First Six Months Expense Review

Costs of Full-Time Living

Hard to believe it’s been over six months since we sold our home and moved into the motorhome full-time. It was a big leap but one that we haven’t regretted for even a minute. It no longer made sense to keep a house that you only stayed at a few weeks a year so on the chopping block it went. We officially closed on the house June 23, 2017.

In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take.

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Once our house was sold many of the recurring expenses like property taxes, electricity, natural gas, sewer and water, etc. went away. Not completely away, however, as they were replaced with dump fees, propane, solar, and campground fees but as you see by our expense totals the costs are much less.

The cost of full-time traveling is so unique to everyone that it’s difficult to know what the actual costs will be until you do it. By sharing our monthly cost of living, we hope to give you a better a better understanding of living expenses you can expect to run into while on the road.

Expense Breakdown

Campground Fees

$6.45 per day

Campground Fees – This includes all costs incurred including site fees, reservation fees and taxes. It also includes annual memberships to groups we belong to such as Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. We include expenses when they occur and not necessarily when the stay happens. As an example, in November we paid $299 for our month long stay at a resort in Donna, TX for January 2018.The expense is reflected in the November 2017 expenses and not in January 2018.  Our total for the sixth month’s expense was $1186.66 or $6.45 per day. If we took off the above-mentioned $299 it would drop the daily expense to $4.82. The property tax alone on our former modest house was $10.50 per day so $6.45 per day for campgrounds is quite a savings. Of the 184 days from July to December, 58 days were spent at a paid campsite and 126 days were free boondocking sites. We anticipate these costs to remain steady or possibly decrease in 2018 as we plan to continue boondocking frequently.

Communication

$4.12 per day

Communication – Includes cellphone, internet, and mailbox fees. Our cellphones are on a Verizon family plan with shared data. The shared plan is currently working well for us as our data usage is not that significant as we utilize an AT&T hotspot when possible. The Hotspot has an unlimited data plan. We have a UPS mailbox that we spread out the annual cost of each month and also add in any mail forwarding expenses. We did not have our mail forwarded during this six month period but will have it forwarded periodically moving forward thus increasing this expense for 2018. Our total expenditure in this category was $757.32 or $4.12 per day.

Entertainment

$5.95 per day

Entertainment – This category includes a variety of expenses including parking fees, museum and attraction entrance fees, airfare and Netflix. These expenses varied greatly by month with the highest expense coming in November as we purchased airline tickets to fly to Minnesota for our family holiday get together. Total cost for the six month period was $1095.33 or $5.95 per day. We are projecting expense to remain steady for 2018.

Food

$8.88 per day

Food – This category includes groceries, alcohol and restaurants. Our pantry and refrigerator/freezer were well-stocked when we started our full-time RV journey this last summer after selling our home. Because of this our costs incurred during July, August and September were quite low. Total costs for six months were $1616.89 or $8.88 a day. These expenses will increase for 2018 as we won’t have those lean months like we did in 2017. We also historically don’t eat out very much but as we meet people on the road we may be enjoying more social meals in restaurants.

Gas - Car

$2.23 per day

Gas Car – Our tow vehicle is a 2016 Kia Soul. Total cost gas was $409.80 or $2.23 a day. We anticipate our driving mileage in the car to remain fairly consistent from 2017 but the overall expense total may increase due to rising gasoline prices.

Gas - RV

$5.46 per day

Gas RV – Our motorhome is a 2017 Thor Vegas 24.1. Total gas cost was $1004.12 or $5.46 per day. We anticipate a significant increase in this expense as both total mileage and gasoline prices increase.

General

$11.97 per day

General – Includes any expense incurred that doesn’t fit in any other category. Examples include household merchandise, clothing and shoes, haircuts, art supplies, gifts, electronic equipment, RV parts and upgrades, etc. This is our most costly category for the July-December time frame. A sizable portion of the money spent in this category was related to Christmas gifts for our children and grandchildren. Total expense was $2201.68 or $11.97 a day. Since there is always something on the list to purchase we expect this overall expense to increase over time.

Laundry

$0.12 per day

Laundry – Our laundry expenses for the six month period was $22.45 or $.12 a day. This number is somewhat skewed as we were able to barter with family members on several occasions for use of their laundry facilities. We also found free washing machines at a state park in Louisiana. Score! We expect this expense to increase during 2018 as we may not have as much access to free laundry facilities.

License/Insurance

$3.39 per day

License/Insurance – License plate costs and insurance for both the Kia Soul and Thor Vegas along with a full-time RVer rider policy as the RV is also our home. Total costs were $624.00 or $3.39 a day. We could drop our insurance costs a bit with higher deductibles and lower liability levels but the peace of mind we have now is well worth the added expense. This expense should remain fairly stable through 2018.

Utilities

$0.74 per day

Utilities – This category includes propane fills, dump station expenses, water fees, electric fees, etc. From July to December 2017 we filled our propane tanks monthly for a total of $135.98 or $.74 a day. We use the propane for cooking, heat, hot water and refrigeration when not hooked up to shore power. We plan to boondock frequently in 2018 and anticipate an increase in propane price so this overall expense will increase slightly.

Total Costs

$49.21 per day

Total costs for the time period of July – December 2017 were $9054.23 or $49.21 per day. Overall we feel that our total expenditures were very reasonable. We bought what we needed and wanted and didn’t follow a dictated budget. We are naturally frugal people and are also limited on what we can purchase by the small size of our motorhome. Expenses are tracked on PERSONAL CAPITAL.

Refer to previous posts for more detail on our monthly cost of living.

JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

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4 thoughts on “First Six Months Expense Review”

  1. Barbara Burger-Wiedeman

    How do you handle medical/dental needs? Do you plan annual medical visits when returning to the Midwest? I don’t see it listed in your expenses.

    1. We do plan annual medical visits when in WI during the summer and use teledoc services as needed when out of the area. Dental care is split between WI and Mexico. We did have a medical expense that was paid in December and the cost was categorized under general expenses.

      1. Barbara Burger-Wiedeman

        Must have missed that. You are so organized and lots of useful information. It is a cool adventure you are on and I enjoy following you. Happy trails.

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