To Be Honest

So, we are going to be heading out on our national excursion on July 3, 2019 and, after looking at all of the information available from full time RVer’s out there we came to one conclusion; no one shares their information with 100% honesty. No criticism here on their decision to be less than an open book. After all, some of what happens in people’s lives is no one else’s business, for sure. The problem is, when you are trying to find out if the choices you are making will have positive or negative effects, it is kind of nice to have the input of someone with experience.

That being said, we have discussed it and decided that we will share as much as possible, as honestly as possible, without putting our physical well being at risk. The first item we want to share is, perhaps, the most important. It also took us a lot of work and several erasers to get to a point where we were comfortable with the outcome. It is our budget.

Being away from home, sometimes by thousands of miles, is a harrowing thought when you consider the monetary aspect. In our case it might be more appropriate to say the lack of a monetary aspect. However, we have spent the past 5 years on a budget of $750 per month average so we have a little bit of experience in stretching the not-so-mighty dollar. Basically, what follows is a look at the budget we have set for ourselves. Let’s take a look;

  • Total Net Income $1436
  • Total Net Expenses $1436

Expenses Itemization

Car Payment$224
RV Passes 58
Vehicle Tags/Registration 9
Cell Phone/WiFi 80
Base Electric 36
Base Gas 20
Base Water & Sewer 25
Generator Fuel/Oil 50
Vehicle Insurance 215
Dental Insurance 15
Out-of-Pocket Medical 35
Groceries 300
Non-Food Supplies 20
Pet Supplies/Food 30
Vehicle Fuel/Oil/Etc. 150
Entertainment/Tickets/Park Passes 40
Emergency Fund/Savings 144

There you have it. This is the sum total of our life in dollars. Of course we do have some items on here that may appear a bit unusual. For example; the car payment on line one which doesn’t coincide with the fact that I have stated in a previous post that we pay cash up front for every single purchase we make. I would like to clarify this for you. We purchased a “new to us” car last month. We had made plans to do this for several months as our truck is on its last tendon in it’s last leg. That poor baby has been through the ringer.

When we purchased we made a decision to finance a very small portion of the overall cost to begin re-establishing credit. The reason is two-fold, really. First, when you always use cash, for even major purchases, you credit scores drop dramatically. This doesn’t make sense to me but it is the nature of the monster. Second is the fact that when you live on the road you can run into some situations where emergency funds are needed and we just depleted our savings with two big ticket items; the car and the Skoolie. If we run into one of these emergency financial situations, we are going to need that credit score to be good in order to access funds until we build our savings back up a bit.

I hate that thought more than you can possible imagine. The thought of paying these interest payments or needing to borrow money for an unexpected dilemma make me physically ill. That is our world for the first several months as it looks for now, though.

The second area of our budget which may strike you as odd is the portion where I have Basic Electric, Gas, and Water/Sewer. These are 3 line items that are temporary as well. At the moment we still have the home we inherited from Jim’s mom. We have full intentions on selling the place but we are hoping to wait until after his mother has passed. Kind of a heartstrings thing rather than a financial decision. Nonetheless, these three items are what the utility companies charge for their base line services without actual usage. They cover the billing and administration fees to maintain the accounts while they are suspended.

Once we sell the house, which will be prior to year end regardless, we will be able to remove the basic utility budget items, adding an additional $81 to our actual cost-of-living expenses. We have decided that those funds will be used towards the principal on the car loan so that we can reduce some of the interest. We plan to make payments for a full 18 months before paying the loan off. We have been advised that it should be 18-24 months of positive payment history in order to establish a valid history. The balance will be put towards that emergency savings fund so that we do not have to worry too much about an unexpected big ticket item forcing us off the road.

I am aware that the vast majority of you reading this post will balk at the numbers listed above. Some of you may even scoff or laugh and explain to anyone listening about how we have gone off our rockers. That’s okay. We understand that the world we live in today does not lend toward living on a budget that looks like this. We hope you understand we have lived on much less for the past five years and our experience has taught us how to live minimally. We will share with you how we are doing on this budget, HONESTLY. We want you to see, while we learn, what the true cost of living full time on the open road can cost. We are aware there will be adjustments. It is also true that we will have to forego some things from time to time because of unexpected expenses. That is life folks!

Please come along for the ride. Please share our experiences with others and invite them to join us here. Most of all, please feel free to share questions, comments, experiences, and suggestions with us. You will not offend us if you speak truthfully, from the heart, with respect. Cannot wait to see y’all next time around.

God bless you all!