January 2017 Budget with Revenue

For 2017 we are going to be posting both our costs and our revenue, to give folks an idea if we are able to make it on our costs versus the revenue we can generate with seasonal jobs.  I am going to be looking at this from a cash flow perspective month to month so in January you will see the $6K from Christmas trees.  Technically that money was earned in 2016 (and I will adjust it out in the end of year summary), but we received it on January 4th.  I think cash flow is important because it’s not just about if we can earn enough overall, but also how much we have to dip into or can put into savings.  This month we did really well and were able to put $3K of that $6K into our operating income account.  Lee is always very happy when we get to move money into that account, and the fact that we were able to do that much is a testament to how little we spent and the fact that we started generating revenue pretty quickly in 2017.

So how did we do?  We had one of our best months with expenses coming in at $2940. We were paid  $1500 in gate guarding in addition to Christmas Tree money for a total of $7302 in revenue. Our net cash flow was $4362 for the month, a great way to start off the year.  We spent so little because we came in under in almost every category and spent nothing on clothes, personal care, or entertainment.  (We don’t look great, but we saved lots of money! – Lee) We also didn’t have to pay health insurance this month (we double paid in December), but we did had an unexpected truck alignment and tire expense which actually wipes out that saving and cost us $200 more. So it was a good month.  We didn’t pay for life insurance as I originally budgeted (still trying to find a reasonably priced plan).  Anyway, the detailed accounts are below, but like I said, good start.


Campground Fees – Very happy we only spent $128 in this category because it could have been much worse.  We were scrambling to find places to stay when we were waiting on the warranty inspector and nothing was very inexpensive.  Thankfully we found the great Passport America park and were able to stay for only $22 versus the $40 prices we were seeing in New Braunfels. The rest of the month was covered by our work kamping jobs.

Groceries – We were extremely rigid with grocery shopping this month, menu planning, sticking to lists, and eating what we had.  Consequently for the first time in forever we came in right on target on the food budget and $107 to the good on non food items.  This month definitely proved to us that it can be done, but it did require major adjustments.  We are starting February off with a menu plan and a list so hopefully we can continue on as we have begun. (If she has to eat toast for every meal, we’re going to beat this category into submission. – Lee)

Dining Out – Again this may have been the best month we ever had and that’s not for lack of opportunity.   We could have ordered pizza or bought food locally but chose to eat at home.  That makes the win in the grocery column doubly good because we didn’t supplement that budget with eating out.  The $74 we did spend was primarily eating lunch while our rig was being worked on.  We had to eat out three days in total for that. 

Cell Phone – I spent $49 to pay off the phone on my Verizon plan, which put us over but we should get that back with switching to ATT and using Lee’s old Iphone 4 (which is working great by the way.)  The bad news is we went seriously over in data which will cost us an additional $60 on next months bill, but that prompted us to start tracking our data daily, which again for the year should result in a win.  We went over in data 4 times last year for a total cost of around $150.  If we can avoid that for the rest of the year we will still spend less on data YOY.

Entertainment – We spent nothing although I was seriously tempted to put that extra data in this category, because at this job the internet is our entertainment. 

Truck Fuel- One of the side benefits of limited grocery runs, no eating out, and no entertainment is you don’t spend much in fuels.  This category was extremely low at $84 for the month.

RV Insurance – We were overcharged due to a clerical error (they were showing I had no drivers license for some reason),but this has been reversed and the over payment will be credited back over future months. 

Laundry – Despite the craziness with the water when we first arrived here, we managed to save enough water to use our washing machine which was great.  Lee did a great job of that and I wanted to mention it because we could easily have spent $30 or so at the laundromat.  He gets full credit for that not happening.  Plus we both really don’t like laundromats and are happy when we can do laundry in our rig. 

Personal Care – I’m getting pretty shaggy and will definitely need a haircut in February, but with everything going on in January neither one of us got our haircut.  That was a function of lack of opportunity and time ans much as trying to save money. (You watch, the haircut will turn into getting her nails done, and a pedicure, and some kind of weird massage. That’s where all our money. That and shoes. – Lee)

Home Repair – We were right on the money.  $77 of that was to Camping World for diagnosing the problem on our furnace and the rest was, well I am not sure what the rest was, Lee will have to tell you. (It was for a replacement valve for our flush king, and replacement hose for our blue boy, and new weather seal for one of our baggage doors. – Lee)

So from a budget perspective it was an excellent month.  Probably the best we have ever had if you look at how we did category by category.  And our life itself wasn’t that bad.  Our goal for a while has been to find jobs in the winter and reduce our spending, because there are so few places we can be and things to do.  We definitely accomplished that, and more importantly we started the year off with a plan to improve several categories and thus far it seems to be working.  Lee said I would be very happy with it, and truly I am.  This doesn’t feel like one good month as an anomaly but rather a start on the new normal.  Only time will tell of course, but I feel pretty good about it.

