Spent $4338 this month, roughly $450 over budget. This largely came from the home improvement area and grocery area but we have plans in place to address. Still room for improvement in some categories but we definitely feel like we are headed in the right direction.
Campground Fees – Thanks to Lee for finding free or near-free places to stay on travel days, and our work kamping job, this category is the lowest it has ever been. Lee has felt all along that once we got out west this category would be much lower and he was absolutely correct.
Groceries – Wow this one got completely out of control. By far the worst month we have had yet. We went back and took a look, and again it was being with friends and being forced to shop at small grocery stores with no other options. It wasn’t big bills, either, just numerous $80 trips. The good news is we implemented our new grocery/meal plan and in the last two weeks of the month only spent $245. If we continue to spend at that rate we will be under budget for October and maybe I will finally feel like we have a handle on this. For September I am going with “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”
Dining Out/Entertainment – One was over and the other was under, so it was a wash. That’s always a win in this category. And really good for us considering we were with friends and traveled, both of which in the past have caused us to blow the budget for these categories.
Fuel – Although we are over in both travel and local categories, we really look at this as an annual number and we are under by $1K for the year so far. We traveled from Montana to California in September and have done a few long driving trips to Reno while here in Susanville. I’m not that concerned as we only have three months left in the year, and we aren’t looking at any really long trips, so the annual number should be good. Which frankly is a miracle since this number more than any other was a big guess when we set the budget.
Home Improvement – Over by $300 dollars. We bought the flagpole buddy to help with cellular strength (works pretty good), and we hit a large Camping World in Oregon and went a little crazy buying all those things we had needed for several months but weren’t near a Camping World, and Lee bought the supplies to add new power outlets in the rig so that we can hook our electric heaters up to the additional power outlets on pedestals, so we can bypass the inverter. He also bought the supplies to add a 12 volt outlet in the bedroom and we bought an Endless Breeze 12 volt fan so I can run a fan all night without worrying about draining the batteries when boondocking. I will say that in order to prepare for less income coming in, we have decided to discuss all of these purchases proactively. Talking at the end of a week or month is reactive and doesn’t really help. Now we are having a meeting every Saturday morning where we will discuss in advance what we think we will be spending, especially in the more troublesome categories.
Clothing – Lee bought a cool hat (you’ve seen it in the pictures) and I went a little T-Shirt crazy. I have this idea that eventually I will take all the T-Shirts from the places we have been and make a quilt from them. Since they will serve three purposes (a shirt to wear, a memento from seeing something, and ultimately, a quilt) I don’t feel that guilty about spending the money. If I plan on continuing this though I will definitely need to look at adjusting this category next year.
Propane – We went way over and this was mostly used in the first week of the month in Glacier. Because it was cloudy and smoky, we had to use the generator to charge the batteries (which takes a ton of propane) and we also had to heat with propane, because we were not on full hookups. Obviously this is not the most efficient way to heat your home, and you really should take propane costs into account when thinking about boondocking in cold weather.
So it was a solid month and I am excited about our new grocery plan and proactively talking about the budget weekly. If neither you nor your partner is a spender by nature you may not need to go to these lengths, but since we were pretty much used to spending whatever we wanted whenever we wanted,it’s somewhat necessary. Part of me wishes we would have done this immediately, but for us we needed to come to it organically, because we don’t want to spend less money. We like spending what we want when we want, I mean really, who doesn’t? But we also know that that is just not sustainable. Because of our natures we needed to ease our way into this. And keep in mind we are not close to being where we want to be yet. This is our “me working full time making tons of money” budget. Next year’s budget will need to be leaner. We will see how it goes, and all I can do is be as honest as possible through the process.
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