I think three years on the road gives us a pretty good idea of our expenses. And I wanted to share some summary information with you.
Probably the most meaningful numbers are our annual and monthly average living expenses over a three year period. I'm talking about the numbers that don't include our solar panels, new batteries, Jeep purchase, the capital gains taxes caused by buying the Jeep, Jeep upgrades, inflatable boats, 2007 cruise, and the cost of fixing our truck when I dropped the trailer on it and almost killed myself in 2006 (May 18 - Disaster Averted). All those expenses were one-time expenses and expenses that were avoidable.
So, with those items out, our average annual living expenses over three years are $28,773. That translates into $2,398 per month. We're pretty cool with that. :)
But for you numbers people, I've got some more interesting breakdowns.
For three years our annual average insurance (health, life, RV, truck, Jeep) and property taxes/registration fees for our RV, truck, & Jeep (because we have a Kentucky residence) are $6,398 ($533 per month). We could change from our Kentucky residence and eliminate a portion of that, but it appears that the higher insurance in other states would offset most of the savings. So we'll stay where we are for now.
From the beginning, I expected those necessary, unavoidable expenses to be around $7,000 per year.
Here's where it gets interesting. If we take out the insurance/tax/registration expenses, we are averaging $22,375 a year in basic living expenses (i.e. campground fees, fuel, food, entertainment, etc.). That's $1,865 a month.
But, if we analyze those expenses and compare our expenses while workamping and our expenses while not workamping, we get a very different picture.
Out of our 36 months on the road, we've workamped 9 full months. In those months, we are averaging $1,138 per month in basic living expenses.
In months we haven't workamped, we are averaging $2,107 per month. That's almost a $1,000 difference that we can now see in black and white over a period of time. We've thought that was about right, but now we can back it up. :)
When we add back in the $533 per month in insurance, taxes. etc., we get $1,671 per month which would come out to $20,050 annually if we workamped year round.
You know I've said all along we could live on $1,500 a month if we needed to. Well, it wouldn't be too difficult at all to knock out $171 a month to do that. :)
On the other hand, if we didn't workamp at all and added our $533 to our non-workamping monthly average of $2,107, then we would be looking at $2,640 per month or $31,680 per year. Thats very close to the $2,500 per month and $30,000 per year we are shooting for.
If we had a fixed income stream of $2,500 a month, we could live this lifestyle without having to work for a long time. But, alas, we don't have that fixed income. So we have to run our businesses and work. And we can still make it happen and enjoy life along the way.
Okay. So lets look at the rest of the expenses we've had - remember those expenses I threw out in the beginning of this entry. :) Big toys, upgrades, and surprises have cost us an annual average of an additional $8,942 a year. Yikes!
That means our absolute total annual average over three years is $37,715 or $3,143 per month. There's that $3,000 per month figure again. :)
Again, if we had a fixed income of $3,000 per month, we'd be sitting pretty. But again, we don't. However, we certainly expect that $8,942 in "special" expenses to start trending down quite a bit from here. :)
In conclusion, I like where we are. I think we will have to do a combination of workamping, running our businesses, and relying on investments to make our way. We'll dabble here and there and work more in down investment years. All in all, we've sort of fallen into a strategy, somewhat out of necessity, that works for us.
Whatever it takes to keep this dream alive! :)