somewhat easily setup a monthly report which shows all my monthly income and expenses in a nice format. This report shows me whether I am living within my income. I prepare my published monthly Tioga & George Budget Report using Quicken.


Automatic monthly deposits
My two major sources of income are from Social Security and Google AdSense. Each month, both Social Security and Google AdSense deposit my money automatically into my checking account. What a blessing! Whenever I need cash, I use ATMs or pay for purchases with my ATM card and ask for cash back.

Odd things about my budget expense
Readers have wondered about why MsTioga's maintenance is so high. If you take a peek at our TiogaRV Team Budget Information [Link], you may wonder also.

The combination of "RV repairs by mechanics" and "MsTioga parts, oil, tires, improvements" equals total vehicle maintenance. At the time of writing this story, that amounted to $628 per month. Some of this amount is due to incompetance by some of the mechanics that have been used. This required the same maintenance to be done over again. Sometimes more than twice.

I myself have been baffled by this large monthly amount, and have thought that if I only keep spending the money for repairs, eventually this amount would go down. So far, that has not been the case. Apparently, this is what it costs to operate MsTioga.

Some readers have suggested that it may be prudent to buy a new RV. However, that would mean loan payments with interest. Also, even new vehicles have maintenance costs.

Another thing to be considered when buying new, is all of the improvements made to MsTioga. The Datastorm internet system, solar electric system and leveling system. The installation costs of these systems including wiring. And all of the zillion things that have been tweaked on MsTioga as well.






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Since February 28, 2004