Posted in Musing & Stories

View from the Truck- Texas Pics and Stories Pt 3

viewfromthetruck TX cool rig gun
GUNSLINGER TRUCK – Texas

Picture: NOT our truck. Obviously an Owner/Op. This is amazing!!!!

[Driver! Drop me a note, I’ll give you & the designer a link & credit.]

Texas is another state where you’ll know every shrub, wild hog and border patrol SUV across 2 days… goin’ the long way. Goin’ the short way – You’ll wind up in a Laredo Terminal somewhere along that insane highway. Or El Paso – I loved El Paso – the song, Marty Robbins. I sang it over the CB as we passed through.  {Rig life gets boring sometimes! HA!}

Texas also has windstorms and glow-in-the-dark baby scorpions. Had to step on one WHILE taking out the garbage AND walking the dog – during one ‘sand-stinging’ night.

Texas has Nightingale birds. They are quite the loud orchestra in the Flying J Truck plazas. In every tree, picking trash. They’re gorgeous in the sunshine, plus they pick the dead bugs out of the truck grills.

 

Forth Worth STRANDED: After being towed one morning to a Freightliner dealership. For 9 hours. {Dispatch changes shifts, of course; so by 5pm, I’m repeating myself.} We’re in the trucker lounge with pets and gear. It’s pouring rain when the place closes. Still no motel booked for us. We stand, then, for 2 more hours under the garage awning… Several heated phone calls later – the first taxi passes us by – and leaves.  Another hour later a second taxi pulls up and the driver FREAKS OUT because we have pets. Almost pulls away. We tell him they are leashed, don’t bite and we’ll hold them on our laps. He agreed! WHEW! — It was a 12 hour trucker day, and we didn’t make a dime. –Grandma Auburn – #truckingfacts 

 

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Posted in Musing & Stories

View from the Truck- Pictures pt. 1

Samantha - our navigator - says "100 miles to Indy!" YAYA bit of background. My husband drove 53ft dry van OTR [Over The Road] for two years. [This was the second time for him. I stayed home the first time to raise our daughter.] We put everything in storage and I rode shotgun. I didn’t drive, but he called me his ‘Nag-a-vator” [instead of navigator! HA!]  And I learned real quick how to stand outside the truck and back him into a spot; without getting run over.

We came back roughly every 4 weeks- for 3 days. Homebase was my Dad’s back porch. Those were some trying times. But we had some good adventures, too.

I have so many pictures and stories from around the USA… I thought maybe you’d like to see my scrapbook. PS: If you are contemplating trucking as a career and want some ‘no nonsense’ guidance, feel free to ask me in the comments. Also, the forums on truckersreport.com is a good start.  #truckerswife Trucking for 15 years.

Thanks for stopping by today, friends and confidantes- Get used to seeing that side view mirror –oh, and cats ears, too!- Grandma Auburn

Posted in Musing & Stories

Moving! Pt 3- Hypothetical Homesteading

How can we plan for retirement with very little savings; and get our homestead sooner?

SO HERE’S THE GRAND PLAN {HA! as if those ever worked out…}

Also! “How we saved the Down Payment in two years”

  • Vibrant Rose
    Almost time to plant!

    $75k Budget for HOMESTEAD over 18-24 months.

  1. Spring 2019
  2. $5-6k- Used truck
  3. $27-33k- Raw Land- (+/- 2 acres)
  4. July/August
  5. $8k- Used Travel Trailer
  6. MOVE onto land
  7. $500/mo. Savings!!
  8. Autumn ’19
  9. $2-3k- DIY Shed, Generator, Wood stove, Livestock/Garden prep.
  10. Spring/Summer 2020
  11. $10k- Well/septic/block foundation/electric hook up/permits etc.
  12. Autumn 2020
  13. $12-18k- Used Single wide MH 3bd/2bth {actually bigger than what I have now!}

After extensive research: we nixed the notion of a Pre-fab cabin, yurt

viewfromthetruck falltrees-jsm

or modular kit as a year-round residence. A tiny house under 400sf would suck long term. We lived 2 yrs on the truck… just ask me anything about teeeeny living... O.o

Prefab Kit builds over 600sf: Adding any electrical, plumbing, etc. is pricey. Though we’re still considering a tiny ‘something’ as a guest room or AirBnB, but not for a couple years.

Manufactured Homes: Why yes! I have spent weeks researching every tidbit. Craigslist. LandWatch. AutoTrader and RVTrader. Finally, we found one used MH dealer Homenation.com (by state). ALSO Factory Direct.

