The "overall" budget includes an Emergencies/Budget Cushion category so that we consider potential large, expected or unexpected, one-time expenses. For this year, we anticipated upgrading our fifth wheel's brakes and suspension, so this category was rather large. Unfortunately, we had a few other unexpected expenses and went over budget in our Emergencies/Budget Cushion. Fortunately, we were under budget in our Basic Living Expenses by enough to cover the overage for the total "overall" budget.
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 2010. See the narrative below the chart for more information about our 2010 financial results.
We finished 2010 under our overall budget of $36,224 by a little over $700. And we were under our Basic Living Expenses budget by a little over $2,000.
In 2009, we budgeted $3,600 in our Emergencies/Budget Cushion Category because we didn't "expect" any large one-time expenses, but we still wanted make sure we had some cushion. In 2010, we expected our brakes and suspension upgrade to run about $6,000 and we added another $1,200 for some additional cushion.
As it turned out, we needed the extra cushion and then some. I had an unexpected emergency room visit in October 2009 and the doctors prescribed some blood pressure medication. I had an episode in January 2010 while weaning off that medication and had to go to the emergency room again ($1,250). Fortunately, once again it wasn't serious. In addition, we had an $1,100 expense to replace the lift kit on our Jeep. The one we added previously was causing the Jeep to bottom out on railroad tracks and deep potholes. That was an expensive mistake. And finally, Linda & I hadn't had eyes examined in years. A 2010 exam resulted in $780 of prescription glasses and exam fees.
Still, because we did well in our Basic Living Expenses, we were under our overall budget.
In 2010, we workamped five complete months, but it was an unpaid position. On a budget of $29,024 for just Basic Living Expenses, we spent $26,991.
Also, in 2010, we managed to make a net income of almost $12,000 on our little businesses. Not as good as in 2009 when we worked four months at a 40-hour-per-week paid gig, but the business total is steadily increasing. That covered almost half of our Basic Living Expenses and a third of our total expenses. Check out our 2010 Business Summary for more on that.
Now, below you will see another chart that shows details of our 2010 expenses month-by-month. And below that are Notes that provide explanations of any large variances between actual and budget for each month.
Below you will find our 2010 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.
For January, our budget was $2,995 total or $2,395 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.
Our total expenses came in at $3,034 or $98 over budget for everything and they were $2,470 or $80 over budget when excluding the Emergencie/Budget Cushion.
We basically set up the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category to cover some RV upgrades in the spring and then have a little bit of cushion left over. However, in January, I had a poor reaction as I was discontinuing some blood pressure medication. So I had an unexpected emergency room visit in January and an unexpected expense in this category.
We were pretty close in almost every category. But we had a couple of large overages. We were $171 over budget on Groceries & Dining Out. We ate out much more than usual in January. We had visits from several website readers and often went out.
Also, we were over budget by $111 in our Miscellaneous category. The biggest reason for that was the $150 we spent to get our passports renewed.
But, even with those large overages, we had enough under budget categories to make up for most of it.
For February, our budget was $2,645 total or $2,045 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.
Our total expenses came in at $2,805 or $160 over budget for everything and they were $2,118 or $73 over budget when excluding the Emergencie/Budget Cushion.
We had additional billings from my unexpected emergency room visit in January. Therefore, we had $686 more in the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category. These expenses, as well as the other expenses from January came out of our Health Savings Account which was funded to cover such costs.
Why don't we include these costs in our Medical & Dental Expenses category? Well, we reserve the Medical & Dental Expenses for more routine-type costs like over-the-counter medications, office visits, teeth cleaning, etc.
The only other really big expense we had was for Jeep Maintenance. We had a water pump go out and an expense of $445 to fix that in February.
In all the other categories, we did really well. We were $84 over in Miscellaneous as we replaced a grill, bought some new dry-bags for our boats, and had a couple of other things. But we were under budget everywhere else.
For March, our budget was $4,645 total or $4,045 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category. You'll notice that the March budget was $2,000 more than February. That is due to four annual payments (RV Property Taxes, Truck Property Taxes, Truck Insurance, Umbrella Insurance) that have to be paid in March.
Our total expenses came in at $3,709 or $936 under budget for everything and they were $3,709 or $336 under budget when excluding the Emergencie/Budget Cushion.
Fortunately, we had no expenses in March in the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.
Though we were over budget in some categories - Campground Fees ($64), Groceries & Dining Out ($129), Diesel ($56), Truck Maintenance ($84), Entertainment ($44) - we were well under in all the other categories. Especially helpful was that I overbudgeted our Truck taxes by $252, a pleasant surprise. :)
For the first quarter, we were pretty much on target on our overall budget. We were $188 under budget on basic living expenses through March.
