October 2016 Budget

One of the best things about working 15 straight days is you don’t have much time to spend money.  Not surprisingly this was one of our best months ever with only $2881.88 in monthly expenses, saving $1191.87 off our monthly budget. It’s not hard to figure out why.  Minimal campground costs, low fuel costs and lack of entertainment costs helped to financially make this a great month for us. So if you are really struggling to stay on budget, work a ton of 12 hour days straight.  That should help 🙂



Campground Fees – Only two days as we traveled to our next work kamping job.

Groceries – I am really happy with this category, because despite the fact that we purchased lots of prepared foods and didn’t cook many meals, overall we were $38 under budget. As you know this category has been a major challenge for us, so maybe eating canned soup and deli chicken every day is the way to keep these costs in line!

Dining Out – Despite the $119 overage in this category I am really happy with it.  $73 was one big splurge meal at the end to celebrate finishing the harvest and the rest was pretty reasonable.  It was a HUGE temptation to not eat out constantly since we were so tired and working, and if we had eaten every day at the food truck at the yard this would have been much worse.  Considering the circumstances, I think we did great here.  Plus it was offset by Entertainment where we spent a whopping $2.28. (I am pretty sure that was an ITunes song.  I love the show The Voice and occasionally just have to download a song from there. 

Truck Fuel – Individual fill ups were somewhat expensive in Montana, but there were few of them as all we did was drive back and forth to work every day. $178.20 is really a job expense in my mind, although after talking to our tax accountant, I don’t believe we can claim it on our taxes.  The most conservative view is going back and forth to a job from where the RV is parked is not deductible.  Traveling within the job work hours would be (ie: if we had been sent to another location during our work day), but a simple back and forth is not. I am not a tax accountant though and you may take another approach, but personally we tend to be pretty conservative on how we file.  I only mention it because I had some confusion on this issue, but of course talk to your accountant about your unique situation. 

Clothing – We spent $90.62 on last minute clothing items for the harvest.  This could have been avoided if we would have known in advance what clothing was needed, but since it was almost all thrift store I don’t feel bad.  I may have also slipped in a few recipe books as well, which really should go into entertainment, but I’m not going to break that all out. 

Home Repair – We crushed this category, coming in $134 under budget because again who has time for home repair when you are working 12 hour days.  I will say we have developed quite a list of items that need to be addressed, but have decided to use our extended warranty and address these items in bulk once we are in New Braunfels. 

Overall, it was a great budget month, which is another plus for working the beet harvest. What’s interesting to me is we have demonstrated we can live on less than $3K a month, but seem unable to consistently achieve that result.  Why is that so important?  Well if we can comfortably live on less, we can work less.  We are not alone in this struggle, by the way.  Most people don’t just flip a switch and instantly become frugal.  It obviously can be done of course, we met numerous kids who make their beet harvest money last for several months, what is still to be determined is whether we are willing to consistently do it. 

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4 thoughts on “October 2016 Budget

  1. This is very similar to when we were at Amazon – and you are right – it’s hard to be consistent when not working. This is something we struggle with as well but I think it’s just a balancing act and the real “budget” is in the middle, if that makes sense. We find planning ahead meals (as my friend Tracy told me to do! 😉) helps a lot. Finding inexpensive entertainment is the easiest/most difficult category, as sometimes there are plenty of things to do, other times those expensive tours, etc are hard to resist. Anyway – great job!

  2. We’ve noticed the regional differences in grocery costs, as I’m sure you saw in Alaska, Trace. Spending our summers in a resort area really cased an uptick in the grocery spending, especially when the only close market we had was the same place Mario Batali shopped. A tad pricey, to say the least. Here in Kentucky, Kroger is better stocked and far cheaper.

    • Absolutely huge difference. We spent a ton in the Glacier area for example. Unfortunately the places we most want to be are in those harder to reach areas which equals higher fuel and grocery costs.

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