June 2016 Budget (with work kamping revenue)

This is the first month I will be sharing both our costs and our revenue.  I can’t promise I will always do that going forward, but in this case the revenue was 100% generated by a traditional work kamping job, and I think it would be good to share it.  Along those lines, some folks have been asking about RV Tech revenue, and I wanted to share that thus far we have only made $45 from tech work.  We have been advertising heavily here at the campground and Lee has been called to look at problems 5 times in the last month, but in most cases the fix was extremely easy (under 10 minutes of his time) and he has chosen not to charge the person.  Certainly you could charge a one hour minimum in these cases (which would have been $500 in additional revenue), but Lee personally did not feel right about charging for things that he can do so quickly and without the need to pick up a tool.  He considers it “karma in the bank”. We get many new RVers coming through here, often from other countries, and they often have a limited understanding of the systems in the RV’s they have rented. Lee takes a few minutes and educates them (in one case he switched a power switch from off to on) and he feels that this is just the human thing to do.  I agree, and since we are making plenty of money to cover our expenses we can afford to do that.  In the  future it could of course change.

So how did we do in our first ever month of paying as we go.  Well, pretty fantastic!!  We netted $3710.77 from our work kamping job and our costs were only  $2803.71.  Holy cow.  Seriously, I am as shocked as you are, and I double checked the numbers.  Before we all get too excited though, we should have bought camper tags this month (we sort of blew that off) and this did NOT include a run into Costco as we are doing that next month with Kelly and Bill.  We also thankfully had no repairs of any kind.  Almost got whacked with $1,100 for brake repairs on the truck which would have made this a different story, but the warranty I purchased covered all that so we only had to pay for the gas.  Even knowing those things it is an extremely promising month and even more so because we still got to explore and see some pretty terrific stuff on this budget.  Lee’s been telling me for many, many months this was possible, and to be honest I was extremely skeptical, but the proof is in the pudding.  One month does not a budget make, but wow I feel pretty great about this.  For more details please see below.

June 2016

 

Campground Fees-  One of the benefits of work kamping is no campground fees, which saved $600.  If you counted this savings into our monthly wage we made over $4,300 this month!

Groceries – All that stocking up finally paid off, and despite the higher prices in local stores here we saved $232.75.  We ate what we had supplemented a bit with some spinach Darlene is growing, and two meals of fresh salmon which was given to us.  Also, Lee has been cooking most of the meals since I work so late and his meals require less additional ingredients than mine do.  They’ve been awesome, but he tends to make do with what we have.

Dining Out – We ended up $25 to the good in this category and I feel great about that.  We rigidly controlled spending on our numerous day trips by packing lunches, and more importantly resisted the urge to eat locally out of boredom.  This is an area many full timers overspend in when sitting in one place for awhile, so I am glad that we did well.  Since we have more overnight trips in July I fully expect this category to go up, but we have shown it can be done…at least for us.

Entertainment – We ended up $19.90 to the good, mainly by focusing on nature related activities that didn’t cost money.  The big ticket item in this category was $89.95 for the Alaska Tour Saver book which will help us save money the rest of the season by offering numerous “two for one” deals.  The book is pretty pricey but since we are taking a Glacier Tour in August, the book more than pays for itself with that one trip.  

Truck Fuel – I was concerned about truck fuel costs going up since we took so many long drives to keep entertainment costs down, but I was pleased to see truck fuel was $177 under budget.  This is mainly because we are consolidating our trips and during the work week are hardly using the vehicle at all.  

Cigarettes – The good news in this category is they must have changed the rules or something because we can now purchase loose tobacco online and have it shipped. We know this doesn’t apply to a lot of people, but it’s an expense for us, and typically Lee looks for places to buy tobacco everywhere we go, with varying degrees of luck. In Anchorage the price of loose tobacco is three times the price in the lower 48, and the selection is pretty meager. We brought quite a bit with us, but not enough to get us all the way to mid-September, so it’s nice to know that even with the shipping, it’s cheaper to buy online. And going forward, we don’t have to worry about hunting it down everywhere we go.

Home Equipment – We did great in this category $155 under budget, our best ever. When you are sitting still less things break and Lee is getting his puttering fix by working on so much in the campground.

 

So again, I know it’s just one data point, but feeling good about things overall.  July we have longer trips, more seeing friends, income tax preparation to pay, along with tags, so things will go up, but it definitely did prove to me that we could stay under budget and still have fun, which was one of the major things I wanted to get out of this work kamping experience.


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February 2016 Budget

February was the worst budget month we have had in a long time, with $5386 in expenses.  Not surprising really since we crammed a ton of activity into February.  We went to Vegas for 9 days, then to Kartchner and finally back to Quartzsite, and another Mexico trip.  Some of the expenses we can ultimately write off as business expenses, but most were frankly us having a good time with our friends and not being cautious.  We didn’t have one budget conversation all month, and it shows.  I think it just goes to prove you really have to stay vigilant or costs can quickly get away from you.   The details are below.

Feb Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campground Fees – $494 went to a nine day stay at Circus Circus for Lee’s work.  Since this cost is directly attributable to our business it can be written off at the end of the year, but I included it here since it was an immediate expense. 

Propane – Propane was a little higher because we started and ended the month in Quartzsite.  This off course is offset by how crazy cheap Quartzsite is. 

