Our 2009 Actual Expenses

Final 2009 Financial Results

In 2009, we continued our approach of having two budgets.

The overall budget includes an Emergencies/Budget Cushion category so that we consider potential large, expected or unexpected, one-time expenses. We hope not to have to use that category, but it helps us be prepared financially to keep it in mind.

The "other" budget removes the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category so that we just look at what we call Basic Living Expenses - the normal repetitive expenses of our life on the road.

As you can see from the chart below, we were under budget in both budgets for 2009. See the narrative below the chart for more information about our final 2009 financial results.

We finished 2009 under our overall budget of $32,340 by a little over $1,800. And we were under our Basic Living Expenses budget by almost $2,100.

In 2008, we budgeted $6,000 in our Emergencies/Budget Cushion Category because we expected some significant, large one-time expenses. In 2009, we reduced that category to $3,600. We wanted to make sure we had some cushion, but we didn't "expect" any particular one-time expenses.

As it turned out, we did have some large expenses that exceeded that $3,600 budget by $254. I had an unexpected emergency room visit in October that cost about $1,150. It was more of a precautionary thing and turned out not to be serious. In addition, though we planned to replace our truck tires in 2010, we had one of the truck tires blow out in November 2009. Therefore, we went ahead and replaced all of the tires at a total cost of $1,889.

Still, because we did well in our Basic Living Expenses, we were under our overall budget.

In 2009, we workamped five complete months. On a budget of $28,740 for just living expenses, we spent $26,647.

Also, in 2009, we managed to make a net income of almost $21,000 on our little businesses and workamping. The majority of that was from a paid workamping job at a campground for four months during the summer. We covered almost 80% of our Basic Living Expenses and almost 70% of our total expenses. Check out our 2009 Business Summary for more on that.

Now, below you will see another chart that shows details of our 2009 expenses month-by-month. And below that are Notes that provide explanations of any large variances between actual and budget for each month.

Finally, check out our 2010 Budget to see what, if any, adjustmets we made for 2010.




2009 Financial Results Month-By-Month

Below you will find our 2009 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 one-time expenses are also explained.



NOTES:

January
For January, our budget was $2,815 total or $2,515 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category. Since we didn't use the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category, we will look at the $2,515 number.

Our total expenses came in at $2,255 or $260 under budget. Always a good thing. :)

We were $123 under budget of $450 in Campground Fees due to boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land for free for 10 days.

Our only significant budget overage was in Entertainment. We spent $335 on a budget of $200. Most of the overage, $90, was due to a visit to Kartchner Caverns State Park. The caverns tours are a bit expensive.

We were under budget in total but there were no other significant differences in individual categories.

February
For February, our budget was $2,695 total or $2,395 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category. Since we didn't use the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category, we will look at the $2,695 number.

Our total expenses came in at $2,179 or $216 under budget.

We were $172 under our budget of $450 in Campground Fees due to some boondocking we hadn't planned. We stayed in Quartzsite, Arizona on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land for free for five nights. We stayed at Canyon De Chelly National Monument in Chinle, Arizona in their free campground for three nights. And we stayed three more nights in the Goosenecks State Park free campground in Mexican Hat, Utah.

We were also $100 under budget in Gas and Diesel for the month. Prices were lower than anticipated.

We were $183 over in Groceries & Dining Out. That was due to stocking up on cheap groceries at the Walmart in Cottonwood, Arizona before heading to our camphosting gig in Moab, UT for March & April. Groceries in Moab are much more expensive, so we purchased two and a half months' worth of non-perishables to see if it does in fact save us money for March/April. We'll see. :)

We were also $145 over budget on Entertainment. That was due to some extra special Valentine's Weekend splurges. Valentine's Day is the one holiday we try to do something extra special and I owed Linda a good one since last year's was on a travel day. Over the next six months while we are workamping, we'll make up our deficit in this category.

We were once again very pleased with the overall result for the month.

March
For March, our budget was $3,895 total or $3,585 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category. March is a big annual expense month for us.

One thing we anticipated in the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category for this year was a lift kit for our Jeep. Since we were in Moab, also known as "Jeep Heaven", we had the lift kit installed this month for $807.51. With that, even though we were $500 over in this category, we were still $210 under the total budget for the month.

Looking just at Basic Living Expenses, we had expenses of $2,878 on the budget of $3,585. So we were $717 under budget in those categories.

