Our 2007 Actual Expenses

Final 2007 Financial Results

Overall we were $1,617 under budget for all of 2007! Hooray!!

And that's even with doing an electrical upgrade on the RV and taking an unbudgeted cruise. If we take out the line item RV Upgrades/Budget Cushion (in which those two items are included), we had living expenses of $28,017 on a budget of $30,960. That's $2,943 under on pure living expenses. We are certainly happy with that. :)

Check out the summary chart below to see how we did against our 2007 Budget category-by-category.

Beneath the summary you will find the details of our expenses on a month-by-month basis for 2007. And below that you will find "Notes" that explain significant variances between Actual & Budget figures for each month.

And then check out our 2008 Budget to see the adjustments we made for 2008.

Below you will find our 2007 Actual Expenses. We keep track of every single penny and they are all accounted for here.

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


Wow! This workamping thing was really good for the budget in January. We were under by $1,068!

Of course none of our big annual expenses were due and we didn't schedule any big ticket items which could occur at any time. But we were certainly pleased with only spending $813!

Also, the weather was not all that conducive to getting out and about, so we were $89 under on Diesel and $204 under on Entertainment. We reduced the Diesel budget $100 (Down to $200) since we knew we wouldn't be traveling. And, because we knew we would have no campground fees in January, we bumped the Entertainment budget up $100 (Up to $300) - wish we could have used it. :)

Cool! Another $700 under budget! If not for a couple of splurges in celebrating Valentine's Day, we could have been real close to $1,000 under budget for two months in a row.

We spent only $30 on Diesel against our $200 budget, and we were under budget on just about everything else. We were $120 over on our Grocery & Dining Out budget and $40 over on Cell Phones due to me losing a phone and having to replace it.

But, overall, we were very, very pleased.

Whew! We were just barely under budget. We were just a little over budget on Diesel as we drove almost 1,000 miles exploring during our Workamping stint in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Also, we had some unauthorized charges on our cell phone when I lost it last month. But those are being credited back in April.

The best news is that we paid a $900 RV Insurance premium in March that we had not budgeted for until April. So, technically, we could have been $900 under budget for March.

We have had a great three months in keeping our expenses well below the budget.

We were $872 under budget for April! Upon closer look, that is mostly because the $900 we budgeted in April for RV Insurance was actually paid in March.

But still, we are quite pleased. We had a 30,000 mile truck service for $423 under Truck Maintenance ($388 over budget for the month), and we splurged on Entertainment to the tune of $481 ($404 of which was to attend events at the 2007 Nature Quest Festival in Concan, TX).

Since we budget a monthly amount for Truck Maintenance in anticipation of such expenses, we should still be under budget in that category at the end of the year. And because we did very little in Entertainment January through March, we are still under budget for Entertainment for the year even being $281 over this month.

We were also over budget by $105 in our Miscellaneous category due to buying a new grill, a new patio mat, Lynx Levelers, and a new water filter.

So, I guess we technically used our Budget Cushion category to cover the extra expenses for April. Well that and being under budget in several other categories helped. :)

We were $447 under budget for May. If you take out the Budget Cushion budget of $420, we were under budget on everything else by a whopping $27.

Now, I am really happy with that, but we did go over budget in some key categories.

We were over budget on diesel by $90. That was because we drove 1,750 miles (663 towing and 1087 with just the truck). That's 750 miles more than we want to drive each month. The 663 was okay, but the 1,087 is way out of line. That was due mostly to parking in remote locations and doing a lot of long-distance drives to attractions. Most of that ocurred in Big Bend National Park where driving is just a fact of life if you are going to explore the park.

Also, we were over on Groceries & Dining Out by $184. Now I'm not happy with that figure. We ate out eight times in May for a total of $280. Our budget includes room for one nice dinner out each month and we had that one splurge. But we just don't have room in the budget for all those other meals out.

We were also over on Laundry, Clothing, & Hair by $23 due to the purchase of some nice water shoes and a wide-brimmed hat for protection from the heat in Big Bend. I can live with that.

And we were $50 over on Entertainment. That was because we purchased an $80 Annual National Parks Pass. It will save us on entertainment expenses in the long run, so I'm okay with that one too.

We had no expenses in several categories. That managed to cover the above overages and allowed us to be under budget overall. So I'm still pretty pleased for the month.

Yikes! We were waaaaay over budget for June. We were over by $3,373! How can that possibly happen? Well, believe it or not, it's not as bad as it looks, but it is still pretty bad.

We can take care of most of that with a couple paragraphs.

In July, we are adding a new electrical system, including an inverter, AGM (absorbed glass mat maintenance free) batteries, and wiring for possible future solar panels. We ordered and paid for all the parts in June, and the cost of parts was $3,387.

