We are stationary in Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, Alabama for the months of January and February after being in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida for November and December. We visited Gulf State Park last February (2020) and decided we liked it enough to come back for two months this year. Many, many midwest snowbirds call this park home in the winter. The towns slogan is Small Town, Big Beach and it fits perfectly.
Gulf State Park has two miles of white sand beaches and a spacious campground. The area is a fitness paradise with miles of paved bicycle trails and the Bodenhamer fitness center for swimming, strength training, yoga, and much more. Everyone here is friendly and the atmosphere is really like a small town.
When we travel, we try to live like locals and maintain a regular routine. This is not vacation for us, just every day life. We get up in the morning and exercise each day. We are training for a full distance Ironman in June and training can take up a couple hours each day. Usually we either swim or run in the mornings and lift or bike in the afternoons. Generally at least 2 hours per day of exercise (sometimes more).
After morning exercise and breakfast, I usually start working. Right now I am working on analysis of my dissertation dataset and preparing several manuscripts. I have about one year left of the PhD in Nursing and I am trying to make the best of this time. Being able to devote myself to fitness and research while snowbirding in a warm winter climate is the greatest thing ever! All of this because we are financially independent and are not stuck with someone else’s agenda. We get to live the life we find most meaningful! For me that is pushing my body and my brain to new levels.
Here is our budget update for January of this new year.
For the month of January we stayed pretty well below our budget except for our food costs. We are traveling since mid November which makes it harder to manage our food costs. Not because we eat out – because we don’t. We have eaten out 3 times since leaving home in November. The problem lies in our inability to purchase larger sizes of items due to lack of storage in our RV (especially freezer space). At home we usually go to the local meat market and stock up for a month at a time. This is hard to do with our tiny freezer and refrigerator. But… being able to travel in the warm climate of the south vs the cold climate at home is more than worth the inconvenience and small increase in cost.
Most other items come in a bit lower this month – again likely because we are traveling. Our heat in our sticks and bricks is set in the 50’s just to keep the pipes from freezing and thus uses much less electricity than if we were actually home. Our utilities on the road are included in our park/campground fees. We also tend to due much less driving here. Most of our travel is to the fitness center or to the beach.
Our largest expense this month has been campground fees. $916 of this is our January campground monthly fee and the remainder is for campground reservations next season. (Now is the time to book next winter if you want good locations).
Net worth is decreased by $3026 at the end of this month due to some declines in the stock market.