Another wacky month with some large unforeseen expenses.
For April, our budget was $4,159 total or $3,559 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category. It was still a fairly large budget for April since our annual RV insurance was due.
Our total expenses came in at $5,410 or $1,251 over budget for everything and they were $3,529 or $30 under budget when excluding the Emergencie/Budget Cushion.
Unfortunately, we had two large expenses in April in the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category. We had $781 for new prescription eyeglasses and the part of the exams not covered by our insurance. Neither of us had been in for an eye exam in years, so we did that. We had not budgeted for glasses, but Linda needed a new prescription and I needed reading glasses - my first ever pair of glasses.
The other big expense was to fix our Jeep. In March 2009, we had a "budget" lift kit installed on our Jeep Liberty. We had already added skid plates and a heavy duty bumper and winch for off-roading.
However, the type of kit we installed caused the Jeep to bottom out in the front anytime we went over even the smallest of potholes or dips. We suffered with it for a year, but decided to see if we could get it fixed. It required removing the 2.5-inch Daystar Rubber Spacer Lift Kit and installing a new BDS Suspension Coil Spring Lift Kit. That fixed our problem, but the cost for comfort and continued off-roading was $1,100.
So, for 2010, we have already spent $3,100 in a category that we budgeted $7,200 which was mostly for a fifth wheel brake and suspension upgrade which is scheduled in May. It looks like we'll be over budget in the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category by $2,000 - $3,000 for the year, so we have to make it up in our basic living expenses.
The good news for April is that we managed to come in $30 under budget in our normal living expenses. With higher than expected campground fees and doing a lot more running around than we expected during our two-week stay in our former hometown, being under budget was a surprise. Still, we'll have to do a lot better than that the rest of the year.
May was the month where we upgraded our fifth wheel brakes to disc brakes and upgraded our suspension to the Mor/Ryde IS suspension. That was the one really big expense we had planned for during 2010.
For May, our budget was $2,795 total or $2,195 without the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category.
Our total expenses came in at a whopping $7,127 which included $5,391 for the brakes/suspension upgrade. Of course we budgeted for that large expense in the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category, but when the budget was set, we didn't know which month the actual expense would occur, so we spread it out over the year at $600 per month.
Removing the brakes/suspension upgrade and the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category, our basic living expenses came in at $1,736 or $459 under the $2,195 budget.
We were under budget in just about every category. Our biggest savings was in Campground Fees as we were able to stay at Mor/Ryde four nights for free while having our work done. Also, we had no Campground Fees after May 11, since we arrived at our summer workamping job (free campsite) on May 12.
Through May we were $677 under budget for the year in basic living expenses.
That was a good thing, because we had already spent $8,522 in the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category which only has a total 2010 budget of $7,200. So we need to be a total of $1,322 under budget for the year in all other categories.
June was our first full month of workamping in 2010, so we had no Campground Fees. Of course, this year we knew that, so we hadn't budgeted anything in that category and, therefore, we have no big budget savings there. :)
However, we were still another $471 under the overall basic living expenses budget of $2,465, which included our annual life insurance premiums of $953.
Through June we were $1,148 under budget for the year in basic living expenses. It shouldn't take much the rest of the year to make up the last couple hundred dollars we are over in the Emergencies/Budget Cushion category ... unless we have more unexpected items pop up.
Also, through the first half of 2010, we spent $15,500 in basic living expenses. But that included only a month and a half of workamping and most of our large annual expenses are front-loaded into the first half of the year. Our remaining budget for the year is about $12,300. If we hit that, we will be right on our annual average of around $28,000 for basic living expenses.
July was another month of workamping, so we had no Campground Fees. Like June, we knew that, so we hadn't budgeted anything in that category.
We were $121 under the overall basic living expenses budget of $1,965, which included our annual Jeep taxes and semi-annual Jeep insurance. Those two items were budgeted at $450 and we came in just under that.
We were under budget in just about every category and over budget in just a few. We were about $25 over budget on Groceries & Dining Out, and we were $65 over on entertainment due to a relatively expensive two-day trip to Mackinac Island.
We were also over on Medical/Dental expenses by $164, but that was due to our eye doctor not coding the insurance forms correctly and a claim getting denied. Hopefully, we will be able to recover the amount we paid out of pocket when the eye doctor resubmits the proper insurance forms.
With lower monthly budgets the rest of the year, we're right on target to hit our usual annual basic living expenses of about $28,000.
