September 2018 Budget

With a concerted effort we did really well this month, spending only $2651.  We earned $3907 and ended up with a net gain of $1256, which was great!  For more details see below. 

 

Groceries – Really proud of this category this month because we only spent $321.  This was a concerted effort to eat what we had, partially to help save money and partially to lighten the load for when we started traveling. (Now watch October have a HUGE grocery expense because we are out of food and have to stock up. – Lee)

Dining Out – Most of this $70 overage was when we treated ourselves to the Red Lobster shrimp feast.  Some things are just worth it.

Memberships – We renewed our Work Kamper.com memberships and added a Working Couple.com  membership and resume.  We also purchased a years worth of Good Sam Roadside Assistance for only $40 (special), which I really felt we needed after we had the incident with the bearing going bad.  I am not a huge fan of Good Sam, but the few times we have needed it we eventually got the job done and the price was worth my piece of mind. 

New Equipment – We went over by $20 in this category purchasing items we needed for our upcoming move.  Lee completed a purge, which was nice, and in the process found some items missing or broken that needed to be replaced.  Since we are in a spot where we can receive mail we decided to take advantage of that.

Overall it was a good month, although I do want to mention we got smacked with a $4,000 bill for my biopsy.  This was a ridiculous amount of money for a procedure that took less than an hour and didn’t require an anesthesiologist.   When I called to discuss the bill I was told that we might qualify for a substantial discount because we don’t make that much money.  Since I thought the bill was crazy over priced to begin with I filled out the forms and sent them in and we will see what happens.  I wanted to mention it to be transparent, and will definitely update the previous post about being your own health care advocate.  I have the money in an HSA account to cover it, but I’ll be honest that high of a bill really freaked me out a bit. Hopefully the hospital will do the right thing and adjust it down to something reasonable.  Either way I’ll let you know. (Do not even get me started on how we have insurance and that this sort of thing should absolutely be covered, or I will yell at you for literally hours until you just give up. – Lee)


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.

August 2018 Budget

Before I get started, I finally got our taxes done and we actually got a small state refund back.  We made a little less than I estimated for the affordable healthcare, and we got a $450 credit (I was super nervous about this one) and although we had a pretty large 1099 for gate guarding I had some costs to offset the revenue and overall it worked out OK.  Ultimately we got refunds from two states which more than covered the $252 we owed on federal.  I was pretty happy overall, and seriously relieved.  We still have $1500 in a taxes account we started on the road with so for now at least we are in good shape.  OK, on with August.

First off thank heavens this was a three paycheck month.  When you are salary you really don’t appreciate such things, but us hourly folks get a little bonus a few times a year and this was a great month to get it.  We spent a whopping $3,989 this month, but since we made $6278 we actually were $2289 to the good.  A few major events contributed to the spend.  I had my birthday mid-month and we went to Mt. Rainier, which hit our fuel and eating out budget, and then at the end of the month we went to Seattle and got a hotel room so we could see our daughter.  Lots of meals out on that trip as well.  We also had to pay for part of the tow and our deductible when the wheel bearing went bad on our truck and that ran around $335.  With all of that I am just happy we broke even.  For more details you can look below.

Groceries – We made a Costco run this month and the meat and paper products from that will definitely get us through September and a good chunk of October. We spent $806 …yikes.

Dining Out – We ate out a bunch this month and went over by $244.  We paid for a couple of meals for our daughter, ate an over priced meal at the Mt. Rainier lodge, and had lots of fast food when we were traveling.

Entertainment – We went over by $77 in this category.  It was a variety of things, nothing very major and since we hadn’t spent hardly anything at all this summer on this good for us 🙂

Truck Fuel – We spent $315 in this category which is under budget but much more than we have been spending.  Trips to Washington were the biggest contributor.

Truck Maintenance –  The $335 was for the deductible and part of the tow and wow did we get off easy.  Tows from this area are generally $750 and the repair was easily over $1K but our warranty covered it.

Cigarettes – For those paying attention you know we buy loose tobacco and tubes in bulk and roll our own cigarettes so $225 lasts us 3-4 months.  We are spending about $9 a carton for those who are interested which is obviously an amazing price considering that cartons are $50 plus.

Miscellaneous – The bulk of this was $351 for two nights in a hotel and parking when we went to Seattle.