For the month we had budgeted $420. But you see we knew we were going to have the work done, we just didn't know WHEN. So I budgeted $5,040 total in the RV Upgrades/Budget Cushion category for the year and spread it out evenly over the months. So, while we are taking a big hit this month, at the end of the year we should still be fine.

However, I have to confess that we still blew the budget in a few categories.

Obviously, my smack on the wrist from last month didn't work.

We were $241 over budget on Groceries & Dining Out! Most of that was due to a $160 fine dining anniversary dinner. But in addition to that splurge, we still were over $81 with some extra dining out. That ties into the next category.

We were $164 over on diesel. We moved more than we like in order to get in position for our electrical system installation, and we towed 696 miles. In addition, we drove the truck by itself on various excursions another 1,099 miles! That's almost another 1,800 miles for the second month in a row - 800 more total miles than we want to drive.

And the extra driving leads to extra eating as we just pick up a little something here and there on the road.

We were also $278 over budget on Entertainment. $248 of that was another splurge on a scenic train ride/whitewater raft trip combination in Colorado. But I have to tell you, it was worth it even if we have to make it up over the coming months.

Those were the big budget busters for the month. There are a few silver linings though.

In July, we know we are going to sit in one spot for at least two weeks. So we should be able to make some of that up.

Also, even with being $3,373 over budget for June, we are only $250 over budget year-to-date. So that will be easy to make up.

And finally, though we still have some costs to add for our electrical system, it should come in under the budget we projected for the year.

Whew! It looks really ugly for the month, but it's not so bad. We should still be within our maximum budget for the year. :)

Well, let's get this out of the way right up front. During the course of our travels this year, we decided that we wanted a running around and offroading vehicle to enhance our lifestyle even further. It wasn't really planned, and it certainly wasn't included in our budget.

But, during July, the opportunity arose, the stock market was high, and we cashed out just in time to buy a 2003 Jeep Liberty 4WD with 39,000 miles. The purchase price was $13,700 out the door. But we added new tires, a receiver hitch, and a few accessories. So we spent a total of $14,700 which is NOT reflected in the numbers above.

Okay, now on to the actual Living Expenses.

With the Jeep purchase, we have added a few categories that we will have to deal with each month. The new categories are "Gas", "Jeep Maintenance", "Jeep Insurance", and "Jeep Taxes/Registration". We will have to reduce expenses in other areas as we don't intend to increase our budget to accomodate the Jeep.

Aside from the Jeep, we were under budget by $1,000, but that is misleading and we need to hash out how that happened since we had some big expenses that we didn't plan. Here are the unplanned expenses:

$1,400 in "RV Upgrades & Budget Cushion" - this particular expense falls under the Budget Cushion. We were asked to join a good friend on a cruise for her 50th birthday celebration. This is exactly why we created this category.

$311 for six month's of insurance in the new Jeep Insurance category

$100 in gas for the Jeep in the "Gas" category as we tried it out.

$125 for a bike rack for the Jeep in the "Miscellaneous" category. This will allow us to create room in the basement of the fifth wheel for our new battery/electrical system.

So that's almost $2,000 in unexpected expenses. However, we had budgeted $2,500 in July for a year's worth of health insurance that we didn't spend. Instead of paying it up front, we decided to put our insurance on an automatic monthly payment.

That accounts for $500 of our under-budget situation. We were another $200 under on Campground Fees, and under in a few other categories.

So it was a big expense month and we're probably not going to meet the $2,500 per month average I was hoping for this year. BUT, the good news is we are confident we will be within the $3,000 a month budget at year end - even with our new electrical system and the cruise.

Not a bad month. We spent $2,717 on a budget of $2,641. Let's break it down.

We had a combination of over-budget categories and under-budget categories that almost evened out.

We were under budget by $300 on Campground Fees, $150 on Entertainment, $150 on Miscellaneous, and $50 on Laundry, Clothing, & Hair Care. So we were $650 under budget on four key daily living expense items.

But we were over budget by $110 on Diesel. We drove over 1,300 miles from Colorado to Kentucky while hustling to meet some scheduled commitments. We normally only tow the fifth wheel about 500 miles a month on average.

Also, we had $280 in Gas expenses for the Jeep. Of course none of that had been budgeted. In addition to the 1,300 miles of traveling from campground to campground, we drove the Jeep another 1,000 miles while exploring along the way. At least we are getting 23 mpg while exploring in the Jeep as opposed to the 15 mpg we were getting while exploring in the truck.

We were $180 over on Insurance as we started paying our health insurance monthly instead of annually. We had budgeted for an annual payment in July.

We were $90 over on RV Maintenance as we replaced a water pump. But we also purchased a back-up pump to have with us as well.

We were $50 over on Groceries & Dining Out. I think that was mostly the result of being on diets and buying healthier food.

