For those of you not bored with the minutiae of our lives you may remember us purchasing new area rugs last month. The carpet in our eating area didn’t last a day before being replaced, but we were quite pleased with the one in the Living Room.
Unfortunately, two of the corners started to unravel within a couple of weeks and we had to return it. It was just like the sweaters your Grandmother used to knit you. Once the first stitch lets go, there’s no stopping the rest from unravelling.
Unfortunately we were unable to get an exact replacement, so had to go shopping again. This is what we ended up with.
My previous post about living the Snowbird life missed a few points as it was getting to be verrrry long. One was about Health Insurance costs. These grow steadily as you age, but it helps to be healthy if you can arrange it. Last year at age 60, and with no pre-existing conditions or prescribed medications Sylvia and I purchased 90 day multi-trip coverage before we went south for just over $400 total for both of us. That was about 2/3’s of our previous year’s costs for a 150 day package. We have to head back to Canada Mid-Winter to make this work, but as we are planning to head home each year for a short visit with Sylvia’s folks for the foreseeable future that works out well.
Some friends of our who are older than us, and have pre-existing conditions that raise the costs of health coverage dramatically, do this process every year as they find the savings on insurance pay for the airfare and more. You only have to be back in Canada for a cup of coffee to reset the 90 day clock.
As I said earlier, the costs rise quickly as you age, and especially if you have any pre-existing conditions. My Godparents are in their mid 80’s and have a number of health issues, but still head to Mesa for 5 months every winter as it beats being in Edmonton. Two years ago their insurance costs were $19,000. I think when our costs get that high we won’t be heading South anymore!
I also know people who head to Mexico every winter and only buy enough insurance to cover their transit time through the USA, and none for their time in Mexico. Medical costs there are very affordable, unlike the Excited States.
I was asked a question about the process of crossing the border. The Canadian Snowbird Association instructs us to bring along a number of documents, including credit card receipts, property tax records, bank and financial records and several others. We have brought these documents with us every year, but have never been asked for any of them. The year we don’t have them with us is the year we’ll be asked for them I suppose.
One thing I haven’t covered yet is renting a vacation home. We don’t have any experience with this ourselves, but have friends who’ve rented 5th wheel trailers, Mobile Homes, Park Models and 3 bedroom homes in various locales. The costs for this run between $1800 and $2500+ a month, but in the case of RV’s or Park Models this will include the monthly site rental and allow you full access to a park’s facilities. Yuma is cheaper than Desert Hot Springs which is cheaper than Phoenix, and the west side of Phoenix seems to be a bit more expensive than the East side. Of course, if you’re made of Money, you can buy a nice house right on a Fairway in Mesa for about $400K or about $275K out where we hang out.
One option several people use for defraying costs is to rent out their home on a short term basis. Some friends make use of house-sitters to just look after their place for the winter, but we know several couples in the Okanagan who make a good buck renting their homes for the winter to Albertans trying to get away from the cold. (That process works great until you have to come home for some unforeseen reason and can’t get back into your home.)
I hope this has been helpful, but remember that these scenarios only relate to our experiences and travels. We have by no means experienced everything that the Snowbird lifestyle has to offer, and won’t deny that other people’s experiences, while different than ours, are no less enjoyable. We’ve found our niche, and have set down some roots in Gold Canyon. There’s no reason to expect that you won’t be able to do the same for less or more money anywhere there’s lots of sunshine to enjoy.