This was a rough month, with $6,562.77 in expenses. Keep in mind though that $1,909 of that was directly related to RV repair, and I can’t very well complain that things in the rig aren’t getting fixed and then also complain that it costs money to fix them. It’s part of the deal. The good news is we did earn $3,850 in March to offset those costs and in some categories, like groceries, we stocked up for the month of April as well. Also the rally we attended was definitely a factor as we spent more in almost every category in order to attend. That was totally worth it though, so to some extent it just is what it is. Category details are listed below.
Campground Fees – We went over our monthly budget spending $376.96, but we have spent nothing in the last three months, so annualized that will work itself out.
Groceries – We actually were doing fine on groceries until we did a $298 Costco run at the end of the month, but that was a stock up for Utah (and beyond) since we weren’t sure what grocery availability would be. I also cooked quite a bit at the reunion rally and that always costs more, but it’s also a great opportunity for me to try out new recipes.
Alcohol – Lee got a great deal in Nevada (buy one bottle get a second for a penny) on some alcohol and stocked up, so we now are carrying more bottles than I think we ever have. What he bought will last him months, so that will annualize as well.
Dining Out – Really blew the budget on dining out, going $177 over budget. We had our anniversary dinner at The Big Texan and ate a ton of convenience food as we traveled to the rally. That’s mainly me, by the way, because I can’t seem to pass a truck stop without getting some kind of snack. Silly really since I have stuff in the rig, but I always just grab something and that really adds up.
Entertainment – Lee and I spent $100 gambling in Pahrump, which is something we never do, but had a good time. Most of that I lost, he came close to breaking even,. We also bought a bunch of books for the summer since we were near so many Half Priced bookstores in Texas. Except for the gambling, the rest was “stocking up” and since we spent next to nothing in this category while gate guarding I don’t feel that bad about it.
Truck Fuel – Truck fuel was brutal, with a monthly expense of $952. As we traveled across New Mexico we were only getting 6.5mpg (hills and winds), and one long travel day in particular we spent $300 in fuel. Craziness. Again, we spent very little the first three months of the year, but it still bums me out, but we would have spent this either way getting to our summer job in Oregon, it just happened to come all at once in March.
Truck Maintenance – Along with lots of home repairs we also had a battery die, which cost $172. That was my fault since I left the back door open on the truck after going to the grocery store, but the batteries were also four years old so I didn’t feel that bad about it.
Personal Care – We went over by $41 in this category because we both got haircuts and Lee bought two pairs of KIKAR LED Reading Glasses (Strength +2.0) with Case These are wonderful because they allow him to read in bed with just a tiny light and I highly recommend them as a marriage saver!
Postage – The bulk of this was Lee brought some videos with us from his parents house to work on and he shipped them all back once he finished them, which was a one time expense of around $75.
Home Equipment – Here’s the big expenditure for the month. I’m not going to break all this down, but the biggies were $1,000 for the slide floor, $200 in labor and $100 in parts for the slide cables, $200 for new stairs, and $100 for the hoses for the washing machine and the tools (which cost $70 but will last forever). What can I say, stuff breaks and it costs money to fix it 🙂
OK back to Zion, where we are spending even more money! This is why we worked all those months to enjoy this though, and I am not going to make myself crazy about money this month either. Hey, that’s progress!
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Why do a monthly expense report if you are not going to explain all costs. You don’t mention reunion fees or like your axle replacement no explaimation of the cost. Is it secret when you get a discount or are you embarrassed you didn’t get a better one. It is what it is or just stop with the BS report and just talk about you BS travels
Wow, Pete, she can report whatever she wants! You can reply whatever you want, but some of us that are not yet there, planning stage , appreciate what she has done.
Keep up the good work. Pete, take a chill pill.
Wow, not sure where all that came from. She actually did include the reunion rally fees…on the November report (posted in December) since that is when they were paid. I’m not sure what axle replacement you are referring to but there was a whole writeup when they upgraded their suspension last year. It’s a lot of work to write and report like they do and it should be appreciated, not picked apart.
