September 2020 Budget and Data

Whew, this was an expensive month!  We spent $9,057.  Much of this was around truck and RV repairs, and you can see that detail below.  Plus Lee has added lots of other cool data, so even if you don’t care about the budget you might want to scroll down and look at that stuff. 


Campground Fees – Now that we are traveling, we are finding campgrounds based more on location and cost.  We do try to watch costs, but that has been somewhat out of our control.  This month was $772 and Lee has provided more detail below.

Clothing – We spent $145 this month mainly on collector T-shirts and sweatshirts.  We like to get our casual upper wear from places we visit and there were lots of opportunities this month with our travels.

Dining Out – Wow we went crazy in this category spending almost $800 on dining out food.  A chunk of this is because our generator isn’t working and we like to have a hot lunch when we travel, but it was also just eating out on exploring days.

Groceries – It was disappointing that our groceries were so high since we ate out so much, but rural areas are much more expensive for groceries as well.

Home Repair – We finally found a place to replace our “G” trailer tires which makes this the fourth set of tires, if you include the originals, since we picked up the rig in April of 2014. We had cheap E tires, then good G tires which wore out prematurely due to an axle problem, then we replaced with cheap G tires about a year and a half ago, and had lots of trouble with those, and are back to Goodyear G tires.  $2200 was a decent price though, and the work was done expertly and quickly. Lee has more on this below.

Tolls – Because we are in the east now tolls are a thing and we finally purchased an EZ Pass.  Even with the discounts tolls add up but since we are committed to staying on easier roads that is the price we pay.

Truck Fuel – $691 actually wasn’t that bad for all the miles we put on this month.  We did a decent job of trying to find cheap gas but when we couldn’t it was around $2.46…ouch!  Staying on major roads added extra miles and our inability to find a campsite in one area caused significant backtracking. Still we are learning how to travel the new way and I am OK with this as a starting point. More details on fuel below.

Truck Maintenance – We had to get a coolant change, oil change, two new front tires, and new brake pads.  Since a Ford dealer quoted us $1500 to do the brakes (we got it done at the tire place for $200) I am OK with the total being $1200.

If you take the truck and home repairs out our month was $5518 which is much more reasonable.  I am just happy we were able to do those repairs without losing too much travel time.

Additional monthly data from Lee…

But first….

I did some research after reading this post and I wanted to provide a little context on the tires. They’re pretty expensive, and sometimes it seems like we are ALWAYS buying tires. Here’s what I found on our tire purchases.

The first tires we bought were two new front Michelin tires in June 2015, when the truck was about a year and a half old, and had only 16.5k miles. The reason was that the alignment on the truck was terrible, and as soon as we started towing the rig around it just destroyed the tread wear pattern.

Next in November 2015 we bought four Goodyear G614’s for the fifth wheel to replace the horrible tires that came with the rig. At that point we only had 10k miles on the trailer, but we had had two tires go bad on us.

April 2016 we got four rear Michelin tires for the truck. The originals were 28 months old and had around 41k on them. That’s not too bad considering what came with the truck was junk.

January 2017 we got front truck tires again, this time we got around 19 months and 44k miles out of them before they need replaced.

April 2019 we replaced the Goodyear G614s with four horrible garbage tires on the rig, because the Goodyears were completely ruined from having axle issues before the Mor Ryde system was installed. Trailer mileage when we got those tires was 44,259, and we had bought the G614s at 10,000, so we had the G614s for 41 months and 34k miles, which is not really too bad.

September 2019 we got 4 rear Michelins for the truck. The set we replaced lasted for 41 months, 75k miles. We definitely got our money’s worth out of those!

And finally, in September 2020 we got 2 front Michelins for the truck, after 44 months and 74k miles.

At the same time we got rid of the junk tires on the fifth wheel and got new Goodyear G614s. The “bad” tires (which had one flat) we had for 17 months and only 9k miles. Absolutely ridiculous.  Key takeaway buy Goodyear tires! – Trace

So I project that we will need four new rear tires for the truck around December of 2022 and/or 186k miles, although it might be sooner if we travel more than we have been.

