The budget shows that we were $411 short this month, but we actually broke even. One of our paychecks was short $450 due to a clerical error and that money will be coming in February. Still, it was a bit of a bummer that we spent so much, but since we discussed doing most of our annual home repairs in the next couple of months it shouldn’t be that surprising. We also made a Costco run at the very beginning of the month and those are always pretty costly. Also, we had a meeting to adjust the monthly budget amounts for each category based on the three prior year’s expenses. As I go through each category in detail I will let you know any adjustments we made.
Campground Fees – We chose to stay in a campground with our friends for a couple of days between gates. We could have stayed for free in the yard, but it was worth it to see everyone. For this year we cut this budget item in half since we spent so little on campgrounds last year. It’s still more than we usually spend, but I wanted to leave some extra in in case we get the opportunity to work less.
Groceries – We went over in groceries by $100, mostly due to a $250 Costco run at the very beginning of the month. We left the budget amount the same, despite the fact that we miss this mark more often than we make it. I recombined the food and cleaning supplies etc back into one category since we did a pretty bad job of breaking that out month by month, and overall it just didn’t seem like there was enough in the second category to make it worth the trouble.
Dining Out – We were $63 to the good, because all of our dining out food was fast food during travel or long work days. I changed the label to convenience to make that category a little more clear and also upped the budget to $100 a month from $50. After three years it’s clear that this category was just too low, and since we had savings in many other places I thought it was worth making this one more realistic.
Entertainment – We bought a few books and a couple Itunes purchases. We were $71 to the good in this category.
Cell/Internet – The bill was low this month because we finally got our credit for being charged for the cell phone I already paid for back in August. I have adjusted the budget to reflect what the new bill should be going forward, and we are thrilled by the monthly savings of $128!!! Thank you AT&T for your new unlimited plan. (For those keeping score, we used to pay $ 363 for two phones, a WiFi hotspot and an iPad with 80 GB of data, and we routinely went over that limit and paid $15 per extra GB. (!!!) Now we pay $ 128 for the same devices and unlimited data. For those who are curious, we have not seen any speed throttling or network management yet, and we are now consistently using over 600 GB a month, which might give you an idea of how happy we are with the new arrangement. – Lee)
Truck Fuel – We broke even in this category which was quite a bit, mainly because we traveled from southeast of San Antonio to far west Texas and back again, and have driven back and forth to San Antonio from our current location a couple of times. I upped the budget on this category to $425 which has been our average for the last couple of years, minus the trip to Alaska.
Truck Maintenance – This category is a bit in flux. We think we have enough maintenance visits remaining on our prepaid Ford plan to last the rest of the year, but that depends on how many miles we end up driving this year. For the time being I will be putting in $50 a month.
Health Insurance – This is another exciting category as our monthly amount (with subsidy) is only $110. This is a monthly savings of $230 which is obviously significant.
Cigarettes – We buy tobacco and tubes to cover a few months at a time, so the annual amount is really what matters. We reduced the annual amount by $192 to reflect what we spent last year.
Personal Care (Haircuts etc) – This month we went over by $19 because I splurged on a pedicure. (You should see her toes! – Lee) I reduced this category by $25 a month to more accurately reflect what we have been spending. Thank heavens for SuperCuts and Great Clips!
Shipping/Postage – We went over by $37 in this category because we had numerous deliveries, and the ones that came to the Kenedy each cost $5. We are shipping things to the UPS store here and there is a $5 per item fee. I also adjusted this category down $15 a month to more accurately reflect what we are spending.
Gifts – I had this cool idea to start making gifts for people because I thought that might be cheaper. Turns out the raw materials aren’t cheap, even though I found most of what I needed at Super Walmart. Still I am having a lot of fun with it, so I’ll mentally use the underage in entertainment to balance this expense out a little. Plus now that I know what I am doing I can keep an eye out for cheaper raw materials as we travel.
Home Repair – Obviously we had a significant overage for the month in this category, spending $690 over budget. $260 of that was the new toilet, and the rest was the raw materials for several repairs Lee has made. As I have talked about in earlier blog posts, Lee is doing a year’s worth of maintenance while he has the opportunity, so we are still significantly under the $2400 annual budget amount. And we did talk about these experiences as they occurred, so we knew this category would be steep this month.