Hi Rhonda! It’s ok, I was a little vague on the rally costs. Mainly because I was sitting in Zion and the last thing I wanted to do was write a budget report 😉
Hi Pete. the rally cost $172 that included campground fees a hat and two T-shirt’s. I wasn’t trying to be disingenuous just didn’t break it out in the comments because it showed on the categories. I talked about the money we spent on gas to get their and gambling and extra food while we were there so I thought that covered it. I didn’t get a discount. Wouldn’t turn one down if they offered it but we are just like everyone else who attended. The RV dream rallies are reasonably priced I think. Not sure why you think the report is BS. I think I give a enough detail for people who are thinking about doing this to have some idea of costs, which is my intention, but since everyone’s costs are so individual it is directionally helpful but shouldn’t be taken as more than one source of information. Lots of people skip the monthly budget report because they aren’t interested. Please feel free to do so as well if it provides no value to you.
I applaud you for publishing your budget like this. Very few do and this is a tremendous help for anyone preparing for this lifestyle. Blogs are a lot of work and yours is so well done. Keep up the good work!
Thanks Laura. It’s funny because every time I think about stopping someone makes a comment ( good or bad) that makes me realize it has value to some people. It’s not particularly fun digging into the detail every month, but it hold us accountable to each other and definitely is a factor in not letting things get out of hand.
How many nights does the 200 per month provide in the campground? I know the prices vary around the country, but just wondered how many nights you stay in a campground.
Great question. Our first year budget was for $30 a night. Our second year budget was for $20 a night because we got solar and were better at boondocking. This year it is less because we hVe our site covered through our jobs about 9 months out of the year. We try to keep it to $20 a night average and we do that using passport American discounts, county parks, free sites that we find. If we stopped work kamping this would go way up, and I would recommend going back to our first years annual budget to see a more accurate representation of costs.
Getting hit with a large expense can be chaotic to say the least. Even though we are still in a S&B, we have emergency funding as our number one budget item. Our E fund is currently fully funded so we are piling up RV purchase funds now but you get the idea I’m suggesting. Large/expensive RV repairs would certainly fall into this category. Just love having funds in reserve for such situations… no drama and no stress. Now the only thing one has to do is replenish that reserve when dipping into is required. The beauty of a budget is being able to shift stuff around to meet one’s needs as appropriate. It’s never carved in stone.
We have an emergency fund, but I hate dipping into it unless we have to so included these items in the monthly budget. We used the emergency money for Mor Ryde for example because there was no way we could absorb that in our monthly budget
Also guilty of the truck stop/gas station snack purchase.Terribly expensive!!I’m developing a plan to eliminate it with a cooler and snack box on future travels.
Oooh I like the snack box idea!
I also appreciate all the work you do to report your monthly expenses. I’ve shown my wife your budget list, removed items that wont apply, and gone on from there. You and Lee are a wonderful resource and inspiration for those of us prepping to move forward. So a large thankyou going your way. Even getting the rig set up initially is not cheap, it’s like setting up ones household after getting married.
Travel safe, looking forward to meeting up this summer.
Thanks Ron. It’s not a fun post to write but I’ll keep doing it as long as it provides value to people like you. That is what makes it worth the effort. Smart of you to eliminate the things that don’t apply! Everyone’s costs are so individual that is VERY important.
Hope you ignore Petes travels – that is not nice! Keep doing what you are doing – great job!
No worries. If nothing else I know you and Bill read the budget because Bill points out when I make a mistake 😉
You know me (Bill), I love the numbers!
I know that’s part of why I keep doing them 😉
Petes travels can go pound sand. He’s just jealous. Keep doing what you are doing.
You are so awesome for providing this information for us! I appreciate every piece of info I can get! I do wonder if it would be possible for you to include two more columns titled yearly budgeted amt (meaning the most budgeted in a year) and spent to date (meaning what was spent to date from the yearly budged). You often explain how your budget is above or below the regular amount, but it would be clearer for those of us who are numerically challenged if you had that in a “yearly figure.” In a past post, you mentioned you already kept track of this… but it would help someone like me (who struggles with numbers…) to see the monthly budget stretched to apply to a yearly budget.
Thank you again for all your information!!!!!
Hi Shelly. I am actually working off a locked spreadsheet I purchased and would need to go back to the creator to make changes. I have a summary tab that I can look at which shows year to date actual versus budgeted, but I don’t show that until my end of the year summary report. It’s not that I am trying to hide anything, but just trying to minimize the workload. The other thing I will say is I have worked very hard to get out of a “month to month” mentality. Because we have savings we can have some rougher months and long as they are offset by better ones it all works out ok annually. Anyways I’ll think about it, but I like how we’ve been doing it and for you I would definitely recommend looking at the annual views
Super interesting read!!!
PS, what the heck is up with Pete?? You post what you want to!