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19 thoughts on “January 2017 Budget with Revenue

  1. Good job. Way to stay way in budget. I had a question about your washer and dryer in your rig. It sounds like you are glad you have it. Is it a separate washer and dryer or is it the combo washer and dryer in one? Do you have issues with having enough water to do your laundry? I keep going back and forth about adding that to our rig when we get it. Wanted to see your thoughts. I do laundry all the time now and hate to have dirty clothes sitting around so I think for me I would love it but wanted some input on that. Thanks for great post and the wonderful information that you give. Take care.

    • We adore our washer and dryer and it is a combination Splendide 2100. Obviously we can’t use it when boondocking but we use it even when we aren’t on full hookups as Lee uses the blue boy to transfer water to the dump. The exception would be blankets and coats. Have to go to the laundromat for those

  2. Way to go! Wish I could say January was a great budget month for us – but NO! Bill has been saying (more frequently than usual) “we spend WAY too much money when we don’t work!” What can I say? Huge chunk in January was the new tires – but it wasn’t all of it! But February is here – another month to try and stick to the budget! UGH!

  3. Either I’m tired or my accounting is failing me (or I’m just not understanding your spreadsheet) – all real possibilities! I’m with ya all the way down through the TOTAL EXPENSES = BUDGET-ACTUAL=VARIANCE. But the last line is throwing me. NET CASH FLOW=BUDGET+ACTUAL=ACTUAL? Not sure why those two are ADDING together on the last line. And then what the $8200 actually represents. Not saying it’s wrong…..I just don’t understand….help me – LOL!

  4. You have a great attitude Tracy! Thinking back to previous posts having time to spend with Lee and time to travel is worth so much. While I was fortunate enough to retire, after having done so, I sometimes wish we had quit earlier and gone on the road earlier like you and Lee, and made do with less. My stress level is nothing compared to what I dealt with everyday at work and I love my simple life now. I feel certain with your work ethics you two will have no problems making this work and it sounds as if you use the extra time to really enjoy life. That’s what it’s all about.

    I do have a question regarding the app or program you are using to track your data. What are you using? Do you each have this app on your cell phones? We tried one last year but I was not very happy with it. I’ve since deleted it and I cannot remember what it was called. We are looking at going full-time this spring and I think this would be a great tool to use so we do not run into a data crunch toward the end of each month.

    Thanks for all the information you share

    • On our phones and iPad we go to cellular data and look at the usage number once a day and then go to the bottom and reset so every day is fresh. Kind of a pain but very accurate. For the computers Lee put the program name in the blog post a couple of days ago. The biggest problem is data off the wifi box from devices. The wifi box number are not accurate so I go online look at the device, we back out the computers and whatever is left is from the devices. Not a great system so we keep devices on cellular as much as possible. I did have to download Facebook on the new phone the other day though and it forced me to wifi so sometimes we have to use is

  5. Nicely done on the budget!! I seem to blowing my food budget on a regular basis and really need to get that sorted out. Thanks for sharing the incoming cash flow!

  6. Do that for 11 more months and you’ll be rich.

    Have you ever looked into AT&T combined with Dish? I have a Dish tailgater and it works great. Just put it out and it searches for the satellites automatically. Doesn’t cost much and it is small and easy to store.

    I have 30 gigs data on Verizon for my wife and I for personal use. We don’t have ATT so no package, but our cost for three Dish TV boxes (two at home and one in the RV) is $115 per month and Verizon is $187. (we use a lot of internet) That’s a lot less than $440.

    Just a thought.

    • I think the keyword there is “at home”. You can’t get those kinds of packages without a physical address to the best of my knowledge. (Although when we go fulltime I may offer my sister something in order to just add a mobile one to their home package…..shhhhhhh…..)

    • We briefly had dish when we started and I hated it. We returned the satellite within 30 days of receiving it. The main reason was we were told we could watch two different things on two different TVs but that was only if they were on the same satellite feed. So if I wanted to DVR two shows happening that the same time I often couldn’t do it.

  7. Perhaps I misunderstand, but what about a category where money is being accumulated to pay income tax on wages that are not taxed? Something like gate guarding, isn’t that something where they aren’t taking out taxes?

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