December 2018 Budget

One of the reasons we like gate guarding so much is we spend hardly any money.  We don’t make a ton ($150 a day at this particular gate) but it’s enough to cover our expenses and put a little money away.  This month we only spent $2,730 and we made $3,712 for a net gain of $982.  Part of the revenue for this month was what we received from unemployment and I wanted to take a minute and talk about that.  Ultimately we only received two sets of checks for around $180 a week for each of us.  The third set of checks we should have received didn’t come because one of their requirements was we signed up on the job board for the State of Texas (which I did) but they found the proof that I did it insufficient.  I have to say the entire experience was really frustrating.  It was a ton of work, for not very much money and because our situation was unique (residency in one state, worked in a second, and currently living in a third) it required a lot of additional steps.  Let me just leave it by saying I am glad we don’t need to rely on it and I wouldn’t do it again unless our circumstances were different.  Anyway, details for the month are below.  I am currently working on the year end financial analysis and that will be available shortly.

 

Groceries – We broke even in this category by making a concerted effort to eat what we have.  The nearest grocery store is over a half hour away and the only local store is a Dollar General so logistically we are required to do menu planning which always helps with the budget. 

Dining Out – We only spent $74 in this category.  I got some KFC which I ate for several days and Lee tried out the local Chinese buffet which he didn’t like much.  The lack of restaurants in the area as well as the fact that we can’t go anywhere together will again help keep this budget category in line.

Entertainment – Again we are under in this category and $40 of that is for Hulu.  I have to say I am VERY happy with this service as it is allowing me to watch football and some back episodes of Top Chef.  We haven’t paid for TV since we came on the road, and as such have often missed live programming.  Really happy that we can use this solution on a monthly basis and only pick it up when we are in a situation like this.  We don’t get TV in Oregon either, so at least for football season happy it’s an option.

Cell/Internet – We went over in this category by $92 and that was the fees to activate the Winegard.  I have to say I am really disappointed with how it is working out here.  We are getting a decent signal from our ATT hotspot but a barely usable one from the Winegard.  We are going to continue to keep both for awhile, but so far in my mind it is not earning the additional cost. 

Truck Fuel – Another great benefit of not going anywhere is we don’t use much fuel.  We tanked up once for $98, but other than that no money was spent.

Postage – We spent $137 in this category and that was a combination of getting our mail sent to us twice and shipping out calendars to friends and family.  This year I decided to make calendars for people, and between the cost of the calendar and the calendar themselves it was about $10 a person.  Pretty reasonable price for a customized gift and by the way we mailed them through the USPS using the Media rate which is cheaper than regular mail.

Pets – Jack cost an unexpected $217.  Part of that was heart worm medicine (I purchased a year’s worth at a great rate) and flea and tick medicine and part was the supplies to make the dog run.  The rest was chew toys etc.   He’s definitely worth it, but it would be easy to go crazy in the category for sure so need to keep an eye on it.

New Equipment – Lee spent some money on filters and the tent he put up for gate guarding all of which is tax deductible which is nice.  

(My turn! – Lee

For those interested, here’s some other end of month info that I will be adding to the end of month post from now on. Regarding the budget, I care less about the monthly information and more about quarterly and annual information, and trends, but I like to see how things compare. 

So here’s how December 2018 compared to our previous Decembers. I’m happy with that result. 


And here’s how our overall spending is trending, starting from January 2015….


Tracy likes to do a pie chart of all of our expenses at the end of the year, but I like to see it for each month, and I care more about the percentages than the dollar amounts. It amazes me that our biggest expense is consistently groceries. If you have trouble reading the categories, just click on the image. 

 

And here’s some travel stats for the month. Obviously this will be more interesting when we’re actually traveling….

Truck miles:      633.1
Engine Hours:  14:05
Trailer miles:    168.0
Fuel Used:         13.8 G

Here’s our travel map for December, which is kind of boring because all we did was move from a friend’s place to our current gate. In future months it might be more interesting…

Days “Moochdocking”:       2
Days at free Workamp Sites: 29

Pictures Taken: 326

Data Used Across All Devices: 425 Gb

The weather station gives me some pretty cool historical data that I’d like to share. For the month of December it’s a little incomplete, because I didn’t get it until the 15th, but next month I will have an entire month’s worth. Won’t THAT be exciting???

Since the format of the blog for some reason requires that a full 50% of the screen real estate not be used for the blog, the images can’t be any bigger than they are, but you can click on them to make them full screen. You can also go to the page for our weather station at Weather Underground and fiddle with the charts and graphs to your heart’s content. 



If there’s data or stats anyone is interested in seeing going forward, let me know in the comments section! – Lee


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4 thoughts on “December 2018 Budget

  1. Wanted to make sure you were aware that Drs. Smith & Foster, an internet site I have used for years, like 15, for my dogs, does sell prescription medications. You do need to get a written prescription from the vet. Another online site I have used for years for many items is JeffersPet. Yes, it would be easy to go “crazy” in the “pet” category. Depending on your location, prices for services and medications can vary wildly, be prepared for the sticker shock!

  2. So the 150.00 a day for gate guarding is for one 24 hour shift. I will be traveling alone. Have you ever seen a gate guarding job for a single person?

    • Yes, there are gate guarding opportunities for singles. What we’re doing is “on site”, which means that our RV is at the gate. There are also “shack” gigs, where your RV is at an RV park, and the gate has a small building with electric and a porta potty, and you drive to that shack and do a 12 hour shift. – Lee

    • In addition to the shacks, there are also gigs where your RV is at a park, and you drive your vehicle to the gate, and you gate guard from your vehicle. From what I’ve heard those are usually dawn to dusk, there is no electricity, just a porta potty. There are several gate guarding Facebook groups you can search for to get lots of information on all things gate guarding. Just keep in mind that you’ll be getting people’s opinions, so it’s not unbiased info. I recommend just calling one of the gate guard companies, like Guard 1, and asking all of your questions. – Lee

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