I think April was the most expensive month we have ever had while we were on the road. We ended up spending $8,905 this month on a variety of things. The big ticket items were $1,500 for new trailer tires, $400 for a new television and an additional $1,500 to repair our outside wall. We also spent $1,100 in gas, and pretty much ended up blowing our budget in almost every category. Amazingly though we managed to squeak by without taking money out of savings, because Lee’s freelance pay for the show he did in Phoenix came in, and we got our first paycheck from our summer job before the American Express bill was due. It is sobering though that in one month we spent 1/5 of our annual net income. Considering what our mental state has been post-heart attack I would say that much of this was a necessity. For more detailed information, see below.
Campground Fees – We did great the first three weeks of the month boondocking, but spent more than expected at the end. If we would have boondocked as we traveled it would have been much cheaper, but both of us wanted full hookups. We have also included money spent at dump stations in this category.
Propane – As I have said before boondocking isn’t 100% free. It was chilly in Bryce and Torrey and we had to use propane to heat.
Groceries – Part of this is we always spend more when camping with friends, but mostly it’s because we were in the middle of nowhere Utah and groceries were expensive! We also stocked up on meat before heading to Timothy Lake and that’s never cheap.
Dining Out – Whew, we really blew it in this category. going $444 over budget. We had one $140 dinner with Cori and Greg and we haven’t done that in years. We were also forced to eat out several times while traveling because of the nonsense with the tires. Mainly though we just wanted to. I had a “screw it” mentality when it came to this category.
Entertainment – We only went over $100 in this category because most of what we did was free. We did buy our annual America the Beautiful Pass which accounts for some of the overage.
Truck Fuel – This was $1100 because we traveled from Arizona all the way to Oregon in this month with lots of driving in between. I always say the day we can’t afford gas in this lifestyle is the day we need to rethink our choices, but obviously few people could have gas bills like this every month and make this work. I always recommend looking at the annual costs in this category. We’ve done pretty good annually year after year.
Clothing – We went over $285 in clothing because of all the T shirts we bought while we were vacationing. This is another category it is best to look at annually, because we tend to buy all of our new shirts in one month of the year.
Cigarettes – In case you are wondering, this is for my e cigarette that I tried. I am taking a few puffs a day which is definitely helping me stop smoking, and Lee isn’t doing anything at all.
Home Equipment – As I talked about earlier we really went nuts in this category as well. I think its interesting that under pressure Lee spends more in this category and I spent more in eating out. That’s because doing those things makes us happy. (A wall that isn’t broken, a replacement TV, and new tires. I’m out of control. – Lee)
To be honest I initially freaked out when I saw the numbers, but took a breath and went with “it is what it is”. We are not perfect people, and under pressure we do not always stick to our budget. Did we expect to go that far out of whack? Of course not, but we did, and now we have the summer to dig us out of that hole. (Except we are not in a hole. We will work through the summer and leave with plenty of extra money. – Lee)
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Whoa! Good for you for taking these numbers in stride! Tires, etc though are best averaged out over the life of those items, making it much less shocking. It is very difficult to stay on budget when in vacation mode – we’ve all been there and done that! It’s not sustainable – but you don’t do it all that often.
Yikes but we all go through it. Stuff happens. Maintenance and repairs come in clumps at times just like sticks and bricks. We had about 5K last year in repairs and truck maintenance.
We still don’t mind those cold days boondocking as it’s still cheaper to buy propane than spend $30+ a night for stopovers.
Agree…wish I could talk lee into it. I’m going to definitely push for it when we go back east
Boondocking is something we haven’t really tried. We like the security of a designated campground.
Like you, we spend way too much on food when traveling with friends. In the end it is worth it but our budget isn’t happy!
I do recommend boondocking as a great way to co troll costs and get to great places. Our first experience was City Of Rocks in NM.
Thanks! Maybe we can try it sometime. Now that our vacation time is over for this year, maybe next summer.