Our 2006 Actual Expenses

Below you will find a summary of our 2006 Actual Expenses. We keep track of every single penny and they are all accounted for here.

Check out our 2006 Budget to see how we did against our plan.

The "Notes" at the bottom of the page explain significant variances between Actual & Budget figures. Large unexpected expenses are also explained.


By staying at an Escapees Park for $15 a day, getting a free week of camping at the Tampa Fairgrounds as part of our compensation for doing a seminar at the Florida RV Supershow, and by staying in a friend's driveway for nine days, we were under our Campground Fees budget by $482.

We also were under budget by about $100 on each of the following: Diesel, Groceries & Dining Out, Entertainment, and Miscellaneous.

But we also signed up for a year of new satellite internet service for $798. That was unexpected since our renewal was supposed to be in May. But we had our reasons and we will not have the big expense in May now.

Correction: At year end, we reclassified the $798 of satellite internet expense as a Business Expense due to the usage level of the internet for business purposes. It no longer appears in January as an expense.

Ultimately we ended up $160 under budget for January! With the reclassification of satellite internet, we were $960 under budget for January

We did great in February! Less than $2,000 in total expenses and $300 under budget. We were $400 under budget on Campground Fees & Diesel, but we were over on Entertainment by $80.

We were $1,600 under budget for March! Actually, it could have been better, but knowing we were going to be under budget on some big ticket items, I played a little extra golf and Linda bought some clothes. We were $300 over budget on entertainment, clothing, laundry, & hair care, and miscellaneous (including $150 to our CPA to fix a tax issue from prior years).

We were $366 under budget on our RV taxes due to some overly conservative budgeting on my part. We were also $180 under on our two insurance items for the month since our rates actually went down and I had budgeted for 10% increases. And we were $108 under budget on diesel.

Because we used a one-time internet special for a month's stay at Lake Marino RV Resort, we came in $500 under budget on campground fees - that's a big deal for south Florida in the winter.

Finally, I had budgeted to pay for another year of satellite TV service in March. But we decided to set up monthly online payments instead. Therefore, we were $700 under budget on satellite TV but we will have to compensate for that in subsequent months.

So those last two items combine to give us our $1,200 net under budget figure. Wow! It's hard to get the budget to match the actual expenses on a monthly basis. :)

We moved a little more than usual in April and went over our budget for Diesel a little bit. But we were under on our Food and Camping Fees budget. Still we ended up $91 over budget for the month due to the purchase of an airline ticket to attend a wedding. Still, not bad.

We had a great May! We were $1,416 under budget. However, we knew that $1,130 we had budgeted for satellite internet service would not be used since we paid for that in January. Still, we were $286 under budget even if we take that out.

Staying at my parents' farm for half of the month was the biggest factor ($600 savings). That allowed us to make some purchases (lugnut torque wrench, patio mat, etc. - $100), have complete exams and cleanings with our dentist ($161), and pay for attending my 25 year high school reunion in July ($100) and still staying within our parameters.

June was rather unusual since we spent most of the month in our hometown of Louisville helping my parents' move into their new house. We had the luxury of staying rent free on the farm they sold for 21 days, but we also drove a lot, ate out a lot, and made doctor appointments that we might not have otherwise made.

We ended up being $2,100 over budget due to repairing our pick-up truck from dropping the trailer on it in May. We also had to repair a mirror that was smashed by another vehicle on a tiny Kentucky road. We offset our campground savings with a big Camping World purchase (also shown in Miscellaneous) of $487.

Had it not been for those unexpected expenses, we would have been well under budget for the month. That's life. We'll make it up the rest of the year. :)

We drove 600 more miles for the month than we like - most of that was from being too close to our hometown of Louisville for too long. :) Thus we ended up $100 over budget on our diesel - a little less than one fill-up.

We also were way over on our Groceries & Dining Out budget - by $180. We try to keep our dining out expenses at about $100 a month, but we came in at about $180. We have found that the more we drive the more we eat out, so our extra driving for the month correlates. Also, we have been eating healthier, and healthier food at the grocery costs more.

