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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August 2020 Budget and Data

We spent a bunch in August but since we were seeing one of our daughters I was happy to do so.  We spent $5,282 overall and the details are listed below.  Lee also entered some information on our travel below.

Campground Fees – Now that we are not work kamping we have to pay for campground fees.  Originally we were going to spend two weeks at Lebanon Park but we liked the fairgrounds campground so much we took advantage of their monthly rate and cancelled our other reservation.

E- Cigarettes – Turns out that the taxes vary wildly from state to state for E-Cigarettes.   Minnesota is one of the worst where the excise taxes almost double the cost.  Seriously it was $27 for three 1.5ml cartridges.  I decided to try buying the liquid in bulk and filling my own, to avoid the high taxes, but the new dispenser was $40.  Overall the whole month was frustrating from this perspective, but Lee found me a map and I was happy to see that Minnesota is absolutely the exception rather than the rule.  Going forward I will be much more careful about where I buy from.  On a personal note this really ticks me off.  I am using the e-cigarettes instead of smoking and although it is not the best choice it is certainly better than the alternative.  Paying 95% of the wholesale price in tax is nuts.  The following map came from taxfoundation.org. which has lots of really good tax information of all kinds.

Dining Out – We took our daughter out to eat several times and we ate out ourselves a few.  We blew our budget by over $400 in this category and our waistlines absolutely show it!

Gifts – I spent a ton of time this month looking for baby clothes for Oliver in thrift stores and garage sales.  We also bought Kat some shelves for her basement and spent other money on gifts as well.  I definitely see a rise in the budget for this category in our future.

Groceries – Not sure what happened in this category as we spent over $1K, except we were able to make a couple of Costco runs.  Groceries in Minnesota really aren’t that cheap especially in comparison to Texas.

Home Repair – Lee took advantage of being in one place for a while to take care of a few home items, and we also bought a dash cam as a result of the accident we had. He read a bunch of reviews and did a fair amount of research and settled on the Kenwood DRV-A301W.

Truck Fuel – The one area we did really well with was truck fuel coming in over $200 under budget.  We are using a combination of the TSD Logistics card and Gas Buddy to find the best prices and it is definitely making a difference.

Additional monthly data from Lee…

This month we used a total of 556 GB of data on our AT&T unlimited plan, across all of our devices. (Total for the year is 39 terrabytes)

For August we did not have a mixture of places we stayed, we spent every one of the 31 nights in a paid spot, water and electric (50 amp) at $14.47 per night on a monthly rate, for a total of $448.

We put a total of 1,143 miles on the truck, which was less than half of what we did last month, because we didn’t do any traveling. In fact the trailer never moved, so no miles for her.

Year to date we’ve traveled 8,550 miles, 2,747.6 of which was pulling the trailer, with year to date engine hours of 242 hrs, 47 mins, 32 secs.

We burned a total of 81.2 gallons of diesel, and averaged 14.1 mpg for all of our travel, with a year to date total of 722 gallons at 11.8 avg mpg.

There’s no travel map for the month of August, because we didn’t travel anywhere!

Starting in September when we start to travel again, and are using the TSD Logistics card, I will detail the savings from that card here as well, because DATA!!!


Supporting our Blog

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  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
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May 2020 Budget

The only good thing about Covid is it has been very good for our bank account.  Now that furlough is over and I am back on full pay we are socking money away, which is really great.  I have also been buying lots of presents for people which makes me happy.  That was one thing I really missed when we were on a super tight budget and its lovely being able to do that again.  This month we spent $3489.  Details are below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clothing – I needed some short sleeve polo shirts to wear for work so I was ready for impromptu video calls and even though I found a great deal for $14 each it did add up.

Dining Out – I am actually surprised that we spent this much since we are only doing carryout on occasion.  We do get sick of our own cooking though and occasionally you just want McDonalds.

Groceries – We went over by $100 this month.  Since one of the few things we can do is eat well, part of this is entertainment 🙂

Gifts – Ok really splurged here but again totally worth it.  Buying stuff for other people has given me hours of enjoyment and again since we can do little else, there are worse things to spend money on.


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.

 

 

August Budget (with Revenue)

I am really excited about how August turned out, especially because I spent ten days with my daughter.  We only spent $3K this month, and because it was a three paycheck month we still did well on revenue, netting $3300, which our bank account sorely needed.  For more detailed information see below.

