Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Another Blow..

This 2014 year keeps getting worse for me. I am losing my job.

It's not final yet but it's 100% certain.

I am too depressed to even think right now. But I need to start a job search this weekend. The hardest part is going into work, knowing that I am being let go.

Blogger Tricks

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

2014 Eagle Creek Camping Trip Costs Update

My last blog post talked about the cost of our first vacation in two years...the gas cost, for example, was an estimate based on the type of car, its mpg, and distance of the trip. I was petting myself on the back for keeping track of the costs and how our vacation won't cost us as much as our last one did. Hmmmmmm.....well......

Extra Costs/Things I didn't factor in: 

  • A car rental at Enterprise Rent-A-Car: we found out that the camp that we might be going to might have some rough terrain, so we decided to not use our barely-holding-it-together little chevro Aveo car and rent a compact car.
  • Roadside snacks at each gas fill-up on the way to camp
  • An extra trip back down the mountain because my in-law wanted us to make a phone call to his gf (no cell reception and she had no idea where we were) and to get him a few things such as a bow saw (for wood cutting) and ice. That's an hour of driving to the nearest town (Sonora) with good cell reception and an hour to drive back up to camp. This trip cost us an extra gas fill-up than predicted.
  • Birthday gifts to my partner's little sisters at Sonora, Ca.
  • A dinner for two at Marie Callender's restaurant on the way back from camp to home...we were stuck in traffic for nearly 12 hours and because we did not want to unpack the trunk to get at the gas stove and food, we took the stupid route and ate at the restaurant. We should have made some food that we can eat along the road BEFORE leaving the camp.
  • After dinner, we filled up gas at a really really expensive gas station at the last gas stop before going up the Interstate 5 freeway grapevine...We did not plan well and needed to put gas in to drive the little rental car up the high grade. The price of gas per gallon at this gas station is $4.59!!! To fill up the tank, this one stop cost us $51.46! This stop alone is over planned half the gas budget.

Estimated Total Cost of Camping Prior to the Trip: $308.20

1) Food & supplies (grocery shopping prior to trip): $66
2) Gas: $103.2
3) Walmart camping supplies trip: $139 (hopefully these items can be used over and over again in the next few years)

THE REAL COST: $465.64

1) Food & supplies (grocery shopping prior to trip): $66
2) Gas: $36.13 + $51.46 + $16.17 + $28.58 = $132.34
3) Walmart camping supplies trip: $139 (hopefully these items can be used over and over again in the next few years)
4) Car Rental: $87.39 (entire trip)
5) Roadside snacks: $4.24 + $10.12
6) Birthday gifts for two tween girls (love them!): Crafting kit and Toiletry bags-$29
7) Restaurant Meal: $36.25

The Hindsight:

$196.14 is the difference between planned and real costs of the trip. It is quite a lot considering some of the costs could have been prevented.

The girls' gifts could have cost far less if we did not buy them at the last minute. I think they would have preferred something more personal and less costly.

We bought wayyy too much food to feed for just two and brought the majority of it back home.

The car rental...we really didn't need the car rental but i know that by not putting our little car through the trip, it will save us money in the long run.

We definitely did not need to stop at the restaurant when we had food in the trunk.

We definitely did NOT need to have bought all those camping supplies at Walmart prior to the trip because R's family had most of the necessary items like gas stoves, canopies, even toilets, covered. Now, I feel like we need to take more camping trips around our city just to justify buying all those camping gadgets.

Highlights of the Trip:

A forest fire broke out 1/4 mile away from our camp up the hill. We rushed toward the fire to help put it out but the professionals got the situation covered by the time we huffed and puffed up the hill and about 50 feet away from the fire.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

First Vacation of 2014 - Wilderness camping

I'm so glad to have our first vacation of 2014 (hopefully, to be followed by many more cheap vacations) and it's going to be wilderness camping near the Niagara Creek area in Stanislaus National Forest. The bad thing is that the gas is going to kill us. We are going all the way up there because of my partner's family reunion up there. I would have been happier with a much closer campground. On the bright side, it'll be an adventure and there will be no daily campground fees.

At approximately 840 miles for the round trip with a car that does around 35-38 miles per gallon (yay for small cars!; we have a dinky little economy car that actually gets pretty good mileage) and at $4.30 per gallon, we estimate that it will cost around $103.2 just for the gas.

We went to Walmart and went crazy... justifying our purchase of a two burner propane camping stove ($29) by swearing that we will go more camping instead of thinking about outside of country vacations for the next few years. We also bought some more camping supplies such as insect spray, biodegradable soap, cordage, tent stakes and a cooler. I bought a solar shower bag and a privacy shower/changing tent on a whim ($44). That was the most expensive purchase but i'm thinking if we are going to go week long camping trips where there are no amenities (free camp sites/wilderness camping), I'd like to have the option shower if there are no rivers/creeks around! I'm already daydreaming of our next trip to Zion national park in Utah!

We also got Chromecast, since we no longer have cable, to watch netflix and our hard drives that are full of movies and tv shows (obtained from a friend) on our TV. Now, there will be no need to buy a smart TV! Chromecast cost $35 at Walmart. We used to use our old PS3 to stream movies to the TV but our PS3 has decided to not get along with us lately and we can't afford a new PS3 or PS4. So for now, Chromecast is a more affordable option than Roku. More on this later after we play around with it more.

Total Cost of Trip for Two:    $308.2
Food & supplies: $66
Gas: $103.2
Walmart camping supplies trip: $139 (hopefully these items can be used over and over again in the next few years)

It's a lot higher than I'd like it to be and more than we can afford right now but a lot less than the vacations that people around me are taking this year!

We leave tonight, Wednesday, at midnight and come back on Sunday. We desperately need a getaway!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June Goals Update

June Goals Update:

1) House Cleaning: Living Room organized.

2) Yard Cleaning: Done. To be maintained. I still need to cut branches or trim branches off the trees.

3) Grocery Budget: $246.76 out of $250 budget per month. We made it this month only because we used quite a lot of what is in the fridge such as meats, fish, etc. 

Debt Payment Extra (besides minimum payments) For June:

$600.... .just thousands to go.....

Friday, June 20, 2014

Uploaded pics deleted forever

I accidentally permanently deleted all the pictures including historical net worth snapshots and debt update snapshots from this blog and my Google plus profile. I must learn not to mess with things just because I an bored! *sigh*

All those posts since day 1.....

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