But our biggest thing was that we bought a new Sea Eagle Inflatable boat for $1,536 plus a marine battery and charger for another $162. We added to that a new air compressor for $108 and a weather alert radio for $74. That put us $1,880 over budget in the Miscellaneous category.

These were not necessities, just things we wanted and we happened to have the money for them at the time. Other than those items, we were right on budget for the month. We increased our health insurance deductible and lowered the annual premium by $500, so our other overages were offset.

We were over budget by about $400 for the month.

Easy to explain - we were $460 over on Cell Phones as we bought one new phone, one cellular amplifier, and two booster antennas. More stuff we didn't know would be a good idea to have.

We were also $280 over on that darn Miscellaneous category. That would be $100 to install a new vent cover on the RV and pick up some replacement light bulbs. Another $140 was to purchase additional fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.

Some of the overage was offset by being under budget on Campground Fees by $200 and Entertainment expenses by $160. All in all, we were pleased.

Well we were over budget again because of a new gadget. :) We were $852 over our budget and $802 of it was due to the purchase of a Garmin nuvi 350 GPS for in-truck navigation. The jury is still out on whether that was a smart move or not.

We were under budget on camping fees by $195 (averaging $18.50 per day on a $25 per day budget) which help offset overages of $165 on Diesel and $116 on Groceries & Dining Out. Because we traveled about 800 miles more than we like during the month we filled up on diesel twice more than average. And the more we travel, for some reason, the more we spend on food. :)

Other than those items, we were over on Laundry, Clothing, & Hair Care by $98 as we stocked up on our blue jean inventory when it got cold in northern Iowa. We saved in other areas. So if we take out the GPS, we were only $50 over on our regular expenses - that we can live with. :)

Sheesh! Over budget again - by $365 this time. That's because we were $700 over budget in Entertainment. In our travels, we found ourself in Cotter, Arkansas which calls itself Trout Capital USA. Since we were there on the White River, we took a couples fly fishing class, bought some gear, and purchased fishing licenses for a total of about $650. But at least most of that expense will enhance our travels for years to come. :)

We were under budget on Camping Fees by $145 and back on track on Diesel ($28 under budget) and on Groceries & Dining Out ($51 under budget). With other savings, about half of the $700 over budget on Entertainment was offset.

That would seem to take care of the explanations. Ah, but the Miscellaneous category had some interesting transactions. We bought a new recliner and ditched the sofa bed that came with rig in order to gain some space and weight capacity. We also bought a supply of Dri Wash N Guard waterless cleaning products. The recliner and cleaning stuff came to about $800. However, we returned the $800 Garmin nuvi 350 GPS we bought last month. So the credit offset the other purchases.

We are not happy that we keep going over budget, but considering some high dollar purchases, we are pleased with the way we have stuck to our basic expenses for the most part.

Finally! We were under budget by $73 for the month.

We drove almost 600 miles more than we like causing our diesel expenses to be over budget by $70. And keeping with the trend of "the more we travel, the more we eat out", we were $76 over budget on Groceries & Dining Out. We were also over on Entertainment by $77.

But we were $238 under on Campground Fees and under a little on some other categories.

It's feels really good to be under budget for a change! :)

Wooo Hooo! We were under budget by over $2,300!

Ah, but it wasn't quite as good as it appeared.

Sure we were under budget on our camping fees for the month because we had a free campsite via our volunteer job at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. And we were under on diesel, groceries & dining out, and entertainment. So that is the good part.

But our budget for the month included $1,200 for a contribution to our Health Savings Account. That we didn't do. We ultimately decided that would simply be a transfer of funds rather than an expense. A couple of months ago, we transferred the maximum tax deductible amount from our other accounts to the Health Savings account. Again, it is simply a transfer. In the future, we will simply record amounts taken out of the Health Savings Account to pay for medical or dental expenses.

Our budget also included $300 for the RV-Dreams website hosting. That of course is now a business expense and is recorded elsewhere.

So, we are very pleased at being $800 under budget on normal expenses, but the $2,300 is a little misleading.

Year-End Summary
For the year we had total expenses of $33,573.64 compared to a budget of $34,571.00. So we came in under budget by just under $1,000.