Overall not bad considering how much we did and Lee was able to put another $2K in our savings because of the extra paycheck.  We don’t have much planned in the month of September, which is good because we are getting together with family in October and that is going to be an expensive month!


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.

Budget July 2018

It’s interesting that when we have a really good financial month it is almost always a month that we have very few experiences.  Despite the fact that we “live” in a gorgeous place and have all sorts of low-cost nature things we can do in the area, we have found that almost everything costs some money (gas, lunch, trinkets) and it turns out that the best way to save money is not do anything at all.  That shouldn’t be a huge surprise I suppose, since that is how it was in our old lives also, but I thought that surrounded by so much nature we would always find lots of cool things to do.  And in all fairness some people do.  They take their days off and hike or fish or kayak and explore, but all of that takes energy and one thing we have found is when you are working this hard, energy, for us at least,  is in short supply.  The good thing is we aren’t spending all the money we are making on fast food or Amazon purchases  and we were able to put $2500 back in our savings account, which was a much-needed event, but aside from the end of the month when our friends came to visit our lives were all about work and more work. So yes, it was a good month with only $2,151 in expenses, but not such a good month in the overall life category. You can see below for more details.

 

Groceries –  Well, we got our groceries expenses under control this month, but that’s mainly because we are eating lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  We did have some fantastic meals when Deb and Steve came to visit, and I have been trying to use what we have lying around, but the freezer is getting pretty bare and we definitely need to restock in August.

Dining Out – The fact that we aren’t huge fans of any of the restaurants in the area (Huckleberry Inn aside) certainly helps in this category.  Plus we paid for Lee’s birthday escape room and then Deb and Steve paid us back in a couple of meals out so we were actually closer to breaking even in this category.

Entertainment – We ended up spending $180 on the escape room because Lee wanted the room all to ourselves.  Since it was his 50th I was happy to spend the extra money, but definitely next time we will use Groupon on and if we can’t find enough friends will have to try the room with other people.  I’m just glad Lee enjoyed it so much, because he’s a tough guy to buy presents for.

Truck Fuel – We only gassed the truck up once the entire month, which was a good thing because gas prices are kind of high right now.  We have to take our company trucks down to Estacada to fuel them up and are able to combine a grocery store trip with that which helps save us a ton of money in gas. Next month we will be doing some exploring in Washington so these costs will go back towards normal levels.

Home – Thankfully no repairs this month and the extra items we bought, like the propane campfire, we used Amazon points.  We just let our points build throughout the year until something camping related comes along that we want and then we cash them in.  So thanks for your support in both buying the recipe book and through our Amazon link.  I really like the propane campfire and we both wonder why we were so resistant to having one before.  If we didn’t have the points we probably wouldn’t have gotten it, so thanks again! 


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.

January 2018 Budget (with Revenue)

The budget shows that we were $411 short this month, but we actually broke even.  One of our paychecks was short $450 due to a clerical error and that money will be coming in February. Still, it was a bit of a bummer that we spent so much, but since we discussed doing most of our annual home repairs in the next couple of months it shouldn’t be that surprising.  We also made a Costco run at the very beginning of the month and those are always pretty costly.    Also, we had a meeting to adjust the monthly budget amounts for each category based on the three prior year’s expenses.  As I go through each category in detail I will let you know any adjustments we made.

 

 

Campground Fees – We chose to stay in a campground with our friends for a couple of days between gates.  We could have stayed for free in the yard, but it was worth it to see everyone.  For this year we cut this budget item in half since we spent so little on campgrounds last year.  It’s still more than we usually spend, but I wanted to leave some extra in in case we get the opportunity to work less. 

Groceries –  We went over in groceries by $100,  mostly due to a $250 Costco run at the very beginning of the month.  We left the budget amount the same, despite the fact that we miss this mark more often than we make it.  I recombined the food and cleaning supplies etc back into one category since we did a pretty bad job of breaking that out month by month, and overall it just didn’t seem like there was enough in the second category to make it worth the trouble. 

Dining OutWe were $63 to the good, because all of our dining out food was fast food during travel or long work days.  I changed the label to convenience to make that category a little more clear and also upped the budget to $100 a month from $50.  After three years it’s clear that this category was just too low, and since we had savings in many other places I thought it was worth making this one more realistic.

