Well, I guess we better go ahead and get the Jeep purchase out of the way first. As you know, we had been contemplating a running around and offroading vehicle since early this year.
As the year progressed, we waffled on the decision. But, in July, we decided to do it and didn't waste any time. We found the vehicle we wanted for the price and mileage we wanted. And the stock market was up at the time of our purchase, so everything fell into place.
We bought a 2003 Jeep Liberty Sport 4WD with 39,000 miles on it. Now that wasn't in the budget anywhere. :)
At the time of the purchase, we could still pay cash and be even on the year with all of our expenditures compared to investment growth. Of course the last few days of the month in the stock market pounded us a bit, but we are still in good shape.
The Jeep was $13,700 out the door. Then we added new tires for $710, a receiver hitch (with wiring harness) for $215, and a couple of other accessories.
So we spent $14,700 in July on the Jeep. Yikes! But it has already enhanced our lifestyle, and we believe it will be a good long-term "home addition" for us.
Now we had to add categories to our expense spreadsheets to accomodate the Jeep - "Gas", "Jeep Maintenance", "Jeep Insurance", and "Jeep Taxes/Registration". It is our goal to reduce expenses in other areas as we do not intend to increase our budget for each month.
On to the living expenses results for July.
July 2007 Results
Campground Fees $545.99 ($17.61 per day) - Budget $750.00
Campground Fees is an area we will reduce to cover the costs of owning the Jeep. By the time we leave Colorado, we will have our electrical system in place so that we can boondock more often or at least in less expensive campgrounds. Our new goal will be $450 a month rather than the $750 we have budgeted now.
RV Clubs $0.00 - Budget $0.00
RV Insurance $0.00 - Budget $0.00
Propane $0.00 - Budget $10.00
Cell Phones $85.09 - Budget $81.00
Satellite Internet $0.00 - Budget $0.00
Note: Satellite internet is no longer included in our regular expenses. We now classify it as a business expense and we paid $798 in December 2006 for all of 2007.
RV Taxes/Registration $0.00 - Budget $0.00
Satellite TV $71.04 - Budget $75.00
RV Maintenance $0.00 - Budget $50.00
Diesel $295.00 - Budget $300.00
We towed the rig 366 miles in July. And we drove the truck 378 miles exploring the various areas where we were parked for a total of 744 miles. Once we got the Jeep, we haven't driven the truck at all.
In August, we have to drive a lot farther faster than we are used to, so our August Diesel will be over budget, but it should be close to zero for September.
Gas $99.44 - Budget $0.00
Here's the first of our new categories, which of course we didn't budget for in 2007. We drove the Jeep 554 miles in July to try it out offroad, and we drove back and forth to Colorado Springs often for tires, etc.
Truck Maintenance $0.00 - Budget $35.00
Jeep Maintenance $0.00 - Budget $0.00
Truck Insurance $0.00 - Budget $0.00
Jeep Insurance $311.88 - Budget $0.00
Another new category. This represents six months of insurance at $52 a month. That's right on what I expected and planned for before we made the purchase.
Truck Taxes/Registration $0.00 - Budget $0.00
Jeep Taxes/Registration $0.00 - Budget $0.00
Since we are registering in Kentucky, we didn't have to pay the higher Colorado sales tax. But we will have to pay Kentucky taxes when we get there at the end of August.
Groceries & Dining Out $447.29 ($14.43 per day) - Budget $400.00
Our Groceries & Dining Out budget is based on $10 per day per month PLUS 1 really nice dinner out or a couple of medium priced dinners out ($100 total). After being an average of $200 over budget in May & June, $47 over doesn't seem too bad. But I still want that lower.
Laundry, Clothing, Hair Care $19.50 - Budget $70.00
Nothing but laundry this month.
Entertainment $127.55 ($4.11 per day) - Budget $200.00
We're still over budget for the year on Entertainment, but not by much. We can get it back in line pretty easily. This month helped.
Insurance - Health, Life, Umbrella, Etc. $0.00 - Budget $2,500.00
What happened here?! Well, we finally got comfortable enough to pay our premiums monthly through automatic bank draft. In the first two years of full-timing, we wanted to make sure we paid our health insurance up front as a safety net. But financially, it's better to pay monthly and let the extra money grow in our investments. So we switched it over and monthly payments will start the first of August. Of course we didn't budget the rest of the year for monthly payments, so we will have to be careful.
Medical & Dental Expenses $0.00 - Budget $50.00
Miscellaneous $418.05 - Budget $200.00
Bought a 17' multi-purpose ladder ($138), a bike rack for the Jeep ($125), and various items at Camping World. One $60 item needs to be returned.
RV Upgrades/Budget Cushion $1,691.35 - Budget $420.00
Well, we knew we were going to do some upgrades to the RV this year. We just didn't know when. So we budgeted $5,040 for the year in this category and spread it out evenly. In June we bought an inverter, batteries, and various components to upgrade our electrical system and prepare for possible future solar panels.
This month we purchased an additional $300 in components and wiring.
But the biggest thing in this category this month falls under the "Budget Cushion". We were asked to join a good friend on a cruise for her 50th birthday celebration. We couldn't say no, so we used some frequent flyer miles and booked a cabin for $1,400.
We didn't want to use the "cushion", but that's why it's there - you just never know what might come up. :)
Totals $4,112.18 ($132.65 per day) - Budget $5,141.00.
Well that looks better than it was. If we had planned to pay our Health Insurance monthly, our budget would have been about $2,800 and we would have been $1,300 over budget for the month. Yep, the cost of that cruise got us there. If not for that, we would have been fine even with the extra Gas and Jeep Insurance.
The good news in all of this is we will still come in at our $2,500 per month goal for basic living expenses for the year. And, even with the electrical upgrade and cruise, we will be within our $3,000 a month maximum budget.
So, aside from that unexpected Jeep purchase, we budgeted well for the year. And, hopefully, next year we can be down around that $2,500 a month including a little cushion. :)
Now, I will keep including the following in these monthly reports until we believe otherwise:
I am still completely convinced that we could live on the road for $1,500 a month all-inclusive if we workamped year round.
And I also have no doubts that we could cover that $1,500 number with a combination of workamping and our little businesses.
We choose not to work that hard, but it is very comforting to know that we can do it if we have to. If our investments tank, we are gonna be just fine. :)
Note: We got an email regarding the above statements. It was well thought out, and I considered it carefully. The gist of the email was the fear that the above statements make it sound too easy to live as a couple for $1,500 a month as full-timers. He was concerned that we would be misleading folks about expenses and the ability to find workamping positions. I agreed with the writer that finding year-round workamping opportunities is not that easy, but I still feel, speaking only for ourselves, that we can do it if we need to. For tips on finding opportunities, check out our Earning A Living On The Road page, and my article on RV-Dreams Lifestyles called Finding Fulfillment As A Working RVer.
For a look at this year's numbers through July go to Our 2007 Actual Expenses. To see our budget click on Our 2007 Budget.
On the income side, we brought in over $1,100 on our various ventures. We had a new hummingbird feeder order for over $500 and total expenses of almost $700. But we still made a neat profit of over $400.
We have almost $2,000 in profit for the year and that's after paying for a new camera and a new laptop (about $2,000 which we expensed through the businesses). So, we may not get rich at this pace, but at least we can do some extra things like go on a cruise for a friend's 50th birthday. :)
Our business income & expense summary statement is now available at Our 2007 Business Financial Summary page.