Now there is good news and bad news with that. I'll start with the good news.

We were under budget on Campground Fees by over $4,000. We budgeted for $25 per day and ended up at $13.32 per day due mostly to a combination of free camping spots (we didn't anticipate), and some good monthly rates early in the year.

We were also very pleased to be $150 under budget on our diesel fuel. I would consider our $300 a month diesel budget to be pretty tight, so I'm happy to know we were under even driving the truck 3,000 miles more than we planned for the year.

We were about $900 under budget for RV & Truck Maintenance. Considering they were both fairly new, I guess that was to be expected.

I had overbudgeted about $300 on our personal property taxes for the truck and RV which was a pleasant surprise.

And though we were over budget by $200 on Groceries & Dining Out, I'm putting that in the "good" news category because that was less than $20 a month over on a very, very tight food budget.

Now the above items, which are day-to-day expenses that we will continue to have, come out to over $5,000 under budget which is great news!

The bad news is that we ate up that $5,000 savings in other areas.

The biggest hunk was in our Miscellaneous category. We had $2,000 to fix our truck after I dropped the trailer on it and almost got myself killed. We bought an inflatable pontoon boat and accessories for $1,700. We bought a weather radio, a new air compressor, a SurgeGuard power system monitor, wheel chocks, and several other RV accessories that probably would have been good to have before we started - that all ran another $1,000.

We were over budget on Entertainment by $500. But if not for going crazy on fly-fishing lessons and equipment to the tune of about $650 in October, we would have easily made our modest $200 a month budget.

The Cell Phone category is another place that we were over budget - this time by $400. We were right on target on our monthly service, but we purchased a cell phone amplifier, two extended range antennas, and a new cell phone. More stuff that has been worthwhile and that we should have had from the beginning.

The shocker on our budget was in the Laundry, Clothing, & Haircare category. We were over budget by $400 there as well. Though Linda seldom wears make-up, we had a one-time Mary Kay replenishment of $100. She also had a splurge at a stylist for her hair. However, the rest of it was on clothing. Having fewer clothes means we wear things over and over and they wear out quicker. So while we don't need much, we do have to replace more often.

Finally, we had medical and dental expenses of $500 that I hadn't budgeted at all. Had we not been back in our hometown of Louisville for three months, we probably wouldn't have made so many appointments in our first year. But at least I know to take those into account in the future.

That totals $6,500 in our "bad news" category. So why were we not $1,500 OVER budget for the year. Well, I'll tell you.

You see, we also budgeted $1,100 for satellite internet service. It actually came in at about $800 per year, but we concluded that the vast majority of our internet needs were for business purposes, so we did not include that expense here at all. It is included in January (for 2006) and in December (for 2007) in our RV-Dreams.com expenses on our 2006 Business Summary page. In addition to the expenses shown in the spreadsheet above, we had another $7,500 in business related expenses for the year. Some of those expenses are ones we might have had anyway, but because of our businesses, we were able to classify them as business expenses and offset them against our business income. We covered those expenses with income and had a massive profit for the year of $200. :)

Also, I had budgeted $1,200 to add to our Health Savings Account in December. However, we decided that was just a transfer of funds and not really an expense, so we didn't include that one either.

So those are the major reasons why we were under budget for the year.

I was truly hoping that we could come in around $30,000 for the year including the major insurance and personal property taxes expenses. Our goal from the beginning was to have our daily expenses (campground fees, diesel, propane, food, laundry/clothing, entertainment, cell phones, RV & truck maintenance, and miscellaneous) limited to $50 a day. We were just about on that mark, and, if we add in satellite internet and satellite TV, we averaged right at $60 a day on recurring expenses. Our personal property taxes and life, health, RV, and truck insurance added another $17 per day. And those unexpected expenses and purchases added the extra $15 a day for our $92 per day average in 2006.

All in all, with some very large unexpected expenses, we are quite pleased with how the year turned out. We will likely keep the overall budget about the same for 2007 so that it includes some cushion. But we hope the actual expenses come in around a figure of $30,000 or less.