We were under budget as follows: RV Taxes/Registration ($46); Gas ($65); Truck Taxes/Registration ($227); Groceries & Dining Out ($237); Laundry, Clothing, & Hair ($39); Entertainment ($73); Insurance - Health, Life, Umbrella ($77); & Miscellaneous ($132).

I was pleasantly surprised that the Truck taxes were significantly lower than I budgeted.

And it appears our stocking up on groceries last month before coming to Moab has paid dividends in March. We were $183 over in February, but $237 under in this category this month. If we come in under budget in April, our experiment will have been very worthwhile.

We're doing very well this year against the budget. We're very happy with $1,200 under budget for the first quarter of 2009.

April
For April, our budget was $2,595 total or $2,295 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.

We came in at $2,421 for the month. We had no Emergency/Budget Cushion Category items, so we were $126 over budget on Basic Living Expenses. That was mainly due to renewal of our Coach-Net emergency roadside assistance plan for $268. I forgot to budget for that renewal at all, and then we went ahead and renewed for three years. That expense is recorded in our Miscellaneous Category in which we were over budget by $202.

There were only a few other significant variances.

I forgot to budget for our Passport America renewal of $44, so we were over by that amount in our RV Clubs Category.

Also, we were over budget in Entertainment by $174 due to a $374 expense to go on a four-day self-guided river trip on the Green River. The cost included a 30-mile van shuttle to the put-in and a 47-mile jet-boat shuttle back to Moab. The cost also included a required river permit and some supplies for the trip. It was all well worth it!

We were $85 over in Diesel. We filled up at the end of April, but I didn't expect to fill up until we left our camphost duty in May. But we were $73 under in Gas so our fuel costs were almost a wash against the budget.

Our stocking up on groceries in February before coming to Moab really paid off. We were $183 over in February, but $237 under in Groceries & Dining Out in March and $177 under in April. So we ended up about $230 under budget for the three-month period from February through April. Stocking up on cheap groceries before arriving in an area where we knew they were expensive turned out to be a good idea.

We were under in several other categories and over in a few others, but those were small differences. We're still doing well for the year at $1,000 under budget on Basic Living Expenses. :)

May
For May, our budget was $2,500 total or $2,200 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.

We came in at $2,225 for the month. We had no Emergency/Budget Cushion Category items, so we were $25 over budget on Basic Living Expenses - not bad.

Since we knew we would be getting a free site while workamping half of May, we budgeted a typical half month's Campground Fees at $225. But, we did great and only spent $120.

We also budgeted high for the diesel to get from Moab to our job in Chester, California. Fortunately, we came in at $208 on a budget of $350.

We were under budget in several other categories as well.

However, we were over budget in a few as well.

We were $214 over in the Groceries & Dining Out category. Once again, we anticipated high groceries during our four months in California, so we stocked up with cheaper groceries at Walmart along the way.

We were $89 over in Laundry, Clothing, & Hair. Linda bought a few clothes and some skin care products in May.

We were $169 over in Miscellaneous. The majority of that overage was for gifts for our family. On top of Mother's Day & Father's Day, May & June are big months for birthdays - plus Linda couldn't resist some items at a local craft/art show. :) We also bought replacement cord for our La Fuma loungers - after four years of use, we're thinking we should do a little preventative maintenance. :)

So, with a couple of big overages, we were still only $25 over budget in total and we are still $1,000 under budget for Basic Living Expenses for the year. :)

June
For June, our budget was $2,815 total or $2,515 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.

We came in at $2,100 for the month. We had no Emergency/Budget Cushion Category items, so we were $415 under budget on Basic Living Expenses. Excellent!

Since we knew we would be getting a free site while workamping during June, we didn't budget for Campground Fees and, of course, we had none.

Most of the $415 under budget came from being $70 under on Gas (just didn't explore as much as we expected), $130 under on Groceries & Dining Out (stocked up in May prior to our arrival in California), and $138 under on Miscellaneous (very limited pesky expenses that don't fit anywhere else).

The only category in which we were over budget much was in Entertainment as we took an overnight trip to a bed & breakfast for our 23rd anniversary. But we were only over $50 for that.