 

A pot of turkey hash feeds a big family.

Land Loans {and/or rolled into a  ‘Land/Home’ next year}: Most require 20% down payment. Pre-Approved is not the same as Pre-Qualified. 

  • HOW WE SAVED THE MONEY:
  • Baseline figures: 20% x $33,000=$6,600.
  • Down payment:
    • [1 year: $132.00 x 50 weeks]
    • [2 years: $66.00 x 100 weeks]
  • OUR 2 year method: $50 weekly; [Feb. 2017-2019]
    • then added: bonuses, overtime, tax returns.
  • Top money saving tips:
    • Write out a budget. Say “no more stuff.” Repeat often.
    • Secondhand only, DIY or do without.
    • Plan less trips to the store. Plan meals around sales.
    • Get a side gig. Use your skills.
      • Upwork, Thumbtack or Taskrabbit
      • Or find free courses to learn new skills.
      • [I walk dogs and Mturk in between writing & merch]

OUR #1 prerequisite for all of this — It all must be paid for in 8 years. Hubby retires in 10. Thus why we’re doing this in increments, and saving additional money by holding over this winter [and budgeted for] a travel trailer.

Other considerations: Grid-tied for health reasons. Yet enough land to sustain a simple, back-to-basics lifestyle. Close to our jobs. Close to daughter’s family AND close to my Dad. Must have trees and a good stretch between neighbors. 😀

Frugal now; peace of mind later, Friends and Confidantes – Grandma Auburn

#homesteading #retirement #budget #truckerswife
Posted in Musing & Stories

Moving: Housing Hunt on a Budget

Moving Part 1 – Is a prefab home kit an option?

What have I been up to? Planning a MOVE! My husband and I have decided to move further out into the country. {but still near family.} We are tightening our 2019 budget even further. {some saving examples here} It all started with a campfire… or lack thereof. And what we thought we wanted, we didn’t. 

We thought we wanted to travel. Buy an RV. Have a campsite as homebase while he still drove day routes part-time through a temp service. Live a bit nomadic before we got too many ailments. However, I believe this was a passing phase due to living on the truck for 2 years; then renting a place with no yard but a ream full of rules.  Now that the wanderlust has abated-  What replaced it was the simple, silly {yet pervasive} notion that we need to have a campfire out our back door… and land to forage and garden as we had in the past. So we started to research  -30-

pexels-photo-145685.jpeg
Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

Affordable housing options under $35K and up to 600 sq ft. 

On our quick price guide and list of Prefab Home Kit Companies: Cabins, Containers, Cottages, and YURTS- DIY Oh my!  

SQUARE FOOTAGE & PRICE RANGES by Kit Type

  • $24K-$35K   Tiny home on wheels, partially finished +/- 192 sq ft
  • $11K-$22K   Cabin Kits- 4 season, various sizes: 320, 420, 560, and 600 sq ft
  • $10K-$18K   Yurts- including some upgrades:  Larger sizes $25K-$29K
    •  Yurts –  Sizes include: 16/20/24/26/30/39 ft diameter, 7+ ft tall
  • $7K-$27K    Container homes: 1/2/3 br., 20, 30 and 40 ft. (160-600 sq ft)
    •  Containers – Studio or Expandable, Easy set-up, MANY features included.
  • $5K-$15K     Cottage/Cabin- “shell only” Kits  250-600 sq. ft
  • $Free-$3K  +/- shipping and DIY assembly help (If needed) Shipping area, price per mile and down payment can vary for each company. Building/zoning codes can vary also. 
  • Weeks to Complete: Differs greatly by kit style, etc +/-  2 to 10 weeks
  • Upgrades can include: Customized floor plans,
  • Insulation/moisture barriers and roof material.
  • Windows/doors, plumbing, electrical, solar.
  • Finished/pre-installed: cabinets, light fixtures, sinks, wood stain.
  • Optional features for handicapped and elderly.
  • Other possibilities: wood stove, compost toilet, porch and loft. {or turn-key!}

8 companies making prefab and a alternative house kits across the US. Most offer upgrades, have clearance sales, online price lists and finance options.

These kits are both durable and adorable!  Choose your own build, order online. My husband likes the containers, while I’m fond of the 4 season cabins. What’s your preference and why? Thanks for stopping by today. Be well. Be frugal.  – Gma Auburn

Posted in Musing & Stories

Winter Home maintenance tips; add ‘life’ to your purchases

Winter Home maintenance tips; add ‘life’ to your purchases

A lengthy list of 7 ‘in-depth’ pointers; a walk-through, really... For new homeowners, first time apartment life or young people with families (my daughter included).

