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Our First 60 Days

We thought it would be a great idea to recap you on what our relocation has been like since we moved here 60 days ago. It doesn’t seem possible that we have been here that long all ready, I can still remember walking through the door of our FL home with butterflies in my stomach.  But we are here, and we LOVE it, so we thought we would let you in on how it has worked for us so far.  Our point for doing this is for our new readers who may have not read our journey thus far, plus for our loyal readers to maybe catch something now they didn’t the first time we talked about it. Enjoy!

Let’s start with the moving process itself, as that is what we get the most questions about. Craig researched moving companies for months – how much, how big, etc… and we came to the conclusion that spending $2800 to move our old stuff across country for our new and exciting life wasn’t worth it when we could use the $2800 for new furniture and other items. Again, if your stuff is brand new and worth three times that, then yes, it is worth it to move – old stuff isn’t.  We took into account what was most important to us – comfort level, items that couldn’t be replaced, space in our new home, etc… and that is what we brought with us in our van and car.  We were at a point that we didn’t have enough to ever fill a trailer, but too much to fill our vehicles with. So we decided to store things at my Mom and Dads, which they have shipped to us in small amounts and are bringing with them when they come to visit this fall.  You, yourself, could ship items as well from your old home to your new home, if you know of someone who could accept them or hold them in your neighborhood or apartment complex.

Now when you do it the way we did it, you have to make sure you have enough in your budget to purchase everything you need. You have to literally make a list of how much you will need for beds, couches, tables, desks, etc… Make sure to aim high on your budget, and not on the low side, that way the surprises of certain costs don’t kill it.  We made it our top priority to make sure the kids were comfortable first and foremost.  Day one of getting here we went to the DMV, then right after we bought our mattresses. You can research online until the cows come home, but until you get here, it’s looking with your own eyes and experiencing what is out there first hand that truly works.  Here is the thing, we all slept on the floor night one- we all planned on it and weren’t going to mess around with air mattresses. We knew if we bought them that we would have an “out” on waiting longer to buy them because it “wasn’t so bad.” Being uncomfortable helps your desire of wanting the item even more, which honestly helped us focus on getting the mattresses right away instead of jumping into the car and heading to the Parks.  We bought all of our mattresses at “The Original Mattress Factory” in Kissimmee- excellent quality and we had great service. He walked us through every type of mattress, we discussed our budget with him, and we decided on what was comfortable for all of us. Emily’s mattress, a twin, cost $169.00- Kyra’s full with box spring cost $379.00- and our Queen Set cost us $578 with the frame.  We didn’t buy the cheapest either – in fact, ours was about 3 tiers up from the cheapest.  We have all slept on them for 2 months now and have no complaints- LOVE having new beds!

Make sure you shop around, if you have the time and desire too. We got to a point while buying our living room furniture that you have to look at all that is out there, but going home to an empty living room after so many nights gets old and uncomfortable. We found a great loveseat and couch for a total of $600, and added IKEA pieces to it for our tables and TV stand.  At one point at IKEA we were standing with all the boxes behind our mini-van and started to laugh at HOW we were going to get it all to fit.  We wound up pulling it all out of the boxes, and it fit just fine- plus we got to leave all those unnecessary boxes at the store for them to dispose of.  So keep in mind if you are planning on buying new stuff that you have a way of getting it home. Our original plan when we WERE going to UHaul it was to keep it a couple of extra days and use the trailer to haul the new stuff we bought around town. We never used the UHaul so it never happened, but it is a way for you to haul stuff from home and have a means to transport the new items as well.

Now, we don’t have all of our furniture yet, because we knew that we would pick up certain items over time – they are budgeted for future pay days.  We have all of our comforts taken care of, so when we aren’t in the Parks, we can relax in our new home. There will always be something we want, always something we could use – time, money and patience will win out in the end.  We have taken care of our needs first and that is why, so far, we have been pretty successful in our relocation here.

Craig continues his work from home, which helps us out that he doesn’t need to put wear and tear on a vehicle or fight the rat race every day.  We came to FL knowing he could continue his job from home here, so we did not have to look for a job when we got here. I know many have asked me about this, and all I can say on the matter is from seeing others experiences, that it is truly smart to have about 6 months savings to live on while you look for a job here. I don’t recommend coming here without a job and little money, since it will be twice as hard for you to get on your feet. Remember, once you GET the job, you still have to wait up to 3 weeks for your first pay check.  Be mindful of a move made without a job – preparing from where you are now on a solid foundation is a lot safer and smarter than sweating it out in a new place where you don’t know anyone.

