This was another tough month for us, but in this case we had some big life events that happened. One was the wedding and I thought long and hard about whether to include those costs in the budget at all. But after thinking about it, you will have weddings, graduations, funerals, etc, along the way and they will generate incidental costs. So the way I have handled it is to remove the costs for the wedding itself (I had set aside a separate fund for those) but I have left in additional costs such as clothing, personal care, gifts, etc., because those may go along with any special event and there are some lessons learned there. The second event was the flat tire, and more importantly, replacing two truck tires and an alignment. The warranty reimbursement for the tire should come at a later date, but the two front tires and alignment were just bad luck (we think the alignment was off when it came from the factory as the wear on both front tires was equally bad).
I would like to take a moment here and talk about my feelings around the budget. I am absolutely an ant. What I mean by that is in the ant and the grasshopper fable I would absolutely be the ant who stores away extra for the long hard winter. There’s nothing wrong with being an ant…there are a lot of us, and we are always solid and well prepared. But to do this lifestyle (unless you were an ant your whole life and have plenty of money in the bank) you need to have some grasshopper in you. No, it’s not responsible to fiddle all summer long and not put anything away, but you can’t make every moment of every day about storing away either. So my responsible ant self is trying to channel her inner grasshopper and not worry so much. It’s tough though when we have a couple of rough months in a row not to get all skittish. I’m working on it and wanted to mention it because I know I am not the only ant out there.
Alright..well let’s get into it. We spent $5300, roughly $1400 over our monthly budget. The details of what happened in each category are below.
- Campground fees – We were under in this category mainly because we stayed for 5 free days at DeDe and Denny’s in their house. In order not to upset their neighbors, we parked the RV for two days in front of their house at the beginning of our Columbus visit and three days at the end.
- Groceries – We did the best we ever have in this category. Mainly because DeDe and Denny fed us quite a bit and we ate out a lot.
- Dining Out – Speaking of which, $177 over in this category. This included a Father’s Day dinner for my dad and a Father’s day dinner for Lee’s dad and Step dad and a couple of meals we paid for since we felt bad we were eating all of DeDe and Denny’s food. So if you look at this category and groceries together, it’s a wash.
- We did OK in fuel, although we spent more than we have in the past since we traveled quite a distance in the month, but still under budget, which was a good thing. We will see how this plays out in future months as we start to travel out west over greater distances.
- Home Improvement – Absolutely got killed in this category again. I wish I could say it was one big purchase but it was a bit of this and a bit of that and it all adds up. $241 over.
- RV Truck Maintenance – So this was the major portion of our overage. We had to replace the two front truck tires and get an alignment which was $555. We believe the truck came from the factory misaligned since the wear on the tires was even, but safety comes first and we absolutely needed to get this fixed prior to traveling out West. The remainder was largely the flat tire but we should be getting a refund for $155 from the Tire Insurance company in future months as we submitted a claim.
- Gifts – I spent over $400 in this category and it was a perfect storm. I am rarely with people when holidays occur so when I am I love to buy them a gift. Mom and I went to Reflexology for Mother’s Day. I bought my niece Elise a birthday present, my nephew turned 1, and half of the wedding present I bought for Katy is in here. The gift category to me is what the Home Improvement category is to Lee. I am going to need to do some serious thinking and budgeting in this category for next year, but for this year it largely is what it is.
- Clothing – So here is a major lesson learned. Lee left his suit in the storage unit because we thought if he needed it we could swing by and get it. I am not sure why we thought that, it doesn’t even make any sense, but our daughter decided to get married, the suit is buried somewhere in storage and we looked and couldn’t find anything that would remotely work for him in consignment stores. So this month we paid for shoes, shirt, and belt. Next month you’ll see the suit itself and the alterations. This was a $400 expense that could have largely been avoided if we could have planned ahead…so even though you’ll hate taking up the space, bring a suit and a nice dress or two.
- Miscellaneous – The $40 in this category was for wood. I will say we are using less wood than I originally thought I would. I started cooking over campfires quite a bit but it’s a bit of a hassle and we tend to use the grill and oven more. Plus many campgrounds don’t have fire rings, or it’s too warm to want a fire. We will see how this changes (if it does) when we get out west as well.
So there you have it the Good, Bad, and the Ugly. I am really proud of how we did in some major categories though. The trend there is comforting, and if you view the Tire maintenance and Wedding expenses as one time variances it’s not a horrible story. Still after the wedding, we are both in agreement that we need to settle down and find out what this lifestyle will really cost, with just the two of us in the wide open spaces. Can’t wait!!
- Make sure you bring at least one outfit that is appropriate to wear to a wedding and a funeral (may require two outfits) as these are not so easy to replace inexpensively on the road.
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I love your ant and grasshopper story! Its interesting that you talk about outfits….I purposly packed a funeral outfit just in case, and for my sisters wedding, I shipped my dress ahead, Mario will rent a tux…at least you are budgeting, thats awesome, we are just trying to get a handle on our spending.
It takes some time. I recommend completely blowing it off for the first two months. Things are just to crazy. Then really try to get your feet under you the third month. We use Howard’s spreadsheet and it works great for us