January started off awesome with a fun long weekend in Savannah, GA staying at a beautiful hotel for free. One week later we moved from Fayetteville to start our new jobs on the NC coast. Starting on the day we left Fayetteville, things went downhill quickly. On the morning we woke up to move, it was the coldest day of the winter in Fayetteville by far with a early morning temperature of about 18 degrees and temperatures in the 20s throughout the day. The water was frozen, the sewer hose was frozen, our tanks wouldn’t close because they were frozen, and the entire roof of the camper had a solid layer of ice on it. After we finally got everything unhooked and made it to our new campground on the coast, I went inside the camper to find that the ice on top of the slide had melted during the drive and soaked the carpet and floor in our living room/kitchen. When we went back outside to level the camper, the truck wouldn’t start. Keep in mind that the fifth wheel is still attached…
After about two hours of trying to clean up all the water inside, we went back out and tried to start the truck a few more times and it finally started. We leveled the camper and took the truck to get fuel hoping that the failure to start was just a fluke. It turned out that it wasn’t a fluke. The truck wouldn’t start at the gas station so we had to call a tow truck and wait for almost three hours for it to arrive. Since we had only been in town since that afternoon, we had no idea about repair shops in the area and it was a Sunday evening so everything was closed. The tow truck driver recommended a Ford dealership nearby and we agreed to have it towed there, we later found out that this was a mistake. When we got home the water at our campground site was also frozen so we had to go take showers in the bath house.
We started work the next morning but luckily our first day was orientation at the same location so we were able to get away with only driving one car. The dealership called us and said that the truck needed two new batteries and a fuel pump which would cost $900. We were a little upset about the cost but we didn’t have much choice so we agreed. Finally our water was restored when we got home from work that night which made things a little better.
Fast forward a couple of days and the dealership calls us and says that the truck is ready to be picked up. We went and got it, drove it about 15 minutes, turned it off, and then it wouldn’t start again. Doing the exact same things as before. It finally started again about two hours later and we took it straight back to the dealership. This time they told us that it would be $3,000 for a high pressure oil pump and a fuel injector. Luckily, with our jobs we were able to get advice on local mechanics from patients and decided to get a second opinion at a recommended locally owned shop. The mechanic told us that it only needed a new fuel injector and that it would cost $850. He fixed it and the truck has been running fine ever since.
All in all, the repairs ended up costing us about $2,000 and a week and a half of Whitney riding to work in the morning with a coworker and me picking her up in the evening. After a pretty rough first two weeks dealing with all the problems as well as trying to get used to new facilities and a terrible documentation system, things finally started to get better. The remainder of the month was great as we got more comfortable with our jobs and the new area. Eastern North Carolina is a beautiful place and somewhere that we are considering living once we finish traveling.
Financially, the truck put me behind on my savings goal for the month, but due to the stock market still surging higher and higher as well as receiving my 401k match for 2016, I actually beat my projection for the month. I’m still on track for hitting financial independence around July, 2020 which will be exactly five years after I started my career and less than three and a half years from now. Since my projection is based on higher expenses than my current level (due to anticipating higher costs later in life with children) I will actually be at a level that is able to sustain my current expenses in about a year and a half from now. Very exciting!