 

Groceries – We did great on groceries mainly because I ate at my daughters for 10 days.

Dining Out – We went over by $90 but that was fantastic considering the travel and eating out.  My parents paid for most of the meals when they came to visit us, and Kyrston understanding I am on a budget bought food so we could eat in.  I treated her to one $50 meal but other than the travel food, did a good job of not going crazy.

Entertainment – This overage was actually from buying some used books.  Lee and I discovered a really good used book store called the Clackamas Book Exchange and went a little crazy.  Turns out this was a good thing since we need to head to Texas for gate guarding and we like to have lots of books when we do that.

Clothing – As a perk, all PGE employees received permission to go to the Columbia employee store in Portland during their summer clearance sale.  We picked a few quality items at deep discounts.

New Equipment –  While I was gone visiting Kyrston,  Lee purchased a carpet cleaner.  We have had access to a really nice one while here at the lake and Lee found a slightly smaller version of that one with a retractable handle. It fits in our hall closet, and does a pretty decent job of getting the carpet clean. I really should have put this purchase under pets since it is 100% because of Jack.  Again, probably not a purchase we would have made if we would have known we were losing our jobs at the end of the month, but what can you do?

So to level set on where we are at financially, we have roughly $5700 in the bank until we start making money again. It will likely cost us around $1200 to make it down to Texas. Once we get there we have incredibly wonderful, generous friends that we can stay with to keep our expenses low while we wait for a gate and start earning money again. We still have $16K in savings that we can access if we need to, but we would like to start working before the $5700 runs out.  We do have some reccurring expenses (ie: insurance etc ) but hopefully we will get a gate quickly and not lose too much of what we worked so hard for all summer.

In addition to gate guarding I have two professional interviews next week and hopefully more in the pipeline. We will continue to explore other options for making revenue as well.  Thankfully we are healthy, employable, and have flexibility in where we live.  All good things.  My point I guess is that we aren’t destitute, and we will find other work, but it’s important for those thinking of doing this without a recurring source of income to understand these things can happen.  It is real life, just on wheels.


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

February 2019 Budget

Another good month, with expenses only hitting $2,718.  We made $3,775, so another thousand dollars put into savings.  The only big unexpected purchase was our Nighthawk Hot Spot, which was $216. It’s working great though, and since internet is such a big part of our lives I don’t begrudge the purchase.  Also, as an FYI I finished our taxes and sent them to the accountant.  We made roughly $16K last year in 1099 income, and had about $3500 in expenses we could deduct along with $3300 interest on the RV loan. There were major changes this year to the tax code, and I am really not sure how all of that is going to turn out.  It might end up being better for us to just take the standard deduction and not itemize.  We’ll see.  I’ll let you know when the accountant gets back to me.   For more details on this month you can see below.

 

 

Groceries – I adjusted the budget amount to $700 a month for this year based on prior spending and that seems to be a much more manageable target.  Unfortunately we are extremely limited in grocery stores within a one hour drive and the prices reflect that.

Entertainment – My favorite author came out with two new books in the month of February, which was great for me to read, but hit this category a bit. Lee also got a book. Normally we don’t buy books brand new, but he really loves Stephen King and couldn’t wait to get it later.  I also bought my own copy of Open Road, and seeing myself in print was a pretty special moment.  Unfortunately due to printing in color, the trade paperback version is kind of expensive, but I wanted a copy for myself.  It turned out really good.

Insurance –  Now that the new insurance company is in place I need to adjust the budget amounts.

Cigarettes – We buy what we need quarterly and since we will be on the move in a couple of weeks, pre-bought what we would need.

New Equipment – New wifi hotspot, I talked about that above.

This month was fine and we are working until March 18th and then moving on to Phoenix where Lee picked up a week of live event work with a good friend and company he used to work for.  We have saved more than enough to cover our costs until we hit Oregon, and then will start making money again.

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

December 2018 Budget

One of the reasons we like gate guarding so much is we spend hardly any money.  We don’t make a ton ($150 a day at this particular gate) but it’s enough to cover our expenses and put a little money away.  This month we only spent $2,730 and we made $3,712 for a net gain of $982.  Part of the revenue for this month was what we received from unemployment and I wanted to take a minute and talk about that.  Ultimately we only received two sets of checks for around $180 a week for each of us.  The third set of checks we should have received didn’t come because one of their requirements was we signed up on the job board for the State of Texas (which I did) but they found the proof that I did it insufficient.  I have to say the entire experience was really frustrating.  It was a ton of work, for not very much money and because our situation was unique (residency in one state, worked in a second, and currently living in a third) it required a lot of additional steps.  Let me just leave it by saying I am glad we don’t need to rely on it and I wouldn’t do it again unless our circumstances were different.  Anyway, details for the month are below.  I am currently working on the year end financial analysis and that will be available shortly.