We mainly grocery shop at Wal-Mart on Hwy 27 for the cheaper food, soda, and paper items. We buy our fruit at Publix, along with our Sunday paper. Publix is on the high end for shopping- but the service is excellent and few tourists seems to go to any of them because of their high prices. When I enter Publix I feel at peace, when I enter Walmart I feel rushed by the surge of energy that tourists bring with them while on vacation- trade-offs for both. If you check online for coupons and the local paper, you can find great buys at Publix and other grocery stores.  I check out Target for their clearance items and dollar sections, but otherwise I don’t bother with them because their prices are too high. If Target has a good enough Ad I will shop there, mainly for school supplies- it’s all about exploring and finding what works.  Just yesterday Craig and I got out of the house for a bit and shopped “Lowes” for pool and house items – it was neat to see everything we could do with our patio area.  We checked out the “Champions Gate” area and found a HUGE Champions Gate Library- the size of a Barnes and Noble. I plan to head there this week and check it out- will report back with what I find.

We purchased Premium Annual Passes for Walt Disney World, with a Resident discount and added the payment plan so we could still afford to have them, along with making sure bills and other things came first.  We go when we can, with what we can afford. Some days we go in and have a great big lunch, and other days we bring in Vitamin Water and snacks.  You make it work with what you have, because frankly, there is always another day I can go to WDW and do what I want- so that “I have to do it now” mentality is out the window.  We also purchased Sea World Annual Passes, which were only $36 for the four of us a month. Universal start up costs is a bit much for us right now, so we will wait on it until the time is right. I would like to say that if you do not have the means to buy Theme Park tickets once you first move here, it is ok to WAIT. I, more than anyone, realize that the reason we moved here, like you, is to be able to enjoy the magic on a daily basis. But, if you can’t do that yet, be smart about it and WAIT. Once you are settled and things start to feel as they should, then purchase them and enjoy it without having to worry where your next payment will come from.  Remember, to enjoy WDW is the reward, not to disrupt or corrupt your financial life.

The same goes for relocation itself- don’t do if you can’t afford too. It is a MAJOR step in a person’s life, and I know speaking for myself, it was the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken. Looking back on these 60 days, I have had my highs and my lows- but the highs have been so incredible that they over shadow the lows.  I truly believe that my family is happier and that my marriage is stronger. We look forward to the next 60 days and we hope you all will be a part of it.


  1. May I also suggest the Cagan Crossings Library directly across Hwy 27 from the Walmart. We have lived at Cagan for about 4 years and find it very comfortable. Love your blog since I have only been here 4 yrs and am still learning, lol.


  2. Wow! Sixty days already… I guess summer is flying by again! I hope that one day soon I’ll bee looking out the window of my Florida home too.


  3. Amy – Thanks so much for this blog! Im moving to Florida in November (woohoo! No more Chicago snow!) and Im understandably freaked out but excited too! Its great to read about how well your family is doing!


    • Amy – thanks! I appreciate that! Im pretty lucky that even though Im moving to Florida with no job (which provides many moments of WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?), Im moving with my parents to their (our?) beautiful new house in The Villages! Have you ever been there? Lots of happy people who are retired but dont act retired, swimming pools everywhere, music on the two town squares and 2 for 1 happy hours! You and the hubby someday should maybe take a mini roadtrip and go on a little date night there!


  4. Congrats on your first 60 days-I am moving in Spring of 2013, and have FELT your successes and your set backs as if they were my own, knowing I will soon be experiencing them. My partner Mark and I are coming for an exploritory visit in about 6 months-we would love to have a coffee/juice with you at one of the resorts to hear your advice first hand if you were open to it!

    Ken (Phoenix, AZ for now… Orlando, FL in 600 days!)


  5. I remember when I moved to Florida back in 91, I did the same as you, slept on the floor and bought stuff as we went. I moved back to Indiana in 93, wife didnt like it much and missed her family,but she was young and also jobs were hard to come by or did not pay very well. Now that we are older we have plans to move back, hopefully soon. Congrats on the first 60 and I wish you the best on the rest of your future there.
    Paul, Indiana


  6. We were just at Sea World In June, but it rained both days were were there so the time in the park was cut short. Not a bad park but probably wont go back for awhile. Someone told me that Sea World was better than WDW while I was there, I am not sure they visited all that WDW had to offer or they would not have said that.



  7. Congrats on 60 days! We just hit the one yr mark here in O-town 🙂 It keeps getting easier the more you drive around & get to know the area…although there is still a LOT to find around here! 🙂 Best of luck to you & your family!! ~Maria


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