Entertainment – We bought a few books and a couple Itunes purchases.  We were $71 to the good in this category. 

Cell/Internet – The bill was low this month because we finally got our credit for being charged for the cell phone I already paid for back in August.  I have adjusted the budget to reflect what the new bill should be going forward, and we are thrilled by the monthly savings of $128!!!  Thank you AT&T for your new unlimited plan. (For those keeping score, we used to pay $ 363 for two phones, a WiFi hotspot and an iPad with 80 GB of data, and we routinely went over that limit and paid $15 per extra GB. (!!!) Now we pay $ 128 for the same devices and unlimited data. For those who are curious, we have not seen any speed throttling or network management yet, and we are now consistently using over 600 GB a month, which might give you an idea of how happy we are with the new arrangement. – Lee)  

Truck Fuel – We broke even in this category which was quite a bit, mainly because we traveled from southeast of San Antonio to far west Texas and back again, and have driven back and forth to San Antonio from our current location a couple of times.  I upped the budget on this category to $425 which has been our average for the last couple of years, minus the trip to Alaska. 

Truck Maintenance – This category is a bit in flux.  We think we have enough maintenance visits remaining on our prepaid Ford plan to last the rest of the year, but that depends on how many miles we end up driving this year.  For the time being I will be putting in $50 a month. 

Health Insurance – This is another exciting category as our monthly amount (with subsidy) is only $110.  This is a monthly savings of $230 which is obviously significant. 

Cigarettes – We buy tobacco and tubes to cover a few months at a time, so the annual amount is really what matters.  We reduced the annual amount by $192 to reflect what we spent last year.  

Personal Care (Haircuts etc) – This month we went over by $19 because I splurged on a pedicure.  (You should see her toes! – Lee) I reduced this category by $25 a month to more accurately reflect what we have been spending.  Thank heavens for SuperCuts and Great Clips!

Shipping/Postage – We went over by $37 in this category because we had numerous deliveries, and the ones that came to the Kenedy each cost $5.  We are shipping things to the UPS store here and there is a $5 per item fee.  I also adjusted this category down $15 a month to more accurately reflect what we are spending. 

Gifts – I had this cool idea to start making gifts for people because I thought that might be cheaper.  Turns out the raw materials aren’t cheap, even though I found most of what I needed at Super Walmart.  Still I am having a lot of fun with it, so I’ll mentally use the underage in entertainment to balance this expense out a little.  Plus now that I know what I am doing I can keep an eye out for cheaper raw materials as we travel. 

Home Repair – Obviously we had a significant overage for the month in this category, spending $690 over budget.  $260 of that was the new toilet, and the rest was the raw materials for several repairs Lee has made.  As I have talked about in earlier blog posts, Lee is doing a year’s worth of maintenance while he has the opportunity, so we are still significantly under the $2400 annual budget amount.  And we did talk about these experiences as they occurred, so we knew this category would be steep this month. 

Overall, I would have liked to have spent less money, of course, but I understand where it all went.  Hopefully February will allow us to put some money away for April, since we aren’t planning on working that month at all. We also had an extra $1000 in “unexpected” revenue for some pay Lee was owed from a contract job he did last year, and selling one of our domain names that we weren’t using, which was a very nice surprise. (Out of the blue someone called and asked me if they could buy my RV repair domain, and since I’m not really using it I decided to let it go. I thought it might bring $100, but he offered $500, which even I knew was much better, and I’m not so good with the mathing. I thought about trying to get more, but he was a young guy, all excited about starting a new venture, and then I remembered that I despise greed, so I just let him have it for what he offered. I suppose I could have been a really great guy and countered with a lower number so he could have it for even less, but while I’m not greedy, I’m also not a moron. – Lee)

So from a cash flow perspective we are starting the year off just fine. 


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.

May 2017 Budget (with Revenue Numbers)

We did better than I thought this month with $3556 in expenses. We also received our first paychecks which brought in $1640 in revenue leaving a monthly deficit of $1917.   I was very happy to see though that our net cash flow YTD is $967.22.  This does not include the week in Vegas which we treated as a vacation and used savings to pay for. The numbers tell a pretty good story.  We are breaking even so far this year, but to stay on pace this summer we will need to sock away enough for the month of down time in October.  We also have scheduled a $3500 Mor-Ryde upgrade in October, but we are working Amazon in November and December to help recover some of those costs.  I’m pretty excited though because I would have bet money we would be in a negative cash flow position once we received our first pay checks.  The detail of the month is listed below.

