2020 was an unusual year. Not only because of COVID but also because this was the first full year since 2015 that I had a corporate income. Both of these factors impacted our spending, but overall I was somewhat surprised at how little the costs varied. There were some big changes of course, but it wasn’t as stark a contrast as I thought it would be. Before diving into 2020 in detail I wanted to show the comparison between the years.
I think the most interesting fact is the averages. When looking at trends, when we made more we spent more, and when we traveled more we spent more, but the averages take all that into account. The six year view is not perfect, btw, as not all expenses are included in the main categories. An example of an expense left off was when I paid for my daughter’s wedding for example, but the basic costs are all included. In my opinion, that makes the $4,058 average monthly costs figure pretty accurate. You can certainly use that figure as a base cost if you live frugally and do some volunteer/work kamping along the way. If you would like to see detailed posts for previous years you can access that on our Budget page here.
Below is a summary of this year, with some high level details. As always we will be adjusting our budget going forward using past data.
Campground Fees – This year we spent an all time high, $6,266 in campground fees. This is actually pretty similar to what we spent the first year when we did minimal work-kamping. It is definitely a concern though because we spent this in 6 months.
Groceries – This year we hit an all time high of $10,521 in groceries. This was absolutely influenced by COVID as we stocked up on groceries several times when there were empty shelves. We also paid what we had to for a variety of items we wouldn’t normally buy (ie: sanitizer, disinfecting wipes).
Gifts – This year there was a huge spike in this category, mainly because of my new grandson. I expect another big year in 2021 because I am having another grandbaby. Obviously this is completely discretionary (as you can see from prior years ).
Healthcare – If you are seeing a difference between the 2020 totals here and in the year over year comparisons this is a big reason why. Generally I do not include healthcare expenses in the basic categories because it varies so much from person to person. I did include additional healthcare expenses in our budget this year though, because those costs have gone up for us as we have gotten older.
Home Improvement – We have seen a stark uptick in the costs we spend on home improvement over the last two years. Part of this was voluntary improvements, but the other factor was things starting breaking at the 5 year mark and they keep breaking. I will be interested to see if the bulk of the items have been taken care of at this point or the trend will continue.
Tolls and Parking – This is another item that is absolutely an anomaly. Because there is very little of that in prior years this total of $1039 is also not included in the year over year comparison.
Truck Fuel – This figure was also absolutely impacted by COVID. We did VERY little travel the first half of the year and it shows in the all time low spend of $3616.
So that’s the main information. I have included a more detailed view including Min, Max, and Averages for the year.
For those of you who made it this far, I hope this was helpful. Will be interesting to see what happens in 2021!
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You grocery cost still crack me up, we eat very well, isn’t it obvious by my boyish figure. We spend $450 a month on a high month. If we spent what you spend I’d probably weigh 350. I’d love to see what your weekly shopping list looks like…LOL! But as always I do love criticizing your costs, only kidding you cost break down is wonderful!!!
I know it’s crazy weird right…but people spend on what they care about I guess….let’s see your liquor bill 😉
$450 food, around $100 booze/beer. And big ass steaks at least once a week in that food bill, But I know y’all spend a lot on your super healthy food choices, as the organic healthy food is crazy expensive.
So let’s go to level two, eating out! But I’ll give you a break there as you’ve been hanging with Fam so we all know how much that’s adds up.
We also include all laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, and OTC medicines In that as well. Are you? I ask because want to see if it’s apples to apples. And our $25 average a month alcohol goes in there as well
Yes, since we only buy laundry and cleaning products occasionally and also vitamin supplements they are included. You mentioned your alcohol was also in your grocery number, but I see you also have an alcohol category, what’s that category for? I know you have also mentioned your keureg coffee system is expensive, so I know that contributes. As we just use regular coffee in a drip system.
Please don’t take my input wrong. I do use your budget as a benchmark, so I’m only trying to understand where we have major cost differences.
Yep me too 😄
I’m planning to do a detailed post about this topic, because we are both amazed at how much variance there is in how much people spend on food. – Lee
Love it Lee!
How do you spend so little on propane? Do you heat your RV with electric space heaters in the winter? Thanks again for being so open in sharing your expenses.
We do. Lee hates using propane for heat and we use space heaters whenever we can. If we are boondocking we try to do it when temps are moderate
Our Rigs heater only uses about 9 gal of propane a month, at $2.10 a gal that’s pretty cheap. For the furnace, stove, oven and hot water heater. And we’re in a 30-40 degree climate. But we do use our electric fireplace a bit to knock the chill off, and cuz Deb loves the looks of a cozy 🔥 fire.