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.
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