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Friday, June 22, 2012

Budgets And Bills

We passed a milestone and then passed another one.  Six months on the road this month.  And we only covered about 12,000 miles.  It is amazing that in our new lifestyle we've seen so much and had so much fun, but we're really just getting started.

I've read that most people in their first year of full time RV living are in the "vacation" mode and it takes that year to learn to slow down.  Also, it takes that first year to slow down expenses to meet what you thought your budget would be.  It seems to be true for us, too.

We knew we were going to cover a lot of ground early on so we set aside extra money for the budget areas we knew we were going to exceed, some by a lot!  One area was diesel fuel.  Our monthly budget was set at $750, based on an average $4/gallon.  We blew by that mark pretty quickly and cringed as we watched the price of diesel rise and rise and rise again.  But the extra cost was worth every mile we drove to see our granddaughters in Oregon, my cousins in San Diego, the blogger friends we "met" (in person) in Quartzsite and Pensacola, Disney World with the grandsons and welcoming little Anabelle.

Now that there are Saudi oil sheiks building new mansions as a result of our travels, we hit a great milestone.  For the first time, this month, we've come in under our fuel budget, by two whole bucks!  I guess those oil sheiks will have to find someone else to pay for the finishing of their mansions.

One area we were hit hard with was car repairs, but thankfully we set money aside for that eventuality.  The bills for a starter replacement ($750) and a new radiator ($460) were surprising, but easily covered.  Once in a while I do something smart.

One area that is hard to control is food, we're eating much healthier, but fresh products of fruits and veggies are much more expensive than we anticipated.  Farmers markets and roadside stands offer much better produce at cheaper costs, but way too often, there is no place to pull in with a motorhome and toad.   We'll keep on trying to stop when we can.

Campgrounds have not been bad at all, we budgeted $750/month.  Between military campgrounds and Passport America, we've come in on or under budget every month, not counting our Disney Fort Wilderness stay or our Pirateland campground week.  The Pirateland week for Marti's conference is a professional expense and we can use that as a tax deduction, so I guess that doesn't count.  Being under budget in this area gives us the opportunity to splurge every once in a while to a fancy campground resort, especially ones with hot tubs!

Looking ahead for the next six months, we're going to limit our travels to the Eastern USA and do some "Moochdocking" in relative's driveways periodically.  We'd like to hit the Gypsy Journal Rally in September, we've never been to one and hear they are really fun as well as informative.  A little time in New England with Marti's family and maybe an October trip down to New Orleans, then back up to South Carolina for the "Carolina Clan"  November meet, finally all of December in our South Carolina "home base", Woodsmoke Family Campground.  Maybe we'll find some more surpluses in our budget.  :c)

Of course, there will be many more visits with the grandkids.  That's not to be missed.  For us, that is our main reason to travel.

Going from a large four bedroom house to a 400 square foot motorhome has been quite the challenge, but we've adapted well, we haven't killed each other yet and have learned to wait for the other to move before you move in those tight spaces, instead of "butt bumping" all the time. 

Has there been tense moments between us?  A few, but the vast majority of the time enjoying each others company as we roam where ever we, will has been priceless, no matter what the budget is.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. We, too, found our first year was more expensive than anticipated. It's expensive getting your feet wet and luckily, we also planned for that. Our second year is coming in much closer to budget but still a little over some months. I think it will all even out eventually.

  2. Very interesting to hear your figures. Thanks for sharing. We were doing quite well budget wise until everything changed. Now I've had to do up a new budget to move the money around from where we thought we'd spend it to where we actually are spending it.

  3. I enjoy reading your blog regularly. We will retire in August and look forward to meeting you at the Gypsy Journal meet.

    Ron Johnson
    2011 Georgetown

  4. Would love to compare notes in person some time! Very similar in budget to ours, except we underbudgeted fuel and over budgeted campground expenses compared to your figures. It's definitely true for us, too, our first year out that we did more and traveled more, being in vacation mode. Now we are in living a lifestyle mode, and being more careful about the budget. Have fun at Nick's rally! We've been to 3 and they are just terrific! And LOTS of fun!

  5. I expect the first year's budget will be blown for us as we adapt to a changing lifestyle, but I sure hope we don't do 12,000 in the first year, let alone in the first 6 mod. I guess time will tell, though.

  6. Budget? My husband refuses to participate. He is not a big spender, but he is adverse to plans and a budget is a plan.

  7. We have put together a budget that we "think" will work. God help us if it doesn't!

  8. Living within your budget ... hmm ... isn't that a new trend? We never knew what we'd spend when we started out RVing but figured it wouldn't be much. Surprise! We love the flexibility of being with family at times and making new friends at other times. Life is good. I'm glad we made this choice. After all, we also got to meet you.

  9. you survived the first 12,000 on to the next!!!..congrats to you both!

  10. We have been on the road a year and have not hit 12,000 miles yet :)

  11. 6 months, man time flies when your having fun......keep enjoying the ride!!!