Appliances and houses: can cost you hundreds of dollars if they aren’t functioning up to par. Plus the January heating bill is always a shock. Saving is about small things we do over time. {see also, this post:  “Thrifty People, The Holiday Edition”  10+ Money Saving Holiday and winter grocery tips to start now}

TIP 1:  Tear your vacuum apart at least weekly. Open the filter compartments. Unblock clogs or tangles. Take scissors around the bristles if it isn’t rotating. Take a screwdriver to open the bottom plate if the belt is stuck or breaks. Turn it upside down for loose change and small toys that were accidentally run-over. Clear the hose. Clean catchments and replace all vacuum filters/bags as needed. Sweep carpets twice weekly- more often with children.

TIP 2:  Next the refrigerator. {Easier if fridge is unplugged and emptied first.}Take everything off the top and sides – magnets, etc. Take the front, bottom plate off the fridge.  Get eye level with the floor.  O.o  If its just fur and such. use the vacuum hose… OR use a metal hanger and a long sock or old sweatshirt sleeve. (rubber band to secure it) Pull the hanger into an oblong shape and fit the cloth over it. Slide it under the fridge- pull out dropped food, pet hair, trapped dirt.

TIP 3:  Pull the fridge out from the walls and Counter tops (they have wheels). Tackle the grease streaks and dust. This might require a pail of hot water with pine cleaner or all purpose kitchen cleaner. Mop or cloth. Wipe walls. Cupboard doors. Wipe handles and sides. Push the fridge back and plug it IN again. With fresh water and cloth, wipe inside fridge. Pull out drawers and shelves. Clean the tracks. Bring older freezer food to the front. {Thaw something out for tomorrow.}

There are vents at the back wall of both fridge and freezer. Don’t cover these when restocking. Leave few inches space between vents and food. This improves the cold air circulation and efficiency for the times the motor runs.

TIP 4:  Next for EACH room: take the vacuum hose to all the furnace intake vents (The ‘cold air returns.’)  Don’t set bulky things in front of them. Wipe the grates with all purpose cleaner. (Unscrew and) Pull up floor vents. Remove debris and hairballs. If you can’t reach down far enough, put a bandana or panty hose over the vacuum hose (secure with rubber band) to reach and trap the items. Wipe and replace vents. Keep them closed in rooms you seldom use.

Replace furnace filters every 2-3 months, depending on number of pets, people, season, etc. Wipe away or sweep any cobwebs lurking around the furnace and filter spaces. Don’t pile boxes or clothing near it. If using electric space/room heaters; Remove any fuzz collecting on the back. Make sure the safety works. Don’t set it near pets or kids.

WINTER TIP 5:  Find and fix drafts. Cold air leaks around doors, window sills, along baseboards and in attics/crawlspaces. Inspect both inside and out. {Hire a professional contractor when necessary, please!} Replace missing boards, siding, roof tiles or cracked window panes. Roll insulation and foam spray are options. Seal with plastic window film and tape or blankets and tacks. Use foam tape(around door & window seals.) Drape off rooms or hallways.

Under the house: wrap your pipes in heat tape. Make certain that all the duct work is in place and connected. Double check for frayed or chewed wires. Fix more drafts. Do the same in the attic. {Again, hire a licensed home inspector, professional HVAC or electrician when you find something amiss.}

TIP 6:  Turn the thermostat down (5-8 degrees) BEFORE leaving for work and before bedtime.  Don’t keep heating the whole house when no one is there or everyone is sleeping under warm covers.

TIP 7:  Outside: First -be careful with ladders and yard tools. You’ll need something or someone to reach the gutters. Employ a yard service, or find a  ‘tasker’ near you on sites like www.taskrabbit.com. Let someone else pull out the wet leaves clogging the eaves. There may be clogs or overgrown weeds at the bottom of the downspouts, too.   Trim bushes and branches so they aren’t touching the house. Rake all the leaves and clippings away from the foundation. Helps keep mildew from growing.  Use a broom to sweep corners of the porch, steps and around doors. This encourages spiders and bugs move along and not seek refuge at your place.

Thanks for reading! I hope you take away a new tip or some money-saving motivation. Signed, Grandma Auburn- All bundled up