 

Campground Fees – Just a little bit at the beginning of the month as we traveled here. We kept those costs lower by boondocking and using Passport America.

Groceries – We went over by about $20 overall in this category.  We always have a bit of a spike when we move to a new area as we learn the grocery stores, but some great advice and Winco really helped us out here.  Love, love that grocery store. You’ll also notice our alcohol bill is back to $0 now that we are no longer camping with friends.  Just saying 🙂

Dining Out – We went over by $55 which was pretty good considering the desire to try new restaurants in the area.  We held each other accountable in this category and avoided the urge to get fast food. This was definitely helped by the fact that the local grocery store has a fantastic 10-piece chicken meal for $6.99 and I got that twice to give myself something fast to eat on long work days.  Lee also took advantage of the freezer we have access to for stocking up on frozen meals, something we rarely have the freezer space for in our rig.

Internet – Hooray the new pricing kicked in and we are $216 under the previous budgeted amount.  I will change the budget next month going forward but wanted to show what a game changer that has been.  And for the record we are thrilled with our unlimited data plan with AT&T.  Unlike many of our friends on Verizon plans we have had minimal throttling and only occasionally during peak period run into network management issues.  Super happy about that and yes Lee super happy is the right term in this case.

Memberships – Lee slipped in a $195 annual fee for the American Express Gold Card.  I really wanted to talk about that this year because I really think AmEx blue is a better choice for us, but he really likes having a Gold Card. 

Truck Fuel – Part of our $39 was travel, part was long car rides when we first got here, but gas is very expensive here.  That being said he discovered a 50 cent per gallon variance in the diesel price on the main road in Estacada versus the gas station up the hill.  $2.34 versus $2.89 is nothing to sneeze at and reinforces the need to bargain shop even when you are in rural areas. 

Clothing – We went over in this category by $106 mainly because we bought raincoats for work (a necessity here) and Lee had to buy a new pair of hiking shoes from REI for $89 because the soles separated.  Those shoes were totally worth it though and I don’t mind spending the money on those ever.

Miscellaneous – We broke down and bought a mount for a motor for our Sea Eagle Kayak.  We were able to get a used one which helped with the cost and the motor itself was purchased in June. This was a big topic of discussion, but at the end of the day we like rivers much more than lakes and since we don’t have two vehicles (and our attempt to find companies to transport have not worked) we decided to go ahead and bite the bullet.  Hopefully this will lead to using the Sea Eagle more  in the future, especially since we are living next to this beautiful river, but if not we might end up selling what we have.  It takes up space we could always use, but we are finding we can only use it when we are with other friends.  Will let you know how that goes.

Good month and good year to date numbers.  The cost of living here is pretty reasonable all things considered and my list of summer activities are almost all nature related.  I may end up spending a ton of money on farmer’s markets though.  I stopped at my first one today and the local produce is amazing!!  I’ll blow my budget any day of the week on fresh fruits and vegetables though!


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback.

March Budget 2017

Another great budget month!  We made $3,468.74, and spent $2843.41, for a net of $625.33.  From a pure cash flow perspective we spent more because we prepaid three weeks of April campground fees, but we are tracking those in the month the stays occur, so they will show up in April. We also paid taxes, but since that amount was roughly the return we got last year and was set aside in a separate account that was a wash.  The details are listed below.  By the way, April 15th will be one year since we have supported ourselves exclusively through our various work kamping efforts, and I will be doing another post on how the 12 month period went.  I was going to include it here but I think it deserves it’s own  summary. 

 

Campground FeesJust a couple of nights when we left our oilfield gate. 

Food –  Almost exactly to budget.  The totals were a little higher than last month because we stocked up on meat and a few other items at Costco, but we were careful to stay within budget.  In the past we have gone over budget when stocking up in the hopes our bill the following month would be lower, but then it never is, so we aren’t doing that anymore.  We intentionally bought enough to get us through the month and will have another Costco run next month. (I would also like to point out that I have stopped buying Pepsi, and pie. There’s some serious savings there. – Lee) 

Alcohol Stocked up in anticipation of being with our friends.  We are almost always under in this category so not a big deal going over $8 one month. 

