We’ve been camping for the last week or so. Found some beautiful forests in Northern Arizona and haven’t been able to pull ourselves away. It’s been pretty quiet up here; a few birds singing in the sunshine, the wind blowing through the trees and occasionally a distant howl from coyotes in the evenings.
With this peaceful quiet also comes privacy, so we’ve finally been able to use our solar shower. It’s just a bladder that holds water with a hose and nozzle, the water gets warm after sitting in the sun. We placed the shower out in the sun for a few hours the first time and were so amazed at how warm the water actually got. The shower works fairly well, gets the job done at least. We’ve been able to take showers about every other day or so now, well, as long as we have enough water.
Water has become our biggest commodity. We started this trip with a 5 gallon jug and 2 one gallon jugs. This sounds like a lot, but when Jeff and I can go through a gallon or more in a day just for drinking. And we also have to consider water for our pets, cooking, dishes and then showering if necessary, water runs out fast. Thankfully, the cost for re-filling hasn’t been too bad: usually $0.25/gallon or $1.00/5 gallon. After this recent camping trip we decided to purchase another big jug for more back up water, especially now we are using the shower. So, we bought a 7 gallon jug and now have the ability to carry about 14 gallons with us.
We’re still being very frugal with our money and being choosy on how we spend it. Gas is a must, we can’t get out of spending money for gas but we do look for cheaper fueling stations and conserve our gas by driving a little slower. Food and any extra spending however, we have a strict budget. Jeff calculates our money and budget almost daily just to make sure we’re on track. Currently we have allotted $14/day for food and extras. To keep track of this we have decided to pull out $100 from the ATM every Sunday and only use that cash. We can get groceries for the week, eat from that food and usually still have money left over for a little splurging like a soda when its hot or maybe even an ice-cream. We generally just eat food from the groceries we buy but have had days that we just couldn’t resist splurging a little more.
Neither of us are couponers, although it may be something we should do. We do however always scour the grocery store for their markdown bins before we get the full price items. We’ve purchase whole bags of apples, zucchini and bell peppers for $0.99/bag just because they were a little wrinkled. Just recently we received a bag of free fresh picked apricots from a lady Jeff chatted with while filling up our water. I don’t think she realized how much it really meant to us. Fresh fruit can get expensive and those apricots have lasted us a good week or so. (Plus they’re delicious!)
This journey we’ve been on has really shown us how to conserve more. It has taught us to use every last drop, every last crumb and to appreciate what we have right in front of us. I could say they may come out of this adventure of ours a little smarter.
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