By the way, the large increase in the Insurance category is due to our $950 annual premium for life insurance. That covers both of our $250,000 life policies. They are 30-year level premium policies where the premium does not increase. Of course, since the premium doesn't change, we were right on the money with that budget item. :)

So, with being $415 under budget this month, we are almost $1,500 under budget for the year in Basic Living Expenses. And, for the first six months of the year, our Basic Living Expenses have come in right at $14,000 or exactly half of the $28,000 per year we've averaged for our four years on the road. :)

July
For July, our budget was $2,355 total or $2,055 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.

We came in at $1,960 for the month. We had no Emergency/Budget Cushion Category items, so we were $95 under budget on Basic Living Expenses. Pretty happy with that.

Since we knew we would be getting a free site while workamping during July, we didn't budget for Campground Fees and, of course, we had none.

We were over budget in only one category - Entertainment. We decided to take a mini-vacation without the rig for my birthday and spent two wonderful days in Lake Tahoe. But with hotels and activities we ended up being $276 over budget in Entertainment.

However, we were under budget in every single other category. The combined under-budget categories more than offset our little Tahoe jaunt.

So, with being $95 under budget this month, we are $1,553 under budget for the year in Basic Living Expenses. :)

August
For August, our budget was $1,885 total or $1,585 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.

We came in at $835 for the month. We had no Emergency/Budget Cushion category items, so we were $750 under budget on Basic Living Expenses. We love those kind of months. :)

Since we knew we would be getting a free site while workamping during August, we didn't budget for Campground Fees and, of course, we had none.

We were under budget in every single category.

We only filled up with Gas once, so we were $121 under budget in that category. We had no Entertainment expenses in August, so that made us $200 under in that category. In the Miscellaneous category, we were $118 under. We were $57 under on Groceries & Dining Out and we were $65 under on Insurance. We changed our health insurance plan in August and lowered our premium to $155 per month whereas we had budgeted $220. Those categories accounted for the majority of the $750 total under budget.

So, with being $750 under budget this month, we are $2,302 under budget for the year in Basic Living Expenses. :)

September
For September, our budget was $2,510 total or $2,210 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.

We came in at $2,284 for the month. We had no Emergency/Budget Cushion category items, so we were $74 over budget on Basic Living Expenses. It was kind of a funky month that takes a bit of explanation.

Since we knew we would be getting a free site while workamping for half of September, we budgeted for a half month of Campground Fees or $225. However, in the course of traveling from our workamping job in Northern California to the 2009 RV-Dreams Rally in Kerrville, Texas, we had some mechanical difficuties. We had a brake problem on our fifth wheel. And we ended up getting stuck for almost two weeks. Our original plans had to change and we stayed in campgrounds/RV parks with higher rates than we had planned. We ended up $128 over budget in that category.

With the brake problem, we ended up spending $624 on RV Maintenance. Had we not had Coach-Net emergency roadside assistance and a FreedomCare extended warranty, our costs would have been much higher. Now, we budget $50 a month for RV Maintenance, so we were way over that in September. However, we had no other RV Maintenance expenses this year, so we are not far off on the annual total. Oh, one other thing. Of that $624, I'm working on getting reimbursement for about $550 of that from an RV dealer that botched the first repair.

During our repairs ordeal, we ended up eating out more than usual, so we were $101 over budget on Groceries & Dining Out.

In addition, we were $123 over in the Miscellaneous category. That was due to breaking down and buying a Garmin GPS to put in the Jeep to use in unfamiliar towns (we don't rely on it for towing). That cost was $139.

So we were around $900 over budget in those four categories. However, we did pretty well in the other categories.

The biggest help was in Entertainment. We spent about $70 on various activities. However, we also spent about $170 at casinos. Linda played some slots and I entered three poker tournaments. The good news is that I won two of the three poker tournaments and Linda hit a nice slot jackpot. We won $776. So our Entertainment expenses were offset by our gambling winnings, and we actually had a net of about $530 to the good in Entertainment. :)

Told you it was a weird month.

We are still $2,228 under budget for the year in Basic Living Expenses, and we are hoping to recover some of our RV Maintenance expenses from September. The gambling winnings certainly helped in September, but we'd still be in pretty good shape for the year even without them. :)

October
For October, our budget was $2,745 total or $2,445 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.

We came in at $2,471 for the month. We had no Emergency/Budget Cushion category items, so we were $26 over budget on Basic Living Expenses.

In October we had a couple of large overages and a couple of categories where we were significantly under budget.

