After many frugal months on the road, our last three weeks have been anything but. Moving always costs money, sometimes a LOT more than expected. We get that. Even when the navy (supposedly) covered all our transfers back in the day, from pack-out to unpack, those moves were still a drain on our bank account. These last three weeks though have been unlike any move we’ve experienced before.
Once the decision was made to return to the U.S., to Kaua’i, the money started to flow. Although our previous flight reservations were changed to cover our flight back with no added expense, we still had to purchase YaYu a ticket plus pay for almost three weeks in a vacation condo to cover her quarantine and have a home base while we looked for a permanent place to live. When we were searching for a rental back in March, almost everything on the island was still booked for vacations and there was a very limited selection of rentals to choose from. We ended up paying over $140/day, one of the least expensive rentals we could find, double our usual budget of $70/day. However, if we’d been able to start looking two weeks later, maybe even a week later, we could have had our choice of almost everything, anywhere on the island, and at a much better price.
Finding a place to live on Kaua’i turned out to be easier than expected although we had to pay two months’ rent upfront (one month as a security deposit). We got lucky and found a lovely, affordable place on the south side of the island, our first choice for location and with utilities included in our rent so we didn’t have to also pay additional deposits to set up electric and water service in our name. We also had to buy a car right away, and again we were very fortunate to be able to buy our old car back at a great price (and it’s in great condition).
We knew furniture was going to be an upfront expense and budgeted accordingly. We needed a sofa, dining table and chairs, a bed and frame, bedside tables, a TV and something to set it on, and once we found our apartment we knew we wanted chairs and an umbrella for the deck, and a grill. We soon discovered we needed a coffee table (we underestimated the need for this piece of furniture – currently we have nowhere to set a drink if we’re sitting on the sofa) and lamps. Thankfully we found pieces that fit within our budget; the only piece of furniture we still want at this point is a sofa table, but it can wait. We thankfully didn’t need to buy a dresser as the closet in the master bedroom is fitted out with built-in mesh drawers, nor did we have to buy a microwave oven – the kitchen came equipped with one. We are still waiting for the apartment’s washer and dryer to be installed, but those two items still haven’t arrived at Home Depot. There will be rugs and a side table for the living room coming in our stored items, and when those and our other things arrive we will be set. Although the above sounds like a lot when I write it all out, it’s currently very minimal but enough for now.
It’s been the other small but necessary stuff to make the place habitable that has added up surprisingly quickly and been the real drain on our bank account. These are the things I like to call the hidden costs of moving, the small but necessary household items you rarely think about but add up quickly when you need to buy them. We’ve had to purchase a broom, dustpan, and other cleaning paraphernalia. Bathroom rugs. An anti-slip mat for the shower. A trashcan and wastebaskets. Basic cooking utensils including a frying pan and lidded saucepan. Command hooks. Glassware. Very basic dishes and cutlery. Bed linens and pillows. Kitchen linens. Towels and washcloths. Hangers for the closet. Placemats. Hot pads. And on, and on, and on – in our case, all the things we got rid of or stored before we left on our adventure but need once again to set up housekeeping.
Finding things on Kaua’i can be a challenge even when times are good, but during this shutdown, it’s been more than challenging at times. We were fortunate that two furniture stores agreed to open for us, and that we found things we liked that were also good quality and affordable. Wearing our masks, and bringing along our alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer, we’ve made numerous stops the past two weeks at Home Depot, Costco, and Walmart for other necessary items. Amazon has been a lifesaver too, although shipping times, even with Prime, have been running from the sublime to the ridiculous, and almost nothing arrives in less than 10 days.
Our friends, Alan and Cheryl, have also returned a few items we gave them when we departed in 2018, including our vacuum cleaner, Brett’s tools and ladder, and some of our old dishes. They turned out not to need these items, and we’re grateful to have them back and not have to buy them again.
We have splurged on a few items to make our life more comfortable. I bought some decorative pillows for the sofa. I also ordered a good-quality hand mixer and a three-quart InstaPot, especially because that was less expensive than buying a new rice cooker and slow cooker (although the InstaPot isn’t scheduled to arrive until the end of the month). YaYu loves smoothies, and I bought her a blender she can take back to college whenever she returns.
Thankfully, the spending associated with the move seems to have come to an end. Everything is falling into place, and all we’re doing now, for the most part, is waiting for our Amazon orders to trickle in. The apartment is comfortable and in a great location. We’re making do with what we have and learning to appreciate a more minimalist lifestyle these days.
We have come to realize though this would have been our scenario whenever we stopped traveling, although I like to think that with more lead time we could have spread all the spending out a bit, and been better prepared. A less frantic schedule under hopefully better conditions would have been easier if nothing else. Whatever, for now, we’ve landed and we’re safe and comfortable, and that’s what matters.