 

Groceries – We broke even in this category by making a concerted effort to eat what we have.  The nearest grocery store is over a half hour away and the only local store is a Dollar General so logistically we are required to do menu planning which always helps with the budget. 

Dining Out – We only spent $74 in this category.  I got some KFC which I ate for several days and Lee tried out the local Chinese buffet which he didn’t like much.  The lack of restaurants in the area as well as the fact that we can’t go anywhere together will again help keep this budget category in line.

Entertainment – Again we are under in this category and $40 of that is for Hulu.  I have to say I am VERY happy with this service as it is allowing me to watch football and some back episodes of Top Chef.  We haven’t paid for TV since we came on the road, and as such have often missed live programming.  Really happy that we can use this solution on a monthly basis and only pick it up when we are in a situation like this.  We don’t get TV in Oregon either, so at least for football season happy it’s an option.

Cell/Internet – We went over in this category by $92 and that was the fees to activate the Winegard.  I have to say I am really disappointed with how it is working out here.  We are getting a decent signal from our ATT hotspot but a barely usable one from the Winegard.  We are going to continue to keep both for awhile, but so far in my mind it is not earning the additional cost. 

Truck Fuel – Another great benefit of not going anywhere is we don’t use much fuel.  We tanked up once for $98, but other than that no money was spent.

Postage – We spent $137 in this category and that was a combination of getting our mail sent to us twice and shipping out calendars to friends and family.  This year I decided to make calendars for people, and between the cost of the calendar and the calendar themselves it was about $10 a person.  Pretty reasonable price for a customized gift and by the way we mailed them through the USPS using the Media rate which is cheaper than regular mail.

Pets – Jack cost an unexpected $217.  Part of that was heart worm medicine (I purchased a year’s worth at a great rate) and flea and tick medicine and part was the supplies to make the dog run.  The rest was chew toys etc.   He’s definitely worth it, but it would be easy to go crazy in the category for sure so need to keep an eye on it.

New Equipment – Lee spent some money on filters and the tent he put up for gate guarding all of which is tax deductible which is nice.  

(My turn! – Lee

For those interested, here’s some other end of month info that I will be adding to the end of month post from now on. Regarding the budget, I care less about the monthly information and more about quarterly and annual information, and trends, but I like to see how things compare. 

So here’s how December 2018 compared to our previous Decembers. I’m happy with that result. 


And here’s how our overall spending is trending, starting from January 2015….


Tracy likes to do a pie chart of all of our expenses at the end of the year, but I like to see it for each month, and I care more about the percentages than the dollar amounts. It amazes me that our biggest expense is consistently groceries. If you have trouble reading the categories, just click on the image. 

 

And here’s some travel stats for the month. Obviously this will be more interesting when we’re actually traveling….

Truck miles:      633.1
Engine Hours:  14:05
Trailer miles:    168.0
Fuel Used:         13.8 G

Here’s our travel map for December, which is kind of boring because all we did was move from a friend’s place to our current gate. In future months it might be more interesting…

Days “Moochdocking”:       2
Days at free Workamp Sites: 29

Pictures Taken: 326

Data Used Across All Devices: 425 Gb

The weather station gives me some pretty cool historical data that I’d like to share. For the month of December it’s a little incomplete, because I didn’t get it until the 15th, but next month I will have an entire month’s worth. Won’t THAT be exciting???

Since the format of the blog for some reason requires that a full 50% of the screen real estate not be used for the blog, the images can’t be any bigger than they are, but you can click on them to make them full screen. You can also go to the page for our weather station at Weather Underground and fiddle with the charts and graphs to your heart’s content. 



