Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Back to the House, RV Budget

Well, we are back at the house and parked up in Camp Driveway again.  

Not counting the repairs both expected and unexpected, our budget numbers came pretty close to what I expect for full time living. 

I've never been one for making and keeping day to day budgets, and Craig isn't either, but we both try not to spend more than we have, and keep track of the big things in life.  This has worked fairly well for us because we have always had a pretty good income.

But I wanted to get a better picture of our day to day expenses in this new lifestyle we are planning.  During the last few trips we have taken, I have been developing an Excel workbook to keep track of everything.  Craig has been very good about keeping receipts and or telling me the amounts of each purchase. 

Once the house sells, I want to set things up so that we have a set amount per month for all of our regular expenses, and a fund with starting "large" lump for future repairs, maintenance, and dental or medical expenses, and as well as annual expenses like registration or insurance. For example I know we will buy four new RV tires in the next year or so. If I start with a nice lump sum at the sale of the house, I hope to be able to add some to it each month so the repairs and maintenance are not a burden. 

I know a lot of you keep financial records and share your budget. I have found them interesting and helpful for me to get a rough idea of what to expect.  But each couple or individual has different priorities. For some, eating out is a big part of your life. For some boondocking as often as possible is a must. A small class C is going to use less fuel. 

If RV plans are written in JELLO, financial plans must be set in Ice.  They seem to melt away in nothing flat!

At this point, I do not feel our numbers would be helpful to anyone, and my Excel template still needs some tweaking.

I remember being a 19 year old new bride trying to figure out how to make the dollars and the days match up.  Keeping track of every penny for the first few years really helped. I've been amused looking at my record books from those days.  Our first rent was  $75, including utilities. Several years later, I was saving up at the rate of $2.50 a month,  to buy a snowsuit for my child. We didn't have savings or a buffer amount for many years.  "Pay check to pay check" was a way of life.  

We are so much better off now!  Or at least we will be after the house sells.

Speaking of which, nothing much is happening with the house. The realtor says there are very few people looking right now. I hope it is because of the government problems, and once that gets straightened out we will get some action.  

Our next trip is planned for Thanksgiving through Christmas. I've booked a month at an RV park down in San Diego near our daughter and grandsons. 

Until then it is "Camp Driveway" in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.  


  1. I'm sure that this government mess has everybody on edge and worried about the future. So I can believe that nobody is looking right now. Fingers crossed that we actually have an agreement and that it won't all fall apart in January again. Finances are definitely different for everyone. Some people have quite a bit to spend and others, like us, not so much.

  2. I kept track of every penny I spent for most of my first six years on the road. I feel comfortable enough now to not feel compelled to do that.

  3. I keep track of everything spent, also. I have thought of posting $$, but my RV is smaller, no tow vehicle expense and I am workamping, so my expenses are different. I am not driving a lot, not doing much traveling. I was recently comparing the 1st and 2nd years since I started full-timing on Nov 6, 2011 and I spent a lot more the 1st year.

  4. I've got an Excel spreadsheet, too, that I've used each month on the road. At the bottom I also have all the recurring and large non-recurring costs per month, so I won't forget when something big is coming up or when I purchased something expensive.

    Savings deposits are part of the budget and it grows each month so I have enough for all the recurring and unexpected costs. It's nice to just pay the motorhome tags, or RV insurance, Good Sam roadside cost, etc., and not have to worry about it.

    I've never really had a budget, but have kept track of all the bills in a "bill book" since I was married at 20 years old.

  5. I've used Quicken for decades. It is simple to use, and can import bank and credit card statements. I can catorgize each item, and report on these categories and sub categories. There is a budgeting module where you put your amounts in the budget and graphs and reports tell you how you are doing.
    FYI - I'm not a salesman! But it is cheap, easy and supremely flexible!

  6. I should mention that I am a retired computer systems analyst and a recovering software junkie ;-) So I like good software, and want it to do it all!

  7. I have collected our receipts but have yet to get them onto the spread sheet. All I know right now, is that we are living within our means...with some left to save.

  8. You still have records from when you were first married? Wow.

    I liked the set-in-ice analogy.


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