The good news is despite overspending in several categories we were able to keep our total costs right on budget. The bad news is for the fist time since being here we spent more than we made. That’s not that surprising since we chose to take 4 extra days off work to spend some time with friends, but still a bit of a bummer. We over spent by $600, which isn’t the end of the world, and if you look at June, July, and August in total we are still $580 to the good. That’s not the total picture of course, we definitely won’t make enough wages to cover the expense of getting here and getting back, but we haven’t dug ourselves too big of a hole. The details in the individual categories are listed below.
Groceries – In aggregate we we once again $191.28 over in this category. $75 of that was the crab legs, but the rest is just that stuff is more expensive here. Despite having a freezer for meat we still spent this much on local IGA trips. What can I say?? I’d love to say once we hit the lower 48 everything will be back to normal, but with our upcoming travel through Canada and then working long shifts at the Beet Harvest and Christmas Tree lot that is unlikely. At least we ate well this summer.
Dining Out – I knew pretty early on we were going to blow this category in August. Part of it was the trips we took, and part was eating out more often. We spent over $100 on the Mexican food truck down the road alone, four meals, knew when we were doing it the budget didn’t allow for it. Partly it’s because the food is so darn good, but also the “eat out because we are making money and bored” stage kicked in. We’ve been pretty good in the past of recognizing this feeling and holding each other accountable but this month we both said “screw it.” That attitude is reflected in the money spent.
Entertainment – I am really happy with this category because the Glacier cruise cost $133 in and of itself and we really didn’t go over by much despite doing tons of stuff. Sticking to nature related activities really keeps costs down and (in my opinion) generally provides for a better experience. I don’t regret the glacier cruise, but I am not in a big hurry to do it again.
Truck Fuel – Despite all the driving truck fuel was right on target. Again this was due to not using the vehicle much during our five day work week and gassing up as much as possible near the big towns.
Postage – This category is totally out of control. Part of it is the gifts I sent my nieces and nephews, but mostly it’s due to what our mail service is charging us. We are not sending mail express, we are only doing it when absolutely necessary (absentee ballots and trailer registration this month) and yet we are still paying through the nose. The problem is it’s not like we could easily change our mail service at this point. Since they are also our address a mail change would require going back to Florida and is not something that could be done lightly. We don’t mind the monthly cost and we think their scanning service is reasonably priced but every mailing we get seems to cost $75. Ridiculous.
House Expenditures – For the first time in awhile we were over in this category and it was by $240. A big chunk of this was the money Lee had to spend to build a new trailer power cord and $90 of it was to replace our electric blanket which finally died after valiantly preheating our bed for almost 8 years. We tried to order the blanket online and use AMEX points to pay for it, but the shipping kept getting delayed and Lee finally had to cancel the order and buy it in person in Anchorage. Why do we need the blanket before we leave? Well our furnace is still broken and since we are planning on boon docking some on the way back to the US we can use it as a heat source with our solar.
Still, despite all these overages we still ended close to budget, because we once again spent very little on campground fees. I really can’t stress enough the benefits of minimal campground fees when work kamping or volunteering. Our best months have been when we have that extra $600 (15% of our overall budget) to work with.
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We use the same mail provider you do, Trace, and even with scanning, opening a couple important things and postage once or twice a month, we are at less than half of that $75…for the entire month. Yikes! If you want to PM me on what we are doing, feel free to do so.
I am going to Jim because I really don’t understand what is costing us so much
I don’t know if I missed a post, Tracy, but what eventually did happen with your truck repairs? I hope everything got fixed quickly and inexpensively and that you’re good to hit the road again.
Nope you didn’t miss it. Will be writing more about it in my upcoming post, but as of this writing it is in the bay but still not fixed. Obviously my anxiety is rising as every day passes. But thank you for your good thoughts. Just anxious to be on the road again