If there’s data or stats anyone is interested in seeing going forward, let me know in the comments section! – Lee


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

September 2017 Budget

September was a bit of an odd month since we were partially work kamping and partially traveling back east.  Our travel costs were high since we were making the trip in a compressed time frame and although we received some pay in September our last checks were actually paper copies and had to be mailed us.  Not sure why they do this and thankfully they allowed a one time mailing address for that check so we had those mailed to Lee’s parents.  Consequently that $1708 is NOT included in this budget because the cash is not in the bank.   Even without this money though we broke even for the month with $49.50 to the good, which was nice.  We also have a profit sharing check that will be coming at the end of the year and that should be an extra few hundred dollars each, but that doesn’t come until December.   Details are listed below.

 

Campground Fees – We spent $89 camping as we started traveling.  That wasn’t too bad and the two days boondocking with Cori and Greg helped. 

GroceriesWe went over by $200 because we stocked up both at Winco and Costco.  I also think it was because we kept spending like I had recycling money coming in but that dropped off sharply in September.  Another factor was I tried about 20 new recipes for my recipe book in those last couple of weeks and every time I try to do that in a compressed time frame, my budget always spikes. 

Dining OutWe did really good in this category especially we tend to over spend when we travel.  $38 to the good.

Entertainment –  This was our saving grace as we only spent $25 in this category.  That’s a good thing since next month I am sure will be crazy. 

InternetNot quite sure why we went over $74 in this category.  I really need to look into this. When I get a few minutes.  With our schedule that may be a while. 

CigarettesSince we were going to be traveling, Lee went ahead and stocked us up.  We get lots of questions about this category so for the record we buy online and buy in bulk, so our costs are using quarterly in this category.  The budget amount is last years annual divided by twelve. 

So we did OK, but once again just breaking even does cause a downstream problem. We know our costs will be higher while we are traveling so then you are dipping into savings to cover those costs until the next gig.  It’s hard on what we make to make that money back, so you’re always sort of vaguely in arrears even when in a particular work month you are ahead.  That’s why I think most people we have met who are longtime working RVers develop the same jobs and a route.  It is much easier to budget when you know  how long your breaks will be and you can budget those breaks in and try to keep travel costs down. We are still working it out, and will definitely have more info at the end of this year, but it’s pretty clear (at least to me) why folks who work limit their travel. 


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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 Instant Pot recipes, Travel Days recipes, and Pot Lucks recipes.    You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback.

December 2016 Budget

One of the major benefits of working 11 hour days every day is that you don’t spend much money.  But there is a tendency when the assignment ends to spend some cash, and that’s pretty much what we saw in December.  Overall we did OK in the month of December with total expenses of $3438.61 but we certainly could have done much better.  The good news is we ended the month with around $735 left over from the beet harvest money, so all of the money we made here will be living expenses going forward.  Since we still have not gotten paid, I am not including that revenue in this month.  Details are below. (I want to also point out that we had some expenses in December that normally we wouldn’t see in a regular month. Namely, $142 for our truck registration, $247 for tobacco and cigarette tubes, which is a quarterly expense) $100 to replenish the money in our mailing service account, which is also quarterly, and $250 for the on site tech visit to fix our furnace, $150 of which will be reimbursed to us. If we remove those, then the monthly expenses are more like $2850. – Lee)

dec-expenses

Campground Fees – We had a free place to stay with the work kamping job, so we saved $600 here.  Since we are consistently under budget in this category it will be adjusted for 2017.

Groceries – We stayed on budget and were actually $30 to the good.  Making a big Costco run in January and going to start cooking meals again (need to get that recipe book finished), so we will see.  This category will probably be adjusted in 2017.

Dining Out – $100 over budget for the month which is almost exactly what we spent on our Red Lobster dinner.  I almost consider that a business expense, but since it’s not deductible we are putting it here. 

Truck Fuel – This was our best month ever because we only tanked up one time and spent a measly $76.10.  Another benefit of never going anywhere and working where you live.  

Gifts – For the first time ever we did not buy Christmas gifts for the kids.  I had budgeted the money last year, but since at this point they are all actually making more money than us and I bought them small gifts while we were in Alaska, we decided to stop doing this.  I would never have thought I would be OK with skipping gifts, but it’s a great indicator of how much I’ve changed.  I am firmly in the camp of buying them presents from a cool place regardless of the time of year, which is where my husband and mother-in-law have been all along.

Home Repair – We did well in this category, the only expense being $100 for our deductible on getting the furnace fixed.  This category is always interesting in the yearly view  which will be coming up next. 

So that’s December, and now I can start the annual budget review.  We will be making adjustments in numerous categories and providing lots of info for you data junkies out there so stay tuned!


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