Dining OutWe were about $50 to the good overall.  I got lazy at the end and we grabbed fast food here and there, and then I bought some Church’s chicken for travel days. 

Entertainment – Lee bought a couple of computer games and I bought some music.  I usually only buy it when The Voice is on (big fan of that show). 

Truck Fuel – The bulk of the $258 was spent in the last couple of days of the month because we traveled from south Texas to the Phoenix area. The good news is our trips are much shorter in April, so we will see how we do on truck fuel through the end of the month. (Our distance from the gate to Lost Dutchman state park was 1000 miles in three days, but from Lost Dutchman to Las Vegas, which we’re essentially taking three weeks in April to do, is only 370 miles, so we might actually end up on budget or under for fuel in April. – Lee)

RV Insurance – They over charged us a couple months ago (it’s auto deducted) so they have been taking out less making that up. 

Cigarettes – We have been buying tobacco and tubes in bulk since the summer, so this is three months worth. 

Gifts – I spent $200 on the one-on-one session with my favorite author.  $100 of that my father gave me as a Christmas gift so I put the other $100 in the gift category.  I could have put it in entertainment, I guess, but it felt right going here.

Home Repair – We spent nothing in this category which is a huge deal. Last year we were routinely spending $200 or more per month in this category but Lee has really focused on this.  We were going to replace our Vornado fan, but couldn’t find one locally so decided to wait until we reached Phoenix and pick one up there. 

It was another good month from a budget perspective.  We will see what happens in April since we will be moving so much, staying in campgrounds, and hanging out with friends.

 


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer. 

February 2017 Budget with Revenue

We had one of our best months ever with costs of only $2380.44 and revenue of $3500, resulting in a net cash flow of $1119.56. For details on the individual categories please see below. 

budget-feb-2017

 

Campground Fees –  $0 because we are work kamping. 

Groceries – We spent a little more than last month, mainly because I was pushing to finish some recipes to get the recipe book completed. Still under budget month  spending $558 or $42 less than budget.  I did spend a little on alcohol this month but that was all types of wine for cooking. (Suuuuuure. – Lee)

Dining Out – We spent the bulk of this on our anniversary dinner, but then we did really well and didn’t eat out at fast food places (except I had Burger King once) which kept us under budget by $46.

Entertainment –  No days off and not much to do around here, so we only spent $65.63.  That was going to the movies and Lee bought a video game online. (After owning and playing Call of Duty since 2003 (!!!) for some reason when I sat down to play it once again in all the down time, it wouldn’t run at all. So I bought it again. I figured since I have enjoyed it for hundreds and hundreds 0f hours, they were entitled to another $19.99 – Lee)

Cell/Internet – We went over by 3 Gig or $45 extra in January, which we ended up paying in February.  We have now signed up on AT&T unlimited plan and our new bill should be substantially less, which we are VERY excited about.  Since this is one of our highest budget items, that reduction in spending is going to be significant.  

Memberships – We paid for another year of Work Kamper News , which we use all the time to find jobs and is a no-brainer for us.  We also renewed our Xscapers membership for one more year.   Aside from our one trip to the Rose Bowl, we haven’t gotten much benefit from this membership.  This year I am committed to really finding out if this has value for us.  I want to check out their Job Board and see what’s on there, because that could definitely be helpful. 

Truck Fuel –  We spent $125 which was well under budget.  We made the trip into San Antonio and then Lee made a few more trips to nearby towns and one other trip to San Antonio as well. 

Insurance – Our truck insurance went up $20 a month to $153. Since I really like Nationwide and they covered us with no issue when we had accidental fuel contamination I am really hesitant to leave them, but I hope these $20 a year changes are not going to be the norm.  We didn’t owe RV insurance this month because we paid last month when they had a billing error.  

Home Furnishings – I have nothing in the budget for this category since the changes Lee made to the desk are a business expense.  From a cash flow perspective the materials costs around $150.  I am not planning on skipping business items always (Work Kamper membership is one for example), but in this case I did decide to leave it out since it is directly related to Lee’s editing.  Like I said, I don’t do that often and when I do I will try and mention it. 

So it was another good month.  Lee was able to move $700 into our operating income savings account, which was really nice.


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog. Thank you.   Search Amazon.com here