Thursday, September 1, 2011

Six months as a Fulltimer Expenses and Recap…

2011-07-27 NC State and bike ride 023

Well as of today we will have been on the road for half of a year and it is amazing how fast it all went by… I haven’t really talked much about expenses in the blog because I am aware of how everybody's lifestyle is different. However, I remember reading tons of blogs before we set out to fulltime in our motorhome and the one thing that most interested me was what the expenses were to do so. So I will discuss our expenses in general terms that might help those who are planning to fulltime.

1. Camp Rent – this item was close to budget as I budgeted 700 per month and was under budget by 7% and since we forgot to budget for laundry we have just included it here.

2. Medical – was on budget since I retired from the state of Texas and knew exactly what it would cost me.

3. Utilities and Propane – I budgeted 88 per month and spent 53 per month. This included 7-8 weeks of boondocking where we used propane to cool the fridge and heat the motorhome.

4.Eating Out- I budgeted 170 for eating out and we hit that on the nose so that number seems pretty good for us. We cook a lot and eat out only as an occasional treat.2011-08-08 Pennsylvania Grand Canyon bird nest

5. Entertainment - We were 12 percent below budget on this but I think the budgeted amount of 200 per month will work for us.

6. Groceries  - We were over budget here (no real surprise to us) and our budgeted amount of 300 will be adjusted upwards to 350 per month. This number includes all alcohol purchased at the store.

7. Department Store – Way under budget here as we averaged 50 per month so I will adjust this down to 75 and move the additional surplus to categories that are adjusted upwards. No real room for additional stuff so we haven’t bought any.

8. Gas and Diesel – I had budgeted based on $4.00 per gallon and we were still over budget. We spent 340 per month and budgeted 300 so we will increase this line item to 350 per month unless costs continue to go higher.

9. Cable – we budgeted 100 per month for cable TV but have never used this as we found that we get along fine with the over the air channels so we used this money to get internet to our laptops so we can watch TV on them.

10. Phones – I had budgeted 100 per month for two phones with only one getting internet. Since we decided not to get cable TV we moved this budget up to 200 which is what it cost us for our two phones with internet and we still pay for one phone with internet for our daughter till she is more financially stable.

12. Big Ticket items – We were way way over budget here as we bought many things we should have bought earlier such as surge protectors, brake buddy, and had the toad wired while on the road for towing. I have a budgeted number of 333.00 per month here that I will leave unchanged to see if things settle down into a more normal pattern.

2011-08-16 Camp K in New York 003So after six months we are over budget by nearly 25 percent. This was primarily due to several factors not included above. We paid off our Honda CRV, we had to pay mortgage payments on the rent house while it was vacant, we had to spend money on the upkeep of our former house till it sold, and we had to spend money on the former house to prepare it for sale.

So it appears after six months that are budget still hasn’t settled down into what may be a more normal routine. However, it may never become normal so we will stick with our original budget total and just tweak the columns to adjust where it appears we spend more or less.

We will write another blog in the near future that provides our thoughts on what it has been like to be full timers for half a year. Until then we will continue on this path and enjoy each moment it provides…

Oh!… and several readers asked if we had any Maine lobster yet and all I can say is that when you can buy lobster from a roadside vender for $3.95 per pound is… yes we have eaten many of those delectable Maine lahbstahhhs….


  1. Other than overnight expenses our budgets seem to be pretty close. Where's your monthly alcohol

  2. Awe yes alcohol expenses, for this we are over budget (fuel too) in Canada but way under budget for the winter months when south of the border. Overnight for us average about 100 a month with membership camping.

  3. I might be wrong but it looks like you included Propane twice? Either way, I've been trying to just track our camping expenses this year and am failing miserably!

    Congrats on staying close to your number, the rest will settle down as you said.

    Have a great holiday!


  4. I think the budget is always a work in progress. I think the thing we found more expensive was food and we also found there were a lot of big ticket improvements we made in the first year and this year that has calmed down. Our budget breaker were our kids, they are "almost" independent and looks like soon they will be off the payroll. Hallelujah!!!

  5. Hey, I see in your photo that you have the blue RoadTrip grill! Don't you love it? We had one when we started out, finally replaced it with an identical one this year, after 8 years of HEAVY use. Very good product.

    In the past week, we spent $1100 on scheduled maintenance on our Cummins engine (115,000 mile maintenance). They also found a cracked manifold, so that was replaced yesterday for $1300. Over 8 years of travel, we average $2500 year for repairs (fixing broken stuff) and replacement (replacing worn stuff). Maintenance is a separate budget item.

    Hey, I, too wondered where you put your alcohol costs, since they aren't in your grocery budget! Entertainment?? :)

    Safe travels!

  6. Thanks for posting this. Your summary sounds about like ours. I'll post something when we get to 6 months in about a month. I track our expenses closely. I like knowing just we stand.

    We don't have cable either but sure can't watch TV with our phones. Can you tell me what phones you have and how you do that? We may need to switch to your plan.

  7. Ditto on thanks for sharing. We are attempting to come up with a budget using all kinds of variables. Looking like about the same.

  8. Good post - it doesn't need to be detailed, you provide enough info to help any newbie figure out just where the money goes. Everyone's details are different. My gas expenses are more than I thought they would be since I drove from CA to WA and I have a big engine which equates to lower MPG, but my overnight expenses are less. I think the first six months is when we figure out what we need to be comfortable, and add some items that might be expensive, but once we have them, we're done. Hopefully. :)

  9. I corrected the double entry on propane, thanks for pointing that out.

    As for alcohol it is included in groceries since we mostly drink beer and wine which we can buy at most grocery stores. Remember we are big fans of trader Joe's two buck chuck or this number would be much higher :)

    And yes Laurie and Odel we love our grill and I hope I can lower our big ticket items to much less than 333 per month.

    Kevin and Ruth I hope to one day get better at this boondocking thing but our east it seems to be difficult for us to find anything inexpensive.

  10. Good information! We have been tweaking our budget too since we started in November. Initially our eating out and entertainment expenses were high. I think we thought we were on vacation! LOL! We have done much better the last few months.

  11. Budget...I knew I was forgetting something. I have a month to figure out what my budget will be. I don't know where to start.

  12. Kevin and Ruth I hope to one day get better at this boondocking thing but our east it seems to be difficult for us to find anything inexpensive.

    Have you joined Harvest Hosts yet?

  13. I am with Laurie I am not believing the grocery includes the wine. Two buck chuck or no. We spend twice that on groceries mostly cuz of the wine ;)

  14. Our first year was over budget. It is a bit difficult to know what you really need or want. Even though Paul did a ton of research before we began, everyone's needs are different. Glad to see you can readjust some categories and not sacrifice your fun. Enjoy the ride.

  15. Thanks for posting your budget... I am setting ours up in advance as we still have 20 months. Using Microsoft Works Spreadsheet, we have set one up to work with even now before we hit the road.

    Putting everything we can on one American Express card to be paid off monthly helps us track our expenses too. Plus it earns us cash back. Helps on those HUGE diesel tank fillups!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard