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Jan 20, 2013

Tucson AZ: Revisiting My "Penny Pincher" Days

Spending the winter in an RV or in a small apt./park model for 3-6 months is a test of your survival skills. It is a bit like going on a very long camping trip. If you can imagine that, you can get the picture. If you have never been camping or anything close to it, you will have some adjusting to do.

Our space here is around 400 square feet. When we began doing this, we took the bare essentials with us but over the years we have managed to accumulate all the good stuff.  However, our bed is not comfortable and the furnace is on the fritz. Don't let it be said that we are not tough and creative. We know how to overcome most problems that we come face to face with.

Even if I were camping I would be rearranging the tent and making the table beautiful. That is just my nature. A beautiful table cloth can make the worst table look wonderful.

Doing Without or Making Do
Several years ago we bought a little fake fireplace that runs on a light bulb. We have it installed in a corner cabinet that sits under our TV. That little baby has kept us warm through the last cold spell. Honestly, we were just fine. We giggled because we remember huddling around the heat in our childhood.  It was really kind of fun.

The bed really does need to be replaced but we now have a memory foam pad that goes on the top. It is a bit like settling into a feather bed I think. The real problem is that we both roll toward the middle of the bed...just like the bed we were gifted when we were first married. That one has us giggling too. When we went camping we slept on a 2-3 inch foam mattress so this is a real upgrade for us.

Planter made out of a freight pallet. I found it
at the nursery. I loved it!
We might do this in Oregon. Pallets are general
free or very cheap.
Aesthetics on the Cheap
Yesterday we bought our plants for our winter stay. We always buy a few geraniums and herbs just to keep me happy.  We live on a corner here and it is worth the little expense just to have people stop and visit for a few minutes as I pull a weed or two.  But you need to know that I line my hanging flower baskets with brown  paper bags and put a plastic garbage bag filled with potting soil inside. It looks ok and is very cheap! I spend a little over $4.00 on potting soil and I am good to go. (Most of my pots or baskets are things others did not want.)

Furniture
Because people leave or change their furniture, we have managed to accumulate all of our outdoor furniture for free. We spray painted a plastic table and two chairs in Arizona colors. They look very classy for only cost of a can of spray paint.  I have even given some away.  

Eating Out
Groupon is our source of restaurant coupons and our favorite restaurant, Taco Gyro, is very cheap. It was recommended by our neighbors from Mexico. We also like Zona 78 on Tanque Verde...the best and cheapest happy hour in Tucson for 3 years running has us going back over and over.

Entertainment
We dance in the park for a minimal fee and our friends are our main source of entertainment.  I know people that spend a lot of time being tourist or going to shows. They have a lot of fun on very little money. We have a National Park Lifetime Pass so we can come and go for free in the Saguaro National Park that is very near us. I never get enough of that place.

It is kind of fun to live simply and cheaply for a few months each year.  It leaves us with more money for golf. (We alway use EZLinks for tee times.) Life is good!

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2 comments :

  1. We are fine so far in our rented park model. We have an Arizona room, used only for watching Netflix and doing my exercises.

    Too bad about the furnace. Now that the weather is warming up I'm glad to be hanging up my fleece layers.

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  2. I am glad to hang those away too...but I always keep them close at hand. The desert get's very cool in the evenings even later in the Spring.

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