This is the first month I will be sharing both our costs and our revenue. I can’t promise I will always do that going forward, but in this case the revenue was 100% generated by a traditional work kamping job, and I think it would be good to share it. Along those lines, some folks have been asking about RV Tech revenue, and I wanted to share that thus far we have only made $45 from tech work. We have been advertising heavily here at the campground and Lee has been called to look at problems 5 times in the last month, but in most cases the fix was extremely easy (under 10 minutes of his time) and he has chosen not to charge the person. Certainly you could charge a one hour minimum in these cases (which would have been $500 in additional revenue), but Lee personally did not feel right about charging for things that he can do so quickly and without the need to pick up a tool. He considers it “karma in the bank”. We get many new RVers coming through here, often from other countries, and they often have a limited understanding of the systems in the RV’s they have rented. Lee takes a few minutes and educates them (in one case he switched a power switch from off to on) and he feels that this is just the human thing to do. I agree, and since we are making plenty of money to cover our expenses we can afford to do that. In the future it could of course change.
So how did we do in our first ever month of paying as we go. Well, pretty fantastic!! We netted $3710.77 from our work kamping job and our costs were only $2803.71. Holy cow. Seriously, I am as shocked as you are, and I double checked the numbers. Before we all get too excited though, we should have bought camper tags this month (we sort of blew that off) and this did NOT include a run into Costco as we are doing that next month with Kelly and Bill. We also thankfully had no repairs of any kind. Almost got whacked with $1,100 for brake repairs on the truck which would have made this a different story, but the warranty I purchased covered all that so we only had to pay for the gas. Even knowing those things it is an extremely promising month and even more so because we still got to explore and see some pretty terrific stuff on this budget. Lee’s been telling me for many, many months this was possible, and to be honest I was extremely skeptical, but the proof is in the pudding. One month does not a budget make, but wow I feel pretty great about this. For more details please see below.
Campground Fees- One of the benefits of work kamping is no campground fees, which saved $600. If you counted this savings into our monthly wage we made over $4,300 this month!
Groceries – All that stocking up finally paid off, and despite the higher prices in local stores here we saved $232.75. We ate what we had supplemented a bit with some spinach Darlene is growing, and two meals of fresh salmon which was given to us. Also, Lee has been cooking most of the meals since I work so late and his meals require less additional ingredients than mine do. They’ve been awesome, but he tends to make do with what we have.
Dining Out – We ended up $25 to the good in this category and I feel great about that. We rigidly controlled spending on our numerous day trips by packing lunches, and more importantly resisted the urge to eat locally out of boredom. This is an area many full timers overspend in when sitting in one place for awhile, so I am glad that we did well. Since we have more overnight trips in July I fully expect this category to go up, but we have shown it can be done…at least for us.
Entertainment – We ended up $19.90 to the good, mainly by focusing on nature related activities that didn’t cost money. The big ticket item in this category was $89.95 for the Alaska Tour Saver book which will help us save money the rest of the season by offering numerous “two for one” deals. The book is pretty pricey but since we are taking a Glacier Tour in August, the book more than pays for itself with that one trip.
Truck Fuel – I was concerned about truck fuel costs going up since we took so many long drives to keep entertainment costs down, but I was pleased to see truck fuel was $177 under budget. This is mainly because we are consolidating our trips and during the work week are hardly using the vehicle at all.
Cigarettes – The good news in this category is they must have changed the rules or something because we can now purchase loose tobacco online and have it shipped. We know this doesn’t apply to a lot of people, but it’s an expense for us, and typically Lee looks for places to buy tobacco everywhere we go, with varying degrees of luck. In Anchorage the price of loose tobacco is three times the price in the lower 48, and the selection is pretty meager. We brought quite a bit with us, but not enough to get us all the way to mid-September, so it’s nice to know that even with the shipping, it’s cheaper to buy online. And going forward, we don’t have to worry about hunting it down everywhere we go.
Home Equipment – We did great in this category $155 under budget, our best ever. When you are sitting still less things break and Lee is getting his puttering fix by working on so much in the campground.
So again, I know it’s just one data point, but feeling good about things overall. July we have longer trips, more seeing friends, income tax preparation to pay, along with tags, so things will go up, but it definitely did prove to me that we could stay under budget and still have fun, which was one of the major things I wanted to get out of this work kamping experience.
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