Finding Frugal Deals

In anticipation of picking up our 5th wheel, we've done some research and talked to experienced full-timers.

Our unit is a 2000 and the outside is faded, chalky-looking, and has some black streaks (we're told the fading, chalky appearance can happen in 1 day here in the sun in Florida. LOL). We've been told by RVers around the country that we can clean up the outside. That we'll be totally amazed at the difference once we're done. So, per advice, we've been to Dollar Tree and bought Awesome Cleaner (for some reason you can only find it at Dollar Tree) for $1/bottle. You dilute it to 25% and use it to clean the outside. We were told it would remove any black streaks easily. Mike has already used it on the truck and was extremely happy with how well it cleaned it up. (I'm told this same company makes a spot remover and laundry detergent that are fantastic. Haven't found them yet though.)

Next I found a buffer/polisher on Craigslist for $20. Practically brand new. Now Mike just needs to pick up the waxes, etc., and we'll be ready to go.

We were also advised to get a CB radio if we were going to do much traveling as it's the best way to check on road, traffic and weather conditions. I looked at them online to get an idea of pricing - over $100 for a hand held one (doesn't require a license) with an external, magnetized antenna to go on the roof of the truck cab. Checked on Craigslist and found a nearly brand new one WITH the antenna we wanted - all for $50. Very pleased with our deals.

Over the course of 3 days, I got several quotes for insurance. We've been with Allstate for years and had found them to be cheaper than other insurance companies with great service. However, we were floored at what they charged us for insurance on the truck when we got it in January - $1600/year! We were told they could insure the 5th wheel but it turns out they would only insure it as a trailer - not as a full-time living space - with no insurance on contents & no liability insurance if someone should get hurt in it, etc. $408/year for insuring it just for replacement cost. So a total for both vehicles of just over $2000/year with Allstate - without the type of coverage we required.

We belong to Good Sam's RV Club so checked on their insurance through GMAC. We were given a full-timers' quote for the truck and 5th wheel combined with better coverage than Allstate for just over $1400. WOW! Then I checked with Miller RV Insurance out of Oregon. They had been recommended by a bunch of other full-timers and are licensed nationwide. They quoted with a few different companies and different ways (one option was to insure the truck through GMAC (just over $700) and the 5th wheel through a different company $400+).

We ended up going with one of the Miller quotes - same exact policy as we were quoted through Good Sam but $150 cheaper. They are great people to work with and worked hard to find us the best deal. In time we may add an umbrella policy but in the meantime this will do nicely.

I'm also gearing up to improve the bed in the 5th wheel. I'm going to get some upholstery foam and make that extension to put at the head of the bed. I found a high-quality 4" memory foam mattress topper at half price to put on before the regular mattress pad and bedding. Will need a new bedspread but am thinking I will make a quilt with fabric I have back in storage that is the right colors for the decor that's already there.

If there's room, we're talking about building or buying a second hand small island with lockable wheels that will extend our storage/workspace in the kitchen. Will be better able to make a decision once we've got it here and can take our time considering things.

So, in another week our full-timing adventure begins. Are we excited? Yes! Are we nervous? Yes! Have we enjoyed our time with Mike's parents? Yes!

Am I ready to leave Florida? YES! On many levels! We are not 'city' people by any stretch of the word. The traffic here is horrendous - not as bad as Seattle but getting there. We hadn't been down here for several years and are amazed at how bad the traffic has gotten. And 80 degree temps with 90% humidity in March does not a happy, healthy Gloria make. (They've announced on TV that we're experiencing the highest pollen count they've had in over 10 years.) Mom and Dad are flying back to New England a week from today so we'll be hooking up the 5th wheel and heading north ourselves.

I rather imagine this will be our last visit to Florida. Looks like we'll have to be snowbirds for a year or 2 with the 5th wheel we bought but, hopefully, we won't be coming this far south. We'll see.

Til next time,

Gloria - The Internet GADabout


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