July was another steep month with costs around $9K. For those of you who are looking at these posts to decide whether or not you can afford this lifestyle here are my thoughts. Seven years ago we put together three annual budgets. $36K, $48K, and $60K. Since we have been on the road we have lived for awhile on the middle number but never been able to get to the $36K mark. Others have for sure, but for us that required changes we were never willing to make. The $60K budget (around $5K a month) is very comfortable for us, but it is worth mentioning that to net $60K you need to make around $80K give or take. Even with two people working that is a steep goal and we have only been able to manage it when I was working corporate jobs for all or part of the year.
What I have found is when I am making corporate money we are spending way more than $5K a month. Part of that is every time we want something we give ourselves permission to do it while the money is coming in and the other reason is we are “making up” for those years spent living very frugally. For us it is completely sustainable because I am making the money to cover it but we also aren’t putting much money in the bank which will make the next frugal period that much harder. This month the big X factor was an unexpected truck repair. We have been very lucky with our truck in general but it needed a power steering pump and a transmission gasket which was not cheap. Much better than a blown engine of course but quite a whack to the budget. Please see the below spreadsheet for the detailed charges.
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The problem with big ticket items is they really throw off the monthly numbers. We bankroll unused budget amounts in savings for that inevitable day when a big ticket item comes along and we simply transfer what we need to cover the expense. At the end of the year we decide if we need to raise that budget category. Truck and (and now) RV repair budgets are two items we regularly save for even though we infrequently spend in those categories. A 2000 dollar truck maintenance or repair looks like a budget buster if you were not putting money away for it. Next year we are going to take a vacation from RVing in April to go to Hawaii, we are already putting money away for it so when the time comes, the hit is already accounted for. Now hopefully the COVID delta variant doesn’t put a kink in the plan.
Sounds to me like your plan is still working the way you want it to, but yeah, 9K in single month does sound bad until you add perspective.