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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