Posts Tagged With: home

Back to where we began

  We are back in Georgia. Well, actually we’ve been here since the first of April but we haven’t been blogging much. Honestly, there’s not much to say.

While we’re happy to be back for awhile to see friends and our daughter, it kind of feels like we’re just doing our time until the next adventure.

I’ve been working and traveling, as usual, but it just feels strange to be back. I guess it’s because of being in such a familiar place. For the last 16 months we’ve been living in unfamiliar places, meeting new people, and exploring.

We are staying in a cute little cabin on Lake Allatoona in Acworth, GA. As you can see, the area is beautiful. This is the view from our back deck.  

Daisy has learned a new game. She can drop her ball off the deck and it rolls all the way down the hill into the water. The first time, I let her go get it. Yuck! Won’t do that again.  The difference in the amount of traffic, in the short time we’ve been gone, is astonishing! Maybe it’s just because we’ve been living in more laid back, smaller communities. I’m not sure but I would swear that everyone moved to Georgia as soon as we left.

In 10 days, we head to Ocean Springs, MS. Until then, we have a few more favorite places to eat and some friends to see. I’m sure we’ll have more adventures to share very soon.

Categories: Georgia | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Budgeting to live in vacation homes full time

When we talk to people about how we live full time in vacation rentals, the first thing people say or think is how do they afford that?  Or, we could never afford that?

So, let me show you how to budget for this way of living.

First, you must know everything that you currently spend.  It’s easy to let a lot of small expenses go by without being accounted for.  You have to stop this leak and account for every dollar.  We use two budgeting tools.  First is Mint.com and second is Dave Ramsey’s Gazelle Budget.

I handle our budget and spending.  Nothing gets spent that I don’t account for.  Other than spending money, I don’t track what Jodi spends of her own money.

Jodi gets paid twice per month, so I start the budget with what we need to save and pay from each pay period.  In order to know what we can afford for each vacation rental I took the total of what we paid to live in our old house and split it between both months paychecks.

We accounted for everything that was spent to live the old way.  These are the budget items that were involved in living in our old house:

1. House payment

2. House insurance

3. Home repairs

4. Yard maintenance

5. Electricity

6. Gas

7. Cable

8. Internet

9. HOA Dues

10. Property taxes

11. Home Maintenance and cleaning

12. Landline phone(if you have one, we didn’t)

13. Water

14. Miscellaneous “pop-up” items

Total all of these individual expenses for a month in your current home, divide by how often you get paid and viola!  You now have what you truly spend each month to live in your house and presumably what you can afford to live in a vacation rental.  We don’t rent houses that max out our budget if we can help it.  This allows for more money to go into savings and provides a cushion for those unforeseen expenses.  We do our best to account for everything, but sometimes we get surprised by some expense, usually a small one.

So, there it is.  If you were thinking we were living in vacation homes because we’re super rich, you thought wrong.

Categories: Budget | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Next Stop: Gulf Shores Alabama

Well, we left Davenport Florida on Saturday and made it to a dog friendly hotel in Tallahassee for an overnight stay.  We then completed the drive to Gulf Shores.

Jodi found us a really nice house here for less money than the one in Davenport.  We stay in some nicer houses along with some more basic houses.  Doing it this way helps us stay within our budget.

This house in Gulf Shores is right next to The Beach Club.  We’re not really within walking distance to anything here, but it’s a good change of pace to go from the Orlando area to a quieter, out of the way location.

We’re only here for about a week, so we packed the trailer accordingly and left out what we needed in the car or the very back of the trailer.

If you are familiar with Gulf Shores, what’s your favorite thing to do or restaurant?

Categories: Gulf Shores, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Three ways to rent out your vacation home

Jodi has been busy for the past several days searching for and trying to get our next vacation homes lined up and rented.  Honestly, I’m glad that she does that and not me.  I’m afraid I wouldn’t have the patience for it.  She keeps running into the same problems.  Problems which could be easily solved by owners and most likely lead to more rentals.

First: Keep your house listing up to date.  Several times Jodi has found a house that shows as available on a rental site, only to find out once she contacts the owner that it is actually already rented and that the listing was wrong.

Second: Be responsive.  Most of the listings she finds have a phone number listed.  Unfortunately, a person rarely answers and if they return the call, it may be several days later.  At a minimum, respond via email with the needed information or to schedule a time to call.

Third: If you have a chance to rent out the property, then do it.  Jodi recently ran into a house that we could have rented, but it has contractors living and working on it.  Rather than require the contractors to complete their work on time so the house could be rented, the owner allowed them to extend their stay.

These are just the top 3 that come to mind right now and I’m sure we’ll have more suggestions as we go.  Have you ever tried to rent a vacation place only to be denied for a reason that just didn’t make sense?

Categories: Vacation Rental | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is home?

IMG_1676.PNGAs you know, we no longer have a “home” or house. Those are two different things, ya know! A house is a dwelling and a home can be many different things. Maybe home is the place where family lives or a place where you still have roots. Home usually has the things that bring you comfort.

When we go “home” to Anderson, Indiana, we always eat at Pizza King (can I get an Amen?). Is it the best pizza ever? I don’t know but, it tastes like home. Home is good but maybe more appreciated if you step away from it.

This week I am back to our most recent home area of Marietta, Georgia. I was able to fit in a visit to “my” nail salon, “my” jewelry store, and a couple of “my” restaurants. Of course, they are places that do not exist at our current home area. Are they the best? Probably not but they are what I know.

I found myself really thinking about this today as I was sitting in the metro Atlanta traffic that I miss, oh, so much. Do we make choices based on all of the options available to us or based on what we know and what is comfortable?

Right now, nothing is comfortable for me or Brodie and we are forced to explore and find “the best”.

I sat next to a lady at “my” nail salon this evening that proudly proclaimed that she has worn the same nail polish color for 17 years. WHAT?!?! She was in her late 30s and she found that color at (let’s say) 18 years old and said, “I have found the nail polish color that I will be buried in”. Ok, it’s just nail polish but, really?

I don’t want to be stuck in a place, with a 20 year old hair style (don’t get me started on this one), in a bad job, wearing the same color polish, rockin’ an outdated mindset… just because it worked once and I became comfortable. What if things change and technology advances and things get better… BUT YOU DON’T? Wouldn’t that be sad?

Go to a new restaurant!
Talk to a new person!
Drive home a different way!
Pick a new polish color!
Visit a new city!

You might find that change can be exciting and comfort could be holding you back from greatness.

Jodi

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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