Overall, I would have liked to have spent less money, of course, but I understand where it all went. Hopefully February will allow us to put some money away for April, since we aren’t planning on working that month at all. We also had an extra $1000 in “unexpected” revenue for some pay Lee was owed from a contract job he did last year, and selling one of our domain names that we weren’t using, which was a very nice surprise. (Out of the blue someone called and asked me if they could buy my RV repair domain, and since I’m not really using it I decided to let it go. I thought it might bring $100, but he offered $500, which even I knew was much better, and I’m not so good with the mathing. I thought about trying to get more, but he was a young guy, all excited about starting a new venture, and then I remembered that I despise greed, so I just let him have it for what he offered. I suppose I could have been a really great guy and countered with a lower number so he could have it for even less, but while I’m not greedy, I’m also not a moron. – Lee)
So from a cash flow perspective we are starting the year off just fine.
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That’s a nice budget. I’m glad to see you came in under $4000 since that’ll be about our gross cash flow at retirement. After taking out of your budget some expenses we won’t have, we should be alright. I really appreciate you for sharing your life with everyone, it certainly gives us a fairly concrete idea about where we’ll be when the time comes when we’ll stop working and start enjoying our RVing travel life. Thanks, til next time, be safe and enjoy.
Still surprised that as fiscally conscious as you are, you are spending $200 on a smoking habit that is killing you slowly. Just think, quitting is like a $200/mon raise, not to mention you will live longer and happier. Have you not seen all the older folks who are restricted to having an oxygen hose stuck in their nose every hour of the day and night, just to be able to breathe? I am also pretty sure your health insurance would go down. Be brave, QUIT.
Yeah that’s fair. Everyone has their vices and that is ours. I really hoped this lifestyle would make it easier to quit, but have found the exact opposite to be true, which is disappointing.
Another interesting report. Wish we could get away with $110 per month for Health Care coverage but we are older than you. I’ve been tweaking our future budget after every report you put out, along with that of other rvers and our projections look pretty good. We’re looking at around 3500 per month excluding savings and set aside for income taxes. Real estate market perking up here in Illinois woohoo! Hitting the road with no debt , priceless. Come on, 2019.
The $404.03 RV payment depending on the amortization period will always be in your budget as a payment on a replacement RV or repairs on an aging RV. I don’t see funds allocated for replacing your truck which is inevitable and will not be cheap. What is your plan regarding major truck repairs or replacement? Always enjoy reading your blog…..Keep well
Hey Barry. We expect the truck to last for the duration of our travels. If it does not then that money will need to come from our savings. Same with the RV. That should definitely last through our travels. I’m not disagreeing with how you would account for it by the way…many people do it that way. I just don’t of it that way. Really for me it’s way more about annual cash flow and are we covering our costs than anything else. We rarely look beyond next year when planning, which is very odd for me since I successfully executed three consecutive 5 year plans in my old life. In this one, I am trying to go with the flow more 🙂
Hello. Do you have a yearly budget that you credit and/or debit items from/to? (For example: (1) yearly home repair = $2,400. January budget was $200, but since you spent $890, you were $690 over budget for the month. Do you plan to reduce the other months’ budgets by $62.72 (to accommodate the overspending?) (2)Another example would be campground fees… It appears you plan to spend $2400 yearly, which means you plan on $200 a month; however, if you only spent $80 in January, do you figure you can “disperse” that unspent $80 into the other months and raise their budget about $7 a month?
I realize the crediting/debiting of spent/unspent budgeted items each month may be complicated, but I am wondering if that will work better for my husband and me once we hit the road in 2022…
Thank you for your posts and the detail you provide! We both read every one and learn quite a bit! We can’t wait to join the Workampers on the Road!
~Shelly & Curt
Early on I thought about doing it that way but ultimately decided it was too much work. I try not to worry to much about individual months but look more for patterns of overages and then of course the annual number. I can definitely see the advantage of doing it your way though. I have a column on the spreadsheet T the end I can look at anytime and see the YTD numbers I just don’t report out to everyone that way until the end of the year.
My wife and I are planning to retire in 2020. This helps a lot. thank you for sharing.
Our gross income will be 6K / month in retirement, so I hope we are able to make it work. Your budget makes it seem workable.
I appreciate the information which is so helpful for someone that has never done anything like this…Safe travels
That is totally workable in my opinion especially if you supplement with some volunteering to keep costs down. In the beginning it’s a bit of an adjustment. Try to resist the urge to travel like crazy all over the country right out of the gate. As you can see from the budget the gas costs really add up!