We finished out our electrical upgrade expenses and have wiped out our budget for RV Upgrades & Budget Cushion for the year. Therefore, the $420 per month we have budgeted in that category the rest of the year should not be used. We will be working on a total budget of $2,200 a month the rest of the year.

We spent $2,450 on a budget of $2,641 - under budget by $191. However, our goal was to be under budget by $420 for the month.

The $420 line item RV Upgrades & Budget Cushion has been used up for the year. So while the overall numbers seem good, we have to look at the reason we missed our "adjusted goal" by $230.

We were under budget $300 in Campground Fees, under budget $300 in diesel (we didn't drive the truck at all in September), and under budget $161 on Entertainment. That's $761 under.

So where did we go wrong?

Well, we were over budget $363 on Laundry, Clothing, & Hair. That was made up of salon appointments for Linda for a wedding, the need to replace some wardrobe necessities, a fashion splurge, and an annual skin care products purchase. Now, it was just a big month in this category. We should still be right on target for this line item for the year.

We were over $197 on Gas for the Jeep. We drove the Jeep 1,000 miles for the month and there was no budget in 2007 for Jeep gas.

We were $180 over on Insurance as we started paying our health insurance monthly instead of annually. We had budgeted for an annual payment in July.

And we were $276 over on Medical & Dental expenses. Much of that was due to some medical check-ups that just happened to fall this month. We have a high deductible, so we basically self-insure our office visits and pay with our Health Savings Account.

We also self-insure our preventative dental care using our Health Savings Account, and we had teeth cleanings this month.

And even though Linda had an unexpected injury that increased our medical expenses even more during the month, we still are under budget for the year in that category.

So, I was not as happy with our month as I had hoped. But we can live with it, and I hope we finish out the year just a little better.

In October we spent $3,033 on a budget of $2,871. So we were $252 over budget. And taking into account that we wanted to spend no more than $2,361 for the month, we missed our goal by $672.

We can chalk all of that up to the $800 we spent on our unbudgeted cruise at the beginning of October. Actually, we spent more than that, but we won some money in the ship's casino, so we're reporting the "net" costs here. :)

Okay. We were under budget on Campground Fees by $256, under on Diesel by $184, under on Miscellaneous by $100, and under on Entertainment and Laundry, Clothing, & Hair Care by a total of $72.

We were over on Groceries & Dining Out by $44. And we were over on Medical & Dental Expenses by $188 for the month. Also, we had $130 in Gas for the Jeep and $48 for Jeep Maintenance that were not in the budget.

And of course, we were $180 over on Insurance as we started paying our health insurance monthly instead of annually. We had budgeted for an annual payment in July.

So those "under budget" items and the "over budget" items pretty much wash out. So we are left with the $800 from the cruise that put us over budget for the month in the RV Upgrades/Budget Cushion category.

However, it still looks like we will finish the year in good shape and, through October, we are still $640 under budget overall.

In November we spent $2,577 on a budget of $2,641. So we were $64 under budget. Still we wanted to only spend $2,221; therefore, we spent $350 too much.

Okay. We were under budget on Campground Fees by about $400 due to us staying almost two weeks in the homes of friends and relatives. The RV was stored with a dealership for service as planned during that time.

We were over budget on RV Maintenance by $150 for November, but we are still under by $180 on the year in that category. We were over by $292 on Entertainment due to losing what we won on last month's cruise at a casino. Oops.

Also, we had $379 in Gas for the Jeep that was not in the budget. That was due to driving from Mississippi back to Louisville for a funeral & reunion, and back to Mississippi - 1,600 miles that we wouldn't normally have.

And of course, we were $180 over on Insurance as we started paying our health insurance monthly instead of annually. We had budgeted for an annual payment in July.

But we did well in all other categories. So we actually gained on the budget in November. We are now $704 under budget overall for the year. We had just hoped to do a little better than that. :)

In December, we spent $1,728 on a budget of $2,641. So we were 913 under budget for the month.

That was mostly due to being volunteers at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. So we didn't have any campground fees, propane costs, or laundry costs. All those things were budgeted because we didn't know if we would be volunteering or not when the budget was made.

We did have the unbudgeted Gas expense for the Jeep in the amount of $153.

And of course, we were $180 over on Insurance as we started paying our health insurance monthly instead of annually. We had budgeted for an annual payment in July. The 2008 budget reflects monthly payments.

And we did have some more RV Maintenance in the amount of $180 to replace a cracked gray tank and a clogged kitchen faucet. Both replacements were covered under our extended warranty, but we did have to pay a $50 deductible and the shipping on the parts. Gray tanks are cheap to ship. :)

And finally, we were once again over budget on Groceries & Dining Out by $175. That was because we budget for about $100 in dining out and we actually spent $260. We have the bad habit of spending too much in this category when we know we are doing well in other categories.

But the good news is our overall results for 2007!