Being a snow bird is not something most of us rush into lightly. We count our pennies first and then fly south. It occurred to me this morning that in a lot of ways leaving our home in winter is saving us a lot of money. How? Well here is a list:
- First of all I am healthier. I don't know if that is a savings but it certainly could be.
- We don't heat 1500 square feet in bitter cold.
- We turn off the water heater to save more electricity/gas.
- Our second car goes in storage and we only insure it for storage.
- We only use one car in Arizona.
- Groceries are cheaper in Tucson than they are here...and more fresh vegetable are available because of the location.
- Our entertainment is mostly taken care of in our RV resort. We do not spend much to keep ourselves happy.
- I do not have a winter and summer wardrobe. Because the summer temperature in Portland is very similar to the winter temperature in Tucson I only need one set of clothes. I buy all of those off season when they are on sale.
- Just turning off our TV cable, computer and telephone save us a lot of money. ($160+ this last month.)
- Garbage, computer service, vampire lights all go away here in Oregon. Image by Always at Home via Flickr
Image by Always at Home via Flickr
- Mail...the post office with forward mail with a beginning and ending date. If you are in one location, this works perfectly. If you are on the road you can have a family member forward you mail occasionally or you can have your mail forwarded to a service and they will take care of this for you.
- Turning off the water if possible...I know, you think this is a no brainer. You need to consider that if you turn off your water you also need to turn off your water tank. The tank could burn up without water. Draining pipes might be necessary if you are from the frozen north! But, no matter what, you need to find a way to have your water turned off. Water damage is a horrible thing and it happens a lot!
- Have the insurance for you second car changed...this can save you a lot of money. The insurance company will change the cost for you if you have the car in storage. Cutting the cost for car insurance for six months out of the year saves around $400.
- Keeping the bad guys out...I know people that turned on an alarm system and walked away feeling very secure. Be very careful. We have someone check in occasionally.
- Make your home look lived in when it is not...(see keeping the bad guys out).
- Make choices about turning off garbage, TV, internet, phone service, etc. Most of these services have a "vacation/hibernation" setting. That means that they don't disconnect you entirely and all you need to do when you return is give them a call and they turn your service back on. Talk with your servers for more information.
- Decide on a wardrobe. It has taken me years to learn what to take with me and what to leave behind. If you are a total newbie, check on the temperatures during the months you are going to be in a locality. Arizona is NOT hot in the winter. Locals and experienced snowbirds do not dress like it is 90 degree when the temperature rises to the mid 60's during the day.
- If you leave the electricity on, UNPLUG EVERYTHING that can be disconnected...the vampires can cost a lot!!!