RV Road Trip Budget Expense Report, November 2008

When we began our sabbatical, I had no idea that we’d be still be on the road six months past our original “year off” scenario. But thanks to crafty money saving tactics like workamping and free campgrounds, we’ve been able to stretch our finances and live frugally enough to keep us on the road until at least May of ’09. We are presently under budget by $14,000 for the year.

Everyone keeps asking, “How long are you going to keep doing this?” And to tell you the truth, we really don’t know. After we meet our goal of finding some land where we can put our stuff that we presently have in storage, we’ll probably go back to seasonal workamping for the forseeable future.

In the meantime, here’s a PDF Download of our November living expenses.

11 thoughts on “RV Road Trip Budget Expense Report, November 2008”

  1. Jenn, I am seriously impressed. We have a LOT to learn from you guys! Just when I thought we were already being frugal, this is a really great reality check. Now I know we can do better.

  2. Yes, for the both of us. We don’t always stick to it though (bad us). But, its our goal and we try to stick to it. Our lifestyle might be a bit different than yours. I can count the number of times that we have eaten out since we started the journey on one hand. I am not sure if we have purchased a mixed drink yet (we do keep the camper stocked though). I think that we have paid for a total of 5 campsites in the last 8 months. We don’t have any debt, so no monthly payments. Fuel, food, booze, and insurance are our main expenses.

    We do splurge some months. Last July, we spent a week at a regularly priced campsite to celebrate the 4th with my family. We have hobbies and need to buy equipment for them once in a while. This fall when we were hitting caving conventions every month, we spent quite a bit more than normal on fuel.

    We are with Humana. I can’t remember the name of the plan right this second. We read about South Dakota being inexpensive too. Had we not already been Florida residents, which has its own benefits, we would have probably picked South Dakota.

  3. A “spending plan,” I like that. It’s definitely more fitting.

    Jen, I can’t imagine $1200 a month. For both of you? Including everything? Jim and I are frugal, but even our grocery bill alone is usually between $300 and $400 a month. How do you do it?

    Regarding our medical insurance, we’ve always had Blue Cross independent coverage. Our current plan is a California Health Savings Account. It sucks, which is why it’s so cheap. Our deductibles are $3500 each, with nothing covered until we reach them, no drugs, no tests, nothing. It’s a wing and a prayer with this kind of coverage.

    When I was researching whether or not to change our domicile to South Dakota or Texas, I learned that residents of CA pay much less for health insurance than most states. This is a big reason why we didn’t switch domiciles.

    Jen, what kind of plan do you have and with who?

  4. I am curious about your medical insurance as well. Johnny and I pay about $30 a month more than you. We have both $2500 deductibles, then they pay 100%. Before the deductible is met, we pay 100% of the costs. Drugs are discounted and included in the deductible. Our lifetime max is 5 million. We are 30 and 33.

    $6000 is pretty high. We shoot for around $1200. If you keep going $3600 below your budget, you’re gonna be able to do this for a very long time. Congrats!

  5. Rene,

    Thanks for sharing your budget – We call ours a “spending plan.” I am curious about your medical insurance which is very low compared to our cost (we have a policy through our former employer). Do you just have catastrophic insurance with perhaps no drug plan? Do you have a high deductable? Did you use E-insurance to locate a plan?


  6. Amazingly my somewhat negative comment from yesterday disappeared from this entry. WHY?????

    No comment disappeared Brent. All first-time comments from new visitors to this blog require moderation to eliminate spam and malicious user registration. We do sometimes remove angry or hateful comments. Why? It’s our blog, we can do that. But we never once thought of disapproving your very valid concern, just didn’t have internet access for a few days there. Once approved, comments appear.

    So you know, we are in no way “rich” but then, that is relative. Being frugal is not about how much money you have, but rather how you spend it. Or save it.

    And for the record, in our very recent reader survey we discovered that 29 out of 35 respondents found our monthly full-time RVing budgets very helpful.

  7. Hi Brent, thanks for your comment, it’s a very good question. I should better explain the $6k figure, because Jim and I are by no means independently wealthy.

    The $6k I budgeted is our “salary” of $3k per person/month, or $36k per person/per year. According to Wikipedia, In 2007, the median annual household income rose 1.3% to $50,233.00 according to the Census Bureau. This puts Jim and I far below the median.

    When I created the budget, I actually budgeted lower than Carol White did in Road Trip Dream, knowing that Jim and I have far less income at our fingertips than she and Phil.

    The $6k a month covers everything we need to live on, from insurance to groceries, and we pay cash for it all (the number one rule of our living on the road is to not carry debt). I’ve broken out yearly and semi-yearly bills like insurance, into monthly allotments, and left a good cushion to cover unexpected emergencies.

    Why are we concerned about being frugal? Because if we spent it all each month, this trip of ours would’ve ended in one year like we originally thought it would, and we would have much less to spend on when we want to buy our piece of property next year. Because we are able to cut costs, we can continue living like this far longer than we thought we would, and get a better piece of property somewhere.

    Jim and I don’t have kids, and I feel that the budget we created is adequate for our lifestyle, which to us, is frugal (just look at our entertainment budget, for example). But when it comes to money and lifestyle, that’s all relative and I can only speak for ourselves, with the hope that these numbers might help show another couple thinking of traveling what it really costs to live on the road.

    I hope this helps explain things a little. Thanks for reading!

  8. When Tim first came home a few years ago and announced he wanted to “chuck it all” to travel the country in an RV for a year, I asked, “Why can’t you be like a normal husband in a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?” We’re both shrinks, but he’s obviously a much better one than I, as we did the trip, and now are in the process of selling our house to full time. We’re hoping the home sale will finance the trip and are also making up a budget (I agree – everyone is cost conscious these days). Nice to “meet” another full timing couple!

  9. I see you budgeted over $6000 for Nov and made it with about $2400. What I do not understand is that if you have over $6000 available to you for one single month, why are so concerned about living frugally? Or, for that matter, why are you even posting your budget since it is way off from what the average Joe or Joette has at his or her disposal.
    With that kind of monthly income, you are not talking to the majority of RVers but to a insignificant minority, not greatly impacted by todays economic realities.

    Travel on

    Brent (Average slug)


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