First, we were $240 over budget in Campground Fees. Most of that was due to our nine days' stay at Buckhorn Lake Resort for our 2009 RV-Dreams Rally. We hold our rallies at nice RV parks with good rally facilities, but those parks usually have higher nightly rates than we would usually pay on our own. In this case, about $150 of the $240 overage can be attributed to the nine days at Buckhorn since it was about twice as much as we'd usually spend for a campground. Of course, we will probably include that as a business expense at the end of the year, but I included it in our regular expenses for now.

We were $130 over in Laundry, Clothing, & Hair. That was mostly due to Linda needing some new jeans and bras. Those bras are expensive! :) She also splurged on a salon haircut which she rarely does anymore. :)

To offset those categories, we were $106 under budget in Groceries & Dining Out and were were $165 under budget in Entertainment. We made up the other $100 in other categories.

It was a pretty good month. In fact, we would have been well under budget except for a $100 charitable donation we made. :)

We're still $2,200 under budget in Basic Living Expenses for the year.

November
For November, our budget was $2,765 total or $2,465 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.

We came in at $5,137 for the month. What? Yeah, we had some big expenses for November. Our Basic Living Expenses came in at $2,476, so we were only $11 over there.

However, we had two large unexpected expenses totaling $2,661 in our Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.

We were going to budget for tire replacement on our truck for 2010. However, we had a blowout in November and decided to go ahead and replace all six tires at a total cost of $1,890.

Also, I had a severe nosebleed in October and went to the emergency room to make sure nothing was seriously wrong - fortunately, it was nothing serious. The hospital bill came in November and was $771. We have a $10,000 deductible to keep our health insurance premiums low, so we had to pay that expense out of our Health Savings Account. Since that was sort of a flukey thing and somewhat of an emergency, I included the expense in the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category rather than Medical & Dental Expenses category.

Other than those items, we did pretty well in November. Here are the significant variances, both over and under budget, that basically offset each other.

We were $144 over budget in RV Maintenance. We had a brake assembly replaced (covered under warranty), and did some minor repairs while in the shop. Also, we had a heating element in our water heater replaced.

That was pretty much offset by being $139 under budget on Diesel. We just didn't travel as many miles as we expected.

We were $116 over on Groceries & Dining Out. That was mainly due to "eating our way across Louisiana" in November. We only spent about $200 on groceries, but we ate out a lot while sampling the wonderful food of Louisiana.

Now that overage was offset by being $122 under budget on Entertainment.

Our last big overage was in Miscellaneous. We were $135 over budget due to buying a toaster oven, and several RVing accessories like new sewer connectors, a water filter, etc.

That overage was offset by a few different under-budget categories.

Except for the Emergency/Budget Cushion unexpected expenses, it was a pretty good month. But, even with those, we're still $2,200 under budget in Basic Living Expenses for the year and $2,000 under budget overall.

December
For December, our budget was $2,765 total or $2,465 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.

We came in at $2,949 for the month, $184 over the total budget. Our Basic Living Expenses came in at $2,564, so we were $99 over there.

I had a severe nosebleed in October and went to the emergency room to make sure nothing was seriously wrong - fortunately, it was nothing serious. The hospital bill came in November as reflected in the November summary. But the emergency room doctors' bill came in December and was $385. We have a $10,000 deductible to keep our health insurance premiums low, so we had to pay that expense out of our Health Savings Account. Since that was sort of a flukey thing and somewhat of an emergency, I included the expense in the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category rather than Medical & Dental Expenses category.

Other than that, we did okay in December being $99 over on normal living expenses. Here are the significant variances, both over and under budget, that basically offset each other.

We were $258 over budget in Campground Fees. Traveling through the Florida panhandle, we tried out three state parks on the Gulf Coast with nightly fees around $30. We stayed a total of 17 nights in those state parks and the $30 fee is about $15 more a night than we usually spend on average (17 X $15 = $255).

Our other big overage was on Jeep Maintenance. We bought our 2003 Jeep Liberty used in 2007. Since then, we hadn't done any maintenance other than regular oil and filter changes. In December, we had to have some brake and mechanical work done that totaled $547 or $527 over the monthly budget.

Those two overages were mostly offset by being $223 under budget on Diesel, $162 under in Entertainment, and under budget in ten other categories (ranging from $1 to $65 under).

We finished the year $2,093 under budget in Basic Living Expenses for the year and $1,839 under budget overall.