And I project that we’ll need trailer tires and new front tires for the truck in December of 2023, and/or 205k miles, and again, it might be sooner if we travel more than we have been.

And now here’s the data you’ve been waiting for!

In the month of September, we used a total of 304 GB of data on our AT&T unlimited plan, across all of our devices. (Total for the year is 39.3 terrabytes)

We took 2,431 pictures, bringing our total for the year to 7,854.

We had a mixture of places we stayed. We had 4 nights of “moochdocking” where we stayed at Tracy’s father’s farm. The other 26 nights were paid, with a mixture of public (State Park) campgrounds and private RV parks.
The least expensive place was Riverside Campground, at $20 per night for 50 amp and water and sewer.
The most expensive place was West Virginia State Fairgrounds, at $47.70 per night for 50 amp and water and sewer.
The total cost for our “rent” was $772.13, which averaged out to $29.69 per night. We were just over our monthly budget for this item.

We put a total of 1,581 miles on the trailer, over a total of 8 travel days. We are now traveling much shorter days than we used to, which is a LOT more pleasant. Our shortest travel day was only 35.7 miles, and our longest was 375 miles. We averaged 197 miles over 8 days of travel. Our total travel miles year to date is 4,328.

We put a total (travel and non-travel) of 2,833 miles on the truck over 82 hours of engine time, with a year to date of 8,550 miles on the truck.

Year to date we’ve traveled 8,550 miles, 4328 of which was pulling the trailer, with year to date engine hours of 325 hrs, 47 mins, 32 secs.

We burned a total of 263 gallons of diesel, and averaged 11 mpg for all of our travel, with a year to date total of 985 gallons at 11.6 avg mpg.

We used the TSD Logistics card 7 times this month, and we have some great data from that! In the table below, you can see the date and location we used the card to purchase fuel, as well as how many gallons we bought and the “street” price, which is what we would have paid without the card. The “actual” price is what we paid using the card after the discount fee and per use fee was charged. That total is also used to calculate the “actual per gallon” price we paid, the savings and the % saved. As you can see, sometimes the savings is fantastic, 21.45% at a TA in Hebron, OH, outside of Columbus. And sometimes there’s no discount at all and we actually paid a tiny bit more than the street price because of the 65¢ per use fee.

Overall for the month we used the card for 179 of our 263 gallons of diesel, and we saved a whopping $62!

If you haven’t already read about the TSD Logistics card, you can read our post about it here.

DATE Location Gallons Actual PG Street Actual Savings % Saved
9/1/2020 Albert Lea 19.69 2.00 46.06 39.3 6.76 14.68
9/2/2020 Brooklyn 24.15 1.93 55.54 46.62 8.92 16.06
9/3/2020 Bloomington 26.99 2.34 69.08 63.03 6.05 8.76
9/3/2020 ?????????????? 26.32 2.23 67.36 58.65 8.71 12.93
9/17/2020 Hebron, OH 29.59 2.04 76.92 60.42 16.5 21.45
9/23/2020 Somerset Travel Center 26.83 2.73 72.95 73.23 -0.28 -0.38
9/26/2020 TA Wheeling 26.13 1.94 66.87 50.8 16.07 24.03

And here’s our travel map for September….

And our year to date travel map,

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8 thoughts on “September 2020 Budget and Data

  1. When you use the discount card are you purchasing Bio diesel fuel? If so what is the risk to the fuel filters? We are only using fuel stations that have #2 diesel.

  2. WOW, on the groceries are you eating steaks 3 nights a week? We spend about $120 a week, and that includes nice steaks every week. I can hardly imagine what $260 a week includes? But I’m sure curious? On the Goodyear G614 tires, we pay $325 each. And mounted and balanced $1600 for the set with nationwide lifetime repair and replacement guarantee, and free rotations. That’s why we love Americas Tire Company. On our truck tires we’ve been running Hankook on road/off road, E rated because they are nice price for performance tires. $170 each with the warranty. And on our first set we got 51,000 miles. And I love the way they wore, the traction off road was far superior to the Michlens we had at $325 each. It’s wonderful to compare notes though. Thanks guys!

  3. Pingback: Sixth Year – By The Numbers – Camper Chronicles

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