August was another month of workamping, so we had no Campground Fees. Like June & July, we knew that, so we hadn't budgeted anything in that category.
We were $563 under the overall basic living expenses budget of $1,555. That's our lowest monthly budget of the year as we knew we would be workamping and not traveling (low monthly expenses) and we have no large annual expenses due in August.
We were under budget in every category except Miscellaneous and we were less than $3 over in that category.
You will see that we had a negative Entertainment number of -$43. Well, we had a big month in Entertainment expenses of about $490, but part of that included a $40 entry fee into a poker tournament at the beginning of the month. I came in second in the tournament and won $532. Thus we spent more on Entertainment than we normally would have, but not more than we got back for our entertainment investment dollars. :)
Again, we're still right on track to hit our usual annual basic living expenses of about $28,000.
September was our last full month of workamping for the summer of 2010. Therefore, we once again had no Campground Fees. Like June, July, & August, we knew that, so we hadn't budgeted anything in that category.
We were $323 under the overall basic living expenses budget of $1,555. Like August, that's our lowest monthly budget of the year as we knew we would be workamping and not traveling (low monthly expenses) and we had no large annual expenses due in September.
We were under budget in every category except Laundry, Clothing, Hair and we were only $2 over in that category.
If we hit our budget for the last three months of the year, we're on track to come in about $1,000 less than our usual annual basic living expenses of about $28,000.
October was a half month of workamping and a half month of travel. We knew that when we set our budget, so the budget reflected lower expenses than in a full travel month, but more than in a full workamping month.
We were $464 over the overall basic living expenses budget of $2,435. Though we were over budget in several categories, we made up for all of that by being under budget in many others. The one item I hadn't budgeted for was new tires for the Jeep. The new tires and an alignment and oil change came out to $606 and that's what put us so far over budget in total.
We were over budget on Campground Fees by $95.
We were over budget on Propane by $41 because we filled up both tanks before leaving our workamping job, and it had been over five months since we had paid anything for propane.
We took a four-day road trip with just the Jeep to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The overnight stays and some touristy stuff put us over budget on Entertainment by $177. That also caused our Gas expenses to be over by $75.
And we were over in Miscellaneous by $121 primarily because we signed up for four months of Weight Watchers Online.
Those overages totaled $509. But we were under budget on Groceries & Dining Out by $126 and under on Diesel by $276 (we didn't travel as far as we thought we would in October). And we were under budget another $200 in other categories. So the under budget categories made up for the regular overages and even cut into the Jeep tire costs a little bit.
Overall, we're still doing well. Even with some large expenses we hadn't anticipated, we've managed to cut in other areas. So, as long as we don't have any other major expenses I didn't consider in the budget, we should still come in under budget on basic living expenses and on our overall totals.
November was our first full month of traveling since April. So, from experience, we budgeted a little bit higher for the month.
We were $443 under the overall basic living expenses budget of $2,405. Though we were over budget in a few categories, we made up for all of that and more by being under budget in many others.
We were over budget on Campground Fees by $136. We have been budgeting $15 per day for campground fees, but came in a little under $20 a day in November. Still, not too bad.
We were over budget on Gas by about $65. We drove the Jeep a little more than anticipated for local exploring, including a couple hundred miles roundtrip to the South Carolina coast to see some RV-Dreams friends.
But we were $118 under budget for Diesel, $102 under on Groceries & Dining Out (we're on Weight Watchers and cooked more to make sure we stayed within the guidelines), $166 under on Entertainment (only one round of golf and the rest was hiking and paddling which were free), and $80 under on Miscellaneous. And we were under in a few other categories as well, so we had a good month.
Overall, we're still doing well. Even with some large expenses during the year, some anticipated and some not, we've managed to cut in other areas. So, as long as nothing major happens in December, we should still come in well under budget on basic living expenses and slightly under budget on our overall totals.
We had a full month of travel in December, so the budget was higher than in workamping months.
We were $101 over the overall Basic Living Expenses budget of $2,405. Just like November, we were over budget on Campground Fees by $136. We have been budgeting $15 per day for campground fees, but came in a little under $20 a day in December. Still, not too bad.
We were a little over in other categories and under in many.
Overall, we finished very well for the year. Even with some large expenses during 2010, some anticipated and some not, we managed to cut in other areas.
We came in $2,000 under budget on Basic Living Expenses and $700 under overall. Almost $36,000 for the year is a lot of money, but we're extremely happy that we came in under our budget and that we beat our annual average for Basic Living Expenses by about $1,000.