Groceries – We didn’t do a very good job this month dividing out consumables from expendables (food versus non-food) so the individual categories aren’t right but the overall cost is correct.  This is the one category we saw a huge improvement in and that was despite many shared meals with friends.  I attribute that to all three couples sharing the cost evenly, we ate out more, and Lee eating at work some.  

Dining Out – These categories were both terrible. We had our anniversary and several meals out with friends, didn’t keep track as we should have and really just blew the budget.

Entertainment – We really did pretty well in this category considering all the stuff we did, and the overage was caused by $120 in books Lee purchased.  He loves the west and they had some very unique books in Tombstone and Yuma and I encouraged him to buy them as well. Neither one of us realized it added up to so much though until the end of the month which would have been solved by having our regular mid month review which we skipped this month. 

Home Furnishing Mandatory – This was the other really tough category but these expenses are attributed to two things.  Lee accidentally left the surge protector at Circus Circus and of course it was gone when we called.  Since a new one was going to be a couple hundred of dollars we decided to upgrade and invest in an inline system that could never be lost or stolen.  All in that costs around $500, but it was a decision we made together.  The other expense was $173 for new sheets.  For some reason the sheets got totally destroyed and needed replaced.  Now you can easily say, that is a ridiculous amount to spend on sheets, but we have 800 thread count sheets because it is incredibly helpful controlling my hot flashes.  For me (and Lee who I woke up a lot) it is a small price to pay for a good night’s rest. It does stink though that the sheets lasted barely a year.  I am not sure if this is because we are washing them in public laundromats or they are stretched too tight on this new bed, but hopefully it was an anomaly and they will last the several years that the precious pair did. 

So this $935 overage was a tough one, but we know it was fully within our control which is comforting in an odd way. Nothing that blew the budget was absolutely necessary (except maybe the sheets) and if we needed to we could have avoided or delayed the costs.  Since my work paychecks stop in March this was a bit of a last hurrah, but obviously we cannot continue at this rate of spend and be successful.

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July 2015 Budget

Oddly despite all the wedding crazy we had the best month we have ever had from budget perspective.  The way I handled this month was to remove all direct wedding expenses and last minute costs for the wedding itself, and leave in meals, clothing and travel costs because if you attended a wedding or family event you might have similar expenses.  Based on this criteria we only spent $3804 this month.    We only spent $191 this month on campground fees. To be clear, our actual cash flow was much less, but that money came out of contingency funds. The incidentals weren’t that bad.  We spent less than $750 in last minute incidentals which is a testament to the good job Kat did on planning the wedding. For more detail on each category please see below. This amount was updated in August when I discovered I left out our RV payment.  I apologize by the mistake which was caused by rushing to get the post out before a work trip.  

July Budget 2015

July Budget 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campground Fees – The first two weeks we “moochdocked” on the Miles family farm, which was wonderful. We could have stayed there the entire time, but wanted to be closer to the wedding venue during the week of the wedding. The last week of July our campground costs were covered as part of the compensation package for the video production Lee is doing for Howard.  Both moochdocking and work kamping are totally legitimate ways to keep costs down in this area and we are very excited to finally be able to save some money in this category. 

Groceries – We’re happy this category stayed under despite stocking up at a Walmart before going to northern Minnesota.  It will be interesting to see how we do in August with a stocked cupboard but more expensive local groceries.

Dining Out – We went over by $276.  The bulk of that was the Ecuadoran lunch we bought for all the kids which came in at $170. I left it in because sometimes you just want to pick up the check.  Bill and Kelly can relate! If you take that meal out and offset with the $127 we were under, in entertainment it wasn’t that bad of a story.  Plus, we ate quite a bit of fast food this month.  We were running all over the place and providing meals for the people that volunteered with the wedding setup.  Individually, small dollar amounts, but it does add up.

RV Relocation – For the first time in a while we went over in this category, but we are $2K under for the year.  It will be interesting to see how this is affected when we head out west next month. 

Cigarettes – We have been rolling our own cigarettes for one year now (using finely shredded pipe tobacco, an electric roller, and tubes you buy for around $3 a box) and our average monthly costs have gone down from $520 a month (two cartons a week ) to $125 a month.  This is a substantial savings and of course it would be nothing if we quit but since that’s not in the cards for us right this moment, saving all that money makes this possible.  As an alternative, our friends Jo and Craig have changed 100% to vapor which has the advantage of being better on the budget and a healthier alternative. Either way if you smoke and want to be a full-time RVer we definitely recommend you look into it.  There is way to much variation in cigarette prices from state to state and rolling our own allows us to pre-buy tobacco when it’s cheaper.

Clothing – Over by $242.  This was some of Lee’s suit, earrings for me to wear to the wedding, and an extra set of sunglasses when I misplaced mine.  Thankfully I found the originals. I love those glasses and bought them in an airport so could not necessarily find them again.  I left the bulk of this in because when you are going to a special event you might need a new shirt, shoes, or dress.  It happens. 

Personal Care – I was shocked we were under in this category.  Lee got a haircut and I had my eyebrows waxed and a trim but nothing else.  I did help pay for some pedicures for the girls prior to the wedding but left that in as a wedding expense because I wouldn’t have done it normally.  I do miss my pedicures quite a bit! At $32 a pop though I just can’t justify it.  I keep trying to talk Lee into giving it a try but he is not interested, plus the best part is the cool massage chair and hot towels and I don’t think he could duplicate that.

So, it was a really great month and since two weeks of August campground fees are also covered, we’re looking forward to seeing how next month goes.  We may actually be getting the hang of this.  Hope I didn’t jinx us !!

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