January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Three years of expenses - letting it all hang out!

Huntsville,  TX

When we first talked about full timing one of my big questions was .... how much will this cost and can we afford it?    I began my research on the Internet.   I found a few good folks who posted their expenses.  Some were WAY beyond our reach.  I remember one couple spent more than $200 a month on CLOTHES  and at least that much on liquor.    Even when we worked full-time  I know we never spent that kind of money on clothes.  And as far as liquor - maybe a 6 pack a year?  maybe a bottle of Bailey around Christmas?  Maybe.....

Then there were others who lived on very little money.   But they boondocked a lot, never went out to eat and never traveled much.  Didn't want that life either.   One site that provided good info was RV Dreams.    I appreciated their sharing their expenses.

So, now that we have completed three years of life on the road, I will share our information as I know many wannabes and planners are looking for some guidelines.

Realize this lifestyle is what you make it.  Expenses vary greatly.  People who stay in one area are not as affected by the cost of fuel/gas as we are.  Since I am from NJ and Leonard from Louisiana, we make lots of trips back and forth.   Also, we enjoy eating out, another major factor.  Having 5 kids, 14 grands and 4 great grands, we have a higher expense in Birthday and Christmas gifts than others might have.  Also, we still financially support our home church, any church we visit, NOMADS  and other charities.

This chart is broken down to monthly expenses but some items such as RV and Truck insurance are made in one annual payment.


55                      Admissions/Entertainment                                      
213                    Campground fees                                              
194                    Cell/Internet                                                      
244                    Church/Charity                                                      
42                      Clothing                                                                  
594                    Diesel                                                                    
284                    Dining out                                                          
243                    Miscellaneous                                                      
194                    Gifts                                                                      
208                    Household                                                            
10                      Laundry                                                                      
15                      Life Insurance                                                        
40                      Mail Service                                                            
113                    Medical/Dental/Eye/Presc.                                    
24                      Memberships                                                          
13                      Hair cuts/Personal Expenses                                      
102                    Medicare Supplement                                                              
39                      Propane                                                                    
112                    RV Expenses                                                    
16                      Tolls                                                                      
158                    Truck Service/Tires etc.                                      
46                      RV Insurance                                                          
14                      RV Registration                                                    
8                        Truck Registration                                                    
40                      Truck Insurance                                                        
312                    Groceries                                                            

Monthly Average                         $  3,333                  

Now for some explanations:

2010    When we first took off we went to Texas and became Texans.   We were shocked at how much more we paid for insurances and registration than what we paid in NJ.  We were only Texas residents 5 weeks when we changed our domicile to SD.  That is why our mail service is higher in 2010.  We paid for a years mail services in Texas and then had to pay for a years in SD.  One big expense in 2010 was $500. deductible on the RV when Leonard got into a fight with a diesel pump barrier and lost separating the back end of our fifthwheel from the side.

Also in 2010 Leonard's mother was quite sick eventually passing away necessitating  us to return to Louisiana from various places several times adding to our diesel consumption.  


106                      Admission/Entertainment      
243                      Campground Fees              
246                      Cell/Internet                        
291                      Church/Charity                    
34                        Clothing                                
688                      Diesel                                
333                      Dining out                            
237                      Miscellaneous                       
265                      Gifts                                    
336                      Groceries                            
169                      Household                          
11                        Laundry                                
15                        Life Insurance                      
23                        Mail Service                        
137                      Medical/Dental/Eye            
21                        Memberships                        
46                        Personal (Hair etc)              
108                      Medicare Supplement        
64                        Propane                          
234                      RV Expenses                      
115                      Satellite                              
22                        Tolls                                    
134                      Truck Service/Repair          
48                        RV Insurance                        
14                        RV Registration                    
8                          Truck Registration                
47                        Truck Insurance                  

Monthly Avg                      $ 3,995

2011   This year we were able to purchase several items for the RV due to having settlement on our house in NJ.  We replaced our two recliners at a cost of $1,300.   We wanted wall hugger recliners as they can be placed much closer to the wall.   We bought a new F350 Dually (paid cash so it is not in our monthly expenses)  We found this truck really rides a lot harder when towing so we got an Air Ride Kingpin that cost $1,200.   We got a DirecTV satellite system and a dome at a cost of $1,100.     New truck meant new Ranch Hand Bumper costing $1,500.   Len wanted a bigger tool box.  He fabricated it but the materials set us back $600.  Another accident when we had two tire blow out so a deductible of $375.   RV tires $350.

In this year my mother was ill so we made an unplanned trip to NJ.   She also passed on.


87                     Admissions/Entertainment
300                   Campground fees
222                   Cell/Internet
296                   Church/Charity
35                     Clothing
710                   Diesel
353                   Dining out
106                   Miscellaneous
202                   Gifts
320                   Groceries
161                   Household
14                     Laundry
15                     Life Insurance
19                     Mail Service
178                   Medical/Dental/ Eye./ Presc.
41                     Memberships
45                     Personal (hair cuts, etc)
137                   Medicare Supplement
59                     Propane
411                   RV Improvement/Service
78                     Satellite
10                     Tolls
243                   Truck Service/ Tires Etc
56                     RV insurance
14                     RV registration
8                       Truck Registration
50                     Truck Insurance

Monthly Averages           $4,170

2012     We decided we needed an A/C unit in the bedroom so took the fiver in for that and found we also needed new brakes.  Cost at the dealer $3,748.  This shows in our RV expenses category.   Since we had difficulties with tire blow outs on the Fifthwheel we decided to upgrade them to G rated - cost $900. Also in RV expenses category.    We also bought 6 tires for the truck - $1.528.  I needed new glasses - $300.   Len had an issue with an eye - $275.    We decided to ditch our Sprint and change our cell phones and Internet to Verizon - $350.     In 2012 I paid for multiple  years memberships to Good Sam, Escapees, Passport America causing that line item to be higher.

So, here it is.   Sure, we could have gone without some items such a new recliners, bigger tool box, Airride Hitch, Ranch Hand bumper (although Len would argue that point) DirectTV and eating out as often.   But so far we've managed quite well.

Hope this helps anyone looking for input on costs of living on the road.    It's worth every penny!


Donna W. said...

Hey guys..havent been able to keep up w/ you much lately...very interesting on the expenses. I think Sam is of the opinion it costs almost nothing. Cost is one of the reasons we can only do part time after I retire, still need to work part time. I honestly didnt know who much $$ would be per month. someone spends 200 a month on clothes and lives in a RV, where would you put them...my annual budget is about 200.00 :-)

where's weaver said...

The first two years we kept a very detailed account of where we spent our money. We found that we spent about the same no matter where we were or what we were doing. We decided year 3 to chuck it. Paul keeps track of gas and campground fees only. You two did a good job of breaking it down.

Laurie and George said...

It is funny how people's budgets vary so much. We are very close to yours, and it obviously differs when we don't travel as much. I get tired of keeping track of everything, but it keeps things in check :)